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Diego Almeida and the lessons learned by taking a side gig to keep his dream alive

Diego Almeida is a black belt from Double Five. Personal Archive

The black-belt Diego Almeida, 25, learned from BJJ that it’s in the biggest adversities that we recognize our own strength. Amidst the pandemic, he has begun doing deliveries in San Angelo, Texas. It was Diego’s first option, after spending 20 days at home, to keep paying the bills of his academy, Seeds 13, which he opened a few months ago.

In a recent interview, he told about doing the new gig as he continued to provide online lessons to students. “I worked for a month and a half doing deliveries to keep alive my dream, which is my own gym here in the U.S., which God has blessed me with. I worked to support my family and my business — I had to face the problem head-on. I had no ego about working in another field, which I didn’t choose, to make money. Many people in jiu-jitsu and in the world are idle at home and doing nothing due to ego. I may stay down for a while, but I will rise again, because God gives me opportunity. I respect the creation of the live Instagram sessions people do these days, but that, the way I see it, won’t earn me money. I don’t want popularity; I want to follow what God has for my life.”

Diego, an athlete from team Double Five, said the new job provided him with knowledge about business, customer service and how the big food companies manage their communication. “It was amazing to see how the mind of big entrepreneurs works during a crisis, how they react, how they think to get back on top. This time at home has been a watershed moment in my life — I’m a new person now. I was able to have new habits, like reading daily — every day I set aside ten minutes to read, for example. Instead of spending money, I am now able to save it. It’s also been possible to take care of my health as I eat well — I’ve already lost over 6kg. So, when life returns to normal I’m gonna be a different person, I’ll be more intelligent and I’ll offer a better service to my students, who have been very concerned with me during this phase we’re living worldwide.”

Diego wrapped up the interview with a new insight gained from observing how McDonald’s functions. “The structure is something essential; they are organized in details. The food isn’t even that good, nor is it healthy, but the marketing they do messes with the customer’s psychology. For example, they put the food in a recyclable bag with a sticker that said ‘This was sealed with a big smile,’ as well as writing ‘Thank you’ by hand.”

“When I would go to local businesses,” Diego added, “it was as if I was doing them a favor due to the lack of structure and knowledge. Of course, it wasn’t all of them, but it was often that way. There were always wrong orders; they were disorganized. The bigger companies have more organization and more qualified people for this type of job. The owner of McDonald’s doesn’t work at the restaurant; he has trained people to offer an excellent service.

“The lesson derived is to strive to become qualified in every way. We see that social media has gotten much bigger, but people still don’t tell you how to make a company qualified, what to do to sell better. The online product is the new generation for jiu-jitsu. The future is all online.”

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