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Nicholas Zappas was born in Santa Ana, California on April 17, 1980. After graduating high school in 1998, he attended California State University, Fullerton where he obtained a degree in business before earning his MBA from Pepperdine University.
Today, Mr. Zappas is the owner of Peaceful Warrior Jiu Jitsu Fitness in Dana Point, California. Peaceful Warrior Jiu Jitsu Fitness is a full gym, Jiu Jitsu, and Muay Thai school where first responders are trained in self-defense tactics. As someone fully invested in the success of his clients, the gym is founded on the principles of tradition, honor, and respect.
Mr. Zappas also owns a clothing company called Smoke Check Fightgear and is the marketing director for Lionship Protection.
What do you currently do at your company?
I do membership relations and package sales as well as a lot of the training for the Jiujitsu and Muay Thai students. With the clothing company, I do a lot of imports from Pakistan for Jiu Jitsu gis, Muay Thai shorts, boxing gloves, and other fighting accessories. With Lionship Protection, I go out and see if there are new business contracts, then assign employees to work those locations. I also do all the marketing for the company through social media.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
For the Jiu Jitsu school, I wanted to provide an environment that would be safe for law enforcement to come in and train and not feel threatened by other students. I also felt that I could provide a better quality of product based on my past experience.
Tell us one long-term goal in your career.
I want to open up more Jiu Jitsu schools throughout the state and expand the security company to over a million dollars a month in revenue. We have seen extensive growth since the company’s inception so I look forward to how much we can grow in the next five to ten years.
How do you measure success?
I measure my success by what I’m able to provide for my son. I want to give him a better life and more opportunities than what I had, including paying for his college, helping him start a business once he’s out, helping him purchase a house. I am fortunate that I am in the position where I am financially independent and can, as a result, support my family.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?
I’ve learned so much over the course of my career. One of the most important lessons has been to stand up for yourself and stick by what you believe in. In the business world you, by default, will receive a lot of unsolicited advice. My advice is to learn what you can from other more experienced professionals, but at the end of the day always trust your own instincts. Confidence is what will push your business to the next level.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?
I consider myself to be a very active person, so I do my best to spend a lot of time outside in nature. I am really into surfing, snowboarding, and I enjoy traveling at the same time as my son.
How would your colleagues describe you?
I think that my colleagues would describe me as both honest and caring. If I consider you a friend, I can treat you like family, but if you cross me, I won’t forget. I value open communication and I want everyone to feel comfortable enough to approach me with any issue they need to discuss.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
I’m very fortunate because my work is all the things that I enjoy doing. I’m able to teach and practice jiu jitsu and I love the world of security. It’s not hard to balance because I enjoy what I do. Taking the time to relax and reflect is vital when it comes to avoiding additional stress.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
My father has been my biggest role model. He’s stuck with me through thick and thin and helped me and supported me through all my business ventures.
What does success look like to you?
Success for me is being able to provide my son with a good life. I am so happy with how far the business has come and I want to continue to grow. My family keeps me motivated and everything I do is for them.