Thursday, November 26, 2015

TDI Advanced Nitrox and Decompresson Procedures Courses. Portland Oregon. Technical Diving Training.

JCA Elite Scuba Technical Diving Specialties

TDI Advanced Nitrox

TDI Decompression Procedures


Dive a little deeper and stay a little longer with these courses. Learn to dive with Oxygen percentages from 40% to 100%. Learn all about Decompression Diving and how to use those higher percentages of Oxygen to cut down times on decompression obligations.

Even if you aren't going to become a technical diver, these courses will take the mystery out of the zones beyond recreational diving and become a powerful tool to increase safety and minimize risk.
Course Tuition, Educational Materials, Education, Certification Dives, and Cert Cards included.
$400 each
$300 each (when both are purchased together)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Friday Scuba Diving Lessons Special Pricing Portland Oregon

If you and your family or friends have thought about learning how to scuba dive, now is the time! From now until 11:59pm on Friday night, November 27, 2015, scuba diving lessons are 50% off when four enroll.

Remember, my rates go up January 1st, so get in while the gettin' is good...!!!

click here to purchase the offer

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"Intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. An act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth."

Dive Training Magazine: November 2015 -- No Dumb Questions -- To dive on nitrox or not to dive on nitrox...

Every month, Dive Training Magazine comes out, and one of my favorite parts is the question and answer section written by Alex Brylske. In this month's section, a student working on the completion of her certification wonders if diving on nitrox is worth it or not. She is told by many of her diver friends, "nitrox certification isn't necessary, and it's just a way for a dive shop to earn more money."

Alex does a great job about explaining what nitrox is, some of the myths and facts about it, and why one would want to pay more for this gas. Alex also isn't afraid to address an instructor's comment that, "nitrox will leave you less tired," (for which there is no empirical evidence of) but also wraps up with a final analysis that if the diver is, "someone who plans to limit your diving experiences to the occasional vacation to shallow water (40ft or less), it may not be a worthwhile investment."

As the years goes by, one thing consistently presents itself in the dive industry, and that is "disinformation." If I am using the correct word to illustrate my thought, I am describing a statement by which information is incorrectly expressed in order to perpetuate an ongoing inaccurate course. Wikipedia describes "disinformation" as "intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false." Perhaps many of those that have the wrong information are mistaken, but it is interesting that there is so much wrong information out there! (I chuckle as I write that...)

As I evolve as an independent instructor, I've learned to temper my reactions to these occurrences of disinformation with trying to offer the correct information. The process of expressing that information in a responsible and professional manner is part of my personal growth. Regrettably, many don't want the correct information even when it comes from credible sources, defaulting verbatim to friends, family, acquaintances, or worse yet -- the internet. A good friend and business colleague (a mentor really) has told me that when he first met me, I was adversarial, confrontational, and sometimes defensive. My perspective has dramatically changed over the last four years, more so than the previous five years to that (from the beginning of my scuba diving career). I can see it (it was it nice to hear that from him as well). I've discovered that I don't always have to be the one to provide the correct information, particularly when it is not asked for. Like often happens in an industry where everyone is considered a professional the moment a paycheck appears, it's hard for those that have to compete with the traditional source of scuba diving information, "the local dive shop," to be experts in the field. "Pick your battles" comes to mind but when it's my area of expertise, sometimes just smiling and nodding is not the easiest thing to do.

Perhaps the part about all of it that is really hard, is that I want everyone to become scuba divers! It is my driving force, it also pays the bills... Who wants to let the bullies win, if I can loosely use a metaphor? I could say that it is already hard enough to convince people to leave the comforts of their terrestrial environments to explore the aquatic world on cold winter days, but I'm trying. Life is not pulp fiction, but sometimes it is as dramatic. As early as yesterday, this disinformation presented itself and I probably lost a customer because of it. Not because I told them that they were wrong, but because I didn't... In the end, that person will surely learn to dive. Will they start off on the wrong fin? Probably not. Is it necessary for them to know the right answer right now? Probably not. What can I learn from these experiences?


time to go feed the ducks... 

Monday, November 9, 2015

The new year is almost upon us and some changes are in the works...

2015 has been pretty good (more than double of what I did in 2014), even with a few slow months. I've decided to step it up a notch or three starting the beginning of 2016. My plan is to raise my rates... my last rate increase of July of 2014. Once that happens, with the focus on finding new students (my "year" of students) and the addition of TDI's Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures Programs, I foresee lots of great diving opportunities.

To start, I'm thinking of at least one local boat trip per month, one international trip per year, and I want to set a goal of one new Divemaster per year, too. My goals have been all over the place if not very relaxed because I considered the first year, "the year of infrastructure" with the second year, "the year of relationships." As I've been on my own (no dive shop and not selling equipment), many of the businesses I partnered with have reported being happy with how things have gone. I want to do something to build on that. Many of the other professionals out there thought that being a full-time instructor without a shop couldn't work. I've not only seen opportunities to teach divers everywhere, I've found a pretty cool niche.

I've really missed technical diving, especially cave diving. I started technical diving in 2007, barely a year after my open water certification, and now, I want to do something more with it! I'm not sure yet what it will be, but cave diving has presented it self so many times in the last few months with meeting a couple new cave divers and seeing a fellow instructor and friend get her cave diving certification! I really miss deep wreck diving too, and I'm definitely eyeing some of the wrecks in Canada to start exploring.

If anyone has thought about setting any personal diving goals, I'd like to meet with you in person to put it into a formal plan, in writing and set dates for classes, dives, and awarding of certifications. One of the things that I've seen being the greatest asset to building the business, finding new students, fostering new diving relationships, and doing lots of diving, has been my flexibility of scheduling. As I've gotten busier, I'm finding that my calendar is seeing fewer days available for unscheduled events. I think its time to use a calendar to my advantage. This will allow me to think about what 2017 will bring or planning for far down the road!

If you have dives, classes, and certifications to finish, don't worry. Part of my plan will be to push all of you a little harder to make your goals happen sooner than later. Again, my programs will never expire, so you can still take your time. I'm also looking forward to meeting with some of the members of my group that haven't started their dive training yet. It's time to get the tank rolling.

OH...!!! Those of you that have starting to pop out babies or have them on the way, I'm not letting you off the hook that easy. I will get you back in the water even if I have to drag you to Hawaii or Mexico to do it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Exotic Gifts for the Holiday Season, especially if they don't dive yet... Private scuba diving lessons in Portland and surrounding areas.

Holiday Specials

Exotic Gifts for the Holidays Season

Learn to SCUBA DIVE with a friend, spouse, or buddy is the greatest gift that keeps on giving...!!!
It's not that hard to do and you don't have to be a great swimmer. Once you're certified, you'll be able to dive anywhere in the world and your certification never expires. You'll learn skills you never thought you'd be able to do. Many find that they discovered a new sense of confidence. Meet new friends and travel to exotic destinations. Everyplace there is water, you'll find divers. Lakes, oceans, rivers, under water falls, lagoons, reservoirs, and even abandoned missile silos! 

For the holidays, every new student gets a free drysuit course when you sign up with a buddy. If you sign up before Thanksgiving, the educational system is reduced to $99.95 (a $30 savings). Once you sign up, your tuition never expires, there is rush to finish, and you get to set the schedule. I come to you for the educational portion of your training.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

JCA Elite Scuba, Portland OR -- I've added some more photos from some of the trips we've done... thanks to Thom Owens and Chad Miller for taking lots of the pictures!

Brand: Juan Carlos Aguilar -- The difference between a brand and a product. Why you want me to be your dive instructor. Private scuba diving lessons. Portland, OR.

You've heard people talk about "brands" and "products," but do you really know the difference between them? It's really quite simple and the easiest way to understand it is with this example: "Starbucks." Their brand is world famous. You can walk into any Starbucks and people are hanging out, working on their computers, having conversations even though it's usually pretty loud in there, and the best part... they spend lots of money on poor quality coffee and prepackaged food. If two coffee shops were side by side, the "fun" atmosphere will attract more customers because, well...  who wants to hang out at Denny's? I grew up drinking brewed coffee like the coffee shops, Denny's and Shari's makes. It's not too strong, you can get unlimited refills, and you only pay a dollar or two. I never would have imagined ever paying $4+ for a whipped up coffee infused concoction of ice, chocolate, and whipped cream. In fact, Starbucks is my favorite place to teach! Classroom settings are boring, students actually have fallen asleep in classrooms I've taught in, and as far as retention goes, often the student remembers very little from a classroom experience. No one ever falls asleep at Starbucks.

People don't go to Starbucks to savor fresh roasted gourmet coffee beans (sarcasm implied), they want the atmosphere. When the atmosphere is rich and inviting, it promotes positive associations and makes it easier to remember. I know that most of us had mediocre if not negative memories of the educational institutions we went to.  Who wants to relive that?

What does that have to do with me? I am the brand. When you think of scuba diving instruction, you should be thinking about the instructor that devotes his business to making scuba a lifestyle and something that is part of who you are. It should be fun, something you look forward to doing. As many are coming to find out, there aren't too many mom and pop shops left and that includes shops run by momma Jane and daddy Joe. Often, in order to keep the doors open, the local dive shop has to sell scuba diving equipment, and a lot of it. There is an old joke in the dive industry. How do you make a million dollars in scuba? Start with two! Equipment sales are the lifeblood of their businesses. Their doors aren't open to teach, it's to sell, and with internet sales taking a devastating piece of the pie, a large proportion of shops lose sales because of higher costs of running a brick and mortar.  Many dive shops owners tell me that there is very little profit in education. After paying the instructor, setting aside a little money for the lease or rent, equipment, supplies, advertising, utilities, and the like, if they are not in the hole, they'd be lucky to make $50.

I believe that everyone deserves to make a profit, but as a scuba diving instructor, I place value integrity, and service first. My goal is to create an atmosphere of camaraderie and relationships. After all, how long is a good dive and what do you do during your surface interval? Sadly, I've seen instructors in their cars talking on their cellphones and students on their own waiting for the next dive. They look spiritless and definitely don't look like they are having fun. I don't want to sell equipment and I don't my business to have to depend on it.

I also only teach a student or two at a time. This not only gives me an opportunity to build a report with them, they get to know who I am as a person. Report means that when they want to go diving, they call someone they can trust, someone they got to know, and someone they can share great scuba experiences with. Large class sizes also have the inherent possibility for some of the students to fall behind. Some may also not excel... The odds are more likely that half the class won't get all the attention from the instructor they wish they had. In education, this is called, "teaching for the lowest common denominator."

Juan Carlos Aguilar as the brand is selling the program over the phone, sight unseen and without a store front. It's delivering the educational systems to the students in person. It's also meeting them near their work or homes for my educational review and final exam AND on their schedule and when it's convenient for them. We carpool, and during certification dive weekends, it means that we share a large room, not only making lodging more affordable, but no one is left alone and spiritless.  We share food and stories, talk about the dive day and laugh! When it's time for continuing education, they think of JCA Elite Scuba.

The part of the brand that I feel the most strongly about is that I've found out that it's that I don't need the dive shop, rather the dive shop needs me. Often is the case that the student will spend more on equipment than education, but it is also likely that they will never return to the dive shop, never refer others there, and may even hop from shop to shop without ever becoming a regular customer. Often the student will start to buy used equipment or default to online sales. Ironically, only a few shops have won me over and I feel comfortable returning, recommending them, and bring students there. If I can't take the lead, be trusted to put my students into the right equipment at the right time, I could default to online sales and even equipment sales and rentals myself. Luckily, I don't have the interest in becoming a dive shop, having an inventory, having sales goals, and putting diving on the back burner.  Coincidentally, I've done more diving as an independent instructor than I ever did as an instructor working at a dive shop with a classroom full of students.

When you're ready to learn how to scuba dive, please don't think about it as something you have to just get through so that you can "go" diving. Think about giving me the opportunity to help shape you into becoming a great diver. Plan on doing a lot of work but being able to appreciate quality over quantity.

Sailfin Sculpin are one of my favorite fish in the Puget Sound...

#scuba #sailfinsculpin #sculpin #pugetsound #nightdive #sunrisemotel