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Jason Lau and Brandon Florian

Jason Lau, 30 Brandon Florian, 32 Founders Evolution Martial Arts Academy Northridge Gym that provides training in the martial arts in hapkido, a Korean style similar to taekwondo, and CrossFit, an exercise routine that involves high-intensity everyday movements. Founded: 2012 Employees: 7 volunteers Financials: Did not disclose What makes you company unusual or unique? Jason Lau: We are still the only place to offer traditional martial arts and CrossFit under one roof in the San Fernando Valley and possibly Southern California. We wanted to bring the two very similar communities together. What led you to start your own company? I started doing martial arts at the age of 15 and I absolutely loved it. Brandon and I wanted to do what we loved for the rest of our lives. Where did you get the financing? Brandon and myself backed most of our financing through savings and some help from our family. We wanted to do our best to avoid any type of loans because interest is a killer. What were the biggest challenges? Finding a good location that would fit the demographic we were looking for. We wanted a good community atmosphere. Also, CSUN would be a good market for the young adults who wanted to do CrossFit. What was the most important lesson you learned? Brandon and I couldn’t do this alone. It takes a support team of skilled people to help run a business, any business. Another good lesson is network with as many other business owners as you can. What is it like working together? It’s great to bounce ideas off each other and helps avoid any impulse decisions that would seem like a good idea at first but isn’t later. What is the biggest advantage of being young? The both of us aren’t married and we don’t have any kids yet. This gives us great flexibility and the ability to take a massive risk of opening our own business. Another advantage of being young is the ability to function pretty well on little to no sleep. Could you ever be an employee? No, honestly I tell people all the time I was born to run my own business and be a leader. My brain has a million new ideas all the time. What advice would you give to other Millennials who may want to start their own business? It is important to do your research and due diligence before taking a big step in opening up your own business. (And) if you don’t love what you do, all the hours of work needed to run a new business might make it feel like a drag. – Mark Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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