Interview with Coach Danny by Voyage LA Magazine

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Vaughan.  Below you’ll find edited excerpts of our interview with Daniel.

Daniel, please share your story with us.  How did you get to where you are today?

I started training BJJ in Riverside out of my friend’s home and people’s garages back in 2005. I continued to train once I moved to LA to attend UCLA in 2006 to 2008 at the UCLA BJJ club.

After graduating I started working in commercial insurance and began teaching at M3 in 2011. The owner approached me with an offer one day asking if I wanted to buy the gym from him. Taking a leap of faith I cashed out my 401k and quit my job and bought the gym with cash up front. I have been running the school now since 2012. It’s been a long journey but M3 is an integral part of the community and has that good home feel you won’t get anywhere else, especially at a gym. People from all ages come to get in shape, learn self-defense all while having a great time making new friends.

Has it been a smooth road?

From the start of the process, the transfer was not a smooth as I hoped. Staff left, members left, the landlord was trying to raise the rent by $5000.00 a month because he said the space below us was not rentable because of the noise we made from training upstairs. We had to move down the street to a different location. Luckily there were some dedicated staff and members who stayed and helped us along the way. We had huge turn outs to help us move and a lot of friends who helped set up in the new location. Without everyone’s help, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

What are your plans for the future?
Well my biggest plan for the future is to be able to live off of the gym 100%. There are a lot of costs and investments that need to be made so I still work a full time day job. Being able to train all day and visit other schools and going abroad to train and learn to bring back to my school would amazing.

Let’s dig a little deeper into your story.  What was the hardest time you’ve had?
The hardest time was when I was down to my last dollar. I had quit my job, exhausted my savings, and was working on the school full time without enough money to take home. I didn’t have enough money for rent and it was looking pretty bleak. But I had put in enough time and built an infrastructure during those last few moments and picked up a day job. The school was able to run itself for the most part because of a great staff and amazing clients. I’m not quite at the point where “wow I made it” but I feel like I’m on the right track. The gym is running smoothly, I have a steady career and I was lucky enough to find the love of my life and got married last October. It’s never about the finish, but how you get there and I think so far its been pretty amazing. Every day I look forward to seeing the gym grow and helping change lives for the better.


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