, an environmentally conscious e-commerce site, Manhattan Beach

Employees: 8

Financials: Profitable, with projected revenue of $1 million for 2012.

It was 2008, and Brent Freeman was a 23-year-old commodities trader. He had offices in Dubai and San Francisco. But something didn’t feel right.

When he looked at older guys around him, he didn’t want to follow in their footsteps. They never saw their families. They were unhappy.

“I realized the trajectory I was on of chasing the money for money’s sake would never make me truly happy inside and satisfy my soul,” Freeman said.

So he quit his job and launched Roozt, a cause-oriented e-commerce site.

“I was determined to do something I was passionate about and create a great work environment at the same time,” he said.

The site advertises clothing, accessories and other products with an emphasis on the causes they support and their environmental impact. Roozt donates a portion of each purchase toward the cause the brand promotes.

Freeman launched the company with only $5,000 with two college pals pooling their savings. Nick Reder and Norma LaRosa remain co-owners and board members.

“People think you need a lot of money to start a business,” Freeman said. “There is always a way to bootstrap it on a budget. The most important thing is to just get started. If you’re truly passionate, you won’t let money, or lack thereof, stand in your way.”

And he’s found out what makes him happy. The secret, he said, is enjoying the journey.

“Life is too short to be always focused on the destination,” he said. “Take time to enjoy the view around you.”