JUSTIN LEFKOVITCH, 25
Mirrored Media, a marketing company that promotes
independent rock bands in ad campaigns for major brands such as Acura, Santa Monica
FINANCIALS: Annual revenue expected to double this year.
What led you to start your own company?
When I was attending Pepperdine University, I was introduced to singer-songwriter Ray Kennedy. Ray was in need of some business and marketing guidance for a few high-profile projects. Through my work with him I met some of the music industry’s biggest and most influential members. I wrote and submitted a business plan to the Graziadio Business Plan Competition. That’s when I realized that my idea could actually be.
Where did you get the startup money?
I was introduced to my principal investor, Vaden Saunders, an angel investor, through a mutual friend. He joined the company with an initial investment of $50,000 in June 2011. Vaden invested an additional $450,000 in late 2012.
What was the biggest challenge?
The most significant challenge has been building the right team. In some cases this meant poaching them from other companies or having to share them as they consulted with other music and marketing firms.
What was the most important lesson you learned?
Time management. It is very easy to let the passion and excitement for the company consume your life. I found that I was not taking time for my own life or making time for the people around me. This was a hard lesson to work through but one that is necessary in order to keep some sense of balance between work and personal life.
How many hours a day do you put in?
I will work 14-hour days during the week and throughout the weekend as needed. At least three nights a week, I have a work function to attend, such as seeing a band play or attending an evening meeting. When we work and oversee concerts and festival activations, these hours become even longer and extend all weekend.
Does your youth lead to awkward situations, such as when you supervise older workers or meet with clients and investors?
I will never forget the time that Brian Hirsh, now my chief creative officer, and I were
traveling to meet a client and we had to reschedule his flight because we needed to rent a car. I was under 25 and was unable to pick it up or drive it.
Could you ever work for someone else?
I am not opposed to working for someone else but would need to have a deeply rooted interest in the company and its vision.
What do you do to relax?
My favorite way to relax is some time on the beach. Having the ocean a short walk away from the office is a much needed convenience.