Omid Semino, 24

Mahyar Asher Eghbali, 25

Dejant Group Corp. (Cloud 9), Los Angeles, a beverage company

Employees: 7

Financials: Projecting $1.2 million in 2011 revenue

What was the biggest challenge?

Semino: The beverage industry is massive. You are competing against global brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi with billions of dollars in capital. The biggest challenge was to put doubt away and remember that nothing is impossible.

What was the most important lesson you learned?

I learned to be purposeful, be patient and be active. That is the secret formula to every achievement. James Dean got this one right, “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”

How many hours a day do you put in?

When you have fun doing it, it is not work anymore. It is a lifestyle. I don’t count the hours! Although, speaking of physical hours put in, some days I put in 15 and some days zero.

Does your youth lead to awkward situations, such as when you supervise older workers?

In fact, it does. When I direct someone who is 10 or 20 years older than me, with more experience than I have in many areas, it can get intimidating. However, I have learned to admire their wisdom and glean from it; and if I have to stand my ground, I do it with respect.

What do you do to relax?

I appreciate, I dream, I visualize and I listen to music.

Where did you get the startup money?

Eghbali: Omid and I put down some saved-up money that we had, then we got a small-business loan and the rest came from investors.

What was the biggest challenge?

Persistence. It’s getting back up with confidence and motivation after you get knocked to the floor a hundred times.

What was the most important lesson you learned?

You have to set up fences, deadlines and detailed expectations. You have to create a balance between creativity and reality.

Will you start another company?

Definitely. I am currently a pharmacy student at USC and my next business adventure will be in the health care field. I have already started some of the background work in terms of opening a futuristic pharmacy, a place where people come to based on individualized medication, where patients’ genes and environmental factors are taken into account.

What do you do to relax?

Get in touch with my spirituality. It’s not until the carpet gets swept out from under your feet and you fall hard to the ground that you realize your problems don’t mean anything. You learn to appreciate everything, and I mean everything.

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