JOSEPH LIFSCHUTZ, 25
TOMMY NGAN, 26
Ice Cream Lab, which sells
ice cream cooled by liquid nitrogen, Beverly Hills
financials: Projection of $500,000 in annual revenue.
What led you to start your own company?
Ngan: We were just waiting for the right concept to come our way.
Lifschutz: Various reasons inspired me to take the plunge from corporate America into entrepreneurship: freedom, earning potential and a more memorable life.
Where did you get the startup money?
Lifschutz: The Ice Cream Lab is 100 percent self-funded by Tommy and myself. I made great money as a consultant and had an opportunity to invest it all at the bottom of the credit crisis in 2009 when markets tanked.
What was the biggest challenge?
Lifschutz: Acknowledging that Los Angeles is filled with frozen yogurt shops and boutique ice-cream parlors, I knew we needed to develop a strong enough niche to succeed.
What was the most important lesson you learned?
Ngan: If there’s one thing I learned that made life a lot easier it’s plan ahead.
Lifschutz: Everything you do needs to be put into perspective.
How many hours a day do you put in?
Lifschutz: I am always at the store by 10 a.m. and leave about an hour after we close.
Ngan: We put in 12- to13-hour days, seven days a week. But doing what you love and are passionate about makes time fly by in an instant.
Does your youth lead to awkward situations, such as when you supervise older workers or meet with clients and investors?
Ngan: People are more surprised than anything else that we’re so young.
Lifschutz: Customers never know that I am one of the owners of the store when I am either at the cash register or scooping ice cream, and I prefer to keep it that way.
Will you start another company?
Lifschutz: Yes. I am always looking for new ventures and opportunities.
Ngan: Once you get a little taste of success, it’s an indescribable feeling that makes you want to go back for more.
Could you ever work for someone else?
Lifschutz: If I ever get a good opportunity to work for someone I respect and admire, I would have no problem doing it.
Ngan: I don’t think I can ever work for somebody else.
What do you do to relax?
Lifschutz: Every morning I get a good 90-minute workout in. I put my phone on airplane mode, blast my music as loud as I can through my headphones and work hard in the gym.
Ngan: When you’re running your own business, even on your days off you’re thinking about your company and how you can make it better. A piece of advice my father gave me is: You’ll have plenty of time to relax when you retire; the harder you work, the earlier you can relax.
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