While still in high school, 17-year-old Sebastian Moftakhar has founded multiple businesses, runs two school clubs, runs the school newspaper, and plays varsity basketball. Moftakhar founded The Vault Melrose, a sneaker store/recording studio hybrid that is located on one of the top shopping destinations in Los Angeles. The store is visited by social media stars as well as a number of popular hip hop artists. He has also been able to build “310”, an LA-based brand that throws events with thousands of attendees. Intrigued by his story, I wanted to gather from Moftakhar the tips he’s employed to find success at such a young age.
Q: How do you manage school and entrepreneurship?
With all of my extracurriculars, businesses, and school it’s a difficult task to manage my time properly. Recently, it’s been even harder since I’ve been studying for the SATs. I have not perfected this skill as I am still working on it, but I definitely have improved throughout the last year.
My typical school day is as follows: I wake up at around 6:30 AM and go to school, which starts at 8:15 AM. I have four classes per day, which are usually 1 hour and 15 minutes each. During my free periods and lunch, I try to get as much homework and studying done as possible. I also work on my businesses during that time. School ends at 3:00 PM, then followed by basketball from 3:15 PM – 5:15 PM. I’ll do some more work at school until 5:45 PM. I’ll then get something to eat and head to the library. I usually work there until 8:30 PM, then head home, shower, and rest. Then I’ll finish up some more work and go to bed around 12:30 AM.
What helps me the most is scheduling out my day. I use a daily planner on Google Calendar where I insert blocks of time to finish each task. Without this tool, I wouldn’t be able to fit so many activities in a single day. I also like to use notes on my phone or write my to-do list on a notecard and carry it around in my pocket. I cross off tasks after they have been completed which helps me stay organized. Leveraging software to manage your time is the best advice I can give to anyone who wants to get more done in a day.
Q: I, along with others, often have problems finishing what I start. How do you stay focused and follow through?
I never quit. Even when I’m hit with adversity, I stay with my goal. On my basketball team, I was never even close to the best player, but I had a lot of heart and motivation. Placing emphasis on your goals is one way I stay motivated. Whenever I feel like giving up, I think about my coaches and my teammates and never want to let them down. I play for them as well as myself. That’s what it means to be a team: when everyone is playing for each other. I made a commitment to my team when I joined to give my best effort, and that’s exactly what I’ll continue to do. This is the same mindset you should have when you go into any type of business venture or are pursuing a goal.
Q: What kind of character traits are most important to employ in order to find success?
Be true to yourself and others. Practicing strong character is the most essential trait in personal relationships as well as business. I enjoy working with respectful people. If I have a meeting at a restaurant, I look at how he/she treats the waiter and his/her manners. People also like working with other people who are honest with them. It builds a sense of trust which is vital in business.
There’s a difference between people who are in it for the money and those who have strong passions for the businesses they are involved in. It’s best when you’re working with people who can demonstrate their desire and passion for their work. For my events, I enjoy bringing people together and creating unforgettable memories and experiences. My sneaker business has always had the foundation of my love for sneakers and provided that to others.