Breaking 9 To 5 > 4 Crucial Lessons To Learn From Michael Peres’ Early Days In Business

4 Crucial Lessons To Learn From Michael Peres’ Early Days In Business
articles  /   /  Last Modified: November 5, 2019

Introduction

In a lot of areas in life, being able to take control of your environment can bestow an advantage; and nowhere is this easier to see than when you’re trying to break free from the 9 to 5 rat race routine. 

When Peres graduated, he took the bold decision of turning down generous six-figure starting salaries at well-known companies to pursue what he loved. “There’s no amount you can offer me to abandon my dreams,” was the idea; this simple phrase would turn out to be prophetic. That very same year, he booked a flight to California and — with less than $100 to his name — set about crafting a life for himself on his own terms.

 

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Undeterred by widespread misunderstanding from his peers (who took jobs at prestigious firms and companies, and were quick to mock him for not doing the same), he put his head down and got to work doing what he loves. Today, Peres runs multiple startups and advises others on how to break out of the rat race themselves. The journey wasn’t an easy one, but with customary patience, persistence, and self-discipline, the travelpreneur grafted his way along the path, step by step.

The adventure young entrepreneurs start out on is a competitive one that will last a lifetime. Short-term thinking needs to go out the window, as does limiting your imagination. Now more than ever it’s important to ensure that every move you make is one which will benefit you and your goals for the future. It’s tough, but once you’re at the top and can look back down, you might just discover that the path you’ve followed turns out to be the clearest of the lot. 

A solid foundation — of education, of ambition, and of awareness of one’s own abilities — is the best way to guarantee that you’ll get the maximum return on the energy you invested into the process. Peres opted for a number of ostensibly counterintuitive long-term moves in order to meticulously construct the life he wanted for himself. Here are some of the most disruptive of the techniques he came up with:

1. Establish A Social Media Presence

Some deals were tight, and in many of those cases the fact that he already had a support base of many was what got him over the line. It’s important not to underestimate the power of a large social media following in today’s online business environment. Even if an immediate benefit to a project in terms of cold, hard cash isn’t always—or even often—something that happens, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re planning for the long run. A strong social media presence is an indication of approval on a grand scale, and proves that you provide value to those around you.

 

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2. Build a Network by Acting First

Starting out in web development, Peres would search for high-traffic websites that had been coded poorly, and then rebuilt their site on his own. The problems were usually easy to fix, and there was no shortage of options to choose from, making this a highly effective means of coming into direct contact with major players in the industry. In order to make the approach as beneficial as possible, Michael would then request that they marketed his name at the bottom of the site, as well as linking back to his social media. 

 

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3. Undersell Yourself

Waiting for the perfect job isn’t going to do anybody except your competition any favors. Peres recognized this, and took the rather drastic step of willingly ripping himself off. It was a risky strategy, but one that paid off as he managed to get some big clients to take a punt on him. Sometimes a foot in the door is the only thing you need to blow somebody away.

 

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4. Target Clients with Active Networks

It’s a common misconception that the Internet is killing word of mouth style advertising. In reality, people talk just as much as they ever did, only now they use technology to help them do it. Peres made a point of going after clients who had strong social circles, which in turn led to countless referrals which would not otherwise have been forthcoming..

The company didn’t become an overnight success, but by stacking countless nights together he managed to gradually transition towards prioritizing money. After a year, the business was alive and kicking, and while he sometimes felt frustrated (because he was learning so much that he had to fight the constant urge to re-do completed projects), it turned out to be nothing more serious than a sign of real progress being made.

What’s Next?

Peres’s example is an instructive one for anybody looking to craft a life for themselves on their own terms, rather than the terms of the system they’re living in. Even though the individual techniques used will doubtless vary across different industries, the core principles of disruption and networking—as well as the willingness to work brutally hard—are something we could all do with implementing in our own lives.

 

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While there’s no doubt that some of the strategies he used can seem a little counterintuitive, that’s part of the point. Trying something a little different can often be the most effective way to smash through previous plateaus and continue to grow, both personally and professionally.

Interviewees
Michael Peres
Software Engineer, Mathematician, Radio Host
Seattle, Washington

Michael is a software engineer, mathematician, and full-time traveller. He’s founded two start-ups as well as his own podcast, the Michael Peres podcast, which focuses on the latest news in the science, entrepreneurship, and technology worlds.

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