As a seasoned Marketing Mentor, Entrepreneur and Networking Group Leader I have worked and seen almost everyone from every walk of life. I have had the unique pleasure of meeting so many awesome SELF-MADE successful people which I think is just amazing. Sure you get a few villains – but they are few and far between and most people just totally rock and I enjoy spending time with them.
One big great trend I have noticed is that often at a Networking Event – quite often the wealthiest and most successful people in the room are the quiet achievers. They are the honest, ethical, soft-spoken BUT make no mistake, sharp as and know how to make money in a sustainable win / win fashion. Very early on in my business I was lucky to get my first client ever and that was Matt Craig and Sean Pieres from MindArc Digital Agency. To this day I still work with them years on and they are the online creators of my Awesome Marketing Vault and the brilliant website you are probably reading this article on.
We have become close personal friends over the years and I have watched in particular Sean grow from this quiet introverted start-up to a quiet introverted SUCCESSFUL AWESOME ENTREPRENEUR who is a leader in his industry and a practical rock-star.
I always knew he was brilliant so I had to interview him to dig a little deeper and get his own story of success. It’s all available on YouTube right below with the transcript included. Totally raw, unprepared, real with no editing I got his story from childhood today in how in one of the most competitive industries (Web Sites) he now has 6 x Full Time Staff and does amazing work.
Out of his story I learnt some amazing things too – so I hope you enjoy it!
The transcript is as follows for your reading enjoyment!
Edward Zia: Hello there and welcome to the Awesome Entrepreneurs series. This is Edward Zia, marketing mentor, business journalist and Persian, right here with the amazing Sean Pieres from MindArc. Say hello to the audience, Sean.
Sean Pieres: How are you going? How is everyone out there?
Edward Zia: Yeah, it’s great. Be it you’re listening to this on my blog or you found it on YouTube or you’re reading the transcript of this is that I’m very lucky to be sitting here with Sean Pieres. Sean Pieres, as you can see from this photo … I grabbed that from your Facebook page. You don’t mind me grabbing photos from your Facebook page, do you Sean?
Sean Pieres: No, we’re friends. Feel free to grab anything you need from my personal …
Edward Zia: Look, the reason is I’ve got … If you don’t know MindArc, MindArc is a Sydney-based, boutique, eCommerce, online, specialist website developer. They actually do all my websites and they’ve been amazing. I’ve known Sean for a good … It’s been about 3 years now, Sean.
Sean Pieres: That’s right.
Edward Zia: And where I’ve known Sean from … Sean is an amazing entrepreneur. If you meet him, Sean’s what? You’re half Filipino and half …
Sean Pieres: Sri Lankan.
Edward Zia: Half Sri Lankan and half Filipino. He is the quietest, kindest man, but make no mistake. Sean is an amazing entrepreneur that as the quiet achiever has achieved some amazing things that not only inspire me, but also have inspired many people around him. I’m here with him today to really learn his story and learn what makes him tick. You don’t mind being interviewed Sean?
Sean Pieres: No, let’s run through everything.
Edward Zia: Absolutely. What I’m sort of asking you to think about is we don’t know where this interview is going to go. Nothing has been prepared. Nothing has been scripted. We want to keep it as natural as possible, so you get Sean’s real story, so you can listen to what inspires you and what you learn and of course you can contact Sean. Visit www.mindarc.com, then you can learn more about it. So let’s get into it.
Sean, I don’t know what you’re going to say here, but tell me your story how did you get here from start to finish?
Sean Pieres: From start to finish? We’d have to go back to high school days really. Growing up, my dad was a finance, accounting-type guy, but he liked to dabble in technology. Growing up as a young teenager, my dad was really heavily into audio, hi-fi equipment. The 90s dream was to have an awesome home-theater system in your house. That was the dream of the 90s. My dad was really into the projectors and the sub-woofers and all the crazy gadgets that would have a home-theater system set up. He’d like to dabble in purchasing these items and collecting up wires and making sure everything worked together for that ultimate home-theater experience. That led into getting involved into computers and having me break computers down and build them up.
Back in high school, I was really heavily into gaming, as any young teenager was, but the difference with me was that I took it to a level of seriousness where I used to compete on a competition level for real prize money and sponsorship. I used to play a game called Counter-Strike, which was a tactical shooting game. I actually got to represent Australia in year 10 and 11 of high school, and they flew me to Korea and everything to compete on a world level in a thing called the World Cyber Games. Really, I draw a lot of what drives me today from those days and having that committed execution to doing tasks to strive to some level of achievement and a reward. You don’t want to do anything that’s half-hearted.
Since high school, I haven’t touched a game. I have a very addictive personality to games. I don’t own any consoles. I literally snapped all the CDs that I had back in high school that would have any access to tough games. I decided now life is the game and you really want to make sure that you’re playing the game to stuff that rewards you and gives you greater sense of achievement in life.
Edward Zia: So you’re saying quite easily … In other words, playing video games has made you money?
Sean Pieres: That’s where it’s led me to today. You know your mum will always say growing up video games will get you nowhere. When I actually got sent to Korea for 2 times to represent Australia, my argument back to my mum was games have taken me somewhere, and it’s opened doors for me to go to places.
Edward Zia: I think that’s just an amazing story you’re telling there, Sean. So you play video games for all these years. You’re playing Counter-Strike. You were fighting Koreans.
Sean Pieres: That’s right.
Edward Zia: We all know that they’re the guys that die at their computers playing video games, don’t they?
Sean Pieres: Going over there and actually training, we had to go over there a couple of weeks earlier to train the Korean team and we just saw how much they really respected the gaming industry. They had players that were treated like celebrities. They had a sponsored house, a sponsored driver, noodles up to the roof, so they could just pretty much stay in the room and play games all day.
Edward Zia: Wow.
Sean Pieres: But for me, I did always have a sense of knowing where your addiction should have parameters and boundaries to contain it. I always made sure that there was a path that was to move onto greater things and not hit a ceiling.
Edward Zia: I think it’s an amazing insight. I know you know this Sean, but I used to be in the government and I left pretty traumatized after that. Like a typical post traumatic stress disorder person, I was addicted to alcohol for a few years. I think that’s an amazing insight. You had an addiction, which could be argued as a negative, but you turned it into a positive asset that not only provided for yourself, but how many staff do you have these days?
Sean Pieres: We’ve got a team of 6 in the Sydney office.
Edward Zia: Wow. Do you have more offices?
Sean Pieres: Yeah, we’ve got a hand-picked team in the Philippines that a family member manages, but they directly work with us and for no one else. You have to do that in this sort of industry to leverage, but they’re great guys. We’ve gone over there and recruited personally that team. We treat them just like an extension of our own family. We do webinar sessions and screen sharing with our team here as well.
Edward Zia: I think it’s amazing. You’ve taken a vice, you could say. A lot of my people I work with have children and they’re always telling them “Get off your Xbox. Get off your PC”, but you’ve taken that vice and you’ve turned it into a positive asset.
Sean Pieres: Yeah. If you have that drive and a personality that you can be addicted to something, point your focus onto something that is going to give you a return on your investment and time. Don’t play massive multi-player online worlds and things, where there’s no outcome at the end of it. Play the game of being an entrepreneur. From now on for me, it’s about servicing our clients and making sure that you can micro-manage all your team members and the jobs you’ve got going on all at once. That’s the new game that you can play.
Edward Zia: I’ve got to ask you Sean, how did you have that discipline to stop something that made you and redirect a vice into this amazing thing you’ve created. Can you remember that moment, that experience, where you made that decision?
Sean Pieres: Yeah, I can actually. It was pretty much a couple of months leading up to my HSC exams that I knew whether or not I was confident that I was going to make a career out of gaming or I’d need a safety blanket; I chose the latter. I literally had to break every gaming CD in the house, remove any trace of any game on my computer and just cram for months to try and build a safety blanket with a HSC result that could help me move into university. I think it was a good move because the gaming industry, as popular as it was back in the 2000s, it’s since dwindled in terms of sponsorship and focus. There’s less competitions. There’s less money involved. There’s less international competitions even. I think it’s taken a back seat from sponsors realizing that there is a large gaming audience out there, but there’s just less focus these days. I’ve seen that going to the BB Games Conference this year. There was such a small section for the competition level, where back in 2001 we had the grand stage and crowds of thousands watching us.
Edward Zia: On a side note, being a gamer myself, who is playing a lot of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Enemy Within right now, why do you think … I know it’s off the topic, but I’m interested. Why is that? Obviously, video games are a growing industry, why is the competition side of it shrinking?
Sean Pieres: At the end of the day, it’s a cyclical process for the gaming industry to sell more games. Competition is now becoming faster and easier to be done from the comfort of your own home because of multi-player and fast internet.
Edward Zia: Is it perhaps not just that exciting any more because we’re all doing it anyway?
Sean Pieres: I think there is definitely more people getting involved, more young people getting involved. The likes of Call Of Duty and Battlefield. That would be the equivalent of what I used to do. I haven’t played those games either. I know they’re amazing. I’ve seen cut scenes and everything.
Edward Zia: Do you feel the urge coming back? Do you just want to tie off and get the syringe to your arm?
Sean Pieres: I think one day, when I’m retired perhaps, I’ll tick that off the bucket list.
Edward Zia: The way you’re going, that will just be a year or 2, won’t it?
Sean Pieres: Who knows?
Edward Zia: That’s amazing. That’s quite a compelling story. What did you study when you were at university?
Sean Pieres: I didn’t initially get into the course that I wanted to. I wanted to get into a course that semi-focused on the creative side and also the technical side, so the programming and IT side. The course that I really wanted to get into was called Design Computing at the Faculty of Architecture in the University of Sydney. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the marks that I needed to get in there, but they said if I took a year in something related and earned my credit points, I could reapply a year later for special consideration to get into that course. So I took a course called Arts Informatics, which was databases and information systems mixed with half arts subjects, so I got to do psychology and Japanese and cool things like that.
Edward Zia: Wow. Okay. A real hybrid sort of degree you were undertaking.
Sean Pieres: I worked really hard because I knew I wanted to get into that course and I didn’t get the marks I needed. I applied for special consideration and got it. The year that I entered that course, I noticed that my peers in that course kind of didn’t appreciate the course, as they got in so easily. I had a drive there to outperform and out-achieve others, so I had a very healthy sense of competition in the course.
Edward Zia: Was this because you didn’t get into the first time, you come as the underdog. You had to demonstrate to everyone you’re the best.
Sean Pieres: That’s right. If you’re going to take the long route to get to where you need to get to, make it count for something. I guess people were taking it for granted that … My peers who had got in so easy, they got the marks that they needed, whereas the guy that takes the long journey to get there, he’s always going to work harder to prove that it was worth something.
Edward Zia: If I may go on that point there, Sean, I think what’s very interesting is that we’ve just identified a unique trait about you, which I think is part of the reasons of why you’re so successful today because … If you don’t mind me asking, can I ask for the record how old you are?
Sean Pieres: I’m 27.
Edward Zia: I hate you. I’m 35 and the stuff you’ve achieved at the age of 27 is beyond what I achieved as a 35-year-old man. My hat off to you and I think that’s an interesting insight. Of course I love you. I hate you out of pure jealousy and envy, but I’m honest about my tall poppy. I think what’s amazing about what you’ve achieved there Sean is you had this drive. In other words, you actually missed out on what you wanted, but it gave you this drive to come back. It turned out that this drive that’s come back … Is it fair to say that this drive has contributed to you being the successful entrepreneur and businessman you are today?
Sean Pieres: There’s got to be a motivation for you to doing what you’re doing, whether it’s negative or positive. Positive always trumps negative any day, but if you feel like you’re competing within your industry and with your peers, find a reason to drive a bit harder. If it’s you took the longer journey to get to where you are or you’re playing catchup, that should be a reason enough for you to work harder and work longer to get and achieve what you want.
Edward Zia: It’s funny you say that. 1 of the reasons why I work so hard is exactly that. I got washed up at the age of … 2 years from you now, I got washed up and I had to start again. It’s funny you’re talking about that drive. In your case, with that drive and you really coming back strong, what is your motivation? What gets you out of bed every day? Why are you so successful and competitive? What’s compelling you?
Sean Pieres: I live by a few core principles. There’s a really good site that really sums up a lot of my thinking. It’s called Startup Vitamins, and I shared it with Cathy [inaudible 00:14:54]. They’ve got some cool motivational motivational posters and mugs.
Edward Zia: It’s called Startup Vitamins?
Sean Pieres: Startup Vitamins, yeah. It’s a online store to buy mugs and motivational posters. 1 of the mugs that you can buy, it says 3 words on it. It says “Get Shit Done”.
Edward Zia: Wow.
Sean Pieres: That’s a really cool way to sum up. Just execute. Don’t talk it out. Get it done and do it hard. In terms of how I work day to day, I think that there’s varied levels of quality that people view acceptable for putting out work and if your standard is always a little bit higher than others, it will show. Some people will let 70% or 80% go out the door, whereas for me I’ll keep working on it until it’s at least 95+ quality to send it out the door. You’ll quickly distinguish others, when you get into your industry. Some people can live on putting out lower quality than what you’re accepting to put out.
Edward Zia: I can answer on that one. As a marketing mentor and entrepreneur accreditor, I’ve worked with thousands of people from all works of life and I meet at least 100 people every week in the networking I do. I’ve personally found the people that put out 70%, they’re not the top performers in the industry. Let’s face it. Digital online marketing webdesign is probably 1 of the most saturated industries and you’re up against the developing world, but you are succeeding and you are growing like crazy. I think that’s part of the reason. If the whole industry does 70%, you do 95%+.
Sean Pieres: Yeah, well, that’s what we aim for. It’s not complete until it’s shipped and it’s not done until the customer is happy, so just a few key things you can live by. Just use that as your key decision-making process, it will change the level of quality you output.
Edward Zia: I think that is a very amazing insight. The question that I think that some people will ask and what remains is how do you keep up that energy all the time? How do you stay focused all the time? How do you from day to day, year to year, keep up that high level of performance?
Sean Pieres: It definitely is a balancing act. When I was working full-time in the workforce, for about 4 years, I found ways to convince myself that you could achieve things small or big. Going into the workforce, I was pretty skinny kid, and my first goal that I set for myself was to kind of put on weight and just get a little bit bigger. In a year and a half, I’d put on 14 kilos by having a strict diet regimen and training 4 times a week. Since becoming an entrepreneur and starting my own business, the gym has had to suffer because of the time that I’m spending additional to set up the right systems and infrastructure to make sure that MindArc grows.
There is sacrifices to be had and I don’t recommend to anyone to sacrifice their health, but for me I see there’ll be a short-term period of suffering and that might be 1-3 years, 1-5 years. At the end of the day, you pass that point, you’ll reap the benefits. If you’re happy, you’ll put in the hard yards for a short period of time, you’ll have a long-term gain at the other end. You might have to forgo sleep. You might have to forgo a relationship with a partner because they just won’t put up with you spending so much time working on something you’re passioned about, but it’s all about sacrifice and suffering I think. The longer you can hold out through that period and make it through it, there will be benefit and reward at the end of it.
Edward Zia: Can I ask you when was your darkest moment that you thought “Is it worth it? Why am I doing this?”?
Sean Pieres: Darkest moment? In terms of the darkest moment, when I first started out making the decision not to return to full-time work, that was probably just at the beginning of the journey when I was making the right decision. All my friends and peers that were my age were going to climb the corporate ladder. Me making a decision to build on my own, I started to question whether or not people would be attracted to anything I would create. That passion, could it show through the stuff that I created? Did I have the right skill set? Was I ready at the right point in time to go out alone? I couldn’t make that decision for at least 3 months, so I had to go to Japan and live for a bit, just to take a break and reflect.
Edward Zia: You just had to go to Japan, did you?
Sean Pieres: Well, my girlfriend at the time was living there and I’d just left my job full-time. I couldn’t make the decision whether or not I was going to do my own thing straight away or if I was going to go back and look for another job. The decision literally took 3 months for me to make my mind up.
Edward Zia: So I understand, Sean, so you went from Sydney to Japan? And what your girlfriend was with you or you left your girlfriend or … ?
Sean Pieres: Well, she was there teaching English.
Edward Zia: Ah.
Sean Pieres: It was a country town in Japan and I purely just went there to reflect on what I wanted to do. It was kind of like a …
Edward Zia: A bit like Hugh Jackman in Wolverine 2?
Sean Pieres: No, it was more like riding a little girly bike around to the supermarket. Nothing like Hugh Jackman, but … I didn’t have a car. I went to a lot of temples and gardens and stuff like that. Japan was a real zen-like experience for me to focus on doing things humbly, but with discipline as well. I’ve always had a great affection for Japan and how it’s just so clean and disciplined and no one will mix in on the train and there’s no … There’s just manners, and it’s just a really good culture. I really kind of intertwined well in that. That spoke internally to me on how I should treat everything in my life, but the darkest moment was literally those 3 months me trying it round in my head the consequences of whether or not I should start a business or I should go back into the workforce. Is my journey to start a family shortly or is it to suffer and see what comes out in the end? Would I feel my life fulfilled if I hadn’t started a business? These are the things I battled with internally. After 3 months, I decided to come back to Sydney and start it.
Edward Zia: What helped you make that decision? As you were on this inward journey, what was going through your mind? What made the decision for you? What ultimately made you say “This is what I’m going to do”?
Sean Pieres: I guess the most important things were feeling like you had a support network to take a risk. There’s obviously risk that you’re accepting to take and then you have to go a little bit further to suffer. Those that will consider taking the greater risks and putting it all on the table will always achieve more than people that played safe, but at the same time I wasn’t completely taking on full risk to do what I was doing. I had the support of my family and the support of my girlfriend. I had a bit of a nest egg saved up, so that I did have some runway to play with. I meet entrepreneurs these days that are 19, 21; their runway is really short, but I really admire that they’ve got the energy and drive to try and do something in that short runway. That’s the kind of difference that I think is changing, in terms of entrepreneurs coming out these days. They’re not considering a calculated risk taking process when decided to do or execute a project and their runway will run out too quickly.
Edward Zia: Being an old Persian man of 35 now and thinking about these damn kids, why do you think these younger kids are taking a shorter runway? What’s going on in their minds?
Sean Pieres: I think there is an urgency created by adventure capitalists in the US investing in these 19-year-old hackers in the US, these kid geniuses that did something with Google or Yahoo and now they’ve been acquired or they’ve built a tool. I think it’s important to first get your skills in place, build a bit of runway and then try and do your project or create something unique. Those people that get picked up and invested in is so far and few between that you can’t bank on being 1 of those people. You want to build a safety blanket for yourself or a safety net. That’s the route I’ve taken. If you make it past the first year of business, then you’re doing good because a lot of entrepreneurs I’ve met, after the first year they’re not around any more. Make sure you have that kind of runway and safety net.
Edward Zia: Wait a minute. Can I ask some numbers? Obviously, you’ve met a lot of people and I’ve got my old stats, which I’ll tell you after hearing your answer. Of all the entrepreneurs you meet, how many make it past their first year? Let’s say out of 50, how many do you think would make it after their … ?
Sean Pieres: Probably less than 20 or 15 would make it out of 50.
Edward Zia: Wow, so less than half would make it.
Sean Pieres: Yeah.
Edward Zia: Of those half that make it, what are the unique traits and characteristics that you’ve personally observed?
Sean Pieres: I think there’s no dependency for them to work with anyone else but themselves, so if everyone in that project had left them, they would still be able to drive the business forward on their own. You have to be able to be independent in your business. If all your business partners left you, or whatever the case may be, they have interest in other projects and they leave you, you can’t be dependent on someone that has technical skills that you don’t have. You need to be able to either have good relationships with people that you’re confident that they’re going to be around in the next year or learn those skills and internalize them yourself.
The other thing is runway, as I’ve mentioned. Have a bit of savings to create that runway to experiment and fail in your first year and still be able to keep going, so you know exactly what direction or focus you want to take. Just a real drive, in terms of there has to be something driving you and that there’s a reason. It might be you want to pay off your mum’s mortgage or it might be that you want to bring your cousins over from your native country. There has to be some positive impact that is driving you that is greater than just financial renumeration.
Edward Zia: You mentioned before quality of work and your drive. What was exactly your positive reason that drives you?
Sean Pieres: For me those 2 things I just mentioned. The ability to pay off my mum’s mortgage …
Edward Zia: Oh, okay, that was them. I thought you were using them as examples, but that’s actually your motives.
Sean Pieres: Yeah. I’m pretty much drawing from my own stuff. Just the fact that my mum has come over here as an immigrant and she worked as a nurse in country hospitals in Manly and now she’s in Mandurah. To really be able to just take the gift that she’s given me and my brother and sister and say “We’re really going to make an extraordinary leap here and not just turn the wheel from generation to generation. We need to set our foundations in this country and really give back to the Australian community”. The other being my cousins. They are in very povety-stricken areas in the Philippines. They’re literally in rice fields, so I’d love them to have an opportunity to have an education and see what potential can be unlocked in them.
Edward Zia: What? Literally in rice fields?
Sean Pieres: Yes.
Edward Zia: As a man from Australia, what does that mean exactly? Paint a picture for the audience.
Sean Pieres: There’s no hot water. They just live off the land in terms of they grow rice and they butcher chickens to eat meat. There’s a river that everyone kind of bathes in. You have a bar of soap and it’s freezing cold water, and you’ll go into the river and wash yourself. That’s the way you take a shower essentially. They’re profession is wood carving, so they’ll chop down trees and carve furniture out of it and hope that Japanese tourists or American tourists will ship exotic furniture back to their native country; that’s how they make a living. It’s very rural / tribal.
Edward Zia: What? No hot water?
Sean Pieres: No.
Edward Zia: They don’t have the technology that we take for granted.
Sean Pieres: There is a bit of electricity, but there is …
Edward Zia: A bit of electricity.
Sean Pieres: Well, it’s scheduled. They have scheduled burnouts to save the electricity for the village, so the only way you can get hot water is to boil it in the kettle and let it cool to a certain amount and then you can pour that over yourself to have a hot shower. That’s what we experienced when I went back with my family. Just the very essentials is … As I mentioned, the driver has to be more than just financial renumeration. It’s got to be getting your relatives or family out of that situation because you know they might have the same potential in them. You unlock that, they’re going to achieve great things as well.
Edward Zia: May I ask were you born in Australia?
Sean Pieres: I was born in Australia, yeah.
Edward Zia: Ah, that’s very noble of you. In other words, your actual drive is to get your extended family out of a developing world and a potentially hostile situation.
Sean Pieres: That’s right. My mum’s always been about extended family. She’s tried to sponsor my cousins to come over and we have 1 of our cousins living at our house at the moment, taking a nursing degree, so 1 of the few successful cousins that were able to pass the bar, in terms of the examination and come over as a student. That’s only a drop in the ocean in terms of how many others we’d be able to help. I believe that in their minds lies greater things than just things that are related to IT. They could do amazing things in the medical industry or … You never know unless you give them the opportunity to find out.
Edward Zia: In other words, everything you’ve built it’s not about the point of building it. You’ve built this as a means to really help your extended family and give them the life that you were blessed with.
Sean Pieres: That’s 1 of the main motivations I have, yeah.
Edward Zia: I think that’s a very good insight and I think for anyone listening to this interview, I think it’s critical that people have that compelling reason.
Sean Pieres: That’s right. It means that you’ll forgo 1 hour more of sleep. You’re not going to think about your suffering because others that are suffering out there is much worse than what you’re going through. You just want to suck it up and work through. You’ll do the long hours. You’ll do the hard yards because nothing you’re going through right now could compare to the people that you’re trying to help.
Edward Zia: I think that’s an amazing insight. I think comparing let’s say yourself compared to plenty of other people who talk the big game, but rarely play it, is you have that unique mindset and that unique compelling reason to help you achieve the marketing and sales success that you have.
Sean Pieres: That’s right. It becomes not a want; it becomes almost essential that you need to grow the business. If you’ve got that on your mind, then how could you fail?
Edward Zia: I think it’s amazing. To other people out there … Let’s change the narrative a bit. To people let’s say from Australia that don’t have the extended family in the developing world like your … What would you say to them to help dig into their compelling reasons? What would be a motivational message you would send them?
Sean Pieres: I think family is a strong motivational driver, whether it’s your parents giving the opportunity and you want to give back to them, whether it’s your kids, the next generation that you give them independence and the ability to really undertake what they want to do in life and potentially unlock their potential in their given industry. I always go back to the medical industry because my mum is a nurse, but your son or your niece or nephew may be a heart surgeon or something like that. They need to be given an ability to thrive and if you don’t have that independence and flexibility, you’re always going to be restricted with what options you can do.
Edward Zia: You’re saying … It sounds a bit like Terminator and John Connor, so you’re like Sarah Connor. Are you saying that your choices now will greatly impact your unborn children?
Sean Pieres: Definitely. How you choose to spend your time will always have an impact as to your kids and their kids. It’s whether or not you want to live a life that you feel fulfilled for yourself or you feel fulfilled for others. That’s the decision you have to make. If someone out there is looking for a driver that is beyond financial renumeration and they don’t have extended family that they can rely on, look to the immediate family. You can also look to the Steve Jobs motivation, which is leaving a lasting impression on the world. Just to know that you had a positive impact to the world; that is a massive driver as well.
Edward Zia: I had a very good one and this is 1 of the things that got me going. As you know, I had screwed up my life very badly just as I met yourselves. This is just coming up for the fallout of that. I remember the day my fiancee left me changed everything. I heard 1 good line and this sounds a bit macabre, but I’ll say it anyway: “Imagine that you died tomorrow, who would be at your funeral? What would they say?”. When I was asked that, I freaked out because the answer was probably no one, maybe my mum and dad if I’m lucky. Not because of any reason, but at the time I was very estranged from my mum and dad. I realized maybe my mum and dad if I was lucky. I remember you … It was funny what you said. That reasoning changed me for everything. It totally changed the direction of my life. I think it’s funny that you bring up on that. Is it fair to say our society today is more just focused on the here and now and never thinking about other people?
Sean Pieres: Definitely. I think our range of vision is very tunneled into immediate needs and wants for ourselves. It’s real easy to satisfy our needs and wants quite easily because we are in a thriving country and a great economy, but I think everyone needs to travel and just to put into perspective where exactly we sit in the world. How is our economy compared to others?
Edward Zia: So you’re suggesting if you haven’t already, go visit the developing world?
Sean Pieres: Definitely. It will add perspective as to every decision you make. In business, you might find that driver you never thought you had. It will put a fire up under your arse maybe. Who knows?
Edward Zia: It’s funny you say that. After my government days, I actually went to Vietnam for a holiday and I had the similar sort of experience. I then made the mistake of climbing the corporate ladder, only to fall off into a raging volcano during the global financial crisis. I think it’s a very, very compelling story. So question for you, Sean, where is it for you from here? What are your next moves? What are you thinking?
Sean Pieres: We’re just putting out that 95+ quality. We’re really trying to empower our team to become thought leaders in the industry, not just participate, but give back and provide commentary into our industry …
Edward Zia: Can I stop you there? Tell me more about thought leadership. What do you mean by that and what does it mean to you?
Sean Pieres: I think when you’re starting out in business, you’re just going to try to do everything you can to pay the bills, but if you get to a level where you’re starting to … You’re not too stressed about whether or not you’re going to be here tomorrow and you start to find you have the time to educate others into best practice, best business ethics, best systems or approaches to solving problems. If you’re actively giving back to your industry and community, you start to stand out in your own way as well, in that you’ve been able to survive this long and got past that pain barrier and pain threshold. Now you don’t want others to go through the same mistakes you did. You want to start to pass on advice and mentorship to others.
Edward Zia: You’re saying you gladly help your own competition?
Sean Pieres: In terms of it will bring up the level of quality across the board. If you pass on your knowledge to your competitors to avoid pitfalls and mistakes, the quality of work across the board will rise and that means that your own quality will have to rise to outperform them. In the end, the positive impact is your work will become even greater.
Edward Zia: In other words, you’re actually engineering the market? You’re thinking far beyond yourself and creating a lasting change for the market and lifting everyone’s websites across town.
Sean Pieres: That’s right. You have to always think about it as what positive take can I take out of everything I’m doing? If that improves your work at the end of the day, then it was a good reason to do it.
Edward Zia: That’s very, very compelling reasoning. I like where you’re going. I think you’ve raised some very interesting insights. I suppose 1 big question that I do have is if you could let’s say go back in a time machine right now, in Back To The Future style, with Marty McFly in the DeLorean? And you go see yourself let’s say when you were 12 years old, what would you do? What would you say to yourself if you saw 12-year-old Sean Pieres sitting there playing Counter-Strike, or whatever the case may be?
Sean Pieres: What would I tell my 12-year-old self if I could go back in time? I probably would say “Just do what you’re doing. Stay on the path and make every mistake that I’ve made. Go along the same journey.” I wouldn’t change anything.
Edward Zia: Did you ever fear making mistakes?
Sean Pieres: Did I ever fear making mistakes? Definitely. The weight of having your family’s responsibility and your extended family on your shoulders is … You can only make a few mistakes without completely letting them down. 1 thing was “Should I start my own business and invest a lot of my savings into starting my own business or can I start to help my family and extended family right now? Is it my journey to try and create something new and leapfrog the generation to generation in turn or try and create something” … Really try and set a foundation for our family to create wealth that you can have the freedom to establish your family name in Australia.
Edward Zia: That’s absolutely amazing, Sean. It’s funny. As you know, I’ve worked with thousands of people and your reasoning is amazing. What I’m getting from you is that you’re completely driven for reasons totally beyond yourself.
Sean Pieres: That’s right. If you take for example … I didn’t realize this when I first started because I was on my own. When you start to have a team that is working with you, it’s not only your dreams and achievements that you want to fulfill, it’s also your team’s. Your team members might want to go on a holiday somewhere or buy that car that they want. The weight of their achievements and dreams also relies on you being a leader to lead them down the right path. If you can’t find a compelling reason for yourself, think of your team and those that are linked to you intrinsically, to achieve for them and that will drive you as well.
Edward Zia: It’s amazing. Whenever you look at let’s say Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela RIP, Martin Luther King, quite often they’re always talking about people beyond themselves, aren’t they?
Sean Pieres: That’s right. That will keep them going through the night, through that suffering and pain threshold to endure so that something comes out positive, for not only themselves, but others.
Edward Zia: This has been an amazing interview. I was going to say is there anything else you wanted to let the audience know? Any other tips or insights or anything that comes to you out of the ether?
Sean Pieres: Not right now, but you can ask me any questions. I’m always real happy to share knowledge or answer any questions you have.
Edward Zia: I know. I think that’s amazing and I think girls and boys, wherever you are, give Sean a hand. Even though he’s recorded it now, he can hear you months from now giving that virtual hand. I think that’s been an amazing story. Look, type Sean Pieres into MindArc. The name is up on the screen. Type into www.mindarc.com today and look at his website and start learning his story.
I think, Sean, this has been an amazing experience. Thank you for letting me dig that little bit deeper into your history and your motives.
Sean Pieres: No problems at all. Happy to share.
Edward Zia: Absolutely. Guys, hope you’ve enjoyed this. This is Edward Zia’s Awesome Entrepreneurs series with the amazing Sean Pieres today, full of awesome marketing, mentoring and business advice. Make sure you listen to every word that he says, implement strongly and think about people beyond yourself and look at the way it will change your life and your business forever.
Thank you. This is Edward Zia signing out.
Sean Pieres: Thanks Ed. Thanks guys.