Michael Pertuit is a cybersecurity expert based out of Proper, Texas. Valuing innovation, Michael followed this passion at the University of New Orleans, where he graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Soon after, he relocated to Jackson, Mississippi to begin a career in hardware design. It didn’t take long before he transitioned to the technology sector.
On the outskirts of his technological position was the intriguing world of cybersecurity. As a forward-thinking individual, Michael found this space inside the tech field interesting and challenging.
Over the last five years, Michael has established himself as one of the best cybersecurity experts in the industry. His genuine thirst for knowledge ensures he is always at the forefront of new and emerging technologies.
Married and a father of teenagers, Michael spends his free time visiting local parks and entertainment venues. He also enjoys watching sports and woodworking.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I’ve always been passionate about technology and I consider myself a good communicator. I found that I can communicate efficiently and effectively on complex subject matter. Being able to marry the two together is something I have always enjoyed. In previous roles, whenever I had the opportunity to speak in front of groups or do a presentation, I always felt that it was within my wheelhouse. As the opportunity to be more on the consulting side of things arose, I explored that and latched on to it a little bit. It just grew from that interest to what it is today.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Typically, I am awake by 530 AM. However, I don’t get out of bed until about six. To set the tone for the day I like to do what I think of as ‘taking time between the tunnel.’ In other words, I like to visualize my day and spend some time organizing my thoughts. I also use this time to meditate and say a prayer. I enjoy nature walks as it allows me to reassess my priorities and start the day with a positive mindset. I think taking this time to myself each day has really helped me enhance my productivity.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I would love to say that I write ideas down as I have them, but honestly, I do a lot of the planning in my head. Once I have brushed away any extra baggage from the idea, I will take it to the next step. That will include things like getting it written down and planning out how to achieve the goals needed to bring it to life. As it becomes more concrete, I will add any points or additional thoughts to the original. Then I actually like to step away from it for a day or so. I find this time allows me to come back to it with a free mind. I will break it all down again and if it still seems like something useful and plausible, I will start putting things into action.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am really loving this whole work movement we see happening right now. We have had to adjust to a lot over the last several years, things we had never thought of before the pandemic. Many people have learned true resiliency throughout this time. More importantly, they have come to the realization that there should be more to a job than just a paycheck. Even better, I feel like a lot of companies are also starting to take a turn. They are realizing that with a workforce who is now really starting to see their value, the company needs to change as well. We are seeing more opportunities for WFH positions and more overall work-life balance. We have learned new ways of doing business. There is not really a need to move three states away to take a job anymore. It has been a tough time for all of us, but I am hopeful that from the struggles, we will collectively learn to value each other more and be more respectful of one another.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I would recommend everyone take at least half an hour every morning to reflect and plan out their day. Doing this has been such a huge game-changer for me. You can’t have an effective day unless you set yourself up properly. Make sure your needs are met, including your mental health. Assess how you are doing and what needs to be done that day. Plan it out before your feet touch the ground. You will feel better prepared and be more productive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Get to a place of positivity. I don’t mean you always have to be positive. I just mean it’s important to find a place where you are able to see the positives, even in a difficult situation. You should always try to leave a positive influence on those around you. You can’t do that if you are too hard on yourself or others. Accept that you can always learn something new. No one knows everything. Be eager, be ready to work, but make time for the important things like your mental health and your family.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It takes more energy to be mad than it does to be happy. So many people waste a lot of time being angry. Whether it’s work-related or personal, if you allow this to be your normal mindset, you will never find your calm. Find the balance that works for you.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
There’s always room for improvement. I am always researching new and emerging technologies. Not only will it keep me at the top of my game, but it is also a great way to help keep my mind sharp. Never believe that you know everything you need to. Technology is a field that is constantly changing, of course, but in any field, there is always room for improvement. Challenge yourself to always keep learning.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Besides the obvious need to stay on top of new tech, it has also been helpful to improve myself as a person. I’ve always been a good listener. This has really helped me throughout my career. I have acquired the ability to listen beyond just what the customer tells me they need. I can see what is actually needed to achieve the goals they describe. It has always been my strategy to provide the perfect solution for all of my customers. This has helped grow my business because then they will share with others how effective my solution was for them.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One of the hardest things for me to overcome has been the move from working in an office setting to working from home. I had to learn new tools to help keep the distractions at a minimum. I didn’t want to be any less productive when I made the change. It took some time, but I eventually found a few things that really made a difference. Firstly, I made a space at home that is completely separate from our living spaces. My wife and kids know when I am there, I am working and cannot be interrupted. For many people the move home was easy, but as a natural extrovert, I found that I did miss the camaraderie you find in an office setting. Putting these new rules in place has really helped.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Whatever you look into, make sure that you are a subject matter expert for the idea. It can be something as nuanced as being really good at picking murder mysteries on Netflix or how to care for various plant types. Everyone is a subject matter expert in something. Find yours, then find a way to share that information with others in an easy-to-use way, like an app.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought an impact gun recently. It’s a massage gun. It works wonders for anyone who works out. It really helps work your sore muscles. It’s like having a masseuse in your hand.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Without a doubt, my Google Calendar. I have two kids in various activities. Trying to coordinate calendars can be really challenging. My wife and I share a calendar so we can both put stuff on there. We both set up notifications so we can remember who has a dentist appointment and who has a band competition. It just makes life so much easier to manage.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson. I recommend it because change is inevitable. Being able to manage the change is something that we’re not really taught to do effectively. There’s no class that really goes over how to effectively manage change. This book helps you to manage change in both work and life. It can help you learn how to have some sort of structured way to not only realize that it’s okay for change but how to effectively manage that change.
What is your favorite quote?
I love the quote by Fernando Sabino: Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.
- Make time each morning to plan the day
- Always be willing to learn
- Change is inevitable, your reaction is key
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.