If you’ve ever been bullied, you’d know first-hand what kind of negative long-lasting impact it can cause the victims. To be a successful entrepreneur requires not only a powerful motivation and passion but also an ability for overcoming setbacks. But setbacks can come in many shapes and forms and one of the most common forms of setbacks experienced in adolescence is bullying. Although the negative effects of bullying are lengthy and can continue well into adulthood, some entrepreneurs have found that negative experiences have had positive effects on their adult life because it allowed them to be more capable to overcome the many challenges they eventually face in their own ventures.
One such entrepreneur is none other than the incredible Armand Peri. He was once a seventeen-year-old student who used to be bullied a lot but he made a definitive decision to do something about it. He decided to get into weights so that no one would mess around with him anymore and two years later, he was rewarded for all his hard work with a first-place title in the teenage division of “Mr. New Jersey” which then led to winning the heavyweight division in the same competition two years later.
Armand Peri was originally born the son of Portuguese parents who emigrated to the U.S., settling in New Jersey when he was just 12 years of age. One of his early memories was hearing his mother tell him that they [the family] were “not born to be rich.” Rather than accept this as his inevitable destiny though, he was motivated to create his own mantra for success, and it taught him one of his most crucial life lessons: the importance of setting goals and then taking well-thought-out steps to achieve said goals.
Armand’s first goal was achieved when he was recognized and lauded for his accomplishments in the bodybuilding arena. He also won a National Talent Search, was introduced to President and Mrs. Reagan and he even had his work displayed in a prestigious national gallery, as well as in the New Jersey State Gallery of Art. To state that Armand is an overachiever is an understatement.
Armand worked his way through college, first as a bouncer, and then eventually a dancer for a male entertainment revue. This decision to take on these dancing gigs was actually pivotal in his life and would ultimately bring him success and enable him to start his own company. Armand saw an opening in a niche market that felt right and he decided to fill it. He created Hunk-O-Mania, a high-end male revue and strip club for women in New York City. He focused on every aspect of building a reputation, not just for the exotic male dancers but for the entire staff – waiters, security, and ticket takers alike. Having been a dancer himself, he was uniquely positioned to run this enterprise, understanding the psychology behind it and making customer service and satisfaction on every level the top priority. This was undoubtedly what ensured his success right from the start.
Fast forward to today and Armand is now a successful entrepreneur, investor, artist, author, and motivational speaker. His venture has grown and expanded nationwide to Atlantic City, Chicago, Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Savannah, Greensboro, Raleigh, Baltimore, Washington, Austin, Houston, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Charleston, and Nashville. In his book “Unparalleled Success,” which was published in 2019, he shares his recipe for that success. He’s also frequently engaged as a motivational speaker. His genuine desire to help others to achieve true success, while keeping the focus on their professional and personal well-being, is what inspires others to find their own path to victory.
MoneyCentral magazine recently caught up with Armand to discuss his journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:
Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
Struggling to find a place in life as an immigrant kid, I was constantly bullied throughout high school. After enduring many years of negativity from my classmates, I decided to approach weightlifting with laser-like focus and became determined to transform my physique. However, my goals were met with many obstacles as my family struggled financially at the time and I was unable to purchase a gym membership nor was I able to buy the necessary foods to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I overcame these obstacles by working at my school gym and was able to lift weights there three times a week. On Sundays, I would commute almost an hour each way from my home in New Jersey to Manhattan to work out at a commercial gym. At the time, commercial gyms were sparse and not as popular as they are today. But, by staying focused and determined, I was able to gain the weight I needed and eventually competed in my first bodybuilding competition where I went on to win Mr. Teen New Jersey.
I applied the same level of determination to other aspects of my life, including business. While in college, I met another fellow bodybuilder named Joey V and noticed that Joey was driving around campus in a new Corvette and constantly wore new clothes. I became curious and approached Joey one day and asked what he did for a living. He too was an aspiring bodybuilder but he also worked at a male entertainment revue called “ESCAPES” in Long Island. We hit it off and Joey introduced me to the world of male revue shows.
I was working part-time as a bouncer at the time but this job put me in many dangerous situations and I knew it was a job I wanted to leave as soon as possible. Once I started working at ESCAPES, I began making more money in two hours of dancing than I did working eight hours as security at a nightclub. I quickly left the security job and danced Fridays and Saturday nights and did side-gigs for three to four other entertainment agencies during the week. After finishing my education, I became a freelance architect renderer while working at ESCAPES on the weekends. Eventually, I made more working part-time as a male entertainer than working full-time as an architect. I saved up my earnings and started my own company in 1998.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
I am constantly pushing and educating myself-
What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?
Yes, it does work but SEO (search engine optimization) works much better…
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers?
My main tactic is to show people via social media posts and customer reviews how much fun my clubs are; Hunk-O-Mania nightclubs continue to receive acclaim as the largest and most successful male revue nightclubs in the world from various news and media outlets. I founded the first Hunk-O-Mania nightclub show in 1998 in New York City and the show has now expanded to over 25 cities including Chicago, Las Vegas, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlantic City, Orlando, Tampa, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Atlanta, and New Orleans.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
To lay people off due to COVID 19.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
Reinvesting most of my profit instead of only a portion!
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
I would believe in myself more and I would not waste any time getting started!
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Never Quit on yourself and your dreams.
Can you tell us more about your latest book?
Absolutely, the purpose of my book is to give back to society and inspire someone to pursue his or her dream as I did! Throughout my journey of becoming successful, I made a lot of mistakes but learned a lot with each setback and I am trying to prevent my followers and readers to avoid these same mistakes I made.
What kind of research did you do for this book, and how long did you spend researching before beginning this book?
The book is based on my personal experiences dating back to my teenage years – the journey I made to achieve my success made this book possible. I wanted to write a book that was short and to the point.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Bring value and originality to the marketplace and your success will be undeniable.
For more details about Armand please visit his website on www.armandperi.com. You can also follow Armand Peri on social media via these links: