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The Road To Finding A Career in Web3 As A First-Gen, Low-Income Latino

My Personal Story

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Juan

As a child of immigrants who identifies as low-income and first-generation, getting to a place in my life where I knew what I wanted to do has very difficult. No one in my family had explored possibilities outside of our city. My perspective was exceptionally narrow.

The road to finding a career I enjoy has been long and tricky. It’s not over; it is just getting started. People with similar backgrounds typically are not in the position I am in today.

In this article, I explain how my background and past experiences influenced my decision to find a type of work that empowers me. It will outline why I chose to exclusively pursue a career in the emerging market of web3 and my plans moving forward.

My Background

My parents moved to the United States in their early 20s to pursue a better life, and both worked in the fields. Many obstacles impeded my parent's ability to succeed in the US. They sacrificed their ambitions to create a stable enough lifestyle for their children to thrive.

I grew up in Salinas, California, where 80% + of the population is Latino. At home, we grew up between poverty and low income. Life in a low-income bracket can be complicated when you believe your family deserves better. I grew up knowing my family deserved better. I put it upon myself to rise above to provide this level of safety for them. My father instilled the values of education and constant learning, while my mother instilled values of giving back, never giving up, and empathy. As a child of immigrants, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit be part of who I am.

I was the first in my family to attend a 4-year college directly. The path to was difficult. My parents didn’t have the money to send me to college, and I didn’t want to take on loans; it was too risky for a first-generation college student. I received over 20k in college scholarships during my high school senior year. I then received a full ride for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo during my freshman year. It was a fucken grind. Applying for scholarships all night long, during lunches, and during classes.

You can learn more about my background and story here, an article written about me at Cal Poly SLO. If you are looking for advice on applying for scholarships, my email is always open; I can help.

My Past Experience - Mapping My Entrepreneurial Roadmap

I want to map out my entrepreneurial path as I believe everything I have done in the past allows me to be where I am today. A majority of these events have been complete failures. All these events have been a learning opportunity for me to take the next step as an entrepreneur.

Pre 2014

Before my high school career, I didn’t do anything. I was finding myself, but I already knew that I wanted to create wealth for my family and create an impact on individuals who look like me. It wasn’t until I went to college that I started taking action.

Future Farmers of America (2014 - 2018)

Future Farmers of America or FFA jump-started my career as an entrepreneur. The FFA motto states, “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.” The program was a four-year course where I had the opportunity to experience many types of events. During my time at FFA, I did the following events and positions.

  • Opening Ceremony Events (Public Speaking)

  • Prepared Public Speaking Event (Public Speaking)

  • Impromptu Speaking Event (Public Speaking)

  • Greenhand Officer (Public Speaking + Leadership)

  • Chapter Officer (Public Speaking + Leadership)

  • Sectional Officer (Public Speaking + Leadership + Networking)

  • Raising A Hog For Market (Work Ethic + Networking)

  • Various Leadership Conferences (Networking + Leadership)

These positions gave me the skills needed to go on to achieve what I have been able to do today. It was tough to balance everything; my parents couldn’t help me prepare and didn’t understand what I was doing. I felt very lonely moving forward. Luckily, I had mentors along the way, like Mrs. Souza.

iVote (2018)

iVote was the first actual entrepreneurial project that was created and led by me. It was the first time I was able to spread my entrepreneurial wings.

In 2016, Salinas was named “The Youth Murder Capital of California.” I experienced some of my fellow peers being shot and killed yearly. I create iVote to pre-register students to vote. My hope was that these students could help make the change of tomorrow. The club partnered with the Monterey County of Elections Department to support our efforts to get students registered and pre-registered to vote. We helped over 800 students to vote. The club is still active to this date.

HeavyConnect (2018)

HeavyConnect was the first startup I had officially joined. I joined the position during my incoming college freshman summer year. I got the job by attending a local tech fair and asking every company if they were hiring. I ended up joining and got my first taste of the startup world. I experienced many roles within the company, including marketing, sales, business development, and strategy.

Epion AI Health (2018)

Epion was the first startup I founded during my college career. I had no real idea if it would work, but I felt like I had found an issue. We were building a tool to help users find alternative health products through a quiz and AI. We were able to join many different competitions but never made it far enough to win any money.

Sencillo Marketing (2019)

As an incoming sophomore, I wanted to continue my entrepreneurial journey during the summer year. I began my marketing agency and managed to onboard three clients the throughout the summer. I learned the skills of staying organized and had a crash course on marketing and branding.

Celebrate! (2020 - 2021)

In my junior year, I started a company with a close friend to fix the problem surrounding giving gifts. Our platform would help you determine what gift to get your friend or family while ensuring it fits them best based on your love language. I helped lead a group of coders while focusing on product development.

San Luis Obispo Cannabis Career Fair (2021)

We started the SLO CCF to help local cannabis employers find employees for the upcoming season. Both my co-founder and I knew about the industry and wanted to help students venture into the industry themselves.iVote (2018)

Origen Infinity (2021)

This was my first real introduction to Web3. I started a guild or a group of people working towards a common goal. I went out to buy multiple assets in web3 games to lend them out to people in LATAM. At its peak, we had 30 people playing and earning money and using it for their daily lives! The venture didn’t plan out due to the misassumptions that these game economies were not sustainable.

GamerSpeak (2022)

Through my experience with Origen Infinity, I had the knowledge to help a traditional game consulting company with expertise in the community-building space pivot towards adding a guild model to their company. We are now working in stealth on a new and exciting product.

Dorm Room Fund + Genz VC + Republic Venture Associate (2022)

I was introduced to Venture through DRF and have continued to learn more about the venture industry. I have had the chance to connect with many amazing people. I genuinely believe venture is a space I would like to move into in the future. This was my first and only introduction to Venture. I fell in love with the opportunities it provides to help shape communities and industries.

Web3 Link (2022)

The Web3 Link is my first web3 startup/venture group. We aim to create an exclusive invite-only platform for the startup community filled with founders, community members, and funders. We want to create a system that will allow us to raise our funds in the future, as this will act as our deal pipeline.

I have outlined the in and outs of my journey to where I am today. It was not an easy one. It is still not over. I believe all of my successes and failures have led me on my current trajectory. I aim to make lots of noise and indelible impact.

The Decision For Web3

What The F*** Is Web3

Throughout my lifetime, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit within me. I understood that if I ever wanted to accomplish my goals, I needed to follow where the entrepreneurial spirit was most valued. This always happens when emerging markets are born. Bitcoin began in 2012. Ethereum started in 2015. Today, the world classified the industry that embodied any technology built on the blockchain as Web3.

Web3 is any technology enabled by the blockchain. The blockchain is a new technology that allows anyone to participate in a network. You can think of the blockchain as a new type of internet/network.

When the internet was first created, you couldn’t access it because there we many obstacles to doing so. You needed to set up a router. You needed a computer. You needed an internet provider. Blockchain, a new type of internet/network, is in its infancy. You won’t need to buy anything new, but current hardware and software providers need to learn how to implement the technology as a part of their business.

Blockchains enable other technologies to be built. These technologies are fungible and non-fungible. Fungible tokens are like our money. Every dollar is the same; replacing one with the other doesn’t mean anything. Non-fungible tokens are all different. You can not replace one with the other.

Web3 In The Future

I believe that in 3 - 7 years, we will see a significant advancement in web3-enabled technologies. We are building on top of the internet in ways we have never seen before. The opportunities that come with web3 are global. Technology has the opportunity to make an impact on everyone who lives on the earth. I aim to not only teach people about web3 but also help create businesses that will create a better life for everyone.

Moving Forward

Educating

My goal in web3, from a social media standpoint, is to help onboard people like myself into web3. I plan on taking action in real life to create a social media funnel to help onboard as many people as possible while still making a true impact on those around me. I believe this is where I will spend most of my free time during the next 18 months.

VC / Business Development

Within web3, I have identified two areas in which I believe I can provide the most value. Venture Capital and Business Development. In reality, both of these jobs are very similar. They both work with clients to fill a need or solve a problem. They both are network and meeting people focused. These two traits simply fit me best. If I had to pick one, I’d choose venture capital. My good friend Leo said, “Venture is like a superpower. You invest some capital to allow someone to go change lives.”

Conclusion

As a first-generation low-income Latino, I didn’t have a direction I wanted to go in. All I knew was what I liked and the person I wanted to be when I grew up. I had the support of my mom and dad regardless of the path I chose. I am proud to say that my decision to pursue a career in web3 is meaningful to me. It means I have some sense of direction in this crucial part of my life. I hope this article inspired those with similar backgrounds as myself not to lose hope. Keep pushing to find yourself and what gets you up every morning. I am here to support you.

For all the Rick and Morty Fans, I can relate to Evil Morty. I just want to escape the trapped environment I have found myself in.

📲 Contact Information

📧 Email address: juanriveraperez00@gmail.com

🐦 Twitter: https://twitter.com/0xjrp

🔗 LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juanriveraperez/

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