7 Traits of SAVAGE Entrepreneurs

mindset skillset Apr 04, 2023

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[00:00:00] Hello entrepreneurs. This is Mike Savage with the Savage Secrets, and today I'm gonna share with you 7 Traits of Savage Entrepreneurs.

So what do I mean by a "savage entrepreneur"?

I mean, savagely successful, happy, passionate, hungry for that next level, cash is pouring in. You have time, you have money. You have the things to thoroughly enjoy the journey of building your business.

This is critically important because if you want to get to the level where you are living your dream life and running your dream business, you must grow. Grow your MINDset, grow your SKILLset, grow into the leader you aspire to be.

If you're not where you want to be yet, it's because you're lacking some of these traits, some of these key skills.

And if you want to get there faster, have that time freedom, have that financial freedom and thoroughly enjoy the journey, I challenge you to master these seven traits.

We're gonna have some fun. Let's go get it.


[00:00:54] I have been building companies for well over three decades now, and I am a student of greatness.

I'm not sitting here saying I'm great. I am a student of greatness. I study the best in the world that build companies.

That research, that studying, that obsession, has helped me build several companies. Now where I'm at in my career, it's giving me the opportunity to help you build your company and absolutely, positively kick ass.

So, I'm just gonna hit on seven of these things. These are just some of the fundamentals that I have seen and experienced with great entrepreneurs that I've worked with, great entrepreneurs that have built amazing companies that you're most likely familiar with.


[00:01:42] The first one, I think this is a trait that I see more than anything. Now you can take all of these skills and all these traits and break 'em down, but this is the one I see more than anything, and I think it's foundational to great leaders, great entrepreneurs, and that one is passion.

It is having a passion and a vision for something that is bigger than you, and here is the challenge of the passionate visionary.

The challenge is it hasn't happened yet. The challenge is you have to visualize something that is out there into the future. You can't touch it. You can't reap any financial rewards of it, but you have a belief, a theory, a philosophy, you have a vision of something that is in the future that can make a difference.

Entrepreneurs Solve Problems

[00:02:32] Now, there is a reality to the world of business and the world of entrepreneurship: Every single product or service solves a problem.

So how did that business start? How did your business start?

What was the problem you were inspired to solve? Because every business solves a problem. It doesn't matter what it is.

We said, you know what? I think I can solve that. I think I can fix that.

Take a look at what my world is today. My world today, I think the problem or the challenge out there is there is a whole bunch of entrepreneurs that are trying to build companies and they don't possess the skills that are necessary to get them there.

Now, they've started out with passion. You may have started out with passion. I believe this to my core with passion, you can hustle your way to build a business. You can hustle your way to get to a certain point, but if you are like me and you are one of those entrepreneurs that wants to get there and get to that next level, there are some essential ingredients to that.

Number one is having a passion and a belief.

Chasing the "Almighty Dollar"

I see this all the time in the world of business and entrepreneurship where there are people that go out there and say, Hey, I think I'm gonna go and make some money. I'm gonna go kick ass. I'm gonna go build an Amazon business, and I'm gonna be a multimillionaire. I'm gonna chase the hottest trend.

In the world, in society, depending on where you live, you may see that there are cannabis stores opening up all over the place, right? Cannabis in Massachusetts, a few years ago, several years ago, I'm not exactly sure. We legalized the sale of cannabis. What happened? This is a prediction I'm gonna make. What happened was everybody went out and said, "Oh my God! I'm gonna start a cannabis store. I'm gonna be rich! I'm gonna make a ton of money."

Now, smart move for the state, in my opinion, because they're bringing in a substantial amount of tax revenue because of the cannabis industry. So they legalized it. There's these shops that popped up all over the place. Right now, as I drive down the highway, all I see on the billboards is cannabis, this, and smoke shop here, and edible this and that. To me, it's fascinating, quite frankly, but I believe there's gonna become a point where it's oversaturated. Overly saturated. You can't have a cannabis store on every single corner.

My point here is, there may not have been passion. There may not have been an obsession. They're chasing the almighty dollar.

And you know what? I've seen it enough. There are people that can get ridiculously filthy rich because they just chase cash. I get it. I'm not saying that it doesn't happen. Of course it happens!

But I think the most successful entrepreneurs, the ones that have longevity, the ones that really create something of value and maybe sell it for millions. Those entrepreneurs typically started understanding a problem or a challenge out in the world, followed their passion, went after it, built a business, built a team, and were successful.

So number one, being that passionate visionary is essential.


[00:05:23] Number two. I also think there is this very interesting dilemma that happens out in the world of building companies, and that is this, call it the rollercoaster of confidence right?

When you start off on day one, you may be passionate, you may be confident, you may be driven to take your business and your belief to the next level, and you have confidence. Or do you? What is confidence?

Is confidence something that you're born with or is confidence something that is like a set of stairs. You may go up one or two steps and then you may get your ass knocked down to the bottom floor again, and then you may get back up on those steps, and you may get to three or four steps and then you may get knocked down again.

Confidence is not something you say, Hey, I'm confident. You know what? You can talk confidence, but until you've experienced some success, it's challenging to have this become part of your DNA.

But confidence is essential.

For you to believe at the core of your being, that what you are going after, what your vision is, what your dream is, you need to have that belief in yourself.

And I'm telling you, it is fragile. It is delicate. It's here today and gone tomorrow. This is why I love the world of sports.

Because sports, especially professional sports, you are out there in the world. You have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people watching you in your craft. They're watching you perform.

Confidence & Baseball

[00:06:53] I love the analogy of baseball. Baseball to me is it's one of those things that, the confidence is so delicate and so fragile where if you're a batter and you get up and you are the best in the world, the best in the world at what you do, hitting a baseball, you fail 70% of the time. The best in the world!

If you are batting three hundred, you are one of the elite, in the world of professional baseball, as a hitter. But you fail 70% of the time.

What happens when you go into a slump? When you go into a slump and maybe you are, 0 for 40, you haven't had a hit in 40 at-bats. It is difficult. You need people to surround you. You need to have unbelievable self-talk.

It's no different in the world of business. We get battered. We get smashed. We are on the wave of a high, and then boom, we get smashed into the rocks. Entrepreneurship, I always say, is a financial and an emotional rollercoaster.

Confidence is so fragile and it's so delicate and this is why I challenge you. Go out and surround yourself with people or peers or coaches or mentors that can be by your side when you fail.

Failure is a part of success, not the opposite of it.

You will fail. Make no mistake about it, some of my greatest failures cost me millions, cost me my heart, my soul, my spirit. Almost cost me my marriage. Failure is part of the journey. So, accept that you will fail.

The challenge always is how can you go and instill that confidence to get your ass up off the mat when you get knocked down? I'm telling you, it's hard. And the way to do it, if you believe hard enough in where you're going and what you're trying to execute on and what you're trying to implement in the vision for your company. You'll get up. That's number two.


[00:08:46] Number three. I think entrepreneurs maybe misrepresent or misunderstand the definition of working hard.

I heard a great quote many years ago when I was getting started in my journey: Overnight success usually takes 15 years.

It's a tongue in cheek approach, but there's a reality: it is unbelievably difficult to build a company.

Now, you are gonna hear those get rich quick schemes, and you're gonna hear those people that, " Hey, you know what? Be a multi-million dollar entrepreneur and work four hours a week. You know what? At some point maybe, but when you are starting out, you have to bust your ass. There is no shortcut to success. You have to work hard.

I can tell you when I started one of my companies, now, I started the company, I was , in grad school and I was in a world of manufacturing products for the health club industry. I remember clear as day when I graduated. I got a job. When I got that job. I was excited cuz I went to school for six years, got two degrees in engineering, and I got a job. Now I'm not saying a job is bad. For me, it wasn't the right fit. I lasted six months emotionally in Corporate America. I lasted six years physically, but during those six years when I had a job, I knew it wasn't for me.

I knew that there was a different path in my life. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I knew I wanted to build a company. I knew that from my core, but this is what my day consisted of: we'd get up in the morning at five o'clock and I would work till 8:30 on my business and my dream and my vision. Then I would hop in my car, I'd drive to work, and I would work my nine to five. Then I would leave work, lots of times I'd go to the gym and work out, but I would work from 5:30- 6:00 at night until midnight. And then I would repeat this, and I did this for six years.

I had a team of five employees before I left my corporate job. Now, why did I do that? I think that it's wonderful to work hard and, go out there and say, you know what? I'm gonna throw caution to the wind and I'm gonna go quit my job and go jump out there and chase my dream. I think that's awesome. I think it's great, but there's this one thing that we tend to as entrepreneurs overestimate, and that is how quickly we're gonna have all this cash rolling in, how quickly we're gonna start to build the business.

And even if you build a business and you got a million, 2 million, 3 million dollars in sales, that doesn't mean that you are putting $3 million in cash in your pocket. Doesn't mean that. So there is this challenge. That, I can get rich quick. I don't really have to work hard because there's a boatload of marketing knuckleheads out there that are professing, Hey, four hour work week.

You know what? I think it's bullshit. I think it's misrepresenting exactly what it takes to get to that point in your business and in your life where you are living a four hour work week. And I think if you get there, it's beautiful. I think it is possible. All of these things are possible, but there are a few things that are absolutely essential in order for you to get there. And initially, when you're starting your business, there is no substitute for hard work and busting your ass.

And we can't make excuses. We can't look at this as. Hey, you know what? I was tired last night. I went out with my buddies. You know what? I'm not saying don't enjoy your life. You need to enjoy your life because we don't get to do this twice. Love your life. Enjoy your life. Have fun. But when it comes to starting a business, you are going to be required to bust your ass and that hard work and that effort will pay off. It will.

So that's number three. Hard work.


[00:12:24] Number four. This is a difficult one. If you want to be one of the elite entrepreneurs and you wanna build this business, you are going to have to do something that is very uncomfortable. You're gonna have to take risks. We take risks. Entrepreneurs take risks. There is no guarantee. I do not care what business you are building, what opportunity is out there.

You could be buying a franchise. Are there some franchises in the world that are almost guaranteed to be successful? Yes, there are. Because they've been around forever. And if you invest in this franchise , if you follow the key steps of that franchise model, there's a really good chance that you're gonna be successful. And quite frankly, even if you are to invest in a franchise, that's a risk because you chose to write a check. You took a risk. There's no guarantees, but you still took a risk. You took your hard earned money, you took your savings. Maybe you took your kids' college fund. I don't recommend that. Or took a home equity line on your home, but you took a risk.

Taking risks is part of the DNA of the entrepreneur.

We need to take risks and it's hard. It's difficult, It's scary. Yes. It's all of those things. So if you are feeling uncomfortable right now, if you are feeling challenged, if you're feeling like, oh my God, that's a huge risk. Yes! Whatever investment you're looking to make, it's a risk, but I'm gonna tell you.

There is a correlation between great, successful entrepreneurs, and risk. All of the great ones take risks.

It's not easy. We need to stretch outside of our comfort zone. The comfort zone is one of the things that absolutely positively crushes so many entrepreneurs. You may be out there like, Hey, I wanna quit my job and I wanna start a company, but I got a family and I got all the other things, like, how am I gonna do this? And what if it doesn't work? Yeah. You know what? Those are all really good questions. They're great questions. I can promise you every great company out there, every entrepreneur out there that you may admire, they faced the same exact challenge.

 I'm gonna take a risk and one of three things are at risk:

  • Your health
  • Your money
  • Your time

You're gonna take a risk. One of those three things could be in jeopardy. It's not easy to do it, but taking risks is part of the journey. I'm not saying go out and take your life savings and invest it overnight into something, and if it fails, it fails. Entrepreneurship, I'm telling you, the success rate is not great.

There are statistics that show after a year or two, 20% of the businesses is gonna be gone. After five years, more than half of the businesses will be gone. After 10 years, 70% of the businesses will be gone.

It's a fact. These are real facts. So it is a high risk venture, but if you have a passion, if you have a drive, if there's something in your soul, some difference that you want make in the world, something that you want to go after... we don't get to do this thing called life twice. We only get to do it once. And I've said this time and time again, I think the most painful word in the English language is regret. It's gonna suck to be on your deathbed and say, you know what? I really wish I did this. No. Forget regret. Regret sucks.

If you can get out into the world and you can share your vision and your passion and your solution to whatever's going on in the world, that is such an unbelievable high. Why do people start companies? Because they have a vision. And I don't care if you're starting a for-profit or a non-profit or a charitable foundation.

You have a belief, you have a vision. You believe that there is a better way to do something, you have a better mouse trap.Whatever that mouse trap may be.

There is no substitute for risk taking. It is scary, but rest assured, I know where you're at. I know how uncomfortable it is. And I'm not saying just starting a business, it's gonna be uncomfortable no matter what level of business you're at. Just the entrepreneur that goes out and they take their first 50 grand , a hundred grand and invest it into something, build the business. You get to a quarter million, half a million. Then there's the next level of investment. Then there's the next level of risk. Then there's, oh, and now I need to hire a team, which is a perfect segue to number five.


[00:16:41] Some of the dumb stuff I think that entrepreneurs do is that they believe that they can do it all on their own. And again. It depends on your business model. It depends on what you're trying to do. If you want to be a, I don't know, a painter, and you don't wanna hire any employees, you are just gonna go out and you're gonna do your thing, you're gonna execute on your craft, you may not need a team.

But if you are looking to get to that new level to take and grow a business beyond you, you are going to need a team.

And I will go back to the analogy of sports because I always love the analogy of sports. You can't win the game unless you have great players on your team.

Here's a news flash. Every player is not a great player. There are some that have physical skills. There are some that have mental skills. They have fortitude, they have drive, they have passion, but they're not all A players. You need A players on your team if you want to be great. B players that can transition or grow into A players. Love them. Absolutely love 'em cuz they have a passion. Maybe they're not there yet. C players, you can't have 'em on your team. You can't.

Unfortunately, that's just part of the reality of business. You need great players to get to that next level, and hiring great teammates, finding great teammates is an unbelievable challenge.

When you're going to hire people you can do all the research, you can do all the background searches, you can get referrals-- oh, by the way, let me just say this. When you are asking for referrals or references from one of your potential candidates that you're gonna hire in your company, let me ask you a question. Do you think that they're going to give you the name of someone that is not going to be a good reference or referral? Of course not! They're gonna give you the name of someone that is a good reference or is a good referral.

In the world today when you're trying to hire someone. It's challenging. If you go on to Google and you're researching a restaurant, you can look and you can see reviews. You can see five star reviews, four star, one star reviews. I've got a business that's selling e-commerce. We have products on Amazon, and guess what? You got five star, four star, three star, one star. You get to see out in the world. The independent people are out there reviewing your product or service.

Now, I will put a little asterisk. There are some people out in this world that are messed up. Meaning, they will give you a negative review for the most idiotic reasons. If you run a restaurant and the food comes out a little bit too hot. They'll complain. like, What do you want? The food cold? There's always someone that wants to complain. And this goes back to the resiliency. The resiliency of you, the entrepreneur. You have to take the negative comments and the negative feedback, and you have to take it at face value sometimes, but other times when you do get negative reviews or negative feedback, you've gotta reflect.

The 90 Day Rule

Now, I know I've gone on a tangent a little bit as it relates to team, but building a team requires time and patience, and I've always lived the philosophy that, even when you think you have found the greatest employee or the greatest subcontractor or whatever it may be, the greatest accountant, the greatest lawyer, the greatest marketing firm. Here is my recommendation: 90 days. 90 days, three months. It's a trial period.

[00:20:02] It's a test drive. Because no matter how great someone appears to be at the beginning, until you are on the field of battle with them, until you are spending time with them in the trenches, until you really understand their work ethic or their DNA or their questioning, their ability to challenge you even as a boss or an entrepreneur, as a CEO. You need people to challenge you. And I don't think that you really get or understand the DNA of someone for the first 90 days. That's why when people get hired, they often put them on a probationary period.

Larger corporations, my daughter just recently started a job at SpaceX in California, which really sucks quite frankly for me because we live in Boston. In any event, they didn't hire her right away. It did take 27 interviews for her to get the job, but even when after she got the job, there was a 90 day probationary period. Why did they do that? Because they're taking her for a test drive. They're trying her out. They're making sure that she fits within the culture and the framework and the work ethic and all those pieces that are essential.

But it was 90 days. So as you go to build your team and building a team is critical. If you wanna be a solopreneur, then completely ignore this one. But if you're looking to build a larger business, you're looking to build a multimillion dollar company, you're looking to take your vision, your passion, to that next level. You need a team, and you need a team of A players. Or, B players that you can help get to the A player level. You cannot win with C and D and E and F players. I don't even know what the grading system is anymore, but A and B players only.

You wanna be great? Hire A players.


[00:21:43] Number six. This is potentially one of those DNA things. I am 100% certain that all entrepreneurs do not possess this trait, which is an obsession for learning.

Number six is you need to be obsessed with learning, because I can promise you, wherever you are in your entrepreneurial journey, there is a shit ton that you don't know.

As I sit here after building companies for more than three decades, there is a shit ton that I don't know. I am still obsessed with learning. I try and learn from those people that are playing the game better or differently than I am. And I'm not saying it's always, oh, they need to be running billion dollar companies. No, not necessarily. They could be playing the game differently than you. But the importance of learning, the importance of becoming obsessed with being a phenomenal learner is that you start to surround yourself with others that think differently.

I have this belief system that, we go through this journey called life, right? And we make a ton of decisions every single day. A ton of decisions. And you could have an encounter with someone that may say one thing, one thing that could get you to think differently. And if you start to think differently, if something changes in your brain, because face facts, here's reality: you are who you are, you are where you are, because of all the stuff that's gone into your brain since birth. No one can challenge that. I don't give a shit who you are.

Everything I've done has been influenced by the shit in my brain. So if you are in one of those situations where you're listening to podcasts, you're reading books, you're watching YouTube videos, you're reading this blog, you're engaging in another networking group, you join a mastermind, whatever it is.

You surround yourself with people that are playing the game better or differently, not necessarily just better. If someone's playing the game differently than you, that may trigger something in your brain and say, you know what? That's an interesting philosophy. And so when you put something different in your brain and they trigger that philosophy, what do you do? When you get to that fork in the road, I heard a recent stat that said that we make 35,000 decisions a day, and a whole bunch of 'em are subconscious, but we do go through the day making decisions.

I made a decision this morning, actually, no, I didn't even make a decision this morning. I had zero intention of recording this video this morning. Zero intention. I happened to be flipping through my LinkedIn and I saw someone that said something about taking risks and it triggered this thing in my brain. After I saw this post on LinkedIn, I'm like, you know what? What are the seven key traits of every entrepreneur? I was doing what I encourage you to do. I was studying or reading some information on someone that's playing the game better than I am.

And it inspired me. So, I turned on the lights and turned on the microphone and I said, you know what, I'm gonna go say some stuff.

 And you know what if this is not valuable? Oh well, sorry. But I'm having a shit ton of fun doing it. So, being obsessed with learning, how do I continue to get better? You only get better if you pull off the veil of comfort and you start to put in different stuff.

  • I am obsessed with podcasts.
  • I'm obsessed with YouTube videos.
  • I'm obsessed with reading.
  • I'm obsessed with social media.
  • I'm obsessed with all of the things that can maybe flip a switch in my brain that can help me get to that next level.
  • And I encourage you to do the same. Become an obsessive learner.

And it's not like accidental. It's in my calendar and I encourage you to put it in your calendar. Put it in your calendar. If you wanna learn, take a half an hour a day to read. Take an hour a day to read. Take 15 minutes to listen to a podcast. I think the greatest learning laboratory on Earth is a fricking vehicle. It's a car, it's a truck, whatever you choose to drive because you're in this vehicle for who knows how long, but you can get the equivalent of a college degree by sitting in your car.

The difference is a lot of stuff that they're teaching you in the car is not necessarily college degree stuff, but they are things that can get you to switch, can get your mindset to flip, to get you to think a little bit differently. One comment, one idea, from one person can completely shape or reshape your entire destiny. And when you think about the power of that one thought, that one idea, that one suggestion, that one question that someone asked the power of that can completely shape your destiny . This is why I do it. That's why I love learning. I'm obsessed with it. I love just getting out there and putting different things into my brain.


[00:26:21] And I'm gonna finish with this one.

Number seven, there are a lot of essentials to building a company, and I'm not gonna get into all of the, the different areas within your business from sales and marketing, product development, quality control, customer service, all of those things. They're essential. 

And I believe to the core of my being, that you can hustle your way to a certain point without learning this most essential skill that you really have to get a handle on or your business will not scale. You will eventually fail.

Number seven is you need to know your numbers. You need to understand how to keep score in business.

I have seen this, I have experienced this. I see it all the time now. Keeping score in business is one of those fundamental essentials that all of us need to learn.

Now, I'm not saying you need to become an accountant. You do not need to become a chief financial officer. You don't need to be a bookkeeper. But I'm telling you, there are some fundamentals that we need to learn as entrepreneurs when we're building our businesses.

We need to learn the fundamentals of financials.

I can promise you, wherever you're at in business, there are things from a financial perspective, from a keeping score perspective, from a balance sheet, income statement, P&L, cash flow, that you don't know. And those things could be coming. From a banking relationship perspective: do I need a line of credit? Do I need a loan? How can I bring in cash? Do I need to find investors? Private equity, venture capital? What are those things that I need in my business?

We have to understand the numbers. If you want to grow, you may need to take on debt. Sorry. There's a reality you may need to take on debt, if you don't have the cash. But number seven is understanding the numbers. It is essential. My challenge to you is to figure out what are those things that I need to do? How do I learn the secrets of the numbers?

It is not hard, and there's a lot of people that are not numbers people, but I'm telling you what, if you're at the helm of your business, either you better understand it or you better have someone on your team that can understand it. Knowing the numbers is a fundamental skill of every great company, of every great entrepreneur.

Not saying you gotta be obsessed with them, but you better understand the questions that you need to ask. I've learned this personally the hard way.

It is kinda like going to a sports game. go to A basketball game or baseball game, football game, hockey game, soccer game, whatever it may be, and you just watch a whole bunch of people running around, men and women running around, and there's no scoreboard.

There's no scoreboard! Like... What's the score? Now, I know there are some people in the world. It's not about keeping score, it's about, just everybody having fun together. You know what? That's great. In the world of business, it doesn't work that way. In the world of business, whether you're a non-profit or for-profit, you need to keep score. You need to understand the fundamentals of business financials.

Let's Sum it Up

What I wanted to share with you today is that we need to stop doing stupid shit when we choose to build a company. And I think there's seven key areas that can help with that.

Number one is be passionate visionary.

Number two: Have confidence. Confidence is not something you just flip a switch. I use the analogy confidence like a dimmer switch. You can start to put it up a little bit at a time, but eventually you need to be confident. You need to be confident and

Number 3: you need to bust your ass. You need to work hard. There are no excuses. We all have challenges. No excuses. You gotta go after it.

Number four: have to take risks. It's part of the journey. There, there is no easy way to get there. Taking risks becomes so essential to your growth and the growth of your business. It's not throwing caution to the wind. There are calculated risks, but yes, there are times when you are gonna be scared to death about taking that next step, hiring that next employee, making that next investment, taking a home equity loan. It takes risk.

Number five: if you want to grow beyond solopreneur, you will have to learn how to build a team. If you want to grow to that next level and build a million, multimillion dollar company, you will have to understand the fundamentals of team. You'll need to be a great leader. Yep. You're gonna have to learn to be a great leader. You're gonna have to learn how to educate, entertain, motivate, and inspire your employees.

Number six: be obsessed with learning. Be obsessed with being great. Be obsessed with taking not just your business life, but your personal life to the next level. There's always something we can learn.

Number seven: know your numbers. We have to keep score. We have to keep score in business. You don't have to love numbers. There's lots of stuff that we do as we build companies that we don't necessarily love, but you gotta understand the numbers. If you are at the helm, if you are at the top of your business, if it is your company, you need to understand the numbers.

I'm grateful that you took the time to take in this training. I hope that there are one or two nuggets that you're able to pull from this.

 Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It's super challenging. There are some fundamentals that we need to know as the entrepreneur, as the CEO, that will take our company to the next level.

I hope you enjoyed the training.

If you are watching this on YouTube, I would love for you to share a comment. Gimme your rating. Let me know if you liked it or didn't like it.

If you're listening to this on a podcast please share it, share it with other entrepreneurs that you may know that are trying to get to that next level.

Thank you. Have an amazing day. Dream big! Take some risks. Have some fun. I love you as an entrepreneur. I wish you the very best. Good luck I will see you soon.

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