Sept 20, 2021
The Mass Business Podcast
Season 1, Episode 16 – The Entrepreneurs Trilogy: Heartset, Mindset, & Skillset, with Mike Savage
Episode 16 of the Mass Business Podcast brings you a great guest, Mike Savage of The Savage Secrets. Mike is a bad ass business coach with much to teach us. He tells us how he learns, what he’s learned from interacting and building relationships with others, and why he hired his own coach. Mike talks with me today about strategy, business growth, and what he calls The Entrepreneurs Trilogy. Are you ready? Let’s go!!
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Wed, 8/11 9:29AM • 32:31
Matt Ward 00:01
Welcome to Episode 16 of the Mass Business Podcast. My name is Matt Ward. I am your host and today I’ve got a great guest for you. Mike Savage is a serial entrepreneur, inspirational keynote speaker, and bad ass business coach. He’s the CEO of The Savage Secrets, a rapidly growing high-performance business coaching organization, obsessed with helping entrepreneurs win hard-hitting, win the hard-hitting sport of business. He’s located in Auburn mass, having built several companies over the past 30 years, Mike is battle-tested from the school of hard knocks, and he fully understands the emotional and financial rollercoaster of building multi-million dollar businesses from scratch. I’m excited to share with you an interview with Mike savage of The Savage Secrets. Are you ready? Let’s go. Welcome to the Mass Business Podcast where small business owners, also known as risk-takers share their stories about the growth of their business and themselves. Our interviews and our content is focused on growing a small business and understanding networking and referrals. I say it all the time. And I’ll say it again today. You never know for your next referral will come from. Hey, welcome back to the podcast. We’re happy that you’re here listening on your favorite podcast app and watching right here on YouTube. Happy to have you Welcome to the show, Mike Savage.
Mike Savage 01:49
Super excited to be here, Matt and I absolutely love that intro song.
Matt Ward 01:54
Isn’t it awesome?
Mike Savage 01:55
Matt Ward 01:56
You know, when you build great relationships, what your friends will do for you. That is my good friend Cailte Kelley, Berkeley trained musician. He opened up twice for Darius Rucker. He was in Nashville long ago. And now he’s an Edward Jones financial advisor. And just playing music for fun now. And he’s such a great musician. I love it. And before the pandemic, Mike, me and me and me and it’s not even proper English. Cailte and I would have breakfast every Friday morning, local diner and just talk business. And it was so great. And I miss those relationships. Hopefully, we’ll be getting back to those really soon. In the next 30 seconds or so share with the listening and viewing audience exactly what it is you do.
Mike Savage 02:41
You know, you said it in the intro real simply, I help entrepreneurs win this hard hitting emotional and financial roller coaster sport of business, so they can live the life of their dreams. You know, yeah, plain and simple. You know, I know, I know, the journey. I know the challenge. I’ve started and built many companies. And you know, it’s not all about spreadsheets and social media and business plans. It can play with this little thing that sits on your shoulders as well.
Matt Ward 03:14
Play with your head. Yeah. So let’s dig into that. Because I’m so tired of business plans, tell me how bad they suck and are stupid. I mean, I don’t even know if that’s what you believe. But I think they’re just a bunch of junk. It’s the often the business plan is the thing that the bank wants, if you want funding, and it’s all made up numbers, anyway, it’s all forecasted numbers. It’s like, not real numbers.
Mike Savage 03:34
It’s to a certain extent, you know, depending on the phase of your business, and depending on where you are, you know, obviously, if you’re starting brand new, ya know, yeah, forecast is predicated on, hey, I think I got, you know, I think I can do this. But if you’ve got a few years in business, and you’re, you know, looking to expand or bring in private equity, or venture capitalists or additional bank financing or alternative financing, you know, a business plan is really an important document. But the challenge is that, you know, planning is essential, but plans are useless. You know, and I think in March of 2020, we all realized that you know, the plans that we might have had going into the year were null and void, and you know, so it’s part of the part of the challenge or whatnot part, the greatest challenge of this entrepreneurial journey is, you know, it’s not always about the numbers and you know, forecasting and, you know, digital marketing strategies and your sales strategies. Lots of times it’s, you know when you get punched in the gut, what do you want to do, how do you respond, how do you come back and, and that’s what I’ve seen, especially over the past 15 months or so with the pandemic how some entrepreneurs have looked at this and said, you know, Bring it on, I’ll figure it out, I will come up with a way. And others just passively said, Well, hopefully, it will, hopefully will end soon. And I’ll be fine.
Matt Ward 05:12
What do you think the biggest challenge, you know, throwing out the pandemic for a second, I understand that that’s more current. And we obviously have ways to address that. But what do you think the biggest challenge is for small business as a whole?
Mike Savage 05:27
Boy, I honestly think it is, is understanding that we are men and women first before we are businessmen and women. And I have a philosophical approach to this journey called entrepreneurship. And I believe that we as entrepreneurs live in three movies simultaneously. I call that heart set, mindset, and skillset, and that’s called the entrepreneur’s trilogy. And so the reason that I go there with that, and to answer your question, you know, what’s the biggest challenge? The biggest challenge is realizing that it’s not all about, you know, your business is like, as the entrepreneur, you have, you know, movie number one I call heart set, which is your health, your relationships, and your happiness. If we have that, if you know, health is that one thing that, you know, we take for granted until it’s taken away. So our health, our relationships, friends, family, spouse, kids, parents, neighbors, and our happiness, when you have those three, you kind of won this game called life, right? And the challenge with entrepreneurs, though, is they’re looking for next level, like, how do I get to that next level? And so then it’s movie number two, which I call mindset, which is, what’s the stuff you’re putting into your brain? Now, like, there is a fact we all are, who we are and where we are, because of the stuff that’s gone into our brain since birth. No one can deny that. So what do we put in? And how do we motivate and drive ourselves? What are our goals? What are our dreams? What is the vision? And then do we take action? Do we take, Do we move? So movie number two called mindset is, what do we put in the mind? How do we motivate ourselves? And do we take action? What’s the movement? And then eventually, you get into the business stuff, which I’m not I’m not trivializing or, or undermining the importance of real-life business stuff because movie number three is called skill set meaning ultimately, what are our products or services? Who is our target market? ideal client? And what is our strategic marketing plan to…….basically, I look at business as kind of simple, it’s kind of like it’s a dating game, right? We have a product or service, and we have a target market ideal client. And then the job is how do we introduce said product to the target market? So the greatest challenge in running a business is not, is kind of accepting that it’s not just about business. It’s how do we become complete? How do we, you know, I have, I have acquaintances that are multi-millionaire, business owners, and miserable. So you know, what’s the purpose. So when I work with a client, ultimately, what we do is, design and craft a path for your dream business that aligns with the values and the goals of your dream life. I see it way too often when people go in the other direction. They say, Hey, I’m going to attack this business thing. And come hell or high water, I’m going to win. What’s the definition of win, you build the business? I know many people build companies sold them and the miserable like, so it’s….
Matt Ward 08:46
That kind of happened to me, Mike. I mean, I, you know, I had that agency for 16 years, and I sold it. And I wasn’t miserable. But I knew that the business kind of owned me as much as I own the business. And so when I left, I said, Yeah, I’m gonna define my life in a different way. I’m gonna define it with the word freedom, doing what I want, when I want, where I want, and how I want.
Mike Savage 09:06
And you’re fortunate you were very fortunate, Matt.
Matt Ward 09:09
Yeah. And I just, I just say now like, I mean, because here’s the thing. I think I think what most people want when they leave the corporate world and start their own business is they want three things, more money, more time, and more freedom. And they don’t get that. And so that’s what I wrote my new book about, which is the high five effect, how to do business with people who bring you joy. And so to me, I believe you achieve those things by surrounding yourself with great people, great clients, great partners, that great sources, other great business people who actually don’t suck the soul out of you, they provide value, right? They increase the joy around you are up-leveling you all the time. And to me, you know, I actually define the word rich in a different way than a lot of people do. It’s not monetarily for me, I measure by the amount of joy in my life. And that’s what makes me rich. You know, it’s not, yeah, certainly I need to pay my bills. We all do. But I don’t strive to be a multi-millionaire. You know, with yachts, and all these things, I’m perfectly happy just renting a boat.
Mike Savage 10:26
But think about what you just said, it’s sort of like, you know, when I talk about the first movie that we live, you know, heart set, you know, our health, our relationships are our happiness. So what’s happiness? Happiness is being in alignment with our belief system. Meaning, if you believe that happiness is a 260-foot yacht in the Caribbean, and you only have an 85-foot yacht, you’re going to be miserable. You know, if you’re, if you’re, if your goal is all about money, and you end up down life’s road, not really knowing your spouse, or your kids, or and your health is a mess. Is that really winning? And so that’s why whenever I work with clients, the very first thing I do is, let’s design, you know, your dream life. That’s step one. It’s like, let’s craft, what is your dream life? Let’s think about it in 5, 10, 15, 20 years, what is heaven to you? What is, what is awesome? And very few people say, gee, no, I would say no one says, I hope that I don’t have a relationship with my kids, I hope that my health is gone. No, that ends up manifesting because of this overwhelm that we deal with as entrepreneurs. And oftentimes, it’s overwhelming. And that’s why, you know, I say the holy grail of business is passion, purpose, and profits. And so if you can do something that you’re passionate about, in, you’re serving a greater good, and you can make money at it, and you should make money if you’re good, your value is high, you deserve to make money. So, but that’s the Holy Grail. And people get it backward. They go after business, they go after, hey, you know, I’m going to do this stuff. And then they end up 20 years later, like, man am I really happy?
Matt Ward 12:29
How did you get to this point, as a business coach? What were you doing before that put you on this path?
Mike Savage 12:34
I’ve had multiple companies, Matt, and in my last business, you know, didn’t end? Well, you know, I put it this way. I built a big company. And I was miserable. You know, and, and I ended up winding down that business. And a few years ago, I got to the point where said, What do I want to do? You know, I was selling millions of dollars worth of product to the world’s leading retailers. And, you know, I go to Walmart and Target, Sam’s Club and Costco, like, have meetings with all these bigwigs, it’s like, wow, this is cool. I had five factories in Asia, and, it was really fun. But I wasn’t fulfilled. You know, I and so a few years ago, when when I wound the business down, I said, What do I love, and I love teaching. You know, during graduate school, I was always a teacher. I’m currently a volunteer for an organization called score. And they help entrepreneurs on their journey. And I fell in love with teaching. And I’m like, Well, okay, what do you want to teach? Well, I’m pretty good at building companies and know how to do it. I love this entrepreneurial spirit. And so I said, Okay, you know, how do I put How do I marry the two? And I ended up building a business when I’ve got three other companies. But what I do in this business is, I help entrepreneurs, I love the spirit. No one, entrepreneurs are whacked. Like, who in their right mind, would want to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40?
Matt Ward 14:04
I know, right? What is Mike, what is your biggest challenge as a business owner?
Mike Savage 14:10
Boy, my biggest challenge, you know, it’s funny because there’s no I don’t think I have a single one challenge. When I look at what I call the heartbeat of business, which is your product portfolio, your target marketing, your strategic marketing plan. It’s constantly changing and constantly evolving. The thing that I struggled to understand and keep up with is the world of marketing, especially digital marketing, and all of the different options and alternatives that there are in the world. And I think it becomes overwhelming and that’s why I love what you do. I love what organizations like BNI does. I love when you actually put human beings together. Now, granted, the last 18 months has been virtual, but we’re putting real people together, real humans talking to other humans. And it’s really cool to be on even if it’s a 10 minute connection to a webinar or one of your events, you get to meet another human being. That’s the high for me. So to me that the world of business is no, there’s never one challenge. It’s always, how do you balance the plates? You know, all you got to keep all the plates spinning.
Matt Ward 15:29
So would you say that you’re a relationship-driven individual versus transaction-driven?
Mike Savage 15:39
I think I have evolved into appreciating relationships more.
Matt Ward 15:45
Interesting, you evolved because before you were not.
Mike Savage 15:50
Dude, I started a business, I had a dream, I had a vision, I’ve started multiple companies. And each one starts with a dream, and you go after it. And, you know, now it’s kind of like, I enjoy one on one interactions. I enjoy having a cup of coffee with a friend. You know, so oftentimes, those relationships, those handshakes, those high fives, turn into friendships. And you will always in life, do more for a friend than a business acquaintance, hands down.
Matt Ward 16:26
That’s why I always say that I have never believed that people do business with who they know, like, and trust that they do business with who they know, like, trust, and care about. And it’s that extra level that I talk about it on stage one more better, the things that you do that are one more better for your friends for your even if they’re just acquaintances and contacts, but you care about them to a level that matters it rises above with other people are doing, it makes others appreciate you more and that produces relationships, which in turn produces referrals, which is awesome, right? But it doesn’t always produce referrals. Sometimes it produces introductions to good referral sources.
Mike Savage 17:16
It’s funny you say know, like, and trust. Lots of times when I’m dealing, whether I’m on a webinar, or whether I’m on a podcast or speak with my clients, I oftentimes I hold this up. And it’s like, Look, dude, whatever.
Matt Ward 17:30
Wait, hold on, we need to define what that is because for the audio side of the podcast, okay. It’s a large post-it note with KLT on it, which stands for know, like, and trust.
Mike Savage 17:39
Exactly. In that that is, you know, I used to sit on a board in Washington DC. And we would oftentimes go lobby Congress, we’re trying to get some bills passed for, you know, kids and youth activity and stuff. But so much of Washington is relationship based, so much of Washington and the laws that are passed within our country, are relationship based. Now no one can tell me when there’s a vote in the House and, and you’ve got 437,35 people in the, in Senate or in the house voting on this. There’s no one can tell me that all of the people that are Democrats believe one way and all the people that are republicans believe another way.
Matt Ward 18:30
My grandfather was a judge for the Social Security Administration. He lived in Roslyn, Virginia, just over the bridge from DC. And my grandmother worked on the hill for the Department of Labor. And, and he told me, I was in his house one time in Roslyn on this, this condo up near whatever floor it was, this high rise building. And he says to me, you know, I was 18 years old Mike, and he says to me, you know, relationships are everything. It’s who you know, not what you know. And I said, Now my granddad is if you get that conversation, and you can’t hold your own, you’re gonna look like an idiot. And he said, Boy, listen to me, it’s who you know, not what, you know, when I was 18 years old. And I didn’t understand it then. And as I got older, when I was in my early 30s, I realized, man that Damn, that damn old man was right. It’s who you know, not what you know. And those relationships that you build. It’s not just who you know, though, it’s how well you know them, I think to a degree, right? It’s not just surface level, it has, they have to be deep. And the deeper the relationships are, the more powerful they are, the more trusted they are, the more tight they are. And it’s those things that produce so many other activities in our lives. They don’t always produce referrals. I mean, I talk about it from a referral perspective, but to be perfectly honest with you sometimes it’s just literally, you know, I ran out of gas on route two one time, right. And I called a client who I had a good relationship with they happen to have a landscaping company right around the corner and Matt Landrieu if you’re listening, I’ll never forget this story, I tell it one of my speeches. And it is literally, he came to my rescue. And he never let me down about it. He ribbed me for a long time. But I had someone to call. And I didn’t have to call AAA I called a friend. I phoned a friend, right. And so I mean, those things, you know, the these, these are things, the funny thing about this all Mike though, is that we learn over time, right? And so business ownership is about constantly learning new things.
Mike Savage 20:44
Well, yeah, and that’s why, you know, as part of my, whenever I do a speech or a webinar, I’ve actually got a presentation in Phoenix next week called, you know, swing for the fence, how to build a multimillion-dollar business and live the life of your dreams. And the reality is, it is 100% that I got, I got offered that speech because of a friend of a friend. And so many things, that or that we every day, I have two kids that are in college right now. They both play college sports. Now, it’s not easy to get into a college to play college sports. The process of trying to get a kid into college and play college sports starts when they’re freshmen and sophomore in high school, it actually in some sports starts even earlier. Why? Because you need to start creating those relationships, you need to start creating those introductions. The coach, you know, they see, any coach in any sport sees hundreds of potential kids that could join their team. But it’s like, it’s not about just the kid’s talent. Oftentimes, it’s the kid. It’s like, how do they come across. So like in Who do you know, lots of times kids will join these very expensive AAU programs so that they can get underneath an umbrella of an organization that has connections throughout all the colleges. It is fascinating in every aspect, you can take it from politics, you can take it from sports, you can take it from business, no matter how you slice it Matt, the connections and the relationships that you have with other human beings is paramount to success in any aspect, especially business.
Matt Ward 22:37
How do you work on your own business as far as educating yourself? What are the types of things that you do that you can share with the listening and viewing audience about the types of ways in which you educate yourself?
Mike Savage 22:48
Matt, I’m at I am a personal development addict. And I’ve been one since I was 17 years old when I got introduced to Tony Robbins. And actually, I don’t think was Tony, I think it was Zig Ziglar whoever it might be. But I started to, you know, I one of those. You know, I said it early like we are who we are, we are where we are because of the things that have gone into our minds. We had zero control over our life for the first 18 years. We were influenced by our surroundings, our family, our neighborhood, our brothers and sisters, you know, did we grow up with money? Do we grow up in poverty, violence, abuse, drugs, alcohol, we were influenced by that. And so when you get out into the world, like, people have different perspectives on stuff like, wow, no kidding. And so all of a sudden, when you start getting into this world, I get into the world of personal development, like, holy cow, this dude, or this woman thinks so differently than I was taught when I was growing up. And I think the ultimate key, my dad told me one thing that I’ll never forget. He said you are the average of the five people you hang around with?
Matt Ward 23:56
Yeah, that Jim Rohn said that.
Mike Savage 23:57
Yeah. And wherever it came from, it’s like, it’s so true. And if you want to up your game, you better learn how to hang around with people that play the game better or differently. It doesn’t always have to be better. It can be differently. So to answer your question, I’m a podcast addict. I’m an avid reader. You know, I just finished working out and what was I doing? I was watching the Tony Robbins video. I read incessantly. I’m just I just love learning stuff. I love Look, when when you look at life through someone else’s lens. What was their upbringing, like what were their parents, like? You know, go back to the world of sports. There are a lot of professional athletes that are children of professional athletes. Hmm, I wonder why. They grew up in an environment of playing sports, professional sports. And so from the age of zero all the way to the youth ages in high school, and college is all About one thing. And so the types of stuff that you put in your brain can completely and dramatically change everything. I had a bad, I was in a bad place four or five years ago when, you know, my business was not doing well, my mom was dying, my wife had pneumonia, she’s in the hospital, she was in a bad spot. Then I got audited the IRS from the IRS all in four weeks, the amount of stuff the language that was going into my brain was awful. It was awful. And then I hired a coach. And that coach basically slapped me, silly, I’ll keep the G-rated version. I know you’ll appreciate that. And I started to completely change my language, my philosophy, my physiology, everything changed. So we can’t change who we are and where we are. But we have to change what goes into our brain. And we absolutely imperatively we have to change who we hang around with.
Matt Ward 26:01
So yeah, absolutely. You mentioned that you read Do you like paperback, hardcover, ebook? What type of version of reading do you like?
Mike Savage 26:08
I am, I am 80%, ebook, 20% digital book, and, you know, podcasts and all that it’s all it’s here because I’m always trying to do two things at the same time. I’m mister efficient. So if I’m working out, I want to be pumping stuff in. If I’m going for a walk, I want to be pumping stuff in.
Matt Ward 26:30
Yeah, awesome. Speaking of reading, I like to ask our guests, what one business book could you recommend that the listeners on the audio version podcast? Or even on that YouTube who are viewing, what one business book would you recommend that they sit down to read?
Mike Savage 26:48
Oh, boy. I read so many books, I think early on, and I just gave this to my two kids. The Magic Of Thinking Big. You know, isn’t it’s an older book. But man, when I read that I was probably in my teens. And it was just a completely different perspective on how to think about life. You know, my, it got to the point where I was putting so my kids would come home from school. And I would not ask them how they’re doing. I said, why is your day great? You know, because we all have an opportunity to focus on one thing or another. And I adopted a philosophy a long time ago, and I still part of my morning routine right now where I practice at least, and, you know, five minutes of gratitude, what are those things in my life I’m grateful for. And it’s how you think about things, your perspective on stuff, your focus, the stuff you focus on, manifests itself in, in your life, your habits, you know, your habits manifest themselves in, you know, into, into your, you know, your physical being, your mental being, your spiritual being. So, you know, I’m just a big, big advocate of putting good stuff in to get good stuff out. So, you know, that’s one, that’s one book that I’ve loved, but I could sit here and rattle off hundreds.
Matt Ward 28:23
Yeah, that’s, that’s, uh, I’m getting that. And then what? What piece of software do you recommend that small business owners get their hands on so that they can continue to grow their small business?
Mike Savage 28:37
I think that’s kind of a fixed question. Because every business is different, you know, I don’t think is one, you know, if you run a restaurant, that’s a lot different than running a manufacturing company, you know, if you’re, if you’re, you know, running a coaching business, that’s a lot different than, you know, if you’re running a sports training….
Matt Ward 28:58
Is there one piece of software that you’ve had that has helped you grow your business?
Mike Savage 29:03
I think like, if I was to think real business stuff, and I’m talking the sub $5 million business, and that’s kind of the world that I’ve lived in. Well, I should say that the world I live in now with my clients is a sub $5 million business. The biggest mistake I think people make so often and I’m talking 234 million dollar business is they don’t know the numbers. And so, you know, I hate to jump on the QuickBooks bandwagon. But QuickBooks is such an essential tool that people really need to get a handle on the business, the financials, and, you know, I just think a lot of people miss it. So, you know, I use all the office programs and….
Matt Ward 29:44
Other, other people on other episodes for you, I’ve mentioned QuickBooks, so I think that value for a lot of people, something to think about.
Mike Savage 29:57
I was gonna say if you want a hobby, don’t worry about your numbers. If you want to, if you want to run a business you got to kind of count the Benjamins.
Matt Ward 30:06
Gotcha. I appreciate you sharing your insight on this podcast and where can listeners get a hold of you if they want to reach out and learn more about you?
Mike Savage 30:14
Matt Ward 30:23
Alright, folks, you heard it here from Mike Savage. Lots of great knowledge bombs on this podcast episode. I hope you check it. Look, make sure take a look at the links in the show notes. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And make sure that you smash the like button and the subscribe button over on YouTube. We greatly appreciate it don’t forget to live happy, smile a lot. And high five everyone around you. Thank you for listening to the mass business podcast where we focus on growing a small business and understanding networking and referrals. Don’t forget to like on your favorite platform and share out this podcast. This show has been produced by Heather Grant. music by Cailte Kelley. All rights reserved. I’m your host, professional speaker, author, and word of mouth referral consultant Matt Ward. Don’t forget to live happy, smile a lot. And everyone around you.