If It's Not a Victory, It's Just Not Over Yet: Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur Zach Salter's Take on Failure
In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Zach Salter, co-founder of blockchain and cryptocurrency investment firm Zima Digital Assets and co-owner of Saltmine Studios. It was condensed by The Oracles.
Who are you?
Zach Salter: I co-founded Zima Digital Assets, a global cryptocurrency trading firm. I also co-own Saltmine Studios, a top-of-the-line recording studio in Arizona, with my father. I’m a serial entrepreneur and work in the aviation and automotive industries as well.
I’ve known since I was young that I wanted to make a positive impact. My mantra is “Gold Intentions,” which I got as a tattoo when I dropped out of college at 20 years old.
What is one of your proudest moments?
Zach Salter: My proudest moment was inviting clients and friends to my house for a recent charity event hosted by my company. We helped raise funds for an organization that supports refugees in Bangladesh. I’m a big advocate of making a positive difference in others’ lives, and supporting charitable causes is one of the ways I’m able to do that.
How did your business get started?
Zach Salter: I’m always starting businesses, but Zima got started by accident. My co-founder and best friend is known in cryptocurrency trading as “Kryp+0 K!ng.”
At the beginning, we just traded our own money in the cryptocurrency markets. We were getting such great results that others started asking us to trade for them. Our fund is still private and highly exclusive, but now we have a team of high-level analysts around the globe. We’ve started partnering with large financial institutions and encouraging mainstream adoption of digital currencies and blockchain technology.
What did you learn from your favorite mentor?
Zach Salter: My business partner is also my mentor. He has taught me more about life and business than anyone else. One of the most life-changing things I learned from him was the power of generosity and reciprocity and that what you put out into the world comes back.
He is always the first to contribute value to someone. He creates circles of reciprocity everywhere he goes, and others will bend over backward to return the favor. Everyone loves being in his presence and can’t say enough great things about him. He once tipped a waitress $4,000 on Mother’s Day because she told him that she was only working the holiday so she could afford a plane ticket to see her daughter. This man has caused more tears of gratitude than anyone I have met and probably ever will.
What was your biggest, most painful failure?
Zach Salter: I don’t believe in failures or tallying losses. If it’s not a victory, it’s just not over yet. However, I learned a lot of valuable lessons when I was recruited to sell pest control door-to-door at 18 years old. That was by far the most challenging endeavor I had ever faced, and it forced me to grow up.
The goal was to knock on 100 doors each day. We worked 15 hours a day, six days a week. Dealing with relentless rejections hour after hour, day after day, puts things into perspective. High-pressure sales tactics were not my thing and don’t align with my personality, so needless to say, I didn’t do well that summer. But I am forever grateful for the mental toughness it gave me. After that summer, I no longer feared rejection, which set me apart as a young entrepreneur.
Who is the best leader (alive or dead) and why?
Zach Salter: Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is an admirable leader. I love seeing globally impactful companies start from humble beginnings, and his company is disrupting a multitude of industries beyond just retail.
His success story is inspiring, especially since he clearly saw his vision when no one believed in e-commerce yet. What I respect most about him is the dramatic polarity he endured in his rise to becoming the richest man in the world. First, they laugh at you, then they challenge you, then they appreciate you, and they finally set you as an example.
How do you identify a good business partner?
Zach Salter: Natural synergy is the most important factor. A good partner is the yin to your yang, like the sun and the moon. Your expertise doesn’t overlap because you each have strengths where the other has weaknesses.
A good partner stays focused on the big picture and avoids petty drama at all costs. You must know them well enough to quickly come to agreements. Once you share the same vision, growth and expansion are second nature.
You can’t do it all nor should you want to. Delegation is key. Operating efficiently should be a top priority and is your greatest advantage for any startup competing against slower, large conglomerates.
Which single habit gives you 80 percent of your results?
Zach Salter: My relentless work ethic. I’m addicted to being productive, which can be a gift and a curse. I find it difficult to mentally turn off work mode, sit back, smell the roses, and enjoy the fruits of my labor. It took me a while to learn this about myself, but for me, happiness comes from the grind, not the reward.
It’s funny when entrepreneurs talk about working hard so they can retire early. Typically, those who achieve that kind of financial freedom at a young age only do so thanks to their obsessive, “on a mission” personality. I don’t think that kind of person is capable of retiring, even at 70 years old. Entrepreneurs are just built differently.
What would you like to be doing in three years?
Zach Salter: I’d like to focus more on giving back in a charitable way. Lately, I’ve been collaborating with charities to diversify our impact and leverage their infrastructure. We are working on three or four different ventures at any given time. The most satisfying part is donating our time to see firsthand how we are making a difference.
What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?
Zach Salter: I want to be remembered as a multidimensional visionary who always focused on relationships, not transactions. Nobody cares about you, they care about the value you bring. I am conscious of that every day and don’t take part in any venture that isn’t a win-win. At the end of the day, my reputation is my brand.
I want to be known for my ability to provide value to everyone I cross paths with. Napoleon Hill says, “The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does.” I live by that belief. Adding value to others’ lives in unexpected ways is my goal. Under promise, over deliver, and watch your influence and abundance multiply.