Josh Steimle – Get Your Priorities Straight and Remarkable Things Can Happen


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By Andrew Stotz. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Josh Steimle is an entrepreneur, author, and speaker, best known for his framework The 7 Systems of Influence and the 300+ articles he’s published in more than two dozen publications like Time, Forbes, Fortune, Mashable, and TechCrunch. Get started on writing your book with Josh at

“Business should never be your highest priority. If it is, you will lose the business along with everything else.”

Josh Steimle

Worst investment ever

Wanting to be like the greats

Josh was a college student when he made his worst investment ever. At the time, he had what he thought was a great job making $13 an hour. The company Josh was working for was growing like crazy. And so he thought he should leave and start his own business.

Josh would look at the company executives flying around, meeting with venture capitalists, having all the fun and making all the money, and think to himself, “I could do that too.” So he quit his job and started his own business.

Doing what he knew best

Josh knew how to design websites and hence started a web design business. He thought this would be as easy as launching a business, and then people line up and hire him. But nobody lined up. Soon enough, Josh had no money to pay rent and sold everything he owned on eBay to pay the rent.

Things start to looking up

After a while, Josh got a few clients and was able to survive. The business continued to grow steadily. Then he brought on a partner and then another, and the company grew a little bit more. It was tough, but he made it along.

Heading separate ways

Josh and the partners kept fighting and disagreeing on how to run the business. Eventually, things got so bad that they had to sell the business.

Josh restarted over again in 2003. Things went back to being tough. Because of the bad experience he had with his partners, Josh decided to do this by himself.

Giving business his all

Josh went out and got a $100,000 loan from the bank. He also borrowed money from family and friends. He invested all the money in his new business, and for the next four years, he drowned himself in work.

Josh would work 100 hours a week. He would go to sleep at three am on his office floor, wake up at 6 am and go right back to work six days a week. Josh didn’t take holidays; he worked Christmases and birthdays. He missed weddings and family reunions. Josh thought he was investing in himself, the business, and his family’s future. He believed that everything was going to pay off eventually, someday.

Four years of nothing

For the next four years, Josh immersed himself in his business, but he made absolutely no profit. He didn’t pay himself a dime all this while because he couldn’t afford it and was drowning in about $500,000 of debt.

Josh’s family had gained nothing from all the time and energy he put into the business. He was now at risk of losing his wife and family if he kept going down this path. It took Josh four years to realize that this was not working; it was not a good investment, and that he was losing everything.

Taking it a notch down

Josh decided that he would not continue working like this anymore. He started working 40 hours a week, spent more time with his wife, and didn’t work weekends anymore.

A funny thing happened once Josh set those boundaries and said no more. Within two months, he was paying himself for the first time in four years. He was able to pay off 10 or 20 grand in debt every month, and his wife could quit her job. She had been supporting the family for the previous four years, and she hated it. Everything turned around as soon as Josh set those boundaries.

Lessons learned

Set your own boundaries

Don’t let life set the boundaries for you, do it yourself. If you leave it to fate, the boundaries that life gives you are much more painful than the limitations you can set for yourself.

Get your priorities straight

Prioritizing is very important. Your family and your health have to come before your business. If you don’t take care of your health first, you won’t be very good at work, you don’t think very clearly, and you’ll end up dying because you’re not taking care of yourself. If you put your business ahead of all your other priorities in life, you will lose the company along with everything else. So get your priorities straight.

Build a life outside of work

Having something outside of work allows you to focus, ironically, more on the work. When you’re in the business every day, all day, and that’s all that consumes you, you can’t see the forest for the trees, you can’t see the decisions or the choices. But when you step back, and then you come back in, you often see things more clearly

Andrew’s takeaways

Sometimes working harder produces less

Working harder during a crisis does not produce more income or more revenue because nothing is happening. Focus more on your wellbeing.

Small businesses are a trap

Be careful before investing in a small business. You know, you go into it with all these dreams, and you get down the road and get to a point where you can’t go back, and you can’t go forward.

Actionable advice

Every 90 days, take a break, take a day off and do nothing, no work, disconnect from the internet, disconnect from your phone, and do absolutely nothing. Go somewhere and spend time with your family or exercise or read a book, but not a business book.

Do something that’s completely disconnected from your work, your career, and your business. If you do that, you will come back to your career and your business with ideas that will push you ahead. This will save you time and money. It will help you see things more clearly.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Josh’s goal for the next 12 months is to keep his priorities in life straight. He is continuing to figure out how to step back and make sure he does not get sucked back into crisis mode, where he feels like he has to work all the time.


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