A Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, Josh Steimle generated over $10M in revenue for various businesses he owns by building a thought leadership system that includes books, speaking appearances, and over 300 articles in publications like Fortune, Time, Forbes, Inc., Mashable, TechCrunch, and Entrepreneur.

Josh is the creator of The 7 Systems of Influence framework used by entrepreneurs, educators, parents, and community leaders to build influence and increase impact.

Rogue caught up with Josh to explore his influences and

Rogue: Hi Josh, like myself, your background is in design, how important, do you believe, is design to the success of a company?

Depends on the company, but I feel safe saying that it matters more than most non-designers think, and perhaps only slightly less than most designers think…perhaps.

For example, when creating a brand there are three pillars, any two of which can make up for one missing. They are; 1) time, 2) money, and 3) design. If you can wait 100 years and spend a few billion, then you can make a poorly designed logo, like the script Coca-Cola logo, look good. If you’re short on time and money, however, you better have some great design.

Rogue: Who would you believe has influenced you most on your path and why?

There are too many to mention, but I’ll mention one–my mom. She used to read to me by my bedside when I was little and gave me a love of reading that has never left me. Today I make my living writing, and if I have any talent for writing, it’s because I read so much, and that goes back to my mom.

Rogue: You have interviewed so many masters of influence with your podcast, has anything stood out, a common denominator so to speak, that defines successful people?

Empathy. The ability to understand or “get” how others feel.

Rogue: What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?

That’s a tough one, I’ve got a lot of favorites. How about bringing on a business partner and giving him 10% of my company after only knowing him for 10 minutes? That was a good one. Or how about not paying payroll taxes until I was $70K in debt to the IRS? That’s like borrowing from the mafia. You like those? I’ve got more.

But at least I learn. The second time I brought on a partner I took two years to find and evaluate the right person. And I have a strong distaste for any sort of debt, and especially debt to the government. Those folks don’t mess around.

Rogue: What makes you get up in the morning and adds drive to your life?

Today I got a message from someone thanking me for my advice because it helped her land a new job she loves. She’s not a coaching client or anything, just someone I exchanged some messages with on LinkedIn. Saying something and hearing that it has changed someone’s life is an amazing rush. I’m always surprised that anyone cares what I think, and then because I’ve got major imposter syndrome I’m doubly surprised when people act on what I say and it works.

Rogue: Which one book would you most want to gift to people, and why?

As a Mormon it would be the Book of Mormon–which is actually a great book about how to influence people, if you read it that way, but if you want something secular then a great one I read recently is Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss. He was a top hostage negotiator and combines some crazy stories with principles of great communication and negotiation that are useful for anyone, no matter whether you’re an influencer, entrepreneur, parent, or student.

Rogue: Do you have any hidden talents you would like to share?

I ran a 70K, 14-hour trail running race over a bunch of mountains in Hong Kong, and I can do a kickflip on a skateboard. Those things seem to surprise a lot of people.

Rogue: What has the future in store for Josh Steimle, any projects you are excited about?

I’ve got two businesses, MWI, which is a marketing agency intent on world domination. We’ve got offices on three continents, and we’re on the lookout to hire “local CEOs” to open others. And I’ve been spending a lot of time lately on a new venture called Influencer Inc, which is a publishing, training, and events company. We train executives on how to become thought leaders. We get them published in top tier magazines, we optimize their game on LinkedIn, etc. I love that work because there are so many people out there with amazing experience and knowledge, but they just don’t know how to get it out to the rest of the world.

But what I’m most excited about is that my wife and I are working on adopting a child from China. Business is fun, but family is the ultimate startup experience.

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