Joshua is Everspire’s co-founder and heart of the company. While serving as Everspire’s CEO he also served as President of the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center Salt Lake County, Primary Children’s Hospital Planned Giving Committee, and continues to serve on the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning Scholarship Review Committee. Joshua’s unique expertise organizing the complexities of large estates and exposure to Foundations throughout the country has aided in increasing the quality of work available to even smaller estates. Working very closely with attorney’s and CPA’s, Joshua has helped drive a holistic approach to planning that extends far beyond what many high net worth families have experienced. Having merged with other RIA’s and practices, Joshua knows first hand how important a smooth transition can be—particularly for the client.
Where did the idea for Everspire come from?
According to my brother’s experience, our industry is very good at making money, often at the expense of other people, and there are inherent conflicts of interest everywhere you look. He saw the opportunity and reasoned that there had to be a way to make it work for everyone, where you do your best to reduce or eliminate as many conflicts of interest as possible, get paid, and grow your business because you’re good at your craft, not because you’re good at sales. We concentrated on being good at our craft and on the client rather than on sales tactics and marketing, resulting in slower growth. But it wasn’t until 15 or 16 years later that we hit the growth pattern where it paid off. The way we treated people 15 years ago is paying off in spades now. Fortunately, we were able to survive the financial crisis navigate what happened in March 2020 with COVID, and assist our clients through some extremely difficult times. I believe the vast majority would have nothing but positive things to say about our work ethic.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Before going to bed, I take out my gym clothes and place them on the floor in my living room. That way, when I’m getting ready in the morning, I don’t wake up my wife. I turn off all the lights before going to bed. I have a small reading light next to my bed and I read for a few minutes before falling asleep. Every morning at 5:30 am, I get out of bed and get dressed. If I stayed up late the night before, I would drink a pre-workout supplement, which has like 200 milligrams of caffeine, which is terrible. Otherwise, I go to the gym and either do CrossFit yoga or free weights or cardio on my own.
I go to the gym and get back home around 7:00 am. I prepare the kids’ breakfast, assist them with their lunches and help them get ready. My wife and I work together on this. Then, I make my breakfast, usually, a protein shake, an egg burrito, or avocado toast and I leave for work around 8:20 am or 8:30 am. I get to work, boot up my computer and go through my emails and CRM to see if anything needs to be responded to immediately. Then I prioritize.
I usually leave work around 6:30 pm or 7:30 pm for home and by then my family usually already has eaten dinner, so I eat something quickly then I get to spend some time playing with the kids. We brush our teeth, put on our jammies, and then I lie in bed with them and read and sing some songs, usually with my daughter first then with my three-year-old. Then I go over to my nine-year-old and hang out with him for a minute; he likes to read, so he prefers to be last so that he has more time. By the time I’m done, I’m usually exhausted so as soon as I hit the pillow, I go to sleep. And that pretty much sums up my Monday through Thursday.
In terms of productivity, when people say they work for me, I try to correct them by saying, “Please say you work with me.” We collaborate. And I mean, I would not be able to do what I do in a day if I didn’t have this army of exceptional people here. We work well together.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It isn’t easy to bring your ideas to life when you’re in a two-person or four-person group. However, as your team grows, it becomes clear that nothing happens without your team. I’m not fond of meetings, but we have a lot of them now because the more eyes we have on something, the better outcome we can come up with, to some extent. When an idea is brought up with our core team, it starts coming to life and takes shape. Whether it’s marketing or some technology group or management, the people involved with that, you bring it up to your core team and discuss it. Then you delegate various tasks. Typically, more information has to be gathered so that different people can be assigned specific tasks.
This is how we collaborate for innovation, and then we develop a roadmap for the next step. So, before you even say “Yes” or “No,” you’re asking, “How about this?”, “What about exploring this?” “How does this cost compare to this cost?” As a result, this is how an idea comes to life. In a nutshell, it results from a collaborative effort by specialists in that field.
Then we apply the concept to everything else in the big picture because one thing that small businesses fall victim to is the blinking light, which is often an exciting, new, or good idea. We’re like puppies, following the blinking light everywhere and if you don’t have a clear vision, direction, and roadmap, you’ll end up zigzagging all the way. So we’re working hard to ensure that we have a clear path.
We maintain laser focus unless adjusting is what we need. I would say that there is a significant difference, and the advantage of small businesses over large corporations is the ability to pivot when necessary. It is much more difficult to turn the ship when it is far down the road for large corporations, but the disadvantage for small businesses is that they are more likely to follow the blinking light and zigzag all over the place.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Right now, I’m really into the long hair trend. I grew up in Southern California, skateboarding and playing in the ocean. Still, when I went to business school, I cut my hair, started to wear polo shirts, and traded my truck for a more business-friendly vehicle. I’m in such a conservative state right now that it’s nice to finally be able to let my hair grow out a little. COVID enabled that trend because I wasn’t seeing many people, so I grew my beard and my hair a little longer, which has been a lot of fun.
I sold my Mercedes and replaced it with a Ford F150, and it’s been great fun just being myself. The most amusing aspect of it all is that no one cares. It’s not that they’re insensitive; it’s just that you’re not nearly as important as you think you are, and I mean that positively. We go around being so insecure about what other people think of us, but the people who matter accept and love us regardless of what they think, and with the people who do have a problem with us we shouldn’t care what they think anyway. As I’ve broken free from the Wall Street mold, I’ve realized that these are minor details that aren’t as significant as I once thought. What matters is your competence, sincerity, your follow-through.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’ve read a few neuroscience books, and one thing I’ve learned is that we process everything and heal our bodies and minds while we sleep. Sleep is essential.
Humans have evolved as an agrarian society. We’d farm, till the land, and hunt because that’s who we are. In the last 50 years, life has shifted dramatically from a physical to a mental state. So, could you think of how engaged my mind is? The second I wake up, I’m in full throttle, looking at screens and thinking.
So, before I go to bed, I take steps to ensure a good night’s sleep. I reduce the amount of light in my room, open windows for fresh air, and don’t look at screens in bed. I prefer to read in another room, but I do read in bed, which I don’t approve of. I wear a heart monitor on my arm that tracks my sleep, which is way better than average. I see the data of what the majority of people who wear these heart monitors are doing, and the majority of people are not getting enough sleep, which means they are not allowing their minds or bodies to heal. I can’t imagine how that affects someone as they age or interact with society, their children, or their business. You will pay the price eventually.
I’m a firm believer in the connection between sleep and depression. For many people who have experienced depression, one of the first things I would say if they ever wanted my opinion, and I am not the person they should be asking for an opinion, is that I hope they’re getting enough sleep.
What advice would you give your younger self?
If I could go back in time and choose, I would tell my younger self to choose a niche. Something that makes you tick. A focus group could be widows, doctors, chiropractors, tech, minorities, people in agriculture, or people who own real estate. It would have been more appropriate for me to focus on people with concentrated stock in tech companies when I first started finance. I would also advise myself to create a formal mission statement and a one-, three-, and five-year plan. I tell my kids that I don’t want them to be business school-minded. I want them to be happy. They can figure out what makes them tick and devise the steps necessary to get there, whether it’s balance, societal contribution, romance, or whatever makes them tick. It’s not just about your career.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Rarely are absolutes accurate.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Do ask for advice! Maintain a healthy perception of what you know and what you don’t because no matter how smart you think you are, many smarter people are out there. People with more experience and more intelligence. It is necessary to maintain a healthy dose of reality and know that if your cup is already full, you can’t add more to it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that’s helped us grow is a sincere interest in tax strategies and tax law. This strategy has helped us in some rugged landscapes and enabled us to give good advice to our clients.
People often focus on investments or taxes, but these are two intertwined topics. Understanding the tax-equivalent yield of something is important. For example, someone could double their money but then have to give half of it away because it was short-term capital gains, or there could be an estate tax, meaning they lose just under half their money. These are all things that a good financial advisor needs to be at least aware of to help their clientele.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I was sitting for the CFP exam, my brother died, my other brother, not my partner. I remember sitting there in the exam, it was a two-day test, and my mind just kept wandering. I probably shouldn’t have taken the test, but I failed the CFP exam miserably.
I signed up for the next available exam, and at the time, they did four per year. I still was working full time, and I tried to study in my free time, but I was just not in a good place. I was very depressed and immensely sad, but I also had a job, one son at the time, and a daughter on the way. It was just a very, very difficult time. I then took the CFP exam again and failed. I wasn’t used to failing, especially exams. I’m dumb in many areas, but I’m a great test-taker, so that was humiliating for me, especially because Roy took it and passed his first time.
I was embarrassed, and they’re expensive exams and take up a lot of time. I was letting my family down because I was spending so much time away. Some people said, “Hey, maybe you should wait and take it in a year. Let your mind clear.” I took the advice, and when I sat the exam the third time, I passed and was ecstatic. What I’ve learned from that is everybody has time to heal and cry, a time to grind, a time to love, and a time to laugh.
I’m optimistic about the younger generation. I think they’re much more in tune with others, with themselves. My observation is that they’re more inclined toward taking time when they need it for mental health and they’re not as interested in just the grind.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Spend more time learning about yourself before you start trying to build something you might be doing for the rest of your working life.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I don’t spend a lot which makes this question easy to answer. Recently, I bought my daughter, and me tickets to see a ballet for $100. They were a hundred dollars because I bought them on black Friday. I believe she is one of the most appreciative people in the world, making it so much fun to do things for her. We will dress up fancy, she will wear a fancy dress, and I’ll wear a bow tie to go to this ballet. The show is about Romeo and Juliet. I love the joy of doing small things for my family.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
CRM is one software that’s not financial advisor-oriented and helps me be productive every day. It’s hard for me to believe people can be efficient without it. I don’t know how people run their personal lives without a CRM. In one of my CRMs, I have my friends’ names for professional stuff, but I have also added their birthdays and personalized notes like what their interests are. If I know that it’s a tough day for someone, I will send flowers to them without a note. A CRM is a great way to manage your personal and professional life. And honestly, I have no idea how people get along without one.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I think Meditations has withstood the test of time. I think it’s profound, and it hits people differently because it’s been around for 2000 years, and when you realize that the most powerful man in the world who could have done or been anything is writing about forgiveness and patience.
They referred to him as the Laska king, and although he wasn’t perfect, he did so many good things for the Roman empire and the world. Unfortunately, many of the wisest words ever written are no longer with us, and the only reason his words are is that he happened to be the most powerful man in the world. So these aren’t necessarily his words. These are words from Zeno, Socrates and Plato, and many others that died before him whose words weren’t preserved. So I think it’s really good, and it connects people to the past, and it’s easy to read. There’s a line I’ll never forget from that book, “We’re just souls being held up by corpses.”
What is your favorite quote?
I’m paraphrasing, but I love the John Adams quote about studying war and politics so my kids can study art and the humanities. Something about that is beautiful. It’s about paving the way so that future generations can have the freedom to be creative and discover themselves in a way that you weren’t able to. We’re truly fortunate, and we should keep that work going forward, standing on the shoulders of the previous generation and those around us.
Recently there was a thing going around in pop culture where some people liked to say, “I’m here because of me, I did everything, me, me, me, me,” and then there are other celebrities that say I am nothing without the people around me and the people before me. I would say if I had to choose between the two, it’s the latter where there’s nothing I’ve done professionally that I could have done without my big brother. And that’s humbling. It’s also beautiful to say, “Hey, we did this together”.
- Prioritize rest in order to heal and be productive
- Building relationships is of utmost importance
- Always strive to do your best to honestly serve people — and the returns will eventually come
- To build a successful career, start by choosing a niche and creating a mission statement
- Goal setting is an important component of career development
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.