Josh Fonger: Making More
While Working Less
Josh Fonger’s life changed because of a lotion store.
In fact, he wouldn’t have become one of the most sought-after business consultants in North America if it weren’t for a chance encounter at a lotion store while running an errand for his wife.
But life for Josh hasn’t always been a series of encounters with fate.
A few years ago, Josh was facing an uncertain future, laid off from his job in real estate, with a wife and kids to support.
At his low point, he delivered potato chips at 4 am while also landscaping and selling life insurance.
An interesting shift from real estate… but one that could pay the bills.
He was put through the wringer, but through it all, he still had his family.
And not only did he learn that the most important things in life can never be taken away…
But found his true calling helping young entrepreneurs reach their full potential.
Let’s get into the secret sauce to how he got here.
Prioritize What’s Important
Whether it’s switching off at a reasonable hour or getting an early start, Josh has perfected the art of balancing work and family.
But that wasn’t always the case.
Back in college, Josh admits to having a more worldly view of life. But these days, it’s about having a happy family and prioritizing what’s important.
And when it comes to business, the latter hits the nail on the head.
Being a high-level entrepreneur himself, Josh admits that work can seem never-ending. Priorities – and boundaries – often get blurred.
“If you don’t clearly define what your boundaries are, you’re just going to be carried along by what other people want, whether it’s your clients or your employer. There’s always going to be unlimited needs but also unlimited opportunity.”
The trade-off every millennial entrepreneur needs to make is working more hours or investing in these things that have lasting implications — the things that really matter.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
We’ve all read about the morning routines of the most successful people. Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 4 am to check emails. Michelle Obama works out at 4:30 am every day.
There’s living proof right there. An early, structured morning routine cultivates success.
Science has found early risers to be more productive, proactive, and efficient.
And Josh can certainly attest to this.
“I find early mornings to be the best time for productivity for me. I’m more focused and motivated, and there are fewer distractions and interruptions. Starting and ending my days earlier has allowed me to use his time wisely and balance work and family time,” he adds.
But getting to this well-balanced life was a journey.
His big life transition came in 2008. He lost his job and struggled to put his degree in architecture to good use.
He was losing everything. Yet, hope prevailed.
A Meeting of the Minds
When Josh met telecommunications expert, businessman and author Sam Carpenter, things changed.
Josh was roped in to help get Sam’s Work the System business off the ground. First as an employee, then as a contractor, part-owner, licensee and eventual owner.
Despite what could be seen as a chance encounter after walking into a lotion shop, Josh firmly believes that everything you’re going through exists to help you reach your ultimate goal.
Let’s take a look at some of the philosophies covered in Work the System and how Josh implements them to achieve business success.
5 Lessons from Work the System that Work
Josh highlights three keywords when implementing his Work the System methodology:
Three simple words. But that’s what Work the System is all about.
1. Boring Stuff Works
Josh maintains that the Work the System methodology is so successful because “boring stuff works.”
Being slaves to our careers, most people understand the pressure of the modern workplace.
Heightened stress and long hours. The inevitable burnout that follows. A business that fails. Ruined hopes and dreams.
What many entrepreneurs don’t realize is that you cannot be in control of everything.
Businesses are made up of smaller systems, and once these systems are understood, success can follow.
“People will always come up with new ideas, innovations, tweaks, hacks, mindsets, and new ways of interpreting the world,” says Josh.
“But the world has been around a long time and the truth is that the systems we created to manage and control things haven’t changed that much.”
Sometimes, it’s the old, tried-and-tested concepts that work the best.
And all it takes is a simple shift in perspective.
2. Build a Business, Not a Job
The truth is, most young entrepreneurs build themselves a job, not a business.
They work and work and work, and at the end of it, the business is worth nothing without them. It cannot be sold or passed down.
Work the System helps shift this mindset.
The idea is to first change a business owner’s values and principles before changing strategies and procedures.
This paradigm shift can be incredibly valuable for individuals and businesses alike.
But it’s never easy.
The basic concept is this:
View your business as something outside of yourself.
You need an “outside and slightly elevated” perspective to view your business from an objective standpoint.
This helps you understand what your business is about and how to move it forward.
You’re not sitting inside this machine but raised slightly above it. No, you’re not better than everyone else in the company – you’re simply observing the business from a different angle.
This view enables you to look at the business as separate elements and keep it functioning well by creating systems that work.
Once these systems are documented, they can be tweaked based on what’s working for your business and what isn’t.
Remember: You’re valuable, but you’re not the MVP.
Whether they say it out loud or not, many business owners believe they are the most important employee in the company.
Remove yourself from this perspective.
It takes the emotions out of running a business and helps you look logically at how things operate.
3. Not Every Employee Needs to Be a Rockstar
Not all businesses are going to make the Fortune 500 list.
Not all businesses are going to be successful.
But developing and documenting an excellent hiring process can contribute to the success of your business and can be used again and again.
Keep these points about great businesses in mind:
- A great business is built through the accumulation of great systems.
- Growing a business does not require the most amazing, talented people.
- A successful business requires resilient infrastructure and processes.
So, start by investing in your infrastructure.
The good people will come.
4. Make Your Strategic Objective Part of the Company’s Culture
Everybody in the business, including high- and low-level employees, should know exactly what your business objective is.
What’s the goal for the year?
Who are you serving?
What are all the products?
It sounds simple, but if everybody in your company can’t clearly articulate your objectives, how can they communicate them to the world?
5. Create a Culture of Decision-Making
A rigid approach to running a business is never a good idea.
Create flexible decision-making guidelines to allow people the freedom to improve the company.
These should be a part of your operating principles. Make your own decisions, but make sure they’re backed up by at least one of three factors: logic, fact or data.
We’ve touched on many aspects of the Work the System methodology.
Ultimately, what Work the System does is very simple:
- Shifts the founder’s mindset
- Clarifies their strategy
- Aligns their people
- Manages their systems
It’s about focusing on what makes a business work, developing and documenting procedures, and instilling those principles to everyone in the company.
In this way, business owners will never be lacking in resources, money, energy, or time.
They get their life back while the business grows, along with its profits.
Infuse these ideals and systems into the whole organization, and it can work for decades.
Want to learn more about making the system work for you? Visit the Work the System website.