Steve Sarowitz is the Founder and Chairman of Paylocity, a company that he started with just three people in a 600 square feet office which has since grown into a billion-dollar company and a leading US provider of payroll and HR solutions.

Steve also serves as CEO of Blue Marble Payroll, an international payroll provider, and the Director of Payescape, a UK payroll provider. He is also an international philanthropist who plans to give away over £1billion to charitable causes during his lifetime.

Steve and his wife have a family foundation that supports over 50 worthy causes worldwide, including programs helping orphans, foster children, refugees, and many other people in need. He has also helped produce several movies including The Gate, a ground-breaking film documentary about the Baháʼí faith which was named as the Best Religious Documentary of 2018.


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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Steve Sarowitz shares how he combines religion, philanthropy, and business
  • What is the correlation between business and the Baháʼí faith?
  • Steve discusses how he became a part of Wayfarer Studios and how the films Clouds and The Gate came about
  • Steve recalls his entrepreneurial journey and the founding of Paylocity and the early milestones of the company
  • Steve talks about what it was like to turn over the role of Paylocity CEO to Steve Beauchamp
  • How Steve lost a million dollars after investing in the wrong product and what he learned from it
  • Lessons Steve learned after taking his company public
  • How Steve founded Blue Marble after stepping down as CEO of Paylocity
  • Steve talks about how he grew Blue Marbles and their ideal customer
  • Low and high moments in Steve’s entrepreneurial journey and his philanthropy

In this episode…

Steve Sarowitz is passionate about the things he is involved in and he was able to utilize this passion to bring his faith, business, and philanthropy together in order to create a positive spin to everything he touches. Steve found a new religion six years ago and has gone on from there to create movies about it, found and run companies based on its principles, and more. But that’s only the latter part of Steve’s incredible entrepreneurial Journey.

He takes us back to the time he founded a Chinese restaurant and failed, and how he lost $1 million after investing in the wrong payroll product before getting it right with Paylocity. After Paylocity went public and grew into an $11 billion empire, Steve has gone on to found Blue Marble Payroll and join Wayfarer Studios—further expanding his successes and achievements in his entrepreneurial career.

Take a listen to Dr. Jeremy Weisz’s Inspired Insider Podcast episode with Steve Sarowitz, Founder and Chairman of Paylocity, about how Steve combines religion, philanthropy, and business in his career as an entrepreneur. Steve shares the story of how he founded and built Paylocity, the challenges that came with relinquishing control as CEO of the company, how he discovered and committed to the Baháʼí faith, the learning experiences he’s had throughout his career, and more.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Special Mentions

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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz 0:19

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, Founder of InspiredInsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders and some past episodes people should check out I had Mois Navon of Mobileye, he talks about the Mobileye journey of being acquired by Intel, for $15.3 billion. But you’ll Steve what struck me was a lot it was it was not like just an upward slope. Right, he had to go back at times and tell his kids and wife and pull them out of extracurricular activities, there’s no more eating out because of the, the bumps in the journey. And I love hearing those those real stories behind and other amazing Chicago entrepreneurs. I’m gonna introduce today’s guests in a second is, check out the interview with the Founder of RxBar, Peter Rahal, Jonny Imerman, of Imerman Angels who started one of the largest network of cancer survivor mentors in the world. And, Steve, you’re not like this one? Because it relates to this conversation, which is Perry Marshall wrote Evolution 2.0. And I interviewed him about breaking the deadlock between Darwin and Design, which basically he explored the debate about evolution, science, faith, and Does God Exist. And that was really fascinating interview. So before I introduce today’s guest, this episode is brought to you by Rise25. Rise25. We help businesses connect to their dream 100 relationships and give to their network of people by helping you run your podcast. You know, for me, Steve, the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I’m always looking at a way to give to my relationships and profile the people I admire the companies I admire on and shout it out to the world so other people can find out about it. And I’ve seen over the past over 10 years, podcasting is one of the best ways that I’ve seen to do that personally. So if you have questions about it, you want to launch your and run your own podcast, we can help you We’re an easy button for people go to Rise25.com. And today’s guest, Steve Sarowitz is a Founder and Chairman of Paylocity. And, you know, he started with three people in a 600 square foot office. And he took it to over a billion dollar company when they went public. And it’s a leading us provider of payroll and HR solutions. He also serves as CEO of Blue Marble, which is an international payroll provider, and Director of Payescape, a UK payroll provider, and he’s an international philanthropist who plans to give away over a billion dollars to charitable causes during his lifetime. And him and his wife have a Family Foundation, which support over 50 worthy causes worldwide, helping orphans, foster children, refugees, and many more. He’s also helped produce several movies, including The Gate, Cloud, and I blame you, Steve for making me stay up too late last night because I was up on YouTube, watching these things. And before I know it, it’s three in the morning. So Steve, thanks for joining me.

Steve Sarowitz 3:13

My pleasure. My word question is Which side of God? Did he end up? Is he a believer or not

Jeremy Weisz 3:19

a believer?

Steve Sarowitz 3:20

Okay. Yeah.

Jeremy Weisz 3:21

I mean, part of the book he talks about, he think he gives the example in the book, I believe that if you take a scrapyard and take a tornado. And would it create a jumbo jet? Like would the chaos of a tornado just randomly put a jumbo jet together perfectly. And he’s like, there’s some higher power that has to put things in order. And that’s what he talks about in the book. But he comes at it from like a very, he’s an engineer by trade. So he comes at it from engineering approach. But I know before we hit record, you said something interesting, which is you, you kind of combine religion, philanthropy and business all in one. Right. So what do you mean by that?

Steve Sarowitz 4:06

Well, I’m a very passionate Baha’i. And so my philanthropy is really influenced greatly by the Baha’i ideals of the Baha’i writings and the same thing with business. So I became a high just under six years ago, almost six years ago to the day, February 10 2015. And I, at first, I didn’t see the connection, I thought, well, I’m a very passionate Baha’i, I’m not going to do much in business, because I’m not interested in that I’ll just teach the Baha’i faith because I didn’t need money anymore. I could just walk away. And over time, I’ve come back to business realizing I have these talents, and that God gave me these talents. And I can use these talents. But I can incorporate my faith into business and in my company. Now, my latest iteration is Wayfarer Studios, which I’m partners with the wonderful Justin Baldoni who’s coming out with a new book called Man Enough, in addition to directing Clouds, which you mentioned, Baháʼí it, it’s a it’s a company that’s inspired by Baháʼí ideals. And so we actually just listed that to all our employees last week. So we went over the values of the company, and then we gave them some Baháʼí writings, which backed up the values. And we’re not trying to convert our employees to be Baháʼís, we’ve told them, they can be anything they want. But we’re saying, this is a value that’s important to us. And this is a value. So for example, honesty, you know, things, and integrity. And so these Baháʼí values and women being equal to men, and diversity is very important to us. So one, the idea that we’re one human family, so all of these values are translating to the business itself,