Andrew: Hey there, Freedom Fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses.
Listen. I’ve done over 1,500 interviews, and I’ve got to tell you this definitely the most impactful interview I that I did in 2018, maybe the most impactful interview that I did ever. The part that I have to be open with you on is that I don’t know how to communicate to you how meaningful this interview was to me. I don’t have a great, sexy headline or a great entry point.
All I can tell you is this. Russell Brunson, the founder of ClickFunnels, from time to time sends me text messages about how he likes that I pushed a guest hard or he likes that I go this bit of info out of another guest. When he was doing a live event, he said, “Andrew, can I pay you to come and interview me on stage?”
I said, “I dig you so much that I don’t even need you to pay. Why don’t you just make it nice for my family?” And he did. He gave me a great experience for the family. That’s not what made it so impactful. Once I got there, I got to see his customers, and it was interesting to see why they signed up for ClickFunnels, but that’s not what made it so impactful. Even the guy who tattooed the ClickFunnels logo on his body, it was interesting, but that’s not what did it.
There’s something about prepping for this interview and seeing the dozens and dozens of websites and businesses that Russell Brunson launched and didn’t become the big hits that really had a big impact on me. Some of them, I could see the earnestness and the way that they were written, but they were kind of silly in retrospect, earnest and not really effective, and the business behind them didn’t go well, but the thing that touched me was how much he just kept trying and trying and trying these different things until he hit on ClickFunnels, which – I won’t spoil it for you – is really doing well financially. So that’s the part that impacted me.
Another part . . . I’m yapping a little too much in this intro, but maybe this will communicate to you how much I love this interview, and if you don’t love this, you can frankly just fast forward through this intro and get into the interview. It’s really good. But I’ll tell you one other thing.
I told him that I was going to bring people from the team, from ClickFunnels, just surprise him and bring them onstage, and one of the people that impacted me was Dave. There is a line in this interview. I don’t even remember exactly what it was. I basically said to Dave, “You work at ClickFunnels. Why do you have to get every little sale from me? I’m happy that I buy from you guys, but it seems a little petty that you’re selling me something for a few bucks.”
His response was something like, “We want this sale and the next one. Yes, we care about the small and the big.”
I think about that sometimes not just in my work but even when I work out. Sometimes my workout just sucks, and I think, “Well, this is kind of a small workout. I’ll just concentrate on the next one that’s really big,” and I think about, “No. Here’s a company that’s doing really well, and even to them a small $50 or $25 sale is not too small for them to care about and to work on and to fight for.” I think about that a lot with my life. Even those little workouts I have to go for. Even the little sale at my company at Mixergy I have to go for. Even the little interactions matter. There’s so much else.
All right. Just take my word for it. Go listen to this interview all the way through to the end. It’s fantastic, and I’m grateful to Russell for inviting me out there and also knowing that on my way over I would do some pretty heavy research and even talk to people who don’t really love him to understand how his company was built.
All right. This interview is sponsored by two phenomenal companies. The first will help you hire your next phenomenal developer. It’s called Toptal. And the next will help you host your website right. It’s called HostGator. Yes, even HostGator will work well with ClickFunnels.
All right. Here’s the interview.
Interviewee: ClickFunnels has changed a lot of our lives. We all have an origin story. Mine was something similar. I set up my website on GoDaddy, and things were going great, and then Dave Woodward’s like, “Dude, you need ClickFunnels.”
I’m like, “I don’t need a click funnel. I don’t even know what a click funnel is.”
He’s like, “No, seriously, man, this is going to totally change your business.”
I’m like, “Bro, I have GoDaddy. They have a commercial on the Super Bowl. ClickFunnels doesn’t, but when they do, I’ll do it.” Well, boy, was I wrong. I changed over, and it absolutely changed our business and changed our lives, so thank you for that, Dave.
But here’s the thing. In every industry, there’s somebody that comes along that really disrupts the industry, that really changes it, and that really does something amazing for that industry, and as we all, why we’re here, we know that that person is Russell Brunson, and he has changed a lot of our lives.
So before I bring him up here, they have asked me to ask you to make sure that you don’t do any live recording of this next interview because the gloves are coming off, and they want to be the ones to present it to the world. You can do little Instagram clips if you’d like, 15-second ones, and tag them. My understanding is the best hashtag and the best clip gets a date with Drew. I don’t know. That’s just what they told me, so blame them. But with that, again, no videoing, and let us just absolutely take the roof off this place as we bring up our beloved Russell Brunson. Give it up, guys.
Russell: Thank you. All right. Well, thanks for coming, you guys. This is so cool, and I’m excited to be here. So a couple real quick things before we get started. For all of you as you know who came to be part of this, we had you all donate a little bit of money towards Operation Underground Railroad. I’m really excited because Melanie told me right before I got here kind of the total, how much money we raised from this little event for them. So I think the final number was a little over $13,000 raised for Operation Underground Railroad.
So thank you guys for continuing to support them. Just to put that in perspective, that’s enough money to save about five children from sex slavery, so it is a big deal. It’s a lifechanging thing, so it’s pretty special. I’m grateful to you guys for donating money to come here. Hopefully, you’ve had a good time so far. It’s been fun? I really want to tuck my shirt in now. I’m feeling kind of awkward. No, it’s been awesome.
Okay. So right now, I want to introduce the person who’s going to be doing the interview tonight. It’s someone I’m really excited to have here. In fact, I met him for the first time an hour ago in person, but I want to tell kind of the reason why I wanted him to do this and why we’re all here. I’m grateful he said yes and was willing to come out here and do this.
Andrew runs a podcast called Mixergy. How many of you guys in here are Mixergy listeners? All right. Mixergy is my favorite podcast. I love it. He’s interviewed thousands of people about their startup stories and about how they started their businesses, and it’s really cool because he brings in entrepreneurs and gets them to tell their stories, but what’s unique about what Andrew does that’s fascinating is the way he interviews people is completely different. It’s unique.
I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I don’t like a lot of interview shows because a lot of them are just kind of high-level. Everyone you listen to with Andrew, he gets really, really deep. The other fun thing is he doesn’t edit his interviews. There’s one interview – I’ll tease him about this right now – but I was listening to it on my headphones, and him and the guest got into kind of an argument and a fight, and then it just ended, and then they aired it. I was like, “I can’t believe you aired that. It was amazing.”
Then I was on his podcast a little while later, and he asked me some question. I couldn’t quite understand perfectly, so I was trying to respond to the best that I could and kind of fumble through it.
Instead of letting me off the hook, his response was, “Man, Russell, that was probably the worst answer I’ve ever heard you give in any interview ever.”
I was like, “Oh, my gosh.”
So I’m excited for tonight because I told him there are no holds barred. He can ask me anything he wants about the ups of ClickFunnels, the downs of ClickFunnels, anything else, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m excited to have him here. So with that said, let’s put our hands together for Mr. Andrew Warner.
Andrew: Thanks so much. Thanks for having me here. [inaudible 00:08:42]. I think my mic is right over here. Thank you, everyone. Thanks, Russell, for having me here. Most people will contact me after I interview them and say, “Could you please not air the interview?” You actually had me back here to do it in person, and you were so nice. You even got us this room here.
Check this out. They set us up. They’re so nice at ClickFunnels. They said, “Andrew, you’re staying here. We’re going to put you and your family up the night before in a room.” My wife was so good. Look. That’s her journaling. My kids were playing around, sleeping together and enjoying themselves. Then I went to call somebody who was basically let go from ClickFunnels.
My wife goes, “Andrew, why do you have to do that? That’s not why they invited you here.”
I said, “I do know Russell. I know the team. They actually did invite me to really help get to the story of how ClickFunnels started, how it built up,” and the reason that I was up calling people and understanding their stories is because I want to make it meaningful for you.
I talked to a lot of you as you were coming in here. You want to know how they got here. “What worked for ClickFunnels? What would work for us?” So that’s my goal here, to spend the time understanding by interviewing you about how you did it.
So I want to go way back to a guy that a few of you might recognize, and I know you would, and ask you, “What drew you to this guy when you were younger?”
Russell: Don Lapre.
Don: One tiny classified ad in the newspaper that makes just $30 to $40 profit in a week, it could make you a fortune because the secret is learning how to take that one tiny classified ad that just made $30 to $40 profit in a week and to realize that you can now take that same exact ad and place it in up to 3,000 other new newspapers around the country.
Russell: I’m having nostalgia right now. Okay, so this is the story on that. So I was, I don’t know, 12, 13 years old, something like that, and I was watching the news with my dad. Usually, he was like, “Go to bed, Russell,” and he didn’t that night. Then the news got over, and I think he thought I was asleep, and then M.A.S.H. came on. So M.A.S.H. started playing. Then it got over.
Then this infomercial showed up. I’m laying there on the couch watching Don Lapre talk about tiny classified ads. I was totally freaking out. I just jumped up, and I begged my dad to buy it, and he said no. I was like, “Are you kidding? Did you not listen to what he said?”
Did you guys hear that? That was a good pitch, huh? It’s really good. I love a good pitch. It is so good. So I went and asked my dad if I could earn the money. So I went and mowed lawns and then earned the money to order the kit, and I still have the original books to this day.
Andrew: Were you disappointed? I bought it too. It was the dream of being able to . . .
Russell: That’s why I like you so much. That’s amazing.
Andrew: And all he sent you was a bunch of paper guides to how to buy ads, right? Were you disappointed when you got that?
Russell: No. I was excited. I think for me the vision was cast. It was like he just said it right there. It worked for him. You make $40 a newspaper, and if you’re disappointed, you put that same ad in 3,000 newspapers. Imagine that. So I had the vision of that. I think the only thing I was disappointed in was I didn’t have any money to actually buy an ad, and that was more like, “I can’t actually do it now.”
Andrew: You are a champion wrestler, and then you got married. Is your wife here?
Russell: My beautiful wife right here, Colette.
Andrew: Hey, Colette.
Andrew: And your dad had a conversation with you about money. What did he say?
Russell: So up to that point, my dad had supported me, and I figured he would the rest of my life. I think. I don’t know. I was 21, almost 22 at this time. I was wrestling. I couldn’t get a job because I was wrestling all the time. I met Colette and fell in love with her. Then I called my parents. I was like, “Hey, I’m going to marry her. I’m going to propose to her and everything,” expecting them to be like, “Sweet. That’ll be awesome.”
My mom was all excited. I’m not going to lie. But my dad was like, “Well, just so you know, if you get married, you have to be a man now. You have to support yourself.”
And I was like, “But I don’t know how to do that. I’m wrestling.”
He’s like, “Well, I’m not going to keep paying for you to do it.”
I’m like, “But I literally got the ring. I can’t not propose now,” and that was kind of the thing.
So it was interesting because about that time there was another infomercial. There’s the pattern. I can’t remember exactly the name of the company, but they were doing an event at the local Holiday Inn that was like, “Hey, you can build websites to make money.” It was the night or day or two days after I told my dad this, and he was like, “You’re in trouble, huh?”
I saw that, and I was like, “There’s the answer.” So I’m at Holiday Inn two days later, sitting in the room, hearing the pitch, signing up for stuff I shouldn’t have bought. There’s the pattern.
Andrew: Did you feel like a loser getting married at 22 and still counting on your dad for money? Did you feel like you were marrying a loser?
Russell: Actually, this is a sad story because my roommate at the time, she actually asked.
She was like, “Do you think he’s going to be able to support me in the future?”
And he was like, “Yeah, I think so.” I didn’t know this until later.
I don’t know if I was a loser, but I definitely was nervous. I’m like, “Oh, my gosh.” My whole identity up to that point in my life was I was a wrestler, and if that was to disappear, I couldn’t have that disappear. So I was like, “I have to figure out something. There’s got to be some way for me to do both.”
Andrew: To do both what? To be a wrestler and make money from some infomercial?
Russell: Well, I didn’t know that was going to be the path, but yeah.
Andrew: But you knew that you were going to do something. What did you think that was going to be?
Russell: I wasn’t sure. When I went to the event, they were selling these timeshare books, and you could buy resale rights to them. I was like, “Oh.” I remember back then. I remember the Don Lapre stuff, right? I was like, “Maybe I can buy classified ads and sell these things.” Then I was at the event, and then they’re talking about websites, and that was the first thing I had heard about websites. They’re talking about Google and the beginnings of this whole internet thing, right?
So I was like, “I can do that.” It made all logical sense to me, but I just didn’t know how to do it. I just knew that was going to be the only path because if I had to get a job, I wouldn’t be able to wrestle. So I had to figure out something that’s not going to be a 40-hour thing because I’m spending that time wrestling and going to school. So I had to figure out the best of how to do both.
Andrew: You obviously found it. My goal today is to go through the process of finding it, but let me skip ahead a little bit. What is this website?
Russell: Oh, man. All right. The back story behind this is there was a guy named Vince James who wrote a book called “The 12-Month Millionaire,” and if anyone’s got that book, it’s fat like a phonebook. It’s a huge book. I read it, and I was like, “This book’s amazing.”
At the time, I was an affiliate marketer. I had maybe 1,000 people on my list. So I called up Vince. I was like, “Hey, can I interview you about the book and then use that as a tool to sell more copies of your book?”
He was like, “Sure.”
And so he jumped on the phone with me on a Saturday. He spent three hours letting me interview him with any questions I had. I got to the end of it and I still had a ton of questions. I was like, “Well, come back next week and do it again.” So I interviewed him for six hours about it, and we used that to sell some copies of his book.
Then it just sat there probably for two or three years as I was trying different ideas for businesses and things like that. But every time I would talk to people, I would tell them about this interview. I’m like, “I interviewed this guy who made $100 million through direct mail,” and everyone wanted to hear the interview. Everyone asked me for it. So one day, I was like, “Let’s just make that the product. We’ll put it up here.” This is the very first funnel we ever had that did over $1 million, my first 2 Comma Club funnel.
Andrew: A million dollars. Do you remember what that felt like?
Russell: It was amazing. It was funny back then because there were a few people who were making a lot of money online that I was watching and just idolizing everything they were doing. I was trying to model what they were doing. I had little wins like $10,000 here or $15,000 here, but this was by far the first one that just hit. Everyone was so excited to hear it.
Andrew: How did you celebrate?
Russell: I don’t even remember how we celebrated.
Andrew: Wow. You married a winner after all. Do you remember what you guys did to celebrate? No.
Russell: I don’t even remember.
Colette: [inaudible 00:16:49]. Do you remember?
Russell: It was on my list. That’s a good question.
Andrew: It’ll come up. That list is going to come up in a second too. You ended up creating ClickFunnels. How much revenue are you guys doing now in 2018?
Russell: In 2018, we’ll pass over $100 million this calendar year.
Andrew: One hundred million dollars? Wowie. How far have you come?
Russell: Like when we started?
Andrew: Revenue as of today, October, 2018.
Russell: Oh, this year?
Russell: Or from the beginning of time until now?
Andrew: No, no. I mean, I want to know. You’re going to do $100 million. Are you at $10 million and you’re hoping to get to $100 million?
Russell: These guys know better than me. Do you guys know where we’re at right now? It’s $83 million for the year.
Andrew: Eighty-three million dollars. I love that Dave knows that, right? I want to know how you got to that. I went through your site. Pages and pages that look like this. It’s like long-form sales letters. I asked my assistant to take pictures. She said, “I can’t do it. It’s too many.” Look at this, guys. I asked him to help me figure out what he did. He created this list. This is not the full list. Look at this. Every blue line is him finding an old archive of a page that he created. It goes on and on like this. How long did it take you to put that together?
Russell: It was probably five or six hours just to find all the pages.
Andrew: Five or six hours you spent to find these images to help me tell this story and years and years of doing this. A lot of failure. What amazes me is you didn’t feel jaded and let down after Don Lapre sold you that stuff. You didn’t feel jaded and let down and say, “This whole making money thing is a failure,” and we’re going to talk about some of your failures. You just kept going with that same smile, the same eagerness.
All right. Let’s talk with the very first business. What’s this one? This is called . . .
Russell: SublimeNet. How many of you guys remember SublimeNet out there? Anyway.
Andrew: Do you guys remember this? Anyone remember it? You do?
Russell: John does.
Russell: Actually, this is the first business, but the first website I bought, I was so proud of it. I spent . . . I don’t know. I wanted to sell software, so I was like, “What can I name my company?” I figured out Exciting Software, so I went by exciteware.com, but it wasn’t for sale. So I bought exciteware.net.
Colette was working at the time, and she came home, and I was so excited. I’m like, “We got our first website. We’re going to be rich.” I told her the name. I was like, “It’s exciteware.net.”
And she looked at me with this look, and she goes, “Wait. Are you selling underwear? Is it lingerie?”
I’m like, “No. It’s software.”
And then she’s like, “I’m not going to tell my mom that you bought that. You’ve got to think of another name.”
I was like, “Crap.” So that was the next best name I came up with was SublimeNet because I liked the band Sublime. That was it.
Andrew: I was going to ask you what it was, but it was lots of different things. Every screenshot on there, there’s a whole other business under the same name. What are the businesses? Do you remember?
Russell: There was website hosting. There were affiliate sites. I can’t remember now. I’m trying to remember.
Andrew: Lots of different things.
Russell: Everything I can think of. Resale rights.
Andrew: How did it do? How well did it do?
Russell: Oh, never anything. Very little. I remember the first thing I sold. It was an affiliate product. I made $20 on it through my PayPal account. I remember that night. I do remember I celebrated. We went out to dinner, and I had a PayPal credit card, and we bought dinner with $20, and then the guy refunded the next day. I was so sad, but I was proud that I had made money.
Andrew: How did you support yourself while this was not working?
Russell: I didn’t. My beautiful wife did. She had two jobs at the time to support me while I was wrestling and doing these things, and she was the one that made it possible to be able to gamble and risk and try crazy things.
Andrew: Can I put you on the spot and ask you to just come over here and just tell me about this period and what you felt at the time? I know that you don’t love being on stage. Russell is good with it, but I know that you don’t love it. If you don’t mind, I’m just going to go with one more story, and then I’ll come back to you. Are you cool with it? Good. She seems a little nervous. Actually, wait. Let’s see if we can get her right now.
Colette: [inaudible 00:20:46].
Andrew: Oh, you are. Okay.
Russell: Everyone, this is Colette, my beautiful wife.
Andrew: Do you want to use his mic?
Russell: She’s so mad at you right now.
Colette: I wanted to come to this. Who knew?
Andrew: He’s so proud that he had no venture funding, but you are like his first investor.
Russell: That is true.
Colette: Yes. I am his first investor.
Andrew: Can you move the mic a little bit closer for me?
Andrew: How did you know he wasn’t a loser? No job. He’s wrestling. He’s buying infomercial stuff that doesn’t go anywhere. We know he did well, so we’re not insulting him now, but what did you see in him back then that let you say, “I’m going to work extra hard and pay for what he’s not doing?”
Colette: What did I see in him? It was actually his energy, his spirit. I’m not going to lie. It was not love at first sight. We were [inaudible 00:21:52]. You know what I mean? He shopped at the Goodwill in baggy pants and t-shirts, you know? I don’t know, but it was the person who, yeah, just was always positive, and we had the same goals.
Andrew: That’s the thing I noticed too, the positivity when these businesses fail. We’re showing a few on the screen. It’s easy to look back and go, “Ha-ha. I did this, and it was interesting,” but at the time, what was the bounce-back like when things didn’t work out, when the world basically said . . . you know what? As salespeople, when they don’t buy your stuff it’s like they don’t buy you. The world basically said, “We don’t like you. We don’t like what you’ve created.” What was the bounce-back like? Hard?
Colette: No, because I come from a hardworking family, and so I work hard. So you just work hard to make it work.
Andrew: And he’s just an eternal optimist, and you’re an eternal optimist too?
Andrew: Genuinely? Really?
Colette: I guess. It works.
Andrew: His dad said, “No more money.” You had to cut up your credit cards too. How did you cut up your credit cards? What was that day like?
Colette: Hard because, for those of you that don’t know, I’m a little bit older than Russell. So I’ve always had this independency to go do and buy and do these things. All of a sudden, I’m like, “Whoa. Step back, sister. Got to take care of this young man [inaudible 00:23:20].” Anyway, but now, yeah.
Andrew: Now things are good.
Colette: Now things are amazing.
Andrew: All right. Give her a big round of applause. Thanks for coming up here. These businesses did okay, and then you started something that I never heard about, but look at this. I’m going to zoom in on a section of the Google doc you sent me. This is the call center. The call center got to how many employees, 100?
Russell: We had about 60 full-time salespeople, 20 full-time coaches, and about 20 people doing the marketing, so it was about 100 people in the whole company, yeah.
Andrew: You had 100 people doing what kind of call center and what kind of work?
Russell: So what we would do is we would sell free CDs and things like that online, free CDs, free books, free whatever, and then when someone would buy them, we would call them on the phone and then offer them high-end coaching.
Andrew: Okay, and this was you getting customers how?
Russell: Man, back then it was pre-Facebook, so a lot of it was Google. It was email lists. It was anything we could figure out to drive traffic, all sorts of weird stuff.
Andrew: And then people would come in, get a free CD, sign up for coaching, and then you had to hire people and teach them how to coach?
Andrew: How did you do that?
Russell: That was hard for me. When we first started doing it, I was just doing the coaching. People would come in, and Brent and some of these guys will remember the little office we had. We would bring people in, and we were just so proud of our little office. They’d come in, and then we would teach them for two or three days, teach an event for them.
And then, as it got bigger, it was harder and harder for me to do that, and a lot of people didn’t want to come to Boise. I love Boise, but it’s really hard to get to. So people would sign up for coaching, and then they would never show up to Boise, and then a year later they would want their money back. We had to do something where they’re getting fulfilled whether they showed up to Boise or not, so we started doing phone coaching. At first, it was me, and then it was me and a couple of other people. Then we started to train more coaches, and that’s how it kind of started.
It was one of those things, though, where at first it was just five or six of us just in a room doing it, and it worked. So then the next logical thing was like, “Well, we should go from 5 people to 10 to 20,” and the next thing you know, we wake up with 100 people. I’m like, “What are we doing? We’re little kids. It scares me that I’m in charge of all these people’s livelihoods,” but that’s kind of where was that, and it got kind of scary for me.
Andrew: You know, sometimes I wonder if I’m hiding behind interviewing because I’m afraid to stand up and say, “Here’s what I want. Here’s what I think we need to do. Here’s how the world should be.” So I’m amazed that even back then after having a few businesses that didn’t really work out you were comfortable enough to say, “Come to my office. I’m going to teach you. I’ve got it figured out,” when you hadn’t.
How did you get yourself comfortable, and what made you feel comfortable about being able to say, “I can teach these people who come to my office, who call up, who then become my coaches, who then have to teach other people?”
Russell: You know, for me, when I first started learning the online stuff and entrepreneurship, I think most people feel the same. It’s so exciting. You want to tell everybody about it, right? I’m telling my friends, my family, and nobody cares at first. You’re like, “I have to share this gift I figured out. It’s amazing, and nobody cares.” Then the first time somebody cares, you just dump it on them. You want to show it to them.
I hadn’t made tons of money, but I had a lot of these little websites that had done $30,000, $50,000, $100,000. So for me, it was like, “I can show these people. I know what that did for me. It gave me the spark to make me want to do the next one and the next one.” So for me, it was really just like, “I want to share this because I feel like I’ve figured it out.”
So that was the thing. We were coming in. We weren’t teaching people how to build $100 million companies, but we’re like, “Hey, you can quit your job. You make $2,000 or $3,000 a month. You can quit your job. This is how I did it. This is the process.” And so that’s what we were showing people. It was the foundation of how we did it, it was just us showing it to other people because they cared and it was exciting to share it with other people.
Andrew: Is Whitney here? There she is. Whitney, I met her as she was coming in. I wanted to get to know why people are coming to watch this, what they wanted to hear from you, and Whitney was asking about the difficult periods, the why. I’m wondering the same thing that she and I were talking about, which is, “Why put yourself through this?” You could have gotten a job. You could have done okay. Why put yourself through the risk of hiring people, the eventual, as we see, closing of the company? What was your motivation? What was the goal? Why did you want to do it?
Russell: I think it shifts. I think it shifts throughout time, right? I think most entrepreneurs when they first get started it’s because of the money. They want to make money. Then you get that, and then, really quick, that doesn’t last very long. Then for me, it was like, “I want to share this with other people,” and then when other people get it, there’s something about the a-ha moment that’s like, “Oh, my gosh. They got it. They got what I was saying.” That for me was the next level, the next high. It was just like, “Oh, I love that.”
Back then, we had some success stories coming through, but nowadays it’s like the bigger success stories come through. I don’t know. For me, that’s what drives it on. That is the fascinating part. Most software company owners don’t keep creating books and courses, but when people have the a-ha, it’s like, “Oh, my gosh.” That’s the best for me.
Andrew: That’s the thing. You get the high of the thing that you wanted when you were growing up. You wanted somebody to show it to you, and if you can then genuinely given to them, not like Don Lapre but Don Lapre plus actual results, that’s what fires you up.
Russell: It does fire me up. It’s amazing.
Andrew: What happened? Why did that close down?
Russell: Oh, man. A lot of things, a lot of bad mistakes, a lot of first-time, growing-company stuff that I didn’t . . . again, we just woke up one day, it felt like. We were in this huge office with huge overhead, and about that time, it was like ’99 or 2000, something like that. The merchant account that me and most of the people doing internet marketing at the time, we all used the same merchant account, and they got hit by Visa and MasterCard. So they freaked out and they shut down I think it ended up being 400 or 500 merchant accounts overnight. We had nine different merchant accounts with that company. All of them got shut down instantly.
I remember everything was fine. We were going through the day. It was 1:00 in the afternoon on a Friday. They came in like, “Hey, the cards won’t process.” We couldn’t figure out why they weren’t processing. Then we tried to call the company, and no one was answering at the company.
I finally get someone on the phone, and they said, “Oh, yeah. You got shut down along with all the other scammers,” and then she hung up on me.
I was like, “I don’t know what to do right now. I’ve got 100-plus people, and payroll is not small,” and we didn’t have a ton of cash in the bank. It was more of a cashflow business.
Colette had actually just left town that night. She was gone. I remember “Avatar” had just come out, so everyone was going to the movie “Avatar” that night. I remember sitting there during the longest movie of all time. I don’t remember anything other than this sick feeling in my stomach. I was texting everyone I know trying to see if anyone knew what to do, and everyone I knew was like, “We got shut down too. We got shut down.” Everyone got shut down, and we couldn’t figure out anything. We came back the next day. I called everyone up.
Actually, kind of a funny side story. I had just met Tony Robbins prior earlier to this. So that night, I was lying in bed. It was 4:00 in the morning, and my phone rings. I look at it, and it was Tony Robbins’s assistant. I pick it up, and he’s like, “Hey, is there any way you can be in Vegas in three hours? There’s a plane from Boise to Vegas. Tony wants you to speak at this event. It’s starting in three hours. You need to be onstage in three hours.”
I’m sitting here. My whole world just collapsed. I’m lying in bed sick to my stomach, and I was like, “I don’t think I can. I have to figure this thing out.”
He tells Tony, and they call me back. “Tony says if you can’t make it, don’t show up. You’re fine.”
So I didn’t go. The next morning, I woke up and there was a message on my phone that I had missed. I passed out and woke up. It was a message from Tony, and he was like, “Hey, man. I know that you care about your customers. You care about things.” He’s like, “I don’t know the whole situation, but worst-case scenario, if you need help, let me know. We can absorb you into Robbins Research or whatever, and you can be one of my company does. That way, if you want, we can protect you.”
I heard that, and I was like, “Okay. That’s the worst-case scenario. I get to work with Tony Robbins. That’s the worst-case scenario.”
Then I called up everybody on my team, and I was like, “Okay, guys. We’ve got to try to figure out how to save this.” Brent and John and everyone came back to my house. I was like, “Okay. What ideas have we got?” We just sat there for the next five or six hours trying to figure stuff out, and then we went to work.
I wish I could say that everything turned around, but it was the next 2 or 3 years of us firing 30 people, firing 20 people, closing things down, moving down offices, just shrinking for a long, long time until the peak of it. It was about a year after that moment. We were in Vegas at an event trying to figure out how to save stuff, and I got an email from my dad, who was helping with the books at the time.
He said, “Hey, I’ve got really bad news for you. I looked through the books, and it turns out your assistant, who was supposed to be doing payroll taxes, hasn’t paid payroll in over a year.” He’s like, “You owe the IRS over $170,000, and if you don’t pay this, you’re probably going to go to jail.”
I was like, “Oh, my gosh.” Every penny I had earned to that point was gone. Everything was done. We had lost everything. I was just like, “I don’t know how to fight this battle, but if I don’t fight it, I go to jail, apparently.” That’s a really crappy feeling, yeah. Brent and some of those guys are reliving this with me right now. I know. I remember going back that night. I was lying in bed, and I was just like, “I wish that I had a boss that could fire me because I don’t know what to do or how to do it,” and that was definitely the lowest spot for me.
Andrew: And you stuck with him?
Interviewee: [inaudible 00:32:20].
Andrew: Wow. Yeah. You know what? I’ve talked to a few of your people because they’re so good. Dave could really be a leader on his own. He could start his own company. He’s got his own online reputation, the whole thing. I keep asking him, “Why do you work for Russell? What is it that lets you be second to Russell, who’s getting all the attention?” I got some answers.
Would you mind coming up here in a second? I’m going to ask you. No. Come on back here. I’ll just bring you up in a second. Actually, you know what? It looks like you can come pretty fast. I thought that it would be a little more. No. I thought it would be more of a thing to get mics on people, and I realized if Colette can do it, then okay.
Honestly. Dig down deep. Why did you want to stick with him?
Interviewee: Through all that stuff?
Interviewee: I don’t know. My heart was just racing as he started telling that story. It just makes me sick to my stomach. As you scroll down and look at all of those businesses, for years, every 30 days there was a new business launch. It was crazy. I think why I stuck with him is, you know, Clint [SP] mentioned that spirit. He’s absolutely different than anybody else I’ve ever met in my entire life.
Andrew: Like what? Give me an example. Let’s be more specific. Back then, not today when he’s got this track record, adoring fans, I ask him to do an interview, everyone wants him on their podcast, back then when it wasn’t going so well, give me an example of something that he did to let you know, “This is a guy who’s going to figure it out eventually, and I could possibly go down and watch him go to jail, but I believe that it’s going to go up.”
Interviewee: Well, at the time when things were crashing, you know, I saw him as the income stopped. He had started a program. He loves, obviously, wrestling. He had brought an Olympic wrestling coach to Boise, and he brought all these amazing wrestlers to Boise. He wanted them to build and train and get to the Olympics. He wanted to help them get there and live their dream. You know, he was supplementing. At the time, the business was paying for these guys to do a little bit of work for us. They weren’t doing very much for us, but I saw him out of his own pocket be paying for these guys, and I knew how hard he wanted to support them.
There was a day that, you know, my wife and I, we were struggling because I was concerned about him financially. He was supplementing just trying to keep his business afloat. We talked about things, and I came into the office one day, and I asked if I could talk to him and sat down and kind of spoke in language that I normally don’t speak in. I might have dropped a bomb or two, but I was so concerned. I pretty much told him, “I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep watching you every month pulling the money you’ve saved for your family to try to keep jobs for the people.” I said, “I’ll leave if that helps you,” and the fact is he stuck with people, and that is the true character of who he is.
Andrew: Let me take a moment to tell you about my first sponsor. It’s a web hosting company called HostGator. I’ll tell you that after this interview, the one that you’re listening to, I started thinking of funnels for everything. So even when I decided I was going to run seven marathons on all seven continents, I quickly said, “How can I create a funnel? You know, let’s have people go through some kind of sequence of pages.”
So I went to ClickFunnels. Yes, I created a sequence of pages, and you can see it at runwithandrew.com, and if you peek around a little bit, you’ll notice that it’s hosted on HostGator because, yes, I want to be able to have a blog, and, yes, I want to have the freedom to do all kinds of things on the site, and, yes, HostGator will work really well with ClickFunnels and every other tool you have.
So if you have an idea and you want to bring it to life, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. You’ll get hosting done right, and if you use that /mixergy as in hostgator.com/mixergy, they’ll give you what I think and I’ve found is the lowest price on the internet, but, frankly, their prices are low enough already that a few extra pennies saved is not that big. Well, maybe it is a big deal, right?
But beyond that, what you’re going to get is the backing of Mixergy. If you ever have an issue, if we could ever help you out, they’ll always tag you as a Mixergy customer. We’ll always care about helping you have a great relationship with HostGator and all of our sponsors. So all you have to do is go to hostgator.com/mixergy, M-I-X-E-R-G-Y. Go there, sign up, and if you hate your hosting company, switch over to HostGator.
Back to the interview.
He kept paying your salary, kept sticking with you, and also constantly launching things. You were telling me before.
Andrew: You’ve never seen anyone implement like him.
Interviewee: No, no. You know, some people call it faith or belief. He has this inherent belief that he can truly change people’s lives.
Andrew: That’s it, even when he wasn’t fully in control of his own. All right. Thanks. Thanks. Give him a big round of applause. Thanks for being up here.
I feel like this is the thing that helped get you out of trouble and potentially getting out of potential jail. What is this business that you created?
Russell: Yeah, so during the time of that and this, there were probably a year and a half, two years that we were trying all sorts of stuff and getting marginal success in a lot of them, and this was one. I had done a lot of webinars and speaking from seminars and stuff like that, but this was right when auto-webinars were coming out [inaudible 00:37:55] on an auto-webinar, a couple of people, and I felt like that was going to be the future of things, right? But what do we do the webinar on? We didn’t know.
We flew out to Ryan Deiss’s and Perry Belcher’s office for two days and picked their brains. We flew out to Ray Shepard’s [SP] office for a day. On the flight home, I was sick to my stomach. I couldn’t figure out, “What’s the thing that we can serve people with the most right now?” On the flight home, I’m like, “All the internet marketing stuff we do works for internet marketers, but we’re way better at local business. If a chiropractor implements two things, it works, if a dentist does it.” I was like, “I don’t want to be the guy going to the dentist, but we could be the backbone for that. What if we created an opportunity where people would come in, we train them, and we connect them with the right tools and resources, and then they can go and sell it to chiropractors and dentists?”
That’s what the idea was. We turned it into an offer called DotComSecrets Local. It was a $1,000 offer at the time. We did the auto-webinar for it. It launched. Within 90 days, we had done over $1 million, which covered payroll taxes and then got us out of debt to the point where now we could stop and dream again and believe again and try to figure out what we really wanted to do.
Andrew: DotComSecrets Local to $1 million within 90 days, and how did you find the people who were going to sign up for this? A lot of us will have landing pages like this. We’ll have these funnels. How did you get people in this funnel?
Russell: Yeah, and this was pre-Facebook too, so it wasn’t just, “Go turn Facebook ads on,” but one thing that happened over all the years prior to this, I had met a lot of people. I had gone to a lot of events. I got to know everybody, and everyone I met, you know, you meet a lot of people who have lists. They have followings. They have different things like that. I just got to know them really, really well. In the past, I had promoted a lot of their products. They promoted my products. So we had this one, and we did it first to my list, and it did really well.
So then I called them like, “Hey, I did this webinar to my list. These are the numbers. It did awesome. Do you want to do it to your list as well?”
They’re like, “Oh, sure. That sounds like a great offer.”
We did that list, and it did good for them too. We told the next person, and if you have webinar that’s good, it’s kind of like the speaking circuit, right? If you’re good at speaking, then people will put you all over the place. It’s the same thing if you have a webinar that converts. Then it’s easy to get a lot of people to do it. So as soon as that one worked and it converted well, the people lined up, and we just kept doing it, doing it, doing it, and it was really quick to get to that spot pretty quick.
Andrew: I’ve been on Facebook recently, and I saw webinar slides from Russell Brunson. I went to the landing page, the ClickFunnels page, and I signed up. I’ll talk about it maybe later, but I bought it, and I know other people did, and I’ve seen other people say, “Russell’s webinar technique is a thing that just works.” I’m wondering how you figured it out. How did you come across this, and how did you build it and make it work?
Russell: Yeah, so rewind back probably 10 years prior to this. It was when I was first learning this whole business. I went to my very first internet marketing seminar ever. It was Armand Morin’s Big Seminar. Did you ever go to Big Seminar? Anyway, I went to it, and I had no idea what to expect. I thought I would show up with my laptop. I thought we were a bunch of geeks who were going to do computer stuff.
The first person got on stage, and they started speaking, and at the end of it he sold a $2,000 thing. I had never seen this before. I saw people jumping up and running to the back of the room to buy it, and I’m this little 23-year-old kid. I was counting people in the back and doing the math. I was like, “That guy made $60,000 in an hour.” The next guy gets up and gives his presentation. I watched this for three days, and I was like, “I’m super shy and introverted, but that skill is worth learning. If someone can walk on a stage and make $100,000 in an hour, I need to learn how to do that.”
So I started that, and it was really bad for the first, man, probably eight or nine months. I tried to do it. I’d go to places, and I just couldn’t figure it out. Then I started asking the people who were good. You go there, and all the speakers kind of talk and hang out. I watched the ones that always had all the people in the back of the room, and I’d ask them questions.
I’m like, “What did I do wrong? I feel like I’m teaching the best stuff possible.”
They’re like, “That’s the problem. It’s not about teaching. It’s about telling stories and breaking beliefs.”
So for the next two years, I was about once a month flying somewhere to speak. When I would go, I would meet all the speakers and find out what they were doing. I would watch them and take notes on the different things they were saying and how they were saying it. I kept taking my presentation and tweaking it and tweaking it and tweaking it.
Now, 12 years later, I’ve done so many webinars they kind of work. The process works now.
Andrew: You are a really good storyteller, and I’ve seen you do that. I’ve seen you do it here. I know you’re going to do it even more. What I’m curious about is the belief system that you were saying, breaking people’s . . . what was it that you said?
Russell: False beliefs.
Andrew: Breaking people’s false beliefs. How do you understand what . . . if you look at this audience, do you understand what some of our false beliefs are?
Russell: If I knew what I was selling, I could figure it out for sure.
Andrew: If you knew what you were selling?
Andrew: All right. We’re selling this belief that entrepreneurship does work. I know that we’re all going to go through a period like some of the ones that you had where things just aren’t working. Other people aren’t believing in us. It’s almost failure. At that point, the belief system that we have to work on, what do you recognize in the people here?
Russell: Usually, there are three core beliefs that people have. The first is about the opportunity itself, right? With entrepreneurship, the first belief that people have is, “Can I actually be an entrepreneur?” Some people already believe that. They’re like, “I’m in.” That’s an easy one. But for those who don’t, there’s a reason. Usually, they saw a parent that tried to do it. The parent tried to be an entrepreneur and wasn’t able to. They saw that failure or they tried it in the past and they failed or whatever it is.
It’s showing them that even if you tried in the past and showed different ways, let me tell you a story. For me, I can show 800 different failures, but eventually, you get better and you get better and you get better until, eventually, you have the thing that actually works. So I tell a story to kind of show that and make them believe, “Oh, my gosh. Maybe I just need to try a couple more times.”
The second level of belief is beliefs about themselves like, “Sure, it works for you, Russell or Andrew, but not for me because I’m different.” It’s helping them figure out their false beliefs.
If you can break that, then the third one is then they always want to blame somebody else like, “Oh, I could lose weight, but my wife buys lots of cupcakes and candy. I could do it, but because of that I can’t.”
So then it’s figuring out, “Well, how do you break the beliefs of the external people that are going to keep them?”
Andrew: How would you know what that is? How would you know who the extra influencers are that your potential customers are worried about?
Russell: I think for most of us it’s because the thing that we’re selling is something that . . . Nick Bearly [SP] said, “Our mess becomes our message.” For most of us, what we’re selling is the thing that we struggled with before. I think back about me as 12-year-old Russell watching Don Lapre. What would have kept me back? I’d be like, “I can’t afford classified ads. Please show me how.” If you can tell me a story like, “Oh, my gosh, I could have afforded classified ads,” that belief’s gone, and now I’m going to go give you money. It’s just remembering back to the state that you were in when you were trying to figure this stuff out as well.
Andrew: Who was it who I met when we were coming in here who said that they were a part of Russell’s Mastermind?
I asked them, “How much did you pay?”
He said, “I’m not telling you.”
I can’t see who that person was, but I know you’ve got a Mastermind. People are coming in. I’m wondering how much of it comes from that, working with people directly, seeing them in the group share openly, and then saying, “Ah. This is what my potential customers are feeling.”
Russell: One hundred percent. At this point, especially, people always ask me, “Where do you go, Russell, to learn stuff?” And it’s my Mastermind. All of these people come in, and they’re all in different industries, and you see that. You see the roadblocks that hold people back, but then they also share the stuff that they’re doing. That’s 100% now where I get most of my intel.
People ask me, “You have a software company. Why in the world do you have a Mastermind group?” The reason why our software is good is because we have the Mastermind group where they’re all crowdsourcing. They’re doing all this stuff and bringing it back to us, and then we’re able to make shifts and pivots based on them.
Andrew: Somehow, we just lost Apple, but that’s okay.
Russell: It’s back.
Andrew: It’s back. Good. There we go. This is the next thing. Rippln, right?
Russell: I forgot I put that one in there.
Andrew: I went back and watched the YouTube video explaining it. It’s a cartoon. I thought it was a professional voiceover artist. No. It’s you. You’re really comfortable getting on stage and talking. Basically, in that video that you guys can see in the top left of your screen, it’s Russell through this loud voiceover and cartoon explaining, “Look. You guys were around in the early days of Facebook. You told your friends. Here’s how many friends you would have said. For the sake of numbers, let’s say you told seven people. Let’s say they told seven people. That’s how things spread. The same thing happened with Pinterest and all these other sites. Don’t you ever wish that instead of making them rich by telling staff, you made yourself rich? Well, here’s how Rippln comes in.”
Then you created it, and Rippln was what?
Russell: Rippln was actually one of my friend’s ideas, and he is a network marketing guy. He’s like, “We’re building a network marketing program,” and I had dabbled in in network marketing. I had never been involved with it.
Then he came and was like, “Hey, be part of this.”
I was like, “No.”
Then he sold us on the whole pitch and the idea. Network marketers are really good at selling you on vision. I was like, “Okay. That sounds awesome.”
My role was to write the pitch, and so I wrote the pitch, did the voiceover, did the video, and then we launched it. In 6 weeks, we had 1.5 million people sign up for Rippln. I thought, “This is the thing. I’m done.” My downline was half of the company. I was like, “When this thing goes live, it’s going to be amazing.”
Then the tech side of it, what we were promising people in this video, the main developer ended up dying, and he had all the code, so we had to restart building it in the middle of this thing. All of this, it was like thing after thing, and by the time we finally got done, everyone lost interest. It was eight months later.
I think my biggest check I got was $47 from the whole thing. I was like, “I just spent six months of my life. That’s a penny a day. It’s horrible.”
Andrew: I’m just wondering whether I should ask this or not.
Russell: Go for it.
Andrew: I stopped asking about religion, but I get the sense that you believe that there’s a spiritual element here that keeps you from seeing, “My downline is growing. The whole thing’s working.” Does any of this feel divinely inspired to you? Be honest.
Russell: Business or . . .
Andrew: Business, life, success, things working out so much so that when you’re at your lowest you feel like there’s some divine guidance, some divine hand that says, “Russell, it’s going to work out. Russell, I don’t know if I’ve got you, but I know you’ve got this. Go do it.” I feel that from you.
Russell: Yeah. I 100% believe that.
Andrew: You do?
Russell: Every bit of it. I believe that God gives us talents and gifts and abilities and then watches what we do with it, and if we do good, then he increases our capacity to do more. If we do good with it, he gives us more. He increases our capacity.
Andrew: If you earn it, if you do good, if you use what God gives you, then you get more. And so you think that that is your duty to do that, and if you don’t do more, if you don’t pick yourself up after Rippln, you’ve let down God. Do you believe that? Is that it or that you haven’t lived up? You express it.
Russell: I don’t feel like I’ve let down God, but I definitely feel like I haven’t lived up to my potential. But I also feel like a lot of stuff . . . as I was putting together the document of all the pages, it’s interesting because each one of them, looking in hindsight, each built upon the next thing and the next thing. Twice we tried to build ClickFunnels, and each one was the next level. Each one is a stepping stone. Like Rippln. If I wouldn’t have done Rippln, that was my very first viral video we ever created. I learned how to pitch things. When we did the ClickFunnels initial sales video, because I had done this one, I knew how to do this one, right?
So for me, it’s less of I let down God as much as it’s just the piece. It’s like, “What are you going to do with this? Are you going to do something with it?” It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be successful, but if you do well with this, then we’re going to increase your capacity for the next step and the next thing. Especially inside the office, we talk about this a lot. We definitely feel what we do is a spiritual mission.
Andrew: You do?
Russell: One hundred percent, yeah. I don’t think that it’s just that we’re lucky. I think the way that the people have come, the partnerships, how it was created was super inspired.
Andrew: You know what? A lot of us are selling things that are software, PDF guides, this, that. It’s really hard to find the bigger mission in it. You’re finding the bigger mission in funnels. What is that bigger mission? Really, how do you connect with it? Because you’re right. If you can find that bigger meaning, then the work becomes more meaningful, and the people you’re working with, it’s more exciting to work with them, more meaningful to do it. How do you find it in funnels? What is the meaning?
Russell: So for us, I’m thinking about some of my members in the inner circle. Right now, as of today, I think we have 68,000 members in ClickFunnels, which is the big number we all brag about, but for me, that’s 68,000 entrepreneurs. Each one has a gift, right?
One member I’ll mention, his name is Chris Wark. He runs chrisbeatcancer.com. Chris was someone who came down with cancer. They gave him a death sentence. Instead of going through chemotherapy, he decided, “I’m going to see if I can heal myself,” and he did. He cured himself of cancer, and instead of just being like, “Cool, I can go back into work,” he was like, “Man, I need to help other people.” So he started a blog, started doing some things, and now he’s got this thing where he’s helped thousands and thousands of people to actually cure themselves of cancer. That’s one of our 68,000 people, right?
Andrew: See? You’re focusing on him where I think a lot of us would focus on, “Well, here’s one person who’s just a smarmy marketer, and here’s what he’s creating.” But you don’t. That’s not who you are. Look. I see it in your eyes. You’re shaking your head. That’s not it at all. That’s not even a put-on.
Russell: It’s funny because, for me, I understand because I get it all the time from people. “Oh, he’s a slimy marketer.” The first time people meet me all the time, the first time they’re introduced, that’s a lot of times their first impression. Then they get closer, and they feel the heart, and it’s just like, “Oh, my gosh. I had you wrong.” I get that all the time from people.
Andrew: Ryan and Brad, are either of them here? Would one of you come up here? Yeah, come on up. They felt that way, right?
Russell: I don’t know about them. I don’t think about . . .
Interviewee: I think it’s Theron.
Russell: Oh, is Theron still here?
Andrew: Oh I guess it was Theron.
Interviewee: Oh, is it the other?
Andrew: No, no. Stay up here. Stay up here as long as you’re here. Theron, come up.
Interviewee: If it wasn’t me, I’m going to sit back in my seat.
Andrew: Are you nervous?
Interviewee: A little bit. [inaudible 00:51:40] Ryan and Brad.
Russell: It’s a different story. It’s a different story I had.
Interviewee: Okay. All right. [inaudible 00:51:46].
Russell: Do you want to come up?
Russell: Theron had no idea we were bringing him onstage.
Andrew: Come on over here. Let’s stand in the center so we can get you on camera. Does this help?
Russell: Do you want me to introduce Theron real quick?
Andrew: Yeah, please.
Russell: Theron is one of the Harmon brothers. They are the ones that did the viral video for us.
Theron: Hi. I have no idea where you’re going with this.
Andrew: I heard that you felt that he was a scam. What was the situation, and how did you honestly feel?
Theron: I don’t know that I . . . well . . .
Russell: Be honest. It’s okay.
Theron: Oh, I know. I know. I don’t think that I felt like ClickFunnels itself was a scam.
Russell: Just Russell.
Theron: It just felt like that so many of the ways that the funnels were built and the types of language they were using, it felt like it was that side of the internet, right? And so I became a very . . . basically, we were kind of in a desperate situation where we had a video that had not performed and not worked out the way we wanted it to work out.
Andrew: The video that you created for Russell?
Theron: No, for another client entirely.
Andrew: Just another client. Okay.
Theron: And so our CEO had used ClickFunnels’ product to help drive I think it was attendance to a big video event, and so he had some familiarity with the product. And so he goes to Russell, and at the same time, Russell’s like, “I’m a big fan of you guys,” and he’s coming to us, and these things are happening.
Theron: Yeah, it was almost the same day. So we’re thinking like this, and we’re like, “Well, they seem to really know how to drive traffic, to really know how to drive conversion, and we feel like we know how to drive conversion as well, but for some reason we missed it on this one.” And so we’re like, “Well, let’s do a deal.”
Andrew: When you say you missed it . . . okay, good. Go to the deal.
Theron: We were failing our client. We were failing our client. We weren’t getting them an ROI, and so we said, “Let’s do a deal with Russell, and we’ll have our internal team compete with his team.” We’re humble enough to say, “Hey, we’re failing our client. We want our client to succeed. Let’s bring in their team and see if they can make a funnel that can bring down the cost-per-acquisition and bring up the return on investment for our client,” and they were able to do it, right?
And then we said, “Well, what we’ll do is we’ll write a script. We’ll take you through our scriptwriting process, but we don’t want to do the video because we don’t want to be affiliated with that.”
Russell: The contract said, “You can’t tell anyone ever the Harmon brothers wrote the script for you.”
Andrew: Wow. Because you didn’t want to be associated with something that you felt was a little too scammy for you?
Theron: Yeah, yeah. We just didn’t want our brand kind of brought down to their brand, which is super arrogant and really wrongheaded. In any case, we go into this scriptwriting retreat. I wasn’t following his podcast. I wasn’t listening to enough. I mean, Rev.com Secrets and those kinds of things, it was like, “Wow. There’s some really valuable stuff here. This is really interesting.”
As we got to know each other and really started connect, like you said, heart to heart and to feel what he’s really about and the people that he surrounds himself with, I was like, “Wow. These are really, really good people, and they have a mission here that they feel just like we feel that about our own group.”
In any case, by the end of that two-day retreat, we’re all off in private saying, “Well, first of all, we like what we’ve written. Second of all, we’d really like to work with these guys, and I think we’re plenty happy being connected to them and associated with them,” and it’s been a ride and a blessing ever since.
Russell: We’re about to do number two with them right now.
Andrew: Say what?
Russell: We’re about to start video number two right now.
Theron: Anyway, we love him.
Andrew: All right. Give him a big round, yeah. Thanks. This was pivotal for you guys. Leadpages. This is an article about how Leadpages raised $5 million. You saw that and you thought?
Russell: Well, what happened was Todd. So Todd is the cofounder of ClickFunnels, and he was working with us at the time. He would fly to Boise once a quarter, and we would work on the next project and the new idea. That morning, he woke up, and he saw that, and then he forwarded me the article. He’s in Atlanta, so it’s East Coast. I’m still in bed, and then he’s got a four-hour flight to Boise, and he’s just getting angry.
Todd is a genius. When he landed in Boise and he saw me, he’s like, “We can build Leadpages tonight. I will clone it. I will beat it. We will launch it this week while we’re here.” He is that good of a developer. I’ve never seen someone code as fast and as good as him. He’s amazing, right? So he comes in, and he’s mad. He’s like, “This is the stupidest site in the world. I can literally clone this. Let’s just do it.”
I’m like, “Yes. Let’s clone it,” and we’re all excited.
And then he’s like, “Do you want me to add any other features while I’m doing it?”
I’m like, “Oh, yes. We should do this, and we should do this,” and then the scope creep from the marketer comes, and we have to spend an entire week in front of a whiteboard mapping out all my dreams like, “If we could do this and this. What if it had a shopping cart? What if we could do upsells? What if we could actually move things on the page instead of just having it sit there? What if?”
Todd’s just taking notes on everything, and then he’s like, “Hey, I think I can do this,” and he told me, though, “But if I do this, I don’t want to do this as an employee. I want to do it as a partner.”
At first, I was like, “Oh,” because I’ve never wanted to do the partnership thing.
The best decision I’ve ever made in my life outside of marrying my wife was saying yes to Todd. I said, “Let’s do it,” and then he flew home and built ClickFunnels.
Andrew: Wow. And this is after trying software so much. I have screenshots of all the different – it’s not even worth going into it – of all the different products you created. There was one that was Digital Repo. Is that right?
Russell: Digital Repo Man.
Andrew: Digital Repo Man.
Russell: That was a good idea.
Andrew: What was it?
Russell: I used to sell e-books and stuff. People would steal them and then email them to their friends, and I’d get angry.
Andrew: Can I read this? “How to protect every type of lowlife and other form of human scum from cheating you from the profits you should be making by hijacking, stealing, and illegally prostituting your online digital products.”
Russell: Theron, why did you think we were . . . just kidding. No. It was a really cool product. It would take an e-book, and it would protect it, and then if somebody gave it to her friend, you could push a button and it would take back access. It was the coolest thing in the world, we thought.
Andrew: There was software that was going to attach your ad to any other software that was out there. There was software that was going to . . . oh, what are some of the other ones? It’s going to hit me later on, but we’re talking about a dozen different pieces of software, a dozen different attempts at software. What’s the one? I thought somebody remembered one of them. It’s just the kind of stuff that you would never think of. There was one that was kind of like ClickFunnels, an early version of ClickFunnels for landing pages.
Why did you want to get into software when you were teaching and creating membership sites? What was software? What was it that was drawing you?
Russell: I think, honestly, when I first learned the internet marketing game, the first mentor that I had, the first person I saw was a guy named Armand Morin, and Armand had all these little software products like E-Cover Generator, Sales Letter Generator, everything generator. That’s what I kept seeing. I was like, “I need to create that too. I need to create software,” because he made software. In fact, I even shifted by major from I can’t remember what it was before to computer information systems. I was like, “I’ve got to learn how to code,” because I couldn’t afford programmers. That’s just what I had seen, and then I was trying to think of ideas for software. Every time I would get stuck, instead of trying to find something to do, I was like, “Let me just hire a guy to go build that, and then I can sell it to somebody else as well.” That’s kind of how it started.
Andrew: And it was a lot of different tools, a lot of different attempts, and then this one was the one that you went with. I think this is an early version of the homepage basically saying, “Coming soon. Sign up.” The first one didn’t work out, and then you saw someone else on a forum who had a version that was better. What was his name? This is, I think, Dylan Jones.
Russell: Oh, you’re talking about the editor. Yes, okay. Yeah, so the story was Todd built the first version of ClickFunnels, and Dylan, who became one of our cofounders, I had been working with Dylan as a designer for about six years prior. We talked about this earlier. He is the best designer I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s amazing. But he’s also . . . these are the pros and cons of Dylan. I’ve talked about this on stage in front of him live, so I have no problem saying this, and he would agree. I’d give him a project, and he wouldn’t respond back to me. I wouldn’t hear from him for two or three months. One day, in the middle of the night, he messages me. He’s like, “Hey, rent’s due tomorrow. Do you have any projects for me?”
I’d be so mad at him, and I look back at every project we had done in the last three or four months that other designers had done, and I would just resend him all of the lists, boom, give him 12 sites. I’d go to bed. I’d wake up five or six hours later, and all of them were done perfectly amazing, some of the best designs ever, and then he’d send me a bill for whatever. I’d send him money, and then he would disappear again for five months. I could never get a hold of him. I’d be like, “I need you to tweak something,” and he was just gone. That was my pattern for six years with him.
Then fast forward to when Todd and I were building ClickFunnels. We were at Traffic & Conversion, and we were up in the hotel room at 3:00 in the morning. We were on dribbble.com trying to find a UI designer to help us, and we couldn’t get a hold of all of these people. All of a sudden on Skype Dylan popped in. I saw this thing pop up.
I was like, “Todd, Dylan just showed up.”
He said, “Do you think he needs some money?”
I was like, “I guarantee he needs money.”
So I’m like, “Hey, man.”
And Dylan messages back. He’s like, “Hey.”
I’m like, “Do you need some money?”
He’s like, “Yeah. You got any projects?”
I’m like, “Yes, I do. We built this cool thing. It’s called ClickFunnels, but the UI is horrible, and the editor is horrible. Is there any way we can hire you for a week to fly to Boise and just do all of the UI for every single page of the app?”
He kind of said no at first. He’s like, “I’m developing my own website builder. I’m going to spend six years on it, so I can’t do it.”
Andrew: He had something that was essentially ClickFunnels, right?
Russell: Yeah. It was just pages, though. You could just do pages. There were no funnels.
Andrew: Right. Closer to Leadpages than to ClickFunnels.
Russell: Leadpages but amazing. You could move things around. But he didn’t tell me that. He said, “I’m working on something.” Eventually, we got him to come. He flew to Boise. He spent a week. He did all of our UI.
Then we went and launched our beta to my list. We launched the beta. We got some sign-ups, and then a week before the launch was supposed to happen, all of the affiliates were lined up. Everything was supposed to happen. I don’t know if he sent you the video, but he sends me this little video that’s a 30-second video of him demoing his editor he built.
I probably watched that video, I don’t know, at least 100 times, and I was just sick to my stomach. I was like, “I hate ClickFunnels right now. I can’t move things on my pages. I can’t do anything.”
I sent it to Todd, and I didn’t hear from him for an hour. He messaged me back. He’s like, “I’m pissed.”
I’m like, “Me too. What do we do?” I was like, “We have to have this editor or I don’t even want to sell this thing.”
I called Dylan. I’m like, “Would you be willing to sell?”
He’s like, “No. I’m doing it. I’m selling it. We’re going to sell it for $100 1 time for this editor to design all the websites.”
I was like, “Dude, it is worth so much more than that. Please.”
We spent all night going back and forth negotiating. Finally, it came down to, “I will give you this editor if I can be a cofounder and be a partner.”
Todd and I sat there and brainstorming and figuring out if we could do it. We finally said yes, and then he and Dylan flew back to Boise and for the next week just sat in a room with a whole bunch of caffeine and figured out how to smush Dylan’s editor into ClickFunnels to get the editor to be the editor that you guys know today.
Andrew: You know what? I didn’t see the video that you mentioned, but I did see what it looked like. Here’s one of the first versions. He compared it to Leadpages. He said, “Look at how Leadpages has their stuff all the way on the left, all the controls.” Oh, you can’t see it. Oh, let me try it again. Let me see if I can bring up this screen because this is just too good. Hang on a second. I’m just constantly amazed by how you’re able to draw people to you. So this is the article from Leadpages. This is the first landing page for ClickFunnels. This is what he created before. This is what you guys did together. This is your editor.
He said, “Look. If you’re on Leadpages, their controls and editor are all the way on the left, and it’s just moving the main content to the right, which is not looking right, and I,” he said, “prefer something that looks like this with 100 pixels on the left, 100 pixels.”
I go, “Who knows 100 pixels? What is this?”
Russell: Dylan’s obsessed with that kind of thing. It’s amazing.
Andrew: Obsessed, and you draw people like that. You draw people like Dave, who’s just phenomenal. Dave, the Traffic & Conversion event that he was just talking about, is that the one that you went to?
Dave: The one after that.
Andrew: The one after that. Okay. We’ll come back to that in a second then. So this became your next version. You brought on a new partner, and then you did a webinar with this guy. Who’s this guy?
Russell: He’s Mike Filson, one of my first friends online. It actually wasn’t a webinar. It was a live event. He was doing a live event in San Diego, and he’s like, “You have to come and sell ClickFunnels.”
I was like, “Nobody’s buying ClickFunnels.” We had a free trial, and we couldn’t get away. It was crazy.
He was like, “Well, you’re on this website. [inaudible 01:04:33] sell ClickFunnels, and I need to sell it for at least $1,000.” Because the way it works if you speak at someone’s event and you sell something, you split the money 50/50, so he’s like, “At least $1,000.”
I was all bummed out. I didn’t want to do it. The event actually started, and they were streaming live online. I was sitting in our office in Boise watching it as I’m putting together my slides to create ClickFunnels and then flew out to the event. We had a booth. I don’t know if I told you this. We had a booth, and Leadpages had a booth right across the little hallway, this skinny hallway.
Todd’s wife was manning our booth, and then Leadpages was right there. It was so funny because she was not shy at all about talking about Leadpages. She’s like, “Yeah, we’re like Leadpages except we’re way better. We can do this and this.” The other guy is sitting there right in front of her and she’s telling them everything. Anyway, I digress. It was pretty funny.
Andrew: By the way, she’s still at it. I saw a video that you guys created. You were talking to her, and she goes, “I will [inaudible 01:05:26] ClickFunnels.”
I go, “Wait a minute. You still have that fire. Okay.”
So you’re at that event.
Russell: So we’re at the event, and there are probably, I can’t remember, 150, 200 people maybe in the room. I’ve got the slides up. Dylan was there. We had the funnels. He was going to demo the editor. So I did the whole thing. I showed the presentation. We demoed ClickFunnels. We did the thing. At the end of it, I sold. I’ve been good on stage, but by far that was the first time in probably eight years I’ve seen a table rush where people were stepping over the things, jumping around, trying to get to the back to buy as fast as they could.
Andrew: What did you say to get them to want to do that?
Russell: We gave the presentation and gave a really good offer at the end. They would get a year of ClickFunnels for free, plus they were going to get training, plus they were going to get all sorts of other things for $1,000.
Andrew: It was $1,000 training and a year of ClickFunnels for free, and then they become long-term members, and it was also called Funnel Hackers?
Russell: Funnel Hacks, yeah.
Andrew: Funnel Hacks. That’s the thing that became . . .
Russell: The culture.
Andrew: . . . this culture, this tribe. It wasn’t just that they were signing to learn from you. They were becoming funnel hackers. That’s it.
Russell: That wasn’t planned, though. I was trying to think of a sexy name for the title for the presentation, so I’m like, “Oh, Funnel Hacks.” Somebody owned funnelhacks.com. I’m like, “I’m still giving the presentation that way.” Then later we made t-shirts that said Funnel Hackers, and now we’ve got four or five people who have tattooed that to their bodies, which is really weird.
Anyway, that’s what happened. We did that. We sold it. I remember going to dinner that night with the guys who were there and Todd and his wife and everything, and we were all excited because we made some money finally, but I was just like, “You guys don’t understand. I’ve spoken on a lot of stages, but I haven’t seen a table rush like that.”
I remember there was a guy who passed away a couple of years ago. His name was Fred Catona, and he was a radio guy. He was the guy who did the radio commercials for . . . do you guys remember . . . oh, it had the guy from Star Trek on it. What’s his name?
Russell: Priceline. He did the Priceline radio commercials. It made that guy a billionaire, and he told me when were doing the radio ad, he said, “This is what’s going to happen. We’re going to test your ad, and if it works, we’re going to call you on the phone and I’m going to let you know you’re rich. Because if it works, that means you’re going to be rich.”
So I remember going to dinner that night, and I told the guys. I said, “Just so you guys know, we’re rich.”
“What do you mean? We made $150,000.”
I’m like, “No, no, no. The way people responded to that, I’ve never seen that in my life. We’re rich. The response rate from that I’ve never seen.”
Andrew: And then you went to webinar after webinar after webinar.
Russell: On the flight home that day I’m texting everybody I’ve ever met. “I’ve got a hot offer. This webinar crushed it. We just closed whatever percent of the room at Filson’s event. Who wants to do it?” We started filling up the calendar.
Andrew: You told me you did two to three on some days, and the idea was they would sell somebody on a course, and then their members would then hear how your software and your funnel hacking technique would help up what they just bought, and then they would sign up. You’re still excited. I can see it in your face. Then this thing took off, and then you started doping and event for your culture and community, and this guy spoke, Tony Robbins.
Russell: Oh, yeah. There’s Tony.
Andrew: One of the first ones. Was he at the very first one?
Russell: No. The third one was the first one we had him come to.
Andrew: Yeah? Why do an event? Why do your own live event?
Russell: We had done events in the past. I know that events are good, but I had sworn them off because the last one that we did I think we sold 300 or 400 tickets and less than 100 people showed up. I was so embarrassed. I was like, “We will never do events again.”
As soon as ClickFunnels launched and was growing, everyone was like, “We want to do a meetup. We should do an event.” All the customers kept asking, and I didn’t really want to do it, but at the same time I was launching my book. I had won a Ferrari in this affiliate contest. I was like, “What if we did an event and we had the Ferrari there and we gave it away?” We had other ideas for giving away other cars, and it just became this big, exciting thing that would eventually turn into an event, and that was the first Funnel Hacking Live event in Vegas. We had about 600 people at that one that showed up, and that’s where it all kind of started.
Andrew: And it built how much? How many people are you up to now?
Russell: Last year we had 3,500 people, and we’re on track to have about 5,000 at this year’s event.
Andrew: Five thousand?
Russell: Yeah. Those aren’t free tickets. Each ticket’s $1,000.
Andrew: So how much is that in total revenue?
Russell: From the event?
Russell: Ticket sales, last year was $3.5 million. This year will be over $5 million, but at the event we sell coaching. Last year we made $13 million in coaching sales at the event as well.
Andrew: Wow. Would you come up here for a second, Dave? Do you guys know Dave? Yeah, everyone knows Dave. Dave, you know what’s amazing? That’s amazing.
Dave: [inaudible 01:09:56] catcall.
Andrew: I saw a video. You guys have this blog now, a beautifully shot blog. You guys went to Salesforce’s conference. You’re looking at the booths, and in the video, do you remember what you did as you saw the different booths?
Dave: I think that was when I went and asked what the price of each of the booths were?
Andrew: Yes, and then you multiplied it. You’re not enjoying the event. You’re calculating in your head how much, $10,000, $100,000. Wow. Right? You do this all the time.
Dave: Yeah. There’s a lot of money in an event like that.
Andrew: You think that if this were not your event you would be doing the same calculation trying to figure out how much they had brought in today? Wowie. All right. When you went to Salesforce, did you calculate how much money they probably did from their event?
Dave: We were doing that the whole time, absolutely.
Andrew: You saw the building. You had to know.
Dave: Oh, my gosh. It’s 61 stories.
Andrew: Why? Why do you guys want to know that? I want to understand your drive as a company, and I feel like this is a part of it, figuring out how much people money other people make and using that for fuel somehow. Tell me.
Dave: I think it actually goes back to Russell and his wrestling days. Gosh, we had the experience of going to Chicago right after that, super just exhausted, and it was one of those things where he literally landed. We walked down, and we were underneath the tarmac. All of a sudden, Russell goes from just being totally exhausted to a massive state change where he’s literally right back where he was with his dad. He and his dad were walking that same path to go to I think it was Nationals. I saw Dan Usher, who was doing filming, capturing that moment. It’s that type of a thing for Russell where all of a sudden it’s the dream where as soon as you see it, it can then happen. Russell’s been just amazing at modeling. Again, it’s the whole idea as far as just going at rapid, rapid speed. It’s ready, fire, aim.
Andrew: It’s not you gawking at Salesforce. What’s this Salesforce event called?
Andrew: Dreamforce. It’s not you gawking at how well Salesforce’s event Dreamforce is doing. It’s not you having envy or just curiosity. It’s you saying, “It’s possible. This is us. That’s it.”
Dave: It’s totally possible.
Andrew: “It’s totally possible. We could get there.” And when you’re sizing up the building, you even found out how much the building cost. Who does that? Most people go, “Where’s the bathroom?” How much does the building cost?
Dave: There’s a number.
Andrew: It’s you saying, “We can maybe have that.”
Dave: “We can have it,” yeah.
Andrew: Got it. All right, and so let’s go back a little bit. I asked you about Traffic & Conversion because the very first Traffic & Conversion conference you went to, you guys were nobodies. Nobody came and saw you.
Dave: We were put out in the north 40 pasture way, way, way far away.
Andrew: Some people would say, “One day I’ll get there.” You told Russell, “Today we’re going to get there.”
Dave: Well, Russell was speaking. Whenever you’re speaking at an event, it’s important you fill the room like this. There’s nothing worse than having an event and having no one show up. It’s just the worst feeling in the world. So he’s like, “Gosh, you know, all we need is I’ve got to find some way of getting people into the event.” He said, “I wish we had some girls who could just hand out t-shirts or just do something.”
And I was like, “We’re in San Diego. That’s my hometown.”
Russell: Dave’s like, “How many do you need?”
Dave: That’s what I said. “It’s just a number. It comes down to a number. How many do you want?” So within an hour or so we had five girls there who were more than happy to dance around and give out t-shirts and fill the room.
Andrew: And the room was full?
Andrew: Packed. Why wouldn’t you say, “One day, the next time we come to Traffic & Conversion, the 10th time were going to do it?” Why did it have to be right there?
Dave: It’s always now.
Andrew: It’s always now.
Dave: It’s always now.
Andrew: It’s always now. It’s never going to be the next funnel. It’s never going to be the next product launch. It’s like, “I’m going to do whatever we can right now and the next one and the next one.” That’s it. That’s who you are.
Dave: Absolutely. That’s how it works.
Andrew: And now you’re a partner in the business?
Andrew: Eighty-three million dollars so far this year. You get a piece of that?
Dave: I guess. Do I?
Dave: Just checking.
Andrew: Do you get to take profits home now?
Dave: We do.
Andrew: You do? You personally do?
Andrew: Are you a millionaire?
Dave: Things are really good.
Andrew: Millionaire good from ClickFunnels?
Andrew: Wow. And you’re another one. I was driving. I said, “What was it about Russell that made you work for him? What was it?”
And you said, “I’ve never seen anyone implement like him.”
Give me an example of the early days, something that he implemented. You know what? Forget that. Let’s not go back to Russell. As a team, you guys have gotten really good at implementing. Give me an example of one thing that you’re just stunned by. “We did it. It came out of nowhere. We could have been distracted by funnel software. We could have been distracted by the next book. We did this thing.” What is it?
Dave: You’re here on this stage with JP, and this was, what, six weeks ago?
Andrew: And this whole thing just came from an idea. I heard you use Voxer. Why do you use Voxer?
Russell: I don’t know.
Andrew: Because you like to talk into it?
Russell: Yeah. You can fast-forward it to 4X speed. You can forward messages to people really easily. It’s awesome.
Andrew: It’s just train of thought. “Boom. Here is what I think we’re going to do.” No. It’s not that. I heard it’s, “I have a secret project.”
Russell: “I’ll tell you guys about it later,” and they all start freaking out. “Tell us now.”
Andrew: The secret project. I don’t know what it is. It’s going to be exciting. They don’t know what it is. It’s going to be exciting?
Russell: Do you know how it started, this one? I was cleaning my resting room listening to you. I don’t know whose event it was, but you were at a campfire, it sounded like. You were doing something like this, and I was like, “I want my own campfire chat to tell our story,” and then I was like, “Dave, we should do it,” and the now we’re here.
Dave: Thanks for coming to our campfire.
Andrew: That’s how it happens, and that’s exciting to this day. All right. Thank you. Give him a big round. Thank you so much. You know what? I didn’t mean for this to come on stage, but glad that it is. This made you laugh when you accidentally saw it earlier too. Why is this making you laugh? What is it?
Russell: So we’re not shy about our competitors even when they’re our friends. One of the companies we’re crossing out is his. That’s why it’s funny.
Andrew: It’s one of my companies. That’s Bot Academy there. There’s also a company I invested in. That octopus is ManyChat. I’ve been a very big angel investor and supporter of theirs. I’m not at all insulted by that. I’m curious about it. You guys come across as such a nice, happy-go-lucky guys.
Dave asked me if I want water. I said, “Dave, I can’t have you give me any more things. I feel uncomfortable. I’m a New Yorker. Punch me, please.”
He goes, “Okay, but one more thing. I’m going to give you socks,” and he gave me socks.
Really, but still, you have murder in your eyes sometimes. You’re crossing out everybody. This is part of your culture why?
Russell: For me, it’s wrestling, right? When I was wrestling, I don’t know, they’re different mentalities, right? I did a podcast on this one time, and I think I offended some people, so I apologize in advance.
If you’re in a band, everyone gets together. You play together. You harmonize. It’s beautiful, right? When you’re a wrestler, you don’t do that. You walk in every day, and you’re like, “Those are the two guys I have to beat to be varsity.” After you do that, you walk in and you’re like, “Okay. Who are the people I have to beat to be the region champ and then the state champ and then the national champ?”
So for me, my entire 15 years of my life, all of my focus was, “Who’s the next person on the run that I have to beat?” I’m studying them and learning about them and figuring out their moves, figuring out what they’re good at and what they’re bad at so we can beat them. We’d beat them and then go to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing.
It was never negative for me. It was competition. Half of those guys were my friends, and they were doing the same thing to me, and we were doing the same thing to them. I come from a hypercompetitive world where that’s everything we do.
I feel bad now because in business a lot of people we compete against aren’t competitive, and I forget that sometimes. Some people don’t appreciate it, but that’s the drive. It’s just like if there’s not something we’re driving towards, then there’s not a point for me.
Andrew: And even if I was hurt, you’d say, “I accept it. I’m sorry you’re hurt, Andrew. I still care and love you. We’re going to crush you.” That’s still there.
Russell: Yeah. Obviously, Infusionsoft was one of our people we were targeting for a long, long time. I had a call with Clate, and someone on his team asked me, “Why do you hate Infusionsoft so much?”
I was like, “No. You don’t understand. I don’t hate you. I love Infusionsoft. I’m grateful for it. I’m grateful for Leadpages.” I told them.
Have you guys seen “The Dark Night,” my favorite movie of all time? It’s the part where Batman and the Joker are there, and Batman asks the Joker, “Why are you trying to kill me?”
The Joker starts laughing. He’s like, “I’m trying to kill you. The reason why I do this is because of you. If I don’t have you, there’s no purpose behind it.”
So for me, if I don’t have someone to compete against, why are we playing the game? For me, that’s why we’re always working.
Andrew: Is not enough to just say, “We’re playing the game because we want to help the next entrepreneur or the next person who’s sick and needs to create.” No, it’s not.
Russell: That’s a big part of it, but, yeah, there’s something.
Andrew: It’s not enough. It’s got to be both.
Russell: My whole life the competition has been driving me for sure.
Andrew: And just like you were wrestling with someone and trying to beat them but you don’t hate them, you’re not going to their house to break it down.
Russell: Yeah. Everyone we wrestled we were friends afterwards. We were on the same freestyle and Greco teams later in the season, but when we we’re competing we’re competing and everyone’s going all out it.
Andrew: Everyone’s going all at it. That’s an interesting way to end it. How much more time do we have? How much more time do we have?
Interviewee: As much as you want.
Andrew: I’m going to keep going. Can I get you to come up here, John, because I’ve got to get you to explain something to me? So I told you I was online the other day. Yeah, give him a big round. I was online the other day. I don’t even know when I clicked. I clicked something. Russell’s a great webinar person. Everyone keeps telling me that. I go, “All right. I’ve got to find out how he does it.” So I click over.
“All right, just give your email address and you can find that out.
“All right. I’ll give my email address to find out how you became such a great webinar presenter.”
“Just give a credit card. It’s only $4.95, and it comes in the mail.”
I go, “It comes in the mail? That’s pretty cool. Nothing comes in the mail anymore. Here’s my credit card.”
It goes, “All right. It’s going to mail it out. Would you also like to learn how to use the slides? It’s $400.”
I go, “No. I’m done.”
John: Welcome to the funnel.
Andrew: Welcome to the funnel. I said, “I’m done,” but I’m going to put in Evernote a link to this page so I don’t lose it so I can come back. I swear I did it. This is my receipt for $4.95 and then another.
Don’t you ever feel like, “We’re beyond this. We’re in the software space now. We’re competing with Dropbox. We’re not competing with Joe Schmo and his e-book.” You’re the guy who bought the ad that got me. I asked you that. Do you ever feel a little embarrassed we’re still in the info market space?
John: No. I think it’s the essence of what we do or what Russell does. We love education. We love teaching people. I mean, the software is the backend, right? But we’re not software people. We sell software, but we teach people. All these people here and all the people at all of our events, they just want to learn how to do it better.
Andrew: I don’t believe it. I believe that for you it’s the numbers. Here’s why I don’t believe it. I’m looking in your eyes, and it’s like, “I’m giving the script. I’m good. I’m doing the script.” I see it in your eyes, but when I was talking to you earlier – no offense, this is why he does what he does – when I was talking to you earlier, you told me about the numbers, the conversion, how we get you in the sales funnel, how we actually can then . . . that’s the exciting part. Don’t be insulted by the fact that I said it. I know that we have marketers here. They’re going to love you for being open about it. What’s going on here? What’s going on that’s keeping you in this space?
John: Okay. From my perspective, initially, it was self-liquidation on the front, which is what I was telling you. It was the fact that we were bootstrapped. We didn’t have money to just throw out there. We had to make sure that we were earning enough money to cover our ads, right?
Russell had all the trust in the world in me. I don’t know why he did, but he did. He’s just like, “Spend money and just try to make it self-liquidated.”
I’m like, “Okay.” So we just had to spend money and hope we got enough back to keep spending money.
Andrew: And self-liquidate means, “Buy an ad today, and make sure that we make money from that ad right away and then software, and then software’s going to pay overtime. That’s our legacy. That’s our thing.” You told me software sucks for selling. Why?
John: Software sucks for selling, yeah.
Andrew: Why? Everyone who’s in info and everyone who’s in education says, “I wish I were a software guy. Software’s eating the world. They get all the respect,” right? I worked in San Francisco. They think anyone who doesn’t have software in their veins is a sucker.
John: Yeah. I ask the same thing to myself. You know, I was running ads. I’m like, “Why can’t I just run ads straight to the offer? Why do I have to go to these info products, right? I want to get them on the software.”
I feel like it’s kind of like marriage. It’s a big thing to say, “You probably already build websites, but drop everything you’re doing and come over here and build websites over here on our thing.” It’s like, “Oh, that’s a hard pull,” right? But, “Hey, you want to build webinars? Here’s a little thing for $5 to build webinars. Now you’re in your our world. Now we can talk to you. Now you can trust us, and now we can get you over there.”
Andrew: Got it. Okay. All right, and if that’s what it takes to get people in your world, you can accept it. You’re not going to feel too good for that. You’re just going to do it and grow it and grow it. What’s your ad budget now? See? Now you’re eyes are lighting up. I tapped into it.
John: We spend about $500,000 a month.
Andrew: Half a million a month?
John: Yeah. Don’t tell the accountants.
Andrew: Do you guys pay with a credit card? Do you have a lot of miles?
John: Yeah, we do.
Andrew: You do?
Andrew: How many miles?
John: In fact, the accountant came to my office the other day and said, “Next time you buy a ticket, use the miles.”
Andrew: Are they with Delta? Because I think you guys flew me out with Delta.
John: Yeah. American Express is where we’re spending all of our money.
Andrew: Wow, and you’re a partner too?
Andrew: Wow. Congratulations.
John: Thank you.
Andrew: I don’t know you well enough to ask you if you’re a millionaire. I’m just going to say congratulations. Give him a big round. Thank you.
John: Thank you.
Andrew: Wow. You know what? I actually was going to ask the videographers to come up here. I wrote their names down. I got the whole thing. Then I realized I shouldn’t interrupt them because they’re shooting video, but I asked them. They had this career where they were flying all over the world shooting videos for their YouTube channel. I’m sorry. I forgot their name, and I don’t want to leave them out.
Russell: Dan and Blake.
Andrew: They were shooting YouTube videos. They were doing videos for other people. I said, “Why are you now giving it up and just working for ClickFunnels all the time? More importantly, why are you so excited about it?”
They said, “You know, it’s the way that we work with Russell.”
Do you remember the first time you invited them out to shoot something? What was it?
Russell: It was the very first Funnel Hacking Live we ever had. Probably two weeks prior to that one of our friends had an event, and Dan had captured the footage. He showed me the video.
He was like, “Did you check out my event video?”
I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. That was amazing.” I said, “Who did it?”
He told me, and so I emailed Dan. I was like, “Hey, can you come do that for Funnel Hacking Live?”
He’s like, “What’s Funnel Hacking Live?” So I kind of told him. He’s like, “Sure.” It was two weeks later. He was like, “So what’s the direction?”
I was like, “I don’t know. Just bring the magic. Whatever you did there, do that here,” and that’s kind of been his calling card since. He just comes and does stuff.
Andrew: Bring the magic. He wants to have those words painted on the Toronto office that you guys are starting, literally, because he says you say that all the time. I want to understand how you hire. The idea is, “I’m going to find people who do good work, and I’m going to let them do it.” What happens if they wouldn’t have done it your way? What happens if it would have gone a different direction?
Russell: That’s a good question, and I’m not perfect, so I’m going to caveat that. Some of the guys on my team know that especially on the design and funnel stuff I’m more picky on that because I’m so into that and I love it, but what I’ve found is you hire amazing people like Todd, for example, doing ClickFunnels. The times I tried to do ClickFunnels prior to build it, it was me telling developers, “Here’s what to do and how to do it,” and there’s always some loss in communication. With Todd, he’s like, “I know exactly what I would build because I want this product too,” and then he just built it.
He’d show me stuff, and I’m like, “That’s a good idea.”
He’s like, “I did this too.”
I’m like, “That’s a good idea.”
It’s so much easier that way. When you find the right people, it’s not you giving them ideas. It’s them coming up with the ideas, and you’re like, “That is a good idea. Go do it.” Then it just takes all the pressure off your back.
It’s been fun because I look at, man, the last 15 years of all those different websites and the ups and the downs. The best people have always stuck, and so we’ve got 15 years of getting the cream of the crop. I’m kind of a superhero nerd, but it’s like The Avengers, right? When ClickFunnels came about, we had this Avengers team of people, and we’re like, “Okay. Now we’ve put in our dues. Now it’s time to use all of our superpowers to do this thing,” and it all kind of came together.
Andrew: And build it and build it and build it up, and then as you were building it up you then went to Salesforce.
You guys invited me. You said, “Hey, Andrew. We’re in San Francisco, your hometown. Do you want to come out?”
I said, “I’m going to be with my family.”
You said, “Good. Be with the family. It’s better than hanging out with us.”
But I still said, “What are you guys doing in San Francisco at Salesforce?” Salespeople don’t need landing pages. Yeah, you guys have probably found a way for them to need it.
Andrew: Soon. Then I saw this. This is the last video that I’ve got. There’s no audio on it. I just want you guys to look at their faces as they’re looking up at these buildings, walking through the Salesforce office. Look. They’re getting on the motorcycles in the lobby. They’re looking all around and going, “Oh, gee.” They’re counting the buildings that are Salesforce labeled. Look at that. It’s like, “Oh, what are they doing?” Not believing that this is even possible, and you’re stopping and going, “This is Dreamforce. This is your dream.” What did you get out of going to Salesforce’s event and seeing their office?
Russell: Honestly, prior to Salesforce, I was kind of going through a weird funk in my business because, again, there are the goals, right? It’s like, “Hey, we’re going to do $1 million,” and we did that. [inaudible 01:27:02] $10 million a year and then $50 million and then we’ll hit $100 million. What’s the next goal? Is it $1 billion? One hundred million or $200 million is not that big of a difference.” We were just kind of like, “What’s the point? What’s the purpose? We’ve grown as big as any company I know.”
Last year, Dave and Ryan had gone out there, and they were telling me stories. They were like, “There’s 170,000 businesses here.” They’re telling me these things, and it sounded cool. They were going crazy. “You have to see this so you can believe it.”
There’s something about the energy of seeing something that makes it real, and so this year I was like, “I want to go. I want to see Benioff speak. I want to see the thing. I want to see the towers. I just want to understand it.” Because if I understand it, it’s like, “Okay, cool. Now we can reverse engineer it and figure out how we can do it.” So for me, it was just like seeing it.
I think [inaudible 01:27:46] entrepreneurs, if your people believe that they can do it, they’ll do it. If you believe you can lose weight, you’ll lose weight. If you believe you can grow a company . . . I don’t know if I believed that the next level was possible for us until I saw it. I was like, “Oh, my gosh. This is not ridiculous. None of these guys are any smarter than any of us. They just figured out the path.” It’s like, “Let’s look at the path. Let’s look at that, and now we can figure out our path.”
Andrew: And seeing it in person did that for you.
Russell: Yeah. It makes it tangible. Your physiology feels it versus reading a book about it or hearing about it. It’s like you see it and you experience it and it’s tangible.
Andrew: I told you I asked people before they came in here, “What are you looking for?” A few of them frustrated me because they said, “I just want to see Russell. I just want to see the event.”
I go, “Give me something I can ask a question about.”
But I think that they were looking for the same thing that you got out of there, and I know they got it. I’m going to ask them to come up here and ask some questions, and I want to know about the future of ClickFunnels, but first I’ve got to just acknowledge that we are here to just pick up on that energy, that energy that got you to pick yourself back up when anyone else would have said, “I’m a failure as a husband. I can’t do this. Go back.” The tension that came from failing and almost going to jail, as you said, from failing and succeeding and failing again, that is inspiring to see. I want to give the whole ClickFunnels family a big round of applause. Please, everybody.
I know a lot of you have asked me what’s coming up next, and Russell is going to talk about that, how you’re going to get to Salesforce level, but why don’t I take a couple of questions from someone. Is there anyone who’s been sitting there going, “I can’t believe Andrew didn’t ask that?”
All right, and one final sponsorship message. It’s from a company called Toptal. Look. You’ve seen this guy Russell create a software company even though he had a background in writing and online education. He created a software company. If you’re in a place where you want to kick software into high gear but maybe your developers don’t have enough bandwidth to do this or maybe you just don’t have a robust enough team to implement what you have in mind, you owe it to yourself to go talk to Toptal.
In fact, there’s no obligation. All you have to do is go to toptal.com/mixergy. As soon as you hit that button on their page, they’re basically going to be setting you up to have a conversation with one of their matchers. The matcher is a real human being who will jump on a call with you fairly quickly, and you can tell them what you’re looking for or what kind of languages you’re coding in, what your background is, what your vision is, what your company culture is. Are you all online? Is it more voice that you use for interaction? Is it more text? Whatever it is, you let them know, and they will find the right person or people for you pretty quickly. What I have found is you can often hire them and have them start within days.
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Back to the interview.
Is there anyone who has something that’s standing out for them? Should we just have them come on stage?
Interviewee: We’ve got mics.
Andrew: We’ve got mics for them over there? Okay. Dave, how long have I been going? Because the connection broke, my timer broke down. It’s about an hour and 20, right? Okay.
Andrew: Good. Good. Yeah. You see somebody right there? There we go.
Audience Member: All right, Russell, I’ve got a question.
Andrew: Oh, wait. Let’s get it on.
Audience Member: All right. A little bit deeper of a question. I know you’re strong in your faith, family, God, kind of all around. What’s something that’s really made you who you are? You mentioned before what made you a marketer with your dad. You’re up late watching the infomercial. What’s something that inherently could have been experienced, maybe a quote in the back of your mind that’s just driven you? It could have been something that your parents taught you when you were young. What is it? It’s kind of a little bit difficult question to look back. There are probably a million things, but what are one or two that really stick out and make you the person that you are?
Russell: I have a million thoughts racing through my head. The one that just popped in the front, I’ll share that one. Hopefully, it’s good. I remember when I was a kid my dad gave me a job to go clean the car. I went out there and cleaned the car. I did my best job, I thought.
I came back in, and I was like, “Hey, Dad. It’s clean. Can I go play?” I said, “Come look at it so you can let me go out and play.”
He was like, “Well, is it good? Are you proud of it?”
I’m like, “I don’t know.”
He’s like, “Well, are you proud of it?”
I’m like, “I don’t know.”
He’s like, “Go work on it until you’re proud of it, and then come back and let me know.”
I was like, “Oh, man.” So I had to go back out, and I was like, “Am I proud of this?” I was thinking, “I guess, technically, I’m really not that proud of it.” So I was trying to do more things, trying to clean it better to the point where I was actually proud of it.
I came back in, and I was like, “Dad, the car’s clean now.”
He’s like, “Are you proud of it?”
I’m like, “I am.”
He’s like, “Okay. You can go out and play then.”
I think for me that was such a big thing because it was just that internal, “Am I proud of this thing that I’m giving, that I’m putting out there? If not, keep doing it until you are.” I don’t know. That was one of those little weird Dad moments that he probably didn’t even mean as a teaching opportunity but definitely has been big for me ever since then.
Andrew: Good question. Is there one on the side? While you’re finding the person who has a question, Whitney, did you have more to say? You were going to ask more, right? Yeah. Can you get the mic over to Whitney, please? She’s right over here. I know I didn’t ask your full question.
Whitney: Hi, Russell. How are you?
Russell: Awesome. How are you doing?
Whitney: Good. So with your business, back to when you were first starting, I kind of want to know when your business was really hard, when things were really struggling, what’s the one thing that kept you going that was just in the back of your mind, and then I have a second part of that. What would you say was your biggest failure, and what was the greatest lesson that you learned from it?
Russell: Okay. Those aren’t easy questions.
Andrew: The biggest failure.
Russell: Oh, man. So the first question, what was the first one again? I’m thinking about my biggest failure, and I’m trying to . . . oh, what kept me going. Man.
Andrew: Give me a second. Are you going through that now? You are. What are you going through right now? Can you stand up and get close to the mic? I can see that this is a meaningful question for a reason. What’s going on? Be open.
Whitney: With my business, I’m trying to get my message out there. I’m just baby parts of ClickFunnels, so I’m just figuring out how to do a funnel. My company is called Creating Powerful Women, and so I’m just trying to teach women how to grow a business while they grow their family at the same time, and I’m doing that right now because I have three little, tiny girls. So I’m just like, “Okay. I’m still trying to figure this out myself and then teach women how to do it at the same time.” I’m still in that struggle phase.
Andrew: Is it partly because you feeling like an imposter? “How can I tell them what to do?”
Whitney: Mm-hmm, when I don’t even know.
Andrew: That’s what I was saying to you earlier. How did you deal with that?
Whitney: And I feel like I need to have that success level before I can teach women how to go out and do it, but the reason when I found you in the hall and I said, “I want Russell to be vulnerable and tell the nitty-gritty parts of the story and those stories are what make people relatable to you,” that’s kind of where I’m at. I realized that I grow a bigger following and a bigger audience when I’m more relatable to them, which I realize I don’t need to be up at that level to do that.
Andrew: I get that.
Russell: Yeah. My question for you is have you been working with women and helping them so far?
Russell: Tell me a story of someone you’ve helped. I’m curious.
Whitney: So I went through postpartum depression a couple of years ago after I had a baby, and a lot of the women that I’ve been reaching out to, when I share those stories, those women have been coming to me and saying, “Hey, how do you get through this struggle? I know you’ve gotten past that. I want to hear the stories that you went through.” So a lot of people that I’ve been coaching one on one have been people that have gone through those exact same things that I have.
Russell: Okay. When you do that and you share the stuff with them and that clicks for them, how does that feel?
Whitney: Like I’m fulfilling what I was put on this planet to do.
Russell: That’s the thing. That’s the thing that keeps me going. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens often enough that I crave that. I’m super introverted, so it’s always awkward when people come to me, but I still love when they come to me and they’re like, “Hey, just so you know real quick.”
Last night, we were in San Francisco or San Diego, excuse me, and someone came up to me in the hall, and I was like, “I’m nervous to talk to you, but you can talk to me.”
And he said, “Hey, just real quick, you legitimately changed my life. You changed my family.”
He started tearing up, and I was just like, “Oh.” I let myself feel that just for a second and then go back to the awkwardness, but for a second I feel that, and I’m just like, “Oh, that’s what it’s about, you know?”
I use Voxer for my coaching clients, right? So every time they Vox me and they say something like that, there’s a little star button. I star it, and it stores it in this huge thing of all of the starred ones. On down days, I’ll go back and listen to that. I’ll listen to people from two years ago who said something about how something I did affected them, and it’s just that feeling.
Everything we do in this life is for feelings, right? Everything is just a feeling we’re looking for. We eat because we want a feeling. We did this because I wanted a feeling. We’re doing everything for a feeling. If I can remember the feeling of the thing I’m trying to get and I can experience it again, that’s what keeps me going.
I think that any of us that are lucky enough to have those feelings, a lot of times we forget about them. It’s like, “No. Remember that because that’s the thing. When it’s hard and it’s painful and it’s dark, it’s that feeling.” You remember that, and you let yourself experience it for a minute. For me, that’s when I’m like, “Okay. I can get back up and go again.”
Andrew: Yeah, great question. I’m glad you asked it. How about one more over there? You know what? Let’s give everybody a big round of applause, please.
Audience Member: I was actually going to ask a little bit about that vulnerability. I was surprised. I’m big in the SAAS space. I’ve been to Dreamforce. I follow a lot of ClickFunnels. It’s pretty rare that you see a CO want to put themselves kind of on the roasting side of things. You’re from here. You’re from Sandy. I was just kind of surprised. What was it that really compelled you to want to come back and do this thing you taught? When I saw your email, I thought it was a clickbait scam.
Russell: Oh, it is. We’re selling you something next. Just kidding.
Audience Member: I really thought I was going to come and it was going to be a video of your face, and it was going to be like, “Hi. You know we’re here.” I follow ClickFunnels, but it’s just really rare, especially being down in Utah County, that was kind of unique that way.
Andrew: Wait. One sec. Does ClickFunnels actually allow me to place people’s city in the headline like, “I want someone from San Francisco?” You could? Oh. All right. I get it.
Audience Member: Yeah. It said Idaho. It said, “We’re in the surrounding areas. It’s going out to 8,000 people. Limited seating.”
As a marketer, I was just like, “Is this the real thing?”
You know, so I showed up, and I was excited to see you, but why come back to Utah? What does this event mean to you, and why do you want to be vulnerable and kind of open up? I’ve learned a lot about you personally that was great to hear from the business side.
Russell: Yeah, so I believe that we have the best software company in the world, so I’m going to start with that, but if it’s just about the software, then it comes down to, “Who’s got what feature?” People are moving and shifting and changing because of the features, right? That’s the thing. When we started ClickFunnels, it was like, “No. It has to be more. It has to be a thing, right?”
It’s interesting because people sign up for ClickFunnels. They click on an ad. They come and sign up. [inaudible 01:39:38] it doesn’t work that way, right, because ClickFunnels is a website builder, for crying out loud. If you boil it down, we are a website builder. That is boring. People don’t come for that. They stay for that. That’s why they stay. That’s why they stay, but they come because of the feeling, and they come because of the connection.
I want to be able to take the videos from here because if I can get more people who come through my funnels to hear this story, they’re going to stick with ClickFunnels because they realize that we have a soul. There’s a reason behind this. It’s not just this software company who’s trying to make a bunch of money. We actually have a belief behind it.
So that’s why we do all these things. That’s why I still write books. That’s why we do videos of our new vlogs. That’s why we do this fun stuff because it builds connection with people, and the connection keeps people staying. Even if some other companies have different features than we do or they’re cheaper and we’re more expensive or whatever, that’s a big reason why we still do it.
I thought it would be fun to come down here, yeah, because, you know, I grew up not far from here and it’s just kind of a fun thing. We’ve been working with the Harmon brothers. We started another project with them, and their family owns the Dry Bar Comedy Club. If you guys ever watch VidAngel, that’s one of their family companies, and when VidAngel had their little hiccups, they shifted all the programming to this, the Dry Bar Comedy Club. So we used to watch all the comedians here, and I was like, “This is the coolest location to do something like this.”
One of the other side jokes, I don’t know if I shared this with you or if it was just in my head, but Andrew is famous for doing these big scotch nights, and as a Mormon I can’t drink scotch. I was like, “What if we did this but it’s at a dry bar and just as a funny play off of that?” And it all worked out.
Andrew: You know, usually, at events, I do scotch night afterwards. I say, “Everyone come back to my room.” It’s not going to go over very well. But Dave didn’t mind. He drinks water and feels comfortable. We have good water for Dave. How about one more, and then I want to get into the future?
Audience Member: All right, cool. So you always talk about how for ClickFunnels you guys took six tries to finally make it work, right? Most of the time when you guys start something, it doesn’t work the first time. That’s why you have Audibles and all those things. So I was just wondering, as someone starting to get kind of that lift, what is the biggest thing that you see versus a flop funnel versus something that kind of takes off and explodes? What’s the [inaudible 01:41:46] to change that you normally do to make that shift or the message change or whatever it is that makes it finally take off?
Russell: Traditionally, the difference between a funnel that works and doesn’t work, I would say it’s probably 50% offer. If the offer’s wrong, that’s usually the first thing. Is it actually a good offer that people actually want? Second, then, is usually copy. What’s the hook? Those kinds of things. And then design is probably third.
So all that stuff that Theron and those guys didn’t like at first, the things that . . . because it’s not like we just made up this stuff, right? I mean, you saw 8,000 funnels we tested and tried in the journey of 15 years for this. Now we know what things people convert on. So it’s just looking at that. It’s looking at stuff that you know is working and modeling it because you know this structure works and those kinds of things, but usually, when something is broken, it’s going back and figuring out, “Okay. This offer’s not right. People didn’t want to.”
That was the problem with ClickFunnels, the offer. We took four or five times to get the offer right. As soon as the offer was right, you can tell when it’s right because people will buy. Even if everything else is bad, if your offer is amazing, people will give you money for it, you know? So that’s definitely the biggest part, and then from there it’s copy and then design and then all the little things that stress some people out like me.
Audience Member: Thanks.
Andrew: Yeah. We’ll come back. I see that there are a few people who had more questions. We’ll come back to that in a moment, including you. I promise I’ll do more. But you did tell me about all the different things that you guys are working on now. Of all of them, what’s the one that’s going to get you the closest to Salesforce level?
Russell: Oh, that’s a good question. There are so many things. I’m going to ask you a question. Is that all right? Have you read “Play Bigger” yet?
Russell: “Play Bigger.”
Andrew: No. What do you mean by that?
Russell: That’s the name of a book, “Play Bigger.”
Andrew: Oh, “Play Bigger,” the book. No.
Russell: Yes. So that book has been interesting. If you guys haven’t read it, it’s one of the biggest ones as a team that we’ve been reading. It’s all about designing a category and becoming the king of the category, right? So I feel like we are the king of sales funnels. That’s our category. That’s the thing that’s going to be there.
Then if you read through the book, the next phase is to build out the ecosystem that supports you as the category. The fascinating thing about Salesforce, if you look at it – and I probably shouldn’t say this on video because someday Marc Benioff is going to watch this and be like, “I’ll never give you money,” – but Salesforce isn’t great software, right? It’s this hub that things are tied into, but the reason why they did $13 billion this year and they’re trying to get to $20 billion is because they built the ecosystem, right? The ecosystem is what supports this thing and grows it up and builds it. That’s the next phase. So I think for us, it’s like we have funnels, which are the key. It’s like the CRM for them. It’s the central point. It’s then bringing all the ecosystems in and building up all the other things around it, right?
Andrew: Letting other people create things on your platform, becoming a platform.
Russell: Yes, becoming a true platform.
Andrew: That’s the thing. Can you create a platform when what you want is the all-in-one solution? You’re saying, “You don’t have to plug in your chatbot to our stuff. We’re going to be chat bot software. You don’t have to plug in Infusionsoft. We’ve got email marketing in here or Mailchimp.” Can you do that?
Russell: It depends. Salesforce is similar too, right? They have their own things that they either acquire and then bring them in or they build their own and things like that, and I think it’s a hybrid of that. I think we allow people to integrate because some people have tools.
Our goal is to always be the best sales funnel builder on planet Earth. We may not be the best email autoresponder in the world. We have one, and that increases our revenue, and people who love us will use our email autoresponder, but there may be some other one that’s better, but it’s not our big focal point. There may be a chatbot that’s got more features and more things. That’s not going to be our focus to make it the best, but we’ve got one built in to make it.
That’s kind of our thought is that we will have the things included so that people who want to go all-in can use it, but if they love yours because of these things, they can bring that and still bring it in, you know? And then, as we grow, who knows what the next phase is? It’s acquisitions. It’s finding the best partners, people that have [inaudible 01:45:38] and start acquiring companies and bringing them in internally similar to what Salesforce does to keep growing their platform.
Andrew: So you’re going to keep letting people build on your platform? Then does that make the platform more valuable or do you guys get a share of the money that people spend on these extra tools?
Russell: Both, I think. I mean, Stripe, for example. I think we processed $1.7 billion through Stripe, and we make over $1 million a year from Stripe referral fees for just letting them connect with us, right?
Andrew: Oh, okay.
Russell: So there’s value on both sides. It makes the platform more valuable because people can use it easier, but we also make money in that direction as well and those types of things.
Andrew: Okay, and then what is Actionalytics?
Andrew: Excuse me.
Russell: That was Todd’s name. He loved that name. Anyway, so Actionetics is what we call internally follow-up funnels. So we have sales funnels, which are page one, page two, page three, page four, and then the follow-up funnel is, “Send this email. Send this text message. Here’s the retargeting pixel. Here’s the thing.” It’s the follow-up funnel. It’s all of the communication that’s happened after somebody leaves the page with your audience.
Andrew: And that’s a new product that you guys are creating?
Russell: Yeah. Actually, we make more revenue from Actionetics than we do from ClickFunnels right now.
Russell: We’ve never marketed outside, though.
Andrew: I can’t get access to it. It asked me for my username and password. I said, “I don’t have that.” So how do I sign up for it?
Russell: It’s only been in beta. We opened it up at Funnel Hacking Live. People signed up there. Then we kept it down for a year, and then we opened it. So there were two Funnel Hacking Lives that we opened it at, and on my birthday we opened it, and that’s it. But we have over 12,000 or 13,000 members who have upgraded to that, and then we’re probably couple weeks away from the actual public launch where everyone will be able to get access to it.
Andrew: And already people are spending more money on that than ClickFunnels?
Russell: Yes, because it starts at $300 a month versus $100. It’s the ascension up. So they go from $100 a month to $300 a month, and in the new one it scales with you. Because we’re sending emails and Facebook messages and things like that, it gives us the ability to grow the platform as well and not just have a $200 a month limit. Someone might pay $1,000 or $5,000 depending on how big their lists are.
Andrew: You’re really good at these upsells. You’re really good at these extra features. How do you think about what to add? How do the rest of us think about it based on what’s worked for you?
Russell: Okay. That’s a great question, and everyone thinks it’s a product. The question most people ask is, “What price point should buy upsells be?” It has nothing to do with that. It has 100% to do with the logical progression of events for your customer, right?
When someone comes to you and they buy something, let’s just say it’s weight loss, right? They come to you. They buy a weight loss book, right? Let’s say it’s “How to Get Abs.” They buy that. The second they put their credit card in and click the button, in their mind that problem has now been solved. It’s like, “I now have six-pack absolutely,” the second it’s done.
People don’t think that, so what people do wrong is the next page is like, “Cool. You bought my abs book. Do you want my abs video series?”
It’s like, “No. I just solved that problem. I gave you money. It’s been solved.”
So the way to think through logical upsells is like, “Okay. I just got abs. What’s the next logical thing I need?”
So it’s like, “Cool. You’ve got abs now, but how would you like biceps? We can work you out. This is my training program to grow here.”
For funnels, it’s like, “Here’s this funnel software,” or, “Here’s this book that teaches you how to do funnels, but after you have a funnel, you need traffic.” Traffic is the next logical progression. So as soon as someone has bought something, in the customer’s mind I believe that problem has been solved, and it’s like, “Hey, what’s the new problem that’s been opened up because that problem has been solved?” That’s the logical upsell.
Andrew: So I got my email addresses because of ClickFunnels. The next problem I’m probably going to have is, “What do I send people?” And that’s what you’re solving.
Andrew: What about this Fill Your Funnel? It’s a new software?
Andrew: What is it?
Russell: How do you know these things? That is good. You have been digging. So I’m writing my third book right now. It’s called “Traffic Secrets,” and on the back of it we have software that’s called Fill Your Funnel that matches how we do traffic with the book. So someone reads the book, you log in, and the way we do traffic, we focus very heavily on influencers. We call it the Dream 100. So you come in and you log in.
You’re like, “Here are the people in my market. There’s Tony Robbins. There’s Andrew.” You list all these people, and it starts pulling all their data and scraping all of their ads and their funnels and everything, and it shows you everything that’s happening in the company so you can reverse engineer it for what you’re doing.
Andrew: So if I admire what John is doing for you guys, I can put you in the software. You’ll show me what you guys are doing, and then I’ll be able to scrape it and do it myself. You’re nodding, and you’re okay with that.
John: It’s awesome.
John: I’m excited.
Russell: He’s excited.
Andrew: Have you been doing that? Is that part of what’s worked for you guys at ClickFunnels?
John: Yeah. We like to look and see what other people are doing.
Andrew: And so you’re actively looking to see what other people . . . man, as an interviewer, that would be so good for me to understand what people are doing to get traffic to their sites.
Russell: We buy everybody’s product. Everyone’s. I’ve bought Drew’s six times – yeah, you’re welcome – just because the process is fascinating to see.
Andrew: And then the book. What’s the name of the book?
Russell: “Traffic Secrets.”
Andrew: Why is everything a secret? What is that?
Russell: I don’t know.
Andrew: No. I feel like you do.
Russell: It out-converts. One hundred percent it’s because it out-converts.
Andrew: Because the word “secret” out-converts in everything?
Russell: Everything that I have. I used to get on stage and be like, “The top three myths, the top three strategies, the top three lies, the top three everything,” and “secrets” always out-converted everything else, and then it just kind of stuck.
Andrew: So that’s the name of this book. I’m looking here to see. Yeah, Melanie told me when you organized this event you said, “Secret project.” That’s it.
Russell: If I just tell people what’s happening, then they’re like, “Oh, cool.” You have to build up the anticipation.
Andrew: Even within your team?
Russell: Especially for the team.
Russell: Especially, yes.
Andrew: So secret is one big thing. What else do you do?
Russell: Secrets, hacks.
Andrew: No, within the team. So now you get them interested by saying it’s a secret.
Russell: Ill them the story. I’ll tell them the beginning of the story. “Oh, my gosh, you guys. I was listening. I was just cleaning the resting room, and I was going through this thing. I was listening to Andrew, and he was doing this campfire chat, and it was amazing. He’s telling this whole story, and I had this idea that’s going to be amazing. I’ll tell you guys about it tomorrow.”
What happens now is they’ve got a whole night to marinate on this and be like, “What in the world?” They get all excited. Then when they show up, they’re anticipating me telling them, and if I tell them, then I get the response I want.
If I tell them, they’re like, “Oh, cool.”
I’m like, “No. You missed it.”
In fact, I’ll share ideas all the time. I’ll pitch it out there just to see. I know if it’s a good idea because Brendan will be like, “I got chills.” Dave will start freaking out. That’s when I know. I’m like, “Okay. It was good idea.” If they’re like, “Oh, that’s cool,” I’m like, “Crap. We’re not doing that one.” It’s the same thing.
Andrew: I’ve heard one of the reasons you guys hang out together is, one, he’s an extrovert and you’re an introvert, but the other one is Dave will one-up you.
Russell: It starts the process. This is like the bubble soccer event we did. Initially, we were going to have influencers. We were launching a viral video, and then we were like, “Let’s bring some people into it.”
We were asking somebody who could bring big influencers, and they were like, “You have to do something crazy like get a Ferrari and let them drive over it in a monster truck.”
I was like, “That seems extreme.” I was like, “What if we played football in the Boise State Stadium?”
Dave’s like, “What if we did bubble soccer?”
I’m like, “What if we tried to set a world record?”
Next thing we know we’re all Guinness Book of World Records champion bubble soccer players. It was amazing.
Andrew: That’s the thing that I’ve heard about your office environment. It’s this kind of atmosphere. For me, look at me. I’ve got that New York tension. When I talk to my people, when I talk to everyone, it’s like, “We’ve got to do something already.”
You guys are fun. There’s a bubble ball pit or whatever in the office. Am I right? You’re like, “We’re going to create a new office. Let’s have a bowling alley in it.” That’s the truth.
Russell: That is the truth. It’s going to be amazing.
Andrew: Does he also tell you, “We need to do something this weekend, date night, it’s a secret?”
Russell: Maybe I need to do more of that, huh?
Andrew: Yes. Does he use persuasion techniques on you?
Russell: It doesn’t work on her.
Russell: She’s the only person I can’t persuade. It’s amazing. My powers are useless against my wife. It’s unfortunate.
Andrew: Do you actually use them or when it comes to the house do you go, “Come on, I’m tired already?”
Russell: I tried to do something today, and she was like, “That was the worst sales pitch ever.”
I’m like, “Dang it. All right. I’ll try again.”
Andrew: Hey, Siri. Text my wife, “I’ve got plans for tomorrow night. So good. Russell just told me about it. I’ll tell you later. Secret.” Send.
Russell: That’s amazing.
Andrew: Wowie. Does anybody know how I can get a babysitter here?
Interviewee: [inaudible 01:53:48].
Interviewee: I’ll babysit.
Andrew: You’re a little too eager to spend time with my kids. Nope. Thank you. All right. I said that I would take a few more questions, and then we’re almost out of time here. Who was it? There was someone on the right here who especially looked . . . yeah, you who just pointed behind you.
Audience Member: Hi. Okay, Russell, so I’ve been in your world since about 2016.
Andrew: Hang on a second.
Audience Member: What?
Andrew: I’m sorry to curse. Who the comes to a software event and goes, “I’ve been in your world?” This is the amazing about you. I’m in San Francisco. There’s nobody who goes, “I’m so glad I’ve been in the HubSpot world.” No. It doesn’t work that way. I’m sorry. I had to interrupt. Okay. “I’ve been in your world.” He’s selling you software. You’re in his world.
Audience Member: You have to listen to his podcast. It’s in there.
Andrew: I’ve listened to his podcast. It’s just him talking.
Audience Member: It’s a universe. He creates a universe like Disneyland.
Andrew: [inaudible 01:54:44] blew my mind. I thought it was him in a professional studio. I saw him in San Francisco. He’s talking into the voice recorder on his phone. Okay, yeah. I’ve got a feeling that Russell is going to go at some point, “Religion is just an info product. I think I could do a better job here.” All right, yeah.
Audience Member: Okay. I entered the ClickFunnels universe in 2016, and since that time, I came in with a lot of hopes. It was just a really exciting experience to have you break down the marketing. You really simplified it, right? So I see that. I’m an ambassador for the 1 Comma Club Challenge right now, and people are coming in with such high hopes and such tremendous faith and trust in you. I have friends that I’ve, you know, brought into it and everything, and they’re coming in. They’re really staking a lot on how they’ve been persuaded to join your universe. Well, sorry. Universe is the wrong word.
But from that, I guess the question is there’s a few things. I think a lot of people are afraid of that type of responsibility in the products that they’re delivering. Of course, there is a tremendous failure rate of people who don’t get what they’re persuaded, and so there’s a lot of magnification on the 2 Comma Club and the people that are the successes, but the question that I have is the responsibility that you feel for that.
I feel that you feel the responsibility because you’re constantly looking for new ways to simplify, to bring in new coaches, to bring in the new team, to make products and offers that are completely irresistible. Truthfully, I went to Funnel Hacking Live. “I’m not spending any money.” Okay, $20,000 later. It was truthfully so irresistible.
But you’ve crafted such unique things in an effort to truly serve the client and really get them to the place that they’re looking to go. I’m not sure if the question is coming out, but it’s a lot of responsibility that all these bright-eyed, bushytailed wannabe marketers are coming in really truthfully feeling the genuine truth that you’re telling them, but then there’s a big crash-and-burn rate too, which is normal in that space. I’m not sure what the question is.
Andrew: Congratulations to the people in the 2 Comma Club. What about the people in the No Comma Club? What do you feel as a sense of obligation to the people who aren’t yet there? What do you feel about that?
Russell: Was that the question?
Andrew: Is that right?
Audience Member: I guess the question is . . . so there are two parts. One is the responsibility that other people are feeling, the fear that they’re feeling to put something out there because they’re afraid of failure. So just like Whitney over there was talking about she’s got those fears. There are normal fears that come along with that, so how do you deal with that? It’s not because of lack of delivery on your end, but there still people who are spending tremendous amounts of money or small amounts of money that just aren’t getting what it is. It’s really about your internal feelings about that topic.
Russell: That’s a good question, and there’s a lot of different ways I can answer it. I’m trying to think. You know, for me, I think it’s the big reason why I do have a [inaudible 01:57:46] because I do feel a huge obligation to people who sign up for our stuff, right? I’m always thinking, “How do we simplify this? How do we simplify? What’s the best way to do it? What’s the thing?” But that’s also what creates innovation, right? It’s what creates the idea. It’s that. “How do we serve these people better? How do we serve them better?”
In fact, Brandon over here was working on a video. He sent it to me last night. I had a chance to watch it. It was really cool. We had Sean Stephenson speak at the second Funnel Hacking Live. Was anyone there for that one? Cool, you guys. Sean Stephenson, if don’t you know him, he’s the three-foot giant. He’s this little dude in a wheelchair and one of the coolest humans on earth.
He told this story. It was funny because, man, I had another emotional connection last night actually watching it. He told a story. He’s like, “How many of you guys here are upset because you’ve got 17 followers on Facebook and you’ve got 13 likes on your YouTube video and you’re pissed because of all of this stuff, right?”
I think a lot of people feel that way. “I’m trying this thing. I’m not a millionaire yet. I’m not making any money, blah, blah, blah, and they get upset about that, right? What Sean said, he’s like, “Do you know how they choose who they’re going to save when a helicopter’s flying into an ocean and there’s a boat that’s wrecked and all these people? Guess how they choose who they’re going to save.”
He said, “What happens is the helicopter pilot, they fly over there and they go down to the people and are going to save them.” He says, “Guess who they save. They save the people that are swimming towards them.” He said, “That’s how you do it.” He said, “If you try to save everyone, they’ll drown. They’ll drown the boat, and everybody dies, but you save the people that are swimming towards you.” Then he came back to say, “You know those 17 likes on your video? Those are the people that are swimming towards you. You have to understand that.”
So for me, we talk about the money because it gets people inspired, but when it all comes down to the real internal belief, no one really cares about the money, right? They want the feeling of the connection and the help, and they want to change the world. They have their thing. We talk about the money because it gets people excited, but I don’t know anybody who that’s the real reason why they’re in business. They’re in it because they want to help those people are coming towards them.
You notice when you get deeper into the culture it’s not just money, money, money. It’s, “How do you serve? How do you impact? How do you change the world? How can you get your message clearer? How can you do those things?” When you shift from the money to that, then the money starts magically coming. So for me, it’s just like, “How do we get people thinking that way more often?” I don’t know if that’s the right answer or if that helps at all, but it is definitely something I feel a big obligation for.
I also feel like I’m super grateful for the people who were willing . . . I am grateful to Don Lapre, who spent all that money doing an infomercial on that thing. I didn’t implement it back then when I was 14, right? I’m grateful to the next guy who reinspired me when I bought the thing and didn’t do anything and the next person and all those things.
Eventually, it stuck, right? For me, I’m going to keep creating offers and keep doing cool things and keep trying to inspire people because it might not be the first or the second or the fifth, but eventually, if I keep being consistent on my side, it’s going to keep getting it, and eventually, the right people, those who actually have something they want to share and who actually care about what they’re doing will figure out the way. We’re just going to keep trailblazing and trying to do our best to make a path that they can all follow. That’s kind of how I look at it.
Andrew: Great question. Let’s close it out with one more. Yes. Dave, did you find someone because I just found someone right here? Why don’t we do two more then since you found one and I found one? What’s your name?
Andrew: Sorry. Parker?
Andrew: Parker. You go next. There we go. Let’s go to Parker next, and we’ll close it out with him.
Parker: All right, so the biggest question I have for you, Russell, is I’ve seen the amazing, amazing group you guys have at ClickFunnels, and every time I go into your office, it’s nothing but just excitement, energy, and not only do you have to inspire . . . you don’t have to inspire your workers to work for you. They come. They’re excited. I’ve heard the amazing stories that John and Brent had that they’ve stayed with you for all this time, and you pushed them and they pushed you. It’s just an amazing cycle.
I’m curious as far as because I want to have an amazing group like that one too so I can affect the world the same way that you have an even do better than you did. That’s a complete admiration thing. I don’t know.
Russell: They’re cut from the same cloth here. That’s his dad. Dave’s his dad.
Andrew: That makes sense.
Parker: The question I have for you is how do you find those people? Is it nothing but like a whittling out process or do you see these characteristics already in the people that you have?
Andrew: Wait. One sec. How old are you?
Parker: I’m 20 years old.
Andrew: You’re 20 years old. You admire your dad and the guy he works with so much that you want to not just be like him but be more like him? Can you take care of my kid tonight? Sorry. That’s amazing. Does your dad come home with this energy like, “We’re going to capture the world, here’s what we’re going to do?”
Parker: It is the funniest thing.
Andrew: It is?
Parker: Oh, my gosh. Everywhere you see him online, on social media, or whatever the heck it is, that’s exactly the same way he is at home. When you see him on the TV talking about, “Oh, this is,” or when you interview him . . .
Andrew: I subscribe to his podcast. I see that thing.
Parker: Okay. You know as much as I do then.
Andrew: And he’s like that too? He motivates you too?
Andrew: What does he motivate you to do? To sell as a kid or to upsell as a kid?
Parker: So he would talk to us like he was a salesperson, basically, in the aspect of he talks about things as far as like, “This person does a terrible job of selling. They could have done this, this, and this.” We’re 10 years old, I think, at the time. I think. I don’t know. It’s more of a recent change. Since he’s joined ClickFunnels, he’s got this amazing excitement and energy. It’s an amazing thing that I wish to have people like my dad when I become start to do my own thing.
Andrew: It is contagious, isn’t it?
Parker: It totally is.
Andrew: What’s this new vlog that you’ve got? It’s on Russell Brunson’s YouTube channel, right? I’m at the end of it going, “Hell, yeah. Why am I taking a shower now? I’ve got to go. I’ve got stuff to do. These guys are out there taking over San Francisco. That’s my city.” So I guess you’re feeling the same way at home, right? It’s his city now. He’s there twice. He suddenly owns the place. So your question was . . .
Parker: Oh, yeah. My question was basically how do you find these amazing people to work not only for you but with you and help you accomplish your dream? Is it a whittling out process or do you have this innate ability to find people?
Russell: So as you were saying that, I started thinking. I’m thinking about the partners on our team. None of them came through a help-wanted site.
Brent went to church with me, and he showed up every single week, every single month. He was my home teacher, and he showed up every single month consistently, and we became friends. Then we did stuff together.
John married my cousin. We were on a boat in the middle of a lake and he pitched me on a network marketing opportunity. I was like, “I love this guy,” and then I pitched him back. It was amazing.
Then Dave, we were at an event like this, and we had a sign-up sheet if you wanted to take the speakers out to dinner. Dave ran back and signed up every single line under mine, so I went every single meal with him for three days.
I think a big part of it, I think most entrepreneurs can’t build a team because they’re waiting to build a team. I think for me, I didn’t know what I was doing, so I just started running. What happens when you’re moving forward and motion is happening, people get attracted to that. Some people will come for bad reasons, and they’ll leave. I’ve been taken advantage of multiple times. I can’t say it won’t happen, but the right people will stick around. It’s all about the motion, right? That’s what people are attracted to. “Something’s happening. I don’t know what’s happening, but I want to be on that train,” and they start coming. So I think it’s just taking the initiative of, “Okay. I’m going to start running, and I have no idea if anyone’s going to follow me ever, but if I do this and I keep doing it consistently, then people will.”
You know, it’s a consistency thing. I’m 15 years into this business now and 8,000 funnels deep, but it’s consistency. When you do that and you’re consistent, then the right people just start coming into your life. But if I had waited to build my team initially, we wouldn’t have a team, right? Everyone we met, as we were having motion, the right people started showing up.
Andrew: All right.
Parker: Thanks a lot.
Andrew: Thank you. How many people here are actually in ClickFunnels? Can you guys stand up if you work at ClickFunnels? There you go. I feel like at the end of this everyone is going to want to go and meet Russell. Everyone’s want to go and mob him, and he’s not that social, number one. Number two, I feel like you’re going to pass up these fan-freaking-tastic conversations. I’ve gotten to know the people who work here a lot really well in preparation for this. I really urge you to see them. The people who are wearing these t-shirts, get to know them. Push them into a corner. Understand what’s working for them. Really, you’re fantastic people. Thanks so much for helping me do this.
All right, and thank you for having me on here. I really appreciate you being open, being willing to let me take this anywhere. You said, “I understand what Andrew’s trying to do. He’s trying to figure this out. I’m going to let him run with it and let him make the magic happen,” and I think we made a lot of magic happen. Thanks so much for having me here. Thank you.
Russell: Yeah, man. It was amazing. Thank you.
Andrew: Thank you. Thank you all for coming. I’m looking forward to meeting every one of you. Thanks.
And there it is, my favorite interview of 2018, maybe of all time. I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first is the hosting company that will host your website right. It’s called hostgator.com/mixergy. And the second is a company that will help you hire phenomenal developers. It’s toptal.com/mixergy.
Check out ClickFunnels at clickfunnels.com. Obviously, you know that. And if you want to see the site that I created using ClickFunnels – I’ve now been a longtime customer of theirs – you can check it out at runwithandrew.com. That’s where I’ll be talking about my running experience trying to do seven marathons on seven continents in one year.
All right. Thanks. Bye, everyone.