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. Joining me is, uh, an entrepreneur who he’s my guest, but I made it awkward because before the interview started, I said, he’s laughing already. It wasn’t, it was genuinely the most awkward that I’ve ever had.
One of these interactions go because Russ Ruffino. Is a guy I’d never, I never met before. And I don’t know that we’ve gotten many friends. No. The person who introduced him to me is someone who I’ve trusted with guests for a long time. But his revenue is really high. And I said, Russ, do you have any way of proving a revenue?
And he gave me this look that immediately told me, Andrew, can you just, you should have said hi to him. First made them feel welcome. And. And I, and I felt the eyes and there’s a part, yeah. To me that really just wanted to back away from asking it like a, like a scared little kid. And I said, no, you always have to just stay calm and not like show the emotion of fear when you’re asking something that doesn’t come across well. And we talked about it and I, and I then relied on the second thing that I do is just, I explained why I said, look, I just don’t want to be snowed.
I feel so bad when I see podcasters who are promoting people who are like the big one is anyone who says I’m a millionaire. Can I do, can I be interviewed by you? We automatically say, no, you can’t do it because. That people were just like snowing podcasters with terminology like that. And the podcast is, are trying to impress their audience anyway.
So I said, how do I confirm it? And what I was really getting at was can I see the registered to your Stripe account on your screen? But I didn’t ask. And then. We talked and it was awkward. And I discovered away and he’s got an inc 5,000 link on his homepage and I confirm with ink. And then he said, if you stop recording me, I can show you my dashboard to my Stripe account as well.
That’s exactly what I wanted to ask, but I didn’t want to ask. And it shows me the is phenomenal and I can’t believe it because what he’s doing, he runs a company called clients on demand. You worked with coaches, consultants, service providers, and he helps them get clients. Using ads using the, the thing.
That’s the opposite of what? A lot of times they tell me when I, when I talked to them, which is word of mouth. Every time they say word of mouth, I feel like you’re not doing anything you’re lazy and people just happen to know you. And so that’s why you’re saying word of mouth, like to try to impress me with how your service must be so good.
People can’t stop talking about it. But, um, but he says, look, I’m going to teach them how to do that. And in the education space, frankly, there are a lot of people who are charlatans, who don’t really have anything to teach and who aren’t really making money from it. And. They say they are. So I wanted to make sure I did make sure I really appreciate you for going through that with me.
Um, I want to find out now how you built this business, how you got here and we can do it. Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first, if anyone out there is hosting a website, go check out hostgator.com/mixergy. I’ll tell you why later. And the second, if you need a developer again, I’ll tell you later why you should go to top talent.com/mixergy brassica Tabby here.
Russell: Thanks man. So yeah, I want to give you a shout out actually, because it’s awesome that you did verify that you care enough about your audience to make sure that, you know, the people that come on your show are playing straight with everybody. So I was so surprised because I just never had anybody ask before, but then I was like, no, that’s actually pretty reasonable.
So I’m glad you did that.
Andrew: Thank you. And we just recently had to turn someone away last minute because it wasn’t right. So can you, do you feel comfortable saying what the revenue was that you showed me?
Russell: Yeah. So it’s 15 million
Andrew: 50 million over what period?
Russell: that was in 2018.
Andrew: 2018, 2019 was.
Russell: I think it was like a 13, 14. It was a little bit less.
Andrew: Oh, wow. Why?
Russell: Um, because we had some major personnel changes and we shifted some offers around, we focused on building on our backend. So, so 2019 was really the year that you could say that we really.
Wanted to get all of our processes and everything in place to make sure everything was rock solid. So in your company, at some point you can, you can, you can reach a point where you’re like you’re growing and you’re growing and you’re growing, but if you don’t have a foundation under it, you can kind of grow yourself right out of business.
Tim Ferriss was talking about this on his show, or sometimes he calls it the hug of death. Well, he’ll, endorse like a service business and then, and then the podcast will go live and then boom, that business gets blown up with so many requests for whatever that they just don’t have the capacity to handle it.
So in 2019, I said, listen, let’s go let’s document our processes. Let’s make everything rock solid. Let’s make sure we’ve got a really solid backend in place and a really solid foundation. And now we’re poised to grow again this year. Cause we were doubling every year, man. I think we did, like in 2016, I think we did 2 million and then, and then 2017, we’d like four and a half and then we did nine and then we did, and then we did 15.
So it was just like, it was this very explosive growth. So I said, okay, we got to take a second and just get our house in order.
Andrew: You run ads for yourself and What’s the process. Take me through how a stranger becomes a customer and what that customer gets.
Russell: what’s great is that the same process that we use to bring clients into our own business. It’s the same process that we teach our clients , to bring clients into their business. So I’m a business coach, but we also work with everybody from fitness coaches to relationship coaches, to therapists, to fitness professionals.
I mean, any kind of high level service provider can really take advantage of this process. So the process is really simple. We run ads on social media. People click the ads. They get taken to a registration page for, for like a webinar or a video presentation. They watch it. It’s like 45 minutes at the end of the presentation, we make a really just low key offer to get on the phone with us and talk to us about becoming a client.
And that’s it. So the whole process is just ad webinar phone call.
Andrew: And then being a client means what .
Russell: So when people join our programs, we show them how to execute this process in their business. So obviously if I have a client who is a doctor, there are webinars can look really different from them, but we show them how to put this same basic strategy to work for them in their business.
Andrew: And it’s, it’s a video education with some one on one help. Right.
Russell: Yeah. So it’s it’s an ongoing program. So many of our clients will have like an eight week workshop. Some of them will do a 12 week workshop. We’re doing a 12 month program right now, but basically the idea is we take you step by step through the process of getting the outcome.
So what we found is that there’s a lot of people out there that are selling information when they probably should be selling transformation. And it sounds like a small difference, but it really is a huge difference because just showing somebody how to do something is not enough. You know, most people have a whole bookshelf full of like fitness books about how to get in incredible shape.
And most people are super out of shape. Obviously the information isn’t the problem. You need someone to hold your hand and walk you through it step by step so that they can actually get you the result.
Andrew: So, you know, I use a traps. The company is a partner of ours here at Mixergy. And one of the things that I love about it is I can put in somebody’s domain, like I did with yours clients on demand. And it shows me the top pages. One of the top pages for you is a PDF called, uh, The done for you funnel technology package.
, I love it. By the way, this landing page is one that we created that, that clay from lead pages asked if he could copy. And I said, yeah, absolutely included , in the lead pages software, but you’re showing the funnel, I assume that you guys were creating funnels for people now.
Russell: Well, we are. So what we do is as part of the program, we take care of the tech setup piece. So, like, in other words, , we don’t create the entire funnel for you. Cause then you don’t have anything invested in it. You don’t know what your webinars talking about. You don’t know what your ads are saying.
What we do is we do that part with you, but just as a, as a convenience for our clients, we take care of the tech setup for them just cause it’s like, if you’ve never done it before, it can be, it can be tough. But if for us it doesn’t take us long.
Andrew: I get it. Yeah. You know what, um, Noah Kagan, uh, from sumo.com rented a house in Sonoma and he had like 12 entrepreneurs, um, come in and learn how to build stuff. And he asked me to just sit, come, hang out at the place and help them out. I sat down with one to show them how to create a form that collects email addresses and then collect credit cards.
And this was before click pages, click funnels. Excuse me. But it was much harder. And even with club ClickFunnels, you still have to have a Stripe account and this account and every step I realize, Oh, no wonder they’re giving up there. They’re not like me, where all I want to do is spend time with this. I wish I didn’t have to talk to people.
Sometimes I can get lost. I get it. Now I see how you’re teaching them. But you’re saying the part that you’re going to get hung up on because it takes forever. We’ll just take care of for you. Am I right?
Russell: That’s exactly right. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay, let’s go personal again. The other thing that I noticed about you, as soon as we came on was. You have a presence like a presence about you.
I’m used to talking to people who, when I interviewed them, the first thing that I see is , their small head on the bottom of the screen, they don’t pay attention to where they are on the screen, let alone what they’re wearing, how they come across. You had a presence that instantly looked different.
I wonder, is that because you started out as an actor?
Russell: Might be, I don’t know,
Andrew: You wanted to be an actor, like the way that I wanted to be an entrepreneurial, where I was looking for stuff to sell growing up the whole time you wanted to be an actor
Russell: from the time I was, yeah. If that was my childhood, I went to studied acting when I was a kid. And then I went to a high school for performing arts. I went to UCLA school of theater the whole time I was there. I was like studying with different teachers in the city. So yeah, that was my thing. ,
Andrew: Because you want to be famous or because you, I really enjoyed projecting and embodying a different personality
Russell: Noah. I know that wasn’t the part that I liked. I mean, I loved acting cause it just was a unique challenge, but, but you know, what’s funny, man, is that I knew that. I always, I, you know, I want it to be successful. I wanted to have money, but, but I really want it to be free. this is so crazy to say, but in my limited understanding of the world, it was like, you basically have two options.
You can go work in an office and do some job that you don’t like. Or you can become like a famous athlete or you can become like a rock star or you can become like an actor. , um, those were literally the only options that existed in my mind. I had no idea about entrepreneurship. I had no idea about online entrepreneurship.
I mean, that stuff didn’t really exist when I was in my twenties. Um, and so when I, when I found out about these things, it was like a light went on in my head where I was like, Oh my God, you know, there’s a, there’s a way that I can, I can, I can create the life that I want.
Andrew: So wait, but acting then was a way for you to be free.
Russell: Yeah, well, that was what I wanted it to be. I thought, look, man, you know, if you’re an actor and you’re on a show, it’d be the greatest thing in the world. It’d be like the most incredible feeling to be up there. And then doing, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re doing your thing,
Andrew: Ah, it’s free in comparison to the job that the world seems to be pushing you towards. And then you did the bartending thing for 10 years. You were a bar. Did you feel like a failure being a bartender for 10 years? You did. How did you cope with that?
Russell: . I remember that I had been bartending for so long and I got together with a friend of mine that we went to high school together and we would compete for parts and everything.
And this guy was like super successful in the entertainment industry. And hadn’t seen him in a while and he was like, Russ, are you still bartending in like the way he asked it? Just like, Oh, you know what I mean? I mean, it just hit me in the chest and he wasn’t trying to be like rude or anything. He was just genuinely shocked that I was still stuck, uh, bartending.
So yeah, absolutely felt like a failure. And when I turned 30, I turned, , then I turned 31 and I was just like something, you know, something’s got to change period.
Andrew: Who came into the bar where you were tending bar. He said, what you call you called him a kid.
Russell: So two things, it’s the two things happen, man, a guy came into the bar, the younger brother of a friend of mine and he was just sitting at the bar and he’s, you know, he’s drinking. And, and this was kind of in the middle of that. The, the, the whole recession, this is like 2010, 2011. And, um, you know, just a one recession.
Maybe I made $500 today. I made $600 yesterday, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I’m sitting there like, okay, what are you doing? And he’s just talking to me as a gay man. I do affiliate marketing and this ClickBank and this and that, and the other thing, and blah, and I had no idea what the hell he was talking about.
So that happened and that kind of got my wheels turning where like, okay, I don’t know anything about this, but I’m going to look into it because if this kid can do this, I’m sure there must be something I can figure out. And then the second thing that happened is like, just a couple days later, I was on break at my bar and I walked into Barnes and noble in sitting right.
There was the four hour workweek by Tim Ferriss. And I picked up and I was like, what’s this? And I picked up the book and I read it. And I was just like, Oh my God, there’s this whole other path where you can create your own life and write your own ticket. That’s just in a different direction.
And it’s something I had never thought of before, and didn’t even know that it existed. And so I just said, look, man, I’m smart. I will dive into this with both feet and I will do everything I can to figure this out.
Andrew: And the first thing you did was what create copy for people.
Russell: No, no, no, no. The F because I didn’t copy. What’s copy. I don’t know what copy is.
You know, the first thing I did was, um, get into affiliate, marketing, and start looking for different products to promote
Andrew: The same thing that this kid did,
Russell: It just, well stuffed that I liked stuff that I believed
in. I would, I would, I don’t even remember, man. I mean, I would, I think Amazon had an affiliate program back then and I would find.
Andrew: you were writing stuff for Amazon products. It wasn’t like a ClickBank, even thing.
Russell: Well, I guess still some of them were like ClickBank stuff that I thought was really good. And then some of them was Amazon stuff. And just anywhere I could find when I signed up for an affiliate account, all these different networks and just kind of like went around, looking for stuff that I thought was good.
And then. Sat down and try to write, copy to promote like, you know, it took what little money I had and sort of dabbled in paid advertising. And, you know, eventually I was able to, to just kind of, it just clicked and I could just do it, which was the craziest thing, because. I had never, I didn’t listen. I had no marketing background, no writing background, none of that stuff.
But when I sat down to write like sales, copy it, just, it just flowed. And I could just do it. And it was the strangest thing to discover that about yourself at like age 31, you know, it was so weird.
Andrew: You know what I was trying to understand how you suddenly were good. Well, you a prodigy or something out of it. And then I was looking at Ari, our producer, who talked to you, looking at her notes and she said you were able to write. As if you were the person, because you embodied the person almost the way that you embody the character that you are trying to represent as an actor that you were representing as an actor, right.
You said, where are, tell me how, what happened there?
Russell: Well, so like the only, the only resource I had about how to write copy was this book called ultimate sales letter by Dan Kennedy. And in that book, he’s got like, I think it’s nine questions where he says, you know, nine questions that you need to know the answer to, to really understand your audience.
Like what do they dream of? Um, one of the questions, which is really great is what keeps them awake at night, staring at the ceiling and I’m reading these questions and I’m like, these are the exact same questions that we ask when we’re breaking down a script. And so I’m like, okay, this whole thing of copywriting, it’s just about projecting yourself into the head of the person that you’re trying to write for projecting yourself into the mind of your audience.
And also I can do that. And so that’s all I did. And I started saying, okay, well, this thing that I’m promoting, whatever it is, what’s the problem that it fixes and what’s it like to have that problem. And then I would just write about that. you know, an old kind of adage of marketing that I’ve found to be really true is that once you can describe someone’s problem better than they can.
They automatically assume, you know, the answer.
Russell: let’s say you’re walking down the street friends and you’re talking to your friends and you’re like, yeah, man, I got this really weird pain in my wrist. It like starts in my wrist and it kind of radiates up to my shoulder and then it goes right down to my wrist and then it stops and then it comes back.
You know, I don’t know what it is and your friends are like, I don’t know. And then homeless guy happens to overhear you and goes, Hey man, couldn’t help it over here. You do you have that pain in your wrist where it goes in your wrist and it radiates up your shoulder goes back down your wrist. Is that what you’re that’s what you got your next question would be, yeah.
What do I do about it? And it’s like, because someone understands what you’re going through and is speaking directly to the problems that you have and what your life is like every single day that immediately creates connection. And to me that is a way more powerful way to build authority than, um, letters after your name or case studies or testimonials or anything like that.
Because most people just want to be understood. I need to know that, you know what I’m going through.
Andrew: Russ. I’ve noticed that I’ve asked for Norris who I’ve interviewed here. Why did anyone use this, this piece of garbage first version that you’re calling piece of garbage? You told our producer was piece of garbage. I’ll ask him, why did anyone use it? And essentially the answer is they had such a big pain that they saw that I at least cared enough to do something about it.
So they were going to work with me until I could solve it. I wonder if you’re taking it to another level, you’re saying just reflect back what they’re feeling and their w. They want to buy a solution from you or they assume you have, it , here’s the question that I’ve been wrestling with personally?
do I, how do I even ask this? If they know that I heard them express the problem and then repeat it back to them, do they still believe that I, that I care and that I might know the answer? Or does it have to be like, in your example, the homeless person who wasn’t necessarily known to have over heard.
Russell: If you’re just reflecting it back to them, that just means you’re being a good listener. What I’m talking about is in your, in your marketing, when you haven’t had any kind of conversation with them at all, they’re on Facebook, they’re posting pictures of their kittens and they come across your ad copy.
If that ad copy speaks directly to, Hey, here’s the outcome you’re trying to get. Here’s the problems you’re struggling with. And here’s exactly how it feels to have that problem. You’ve got their attention. That’s not enough to make them say yes, I’m ready to, to, to enroll with you. But that’s, if you start the conversation on that note, , it, changes everything.
Cause if you think about the way most people sell themselves, right? It’s like, come work with me because I’ve got a Ferrari or come work with me because I have all these letters after my name or I’ve been certified by so-and-so they’re all just talking about themselves.
But in my copy, I’m talking about Andrew and what’s Andrew going through and what are you struggling with every day? And that’s the way you capture people’s attention.
Andrew: So, how do you do that for you, your clients? You’re talking about service providers. I’m assuming people like chiropractors, right. You’re helping them buy it. So how do they know? Well, I guess a chiropractor will have heard the same thing over and over again. Right. But they might have heard 20 different, even if it’s always the same 20 things, they might’ve heard 20 things in an ad.
How do they know which of the 20 things to reflect back and say, are you feeling this pain from your wrist to your shoulder, back down to your wrist?
Russell: Right. So the first thing we get them to do is we show our clients how to build an offer. That’s designed to produce a certain outcome. So that gets back to that transformation versus information thing we talked about before, where if you’re coming to work with us, I am going to help you put together.
Let’s say, let’s say you’re a doctor. And, and we had, this is one of our clients is a natural pathic doctor and, um, You know, I was like, tell me about the different patients that you work with. And he had had a bunch of different people that he worked with all different problems. And I said, well, is there a recurring theme where you see, you tend to see a lot of this and you, and you, you would feel comfortable specializing in this one thing.
And he said, sure, irritable bowel syndrome. And I was like, great, let’s make an irritable bowel syndrome webinar, but that’s what we ended up doing. So I was like, okay. So once he’s dialed into, this is the specific problem that I want to build an offer around. Now I can begin to explore that because I know I can, I can talk about what it’s like to have that problem.
I can talk about other things. People have tried to fix it, that haven’t worked and all that stuff just builds your authority and builds that connection because again, people really want to feel understood so with our clients, the first thing we want to do is get them clarity on who do they want to work with and what’s the problem they solve.
And then once we’re clear on that, Then we can go to work, building out the marketing. That’s going to capture people’s attention and bring them in the door.
Andrew: Alright, let me take a moment to talk about my first sponsor. It’s HostGator of hosting websites. And I want to ask you something. I can imagine if somebody would listening to us and they didn’t have an idea for a business, do you think that it would make sense for them to start off with like a WordPress site if they had HostGator?
And instead of saying, here’s my proposed solution, my proposed offer. Do like a month of interviews, private one on one conversations with people who have the problem that they’re thinking of addressing. So for example, you help people buy ads. Imagine if they said I’m going to help service providers do social media.
Well, okay. The next month, all I want to do is have private one on one conversations with. With the chiropractors about the problem they’re having with social media. And I’m just going to blog it up so that everyone knows this is what sucks for a chiropractor. Who’s doing social media. And then after a month of that, come out with the solution with a business, that address that helps them get into social media.
What do you think I’ve been watching your eyes and I, there are times when I felt it was writing it. And then at times when you were like blinking so fast, I said, um, um, I’m off the Mark here. So you tell me.
Russell: Well, so for us, There are people out there that are basically saying, you know, talking to people that let’s say, like work at Starbucks and saying, Hey man, start a car, start a coaching company, start, start a consulting business. Um, you know, build that online income, even if you don’t have anything going on.
It’s not really what we do. What we do is we work with people that already have the ability to solve a major life or business challenge. So for example, I can’t give you the expertise. If you’re going to come to us and say that I want to help people master social media, then you better be, you better be really good at that and be, be very competent that you can get results for the clients that you work with.
Because look, if you deploy our marketing process, you’re going to get clients. But if I’m helping you get clients and then those clients are just going to be disappointed because you can’t deliver for them, then nobody wins. Do
Andrew: Right. I was thinking if someone was good at social media, the way that you got good at advertising and creating a funnel and they wanted to build a business, maybe I thought a way to do it was to blog about the problem instead of blogging about solutions. I’ll tell you this though. Whatever, whereas listening to us, whatever idea you have, if you need a website, go to hostgator.com/mixergy.
When you do the find, the HostGator already has reliable service. If you unmetered this space on metered, uh, unlimited email addresses the works. They’re good. Inexpensive. If you hostgator.com/mixergy, it’ll be even less expensive. And they’ll give you a hundred dollars. Google ad credits, go get all the details at hostgator.com/mixergy.
And of course, you’ll be supporting the podcast. When you use that URL, let’s come back to you. You then said, I know enough to create a book. What’s this, what’s this first product that you decided to create? Didn’t you? What was the first product that you said at some point? Maybe it’s not a book, but I’m going to create a product.
Russell: Oh, yeah. So back then I got good at running paid traffic campaigns for different affiliate programs and things like that. And
Andrew: And is that sorry to interrupt. Is that how you were getting, so you, you told me that you picked some products off of ClickBank and Amazon and you create copy form. How did you get traffic to that? Copy in the beginning, SEO, something else. Search engine
Russell: Through through. I mean, just experimenting, like with what little, what little traffic I could afford. I mean, back then,
Google AdWords. Yeah, well back then Google ad words and things were much, much cheaper. Well, I mean, I actually, I heard they’re actually cheap again, but for a while they were super cheap and then they got expensive.
And then now I heard that they’re getting less
Andrew: we’re talking like 2009 prices. That’s what you were that’s when you
Russell: Yeah, like probably 2010 to do the 2011 prices. When, when things were still more affordable back then.
And just trying, just trying, just trying to see what worked and just trying to see what I could do. And then once I got pretty good at that, I kind of started coming up with just little guides that I could sell to other people, showing some of the things that I had discovered.
And once I started creating my own guides about how to do this sort of thing, Those did really well. And then I realized that, okay, so from there I just continued to grow and continue to learn and continue to get good at different things. Yeah. Now we just create tutorials for people and we’re not talking like expensive stuff.
We’re talking $27, maybe $47 to showing people what I had figured out when I had discovered, um, Like 27 bucks would be just like some videos about how to, how to do something. Again, this is information, not transformation. That’s just selling information and did that for, I think, four or five years and got to the point where we’re doing launches and would sell a thousand copies of something or 2000 copies of something.
And, you know, everybody was always happy, right? Refunds were always very low reviews were always very positive. Everybody was happy, but I’d follow up with people who bought my stuff and I’d ask, you know, You know, someone said, Hey, Ross, you know that ebook, you put it put out or that video, of course you put out, I loved it.
It was awesome. And I’d say, okay, great. Would you do with it? And they’d say, Oh, well, you know, it’s still kind of collecting cyber dust on my hard drive. That’s cool. And I’d be like, okay, so they didn’t do anything with it. And you know, from a pure capitalist perspective, there’s nothing wrong with that.
I’m writing something, you’re buying it. I’m happy. You’re happy. We’re good. But it started to bother me because I was like, look, man, you know, I’m putting out as good information, but so few people are actually taking action. And that’s what sort of got me thinking, okay, well, what would happen if I flipped this whole model on its head, where instead of charging a really low price and trying to work with thousands of people, I charged a higher price, 5,000, 8,000, 10,000, whatever, and worked with fewer people every month.
What would happen then? And that’s what I decided to do. So I shut down all my low ticket stuff, moved into the high ticket arena. It took there’s a few months there, straight up where I did not make any money at all because I shut down all my stuff. And then he was like, I’m going to do this new thing. I had no idea how to
Andrew: But you couldn’t sell it to the existing mailing
Russell: Yeah. I mean, I rolled it out to my existing mailing list to a certain, to a certain degree, but, but eventually you get to the point where you’re like, I want to sell this to a cold audience. I
want to be
Andrew: that’s the part that
Russell: audience. That’s the part that I had to crack the code on. And that was sort of the baby beginning Genesis version of this process that we teach today of going from the ad to a webinar, to a phone call.
And we found that that works the best and I’ve spent. Hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising, trying to break that model and trying to find something better, just testing different approaches, testing, new things, but nothing we’ve tested beats that
Andrew: Because with higher ticket items, people want more education. They want more, they want to.
Russell: yeah, you probably could sell a high ticket offer right. From a webinar. But I think that if you really selling transformation, It’s important to be picky about who are you to work with and who you’re not going to work with. Like, I don’t want to enroll somebody into my program unless I’ve spoken to them or someone from my team has spoken to them.
Cause I don’t want to enroll anybody in my program unless I’m a hundred percent confident I can get them results. So if I’m just sending people to like an add to cart button where anybody who comes to that page, click the button and sign up. I have no idea if I can help that person. So it’s important to have that conversation so that I feel good about I’m enrolling and I’m confident that if they’re coming into my program, it’s because I know I can get them resolved.
Andrew: How do you measure success today? How can you tell the people who’ve gone through your program actually are, are getting more out of it than they’re investing in it.
Russell: Well, so we have a couple of different measures. First of all, we keep really, really strongly in touch with everybody. Um, and even if someone enrolls in, let’s say an eight week program, we have a graduate group that once they complete the eight week program, they move into that graduate group and that’s all free.
And we continue to, you know, chime in and work with those people. And we continue to monitor that group and continue to help those people out. Um, We also use Trustpilot to collect reviews. So right now, um, clients can go on Trustpilot and they can leave a review. And I think we have almost 300 reviews or 250, 300 reviews, like 4.9 out of five stars.
Andrew: I saw that. But what I’m seeing with that is with Trustpilot, what you could do is check in with your, with your customers and say, are you happy? If they say yes, enthused, then you send them over to Trustpilot. If they’re not, you check in with them a little bit and see if, uh, if there’s something you could do, or some companies will even ignore them.
So I feel like Trustpilot has become a little bit manipulative
Russell: It cam it’s
like any it’s like, well, it’s like, it’s like anything else? Like, so if I’m just collecting customer reviews and I’m just kind of parking them on my website, it’s like, people don’t know anything. They don’t know if they’re real. They don’t know if they’re fake. They don’t know. They don’t know anything.
But what’s cool about Trustpilot is if somebody wants to leave a Trustpilot review, who is a paying client, they can write what they want to write. And there’s nothing really I can do about it. So, so that’s why we liked that level of transparency because it’s like, look, if I’m just publishing reviews on my website and someone writes a negative review, I can just, I’ve heard of it, but you can’t really do that with Trustpilot, you know?
And so, yeah, I’m sure there’s, there’s ways to use Trustpilot like in a shady or way or a less shady way, but we just like to do it as T to have a third party way to collect like real feedback from our clients. And overall, our clients are happy because the program itself is so high touch, Andrew, like.
It’s so high touch. We really get close to the people that we work with because we have to, in order to get them results.
Andrew: How close do you get with them?
Russell: Oh man. So we have three live Q and a calls every week for everybody, so they can come out of those calls and they can get help about their Facebook ads, their copy, every Q and a call. We have a mindset and performance coach there. Um, because look, we all have our meltdowns. We all have our freakouts. We all have our moments of frustration, especially when we’re trying to do something we’ve never done before.
We have people that are support them through that. Um, on top of that, it’s like they get a lot of one on one sessions with a mindset and performance coach as well to get them setting goals, to get them overcoming their fear, to get them working through things. So the way I built this program is I just said, listen, man, What do I have to do?
And what do I have to put into this program to really get people results, not show them how to do something and then kind of send them on their way, but what do I have to do to really create a transformation? And, um, yeah, man, and that’s why I have a team of like 31 people. We have a big team all over the world, but it’s because we have to provide this incredible level of support to our clients.
Andrew: The first set of calls was you knew ran the webinar. You had calls with potential customers might write
Russell: I did everything.
Andrew: anything surprised you in conversations with people, anything you learned that you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Russell: God, that’s a good question. Here’s something that surprised me. I spoke to a bunch of people and, um, I don’t know. I think, I think the first batch of, of these that I did, if I remember correct, this is like almost 10 years ago. So bear with me if I don’t get some of the details. Right. But, um, I spoke to about 80 people.
Let’s say, let’s say, I don’t know, 20 of them signed up and took really good notes on every conversation. About five or six months later, I came across my notes from all these people that I’d spoken to. The hadn’t shown up in. All of them were saying, Hey, Russell, I really want to get to 10 K a on their 20 camera.
They’re 30 K a month or whatever their goal was at the time. And I came across these notes and said, Oh man, Wonder what became of these people, you know, like, let me, let me, let me reach back out and talk to him. And I wasn’t even looking at it from like a sales perspective. Like let me follow up or something.
I just came across these notes and I said, let me reach back out to these people. Cause surely some of them must’ve been successful and I. I called about 60 of them. I think I spoke to about 40 of them and of those 40, not a single one had achieved the goals that they pull me, that they were trying to achieve.
And when I first spoke to them and that was a huge way and a couple of them actually shut down their business, Russ, like I got to get off the phone cause I took an assistant manager job at home Depot because I had to shut down my coaching business or whatever it was. And that really blew my mind because it.
It just showed me that when I’m having a conversation with someone really needs clients and really needs to live their dream and really needs to grow their business, that I have a sacred responsibility to do what I can to enroll that person, if they’re a fit and that if they get off the phone and they don’t enroll the chances of them out on their own or solving this problem on their own, like zero.
That was very surprising to me because I thought for sure, somebody must be able to figure it out, but this stuff is really tough. And look, it’s like, if you’re a chiropractor, you know, you’re good at cracking backs, you’re good at cracking people’s necks and stuff. You know, you don’t anything about Facebook ads.
So the chances that you’re going to dive into Facebook ads and figure it out, it’s like, you’re just, you’re not, it’s not gonna happen.
Andrew: When did you grow beyond yourself? Beyond just a one man operation? What’s the first step. What’s the first person that you brought in.
Russell: If I remember correctly, the first person I brought in with somebody to help me with my Facebook ads, because that’s a whole skill set unto itself. And I did it myself, uh, until the point where I kind of became competent at it. I was good at it, and I was getting the outcomes that I needed, but just being a master of Facebook as its own thing.
And then I think I brought on a virtual assistant to help me with my calendar. Then I brought in a couple of people to help me with it calls, uh, enrolling clients over the phone. And then the team just grew organically from there. I realized that the best way for me to do this right, to bring on specialists.
So I brought on two, three coaches that just focused on helping my clients with their Facebook campaigns. I brought on two to three people who just focused on helping my clients with their ad copy and webinars. I brought on some people just focused on helping my clients with their sales calls and then people just focused on helping my clients with our mindset.
And, um, I went out there and hired literally the best people that I could as the team
grew and grew and grew mostly from like finding copywriters that I really respected and said, Hey man, I know you’ve got your own copywriting practice, but I really love your work. Your, your writing is fantastic. Would you like to make some, some steady income helping me,
Andrew: would you find these people? I feel like I’m baby bathwater is one of the events that they go to, you know, baby bath, water. That’s, that’s an event full of people who are like stealing the kind of
Russell: I think, I think like, thinking back I was in, so like I know I was in a Facebook group, um, I think it’s called the cult of copy. We’re just full of copywriters,
And you, yeah, you can get a sense for like, Hey man, who’s sharp. Who really knows how to write, who writes well, and then I just reach out to those people directly.
And then what’s good is that great people know other great people. So if I brought on one person who is an a player, chances are, they knew some other people who were too, um, our mindset and performance coaches. A lot of them came from, from Tony Robbins in that world. People that have been working for Tony for
Andrew: How would you find Tony
Robbins people? How would you find his people?
Russell: I knew people who knew them and they would make an introduction. And I found that a lot of them had this incredible skillset, but, you know, were just, they, they had kind of gone as far as they could in that world. And so I was able to go to them and say, Hey, you know, do you want to be part of something that’s new and exciting and very different.
And so quite a few of them came on board with me and we’re able to coach our clients with some of their mindset stuff.
Andrew: Russell. You’re a marketing person. Tell me what you think of my ad. Read for sponsor. Number two, be critical. Okay. You know that I wouldn’t hold back. Don’t hold back. Alright. It’s a company called top towel. There’s a guy named Ted Blosser. Who decided that what he was going to do is create software to, uh, to allow companies to train their people.
And so it came up with a company called work ramp. Now, corporate training software, you know, this yourself, it feels like it was written back in the old dos days, but enterprise needs to train their people. And they’re kind of familiar with the old stuff. So they go with it. But Ted decided what he wanted to do is create something that was so fun.
So good to use that employees of big companies would. Would just get sucked into using it the way that we get sucked into Instagram, he went to top talent. He said, you guys have a designer that could do this for me, someone who has consumer level experience in user, in UX don’t judge me because of my, my style.
It’s the words it’s stumbles are fine.
Russell: You’re not a newscaster. Okay.
Keep going. Keep going.
Andrew: They hooked him up with named Ben wa sham bear. He’s a really impressive famous designer. I think a lot of people who are in the design space will know him who are listening to me and he does. And what a work ramp decide to do is hire Ben Waffer, short term project to just help out.
They added him to their Slack, to Trello, to zoom. They just made them a full time employee almost, even though he was a part time person and helping them think through how to do user experience, right. He ended up doing such a good job for them that they. Brought him in longer term. And because, so the implementation of the design that they did at work ramp, They were able to get customers like vid yard, five stars, optimized work then grew so much that they were able to raise $2 million in new funding from Slack, from Y Combinator and Reddit, cofounder, Alexis O’Hanlon, and the business has grown.
What they discovered was big corporations need good experiences that will suck their people in to use their educational software. And that’s what top tower was able to do that for them. If anyone out there is listening to me and you want to design and not someone who’s just going to add a little bit more yeah.
Color to your site or change your logo, but really design the experience of your site. Right? Go to top tower.com/mixergy. That’s top is on top of your head towels in talent. When you go to toptal.com/mixergy, you’ll get 80 hours of developer credit. When you pay for your first 80 hours, in addition to a no risk trial period.
Top T a l.com/m I X E R G Y. tactile.com/mixergy. I was getting in my head because the fact that I told you that I was going to get your feedback on it, even though I know not to get in my
Russell: Now your wife that you’re watching yourself when you’re
Andrew: and I’m not even like, I, it won’t kill me if you said anything negative, but I just couldn’t stop paying attention to what I was doing as I was doing it, which we know is a problem.
And so what do you think,
Russell: I was good. Yeah, it was great. It was, I mean, it was a very clear explanation of what they do and how they help and who they serve.
Andrew: All right, I’ll take it. I was waiting for a kick to the face, but I’m, I’m glad that it wasn’t a kick to the face at one point. Yeah. It had to have had like a big setback here so far. All we’ve been talking about is a lot of the successes, the happy go, lucky period at this stage. What was the biggest challenge?
What was the part that you almost couldn’t get past?
Russell: Oh, man, those kinds of things happen in business all the time. I was thinking about, um, That movie, the Martian, you know, he stuck on Mars. There’s no food. He’s trying to grow potatoes or with any name of the movie, he says, you know, he says something like, I’m going to totally misquote the movie, whatever, but he was like, space doesn’t cooperate space.
Isn’t going to, isn’t going to, it’s not on your side, basically. And the only thing you could do is solve the next problem and the next problem and the next problem. And that’s really all this is, is just solving the next problem and the next problem and the next problem. So like the first time you have a client who wants a refund, um, You know, it doesn’t maybe, hopefully it doesn’t happen to you very often, but when it does, it’s like, it can, it can, in your mind erase all the good things that before that, um, when you have a key team member, uh, who wants to leave and now you have to fill that gap and it’s someone that like was sort of an indispensable part of your culture.
Cause that’s just what happens, you know,
Andrew: I’ve had that happen. It’s not so much even filling, filling the gap. It’s all the stuff that they knew that they did, that you’re not even aware that they did. And how do you now go and. Get sensitized to it before a crisis happens related to it and then find someone else and teach them that thing.
That’s, that’s kinda magical because you don’t know what went into it.
Russell: That’s the thing and, and you just, you never know, there’s always going to be some challenge, you know, you’re you’re I had a weird challenge when I first got started, where, um, you know, we, we, we rolled out. New a new, a new high ticket offer. And, um, did like $200,000 worth of it in one day in the merchant account company, freaked out and shut down my murder, you know, where it’s like, they were like, are you selling heroin?
Are you selling no grenades or something? What is this? But, but I couldn’t get access to that money for a while. And, and, and so there’s always going to be some sort of like, like, like awful sort of catastrophe that that happens. But. There’s always a way out of it. There’s always a way around it. There’s always a way through it.
And every single one of those, those setbacks have been so instructive
Andrew: Do you really feel that way in the
Russell: not in the mode. Maybe not in the, no, not at the moment,
Andrew: know how do you bring yourself back to that confidence in the moment that you could solve the problem?
Russell: So one of the beliefs that I have that is a belief that I think every entrepreneur should adopt is there’s this book called principles by Ray Dalio. And in that book, he says, every problem is a potential improvement. That’s screaming for attention. I think, I think, I think that’s an exact quote. I think I got that exactly right.
And if you believe that. You immediately train yourself when that crisis moment happens to say, what’s the opportunity here. What’s good about this. What can I fix? And you get curious and you say, what’s the lesson here, and that allows you. You too, in the moment, have a little bit of emotional distance from that problem.
So you can begin to see why it’s a good thing. And, and it’s like, that’s a habit like any other, you know, it’s like, it’s not going to be your first reaction, your first reaction going to be, Oh God, what am I going to do? And you’re gonna freak out. But the more problems you deal with, the stronger you get, you know, problems that would have laid me out.
Five or six years ago. It’s just another day at the office today.
Andrew: Really? That seems like a, I F I feel like you gotta have a process for finding it in that moment and snapping back. I don’t, I don’t, I feel like you have a process, maybe it’s maybe it’s just me saying he has a lot of Tony Robbins people
around him. And what is your process for getting back into that?
Russell: So here’s my process. Right? So, so you’ve got your immediate sort of damage control in the, in a moment of dealing with the problem. But, but what really counts is the work that you’re doing when there is no problem. So every day, and this is my secret sauce.
Okay. And this might sound like nonsense to your audience or to some of the people listening, but I’m gonna tell you right now, if I had five minutes to live and I had time to teach my kids, one thing. This would be the thing every day I get into the shower. And the reason I do that in the shower is because the only place in my house where I could be alone for like, you know, for like 20 minutes, without like a toddler attacking me or a cat or something.
And I sit down in the shower and I visualize the things that I want and the outcomes that I want in a life that I want. And I get grateful for them in advance. So I’m thankful for them, even though they haven’t happened yet. So like, let’s say there’s this dream house that you want to get. You picture yourself walking through that house, touching the banisters, walking across the tiles, and while you’re doing it, you say, thank you.
Thank you. Thank you. And you don’t think of it as something that’s going to happen as a distant future. You think of it as something that’s already happened and, and, and, and that gratitude is the secret, because if you’re being grateful for it, it implies that you already have it. I do that every day for like 20 to 30 minutes every day without fail.
And it’s like, it’s like, it’s like exercise for your, for your muscles. It’s like, it’s like, it’s like, Russ, what do you do when someone takes a hundred pound weight and just toss it in your lap? It’s like, okay, well, if I hadn’t been working out every day, that’s a problem. If I had been working out every day, I’m much more capable of dealing with it.
So doing that mindset work all the time is something that I never, ever, ever skimp on. And every time I’ve visualized the things that I want. All the good things in my life have come as a result of that process.
Andrew: What’s a tangible thing that you got because you did that.
Russell: My car, my house,
Andrew: Well, what’s special about your house. What do you love about it?
Russell: uh, I dunno if you can see this, but like, can you say it might be too
bright, but anyway, that is the Pacific. That is the Pacific ocean right there.
Andrew: in? Okay. What’s that? That’s like South of the LA.
Russell: Yeah, it’s about an hour and 10 minutes South of LA. It’s an orange County. Um, but yeah, no, I love my house that I’m living in right now is on a cliff, literally overlooking the Pacific ocean. There’s a beach right there. And I didn’t know that I wanted this house per se, but I would visualize. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you for my beautiful house on the ocean with the amazing view. And I would just say, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And think about it and think about what that might look like. And then I started to kind of put feelers out there and look at different places. And when I walked into this place, I just got that feeling.
It’s like this glow that you get in your stomach and you go, this is the spot. And then when I get that feeling, I always listen to it. So that’s happened with everything from my house to my kids, to my team members. This is the thing, man, like to team members were like, You know, if I have, if I have a position that I need or someone that I need, and I don’t know where I’m going to find them, put that in, put it in my visualization.
Thank you. That I have this incredible person who is a director of operations and just absolutely brilliant and gets processes and can take my crazy ideas and implement them and just all these little things that I want. I just plug it into that visualization. And then that person appears, and I can’t explain it, but that’s the way it’s always gone.
Andrew: You know what? I had a couple of other questions to ask, but there’s so mundane compared to what you just said. Why don’t we leave it there? Um, I asked you before we got started, what’s a win for you. Usually people will feel that I am aware of my guests needs like the person I talked to earlier. He came out with a book.
They’re aware that I cared about my audience and cared about his need to publish a book. You, I don’t know what you need. What do you, what do you got? What are you looking for? Or do we just tell people to go check out clients on demand.com?
Russell: Well, look, I mean, if anybody to this, and you’re a coach or consultant or service provider, and you want to get more clients and you want to raise your prices and don’t want to depend on word of mouth and you want a process for bringing new clients in the door every day, then we would love to talk to you.
So to book a call with us, go to clients on demand.com forward slash talk. And that’s going to take you to our calendar page. You can book an appointment and get on the phone with our team and we can see if we’re a fit to work together.
Andrew: on the site right here. This is the guy in the middle.
That’s you? I feel like you’re very busy with it, but still casual here, but in
Russell: That’s exactly what we were going for businessy, but casual
Andrew: And here on camera, it’s like, I’m the guy that belongs on stage somewhere. And somehow he decided to sit down for a conversation before going on stage. There’s a look.
Russell: I’ll take that as a compliment.
Andrew: I love it. . You can’t see it today. Cause I’m wearing my green sweater. This was my comforter, but I asked my wife, I said, look, you’re always dramatically dressed.
And interestingly dressed and like, she’s got this hippie thing. Can you take me out shopping? She did. It makes me feel so much better to have a look that feels like a look instead of a no look, I get it. I’m excited about that for myself. I think for you, it’s like an average, what was it Wednesday, but for me, I like noticing stuff like that.
Nice. Spire to have a look. And now I’ve gotten a little closer. Thanks to Olivia. Alright, everyone wants to go follow up. Go check out clients on demand.com/talk. Right
Russell: Yeah. If you want to go to check out the site, go to clients on demand.com. If you’d love to book a call to speak to us, go to clients on demand.com forward slash talk.
Andrew: And I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen in the first, if you need a website hosted, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. And the second is a company that knows that I am not an anchorman. I will stumble over my words a lot, but still. The ads are good. A copywriter told me was an actor performer.
What else can I say? Go to top towel.com/mixergy. Really all stick aside. They’re really good people and you’ll be grateful to me and to them. No, you’ll be grateful to me for introducing you to them and they are amazing. I’m glad that they’re here with us. Thank you. Thanks Russ.