Andrew: Hey, everyone. My name is Andrew Warner, I’m the Founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs for an audience of real entrepreneurs, people who are actually building their businesses. And I’ve got to be honest with you that when I first planned to do this interview, it was about today’s guest’s book and I said, “Great, another bullshit book by a software entrepreneur. I’m going to humor him by telling him that we’re going to have him on here for his book, I’ll talk to him about the book for a couple of minutes, but in reality all I care about is his massively successful software company.”
And my plan was to do what I always do, spend like 10 minutes before the interview, actually it takes me like 20 minutes to half an hour to read a book solidly cover to cover and be prepared. So I sat out there and I read this fucking book and within five minutes I said, “Andrew, you made a big mistake. This is maybe the greatest, most powerful nonfiction book I read since Robert Cialdini’s book. If there is ever a dangerous leader created out of the tech industry who ends up, like, capturing America or something, I’m telling you there’s a good chance that he’s secretly read this book.”
So I would never admit that I didn’t read the book cover to cover before an interview, because I could read a book fast. I had to slow down and read this. I was given the book for free on PDF. I bought it on Kindle so I could highlight it. This is such a good book for how to build a cult, how to build a business, how to build a community. So freaking good. All right. But look, in my defense I’m going to read you the subtitle of this book. I’m going to read you the title, you guys tell me if you would have maybe felt the same way I did.
So the guest is Russell Brunson. He is the Founder ClickFunnels. ClickFunnels helps you create pages that help you take someone who’s never heard of your business, get their e-mail address and convert them into a sale. And it’s all done really well without any coding, that’s what ClickFunnels does. Here’s the title of the book, “Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Finding Your Message, Building a Tribe, and Changing the World.” That’s the kind of thing that any content marketer would create as a title. So I thought that’s what he would be doing. He’s just trying to create a lead magnet to get more people in his funnel and then sell them on ClickFunnels. No, this book is fan-freaking-tastic. I’m actually going to take this book back home. This is going to be my read. I’ve been looking for a book to get lost in and this is going to be the one.
All right. I’ve got to say this interview is sponsored by two great companies. The first is going to host your website right, it’s called HostGator. The second will help you hire your next great developer or designer or MBA, it’s called Toptal. I’ll tell you more about them later. Russell, welcome.
Russell: Thanks, man. Thanks for having me. You’re making me feel great.
Andrew: So good. So good. All right, so let’s just get . . . Well, why don’t we talk about revenue real quick, and then we’ll get into the book? I want to spend most of this time talking about the book, the opposite of what I had in mind. ClickFunnels, where’s the revenue right now?
Russell: So this year we are on track, somewhere between $70 and $80 million this year, depending on a couple big things we have hitting in about a month and a half from now. It’s going to be fun.
Andrew: Let’s talk about the past. What did you do 2016, or the last 12 months? Either one, you pick.
Russell: 2016 was about $30 million in revenue.
Andrew: Okay, all right. And then so far this year, 2017?
Russell: So we tripled the year before. So 2015 was $10 million, 2016 was $30 million, and this year will be $70 to $80 million.
Andrew: Okay. And so far this year do you know how much you guys have brought in?
Russell: Do you know the total for this year?
Man: $35 million.
Russell: $35 million right now.
Andrew: Oh, so you are really on pace to do $70 million.
Russell: Yeah. The thing where I think we’re going to get $80 million or more is we have, I don’t know if you know the Harmon Brothers that did, like, Squatty Potty. We’re doing a video launch with them in six weeks.
Andrew: What do you mean a video launch with them?
Russell: So they built a front-end, viral, funny video for ClickFunnels that is insane. And we have the whole tech team here, Tom, my cofounder, is here this week and we’re rebuilding the whole onboarding process to simplify when people are coming in to reduce churn and a bunch of other cool stuff. And I think we’ve got a couple big plays this year that could . . . Our real goal is $100 million this year, but you always feel awkward saying that when people are like, “There’s no way that’s possible.” But we’re hitting for it.
Andrew: I get it. You know what? And I wouldn’t ordinarily believe it, except look at how far you’ve come. You’re a guy who’s not a developer, right?
Russell: You know, I did FrontPage until we launched ClickFunnels. Literally we were talking about this yesterday, like I stopped using FrontPage the day ClickFunnels went live. So that’s my tech experience.
Andrew: I don’t even think that people even remember FrontPage. It’s like this piece of software that was supposed to make creating web pages into, like, a Word document by Microsoft. Yeah, that basically means the guy knows how to use Microsoft Paint. Any funding in the business?
Russell: What’s that?
Andrew: No funding in the business so far, right?
Russell: No funding in the business, no. It’s all been bootstrapped, yeah.
Andrew: Yeah. All right, so I’m saying that to just kind of establish how far you’re coming. You’re not just a guy with an expert book, you’re a guy who’s actually done something phenomenal here with this business. Let’s talk about the book. Here’s a part that caught my attention right from the start. You said basically Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party or Jesus Christ and Christianity have a lot in common. What do they have in common? Because that’s the kind of thing you’re not supposed to say, right? Not if you have, like, a Christian audience or if [inaudible 00:05:15]
Russell: Yeah, especially [inaudible 00:05:16] like a hyper Christian. So I’m like, “Yeah.” No, but it’s funny. So I’ve had businesses in the past that have done well. And when we were launching ClickFunnels, I was like, “Okay, it’s a software company, that’s not that exciting.” Like how many software companies are most people plugged into, right? They buy them and then they use them, and something better comes along and they leave and they shift.
And right about the time we were launching ClickFunnels I actually went to an event, it was a network marketing event for a software company that, I’m not going to name the name of it, it doesn’t matter. I would even say it’s bad software, really bad. And I’m sitting in this room with 6,000 people and I’m watching these guys and they’re going crazy. Like people are on stage crying and they’re telling their stories and all this stuff, and I’m just in awe, I’m like, “What in the world?” And I’m sitting next to my friend, David Frye, and he leans over to me and said, “Do you notice what’s happened here?” He’s like, “They’re a software company, but they’re not selling software. They created a movement.” And at that moment I was like, “Oh my gosh.”
Like that’s the key. Like I can create a software company, but I become a commodity and hopefully will pick me over someone else. Then we’re fighting on features and benefits and pricing and all this stuff. And I was like, “I want to create a movement.” And so that was probably four years ago or so before we launched ClickFunnels. So as we were building this thing I started to study like, “Well, how are mass movements built?” And initially it’s business, right? I geek out on 500 episodes of your stuff. [inaudible 00:06:39] “How are businesses built? What are the movements?” And look at Apple and Tesla and just everything, right?
But then I start looking at, like, “Okay, well, that’s business, but, like, what are other things?” And so for me I started looking at, like, cults because that’s, like, kind of an interesting thing and the phenomena like, “How do cult leaders get people to follow them and do these crazy things?” So we studied that. And I started, like, looking at that versus, like, religion, and then political movements and all these things. And as I was, like, just geeking out on this topic I started seeing these patterns consistently over and over and over again. And the coolest thing about a pattern, when you recognize a pattern, then you can, like, magnify it and amplify it.
So I realized, I’m like, “Every mass movement, from Christ to Hitler, they had the same pattern.” And so we became aware of it. Like as we started building ClickFunnels, like, “Okay, these are the things. And so, like, now that I’m aware of them, how do we amplify them and magnify them?” And as we’ve done that literally that’s how we’ve gone from . . . I mean ClickFunnels is not three years old yet. Like we were trying to apply to be on the Inc. 500 list and we haven’t been around long enough to be able to even apply to be on the list. Yet I’m sure we’d be in the number . . . like I don’t think there’s any other company that’s gone from $0 to we’ll pass $100 million in revenue about less than three years into the start of the company. And it’s because of this concept.
Andrew: And you are the charismatic leader, the, for lack of a better . . . You know, because it’s an apropos description, you are the Adolf Hitler or the Jesus Christ of ClickFunnels. And the reason I say it, you’re laughing and you’re not going to want to say “yes” to that, but the reason I say it is I see your freaking video on my Facebook feed all the freaking time. I go to your website and on the home page of ClickFunnels I don’t see you. You have two actors. I’m guessing they’re actors. But otherwise I see you throughout. So let’s break down if this is the way to do it, you need a charismatic leader, you need this whole other stuff that you break down in your book. Let’s talk about what it takes to become a leader.
So here’s one of the first highlights that I have in my book, and you can see right there on my iPhone I’ve got it highlighted. You say, “You need to become a leader. And rule number one is become an attractive character, live the life your audience wishes they could live.” Talk to me about how you do that, and then I want to challenge you about the difficulty of that.
Andrew: How do you do that?
Russell: So [inaudible 00:08:49] we have a TV show that I literally . . . I have this little camera I carry on me everywhere and I’m like, “Ah!” And, like, I document the stuff that we’re doing and we make a TV show that goes on YouTube all the time, right? And our people see it. Because I think what happens most the times is, like, when you connect with a leader or with somebody, right? Like everyone shares the highlight reel and you’re like, “Wow, this person is super successful, that’s amazing.” And they want that, that’s the way they want to go, but, like, a lot of people think they can get to there.
And so, like, we’re documenting what we’re doing and showing it, like, “This is what it actually takes to be successful.” Because a lot of times you see someone is successful and you’re trying to model them and all you see is, like, the end result, right? And you’re looking at it and you’re like, “I can’t do that,” like, “There’s no way I can figure that out,” and those kind of things.
And so I am so big in, like, living the lifestyle people want, but the, like, you’re showing them what that actually is so that they can believe that they could actually do it. And that’s why we publish so much videos, so much content, so much stuff, because I want people seeing, like, this is how we’re actually doing it every single day. Like I have a wife, I’ve got five kids, I’ve got church responsibilities, I’ve got other things. And I can still build a huge company because, like, the process and how it all works, and I let people see all of that.
Andrew: So what you might have heard in the background was me playing one of the videos from your YouTube channel. There’s like a lot going on there. There’s someone who seems like they’re sitting at a poker table, there’s you in this big, beautiful room, you’ve got videos of yourself out there talking to people, guiding them, I guess. Oh, there, it’s you and Tony Robbins. The challenge that I have, I could see how someone who’s watching this is going to say, “I’d like to be like Russell, right? He seems like a down-to-earth guy with a family. He’s not like Tai Lopez who’s, like, out there with women all the time and maybe exaggerated success. This is real success, it looks like.”
But that’s a lot to maintain this image. Now you can’t just do your job and go home to your family. Now your family life has to be part of your story. Now your business has to be not just you sitting at a desk. Which, let’s face it, most work is kind of boring, a person sitting at their desk. It’s you sitting at your desk, followed by you with your hands pumped up in the air like, “Raise the roof,” right? It feels like it’s artificial. What do you say to that, the sense that we are all going to become a little like Tai Lopez, a little bit fake?
Russell: Well, I think a big part of it is, like . . . I mean the biggest thing is, I’m saying, don’t be fake. Like that’s me. Like it’s funny, people come here and they’re like, “Wow, it’s weird how you are really like this. Like how are you always so excited?” I’m like, “Because I am really excited.” You know what I mean?
Andrew: Like look, look at this. Right now I’ve got a little bit of a runny nose. All I have is a napkin here, I’m going to do this. But I’d have to fake that I don’t do that, right? If I really wanted to live the life. Nobody wants to live a life where they’ve got a runny nose on an interview, right? So I’d have to either edit that part out or lie about it, right?
Russell: I don’t think you should edit it. That’s the coolest thing. Like most of my stuff, like what bonds people to me are my mistakes. Like our last event . . . So most people’s events, right? Like you come there and, again, you share the highlight reel. Like I did an hour-and-a-half presentation about every single time I almost went bankrupt. And, like, when it was done, people came up balling their eyes out, crying, and they’re like, “Holy crap.”
Andrew: That’s another thing that you talk about, right? You want to show your flaws because that endears people to you, right?
Russell: 100%, yeah.
Andrew: But the thing that I’m challenged with is I get that you want to live the life that people want to aspire to live to. I mean I should be doing more of that. But I don’t want, on the weekend, to start taking pictures of myself with my family. I don’t want to be like these bloggers who I read about in a New York Times piece a while back who will then take their kids out somewhere that looks really good in a photo. Right? It becomes a little bit artificial. But maybe you’re saying, “Hey, Andrew, suck it up. That’s the world today. Be a little art. What you call artificial is actually promotion, do it.”
Russell: The biggest thing is like it’s different for everyone though. Because, like, some people, and you know this better than anyone, like everyone’s got a different media that they’re good at, right? Like some people, like they share that through blogging. I think it’s like everyone needs to pick a platform that they’re comfortable with. I do the video stuff because, like, I can literally, like, every day I’m like, “Oh, I should have recorded that.” Like we have these exciting things always happening and, like, I feel like we’re missing everything.
So I bought a $1,000-dollar camera and I just carry it around with me everywhere. And then literally I dump it into a Dropbox folder every night and I’ve got who logs in and he’s like, “Huh,” and he tries to, like, put it into a story that’s interesting, and then he puts it up. And some days are boring and some days are awesome. But, like, it’s just what he’s documenting. But that’s because video for me is a media that I like, other people could be just doing that podcast.
Like my podcast is literally, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard my podcast, but on my phone when I drive to work I just share my thoughts and my ideas, and that’s my podcast. Right now I think we’re number four or five in the business category, have been now, I think, three and a half, four months. And it’s just me just driving, just telling my . . . It’s like that could be it, is just you telling your . . . Like I literally drive and just talk on my phone with no plan, no script, no nothing, I just click “record” and I’m like, “Hey, guys, I’m driving to the office today. Today I’m going to be doing this, I’m really excited.” And I just talk about it. And that can be it, it doesn’t have to be sharing your family and your kids.
And it’s just kind of figuring out, like it’s just you, like, opening up and connecting with people at a different level. Not like the suit and tie. Like that’s not real connection, that’s like . . . Most of us, as we come into a business, we try to posture and show how great we are, right? Like I could have been in today with a suit and tie and been like, “I’m on Mixergy. I’m going to be very . . . ” But, like, that’s not me. Like I want to show, like, who I am because people are going to connect with that. And some people won’t. Like there’s definitely people who don’t relate to me and don’t like me and go the opposite way, but there’s a huge set of people that are like, “Wow, like, this guy connects with me.”
Andrew: All right, I get it. You know what? I happen to be listening to old Howard Stern episodes on YouTube lately and he used to talk about how he and his wife would argue over a tuna fish can, of why didn’t she put it away in the right spot, why didn’t she buy enough, that kind of thing. And I get how that actually is not the ideal, perfect lifestyle, but he’s still bringing you into his world, and then the part that he is helping you aspire to be is where he’s talking about how he wants to be number one on the radio or how he wants to tell his boss to shove it.
Okay, all right. So you’re saying present the life that people aspire to have, become that attractive character. Let’s go to the next one, maintain absolute certainty. So I was talking to Jason Calacanis recently and I said, “Jason, Mahalo has gone through like a billion different iterations. Every time you say that this is the one, I heard you say,” this is what I said to Jason, “I heard you say Mahalo is going to beat Google because you’re going to create custom pages for every search result and that was going to win. And then I heard you say Mahalo is going to be better than Google because everyone can edit your pages like Wikipedia, and that’s why you’re going to win. And then I heard you say that, no, it’s not about that, it’s about SEO on Google, and that’s why you’re going to win. And you always, like, shift in a different direction, you have absolute certainty. Do you really believe it?” And I looked at him and he said, “Yeah, I do. I really do.”
The thing that I wonder with absolute certainty is what happens when you present to your team, your present to your customers, “Here’s what I believe is the future, this is where our company is going,” and then it doesn’t end up happening that way? And you have to be certain again and again and again and again because people want that certainty to be guided by, but can you really be that certain? And what happens in the face of reality that doesn’t match the certainty that you had?
Russell: Yeah. So there’s a difference in being certain and being right. So, like, in any situation the person with the most certainty will win, right? Any conflict that comes together, whoever has the most certainty will win any discussion. So it’s like when you’re working with your team and if you walk in uncertain, everything wobbles, right? You’re working with customers, you’re trying to sell something, like, it’s about that. It doesn’t mean you have to be right, that just means that you are certain in your decisions because people want to plug into that.
If you study Tony Robbins, like the six human needs, like certainty is one of the six human needs everyone just has to have. And most people don’t have certainty, so they want to plug into people that have certainty because they want to have that feeling. And if you want to be a leader, if you want people to follow you, if you want to sell stuff, like all those things come with absolute certainty. And if you come into any situation and you’re not certain, that’s when everything . . .
Andrew: What are you certain about?
Russell: I’m certain that . . . So many things. Like from the book standpoint, like, I am certain that I believe that this is the process that every single entrepreneur needs to have to get a message out. That’s why I spent a year and a half, two years writing this thing, like killing myself, because I’m certain that I think it’s it. With our software, like, I know, like, I feel that entrepreneurs who aren’t using ClickFunnels are literally not getting access to people they should be able to serve. Like I tell people all the time, like, “It’s not a matter if you’re going to become a ClickFunnels member, it’s when.” Because I have absolute certainty that if you are not using ClickFunnels, you’re screwing yourself, you’re screwing your customers and your team out of what you could be doing. Like I don’t have any qualms about that.
Like I’m pretty aggressive in our marketing, like I go after our competitors pretty aggressively. We wear T-shirts making fun of our people. Like I’m big in it because I honestly feel like I’m going to our competitors and saving our customers from them. And I’m not going to name names because I know you’ve got probably all of them on your show.
Andrew: Name names, I don’t care. I want you to be yourself.
Russell: All right, sorry for offending everybody that’s . . . yeah. But, like, I feel like, okay, are you sure?
Andrew: Sure, I don’t care. I mean I want you to be yourself.
Russell: Like I feel like if you’re using a software company like Leadpages, you are dramatically undercutting yourself, like you’re screwing your success.
Russell: Because you’re set up with static landing pages, you can’t control conversion, you have no sales funnel, you have no up sales, down sales, no process. Like you’re screwed. [inaudible 00:18:05] you’re using a company like Confusionsoft, like you have dramatically hampered your success. You have to have a full tech team just to figure out what in the crap you’re doing. And the more complex you get at your business the less likely you are to succeed.
I feel like entrepreneurs, I think all entrepreneurs come into what they’re doing with a vision of trying to change the world. The problem is that most of them run out of time or money before they ever get there, and I feel like it’s because of these other companies that they’re running out of time or money. They’re screwing with expensive stuff, stuff that doesn’t work, stuff that’s complicated, stuff that gets them like 10% of the way there but not the rest of the way. And I feel like we’re the only company that comes in and gives you everything you need to be successful.
Andrew: What do you do when in the back of your head as an entrepreneur, let’s take it away from you, entrepreneur, you say, “I’m sure that this software is the best thing people have. That people should be using this, I’m sure that this is going to save their business,” and then someone comes to you and says, “You know what? Actually it’s a little bit buggy”? Or “You know what? There’s this issue over here.” Or your competitor just launched something brand new. What do you do when that happens? What happens to your certainty?
Russell: It doesn’t affect me at all.
Andrew: It doesn’t?
Russell: Because we have success stories, right? Like, and I’m not sure how far you got in the book, but the second phase of building a mass movement is all about your future-based cause. Like we have an award, anyone inside ClickFunnels that has a funnel that makes at least a million dollars we send them a big old record with commas, like it’s called the 2 Comma Club.
Andrew: I saw that.
Russell: And the first year we gave out 93 of them. Right now we’re giving between 10 and 15 a month that we’re shipping out to entrepreneurs. So like we have consistently 10 to 15 new people making a million dollars in a funnel in ClickFunnels every single month.
Andrew: I’m hoping to get to that part of the book because that’s where the real mission comes, right now we’re focused on the leader for a little bit. Man, I’m going to keep talking fast because I want to get so much in here. But what you’re saying is, “Look, when today doesn’t work for you as a leader, you need to think about your future.” And so when there’s a bug today, you still can be certain about the product because you’re certain that the future is going to be where you want it to be.
Russell: 100%, yeah.
Andrew: What do you do when you’re proven wrong? What do you do when you say, “Hey, this is going to be $100-million-dollar company,” to everyone internally? And maybe it’s a $90-million-dollar company or maybe it stays a $70-million-dollar company, which is damn good. At that point all these people believed in you that it’s going to be $100 million, aren’t they going to say, “You know, Russell is full of it, Russell keeps thinking a little bigger than we really are”? Every time you talk they’re going to discount what you say by 30% or so. Isn’t that a real issue?
Russell: Yeah. So I don’t talk about those things publicly thought either.
Andrew: Well, internally, right? People know where you’re going. And when you don’t hit it, are they going to . . . . The reason I’m bringing this up is the challenge with certainty is that we all have a healthy skepticism, we all have doubts. Are you telling us . . . what I want to know is what do we do with our own internal doubts, and you’re saying, “Hey, focus on the future.” The other thing that I’m wondering is what happens when you fail and people have watched it. How do you then communicate the next thing is going to be certainly true and not have people be skeptical?
Russell: You know, I failed a lot. Like in the last 14 years I’ve almost hit bankruptcy two and a half times. And, like, it’s hard. Like I remember coming in to a team of 100 people laying off like 75 people in a day. And then those that are left, like trying to convince them that I know what I’m doing and, like, having that fear.
Andrew: I remember your first interview with me you said, “I wish that I was an employee of this company so I could be fired and move on with my life because this is such a pain.” All right, but then so imagine this happens again. How do you then convince people that you’re still right in your certainty?
Russell: It’s tough sometimes. Especially, like, when you’re at the bottom of the thing and everything is falling and collapsing around you. But that’s where great leaders come from, it’s the ones who stand up in the middle . . .
Andrew: So what do you do at that point?
Russell: . . . [inaudible 00:21:41] and say, “Look, it didn’t work, this is the next shot, let’s go.” Like, “Who’s with me?,” like, “Let’s go try again.”
Andrew: Got it, I see, okay.
Russell: And some people didn’t, some people left, some people walked away from me. But the others who stayed, like, “Look, that didn’t work, but I believe in you and let’s try again, let’s go back out and try again.”
Andrew: I’m taking two things. First of all, number one . . . Three things. Whoever has the most certainty wins in the conversation, right? And in the direction. Number two, when you don’t hit it, you just get certain about the next step and you say, “Who believes me? Who’s with me on this?” And number three, I looked at you as I was asking this question, this question, like, it didn’t baffle you, but you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. It’s not like you had a ready answer because it seems like you just say, “Andrew, this is not an issue that I spend a lot of my time on.”
All right, let me talk about my sponsor, and then I’m going to come back and I’m going to ask you about the next things here. My sponsor is a company called HostGator. And I’ve got to be honest with you guys, I wasn’t very certain about HostGator. We had them on as a sponsor, on and on and on and on, and I ask people in my audience, “If you have any issue with my sponsors, e-mail me and let me know.” And what I found was people actually took me up and some of them, many of them, e-mailed me and said, “I love HostGator.” But I’m going to be very honest with you guys, some said, “I had issues with HostGator.”
And so I said to HostGator, “Look, you guys can’t sponsor anymore until I look into every freaking one of these.” And I asked me assistant, “Spend however many hours it takes, put together a doc with all the issues that people had with HostGator.” And I went through every one of them. One person, when I addressed his issue, actually went on Facebook and apologized publicly to let everyone know, “I screwed up in my understanding of what I was doing with HostGator. It’s not their software. It’s my understanding about HostGator and WordPress.” Understandable.
Other people had other issues, where they signed up for the cheapest plan of HostGator and they compared it to what was the most expensive plan somewhere else, meaning a shared hosting package on HostGator versus a dedicated hosting package somewhere else. And I realized, “You know what? I should be a lot clearer.” There is a super cheap, inexpensive package at HostGator. If you’re getting started and need lots of websites, this is the way to do it. Even if you need one, so inexpensive that you can do it for, like here, literally $3.48 a month is what you’re going to pay to get one site hosted. $4.98 a month you’re going to pay for unlimited domains, meaning you can, if you want to solicit Russell Brunson’s business, you can create russellbrunsonworkwithme.com and create a whole page just for him on that .com and it’s all part of your $4.98 package, that plus 50 others.
If you wanted to go to the next level, HostGator will do it. If you want a dedicated host, if you want WordPress managed hosting, whatever it is that you want, you can upgrade with them. So I want to be clear, there are super cheap plans that have a lot of features, and they have more expensive plans that will do more for you, like dedicated WordPress hosting a and dedicated server.
All right, go to hostgator.com/mixergy to get these low prices and to be tagged a Mixergy customer. Which means that if you have an issue, you come straight to me and I’m kind of a pain in the ass about this stuff. So I always look out for my audience. Go check out hostgator.com/mixergy. I am not certain, because I did all the work, that this is such a freaking good company that we hosted our new business on HostGator. I would not do that unless I got manic and had my team check them out. HostGator, go check them out.
All right. You know what? I noticed as I was doing that ad read there was a little bit of doubt in my head, like, “Was I going too long? Does anyone need to know the backstory about HostGator? Shouldn’t I be talking more about the features that they get?” Does that happen to you? And if it does as you’re trying to lead and talk to people when that doubt comes in your head, what do you do about it?
Russell: It’s funny because a big part of the book is, like, how to tell stories in a way that inspire, move, and can sell stuff. And so it’s like [inaudible 00:25:15] I tell so many stories. Like if I tell a story like on something like this, I told that story 25 times ahead of time. I told my team, I told it on an interview, I did it on podcasts, I told my wife. So, like, I try to tell so many stories throughout the day. Like when I do share them in a public format, I know where I’m going. So that helps me feel more certain.
Before I was doing as much of this kind of stuff it was harder because it’s like some of these… And some of your questions, like [inaudible 00:25:37] I’ve never been asked before. So it’s like, “I don’t have the right . . .” You know? So, like, a couple times I felt that. So yeah, so sometimes.
Andrew: I see. And that kind of goes back to something you said in the book about how just write every day or publish your videos every day. It’s not about the audience, don’t care if people are even watching or reading it. It’s not for them, it’s for you in the beginning because you’re trying to find your voice, you’re trying to learn what stories work for you, and which ones resonate even with a small group of people. And I’ve noticed that the best guests that I have here publish a lot. And by publishing often they get to see how they like to express themselves. And often what I’m asking them they’ve expressed in one way or another and they can come back here and speak with experience.
All right. Let’s talk about this. “Offer them value based on their perceived relationship with you.” How can I offer someone value if they’re buying from me? Or let’s take it to ClickFunnels. How are you offering me as a ClickFunnels customer, and I am, value in my relationship with you?
Russell: Yeah. So there’s a lot of ways you can do that, right? So, like, one way is a book. Like, again, we have a software platform, so it’s software, it’s static . . . I mean not static, it’s doing stuff, but it’s there, right? So it’s like, “How can I provide more value?” So, like, I write books. You can read them and be like, “Oh, wow, this is how this actually works for me.” We do the videos, we do other stuff.
And I think one misconception a lot of people have that’s interesting about that is it’s how your customer perceives value. I have a big coaching business, we coach a lot of entrepreneurs and stuff like that. And one thing that’s interesting is when I first brought people in, like my idea of success for someone is like you go from this to this and that’s success, right? That’s my perceived value what success actually is. And so, like, I try and force everyone into that thing. And some people, like, that relate to me, they do that thing and they’re successful really fast. Other people, it’s like they didn’t join my group because they were trying to get from here to here, they were trying to find network people they can hang out with and think like them. Other people, like, they were trying to do…
Like, so you have to look at your product and people are buying it for different reasons. And if you’re saying, “The only way for someone to be successful is blah because this is how I define success,” then your customers coming in are going to be alienated by that and they start leaving. It’s really interesting. Like when we used to have a whole bunch of accountability stuff . . . not accountability, but specific accountability in our coaching programs that were like, “You have to make X amount of dollars or we’ll kick you out of the group.” Like it was weird. And I found out later, like, a lot of people, like, that’s not . . . they didn’t perceive value as that, like they weren’t trying to get that.
And so it came back to like really understanding, like for each person, like what they’re looking for. Like some people use ClickFunnels not because they’re trying to build their entire business on a platform with funnels and everything on it. Like they want it because they do whatever, you know, they want to build quick pages and that’s the reason. And if we define success as, like, you have a sales funnel that’s making money, it’s tough because you alienate those people. Like how do they define success, and then building in the things around that, if that makes sense.
Andrew: Yeah. You know what? It doesn’t, actually. It’s not one of your best answers, I’m going to be open with you.
Russell: Edit that whole thing out.
Andrew: Nope, I’m keeping it in there. One thing stood out that I want to ask a follow-up question on. Which is, you know what? I thought when people signed up for some of our courses, that what they wanted was results. And so I said, “I’m going to promise you that I will stay on top of you until you get the results that you wanted.” And people would sign up for that and I thought, “This is great,” but then they were turned off by it. It undid what they signed up for. And I didn’t realize that they didn’t want the result, they didn’t want that, they wanted something else. They wanted to almost be around me and the people who were doing this. And you’re saying respect that, respect that it’s not just about the result that you’re actively selling, but it’s about the contact with the people or the product, that kind of thing.
Russell: Sometimes the people. Sometimes what they’re valuing is they have a dream that they want to succeed at this thing, right? Like they want to start their own business and they’re excited. And this dream has been something on their mind for 10-plus years and they’re so excited. And so you come in and you’re writing saying like, “You’ve got to execute on this.” Like some people, like they’re biggest fear is like, “What if I try this thing and it fails and the dream that I’ve had for 15 years disappears?” And if you force them to have to do this thing, and then they do it and they fail and that dream disappears, you just screwed them as a customer.
And so that’s what I’m talking about. It’s like some people, especially in an entrepreneur market, like I’m sure you have tons of people who have listened to every episode you’ve ever done and they’ve never tried to do anything ever. But they get so much value. Their perceived value is like, “I want to hear about entrepreneurs and start-ups,” because they’re so insanely passionate about that and that’s the value that they want to get from you. And they’ll give you money because that’s what they want from you, but they don’t want to actually do it. They may think that they do, but they know that if they try to do that and it fails, then their dream is gone and that would destroy their life.
Andrew: And I should be okay with that?
Russell: You should be 100% okay with that because that’s what they actually want. Like think about that. Like I buy everything and, like, when you buy something you get that high, you get that endorphin, that rush. And, like, if you take that away from someone, like, I don’t think that’s good at all. Like it gives people hope, it gets people moving forward, it gives them something to talk about, it gives them something to think about, it gives them some inspiration and happiness. Like for them the perceived value they’re getting from you is, “Man, like, I love learning about entrepreneurs.” They don’t want to actually do it. And if you force them, then you took that dream away from them.
And so it’s like what’s their perceived value, what are they trying to get from this relationship? It’s not always the end result.
Andrew: You know what? It’s easy for me to be judgmental about that answer because it’s so directly related to what I’m trying to achieve in life. But then when I take it away and go to something like building, I hate building anything with my hands. But I’ll sometimes watch videos of people who build things and there’s a certain satisfaction that comes from just watching it unfold. And if they told me, “Hey, you’re a loser for watching me and not doing anything,” I’d feel really bad about the experience and back away. And I’m not looking to build whatever it is that they’re doing. Like I might watch maybe YouTube videos of someone building a rocket in their backyard. I don’t need to do that. Or someone going and doing survivalist stuff. I don’t want to do survivalist anything. But I do get what you’re talking about with that.
Russell: I’ve got friends who have gone to school for 50 years. They’ve got 6 MBAs, 14 degrees, and, like, they love learning and, like, that’s what fires them, that’s why they’re doing it. They don’t want to get a job. They want to learn and that’s the obsession. And so if I force you to go get a job after your 13th degree, but it’s like, “No, I just wanted to go to school and learn. Like that’s what fires me up.” Like why would we take that away from them?
Andrew: All right, let’s talk about cause. One of the things that I’m fascinated by is Scientology, I can’t stop reading books about Scientology. And they’re so good about cause, they’re going to clear the world, meaning get rid of all . . . I don’t want to get into what for them clearing the world means, but it makes for a better world. The other thing that they say is that there’s levels, you just keep going through like this level, and then you do more courses and you go to that level. Right? And I could imagine why I would be hooked into that. Right? I want to bring that to my business, you brought that to your business, that future, the cause.
Let’s talk about the cause first, how did you find your cause and how do you suggest that we do it for ourselves so that we could give people the same kind of meaning, frankly, that Scientology gives their converts, their members? How did you find your cause?
Russell: Well, if you look at . . . I mean this goes back to every mass movement, so Scientology, Christianity, like Nazis, religion, politics. Like they all have that, right? All the successful ones. If you read in the book some of the examples, I was writing this section of the book, like, while the presidential debates were happening. So I’m writing as I’m looking at Trump and Hillary fighting each other. And it was interesting because even there . . . And, again I’m not into politics at all, I couldn’t care less. But what was interesting is, like, I was in Washington and I’m looking at Hillary’s campaign, her future-based or, like, her whole platform on, like I was looking at her slogans, it was like, “Hillary, I’m with her,” I’m looking at all these things. I look at Trump and it’s all about this future-based thing like, “Change America, drain the swamps.”
And so [inaudible 00:33:16] interesting. And, as we know, Trump ended up winning, but I went back that night, like, to Wikipedia, I was looking like, “What are all the presidential slogans throughout time?” And it was funny because, like, almost every winner, either side, Republic/Democratic, it didn’t matter, Obama, it was future-based. It was change versus, I can’t remember what it was now. Bush was present-based. Like almost every political candidate from the beginning of our country’s time, like their platform they ran on was future-based, something changing, something moving forward.
And so [inaudible 00:33:44] our community, before our last big . . . We do an event each year called Funnel Hacking Live. And before that big event I was trying to, like, think like, “How do I inspire our people to, like, do it?” Because sometimes it’s hard as an entrepreneur. You create something, it doesn’t work. Create something, it doesn’t work. And I look at my business, like how many things I had to create before one of them took off and it was like the thing, right? And how many times, like, I’ve gone through almost bankruptcy, and then, like, we create something that, like, was the turning point.
And I remember there’s [inaudible 00:34:12] a lot of the old-school copywriters. And Gary Halbert had an old headline, it was like “You’re One Sales Letter Away from Being Rich.” And so I remember writing the website, the funnel for our event, and I had the headline like “You’re One Funnel Away from Being Rich.” And I was looking at it and I’m like, “That’s kind of shallow.” I know, like, for some people, like, that’s the reason they do this, but, like, for most people it’s not. So I, like, took it away, I’m like “You’re One Funnel Away From Changing the World.” And I was like, “That’s kind of cool, but that’s not everyone’s motivation.” I’m like “One Funnel Away from Quitting Your Job.”
And I did that like four or five times and finally, like, I just leave the end of it. And I’m sitting down [inaudible 00:34:43], “What’s something that encapsulates everyone?” And so they had one that was still there, it was like “You’re One Funnel Away.” And I was like, “Wait a minute. Like that’s it. Like that’s the thing.” And it’s different for everyone, but you’re one funnel away from, like, from something, right? Like for some people it’s to quit a job, some people it’s to get rich, some people it’s to change their life, some people it’s to get their message, to get their book out in more people’s hands. Like everyone has got a thing that . . . The reason why they came into ClickFunnels was a thing, and so for me I was like, “I need everyone to understand, like, you’re one funnel away.” It might not be this one, it might even take two or three. But if you keep persistently on this path, you’re one funnel away from changing the world for you, whatever that thing might be.
Andrew: And that means you left it open for you.
Russell: Exactly, we left it open. Just like Trump was like, “Make America great again.” Like what does that mean? Like for everyone it’s different. Some people it’s politics, some people jobs.
Andrew: [inaudible 00:35:28] I see. You’re saying that it’s enough that it draws your eye towards the future, but not so much that you paint the vision of what the future is. You want to let them paint their own vision.
Russell: Yeah, it’s different for everyone. And I mean some causes maybe it’s very specific, but for at least what we’re doing it’s definitely open-based, it’s different for everyone. And so we started putting that out there and, like, it’s crazy what’s happened within our community with that. We have people who are like, in our community, like, “Hey, I’ve launched three funnels, all of them have failed. You know, I should cancel or I should quit, but, like, this keeps ringing through my head from Russell, ‘You’re one funnel away, you’re one funnel away.’ And, like, I don’t know if it’s going to be this one or the next one, but I’m going to keep doing it because one of these things is going to hit, and then I’ll have that future that I’ve been running towards.”
Andrew: All right. I love the 2 Comma Club. Not so much because I want to be part of the 2 Comma Club. Well, does it have to be from revenue in ClickFunnels?
Russell: Yes, it’s got to be sold through ClickFunnels. So we just got to get you on some funnels.
Andrew: Oh, we are on some funnels. I’ll be honest with you, that I was with Leadpages because I’ve known Clay best and I used the software because it was very easy. We hired a guy who said, “You know what? This is what I use. You guys want to work with me, I use this tool. You got to use ClickFunnels.” I said, “All right, I don’t care.” I’m not that, like, dogmatic about what you need to use. He started using ClickFunnels and then we started working with David and we’re now like a ClickFunnels company, too.
Russell: [inaudible 00:36:46]
Andrew: And I get it now. I think I felt a little overwhelmed by ClickFunnels for a while, like there are all these different steps that I need to create. And what working with you guys has taught me is I could just create one page, just one page, one landing page, and then I could build on top of it if I want. And sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.
So let’s go back to the 2 Comma Club. What I like about it is you’re saying this gives something for every customer to aspire to. They all want to hit the 2 Comma Club. 2 Comma Club is like two commas in the number 1 million or anything above it, right? And there’s what you present people.
Russell: If you watch the video, [inaudible 00:37:19]
Andrew: So if I were to hit the 2 Comma Club, meaning I sell a million dollars-plus using ClickFunnels, I would get one of those. And it’s not just for the person as a reward, you’re also doing what for everyone else in a community? Talk about that.
Russell: Yeah. So let me tell the backstory first because it will help set it up. But, like, so when I got started in this business 14 years ago I was learning, I spent like a year trying to figure this stuff out and it was super confusing, right? And then I remember I went on a family vacation to this little town in Idaho. And, anyway, kind of a long story really, really short, I went to the library to check my e-mail on a dial-up modem and I get this e-mail from this guy named John Reese and the subject line was “We Did It.” And I’m like, “What? Did what?” And I read the e-mail and he said, “Look, we launched this new course called Traffic Secrets and,” he’s like, “we made a million dollars in a day.” That was his goal and he made a million bucks in a day.
And my goal at that time was if I could make $1,000 a month as an entrepreneur, like, that will change my life.” And I’m sitting in this chair, I’m like, “He made a million dollars in a day.” Like my perception of reality changed. It was like when Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, everyone else was like, “Someone broke the four-minute mile, it’s possible.” And then, like, I don’t know, 30 people did it right after he did. But as soon as John Reese made a million bucks in a day, I was like, “I could do that.” And, like, it became so tangible and real for me that I went out there and within like a year and a half of that I made a million dollars, and then later I made a million dollars in a year, then I made a million dollars in a month, and then a million dollars in a week, and made a million dollars in a day a bunch of times since then. But it happened because I believe it.
And so as we’re building this future-based cause I was like, this was actually for our last event, I was like, I asked Dave, I was like, “I’m curious, Dave, how many people inside ClickFunnels have actually made a million dollars in a funnel?” I thought maybe it was a dozen or something. So they pulled through the database and they pulled out, I think at that time it was like 80 or something people. And I was like, “There’s 80 people that have made a million bucks in a funnel?” I was like, “We need to, like, this should be a big deal.” Like, because I want people to understand it’s not just Russell is making millions in funnels. Like their peers, people just like them are.
So we went and we called it 2 Comma Club. And, like, record, people that are . . . I’m not musical, but I always thought it would be cool to have a gold record. So I was like, “This gets to go gold record, let’s put two commas on it and, like, give one to these.” And someone can earn multiple ones. Every time they have a funnel that makes over a million bucks, we send one out to them. And so we did that. By the time the event happened I think we have 93 people.
So we had 1,500 people in the room and we had every single person come up one at a time, hand them their big trophy, shake their hand, and go off. And it was crazy, the 1,500 people in the room, typically during most events people are going in and out, and, like, not one person left the room. They sat there for an hour while I handed out trophy after trophy, and they’re sitting there. And, like, after that, for the next day and a half of the event, everyone I saw came to me and said, “Next year I’m going to be on stage, next year I’m going to win the award, I’m going to do that.”
And it became real for everyone at that point. They all knew that, like, it wasn’t just Russell, it’s like 100 of their peers sitting in the same room as them had already done it. And it was like they can do it. And what we’ve since then is, it’s crazy, we have anywhere from 10 to 15 people a month that are hitting this now and it’s like exponentially growing because now people [inaudible 00:40:09] the four-minute mile has been broken in our community, now everyone is aspiring to that. Now people who won one, they want to win two and they want to win three. And everyone is like, they have something they’re moving towards and it’s just like the most exciting, cool thing ever.
Andrew: I’m picture someone listening, or I’m picturing myself in the future thinking about this answer, and they don’t yet have someone who’s doing a million dollars and it seems a little far in the future. Can this goal be a shorter goal? Does it have to be . . . Like could you have started, when you got started with ClickFunnels, could you have said, “We’re going to have a $100,000-dollar funnel and we’ll reward that, and then we’ll go to the next level when someone hits a million”? Or is that too small?
Russell: No, so this is the size. So actually one of the big onboarding things, our whole tech team is here this week rebuilding onboarding, and what we’re doing is it’s gamifying this process where we have little badges all the way. So actually we have a 1 Comma Club Award, and then 2 Comma Club Award, we’ve got Your First 100 Visitors Award. And, like, little incremental wins that take somebody along this process. So yes, we’re adding those things in now.
Andrew: I see. So if we were starting over again before someone hit a million dollars with your funnel, you could start with the 1 Comma Club and say, “One day we might have a 2 Comma Club, but for now Steve just won the 1 Comma Club.”
Russell: It’s so funny. Ever since we launched this book I’ve been watching our members, like, launching their things and one guy had his $10,000-dollar club. Someone, so a weight loss challenge, like, “Our 10-pound club, our 50-pound club.” I’ve seen people do it in, like, investing. So people are doing all sorts of things now. And so yeah, it doesn’t have to always be huge.
Andrew: By the way, you make the same mistake I do, you keep calling it the book. It’s “Expert Secrets” and you should be saying, “Ever since ‘Expert Secrets’ . . . ”
Russell: “Experts Secrets,” the book.
Andrew: The reason that I make that mistake is I’m like interviewing so many people I’m afraid of accidentally saying the wrong name. Like I had a woman on here and I referred to her company by her competitor’s company. But I’m surprised that you’re not constantly saying, “Like I wrote in ‘Expert Secrets,’ like I wrote in ‘Expert Secrets,'” and really hitting people over the head.
Russell: I should.
Andrew: All right.
Russell: But they already bought the book now. You’ve already pitched it so well, like, I just assume they’ve already got it. Just kidding.
Andrew: I forgot about the sponsor. Let me hit the sponsor, and then I want to talk about creating the title of liberty. I freaking love that, and that’s something that anyone could do. And now we’re starting to get into, like, the persuasion tactics that are in the book, now we’re starting to get into some of the more actionable ideas from this book, which will give you a sense of how the book works. And if you want it, you can go get it. But frankly I think we’re giving you so much over here. Actually, here’s a thing that I’m going to say about your book, about Expert Secrets. I would love to have a . . . . Do you have a community of people who are actually implementing the ideas in this book?
Russell: We have a ClickFunnels community that the majority of them have the book, but not a specific one just for the book.
Andrew: I’m going to put a call-out right now. If anyone is listening to me who’s a fan of mine or who knows me personally and you’re reading this book and want to just talk through how you’re implementing it, I’d love to hear from you. Let’s not make it like a five years from now come back and talk to me about this, but over the next few weeks and months I’m really going to be pondering the ideas in the book, I’m going to go in and read it with more depth. So if anyone out there is reading Expert Secrets and knows me or knows my work, I’d love to hear what you think about it and talk through it a little bit.
I will also say this. If anyone buys the book because I was this excited about the book and you end up not liking the book, I will personally give you a refund. Right? So if you’re listening, if you’re a Mixergy fan, let’s be honest, and you buy this book because I’m excited about it… I get nothing from Russell. The fact that Russell, you’re excited, is actually embarrassing for me because I shouldn’t be here flattering the guest, I should be a little more combative, that’s my style, that’s what I’m about. I’m going to regret that I’m being this nice. But I do believe Expert Secrets is a good book. If you guys don’t like it, I’d be happy to give you guys a refund. And later on I’ll tell you why that’s kind of weird for me to do because, well, I’ll talk about that in a bit.
Let’s come back here and talk about Toptal. Guys, I’ve been telling you for a long time about Toptal. This is the place where if you need a developer, you can go and hire one. Now imagine you see Russell’s website and you see that he’s got an interesting tool. Like, Russell, you know what? You used to use Proof. Remember Proof? That little thing that comes up that says, “Hey, Steve just bought.” Did you guys use that?
Russell: No, that’s actually a feature inside of ClickFunnels now that does that.
Andrew: Right. And this is what I love about you. You see the tool that actually works somewhere else, you try it and you go, “I could actually build it into my software.” Now other people could be doing the reverse, could say, “Hey, there’s this little tiny piece of a much more expensive software that I really like, I’d love to pull it out and just have that. But my team doesn’t have the time to do it, my team doesn’t have the time to just create this little thing for me.”
Well, you know what? That’s one of the great things about Toptal. You can go to Toptal, hire one of the best developers on the planet and say, “Look, this is this 1% or 10% of this other person’s product, I need to turn it into a single product that I can use myself and maybe we sell it to other people.” Toptal has got expert developers who will be able to build this out for you, work within your team, work within your crazy style of implementation, and then they’ll give you that product. There’s so many people who have used Toptal for that.
If you are looking to have a thing build on the side or if your team can’t keep up with what you guys are building and that main project is actually suffering for it, I urge you to go check out Toptal. And one of the reasons why I recommend Toptal is just the other day I talked to the founder of Master of Code, a company that has 120 developers on it, they’ve built some phenomenal products for companies that we all know. And he said, “Some of my guys applied to work with Toptal and they got rejected.” These freaking guys at Toptal, they keep rejecting great developers. And I know they’re proud of that. And the reason that they’re proud of it is they want the best of the best developers in their network because these are the kinds of people who, when you say, “Hey, there’s this little piece of another piece of software that I want you to turn into an individual product,” these guys will know how to do it.
All right. I’ve got a special URL where if you want to go and hire Toptal developers, they’re going to give you something unusual. They’re going to give you 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours, and that’s in addition to a no-risk trial period of up to two weeks. So, guys, go check out toptal.com/mixergy. Even Todd Dickerson from ClickFunnels, I’m sure at times he’s . . . There he is. Cofounder of the company. At times, Todd, I’m sure that you’re backed up, you don’t have enough developers to code something up. You want the best of the best, go check out toptal.com/mixergy. And he’s nodding.
Todd: Yeah. We use them.
Andrew: And I’m sure that, you know what? Right now you don’t need it. I know that that’s going to be filed away in your head and at some point you’re going to go, “[inaudible 00:46:22].” And you can be sure that if it doesn’t work for you, I want to know about it. And you can be sure if it does work for you, I want to know and brag about it here on the interviews, like I’ve done with other people.
All right, let’s get into this title of liberty. I never heard that expression before, where does it come from?
Russell: Actually, so it came from a book. So I’m a Mormon and in the Book of Mormon there’s a war captain who created a title of liberty. He was going to a way that they should have lost. His army was actually going to go fight against switching teams because they thought they were going to lose. And he’s like, “How am I going to save these people?” So he ripped his coat off and he wrote this title of liberty and he put it in the ground and, like, told everyone to follow him. Similar to, like, Braveheart when Mel Gibson comes out and he’s like, “Freedom!” and, like, gets everyone to, like, “This is the vision, this is where we’re going.”
And so for me I was like, “How do we do something like that?” Like I want something people look and like, “That’s where we’re going. Like, as a community, this is the goal, this is where we’re trying to go.” And so it’s funny because I didn’t know, like, how do you do that. So for us what we did is . . . In fact, you can see a video format of our title of liberty if you go to funnelhacker.tv, there’s a video at the top where we took this. And it’s like it’s our cry out to entrepreneurs. If you watch it, it’s all about . . .
Like I’m a big believer in, like, figuring out us versus them, like who are you and who are you not. And I want to make a big divide in the middle. Because that’s what causes people to follow you. If you’re just like, “Oh, we include everyone, come hang out with us,” like people aren’t going to follow you if you try to, like, separate. And so, like I said, “This is who we are, this is what we stand for, this is what we do, this is what we don’t do. Come follow us over here.”
And so we have that video and that video is, like, on tons of our videos, a little intro of it, and it’s our title of liberty. And people connect to that. Like entrepreneurs will watch that. We literally have people crying that it’s like, “Like, that’s me, like I’m coming with you guys.” Like they want a role in this movement and be part of it because of that. And so that’s kind of where we’ve got . . .
Andrew: Here’s what it comes down to. So identify the charismatic leader, who you are. And so you started off by saying, “My name is Russell Brunson.” Then you say identify the movement, and so you say, “I’m part of the group of underground entrepreneurs you’ve probably never heard of.” So you’re creating an us versus them. You take a stand, “We don’t rely on cash from venture capitalists to get started, and we don’t even have goals to go public either. In fact, our motivation is the exact opposite. We have products and services and things that we know can change people’s live.” And then you talk about why you’re different and so on, and you go on to collectively talk about who you’re fighting against and who you are. You close it out with who you are, “We are funnel hackers and these are our stories.” And so that’s what you keep saying over and over, “This is our title of liberty.”
And let me just sum it up again. Introduce a charismatic leader, identify the movement, take a stand and explain why you’re different, talk about who collectively you’re fighting against, and then finish off by who we are. And that’s what you do.
Andrew: You know what? I should be doing that in the intro. And, frankly, if I hadn’t read this just like an hour before the interview started, I would have at least practiced it in my intro that way that I did. If you watch my interview with Robert Cialdini, I use some of his technique within the interview in the ads and in the intro and so on. And I didn’t get to do that here.
Let’s talk about this other thing, the mini manifesto. What is the mini manifesto and how do you use it?
Russell: Yeah. So what’s been cool about this is I have an inner circle group of entrepreneurs I work with. So, like, before I wrote the book for a year I was doing these concepts with my business, and then I would show it to them, they would go and do it. So we have people trying this in literally 100 different industries.
And so I’ve never been like, I know companies always talk about, like, you build a manifesto and I always thought it was kind of weird and I never liked that. But she went out there, Kaelin Poulin from LadyBoss Weight Loss, and so she took this whole, like, building mass movement stuff and culture building stuff and she made a little . . . they made a manifesto first, and they put in a little one they put on their cell phone. And she had everyone in her community put that on their starting screen on their cell phone. And she had everyone in her community put that on their starting screen on their cell phone.
And so, like, I was hanging out with them [inaudible 00:50:17] she said, “Check this out.” And then I saw a video of all the members all bragging, like, “This is this.” Every time they open their phone, they saw . . . Theirs is on page [inaudible 00:50:25]. You can see here her [inaudible 00:50:27] manifesto. And I was like, “Okay, now I think manifestos are cool, I want one, too.” So then we made one. It’s kind of funny learning from each other.
So, like, we made one, the same thing, and now like all of our members have it phone. So when they walk around, they open their phone, and it’s like every time they open their phone, like, they’re re-reminded of who they are, what they stand for, what they’re doing, what their goals are. And so it’s always top of mind. Like I want people every single day thinking about me over and over, like thinking about this and what we’re doing and where we’re trying to go and making this part of their identity. Because if it’s part of their identity, then it’s again . . . The coolest thing is like when what you build becomes part of their identity. If some other company comes out with a different feature or at a lower pricing plan or whatever, like, they’re not going to leave you.
Andrew: How do you have time to see this LadyBoss thing, and then go implement the version of it for yourself, and also think about how you can create a 2 Comma Club to, like, give people in your community something to aspire to? How do you have time to do all that and at the same time run a freaking business where you have to hire people, you have to fire people, where you have to figure out what software is working? Do you do the rest of it or are you just the guy who creates videos and creates the movement, and then is it Todd who runs the company?
Russell: So we’ve got an amazing team of people. So Todd runs the development team. And what’s cool is that I don’t have to think about it. Like I give some [inaudible 00:51:41] direction, I’m like, “Hey, I want these features,” or whatever. But, like, he’s a brilliant marketer, developer, he does that, so I don’t have to worry about that at all. [inaudible 00:51:48] does all of the internal HR, the hiring, the firing. Like my role in the company is the marketing, like that’s what I’m passionate about, that’s what I’m excited about.
Andrew: So are you really a CMO or are you the CEO? Because the CEO would still need to keep track of who’s running the company, the vision for the business, and that takes up a lot of time.
Russell: Yeah, we’ve got good people. So I would say [inaudible 00:52:09] probably both, probably CMO/CEO. But at the same time, like, our core management team who have been together for a long time in other businesses . . . Like Todd and I are, like, perfect direction on vision, like it’s insane how in sync we are on stuff. And so it’s like . . . yeah.
Andrew: Who’s really running the company while you’re shooting videos of yourself, while you’re sitting and writing this book? How does the company get led and run?
Russell: So I’m making the videos while I’m writing the book, like that’s the thing. I’m not making new videos just to make videos, like I’m documenting what I’m already doing. Like I’m just doing my day and grabbing . . .
Andrew: [inaudible 00:52:45] writing the book takes a long time. I couldn’t even get into it. The references in this book are phenomenal, you know, the details of it are clearly well thought out, but that takes time. I see you on Facebook with your videos, that takes time.
Andrew: You’re doing masterminds, that takes time. So can you still run a company while you’re doing that? And how do you do that?
Russell: So the answer is “yes,” we’re doing it. I think, I don’t know, like . . . Again, first off, a couple things. Like Todd actually told me this initially. I don’t know if its stats are accurate or whatever, but he said like, “An A player is worth like 3,200 times more than a B player.” So we hire all A players. Like if you look at our management team, our employees from the top to the bottom, like everyone is amazing. So, like, that helps a lot, it takes lot of pressure off my back.
The same time though, like, we were here last night until midnight or 1:00, like the night before same thing. Like we work super hard in sprints. Like everyone will fly here, we’ll kill ourselves for a week or two, and everyone flies back home and we go back to a normal schedule. But we get a lot of stuff done every single day. Like it actually, like, is amazing to me. And that’s part why I document all the stuff, because I want people to see what I actually get one in a day.
Like we always say . . . like this is our to-do list for this week. A normal company, like this is what a normal company would do in a quarter, we’re doing this much this week. And it’s just like because we’re obsessed, we’re passionate, we’re super good, like insanely competent, and we know what we’re doing, where we’re going, and we just move and we move and we move and we move. And we’re trying to take over the world. We have a vision of where we’re going, we know what we want to accomplish, and we’re just running as fast as we can and having the time of our lives doing it.
Andrew: Let me read the LadyBoss lock screen. This is what everyone who is part of that group put on their lock screen, “LadyBoss never gives up, gives no excuses, pushes through, spreads sparkle, gets it done, takes action, is confident, loves herself, kicks butt, stays focused, is unstoppable.” And so now you have this on your phone and every time you touch your phone you reconnect with that mission, you reconnect with that vision. I get it, I see that. And so you’ve done the same thing. I’m flipping through the pages here to look for the next one.
Oh, here’s one. I want to talk to you about this. You say people don’t want improvement offers. And I know we’re a little over time, let’s spend another five minutes.
Russell: It’s worth it, this is the key.
Russell: It’s worth it because this is the key.
Andrew: Yeah. So I thought that’s all they wanted. I thought what you’re supposed to sell is not features, but benefits. The biggest benefit is somehow to improve, improve your life, improve your finances, improve your whatever.
Russell: Okay. So this is like the biggest thing and why most people struggle, and why companies go from, like, have incremental growth versus 3X in three years in a row and hopefully in the future, right? Like it’s why Christ and Christianity grew, it’s why the Nazi Party grew, it’s why Scientology has grown. Like if you look at this, if nothing else, read this chapter because it’s like the most important piece of it. If you look at every mass movement, they’ve got a charismatic leader, future-based cause, and a new opportunity. They always offer new opportunities.
So the opposite of a new opportunity is an improvement offer. And the thing is, like, that’s what most people are selling. If you’re positioning your product or your service or your thing as an improvement offer, a whole bunch of . . . And I go through all the reasons in the book. But, like, one reason, if someone is going to say like, “I’m going to buy this thing because I want to become better,” they have to admit that they suck at this thing.
And there’s this huge internal dilemma that I have to convince myself of if I’m going to say, “Man, I suck, I’m going to go and buy this thing to help me do better.” Most people, everyone has desires, but most people have no ambition, like to be completely honest. Like the majority of the human population are not ambitious and they don’t want to improve. Now entrepreneurs are a little weird and most of us do want improvement, but the masses do not. Like they don’t want improvement.
And so, like, when you’re coming with an improvement offer, “I make you better, faster, stronger,” any of the “-er” words, like you are fighting against all of this internal turmoil. They have to admit that they suck, they have to, like, now become ambitious to try to do better, they have to do, like, all these things that are really, really hard. Okay? When the offset is the new opportunity where you’re saying, “Look . . .” Like when Hitler came, he didn’t just come and say, “Hey, guys, all the war operations from the world wars, they sucked, [inaudible 00:56:46]. I’m going to lower taxes, I’m going to make this easier on us, it’s going to become better.” No, he’s like, “Look, guys, this sucks. I’m going to give you a new opportunity. We’re just going to delete all this stuff, we’re going to start over. We’re the chosen people and, boom, and we’re going to go.” And people were like, “Yes, I’m going to follow.”
Christ or Christianity, he didn’t come in and say, “Look, we have the Law of Moses, it’s kind of painful, we’re going to make it a little better for you guys. You only have to do it three days a week instead of four.” No, he was like, “Look, Law of Moses, gone. This is the new covenant, this is where we’re going instead.” Bill Gates didn’t come and say, “Look, guys, this is the deal. We have a CD player now that can play 300 songs.” He’s like, “No, take your CD player, we’re going to throw it in the garbage,” and then he pulls out the iPod, boom, creates a movement. Like every single one of them, they introduce a new opportunity.
I could have came in, in fact I did with some of my initial sales pitches when ClickFunnels wasn’t growing. It was, “Hey, this is better than a website.” I kept talking about like, “Hey, websites suck, this is better.” Like that pitch never took traction. When I came and said, “Look, like, this has nothing to do with a website, this has to do with this is a funnel, this is a new opportunity, this is a new thing,” boom. When I bring in that new opportunity, that’s what exploded. And that’s the key.
Andrew: So not better than a website, just a new way of selling, a new way of converting people. By the way, your T-shirt though does have a “no HTML” logo on it.
Russell: Yeah, and I’m non-tech founder.
Andrew: Oh, I see, non-tech founder, okay. Got it, got it.
Russell: I have to wear that around these guys because they’re always like, “You’re the dumb guy in the room.” I’m like, “I know.” Anyway.
Andrew: I see, okay. You know what? This makes sense. “So we’re not trying to . . .” I want to come up with an example that . . . “We’re not trying to help you lose weight and make you thinner, we’re going to give you the healthy version of you, we’re going to give you this experience, this life that you always wanted.”
All right. We’re definitely over time. I see that you’re reaching for your phone, I’ve got people calling me from my call. I feel like I didn’t fully tap the energy of this book. I kind of touched it. I think that this is the kind of interview that I can usually do like a 10 out of 10, I think I did maybe a 7 out of 10. Partially because I think my enthusiasm for it hurt my ability to talk about it. What do you think of this? I always do this analysis in my head afterwards, like I’ve got to break it down. Shouldn’t I be saying, “Hey, guys, I only gave you 10% of the book, it’s actually much better”? That is the way I should be doing it, right? I shouldn’t say, “I think this could have been better,” I should say, “Here’s what I gave you that’s great.”
Russell: Well, I think in part is you haven’t finished the book, like it gets better. And I hope everyone reads this because, like, it’s the framework is first, right? And so [inaudible 00:59:10] framework part, but now you understand the framework, not it’s like, “How do we amplify these things.” And like literally that’s how . . . I mean [inaudible 00:59:18] “Expert Secrets” because I know some people aren’t going to relate with that, right? Especially in the tech world.
Andrew: I think that was a mistake. I’ll tell you why. I get why you did it, you said, “Look, to anyone who wants to see something, either sell your own knowledge or, if you’re selling software, create content products as a way of building relationship with your customers beyond offering the product itself. I think that you were trying to speak to where people were today and what you missed was, like, this opportunity to say, “This is the new . . . ” the book “Influence.” I feel like this is the book that kind of relates to that. Or there’s the book called “The Culting of Brands” that’s really good that studies how brands created cult-like connections with their customers. This is on that level. And the title that you gave it is on the level of a content marketing lead gen thing.
And I feel like you do this twice. Your other book, we were just talking at our retreat at Mixergy how your other book “DotCom Secrets” is damn good. But because it’s called DotCom, it puts it in, like, this world of internet sales stuff. All right. But it’s a damn good book. So here’s the thing. Because I’m so excited, I want to check on my enthusiasm. So if you guys buy the book, I get nothing from Russell. If you guys buy the book and you don’t like it, I’ll give you a refund. Let’s not make it until forever because I don’t want a looming debt over my head, and don’t put it online because I don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone who didn’t listen to this interview. It’s just people who listened to this interview. If you’re a fan and you buy this book, tell me. I would be willing to pay whatever it costs. What is it? $10 or so just for me to learn when I’m over-enthusiastic, right? So for me it’s a good check on my enthusiasm.
All right. You know, one last weirdo thing that I’ve got to add in here because I’d kick myself if I didn’t. So we did a webinar with you guys. I was trying to learn how to do partner webinars. And so I reached out to Dave on your team, Dave Woodward, like I reach out to others, and Dave said, “Yeah, we’ll do a partner webinar with you.” And I sold one of the courses through the partner webinar. You guys made like $5,000 or so, maybe $10,000, I don’t remember what the number was. Why would you even do that with me? Why does a guy who’s doing a $70-million-dollar business do a partner webinar where you’re only making $5,000 to $10,000? Why would it even be worth your trouble? What’s the psychology behind that?
Andrew: Did you even know that Dave did that? Is Dave about to get fired for partnering up?
Russell: No. It’s relationships, right?
Andrew: That’s what it is. It’s a relationship with me.
Russell: This whole game is a relationship. When it’s all said and done, like that’s it. Like when I’m building a movement, it’s connection with people. Like if you came to us and it was like a really bad experience, you wouldn’t have come back and, like, the whole thing falls apart. Like we’re pretty congruent in everything we do. Like we try and have good relationships and try to help serve people. The whole book, the initial part of the book talks about, like, in order to be successful, step one is like go serve other people first. And we do that all the time, even now we’re successful, because that’s where all these things come from. And, anyway, it’s a small world and always try to help serve.
Andrew: All right. This is a really good book. It’s the kind of book that if he did want to go public, he probably shouldn’t put out there. You don’t want to be a CEO of an IPO-going company talking about how you studied Hitler’s movement and Christianity, not to understand how to be a better person but to understand how Christianity spread their message so you could spread your software to other people. But for me this is what makes it such a good book.
Go check out the book, it’s, I just blanked on the name. Here it is, it’s in my Kindle highlights. “Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Finding” . . . Actually, they could even go to your website. Isn’t “Expert Secrets” your site where they can get the first . . . Expert Secrets.
Russell: expertsecrets.com, you can get a free copy. You just cover shipping and handling and it’s all there.
Andrew: Yeah. There. So they don’t even have to go to Amazon. I got it from Amazon. You guys gave me like a PDF. I still wanted Amazon so I could do the Kindle highlights on it. Whatever you do, guys, it’s a really good book. It’s a good book, I’m not too proud to admit that I was wrong. And, dude, thanks for being on here.
Russell: Heck yeah, man. Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.
Andrew: You bet. And thank you to my two sponsors. If you need a developer, go check out toptal.com/mixergy. And if you want a web hosting company, use the one that we turned to with our new business. It’s called HostGator, hostgator.com/mixergy. Thanks, everyone. Bye.