Blog Posts

Watch the Journey

24 - Dabbling Your Way To The Olympics


Listen To Today's Episode: 

Episode Recap:

You may have heard the first part of Russell’s Olympic journey, would you like to hear the “behind the scene” story?

Subscribe To Get All Future Episodes:

Best Quote:

I think that the reason why I've had ups and downs in my life, the ups and downs are interesting because ups and downs are the things that define you and the things that make you who you are. The reason I've had the big ups and downs is when I get into something, I go in 100 percent. When I was wrestling in high school and college, I was in 100 percent. When I started my business, I was in 100 percent. When I wanted to do the Olympic thing, I was in 100 percent. I didn't say, “I'm going to wrestle for the Olympics,” and then go and sit down and watch TV. I went out and within a day, I had hired the Olympic Greco coach, I had built the team, I had gotten a facility. I had done everything.


-- ClickFunnels: Everything you need to start market, sell, and deliver your products and services online (without having to hire or rely on a tech team!)

-- DotComSecrets: Get a free copy of the "Underground Playbook For Growing Your Company Online With Sales Funnels."

​-- Expert Secrets: Get a free copy of the "Underground Playbook For Converting Your Online Visitors Into Lifelong Customers."

-- ​Traffic Secrets: Get a free copy of the "Underground Playbook For Filling Your Websites And Funnels With Your Dream Customers.


Hey everyone, this is the Marketing in Your Car podcast. I'm Russell Brunson. I'm excited to talk to you guys today. I just got back from the Boise State football stadium today. We picked out our season tickets. We were planning, last year, we got season tickets that were clear on the very back row of the stadium.

Because we got season tickets last year, we were able to go in earlier this year and pick some and we got third row tickets, so we have six seats on the third row about the 35, 40 yard line, and it's going to be awesome so if anyone wants to come visit Boise, let me know, and we'll take you to a game. Just kidding.

Today, what I want to talk about, I got up early this morning and started working out and just thinking about life and about things. I was thinking about what I should talk to you guys about today on the podcast. I thought I would talk about something that I have no idea if it's going to relate to you or not but I thought it would be kind of fun. It's kind of something I'm nervous to talk about because I haven't talked about this publicly too much, mostly just people that I know that have asked me.

A lot of you guys, if you've been following me for the last four or five years, you know some of my back stories but I was a wrestler. I wrestled in high school. I was a state champ in high school, and then went to the high school nationals, took second place in the country there, got a scholarship to BYU and I wrestled for a year at BYU. Then they cut their wrestling program and I transferred to Boise State and wrestled my last four years at Boise State.

One of the sad things for me was I had some big goals. I wanted to be an All American in college like I was in high school, and ended up not making it. In fact, my senior year before the Pack 10 Tournament which is where you qualify for nationals, I lost and it was one of those things where I wasn't ready to be done yet. I was planning on going to nationals, planning on doing well. I had my last match and I lost.

That was the end. My dream just got taken away from me. There was nothing else I could do. It was over. Something I didn't know was going to be my last match was suddenly my last match. For anyone who has ever gone through something like that, it's hard. You've focused 10, 12 years of your life on a goal, and then all of a sudden, it disappears overnight. It was hard.

For me, I think my release, my outlet was business. I jumped into business and started trying to build a business like crazy. That's how I got my mind off of the pain from losing and being done with wrestling. I did that and jumped into business. Luckily, I had a lot of success. Just like anything in life, I didn't just dabble. I jumped in a million percent and just went crazy with it. That's how I think I became successful in the business world.

I built the business and got to the point where our company was really big. We had about 100 employees. We had a big sales team. We had everything. It was fun. Everything was going really well. About that time, I started thinking about wrestling and thought, “I really miss wrestling a lot.” One of my buddies had been competing for the Olympics. Three different cycles, he had tried or two cycles at the time. The last thing, he was favored to win American and go to the Olympics and in the Olympic trials, he lost to a guy that he had beaten very easily multiple times. He ended up not qualifying for the Olympics, so the other guy got to go.

I didn't really know what had happened to him. He kind of disappeared and I hadn't heard much from him. Then one day, I went to his blog. On his blog, it had been about a year since the trials. On the blog, he was saying that after the trials, he was really depressed. He left. He moved to Wyoming and started doing some work there. One night, he came home from work.

He went on YouTube and he was looking for stuff. He saw a video of the match that he had lost. He said he watched that match, and afterwards he said he started crying uncontrollably for hours. He couldn't stop. He said, “I've got to try to do this Olympic thing one more time.” He said, “Basically I'm trying to figure out a way to do it so if anyone has ideas or can help support me, whatever, let me know and I want to try to compete again.” I read that blog post and was really touched by it.

Because he's a close friend, I was like, “Man, what can I do to help?” Anyway, a couple of weeks later, I was at a movie with my brother who is another wrestler. We were talking about how cool it would be to start wrestling again and how much we missed it and stuff. That night, I went home. I was looking and said, “What would it take for me to be able to compete in the Olympics?” I went to the freestyle Olympic stuff and looked at everything. The Olympic list was really big.

The weight class was deep, how good people were. I was looking at people who were three and four time national champs who were tenth string in freestyle. I was like, “Wow, that's going to be tough.” Then I went over and looked at the Greco. Traditionally, Greco is a much harder and actually a much more fun type of wrestling but in America, a lot of people don't wrestle Greco. I looked at the lineups in Greco, and the weights were not nearly as deep in America which was interesting.

I knew a lot of the guys who were ranked in the top two or three, and I thought, “Wow, this is kind of cool. I could do Greco.” What else was cool was I actually knew the Olympic Greco coach. We were good friends. He used to coach my little brother. I just thought, “You know what, I'm going to try to compete for the Olympics. I'm going to do it in Greco. I think it will be really fun.”

The next day, I called up the Olympic Greco coach. His name is Ivan Ivanov. I hadn't talked to him in like 10 years. I was like, “Hey Vaughn, I want to start wrestling again. I want to hire you to have you move to Boise and train me.” He kind of laughed and said, “Russell, I'm training the Olympic team. Everything is really good. I get paid a lot of money. I'm not interested.” He said, “Maybe if you had a team or something or there was more than just you. I don't want to get involved and six months later, you decide you're not going to do the Olympics and I'm out of a job.” I said, “Okay, that makes sense.”

Instead of giving up, I hung up the phone and then I started thinking. I said, “You know what? I should. If I'm going to really do this, I should go get a team of people.” The first person I called up was Justin, my friend who had lost in the Olympic trials. I called and left a message for him. He called me back a few hours later. I said, “Justin, I have a crazy idea. You're not going to believe but I want to compete for Olympics and I want you to move out here to Boise and train with me, and I think we should get a gym and bring up a bunch of guys.

If we have a bunch of guys, I think we can convince Ivan to come out here and coach us. What do you think?” He smiled on the phone and said, “I'm in, let's do it.” I don't think I had even told my wife at this time what was happening. This was on a Friday. Justin and his wife jump in the car from Montana or Wyoming, wherever they were at, drove eight or nine hours.

The next day, they're at our house. My wife is sitting there like, “You told me this six hours ago and now these guys are in our house talking about starting an Olympic club. Are you really doing this?” I said, “Let's do it. I'm in 100 percent.” Justin moved up here. We launched the club. He called a bunch of people he knew. They moved up as well. We created some jobs for these guys so they could make money while they were here.

After we had a bunch of people, we called Ivan up, flew him up. He saw everything, made him an offer. He moved to Boise, and that was where we were going. For about seven or eight months, it was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever been through. We had our own Olympic team here in Idaho. We had our own facility, we had our own mats. We were training everyday.

It was so much fun. I was having the greatest time in my life. I think I was getting to the point where I was doing really well. I remember in December time, I was wrestling a guy who actually ended up taking second place in Olympic trials. I wrestled him and actually beat him for the first time. I was like, “This is amazing, I'm not that far away from the goal, and we still have two more years before the Olympics.”

That was in December. I was just fired up, really excited for this whole thing. Then what happened after that was kind of crazy. It was a whirlwind of events. In January, again, I haven't told this story publicly but here it is. In January, about the 15th of January, one day we're at the office. Everything is cranking and all of a sudden, one of my programmers comes in and says, “Hey, all of our sales are failing.” I said, “What?” A few minutes later, the call center guys run up, “Hey, we're trying to bill people's credit cards. All of our credit cards are failing.”

We looked and I couldn't figure out what had happened. Our merchant accounts weren't working so I called our merchant account provider. We had 16 different merchant accounts with them and they had shut down every single one of them without any kind of warning. If you can imagine, at the time, we had 100 employees. Our overhead was north of $600,000 a month which means I had to make $600,000 before we broke even. All of a sudden, we had no ability to process money. People wanted to give us money. People wanted to buy our stuff but we couldn't process their money.

It took two days before I could get someone on the phone to actually tell me what was wrong. Basically what had happened, this is the time, for those of you who are familiar with what happened, anybody who was doing any kind of continuity trial, continuity based offers all got shut down. I think PowerPay shut down 300 or 400 merchants overnight without any kind of warning. It took us three days to find out what happened.

After that, they turned our merchant accounts back on but they put us on 100% reserve. We were scrambling. In the next seven days, we made $200,000 and PowerPay had 100% reserve which means they wouldn't give us any of that money. We kept calling them and begging them. Finally, after about seven to 10 days, they said, “Okay, we'll take you off reserve and put you back on normal 10% reserve because you've proven you're a legitimate vendor.”

They did that but they said, “But we're going to keep your $200,000 you just processed in reserve,” which means that $200,000 we had made, I couldn't use to pay salaries or anything. It was just thing after thing after thing like that. For the next year, it was just a nightmare. Costs were so high. We had no money. We had money coming in but we had no money to process.

Because there was money coming in and we didn't get the money, we couldn't pay salaries so sales guys were quitting, we lost programmers, we lost designers, we lost coaches, and it was a nightmare. For a year, we tried to keep everything open. I paid every penny out of my own pocket to keep things open. It was really the toughest year and a half to two years of my life. It was crazy. Eventually it ended with us shutting down the call center completely.

The wrestling team, basically, I was paying for it out of my pocket, my personal pocket because the business couldn't support it at that time. I was paying about $30,000 a month to keep it open. After about a year of that, it had depleted my personal accounts. I couldn't keep supporting it anymore. I still remember by far the most depressing day of my life, worst than when I lost my wrestling match was me calling up Justin and the coach and saying, “I can't support this anymore. I have no more money. We have to shut down the wrestling program.”

That's all from one December to the next December. It was December when I wrestled that guy and beat him, and it was a year later that I had to call and shut down the whole program. It was really tough. Then after that, we came back and we had to leave our office. We shut down the call center. We fired most of our staff. We moved to a small office and had to start rebuilding. It was about another year of rebuilding before we were back to where we were really doing well but it was the most stressful time of my life.

It was hard but we were able to keep pushing through that. We restarted our business, relaunched it, and now we're at a spot where it's kind of fun. We're actually with six employees, we're doing the same volume we were doing with 100 employees before. It's been amazing. Now, I'm a thousand times happier than I ever could have dreamed about being before but the reason why I think I wanted to tell you guys this story, and surely there's different messages you can get out of it.

One of them is don't hire a bunch of staff. Another one is being diverse with your merchant accounts; make sure for any product you have, make sure you have at least two different merchant accounts and two different banks. I can't tell you how many people I know that have gotten merchant accounts shut down. There are so many lessons I could talk about and share with you guys along the way about hiring and the people that stick beside you, and those that walk away when adversity comes.

The main lesson I really want to share was when all is said and done, as horrible and tough of an experience that was, the fruits of what happened have been amazing. I think that the reason why I've had ups and downs in my life, the ups and downs are interesting because ups and downs are the things that define you and the things that make you who you are.

The reason I've had the big ups and downs is when I get into something, I go in 100 percent. When I was wrestling in high school and college, I was in 100 percent. When I started my business, I was in 100 percent. When I wanted to do the Olympic thing, I was in 100 percent. I didn't say, “I'm going to wrestle for the Olympics,” and then go and sit down and watch TV. I went out and within a day, I had hired the Olympic Greco coach, I had built the team, I had gotten a facility. I had done everything.

Again, sometimes it bites you in the butt but that's the nature of life. Those who risk a lot are the ones who reward a lot. I just want to encourage you guys, whatever it is in your life you're doing, and this could be in everything, in your relationships, in your family, in your religion, in your business, whatever it is, if you decide you're going to do it, do it.

Don't just dabble. Nothing drives me more crazy than people that dabble. We had an event a little while ago and I had someone come that had been dabbling in internet marketing for as long as I've been doing this stuff, and they're still not successful. It's because they dabble. I want you guys to commit to yourselves to whatever you want to do, whatever you're passionate about, be all in. I don't care if it's business. I don't care if it's weight loss. Whatever it is, don't just dabble.

Commit yourself and be all in. Do what I did and go in, hire coaches, do whatever it is, just commit and go 100% in. If you do that, you'll be amazed at what happens. The journey you go along is so much more exciting. I had someone tell me the other day, “Man Russell, you're only 33 years old and look at how much stuff you've experienced, seen, and been able to do in your life.” I really think it's because when I get into something, I go all in. Most people, they don't.

They dabble and they sit on the sidelines, and they don't want to get hurt, and they don't want to screw up, and they don't want the pain that can be associated with things but I promise you guys that that pain is there for a reason. It's there because it makes the other stuff so much better and so much happier.

Don't be afraid of it. Embrace it. Go all in with whatever you're doing, and quit dabbling. That's my message for today. It's a little longer than normal but I hope you guys got some good ideas, and we appreciate you guys. Everything we do in our Dot Com Secrets business and our other businesses is because we care about our customers. As scary as it is for me to share stories like that, I'm hoping that it will get you guys some thoughts and insights, and some things that you can apply in your life and in your business.

Let's go from there. Again, if you guys like this podcast, please share it with others. I'm doing it for free just because I enjoy it and I want to help people, and if you guys are enjoying it, please blog about it, leave a comment about it, whatever it is. Thanks so much and we'll talk to you guys all again tomorrow.


Recent Posts

Hope for Abandoned Carts: Retargeting Strategies to Reconnect

Fixing Unprofitable Campaigns, Breaking Records and much more...

The New ‘One Funnel Away Challenge’: Is It Worth It?

Building ClickFunnels to $200M a Year & The Future of Marketing with Ryan Pineda

The Ups and Downs of Entrepreneurship with Trey Lewellen

Begin a Digital Marketing Career

This AI Funnel Builder is Crazy — Try it For Free!

How To Change Your Business with Funny, Inexpensive Ads, with Kristine Mirelle

Correctly Leverage Facebook Groups with Christina Rowe

Boost Conversions with Video Marketing

Unleashing Free Instagram Traffic with Edward Collins

Break Even To Get Rich, 13 Habits To Become A Millionaire, And Much More...

10 ChatGPT Prompts For Knock-’em-Dead Copywriting!

Taylor Swift’s SECOND Marketing Tactic!

“Tay Tay” Is A LEGEND At Marketing

This Is Going To Make Me Sound Old…


Blog Categories