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281 - How Mr. Trello Just Saved My Business...Again

281 - How Mr. Trello Just Saved My Business...Again

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Cool lessons learned while watching Mary Poppins with my kids.

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So I started using it and changed dramatically transformed my productivity and my ability to get things done, which is probably why we had a lot of success this year. In fact, this is crazy. Last year was awesome, and this year we’re trying to 3x what we did last year and we’re within a few hundred thousand dollars of hitting.


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This is the end of the year right now, it's getting close to Christmas and normally people do all their planning and stuff in January for how I’m going to take over the world next year. But I kind of want to be prepared so when January 1st hits we can be off on the….out running and sprinting.

So because of that, this week became a planning week, which is hard for me to do. I don’t normally plan things. Usually I have a whole bunch of ideas in my head and we start running and everyone kind of learns about all the ideas as we are moving forward, which is a horrible way to manage people, by the way. I think it drives everybody crazy. In fact, Todd, I think you guys all know Todd by now, hopefully. If not, he’s the dude who built Clickfunnels. He told me today that the only way he knows what’s happening in the business is by listening to the podcast. You guys are hearing things as everybody else is.

So I’m trying to get better at that. It’s fun, one of the guys who joined our inner circle last year, his name is James Friel, super cool guy. He came in and one of his nicknames is the contract CEO, where people will hire him to be the CEO and go in their company and fix things and make it all work right. And we were trying to figure out how to make a sexy thing for him to sell and it was kind of hard at first, his first headline is something like, “How to become more predictable and sustainable.” Or something like that and I was like, no one’s going to give you money for that, that’s horrible. We gotta make this sexy.

So we worked with him last year, turning what he does into this sexy, exciting thing. So to do it initially he was showing me all the cool things he does, there’s a lot of stuff, he’s crazy talented. But one of them was, his project management system and how he does it with Trello and Slack and Gann Charts and this whole thing. I was like, “I use Trello, I got it figured out, I don’t need help.” And he was like, “Dude, I think you need my help more than anyone.”

And in fact, this is funny, I’ll tell you the rest of the story but I’ll give you the punch line right now, but he’s been at our office for two days working on this and he told me last night at dinner, out of all the companies he’s ever worked with, mine was the most messed up. He’s like, “It’s amazing you guys have done as well as you have.” I was like, “yes, good selling can make up for a lot of bad systems.”

Anyway, so stepping back. So this is in January of last year he’s like, “I’m coming to inner circle meetings, let me come in a day early and I’ll take you guys through the process that I would normally charge people 20 or 30 thousand to do.” I was like, “Alright, cool.” So he came in and showed me his whole Trello system and blew my mind. I was like holy crap, no wonder I never got anything done ever. I need to change everything.

So we changed it all around and I implemented I’d say probably 75% of what he said, because the rest I was too smart to listen to. So 75%, which is basically I started using Trello for myself, my own systems, personally. I tried to get everyone on my team on it, but it lasted like 8 seconds, and nobody did it again. But I was doing it myself and things became better because at least I had my thoughts out in a way.

It’s not just like…..if you’ve used Trello before, it’s free. You can’t even give them money if you want. They’re the worst marketing company of all time, but their software is awesome. The problem is their software is so awesome you can do pretty much anything you want with it and because of that people like me just screw it up. So James built this system that makes it very simple, very easy. It pulls out the human error and pulls out all these issues, and it’s awesome.

So I started using it and changed dramatically transformed my productivity and my ability to get things done, which is probably why we had a lot of success this year. In fact, this is crazy. Last year was awesome, and this year we’re trying to 3x what we did last year and we’re within a few hundred thousand dollars of hitting. So we’re on our march through the end of the year to hit this certain number. If we hit that number then we’ll have tripled what we did last year, which is crazy.

Then our goal is to triple it again next year. If we do that, they’re going to have to write a book about it. I’m not writing it because I’m tired of writing books. But someone’s gotta write about it because it’s amazing. Anyway, stepping back. So it was awesome, but I only implemented about 75% because I couldn’t get my team on board and it was hard.

Then fast forward, at the next inner circle meeting in the summer he came and everyone basially in the inner circle I found out, was kind of like me. We’re really talented entrepreneurs who are really good at selling stuff and we no idea how to manage ourselves or our processes or anything else. Sound familiar? If that sounds like you, you’re probably an entrepreneur. Welcome to the cool kids club.

Anyway, I had him stay and give a presentation to the inner circle group on how it is in the Trello system and I saw it again and I was like “Oh! There’s the other 25% I’m not doing. Why am I not doing? I should just do it.” Then I got all excited to do and then embarrassingly to myself and everybody else, I didn’t. Then I had him train our whole inner circle as a whole and everybody got excited again, I got excited again and didn’t do it. Finally at the end of this year I was like, you know what, we’re not doing it.

So James what would it cost to fly to boise for 2 days and sit here and make us do it?” and that’s what he did. Yesterday he was here all day, even as much as I’m using Trello over the last year, we still cleaned it up, simplified it, made it way better. And then we got everyone on the team doing it and now there’s this one key piece that I was fighting doing because it requires a person to be in charge of the whole system and now we got Michelle McPherson running that piece of the system, she’s amazing. And now the whole 100% is going to work. Day one was getting it all implemented. Day two we’re focusing on moving it forward and getting everyone using it, which is cool.

And then basically, James every week for the next 8 weeks is going to be doing company meetings. We don’t even do company meetings. We do meetings in different departments, like the programming team meets, and the support team meets, but the marketing side, that I’m kind of in charge of, we don’t….we do meet but it’s like we get online and talk about the cool stuff we’re doing. There’s no point or focus with anything we’re doing.

What’s cool about this new system is that there’s meetings built in that are all tied around Trello and the goals and the dates and everything inside of that, which is cool. He’s going to be teaching us how to do the meetings the right way and then moving forward for the next 8 weeks, once a week he’ll be jumping on our meetings with us and getting us all in this group. So by January we can hit and scale things a lot more rapidly.

They always say, “what got you here probably won’t get you there”. And I feel like there’s different levels of skill set. There’s a skill set that gets you from 0 to a million dollars, a different skill set that get’s you from one million to 3, at least these were my barriers. There’s a different skill set form 3 to 10. A different skill set from 10 to 30 and I feel like the skill set from 30 to 100 is different and it’s not necessarily my strengths, my ninja skills. It’s something different as this piece. It’s the organization, structure and systems.

We were building systems out in Trello, we were like what’s all the things you do every single month consistently, the exact same thing? So we made these systems for it. I was like, holy crap this just made my life so much easier. Funnel University is a good example. There’s like…..we do the exact same thing every single month. And every month we’re like, “What do we do next? What’s the next thing? Oh yeah.” And we re-think it through every single time. And now it’s like, there’s a system. Just a Trello card. We just copy it every January, it’s a recurring thing. Or every first of the month It pops in. Automatically recurring, it just pops into the thing, we know what we gotta do it, and we do it and it’s amazing.

And now we know we gotta do it too because someone’s in charge of running it. Everyone’s got due dates. Everyone has things and they’re held accountable to somebody, which is awesome. Including me, I’m held accountable. “Hey Russell, why didn’t you get that crap done?” “Uh, I don’t know. I need to get it done.” I’m held accountable too, which is awesome and everyone’s held accountable.

And there’s somebody who knows what’s happening. Right now, I kind of know what’s happening at least on the marketing side of all the projects. But I’m the worst person….me as an entrepreneur is the worst person to know everything because then everyone has to come to me for every single thing and nothing ever gets done. So now the way that the systems built out, I’m not tied into it. Michelle will be that person that knows everything and then I’ll just have to know my pieces of the thing, which is so cool.

So anywho, so that’s what’s happening. It’s been awesome. We hung out at dinner with him last night and talked about over the last year. A year ago is when I kind of….I was the one telling James, “This is awesome. You should be selling this.” And so he’s been doing this for a bunch of companies, where people hire him and they come in and he actually becomes the CEO of their company to implement this system and spent three or four or five months with them in this last year. He’s also worked with twenty or thirty entrepreneurs where he does the whole thing remote and get’s the team on for half a day and builds the whole thing out remote. Works a lot less expensive than having him fly out to your office like we did.

But regardless, if you are an entrepreneur or someone who wants to become an entrepreneur, but especially the entrepreneurs that are out there listening, and you guys are like me at all and because you’re good at selling and marketing and because you kind of figured things out you are able to do a lot of things that……..good marketing makes up for a lot of things. Dan Kennedy used to say, “There’s nothing that the good sales letter can’t solve.” And I kind of believe that. But I think there’s a limit. I think good selling can get you so far, but it’s the systems and the organization and structure and all that nerdy stuff that they probably teach in business schools, I don’t know I didn’t go. But I’m assuming that’s what they teach in business schools that we’re not good at.

So if you guys want to be able to expand and grow I highly recommend figuring that piece out. And there’s two ways to figure things out. There’s the school of hard knocks and do what I did, spend ten years trying to figure it out and realize one day that you’re an entrepreneur and that’s not your skill set. And the second way is to give James money and he’ll do it for you. That’s what I did.

This is someone who I had him out doing it once in my office, then I sat through it twice more and then I still paid him to come out because it’s that important to our growth. So for any of you guys who that’s the piece where you feel like you’re juggling too many things. Or you know I should be systemizing things and I don’t know how to. Or your team is always confused.….

Or I think it’s more for you the entrepreneur, because if you’re confused, “How do you guys not know what we’re doing? I know exactly what’s happening, how can you not read my mind?” If you’ve ever felt that way before, which I think most of us do, then you should definitely give James money. You should just write him a check and not ask any questions. Write it blank and then have him fill it in for whatever it’s worth because it will be worth it.

Anyway, if you want to work with James, this is not a pitch. Yeah it is. This is a pitch, this is a blatant pitch. I paid him money; you should pay him money too. The link, if you go to and I think there’s an opt-in where you get a cheat sheet with some cool stuff and the next page there’s a video with me talking about my story. That was my story from a year ago. So imagine what my story would be like even now. It’s even that much better. But if it’s something better that you guys need, than I need, then I would definitely message him and see if there’s a way he can do this for you.

Like I said, you don’t have to go as intense as I did and hire him and his team fly out and help you guys set it all up. You can do it remote. He did it for a dozen plus people over the last year remote as well and it works. You can get your whole team on board.

It’s one of those things that… I read the emyth, I went through the emyth course, I understand the value of what this piece is and I thought I was kind of doing it, but then when you have it right , you’re like oh wow. I don’t think we even had a system technically.

It was funny, I was listening to this Dan Kennedy thing from back in the….probably 15 years ago. And in there he’s talking about, “Everyone’s trying to figure out how to put a system into their business, the reality is you’ve already got a system, everybody’s got a system, but your system kind of sucks right now.” So you can take the crappy system you’re using or you can try to strategically plug in the right system, because the wrong system is going to hurt you more than no system. It’s impossible to have no system, if you’ve got no system it means you’ve just got a really bad one. Because something’s happening, it’s just happening really poorly.

I don’t know if that made any sense, but it sounded cool, right? Just kidding. Alright, I’m at the office, I got day two with James and the crew. We’re going to be in Trello and slacking everything, getting things built out. That’s what I’m doing today and that way I take one little step backwards, to plan to focus, system so I can go a thousand feet forward and take over the world a little bit more next year. So that’s the game plan guys. Appreciate you all, have a great time. Go visit James, tell him hi. Give him some money, write him a check. I get nothing for this endorsement other than James is awesome and helping me and he should help you too. Thanks guys, talk to you soon. Bye.


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