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339 - Interview With My Original Mentor - Part 3 of 4

Interview With My Original Mentor - Part 3 of 4

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Episode Recap:

How to break through ROADBLOCKS and get to the next level?

You hit those exciting milestones in your business… Whether it’s $1,000…$5,000…$10,000…$100,000, or even hitting your first $1,000,000 in revenue with your funnel (Two Comma Club)!

But for whatever reason, no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get past that first milestone. You get stuck. Something’s standing in your way and you just can’t figure it out.

So how do you drive past that roadblock? How do you get to that next level in your business? This is critical because EVERY entrepreneur, every business, and every Funnel Hacker WILL hit this wall at several different stages as you grow and scale.

In Part 3 of this 4-part interview with my mentor Mark Joyner, I share exactly what to do to break the glass ceiling in YOUR business.

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Best Quote:

... And some people nod because they cave, and they go and they sit and watch TV, and they just like, "Ah, I'm going to tap out." And they sedate themselves so they don't hear the voice, the calling, whatever it is, that's pulling you. Because I think all humans have that. I think it's inherent from our creator that there's this thing that pulls us to want to do more. And we want to contribute. And we have this thing. But, the majority of people, they try to sedate it. They sedate it with TV, with drugs


-- 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.


What's up everybody. This is Russell Brunson. Welcome back to the Marketing Secrets Podcast. Today you are ready and prepared, I hope, for part three of a four part series, where I had a chance to do an interview with my very first mentor, Mark Joyner. And what's cool about this is, in the past, I've had a chance to interview Mark a lot of times, but it was the first time that he ever interviewed me, which was kind of... Anyway, it was a huge honor to have your mentor asking you questions about stuff.

And so, like I said, in the first episode, Mark was my very first mentor online. Someone who I, man, have so much respect for, and so grateful for him and his contribution that helped me to figure this game out. And I hope you guys enjoy part three of our four part series with my very first ever mentor, Mark Joyner.

Mark Joyner: Okay, third thing, third thing.

Russell: Third thing, all right. So, I think the reason why a lot of people, as they're trying to grow their company, they hit these ceilings. I struggled this. I got stuck between one and three million dollars a year for like a decade. I couldn't break that ceiling no matter how hard I did. And what I realized is, as we launched ClickFunnels, the first phase of the business was like, there's the hyperactive, the first set of customers, which were the easy ones, right? They get it, they're the early adopters, they figure stuff out. And those are the customers that are already there. They're just waiting for you to go and grab them. And I think most companies, that's as far as they ever get. In fact, I've been geeking out on the book, Crossing the Chasm right now. And there's the five different things. And the innovators are the first ones. And I think that's where most people's businesses get to the innovators. And that's where they stop, right?

Mark: Right.

Russell: Then the second phase is the early adopters. But these people aren't... The second phase, you have to learn how to create a customer. Again, when we first launched ClickFunnels, the internet marketers who knew what funnels were like, "sweet, I'm in." And they came in and they got ClickFunnels, the early adopters, right? But then, after that was done, we ran out... It was like being in a Ferrari on a dead end road. We ran out of road, and all of a sudden we're like, "Hey, we got all the internet marketers. Oh, crap, now what?" And it was like, okay, now we have to create customers. We have to change our messaging, create our front end price. They do things so that when someone comes, they don't come with the desire ahead of time, but they listen to the message, and all of a sudden it's like, "Oh, I need a funnel."

If you look at, even strategically, the Dotcom Secrets book was to get the early adopters. People who understood funnels were. Here's my strategy of funnels. We got them in. And then Expert Secrets was like, "Hey, do you have talent? Do you have ideas or advice or things you can make money with? That you could share your advice." And people were like, "Oh yeah, I do." It's like, "Cool. Well, you need a funnel to be able to get that message out to the marketplace." And so we created customers from people, and that's kind of the second phase. And I don't think most people ever get to that where they're in the phase of creating customers. They're getting the low hanging fruit, the early adopters. And then that's the business. And they hit the ceiling and they never get past it. And it's realizing, the next phase is like, "Okay, how do I create customers? How do I create the desire so that they will come from where they are and come to the next phase."

And I feel like, just from my standpoint, we just finished... We're kind of at the end of the early adopter phase. And we're now making the leap to the early majority, which for me, this is my big challenge, is crossing the chasm. We can talk about it later if we want it. But, that's the next phase that I'm in. And most people never... It's taken us six years to get the point where we're done with that phase and moving to across the chasm, which is scary and exciting.

Mark: Well, that's kind of what I want to end on, actually.

Russell: Oh cool.

Mark: I want to interject really quick here. This is a very interesting Eugene Schwartz lesson that I think is quite apropos to what you're talking about. And you remember the audience awareness scale, right?

Russell: Yes.

Mark: So he's got two things in there. The audience sophistication scale and the audience awareness level. And the audience awareness level goes all the way from problem unaware. So, actually I should put yeah… So problem unaware.

So imagine you got a guy who is living in the Aboriginal Bush and he doesn't even know that there is such a thing as phones. And you're like, "Hey, here's an iPhone." Well, he's not even aware that he has the problem, that he doesn't have a phone. And then you got guys who are problem aware, and then you got solution aware. And then it goes all the way up to most aware, which is like a guy who's like, "Hey, all you have to do is tell me that there's the new iPhone coming out."

Russell: I'm in.

Mark: And right, "I'm camping out. I'm going to be in front of the iPhone store for two weeks. So I can be first." So as Russell was changing, he was dealing with guys who were sort of solution aware, and sometimes even problem aware. But as he was expanding his marketplace, he had to kind of reach out to these other areas. But what you have to also understand is that, as you go across this whole spectrum, this area is almost always where the biggest money is, but it's the hardest market to talk to, because the messaging is so much more difficult.

Russell: Language changed.

Mark: Yeah.

Russell: Each step in that... Because people are like, "Well, how do you shift it?" And like, "It's the words, it's the language." I remember Dean Graziosi called me one day. He's like, "This is the weirdest thing." He's like, "I'm at my wife's hairdresser, and the hairdresser was talking about this thing called ClickFunnels." And he calls me. He's like, "You've done something no one else has ever done, because my hairdresser's talking about your company right now."

But it's like, if I walked in a hairdresser, "You want a funnel?" They're like, "For my hair? How does that work?" It's like, "No." We had to speak differently to those audiences. And as we go further out to different audiences, we change our language patterns because we have to speak to them in a way that they understand. And then we bridge the gap. Then we take them through a bridge that helps them understand like, "Oh, that means funnel. And this is why you need that thing." And that's part of the game.

Mark: That's right.

Russell: So much fun.

Mark: Because they're not even going to know what a funnel is. Yeah, exactly, exactly. By the way, another really interesting book people could read. So sort of like a spiritual sequel to Breakthrough Advertising, was one written by some of the guys at high level in Agora, called Great Leads.

And they talk about, yeah, it's actually a fantastic book and it shows you six different ways to talk about those different audience... To talk to those different audience awareness levels. Very, very good read for people.

Okay, now, so this one is... So, I know I want to get into your thing that you talk about, about crossing the chasm. And I think that's a nice one to end on here. And actually, because I wrote it as your plan to reach the billion dollar level. And I think that's kind of the same question really.

So, but before we get to that, I want to ask you what your three biggest personal lessons were in this journey, in this entrepreneurial journey. And you can even talk about some of your sports stuff too, because I know some of that applies. So what would you say those are?

Russell: Man, I would say to begin with, is like, entrepreneurship... Building a business is the best personal development seminar you'll ever go to. All of your problems get shoved into your face and it gets bigger and bigger. It's like, "Ah."

Mark: And you deal with it or you go broke.

Russell: Oh, yeah, it's tough. But what's cool about business too, it's kind of like... I have a lot of friends who are having their first baby right now. And I remember our first babies came, and we've got five kids now, but when the first come you're so scared, you're like, "What am I going to do when the baby shows up?" You're freaking out. All of a sudden the baby comes out, and it sits there and it sleeps for 18 hours a day. You're like, "Oh, it's just sitting there." Like, "Okay, this isn't that bad."

And then it starts growing and growing. And what's interesting is that your capacity to handle the baby grows as the baby grows. And so right now I've got my twins are 14 years old. And it's like, man, they stress us out. Teenagers are so much harder.

Mark: Yeah.

Russell: But it's like, if they would've came out at 14 year olds, it would've crushed us, we'd have been destroyed, because we weren't prepared. But our capacity to handle the problems grew as the kids grew.

And I think, I look at like the stuff I deal with on a daily basis right now, six years ago, would have destroyed me. I'm so grateful that I had six years to grow in capacity to handle the stuff. It's ridiculous. But that's why business is so much fun too and it's exciting. So, what was the question again?

Mark: Personal... The three biggest personal lessons that you've learned along the way. And again, this can be from your sports career, from your parenting and from your entrepreneurial journey, because I think they're all related. As you said, business is the best personal development seminar you could possibly attend. These things are not unrelated. They are all... It's all one life. And the things that I learned in the military, definitely applied to my life in business. And I'm sure things that you learned in the sporting world and in parenting, have also applied to business as well.

So, it sounds like the first one is, is that you had to learn how to grow along with the challenges, because the challenges are not going to get easier. They're actually, by definition in life, going to get more difficult.

And I think, let's just be really frank and blunt with everybody listening. Look, we all age people, we all age. That means that baked in to the formula for life itself is increasing difficulty, no matter what. And if you think you're going to insulate yourself in some bubble. Everybody has this, they get an entrepreneurial-ism and say, "Well, what's going to happen is, is I'm going to make a whole bunch of money, then I'm going to sit on a beach, sipping umbrella drinks, and all my problems are going to go away." Well, guess what's going to happen? You do that, and I tried there, here's what happened, I got fat, sick, and I became this horrible, disgusting person, that I was not proud of. And I was going to die if I carried on with that path. This is the way the universe is designed, guys, it's designed to continue to get more difficult and to challenge you more. Would you agree with that?

Russell: A hundred percent. Unless... And some people nod because they cave, and they go and they sit and watch TV, and they just like, "Ah, I'm going to tap out." And they sedate themselves so they don't hear the voice, the calling, whatever it is, that's pulling you. Because I think all humans have that. I think it's inherent from our creator that there's this thing that pulls us to want to do more. And we want to contribute. And we have this thing. But, the majority of people, they try to sedate it. They sedate it with TV, with drugs-

Mark: That's right.

Russell: ... with alcohol, with pornography, whatever it is like to get that noise out. Because there's pain with that. Man, it is painful to walk out... And I'll tell a story that maybe this kind of ties into the second one.

But, we were about a year into ClickFunnels and this is all of our first rodeo. It was Todd's first time building an app this big and all these things. And I remember when we first built it, he was like, "I'm pretty sure that the way I built it will handle about 10,000 customers." We thought maybe that'll take a couple of years. And within a year, we were 10,000 customers. And sure enough, about a year in, things started happening and the site would go down for half an hour. Then they get it back up. And then all these problems and all these things. And it was just so much stress. And I remember I got asked to speak in London, to talk about ClickFunnels. So my wife, my kids, my family, we fly to London.

As soon as we land at the airport, I get out. I'm trying to get my phone connected and get a SIM card and whatever. As soon as it gets in, my phone is just on fire from... And it's all these people who I knew. And I thought they were my friends, but ClickFunnels went down, and they were not... Pitchforks were out and they were ready to kill me. And I'm like, I don't even know what's happening. And so I remember, I messaged Todd and I'm like, "What happened?" He's like, "We've been down for two hours." He's like, "We can't figure it out." He's like, "If we're able to recover from this, then..." I don't know, something, but I just remember him saying, "if". And I was like, "Wait, if?" It wasn't, "when", it was, "if". And I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I don't even know how to deal with this."

Mark: I've been there, I've been there.

Russell: We're in a car and we're dragging the kids to the hotel. And they're like all excited from London. And I'm stressing out. I don't even know what to do. And finally get to the hotel, and we're talking. And everything's still down, and I look at Facebook, and everyone's, literal death threats, it's crazy how crazy people get. And just blowing up everywhere. And all I wanted to do was... And I'm a Mormon, so there's not many things that we can do to sedate. Let's go get some ice cream, right? I don’t have anything! What do we do? I remember that moment, I was just like, I just want to hide. But I was like, I don't think that's the right... I don't know, I don't think it's the right thing. I think I need to talk about this. And I shouldn't act like it's okay, because it's not. It gets...

So I decided... So I went to our Facebook group at the time. I think it's still archived in there, you probably find it. But I did this video from the hotel room and I was like, "ClickFunnels is down and it is not acceptable. And I am pissed at myself, I'm pissed at my team, were all pissed. This is not okay." And like, I just went out, "All my sites are down. I'm losing money, you're losing money. I understand it. It's not fair to you. It's not fair..." And I just owned it publicly, live streaming.

And it was scary. I'm like, "I don't know what's going to happen. I'm going to keep you guys apprised. But we're doing everything we can. And it is not acceptable. And I am so sorry, and we're going to fix this." And I just led with that. And then got off Facebook Live and then probably balled my eyes out. Like, "I don't know if we're going to fix this."

And luckily, I've got an amazing team back home and they're killing themselves.

Mark: Awesome.

Russell: It'll be a good chapter in the bootstrap book someday. But everything went on. But I think about eight hours and they got it back up. And I remember, after it got back up, then it got stable. And then we're just like, "Oh no, what's going to be the damage from this and the fallout."

And I remember... We get graphs every day of how many people signed up, how many people leave, and all those kind of numbers. And man, during that thing, our number of cancellations, almost non noticeable. And I was just like, if we would have went the other way around and hid behind it, people wouldn't trust... Who knows what would have happened? And that was such a good learning moment for me. We can't hide behind stuff in today's world. We just have to come out front. And so that was a year in. And then luckily, from that point, we had some other good partners who came on, like Ryan Montgomery, who came and helped us stabilize things and figured out all these things. And it's been pretty stable since then. It's just those things that you learn, of don't hide, don't sedate.

And I think in all aspects of life, that's a lesson. As soon as the company gets hard, man, your brain's going to be looking for a million different ways to say no. Or like, "I don't want to go that way." "No, no, no." And, man, everything good always comes from going to the eye of the storm and pushing through it. And even though the pain seems like, if I sedate or if I check out it's going to be good. But it's not a way to live life.

Mark: So, dude, it's funny you say that. I was just shooting a video about exactly that, about how everybody is kind of opiating themselves these days, through the dopamine hits of social or whatever it is. Everybody's got their drug of choice now. Again, you named a lot of them, binge watching, pornography, actual hardcore drugs. There are so many people that are hooked on fentanyl and heroin combinations. And, it's a really ugly cocktail of what's going on. And I want to kind of interject and maybe pause it, what I think another third lesson is for you. I'm actually going to ask you a question. Were you raised in Mormonism or did you choose to convert?

Russell: I was definitely raised in it, but I also had a very definite point where I chose it. There, at least for me, I think there's always a time when a storm comes and you got to decide what you really believe. Definitely had that. So yes, and yes.

Mark: I want to say, I would just kind of hypothesize, that that played a huge role in your personal development, because you guys are not allowed to involve yourselves in any of those sedation methodologies. They encourage a very morally upright life. And I have to say, being a veteran of the military intelligence community, I actually got to know a lot of Mormons, because Mormons go out there and they get their language training as missionaries. So there are a lot of Mormons in the military intelligence community. And I got to say, almost all of the Mormons that I worked with were really solid dudes, who were just genuine, sincere people, who wanted to live their life correctly, and legitimately wanted to be kind to people.

And I know you've got people like Bill Maher out there, saying all kinds of really nasty things about Mormonism, calling it a cult and stuff like that. But my experience with Mormons has been nothing but very positive. And it would seem to me that your choice to really, even though you were raised in it, to decide to take that on very seriously, must have also been very pivotal for you in your personal growth.

Russell: A hundred percent. I did go on a mission for two years for the church, and I went when I was 19 years old, which is typically for most people, that's the time when you're in college, you're partying, you're drinking, you're thinking all about yourself, and you go out there on your mission, and you can't do anything for yourself. You get a name tag, where literally, I was Elder Brunson. My name is gone. I'm not even a... And you're out there everyday serving other people during, typically the most selfish time in someone's life. And for two years, that's the lens you look at things.

So, when you come home... And I always tell people, "I'm so grateful I made money after mission." Because, who knows what would happen? Both of us have friends that made a lot of money really young and it destroyed them. And so it's like...

Mark: Oh yeah, definitely.

Russell: Just super grateful that I had that lens to just... The lens of learning how to serve people before yourself, which is... Unfortunately, most people don't have that opportunity. And on a mission, you're kind of forced into it, and you learn to love it.

Mark: It's funny for me. I went through... Even though my family was Catholic, I was kind of raised around atheist/agnostics. And I became, sort of what I would call now, a pantheistic spiritualist. But over time, I've become more and more rigid in that. I've explored all of the different world's religions. And the one thing... And I haven't decided yet, if I'm going to settle in any location. I still need to listen to your Mormon apologetics video that you made. I'm super curious about that. I need to make a point of hearing it, because I'm, open to it. I'm open to it. And when I see people who are living a life that represents genuine service for other people. I don't know if you ever heard of this guy, Father Gregory, who has this thing called The Homeboys' Bakery.

And basically what he does, he takes these kids who were, they were in prison, and he gives them jobs at a bakery, and then helps teach them how to be decent people. And I saw that and man, I can't help but get choked up when you hear about something like that, man. Because when you see somebody living their life that way, and when you know what the cost of living your life the other way is, it makes you really take those kinds of things seriously. And even though religion gets a bad rap because, yeah, there's a lot of crazy stuff happening in organized religion, the notion that sin, however you want to label that, destroys your life, is an observable phenomenon, man. You can see it. When you do all the things that you're, "not supposed to do", and all of the religions of the world tell you not to do a lot of the same things. And when you see what happens to people who live their life that way, and they think they can get away with it.

And then you see what happens to people who live their... And I'm talking about people who were the week, "Oh, I'm trying to be a nice guy as a way to manipulate people." That's a bullshit thing that some people do, right. I'm talking about guys who are like, "Hey, I'm going to make myself a strong person, and I'm going to do good in the world." When I see people like that, I'm like, "That is the path that we all need to be walking down." And the more of us do that, the better the world's going to be.

Russell: Yeah, I had someone recently tell me... Learn about my beliefs and stuff and just be like, "Man, that must be really, really hard." And then at the same time, I looked at their life. And I was like, looking at the path that they've gone on, and not to judge them all. But I'm like, that seems so much harder.

Mark: Yeah.

Russell: I don't know. Maybe, but, I'm grateful for the path and I'm going to stay on it.

Mark: Good for you, man, good for you, dude. I'm blessed to see your example, because you're yet another person I can look at it and say, "Hey, here's a guy..." And your life is harder than mine, man. Your company is doing way more volume than mine right now. You have kids to manage, you do all these extra things on top of it. And I'm like, "Man, I want to learn how Russell is managing all of this stuff." You know what I mean? Because you're younger than I am, but you figured some things out that I haven't figured out. I want to learn that. And I'm a moron if I don't learn it, right. This is where the ego less ness has to come in. If you want to be better and better and better, if you want to truly achieve greatness, you got to be really straight with yourself about what you can and can't do.

So let's kind of tie this up now with this crossing the chasm thing, man.

Russell: Yeah.

Mark: I don't know if this is something that could be covered briefly. Because I imagine it's going to be a pretty complex thing, but what can you say about that?

Russell: Yeah. And I'll tell you some of my thoughts. I don't know all the answers yet. We're on that journey right now.

Mark: Yeah, good answer.

Russell: And it's fun though. Because for me, it's been interesting as I've gone on this journey too, and maybe this ties back to the last question as well, but, and I'll tie it back to sports. When I was wrestling for a long time, it was me, I was the all-star. I was out there wrestling, it was my thing, I got my hand raised. I loved it. And now that I'm older and I've got kids now, my kids wrestle. And the transition from all-star to coach is really painful. Because it's like, "I want to be on the mat." Like, "Ah, they're doing things wrong." And like at first it's really painful.

And then eventually, for me, my kids, this is my twins third year wrestling. And this year was so rewarding, because the stuff we've been working on, they're finally getting it. And to see them get their hand raised, actually felt better than my own hand raise, which is weird, because I was like, it's been the greatest moment of my life, is getting my own hand raised.

And with business was similar, because the first two years of ClickFunnels, I was the all-star. People were like, "How big was your funnel building team?" It was me. I built the funnels, I wrote the sales presentations... Todd was doing the software, I was doing everything else. And I was the all-star. I'm doing the webinars, I'm flying around the world, I'm speaking, I'm doing stuff, my hand's getting raised over and over and over again. And as we started growing, it started getting harder and harder for me to handle that.

And I remember three years ago, it was this spot where it's just like the pressure so much. I was just at a breaking point. I'm like, "I don't know what to do." I remember where I was at. It was some other conversation, but the thought that popped in my head was like, "You have to transition from being the all-star to being the coach. At the time, I had hired a couple people and they would go, they'd write copy for me or they'd build the funnel for me. And they'd do it. And I felt like it was like Michael Jordan. There are people that go up to shoot a shot, and he's like, "I shoot better” and grab it and just dunk on them, right.

I felt like I was doing that. My team would come in, they'd get some like, "Oh this sucks." I'd go in and delete it all and rewrite it and fix it all. And like, "Oh I'm an all-star, look how good I am." And it was holding me back and them back and everything. And I was like, I have to make this transition to being the coach.

So that was the whole second phase was, at first, it's hard. But now I'm looking at my team, now my team is getting so good. They're producing stuff and they're creating without me. And it's like they say to me, now they want something. I'm like that like, "Ah." Same thing, it feels better getting your hand raised when your team is doing it now. It's interesting.

Mark: Well, you got a great model, really quick, I just want to interject, from wrestling. Dan Gable was kind of seen as the greatest wrestler of all time. And then he was... Now he's kind of universally recognized as the greatest coach of all time as well, across all sports. Right?

Russell: Yeah.

Mark: There are very few people who would deny that Dan Gable is the best coach of any sport, of all time.

Russell: Think about how many people, making the jump from that, how many great athletes never become coaches? And I think a lot of it is the ego, right? It's been really hard for me, both coaching my kids and then coaching the team. There's this ego thing. You're like, "I can do it better." Or whatever. And it's so hard. And so anyone that can make that transition from all-star to coach, I have so much respect for them, because it takes a lot.

Mark: Ego is tricky man, because the ego battle is probably the... That's the battle, right? Because the ego kind of drives you. That pride drives you so much in the beginning.

Russell: It's the fuel, initially. It's the reason why I want your hand raised. The ego's the driving force, initially. And then it becomes the thing, that holds you back in the next phase. Like, "What?" Like, "You were such a great friend over here, now you're screwing me over."

Mark: What just happened. Well, this is the genius of the design of the universe, right? It's like every time we think we've got to figured out, it's like, "nope, you don't." Because, whatever designed this, whatever your cosmology of the universe is, call it God or whatever, is infinitely smarter than you are. And it's going to come up with so many ways to trick you and keep you off balance, that every time you think you got it dialed in, there's going to be a new challenge that's going to come up. And you have to love that. It's kind of beautiful. Right?

Russell: Oh, yeah.

Mark: Because that's what keeps life interesting. It would be so dull without it.

Russell: Yeah, it's so much fun.


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