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166 - Don't Discount The Education You're Getting From Each Of Your Failures

Don't Discount The Education You're Getting From Each Of Your Failures

Listen To Today's Episode: 

Episode Recap:

A late night story session with Russell, talking about more of his failures that built his foundation.

On this episode Russell looks back on things he did over a decade ago, and why he is bringing some of those things back, even though they were initially failures. Here are some of the awesome things you will hear in today’s episode:

-- Find out what kinds of things Russell heard were good ideas, which he then tried, but didn’t have success with.

-- See why some of those things he considered failures are coming in handy now that he has Clickfunnels.

-- And find out why it’s important to try things, even if you fail at them.

So listenhere to find out why even when you consider something a failure, it has been a valuable part of your journey.

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Best Quote:

...if you’re all like me you’ve tested and tried a lot of things and some of them haven’t worked. And at the time, you probably were like I was and been like, “Local seminars are a scam, I would never do this. This is the worst business ever. Whoever told me to do that was a moron.” But the context, the situation wasn’t right yet. But now I have that skill that we’re bringing back. So for you guys, the same thing. I know that you’re trying things, you’re testing things. Some things aren’t working, but I promise you, there’s a reason why you’re learning it. And just because the first funnel or the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or tenth offer doesn’t work, it’s okay because you’re learning how to make offers.


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Hey everyone, this is Russell Brunson and welcome to the Marketing Secrets podcast. Right now I’m walking up my stairs in my house, about to go to bed, but there’s just something too cool on my mind that I got to share with you right now.

So I just wanted to share a story that hopefully all you guys will have this same story in ten years from now, or twelve years from now, or fifteen years from now or whatever. But when you’re living it in the moment, it’s kind of annoying, but looking back in hindsight it’s the most amazing gift ever.

So let me tell you what I’m talking about. So I first joined my first mastermind group over a decade ago now, and at the time I didn’t know how to do anything. I had a couple of websites, I had a little email list, I was selling stuff and I joined this mastermind group. It was Bill Glazer’s mastermind group. And I get in this group, and at the time, this is right before the real estate bubble popped like in 2008 or whatever that was.

So in the group there were 18 people and nine of the 18 people were real estate coaches, teaching people how to make money in real estate. And then the other nine were all sorts of other weird businesses. So it was kind of cool, I came into this room and all these people doing amazing things. I’m sitting there and the first guy gets up and he talks about how he has a call center. I was like, “oh my gosh, I should have a call center.” And then the second guy gets up and he’s like, “Oh, I do live events.”

And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I should do live events.” And the third guy gets up and he’s like, “I do local events.” I’m like, “I should do local events.” The next guy gets up, “I run radio ads.” I’m like, “I should be running radio ads.” And luckily for me at the time, I was super naive and didn’t know that I probably shouldn’t do all of them at once, so instead I’m like, “Dude, I need to do all of them at once.”

So after my first set of meetings I go back home and sure enough I tried to do all those things at once. For example, one of them was, I remember there was a guy that was doing these local seminars and he would run radio ads and do direct mail and he’d fill these local seminars and people would come locally and come to the seminar and he’d sell something to them.

And then from there he’d take them to another event and they’d have this whole process. So I got home and without even thinking I’m like, “We’re going to run local seminars.” And so we went and booked a Holiday Inn and I went, “How do we fill this event?” This is pre-facebook, pre-myspace, this is a decade plus ago. And I was like, “I don’t know. We could run direct mail.”

So I call up some list broker that I found and I was like, “Do you guys have direct mail for people in Boise who want to get rich on the internet?” And they’re like, “Um, sure. We’ll sell you a list like that.” So they sold me a list of 5,000 names. And then I was like I gotta send a direct mail piece out. I’ve never written a direct mail piece before, but I just gotta figure it out. So I remember I made this postcard, and because it was in Boise it had a picture of me wrestling at Boise State. So I had a picture of wrestling on this business seminar.

It was like, “Learn how a local Boise State Wrestler makes money on the internet. Come to this free event.” So we had a phone number for people to call to come in and RSVP. Then I was like, “Okay, we got a direct mail piece, but we gotta figure out other ways to fill the event. What should we do?” And we’re like, “We should do radio ads.” So we call the radio station and I’m like, “Hey, I want to run a radio ad.” And they’re like, “Okay.”

And I had been learning about copywriting, so I remember I wrote my own little ad and took it to the radio station. And then the host, or whatever they call them, the DJ, whatever it’s called, the person at the radio station who talks on the radio, who’s going to read the ad, he’s like, “Oh this ad is horrible, I’m just going to freestyle it.” So he wants his own ad. I’m like, “No you don’t understand. This is how direct response copy works.”

And we kind of fought back and forth and we ended up making a hybrid ad that he read that had a call to action form for the live event. So we run this local live event and we run the direct mail, we run the radio ads and we get, I don’t know, a couple hundred people to RSVP, and we set it up like, “Okay, we’re going to do one event in the morning, one in the afternoon and one at night.”

So we did that. And I don’t know how many hundreds of people that signed up, we only got a few that actually showed up for each event. And then they showed up and we didn’t know what to sell. So we tried to sell these really weird things, they didn’t really work. I remember I did three presentations that day, and the first presentation, there was probably like 30 people in the room and it went really well. You know, I had my suit and tie and my shaved head with my glasses on.

I did my little thing, and I think I sold a $100 workbook and we sold a few of them. And then the next group came and like 3 people showed up. It was so awkward. I gave the same presentation I had done earlier in 90 minutes. I did it in 25 minutes just because I was nervous and I was talking even faster than Russell normally talks, which is pretty fast.

And I don’t think I sold any with that group. And then t he third one came and it was a bit bigger and I sold a couple. I think I made like, I don’t know, four or five hundred bucks at this little event we ran. And we probably spent five grand, probably more than that, through direct mail and everything.

Anyway, a colossal failure. I’m like, “I will never do local events again, that was the worst idea ever.” And then somebody else was like, “Well you should do your own big events.” So I was like, “Oh, cool. I could do that. I went to an event one time, I should be able to run an event.” So we rented a hotel room and started trying to fill an event and it was harder than I thought it was going to be.

But luckily I met a partner, Stu McLaren, Stu and I did two or three events together, which is awesome because he had actually run some events. I think the first event we ran, people showed up and we’re just like, “Alright sit down.” We had no idea what to do. When we started running them with Stu, Stu was like, “We need to get nametags for people.” I’m like, “Oh, that’s a great idea.” He’s like, “You need to register people.” And we’re like, “Oh yeah, we didn’t even think about that.”

They had a process to make these events. So we had two or three events with Stu where we had, I remember we’d go to like Walmart and buy a hundred dollar printer, and we’d print off a hundred name tags, and then at the end of the event we’d raffle off the printer. Like “The first person who does whatever, we’ll give you a free printer.” A printer we had bought because we didn’t want to pack it up and ship it back to our houses.

Anyway, we did three or four of these little events with Stu and made a little money and learned a lot of good lessons there. And I remember the last event I did was this one in Salt Lake, and it was the back of, we had a product called the Twelve Month Millionaire and it was an interview that I did with Vince James where he had made a hundred million dollars in 23 months, and it was a six hour interview I did with him, so we sold that product.

And on the backside, we gave everyone who bought a ticket to this live event where we were going to teach online, offline fusion marketing. You know, how do you use offline tactics with online. I was so excited for this event and I think we had 3 or 400 people who had RSVP’d saying they were coming to the event. I think we sold like 9000 copies of that product, which was amazing. But 300 put the, I think it was a $100 deposit down to say you were coming to the event.

So we had this event, and we thought we had 300 people coming to it, so we built out the whole thing. And then we, it’s so embarrassing, we get to the event and less than 100 people showed up to it. So this huge room is completely empty. We had no stage, there was this little ghetto projector.

So we did the event and we ended up making…we sold something at the event and ended up making a little bit of money, but not a lot. And that was the time when I was like, “I will never in my life do live events again.” That was it. We would never do it again. I told my team, “We’ll never do it again.” And then fast forward a little while after that, we like, someone told me we should build a call center. So we’re like, “We’re going to build a call center.”

So as Russell does, instead of thinking, I just went and found somebody who knew how to do a call center, we hired them, hired more people, built out a team, got some cubicles, got some phones, started selling leads, started selling stuff and it started working and then we started growing. The next thing I knew, I woke up one day and we had 80 sales people in the world and I’m like, “What in the world is happening? What am I doing?”

And if you’ve heard some of my stories about that whole crash and how it fell down, but we figured out, I learned that model imperfectly. Man so many more. We did free plus shipping offers with forced continuity that we learned and made money with. Then we got shut down because of the forced continuity. We did so many things like that. And at the time I went through the process, I learned the lesson and then I was like, “I’ll never do this again because it was horrible and painful and it didn’t work.”

But now it’s crazy, a decade later, and I’m looking at Clickfunnels as we’re growing it now and I’m like, “How do we grow this?” and I’m going back in time to a decade ago and I’m like, “Remember when we did those live events locally that didn’t work because I didn’t understand the model and I didn’t understand what I was selling, didn’t have the right offer?

Those would work now. If we made a couple little tweaks that model would work.” So right now we’re working on building out a local model. We’re filling up local events and sending speakers to these events. Funnel Hacking Live. We launched Clickfunnels and I swore we’d never do events again and people were like, “We need an event. We need an event.” And I’m like, “No, I’ll never do an event again.”

And finally we agreed and we did Funnel Hacking Live number one, which had 600 people, and number two had 1200, number three had 1300, number four had 3000, this year we’re going to have 5000, and we have probably one of the biggest marketing events in the world now, by far the best. I’m not saying that because I’m biased, it literally is the best. If you’re not coming, you’re insane.

Anyway, that came on the back of this thing I had tested years ago and it failed, but I learned the pieces and process and I learned enough of the skills to know when I needed it to dust it off and bring it back out and this time do it right. The call center, we built this huge call center up and shut it down, and then when Clickfunnels came out I swore, we will never do a call center. We’re never gonna do a call center. We’re not going to build out a sales team. And sure enough, guess what I’m doing right now.

We’re building out a sales team. We have a front end sales team calling new leads. We got a back end sales team selling migration packages and things and we’re building that out again, right now. And again, it’s something that I swore I’d never do again, but it’s something I learned, cut my teeth on, and now we’re doing it correctly. We’re doing it right. We’re doing it in a way that will continue to grow the company. And there’s more.

These are just two or three different things, the top of my head, that we’re doing now that I had tested a decade ago, now we’re finally doing. So I’m sharing with you guys because I’m guessing, if you’re all like me you’ve tested and tried a lot of things and some of them haven’t worked. And at the time, you probably were like I was and been like, “Local seminars are a scam, I would never do this. This is the worst business ever. Whoever told me to do that was a moron.”

But the context, the situation wasn’t right yet. But now I have that skill that we’re bringing back. So for you guys, the same thing. I know that you’re trying things, you’re testing things. Some things aren’t working, but I promise you, there’s a reason why you’re learning it. And just because the first funnel or the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or tenth offer doesn’t work, it’s okay because you’re learning how to make offers.

I’m working on a presentation, I’m speaking at Garret White’s Warrior Week, next week. And one of the sections I’m talking about Hook, Story, Offer and talking about how you need to make offers and whoever makes the most offers in the marketplace traditionally wins. And then I’m going to actually show all the offers I created from the beginning of time until Clickfunnels. A lot of people think, “Oh there’s probably ten offers or a dozen offers or a couple dozen.”

But there are over a hundred offers I made before I made the Clickfunnels offer. Over a hundred. These weren’t just like things I threw out quickly on a Facebook live, it’s like a hundred full blown funnels with headlines, sales video, product, creation, all those things. Over a hundred different offers I created before we created the Clickfunnels offer. Okay, so it’s all those things, just a consistency of doing it and doing it and doing it.

Because you have no idea which one of those skills you learn in this process, you’re going to come back and later use to scale your empire, to serve more people, to get your message out to the market. The same thing happened in network marketing. I can’t tell you how many times I tried network marketing, had ups and downs and pros and cons.

It’s funny because last week David Frye, he’s one of my favorite people I’ve ever met, he posted this thing like, “If I was still doing network marketing this is exactly what I’d do.” And he mapped out this whole strategy of how he’d run these local events and how he’d film and how he’d do it and how he’d build the whole thing up and I was just like, “Oh my gosh.” There were three or four ideas and I’m like, “I remember when we did local events for network marketing. We literally ran our own local events for that.

What are we doing, why did we do it, and how did it work? What are the things we learned that we can bring back and plug back into our thing?” In fact, I remember one time, we were doing send out cards and we had this idea where we’re like, “What if we put an ad in Craigs list, looking for people who run home parties and pay them 100 (maybe it was 300, I can’t remember) It was the same cost as it was to be a distributer, but paid them to come and consult us on how to run a home party for this new company we were trying to roll out.

This was like the greatest idea ever, it didn’t work. Well, it kind of worked. Anyway, we put ads on Craig’s list and we had like, I don’t know, 20 people who were home party experts. They had run home parties for different companies and they agreed to come and train us in a group for a hundred dollars or two hundred dollars, whatever it actually was.

So we sat down and we showed them the product and then they were supposed to kind of write out a home party and script and process and show it to us. So they had to try the product, test it out, and like use it. And then when it was done we had each person come one on one into a room back with me, and….I’m so proud of myself for trying this.

And we’re like, “What do you think about the product?” they’re like, “Oh it’s amazing.” I said, “Okay, well we owe you three hundred dollars to do this thing or…” I think it was the 100 dollars, “…the hundred dollars for your time, or I’ll pay you $300 to cover your distributer fee at send out cards. Which would you rather do?” And a couple of people were like, “I just want $100.” And like half of them were like, “pay the $300. I will become a distributer. You sold me on the product. I’m now sold on it.”

And then our thought was like, “Oh my gosh, we have these people now, they know how to do home parties, they signed up for our company, maybe they’re going to go and do home parties.” And a couple of them did, it never grew really big. But conceptually it was brilliant I think. It might have been the worst idea ever. But it was something we just tried right.

And there’s so many things we tested over and over again trying to figure out what was going to stick. Anyway, I just hope this gives you guys encouragement for those who are trying things that aren’t working. They’re not working as effectively as you wanted. “Man, I thought for sure this webinar Russell told me was going to be the best in the world. Then I tested the webinar, it didn’t work.” And you’re all angry but it’s like, maybe it’s just because it’s the wrong offer.

Maybe you gotta make another offer. Change your offer, or try a different product or try a different venue. Maybe instead of doing a webinar, maybe it’s a tele-seminar. Maybe it’s a live event, maybe it’s local. Who knows? But the skill sets you’re learning each of these steps along the way is going to help you for the next piece and the next thing.

So don’t discount the education you’re getting from each of your failures. So that’s the message for today. I’m going to go to bed. I gotta get up tomorrow morning at 5, because I’m working on the Traffic Secrets book, so I got a couple of hours of sleep and then back up at it.

So I’m going to bounce. I appreciate you guys, thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this episode please take a screenshot of it, post it on Facebook, Instagram, anywhere else you like to be social. Tag me on it, do hashtag marketing secrets, I always love seeing those and making sure you guys are actually listening. Thanks so much for everything guys, and we’ll talk to you soon.


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