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Navigating Growth and Culture with the “Wolf of Wall Street” Jordan Belfort


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Episode Recap:

In another “blast-from-the-past” episode, I visit Jordan Belfort (yes the Wolf of Wall Street) on his “Wolf’s Den” podcast! Hear the story of how ClickFunnels was built and scaled, and how we focused on growing through partnerships, reinvesting in ads, and surging user engagement even during Covid-19. And since this occurred during the pandemic, we also discuss the crucial role of entrepreneurship in solving problems and driving change.

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Best Quote:

When I got my degree, a lot of the stuff we were learning was about companies in the 1800s and how they did their profit and loss statements, all this stuff that's just like how is this relevant to anything that's happening right now? The pulse of this market is moving so quickly... I think just as a whole watching what's going to happen with school system post-COVID, I think that's going to open up a lot more opportunities for stuff like this to be put into colleges.


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Russell Brunson:
What's up everybody? This is Russell Brunson. Welcome back to the Marketing Seekers podcast. Today I've got a treat for you. So how many of you guys have watched the movie Wolf of Wall Street? If you have, you probably shouldn't watch it, it was really bad. But at least something you should definitely not, I don't know, we'll leave that on the table. But way back in the day, I remember pre-ClickFunnels, this is probably 16, 17 years ago, I was going on a trip to the UK and when I was leaving, someone had mentioned this book called The Wolf of Wall Street. I'd never heard of it. So I downloaded the audiobook and I listened to it on my flight over at the UK. And this is the beginning, pre-ClickFunnels.

We're still building the business. We were struggling at the time, and I remember listening to the book, and obviously there's a lot of stuff that needs to be edited out, so if you're going to watch it or listen to it, but I remember I listened to the whole thing and I remember getting to the UK and then just thinking and dreaming about what we were trying to do with our business. And during that time is when the Facebook movie, the Social Network came out. I remember we watched the Social Network and there was this one scene when Justin Timberlake comes out and he's like, "You know what's cool? A billion dollars isn't cool. A billion is." And I remember thinking, someday it'd be so cool to build a company, it could do a billion dollars. And then the flight home that I listened to, the second book from Jordan Belfort, which is called, I think it's called Catching the Wolf of Wall Street.

So, anyway, interesting books, but I remember listening to the audiobooks years before there ever was a movie. And after that I started trying to figure out who is this Jordan Belfort guy? And there's obviously a lot of different directions, but you can't doubt that he's one of the best sales people of all time. He sells trainers and building teams. And I remember afterwards I bought his course called Straight Line Persuasion. I studied it a lot of really good things in there, but it was an honor when I launched the Traffic Seekers book that he actually hit me up and said, "Hey, can I have you on the podcast?" And I was like, yes you can. That'd be amazing. So I had this really cool chance to be interviewed by Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street, and just someone who was, I mean, super cool to me the whole time. I had really great experience talking to him and hanging out, and I just re-found this interview recently.

I was like, oh, this would be a cool thing to put on the podcast for those who haven't heard it or didn't hear it three or four years ago when it first happened. And hopefully get a ton of value out of it and have a chance to hear Russell Brunson, the potato gun guy hanging out with the Wolf of Wall Street and talking business and sales and marketing and a whole bunch of other cool stuff. So that said, I hope you enjoy this episode of the Marketing Seekers podcast with Jordan Belfort. In the last decade, I went from being a startup entrepreneur to selling over a billion dollars in my own products and services online. This show is going to show you how to start, grow, and scale a business online. My name is Russell Brunson, and welcome to the Marketing Seekers podcast.

Jordan Belfort:
Hey, JB here, the Wolf of Wall Street. In the Wolf's Den I have an awesome guest, very famous guy, entrepreneur extraordinaire, someone you're definitely going to know. He's the founder of a software platform that allows people to become world-class marketers and salespeople on the back end of it. I'm talking about Russell Brunson, the founder of ClickFunnels. So Russell is someone that I know for many, many years, we never interacted with him, but we've admired each other from afar. Seriously, I've looked at his career, I've watched, I've used his products, he's read all my books. So what you're going to see as we start to communicate with each other and really go back and forth, what you're going to see is not just mutual respect, but you're going to actually see how sales and marketing work together hand in the two pillars of essentially monetizing an idea. Let me restate that.

There's want to dig deeper. See, at the highest level what business really is, entrepreneurship, it's monetizing value. You have something of value, which means that it can cure someone's pain point, it can resolve something, right? You have something that has value. The purpose of a business is to deliver this value to people, to your customers, right? And to do that in a way that when it's all said and done, the amount that you spend on manufacturing your product or delivering your service with service, the amount that you spend on marketing, identifying the right people, bringing them into your funnel, and then ultimately on the sales side to close them, at the end of the day, you actually make money. So, I'll repeat, the purpose of a business is to allow you to deliver value in a way that actually makes a profit. Because you're not going to do very well if at the end of the day, the cost of delivering and sourcing and manufacturing your product or service costs you more than what someone's willing to pay for it or you're charging for it, right?

That's how you lose money, and you can't make it up in the volume. You don't lose money in every sale and make it up by selling more. So what you see when Russell and I really started digging into this stuff is you'll start to notice that there's this really interesting line where marketing ends and sales begins and how you use the straight line system, the sales side of the equation, to dramatically enhance the effectiveness of any marketing program. And conversely, how a sales system like this straight line is almost dependent on having a marketing program that actually brings in the qualified leads. So marketing essentially serves as almost like the fuel. It brings in the raw materials that salespeople need to close. Those raw materials are leads. People come into your pipeline from your marketing programs, we then close them using the straight line. So when you combine those two together, kick-ass marketing program, killer sales force, that's how companies truly grow and get the CEOs and the shareholders and the employees rich, bottom line.

Now, granted, it's a lot going on right now, right? It's a tough time out there for many people. I understand that, but not in this world. In the world that Russell and I live in right now, there's opportunity everywhere. Engagement is growing massively. Fortunes are being made every single day. People that used to be in the traditional economy have now moved to this side of the economy online selling, online marketing. And what's happening is people that were barely scraping by in the pre-COVID world working in traditional jobs, are now making tons of money in the world of ClickFunnels and the straight line. So I want to go right now, we get a quick word from our sponsor, one of our amazing sponsors, by the way, quick word from them. Then we'll get right into this interview with Russell Brunson and I, and you're going to be really, really glad you watched this one.

Because it is just chock-full of step by step one, step two, step three, how you start, and most importantly, how you scale. All right? So here we are, the man, the myth, and truly the legend, a living legend at that, Russell Brunson. Russell, how are you buddy?

I'm doing amazing, man. Thanks for having me.

Good. All right. So you are an enigma. To me you really are because you are what I call the real deal. There's not many real deals out there, but for whatever reason, I want to start at the beginning. Somehow you've really managed to not just be in the online world. You've built a massive business, like a real business with large operations and employing tons of people. And one thing I could say, even my own future son-in-law is because he won't come to me for advice. He's like, "Oh, I'm getting into ClickFunnels." It's almost like it's a buzzword. You're the Google of the funnel world. You know what I'm trying to say? It's like ClickFunnels has become more than just ClickFunnels. It's like when you talk about funnels-

First time someone told me I need to build a click funnel, I was like, we've become the term. That's insane. We weren't even planning on that. It's so cool.

So tell me, how did that start? I usually don't do go back to the beginning, but I'm very intrigued when you see something like this that becomes, it's like you've captured almost the zeitgeist at the moment. It's more than just a company. It's a feeling, it's a way of life. And first of all, was it intended? Was there ever like a vision at the beginning like we want to change the way people can go out there, young people or old people too, and redefine their lives and secure their futures financially. And we believe we could be a big part. Was it like that or was it just No, was it sort of one foot in front of the other? Holy crap. Wait a second, we got something awesome. Which one was it?

I'd say it's kind of half-and-half. The first half was when I first found out about these things. We didn't call them funnels back then, but just the concept of everyone make these big e-commerce stores a thousand products. And we tried that and never had success with it and we shipped it to sell a product. Then you even upsell and a down sell taking someone through a very strategic sales process. That's what for me blew... The first time I made money online was creating one of those and blew up. And then I became obsessed with it. I was like, what else could I do this with? And the next five or six years I launched 20 different companies, just little companies here and there selling supplements and selling info products and selling just all sorts of things. And I started geeking out about just the concept of funnels.

And it was funny because I started talking to people about it and back then nobody seemed to care or their eyes just glazed over, okay. But I was so excited. I kept talking and kept talking and kept talking about it. And it wasn't until I found my partner, Todd, he's the brains that actually built the software. He was building these funnels for me over and over and over again. And he honestly got to the point where he's just like, man, all these funnels are similar, but why do I have to keep doing these? He's like, I need build software to make this process really easy so you don't have to keep asking me to change things 500 times a day. And so we built that and I remember that's when things took off for us. People could understand conceptually what I was talking about, but it wasn't until they had ClickFunnels the tool where it's like, "Oh, I can actually do this thing that Russell keeps talking about. And it's really simple."

And it was funny because about the time we launched ClickFunnels, one of my friends invited me to a network marketing thing. I'd never been to one before. He's like, "You just have to see this. Just come and experience this." I remember being in this room with 5,000 people and they're all going crazy and they're so excited. And I watched people get on stage and it's funny because on stage they're not teaching anything. They're just people off-stage telling their stories and crying. And I was so confused, I don't understand this. And my buddy looked over to me, he's like, "Do you notice what they've done?" I was like, "No, I have no idea." And he goes, "They didn't just sell a product. He's like, they created a movement." I remember we said that I had this, oh my gosh, I don't want to just sell a software product.

That's not that cool. How do I create something bigger? And so I started geeking out on that. How do movements get started? How are cults built? How are religious movements? I started looking at all those kinds of things and then trying to weave and incorporate those things into our messaging As ClickFunnels was growing and now six years later, you look at this funnel hacker, our people call themselves funnel hackers. We have people have it tattooed on their arms and it's a culture, it's an identity shift that people have that they become a funnel hacker. And so I don't think it was super strategic, but as I started figuring it out, then we've leaned into that and it's been really cool to see what's happened over the last few years.

How would you define ClickFunnels? If I say, hey, what exactly is ClickFunnels? How would you describe it?

It's funny. That's literally the hardest thing for me, so hard to explain. I don't have a phrase of like, oh, a funnel is or whatever. So the way I try to explain it in a shorter period of time is I tell people, and obviously you are the best at sales. I've gone through, it's funny, I don't know if I can tell you this ahead of time, but I read your books five years before the movie came out. I went through straight line when it first came out. The same way you take someone through a sales process and it's not just like we're just shooting and hoping to close the deal. There's a strategic place you're taking someone through.

That's what sales funnel is. Strategically thinking through. The customer comes in from the ad to the landing page, the next page, what's the experience you take them through to increase the likelihood of selling something on each step in the funnel? And so it's a very strategic step-by-step sales, it's like what's the sales process you take somebody through? That's what a funnel is. And ClickFunnels makes it simple to customize and edit and test every single vert like variation that until you have it perfect. And that's what it does.

Do you think that from a pure technology standpoint, that ClickFunnels is head and shoulders above everything else out there? Or is it that you know what, the technology is as good as anything else out there, but it's the movement around ClickFunnels that creates this ancillary benefit because it motivates people and gets them to actually use the product. In other words, so there might be a lot of other companies that have a similar product, but the difference is that because of the movement that surrounds ClickFunnels, people come into it and they get inspired, they feel supported, they look around and see what's possible. So they end up taking action with ClickFunnels while they probably might not have taken action using a similar products. You think that's it? Or is it just a superior technology play as well, or a combination?

Good question. I think the software is amazing, and my partner, Todd, and our team that's built it's amazing. But it's been interesting watching since we launched ClickFunnels. I think I lost track at 30 something, 30 something people that came out with the next ClickFunnels killer. And at first I'd be all panic. I'm like, huh. And I go to their page and their page, they're talking about our page loads 0.0% faster than ClickFunnels. I'm like, oh, okay. Or "Oh, we do this one feature that they don't do," or "Oh, ours is cheaper," or they always have these things, but you're right, there was no soul to, it was just like, okay, we're going to feature this or whatever. And I remember I had this conversation early on with one of my people with the higher end coaching program, and he says, man, he's like, every week we see the next ClickFunnels killer come out.

And he's like, I'm on Facebook and I'm swiping through and he's like, I see the ad. He said, I stopped just long enough to look at it and be like, ha, I would never go with you because I trust Russell. He's the one who showed me the stuff. And that keeps swiping. And I feel like there's so much that, and there's always people that are going to price shop and thrift shop and the little things like that, but I think the reason why we're heads and shoulders bigger and growing faster than any of the other ones is just because of what you said, because of the movement. Because people understand here's the tool, but this is a community and training and education and all the things that make success with the tool.

Yeah. It's funny because I got a call about maybe two weeks ago from a very smart guy who has no clue about this world. He's just a very successful businessman in a completely different industry, but he's probably worth close to a billion dollars. He goes, hey, a friend of mine in Israel, very sharp guy, says he's got a product that just blows away. ClickFunnels is going to put them out of business. I said, whoa, stop. I said, let me just explain. I said, the ship has sailed. I said, it's beyond the point, it's a commodity. ClickFunnels are almost commoditized, almost like it's a standard, it's nothing. It's not a slightly superior technology, a slight increase in the click whatever rate of a page load.

It is beyond that at this point because there's so many other things, there's so many nuances and also emotional ties to it that it's like I just don't, I think it's past that point. And again, I wasn't kidding when I said it's almost like the Google of funnels that you almost think about synonymous with click files. Was there a certain point when you realized that had happened and did that make you act differently the way you treated? Did you ever go into more of a, okay, wow, we're on top, I now got to play defense more than offense, or has it not really altered the way you go about doing business?

Some of it's strategic and some it's just the nature of the beast, right? So software, when we first launched ClickFunnels, my favorite part, I had two partners, they were the coders. And so they were just all day long coming. They see someone have a cool idea for feature, they clone of boomers and click phones. We come up with ideas and we were just innovating and developing. It was as fast as we could and it was really fun. So much energy and excitement around that every day is like, here's a new feature we launched today, here's a new feature and there's so much stuff. And that caused a lot of this initial momentum and surge. And I wish that we could still do that because I feel like that's what people love is the new thing. And they excited. The hard thing is now we've got 120,000 active members on the platform and every little tweak you make, it's so stressful because like, oh, if we edit this little thing over here, you have no idea what it's going to do over here.

And so every time they edit a line of code, they got to do 8 million tests on every single thing and how it racks this and this. And so it slowed down our process from creating new things and stuff, which I hate. So for me, it's like we can't develop as fast on the software side. So for me it's like how can we keep developing? And so it was less of the new software feature, but for us, it was for me, now it's more of the education side. Where are they stuck? What do they need? And here's the funnel for this kind of situation. We do a big training, a big launch around that, and they're like, oh my gosh, I didn't know I could use a funnel for that.

And then we get a huge new segment of the market, it comes in, who starts using it, and they're like, oh, here's this other strategy and we bring it. We do trainings and stuff like that. So we used to iterate on features to get people excited and get them in. Now it's more iterating on the strategies and the concepts and how people can apply them and then giving them, here's the tool that makes it simple, makes it possible for them.

Got it. What do you think is the smartest move that you've made as the owner or as one of the founders of ClickFunnels? Has there been some sort of either a strategic alliance, some sort of marketing shift? What do you think, if it was just one, what would that be? Not the secret to your success, but what was that one move that really allowed you to break out?

I think the biggest thing that created the community and created stickiness within it is so you would do an annual event. And we didn't do the first year or the second year, but before our third big annual event, I remember we were preparing for it and getting speakers and all the stuff you do for an event. And I remember I saw an ad that it was a professional singer or whatever, and they're sitting in the wall and on the wall behind the head always Grammy or Emmy, whatever the records are that the music industry gives. And I was like, "Oh, it's so cool. If you're a musician, you get these cool trophies." And I'm like, "What do entrepreneurs get?" We get nothing. And I remember being frustrated. I was like, we should create our own award. And then we started playing with it and what could the award be?

And I remember I had bought this domain named a long time ago called the Two Comma Club, two commas of a million dollars. And I was like, I own the domain, we own the branding and all stuff. I was like, we should make an award called the Two Comma Club. And then it was like, so we started freaking out. I remember I asked Dave one, my partners, I was like, how many people inside ClickFunnels that made at least a million dollars inside of a funnel? I thought maybe a dozen or so. And he pulled the stats, came back, he said, as of today we have 79. I was like, oh my gosh, this is crazy. So we're calling Nashville? Where do you guys get these records at? And we went and we found the company that customized the records and put commas in. We built this trophy and we didn't tell anybody this thing was happening until that event.

And we invited everyone who had qualified for club and said, hey, come to this event. We have something really cool for you. And I tell you what it is. And I remember day three of the event right after lunch, I told everyone the story about the Two Comma Club. And I feel like for every industry, there's the Emmy's, the Grammy's, the Oscars, everything. But entrepreneurs don't get anything. There's nothing that we can celebrate our success with. We make a bunch of money and we try to celebrate and people think we're prideful and it's like we're killing ourselves to try to change the world. How do we celebrate that? And so I was like, because of that, we want to create this award called the Two Comma Club Award. And we had everyone line up who had won one. They came on stage, I got a picture with them holding the award, and they all went down and I did not realize what that would create.

So those 79 people got the picture with me. And then all those guys, those pictures became their ads, became their Facebook wall, everything. And everyone's like, what's that? What's it's like, oh, that's the Two Comma Club award. That's what entrepreneurs win inside of ClickFunnels when you make a million dollars in a funnel. And it started shifting people where people, even if they were on other software platforms, they're like, they ditch them. Came to ours. I want that award. I want to be part of that. I want to get on stage, I want to get a picture. I want to be able to celebrate. And so people started coming and I think year one we had 79 year two we had 350. It was almost like one person a day started hitting two Comma Club. And then year three we had people passing, people coming on stage, winning five or six awards.

They're trying to hold them all. And so then we made a new award called Two Comic Club X, which is for 10 million. And then we've had almost a hundred people have won that now. And this last year we launched a comic club C, which is for a hundred million. And we had a dozen people that have won that now. And I think what's cool is there's a quote from, I think it's Napoleon Bonaparte or something like that, he said, talking about in wars, it's amazing what a soldier will do for a scrap of ribbon. And I feel like it was that same thing of man, as entrepreneurs, we want to serve, we want to give it, there's something about that recognition we just don't get. And now this has become the same. We had a whole documentary called the Two Comma Club. Now it's like it's become this thing.

And that's a big reason why people come to us and they publish with us and they do all their products like, I want to win that award. I want to get on stage, I want to be able to show my family this is what I accomplished, this is what I'm doing, this is why it's so important. And it continues to get people to come in and it gets them to stick with our platform. Even when they're at a hundred million dollars in sales, they could easily custom code these things and hire big teams to do stuff. They still do our platform because they want to get the recognition. They want to be able to show what they're doing. I think of all the things that was this thing that just caused this internal, you talked about this feeling that's different. That's I own a software product. It's like I want to be part of that. I want to be on stage, I want to get my award.

And what would be, I think the worst decision you made with ClickFunnels, something that you obviously overcome it, but you had to pivot away from it. Has there been any things that you've done that you just said, "Oh my God, why did I do that?"

Yeah, there's so many of those times where, man, if we could go back and I remember it was after we were growing and we got ClickFunnels a certain spot, and at the time it was still like Todd and Dillon, our two partners who were programming everything and we started hiding, they need help. It was Christmas morning, they're coding things, make sure things aren't crashing. And so we started building a team and as we started building a team, and we'd never done it before, we're a bus bunch of hustler entrepreneurs who never had done anything. We've got 400 employees now, click phones. Back then we'd never had employees. We'd never managed people. We didn't know what to do or how to do it. So we're hiring these people and the more they charged us, the more we assume the better they were. So we built this huge programming team and the first thing, and now that I've done software now for long enough, I realize this is what all programmers want.

They look at something like, oh, I can do it better. And so this team that we've hired came back to us, we want to redo, click from ground up. We do what we can do this and all these things. And they totally sold us on division of we could do. So we're freaking out. So we spent, I think it was year, an entire year, them trying to build this new version, which meant nobody was fixing the software, developing. It was like everyone's here, we're building it, building it, and a year of time. And then cash out way was probably two or 3 million of cash for payroll, not counting the opportunity costs as if we wouldn't focusing here. I remember a year into they did the first demo of the software and they were demoing it and I feel bad, it was on a Zoom call this and the entire programming team was there and I messaged and Todd my partner first time he'd really seen it as well.

I messaged him. One of our competitors initially was called Lead Pages, and I messaged him, I was like, this is the worst thing I've ever seen. I felt like we hired some copy page developers and this turned out worse than Lead Page and it popped up on his screen on Zoom where everybody saw it. I'm texting him, turn off your screen. And it was the worst thing. Anyway, we ended up having to literally lay off that entire team. They were so focused on this and cut it all and start back over and it just slowed down a lot of the progress and insane amounts of money in time.

What was it about it? Was it just the aesthetics, the look of the feel of it? Or was it slow? Was it buggy? What was it about it? We just didn't have that same snap. I guess I look at ClickFunnels and if there's something that would pop into my mind, it would be, it's almost like the way Facebook improved on what MySpace did. They made it very clean and crisp and uniform. So in other words, you knew what to expect when you went on it and they turned what you would think would be a negative, which would mean lack of options almost into a positive because it gave you this experience that just felt right versus almost when everything could be changed. It's like you don't even know what you're looking at. The advantage of, I think a ClickFunnels page is a positive is that when you go through a funnel page, it's intuitive. You basically know what you should do. As soon as you see it, you feel like you're in the right place. So was it something like that where it lost that feeling or it just didn't work?

So Todd, my partner, he's a genius and he's a marketing guy and a developer. So as he was building initially, he always says, I build really opinionated software. I build it to do exactly what I want. I don't make it so that anybody can do anything. Like he said, it's like this is what it does and this is the reason why we do it. And there's the logic.

Steve Jobs is like that too. Exactly. He said they don't know what they want, that we tell them basically.

Yes, a 100%. Todd's like he used to say it all the time. And so because of that, he built what he wanted. ClickFunnels was Todd's Dream of what he wanted it to be, and it was amazing. And the other guys came in and they started, we're going to call customers and we're going to survey them and like, oh, just this whole thing. And they're surveying people. You don't even know what they want. And they're come back and they built this thing and it's just like the whole thing was wrong. Literally. I always just highlighted and deleted the entire thing, fired everyone just start over because it was just, it wasn't even salvageable. It wasn't even something we could build on.

So the ClickFunnels today, is it the original platform or was it ever redone from the ground up at some point?

It is the original platform. There's been tons of stuff. Some of the things we didn't know about, again, at scale, we built Software, Todd built it and we launched it. He didn't add any feature, he just launch it and stuff like that. We didn't realize at scale that the way that corporate software companies work is they write lines of code or tests around every line of code. So when this new code goes live, they click a button that says, okay, when this goes live, let's test it. Every situation we could possibly dream of to see if it collapses anything. And so we didn't know that when we first got started. So, Todd would upload this new feature and half the app would go down like, "Oh, fix it, reverse it." And so we've had amazing team come through written tests, every line of code inside ClickFunnels and built a platform more stable. And so there's been a ton of work on it for the last five years, but it's still based on the same, the original code that Todd built back in the day.

One of the things that bothers me about the perception around ClickFunnels sometimes is that I feel like people get caught in the trap. They feel like, oh, I'm just going to do ClickFunnels for a living. I don't think that's possible. And I think ClickFunnels is an incredibly powerful tool. It's a very powerful tool in the toolbox of an entrepreneur. And what I see sometimes someone will almost use ClickFunnels as an excuse to like, oh, I'm getting into ClickFunnels. I'm going to be in the ClickFunnels world or something. And do you find that? Is there some group of people out there that they'll go into it and they'll learn everything about ClickFunnels, but at the end of the day, the magic of ClickFunnels to me at least is that there's nothing to learn.

You could just take action with it and test things so quickly, so cheaply, and it allows you to almost be this incredibly nimble entrepreneur versus trying to almost go out there and perfect it and I'm going to make the perfect funnel versus like, well, there probably is no perfect funnel. It could always be improved on, but most importantly, I'm going to take action and try something with ClickFunnels. If it doesn't work, I lost an hour of my time if that much and I could try again. So what do you think about that aspect of people getting caught up in trying to be too good at it?

As you're saying that, I was just thinking about your world where you came from, where it's like ClickFunnels is the phone, right? It's a tool that does the thing and it converts a sale, but it's the sales guy who knows the script and can do the right tonality and the right. That's what sells something, right? So I think I get at times, I built a funnel, Russell, it didn't work. It's like, yeah, technically the page structure is right, but you suck at selling. You got to figure out some lands on the page. How do you get them to give you your email address and the next page? How do you convince them to give you their credit card? ClickFunnels is the tool that builds a framework, but then you have to weave your art and your selling ability into the funnel.

If you look at what a funnel is, it's just literally, it's replacing you. As a salesperson, I could go to every single person on the street and sell my book over and over and over again, or I can get a funnel where it's me selling my book perfectly flawlessly. I know the script, I perfected it, and then I just put people through it and they go through this funnel and it sells them over and over.

It's a one-sided sale basically, where you're anticipating every objection and answering them with the funnel. It's no different than a regular sale, but it's a one-sided sale where you're imagining everything they could be thinking, feeling, objecting to, and somehow answering it as you move through the funnel. And that's why you have multiple calls to actions and why you go down to the page. And when I explain marketing, I'm like, guys, it's exactly like a straight-line sale every time there's a buy here and then it keeps going. That's what I call a loop in the world of selling where you would ask for the order, they don't buy it and you keep talking. You don't say, oh, thanks, see you, they didn't buy. See you later. The sale's over. So they're very much the same. What do you think there are certain products that you see when you look at a product, can you immediately say, that's a winner that's perfect for ClickFunnels? Is there something you say, ah, just not right?

Yeah, for sure. Maybe not as right this position, not right. You know what I mean? I think with anything sold online, especially through funnels, you're relying on people, people you have their attention for second, right? In my books, I talk about this concept called hook story offer. I always vision my customers sitting on the phone, sitting on the couch or whatever. They're scrolling through and it's like, can your product capture their tension or can you or the message or something grab their attention long enough? You can tell them the story. And so sometimes the products harks is like, ah, it's not exciting or whatever. Or the person who's selling it isn't able to grab someone's attention off the news just long enough they can tell them the story about why they should care about this product and why they should buy it. But I think it's either the product's got to be something that's sexy, grab their attention or the person selling, it's got to be so passionate they can do what they need to do to grab someone's attention.

You know what I mean? But for the most part, it's crazy. We have people selling, I mean everything you can dream of. There's a guy selling Bigfoot hunting trips on ClickFunnels and he's killing it. And I was like, people know there's no Bigfoot, right? But the guy's excited, he's passionate about Bigfoot, he's talking about these expeditions. You give him money, you'll go, you hike up the mountains with them, you try to find Bigfoot and people are signing up all day long for that. So it's less of the product and I think the excitement of the person selling it and their ability to grab your attention and inspire you to get the thing.

I'm guessing if you're anything like me, the thing you love most is hearing the success stories of people that used ClickFunnels. It's almost like a drug. If there's a drug I'm addicted to nowadays, it's the people telling me, I used your system and it changed my life and I lifted me up out of poverty. Can you tell me, give me a story that you think is particularly moving and is also representative of someone that people could connect with someone that use ClickFunnels and Just that was not successful for and how they use that and what their life is like now?

Yeah, I can get my roll decks out. There's so many cool ones. One of my favorites, just because they got started right at the very beginning of ClickFunnels, it's been fun watching their journeys. It's kind of followed the ClickFunnels journey, but they were a young couple, Brandon and Caitlin Poland, they'd just gotten married. They were in a network marketing thing that collapsed, and so they were just like, and they literally sent me a video on my phone. I still have it. They're like, "Russell, we just saw your webinar, man. We're going to be your biggest ClickFunnel success story." And they sent this video to me and you get those sometimes, okay, well good luck. And they went through the training and they created their very first funnel, and Caitlin, she had lost a ton of weight and I think she lost 50 or 60 pounds and won some titles, some fitness awards and stuff like that.

So she wanted to share that message with other women. And so they created the very first thing, this little app that they had created, and they put it online and they launched it, I think the very first little launch to their social media following, which wasn't big at the time. They made like $20,000, which that was their thing. And they got so excited and they kept going in and kept reinvesting in themselves and doing the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. And I actually was talking to Brandon yesterday, last month, they just passed their first $6 million month, and that's how much they've grown the last four or five years. And now they've helped, I think on their email list, they have two and a half million women who are on the email list, have all come through a funnel who've given their email address and they're there.

They have over 150,000 customers who've gone through the weight loss program. And it's amazing because I'm in there. I think I'm the only guy in the Lady Boss Weight Loss Facebook groups because I want to sneak in there and watch it. But you see hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of women posting their before and after pictures before and after pictures crying, thanking Caitlin so much, you changed my life. And it's funny because then Caitlin messaged me, she's like, you realize that the only reason those people found us is because of funnels, because of what you showed us. That's how they got in this group, and it's just really cool. And that's one person, right? There's so many cool stories. Another one, there's a lady named Pamela, and she's a doctor, and when she was in medical school, she had two or three of the doctors she was with commit suicide and she was just devastated by it.

And so she's transitioned her life to help doctors to not commit suicide. She used funnels to get this message out. She saved thousands of doctors who were on the brink of committing suicide. I didn't know this at the time, doctors have the highest suicide rate of any profession. She's used funnels now to get this message out and save doctors' lives. It's just like how many people the doctors saved then how many lives are they able to save because of it and it's, Pamela got a funnel, got her message out, and anyway, but I'm the same way as Gina. It's like a drug. We have a daily meeting every morning in our company. Every morning we share a success story and it's just like it ties our whole company together. Hearing what we do matters, and it's important and it gets everyone excited about the mission.

What percentage of your market is overseas versus the United States?

Oh, I don't have the number on the top of my head. I'd say it's probably, my gut would say probably 60 to 70% of US, and the other 30 to 40% overseas. It's growing overseas really rapidly. Now, the next phase for us is getting, we have a lot of overseas companies using it, but we don't have official presences in those areas. And some countries you have to have people actually there. So that's the next phase for us is figuring out where do we need to have office locations that support staff who can do other languages. So it's growing rapidly despite the fact that we haven't done anything to, we don't have anyone who speaks other languages on support teams and things like that, but it's still growing really rapidly.

How important of your personal relationships within the self-development community been for the growth of Foot Falls? I know you do a lot of joint ventures with people that have large followings. Do you believe in that model of this idea that, I remember early on back in 2010, there was a group of guys, they called themselves like The Syndicate, and they were doing a lot of you remember that, right? A lot of cross mailings and promotions and they had done that and then that kind of, I think faded away, broke up. And then is there something though, do you think that it's very important for someone that wants to grow their business to do that, to actually bring in outsiders and do those joint ventures or affiliate deals as you would say in your world?

Yeah, I'm a big believer in it, especially when you're beginning. It's the fastest way to grow something. It was a year or two of ClickFunnels and I was like, how do we get more adoption? So that's when all the people I've met in the Tony Robbins and the people I call them up like, hey, can I build a funnel for you? I'll do it for free. I'm like, normally we charge whatever. I'll do it all for free for you. I'll run the thing. And we started building funnels for all these successful people. So they started using it and then people saw, oh, Tony Robbins is using ClickFunnels, and Neil Strauss is using ClickFunnels and Dave Asprey and all these different people who I looked up to in different markets. And so we started building their funnels for them. People started seeing it, and that was big.

Then as far as getting affiliates to mail, I think it's a really good short-term strategy, not it's a good long-term nowadays, the majority of what we do is paid ads, but the beginning paid ads are expensive. It's hardware. The joint venture stuff was free. The first year of ClickFunnels basically was primarily grown through JV webinars. I was doing webinars at least two or three times a week, sometimes two or three times a day to people's email list, and it didn't cost me ad money. We split the money fifty-fifty with the affiliate, but I got the initial, probably the first 10,000 members or so of ClickFunnels came off of other people's list for sure, and then from there took that cash and we could reinvest into ads and everything else that helped scale it from there.

How do you think ClickFunnels has fared in the whole COVID-19? Has it been a positive for you as a company in the sense, hate to say a positive because people died, but has it been like I could see how ClickFunnels would be a very elegant solution to someone that lost their job and that's looking for a new way to make money because it would seem that the online delivery world and a ClickFunnels page and connected to a Shopify store, something like that might be a very powerful combination. Have you seen an uptick in your business in response to COVID?

Yeah, we've seen on two sides. One is new customer acquisition has dramatically, which has been fantastic. Number two, what's interesting is pre-COVID, on an average day, we had about 15,000 people would actually log in the software and they're doing stuff and building things and looking at stats. During COVID, it's been like over 35,000 people a day are logging into software. So people are more, I think they're less distracted and they're getting in and actually doing it and getting their hands dirty. People who for so long are signed up like, oh, I'm going to do it this weekend or next week. It's like now they have the time to actually do it. And so it's been really good for us as a company overall.

And I think it's interesting just because the transition. I think all these offline companies, my friends who ran gyms, my friends who you have local stores, they all understand now how fragile their companies are and how they're transitioning and doing the online version and they're shipping things online. And I think it's been a good transition and it's been grateful we've been there to catch people and help transition. Let me show you how this could actually work and how it could work for your type of business.

Have you ever thought about either selling the company or going public or have you taken any outside capital at all?

So we've never taken outside capital. In fact, my next book I'm writing is going to be called Bootstrapped. It's going to be the ClickFunnel story, how we bootstrapped it without any capital, so haven't to this day. We have entertained a couple of ideas. What would it look like if we went public and parts that scare me to death. But parts are really exciting and we've looked at things, but nothing... As of right now we're having a good time and we're profitable. I can do whatever I want. There's no board or people telling me, and I really enjoy that. So I think as of now, we're happy. I don't think we'd be against it if it served the customers, because we've talked about this internally, our partnership, I don't need more money, we don't need more things.

But it was like, man, if we went and did something and now we could hire a team. I was looking at just Stripe for example. Stripe, which processes most of the people's payment. It's a simple software is one thing. They have a thousand developers on staff, a thousand. ClickFunnels we've got 50 developers like, hey man, if we could do something where we could bring in a thousand developers to take ClickFunnels, what's going to take us 10 years to do it in a year? I think I would be interested in some of that potentially, but only if it's the best thing for the customers. Because for me, my life's not going to shift either way at this point because you know how it is.

Yeah, I do. Where do you see ClickFunnels going from here? Is there a plan? Is it more of the same there some shift that you see that you say, you know what, we think that in the next few years the industry as a whole shift, we want to shift with it? Do you do that? Do you have this sort of long-term vision where you're making pivots or no? Is it more reactive?

No. So things have been going through my mind. I recently read the book Crossing The Chasm for the first time. I tried a couple of times in the past. It's a heavy read. But I finally got it and as I'm the book, I'm looking at where we are in the cycle and I feel like we're literally at the chasm and it's to jump over. And I think for us to get to from going from a hundred thousand members to a million members beyond, we have to shift a lot of what we do fundamentally, right? Now, ClickFunnels as simple as it is, it's still a tool that does a lot of things. I think that we try to cross the chasm to all the businesses, all the mom and pops down the street. It has to be simpler, it has to be easier, it has to be. And so I feel like for us to get to the next tier, to go from a hundred thousand to a million members, the software needs a deep, I don't know if it's redesign or just a fundamental shift.

In what sense? In what sense, specifically in what way?

I think the early adopters in something people like me or you or whoever geeking out, we will spend the time to figure out the strategy and the things like that because it's worth it to us. We understand if we make those tweaks, it's going to be worth blah. But someone who runs a restaurant down the street, they're not going to sit here and read a book and understand the strategy and figure out they're in a restaurant. They just want a funnel that does restaurants. They want to click a button and boom, the restaurant funnel pops up, they plug in their menu items and they can rock and roll. So it's a simplification of if we really want to get to the next phase, it's got to be less here you can customize it to whatever you want. It's got to be like, here's how this plug and play, this is going to work for your business, your industry.

So it's a big gap. That scares me honestly. There's that, and I think the other big growth thing for us is internationalization, getting actually in other countries as opposed to just bleeding into countries. But having presences and having support teams and having all those things, it's tough. We have some countries' people in where 97 bucks a month that we charge is tons of insane amounts of money, but they can't afford that. But that's the only way you can buy it right now where it's like, hey, in these countries we could do it differently or things like that.
And the other big players, right now we're working with local, some governments where they're looking at buying 50 or a hundred thousand accounts to give to their entire student body and things like that. And we never actually closed a deal like that, but we got one or two that are close that if we can figure that out, all of sudden we're in all these school systems. That gets me excited because there's so much developing that at that level. When they get to our level, that's the tool they use, they understand it. So there's a lot of fun things like that we're working with.

Do you think that ClickFunnels should be taught in college or in high school?

A 100%. It's crazy. So I've got my books that I sell, we've got our One Funnel Away Challenge, and we just had a college before COVID. They took the entire entrepreneurial section of their college and took them through the One Funnel Away Challenge and the teachers afterwards were freaking out. They're like, this is insane. We've been reading stuff from textbooks and trying to reteach it and now here it's like we're learning in real time what's actually working. They're seeing real case studies and people are actually able to do it. And I definitely think for me personally, I don't know if ClickFunnels as a company, but me as a publisher of content, I really want to figure out that next step. I don't understand it well enough to know, but I would love to get our concepts and into the entrepreneur schools and the business schools.

Because I think right now, I mean, when I got my degree, at least the stuff we're learning were companies in the 1800s and how they did their profit and loss statements, all this stuff that's just like how is this relevant to anything that's happening right now? The pulse of this market is like, it's moving so quickly that anyway, so I'm hoping. So I think it'd be so much more useful. And I think just as a whole watching what's going to happen with school system post-COVID, I think that's going to open up a lot more opportunities for stuff like this to be put into colleges.

What's the culture like at ClickFunnels? The actual corporate, not your outward to all the customers, but inside the business, how would you describe your culture?

I love our people. I would say not all the... I wouldn't say this is true for the developers. Developers almost have their own culture, but for the support and the marketing and stuff like that, most of the people who work for our team are people who are ClickFunnels users first and they use the platform, they loved it, but for some reason they didn't have a business yet. They didn't have an idea. They're still trying to figure it out, but it's like they love ClickFunnels and the message, they get a job and they workforce and they love the fact that I get be around this at nighttime. I can work on my own funnels and they feel like they're part of it. So such a big percentage of our staff are customers before they ever were members, which is really cool. So because of that, it's fun because I do a podcast and my entire 400 people team are like, "I watched your podcast. It was so cool."

They're answering to support tickets is like, "Oh, you should go watch this YouTube video Russell did over here. He talked about this thing specific..." And it's cool because our people, our team were our customers at one point and most of them are still actively using and actively building funnels. A lot of them have launched businesses on while they worked at ClickFunnels, left and grown them. And we support that. We encourage it. I always tell people our mission at ClickFunnels isn't to have people build funnels. Our mission is to help entrepreneurs to grow their companies. And so whatever that means, maybe it's using funnels, maybe it's doing an event, maybe it's whatever, it doesn't matter. And if someone in our team starts a business and goes and blows it up. We are so excited for them. And so I think that's a big part of it.

What do you think about the State of the Union right now? You're in Idaho, right? And I think Idaho skews a bit more conservative, but I think-

I think we're the most conservative state union based on voting.

And do you feel like, listen to me, I'll be honest with you. I look at the country right now and I'm deeply disturbed at what I see and I think I can trace back a lot of this to things were happening over the last 20 or 30 years in the educational institutions. But it just seems like at this point now there's a complete absence of truth in the media. They just lie. I can't even believe what I hear and see. What are your thoughts on that whole thing right now? What's going on with the country and the violence and the streets? And I'm sure you're very far removed in Idaho, but what are your own thoughts on that?

Man, it's scary and I've tried, I don't know, I think all of us have our biases, but I tried it as hard as I can to look at both sides and understand both sides. It's interesting. I feel like the Republican side, they want less government, they want more freedoms, they want the ability to be producers. I'm a big believer in that, right? I just finished reading Atlas Shrugged and I was just like, "Yes, this is what we need. The government regulations make it harder and harder for someone like me or you or whoever's producing stuff makes it harder for us to want to have a purpose in producing." But then you look at the other side, it's like they want love and they want peace and want. I relate to that as well. So it is tough, but I think social media has given everybody such a loud voice that I remember this scene four years ago, how beat up everyone got.

I tried to post either direction because no matter what you say, it destroys relationships, it destroys families, destroys businesses, and it's kind of a thing that, I don't know, there's the positives of social media. We all have our own voice. The negatives is that we all have our own voice. And I don't know, it's definitely scary times and I wish that I believed it was going to be done after the elections, but I think whatever happens is going to bleed over for a while. And I don't know that. I think all of us who are... I have tell people, I feel like entrepreneurs, the people that are going to change the world, I think the more tools we can give entrepreneurs and put things in their hands so they can give these messages out and be the change.

I think that's really the only thing, I don't know, the only hope I really feel. I don't feel like it's going to happen from the government side. I know it's not happen from the media side. It's going to happen from people who create products and services they believe in who create missions and movements. I feel like that's going to be the thing that causes the change that actually matters. Everything else is just, I don't know, it's just a mess.

What do you think an entrepreneur should do? I mean, should you say, you know what. I have to accept the things I cannot change charge. I'll make as much money as I possibly can to protect my family and those I love and to help the causes I believe in. Do you think it should be like, okay, the world is not spiraling out of control, so let me just put my head down and make money? Is that a strategy that you think is a smart way to look at things? If you're just a success oriented person, you think just to try to block it out? Or should you think that's not being a good citizen, you should try to have your voice heard too. What do you think? Good question.

Good question. I had a friend, Ryan Moran, he said something one time that was so profound to me. He said that an entrepreneur is somebody who sees the problem that's not their own and decides to take responsibility for it. So it's like, you see this problem, it's not my problem. And most of the world's like, oh, it's not my problem. I'm going to back away from it. And entrepreneurs, that's a problem I'm going to solve. Caitlin was like, I'm going to have figure out how to help these women lose weight. Pamela Weibel was like, I'm going to help doctors not commit suicide. That's not her responsibility, but she took it and she ran with it. And I feel like us entrepreneurs, that is what it's, and the byproduct of us being entrepreneurs and creating is cash. And so if the question is like, should we go out to make a ton of money?

Yes, because if you're doing that making a ton of money, it means you found a problem that's not yours. You're going to take responsibility for it and you're going to try to change that thing. And if you do it in the right way, cash will come to you. And the more money you make, the more impact you're having. And so I think it's a great way to keep score. I know that it's not probably popular in today's world as much to say it, but I a hundred percent believe that right now for financial security for yourself and for your families. But second off, it's just, it's a byproduct showing that you are actually taking a group of people and serving them at a level that's changing their lives if you're getting the money from it, as long as you're doing it ethically, obviously.

What do you think the best way for a young or old person that's young meaning in their career online, what's the best way, the most effective way to enter the world of ClickFunnels? What would you do first? Let's say you say, you know what, I like this. I'm intrigued by it. I'm going to get into this. I want to capitalize on this movement. What's step one?

Yeah, I think step one for people is you have to have the education. If I'm doing sales, I picking on a phone and start dialing day one, I'm going to have a script and have some basics. I think it's going through the train to understand it. And then before I ever gambled everything on my own business idea, I would say, I want to prove this actually works. I would find somebody who already has, because starting a business, there's so many things like what's the product? How are we going to sell it? Who's going to do the counting? Who's paying taxes? There's a billion things to make a business work. So I would try to take away as many of those things as possible to work in a vacuum of like, I'm going to try to figure this thing out. So I find someone who already had a business, who already had a product, already had all these things.

So I don't have to worry about that part of it and say, okay, let's say you find someone who's selling, I don't know, here's some fidget spinners. This is their product, right? And they're selling. I'd go to them and say, okay, I'm going to take these fidget spinners. I want to build a funnel just to prove this concept. I'm going to work for free. I'm going to put my own sweat equity. I just want to see if it works. If it does work, I'd love to a commission off all the sales I make for this thing. And then go learn and build a funnel based on all the things you're learning inside the community and all those kinds of things. And then do it and launch it. And then if you make money, awesome. If not, okay, just try another product, try another thing until you figure it out.

But I think that's the biggest thing because I think if you're going to try to figure out all the things to launch a business out of the gate, there's so many things. So it's like, go and learn these strategies and apply for somebody else, work for free. And that's how I would start. In fact, I've got tons of people in our community who've done that, who literally they did that and they've negotiated from like, Hey, if this funnel works, I want half the money from them. The person's like, okay, it's free money for me, who cares? And now they have these multi-million dollar businesses just front ends for other people's big companies. They figured out how it works and they're doing this thing and they don't have any of the over at the payroll, the taxes, they just get a cut off every single sale. And some days I wish I would just do that. That sounds easier than running a big company some days.

What's the best, okay, so now we get into the, unfortunately our time is almost up. I try to keep it to an hour. What's the best book that someone should read about ClickFunnels? What is it your first book, which is book one?

Yeah, I'll grab mine here. I've written three books. These are the three books. The first one's called Dotcom Secrets, second one's called Expert Secrets and Third's called Traffic Secrets. But Dotcom Secrets is the best. It's the strategy of funnels, right? It's like, okay, how do I take whatever business I'm in and how do I translate that to here's the funnel that'll work for me. And that's my first book. I'm super proud of it. The second book, Expert Secrets is more about the selling site. Now I have this funnel. How do I sell inside the funnel? How do I use persuasion and sales skill to get somebody to buy? And then traffic secrets, how do I get more people in? But from a beginning standpoint, everyone always tells me the first book to read. Dotcom Secrets you understand like, "Oh, that's how a funnel worked for me." It'll give you the aha moment, it'll give you the understanding of how these things fit into your world. And that's where I'd start for sure.

And what's the website to go to right now if you want to find out more, it's

Russell: if you want to learn about software. If you have the book, if you go to, we have a free paid shipping handling for the hardbound version of it, and you can get it there. Or it's on Amazon too.

Awesome. Well, I will tell you, you know I have a ClickFunnels account, and I've done really well with ClickFunnels. I love it. And I would strongly suggest to any, I'm not just saying this because Russell's on the show, guys, if you are in this world and you're not using ClickFunnels, you're out of your mind. I made the mistake. Someone gave me some bad advice and said, "Oh, you need to have your own super-duper high speed funnel." Oh my God, what a disaster that was, okay. You know what? And I learned from that. When someone does something well, just leverage off of their software and their mistakes they made. You probably made 8 million mistakes to get to where you are right now, where you have this perfectly seamless interface. So I would really strongly recommend, if you're not using ClickFunnels and you're in that world, you should at least check it out. Take it for a test run, and I think you'll be very happy that you did. So that's my advice. Russell, thanks for coming on, buddy. You're an inspiration. Great guy and a world-class entrepreneur. Thanks guys.

Yeah, thanks for having me, man. It's been so much fun watching you for so long. I read your books five years before the movies ever came out. It's fun to finally have some FaceTime with you. So I appreciate you. Thanks for having me on, and a lot of fun.

My pleasure. Everyone, Russell Brunson. Share this with your friends and don't forget to check out ClickFunnels, and all the episodes of the Wolf's Den.


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