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60 - What We Learned From Our First $100,000,000 In Sales…

60 - What We Learned From Our First $100,000,000 In Sales…

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Episode Recap:

Be a fly on the wall during the ClickFunnels partner meeting and hear the #1 thing each of us learned on our journey so far. On this episode we get to hear from the entire Clickfunnels partnership team. They all share the big takeaways they have received as they have watched the company soar to over a hundred million dollars a year in revenue. Here are some of the cool things you will hear.

-- How Russell learned that having a great partnership and team was better than being on his own.

-- Why Todd thinks it’s important to have someone who is obsessed with the product you’re selling.

-- Why Dave thinks the Dream 100 is so important.

-- How John prioritizes and delegates to make sure everything is done by the appropriate people.

-- Why Brent thinks it’s important to stay small and nimble as long as possible and why you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.

-- And why Ryan believes that constraints are not a limiting factor, but what helps you focus and succeed.

So listen here to find out what the Clickfunnels partnership team members have learned that have lead the company to surpass their goal of a hundred million dollars in revenue a year.

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Best Quote:

...if I ever start a company again, the first thought will not be, what product should I sell? It will be what team should we assemble? And then I would carve out where everyone’s roles were going to be. I’m not going to be CEO next time, so any of you guys can pick that, I’m done after this. But we each pick our different roles and then from there, collectively, be like, “What should we create? What should we build? Who should we serve?” And then we’d go from that. So my biggest takeaway from going from zero to a hundred million dollars is definitely give up control, build your Avenger team ahead of time, because Russell Brunson could have never gotten here. It took these guys and the team we built to create that.


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What’s up everybody, this is Russell Brunson. Welcome to the Marketing Secrets podcast. Today is a special episode, we’re here above the ice right here, there’s hockey happening down there. But we’re in our partner planning meeting, here are all the cofounding partners of Clickfunnels, hanging out and plotting world domination. The theme of today’s event and the theme of this podcast is this: It comes from social network, millions of dollars isn’t cool.

You know what is cool? A billion dollars. Alright everybody, so welcome back. We’re excited to have you guys here. We’ve been here locked up in this awesome office for the last day and a half planning world domination and how to make Clickfunnels better for you as a user, how to get more of you as users, so we can serve more people, more audiences and more entrepreneurs.

It’s been really, really fun. We’ve been going around plotting and scheming and planning and creating and doing and a whole bunch of really fun stuff. So I thought we’d take a quick ten minute break here and I thought it’d be fun because we actually had a call yesterday with, I guess they’re not really competitors, a cool company that we like what they do. We’re potentially interesting in maybe buying them or whatever. It’s funny because they’ve been watching what we’re doing, obviously and he’s like, “You guys are what, 10 million dollars a year in revenue?” and we’re like, “No.” So in case you guys are wondering, we passed $10 million in revenue year one.

We’re year three. So I thought it would be kind of fun to maybe look at this, a little bit ago, like 2 months ago we passed a hundred million in revenue. So we went from zero to a hundred million dollars in about 3 years. And I wanted to say what was the biggest aha that each of us individually got, that we’ve learned in that process. So you guys get ideas from everybody inside the team here. So just a really quick intro with everybody, then I’ll share my aha and then move on.

So I’m Russell, I’m the nerd who is the dancing monkey who’s talking about Clickfunnels all day long. That’s what I do here. This is Todd Dickerson, he is the genius that built all of the original Clickfunnels and look at that beard, so manly. Over here, this is Dave, he’s all the business development stuff, he’s got the retro Clickfunnels shirt on. Then over here is John, he does all of our ads, and if you see us every day on every platform it’s because of that guy, so blame him.

Over here we have Brent Coppieters, he does all our operations stuff and he’s going to be transitioning to a bunch of our new, something we can’t talk about live or publically yet. It’s going to be cool. And this is Ryan, what’s up Ryan. Ryan is the genius who is always coding. So I thought it would be fun to give you different people’s perspective, because obviously we’re all in different parts of the company, lifting different parts, doing different things, so I thought it’d be interesting to hear everybody’s ideas. So I’ll start with mine.

So I think the biggest takeaway, I shared this last night with these guys, is as I was growing my business initially, the first 8 or 9 years I was very, I don’t know what the right word is, scarcity mindset or whatever. Where it’s like, I am Russell. I am the leader. I own the company, and all these things. And I think I had one or two deals with partners that went sour because I was like, I will never have a partner, I will only be me. It’s funny, with that mindset and that attitude, we were able to get to this level and we kind of camped out there.

And I’m lucky for me, Todd came in. Trojan horsed his way in, where he basically worked for free for an entire year, which was awesome. And then we worked together for a couple of years. I don’t even know how many years it was ahead of time, a couple of years before that, and then we had the idea for Clickfunnels. We were sitting in an office in Boise, we bought the domain, we were going to call it something different and then we finally found Clickfunnels, we bought the domain, then for a whole week we were mapping out on the whiteboard everything.

At the end of the week, and this is to kind of take you back, this is on the backend, we had 100 employees, the whole thing collapsed, we had to fire 80 people. I had to go from a 20 thousand square foot building to a 2 thousand and we could barely afford the rent. It was the most humbling, painful time of my life. I think that the Lord or whoever, whatever you want to call it, humbled me to a spot where I was willing to say yes to this. And I am so eternally grateful that I did. But at the end of that week Todd was like, “Okay, I’m going to go back to Atlanta.

I’m going to build this thing, the Clickfunnels thing. But I don’t want to do it as an employee, I want to do it as a partner.” And the Russell two or three years earlier than that would have been like, “Um nope. This is the Russell show.” And I would have done something stupid like that. But luckily I was at a point where I was sufficiently humble. I was like, you know what I’m going to do that. And I’m so grateful that I did because then Todd built Clickfunnels. Holy crap, seriously. It’s insane. And then after that, that’s when we brought in these other guys as partners as well.

They’re all rockstar people. It wasn’t just like, “I’m going to give you a base salary.” Or whatever. It was like, “Okay, come in and become a partner in this thing.” For me it’s like, as you find the right people and incentivize them….If I were to ever build a company again, I would never build a company where Russell’s the thing. We went and watched Justice League last night, so maybe this is because it’s in my head. Justice League, Avengers, Batman, whatever.

I would literally, if I ever build a company again, the initial thought will be, I’m going to build my Avengers team, my Justice League. I’m Batman, there’s Iron Man, everyone’s got their spot. Ryan’s Wonder Woman, I just want to look like Aqua Man, that dude is ripped. But if I ever start a company again, the first thought will not be, what product should I sell? It will be what team should we assemble? And then I would carve out where everyone’s roles were going to be. I’m not going to be CEO next time, so any of you guys can pick that, I’m done after this.

But we each pick our different roles and then from there, collectively, be like, “What should we create? What should we build? Who should we serve?” And then we’d go from that. So my biggest takeaway from going from zero to a hundred million dollars is definitely give up control, build your Avenger team ahead of time, because Russell Brunson could have never gotten here. It took these guys and the team we built to create that. Anyway, there’s my number one.

So I’m handing it off to Todd now to share the biggest thing he’s learned from going from zero to a hundred million dollars.

Todd: What’s funny is that I was actually thinking about saying very similar things. One of the biggest things is the team. Seeing how to build a team around you and actually do things as a team as opposed to by yourself independently. That’s how I’ve always done things in the past, on my own more or less, same type of scenario. But I think something else that stands out to me is having someone who is obsessive about the product itself. We always talk about how marketing is the big thing, and it is. But if you’re focused on the marketing, you still need someone on your team that is obsessed with the actual product. Making sure you’re delivering the best possible thing to people. So when you sell it to them, they actually like it and they come back and want more. So that’s my other big epiphany I think that I’ve had over the past…

Russell: Especially in our world. Our world, everybody’s obsessed with marketing, rightfully so. A lot of times if you’re in the marketing and product, if you do them both, it’s really, really hard. I tried to build software companies in the past where I was like the marketing guy, plus trying to convince the developers how to do it. Whereas with this, you were able to run with the product and I could just sell.

Todd: Absolutely. That’s why I think that’s worked as a great partnership. Russell focuses on the marketing and I focus on the product. And I think having that really makes a difference. Pass it on to Dave here.

Dave: Hey there. So we talk about this all the time and I cannot express the importance of it, and that’s the Dream 100. So I took a look back on everything that’s happened as far as first of all having an amazing product and then amazing leaders, and then Todd and Russell, the two of them are amazing together. I think the part for me, is I look at everything we’ve built over the last three years now, is the importance of the Dream 100. Originally Dream 100, as far as affiliates, and even most recently when we did the book launch, what I really learned a lot from that was the importance of understanding it’s a Dream 100 per platform as well.

So as far as your influencers, where are they at? Are they on YouTube, are they on Facebook, are they on Twitter, or are they in Instagram? Wherever they might be. And then as recently, as far as, a new Dream 100, as far as hiring partners that you really want to end up working with long term.

So for me, I think the most important thing is when you start looking at building something, is really identifying your Dream 100 and then being very, very consistent in continuing to mail out every single month to them. Establishes and builds that relationship with them, they get used to seeing you. It’s been fascinating as we’ve gone out and traveled and go to these different places and people remember the boxes and things that have been sent. And they’re like, “Oh, how do I get on that list?” And if they’re asking to be on the list, I don’t need them on the list, I don’t need them basically.

But the reality basically says that it actually works. So I would say, in building a hundred million dollar company, and any size company I would definitely say Dream 100 is one of the most important things. John, up to you.

John: Alright, so a really interesting journey we’ve been on. It’s been so much fun. One of the things that I’ve learned which is just huge, is prioritizing your time and your tasks. I mean, especially when we’re all internet entrepreneurs, we’re on the computer, it’s so easy. The computer is a gateway to anything.

So a huge thing for me is to, before even opening the computer, physically write down or use your phone or use something else that’s not your computer, to structure out. We all do this, Russell does this, I do this. We structure out what we’re going to do.What are the next things I need to do? Because if you can get that basically spiritually created, if you can get that thought through before you actually begin, then it changes everything.

Then you’re actually getting through stuff instead of just fumbling along. It’s so easy because we’re all bombarded with a million different things, we could be paying attention to a million different things. Only some of which are really going to move the needle. And the other thing is, especially as you grow your team, as you get more people working with you, it’s about….

So I build out that list and then the next thing I ask myself as I go through that list is, “Okay, who can do this? Who can I get to do this? Who can I get to do this?” And that specific question, as I go through the list, as who can I get to do this, that allows me to go through and delegate as much as possible to team members, so then I become more of a leader. Because it’s so easy to just be like, I could just do it all. Yeah, you can probably.

But maybe you shouldn’t be doing it all. You know, that’s something to think through. So build out that list, really think through it before you start to take action in the day, prioritize it and then go through and glean through the list and be like, “Who can get to do these things.” Assuming you’ll be doing none of them. Of course there will be a handful that you end up doing, but that way it’s just a mindset that will help you get things delegated properly. Here you go Brent.

Brent: Awesome. Hey everybody, it’s good to connect with you. I just want to express how much we appreciate you. Everybody who follows us, who’s obviously dedicated listeners of Russell’s program. It’s funny, more and more as we travel with Russell, even locally here in the Boise area, he’s getting like, people recognize him all over the place. They see the jeep, or they see him in the hallway of the hotel and they’re like, “Hey, I’m your neighbor.” Just these random……Albertsons…’s just funny.

Anyway, a couple of things. I’ve had the privilege of working with Russell for over 11 years and the one thing I think that you just cannot replace, or that’s absolutely needed is hard work. You have to be dedicated in getting this business and be willing to sacrifice what you need to sacrifice to get going. Another thing that I think we’ve learned through this journey is stay nimble and small as much as you can.

Don’t go out and try to lease some big office space until you’ve got sales coming in, consistent sales, your business is in good shape that way. Another thing that we’ve kind of followed here in our company is we’ve been slow to hire and quick to fire. Building a team, and Russell’s done a tremendous job of this, obviously we’ve got great partners here. And then that has extended to our team members. Again, we love all our team members.

We are essentially a great family of likeminded individuals who are focused on a goal. And the leadership in this company has helped us all work to achieve that goal. So that’s been awesome as well. So stay small as long as you can, be nimble, be humble, but you gotta work hard. Once you do those things, don’t sweat over the small things. We’ve had different variations of an employee handbook, and I’m just finally getting it out here in the next few weeks.

And we’ve been in business three years. So don’t stress about the mistakes. We were somewhere, we were at an event in Denver a few weeks ago, it was related to customer support, and that’s very normal. For small startups, that’s very normal. Those things just come, but don’t worry about those little details. They work themselves out. But work hard and you’ll achieve that success. So I will hand this over to my buddy, Ryan.

Ryan: So I love talking about this topic, and I think it’s best summarized as, “Worse is better.” You can do a lot more than you think. Gary V told us that when we met with him on the social media side. We’re like, “We already do everything, we already do a ton, we’re on everything.” He’s like, “You can do more.” And I think this is true on everything we do in engineering, everything we do when it comes to product. You’ve heard it in every single answer from everybody to some degree.

But I think the killer, underlining subtext to all that, is that constraints are not a limiting factor. They force you to focus, the focus forces you to prioritize, that forces you to do the one thing everyday that’s most valuable so that you can compete with somebody who’s got 40 million dollars in funding and you’ve got three guys in an office trying to figure it out because it makes you laser focus on the thing you have to do every single day.

That’s what enables you to compete at a higher level, that’s what enables, and I believe the most important thing we’ve done in our culture is force everybody, from hiring decisions, to business processes, don’t worry about the handbook, don’t over complicate this, simplify this. Because those constraints are what make us as powerful as we are and what enable to be a hundred million dollar company with a hundred people.

To grow to a billion dollars with fewer resources and a fraction of the budget and everything else. Everyone else who’s competing with us, they have no idea how we do it. They’re all like, “Wait, how many engineers do you have? How do you do this? How big are you?” it blows their mind and I think that’s the thing they miss. Those constraints are what enable us to do it. Our weaknesses are our strengths and people see them backwards. And we see it the opposite. That’s why everyone’s so blown away and why nobody gets it. I think that’s our secret sauce in many ways. So I love that. That’s our thing. That’s what I learned, that blew my mind.

Russell: That’s awesome. Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this episode. Its fun hanging out and we just want to thank you guys so much for allowing us to serve you and serve your audience. We love what we do. We’re obsessed, we’re passionate, we’ve been up for the last two days going crazy trying to figure out ways to do it better. You know, for us, a lot of people say, “You guys made it to a hundred million.

That’s crazy.” That’s step number one for us. We’re just getting started, wait until you see what’s going to be coming out over the next twelve months and beyond. We love you guys, we appreciate you, we’re so grateful for the ability and the right and the gift we have to be able serve you guys in what you guys do. So thanks again so much for everything and we’ll talk to you guys soon, bye everybody.


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