Hey everybody, this is Russell Brunson. Welcome back to the Marketing Secrets podcast. I know this is the day you’ve all been waiting for. You had to hear me talk about myself again, and I apologize for that. But now you get to hear my wife talk about her amazing self and the experience and everything we kind of went through.
So again this is part of a 4 part series. The first two are my interview with Monica Tanner on On the Brighter Side podcast, and the second half now, the next two episodes are Collette’s interview with Monica. So I’m excited to share this with you guys. This is only Collette’s second interview ever, so she’s been nervous, but she’s definitely coming into her own and kind of finding her voice, it’s been fun listening to her. So I hope you enjoy this episode. If you do please let me know, take a snapshot of this and post it on instagram or Facebook, and let me know your comments, I’ll make sure Collette reads them. With that said, I’m going to queue up the theme song, and when we come back, you’ll listen to part one of Monica’s interview with Collette.
Monica: Hello, and welcome to On the Brighter Side. I’m your host, Monica Tanner, and I am so excited about my guest today. Not only is she one of my bestest friends, so I’m so excited to just sit here and chat with her, but she has one of the most amazing stories of just her really fun life. And I just wanted to ask her a bunch of questions and pull out some of the really cool details of her life that I think will just be really interesting and helpful to anyone who is in a similar situation. So I asked my friend, Collette Brunson, to come and chat with us today. Hey Collette, how are you?
Collette: Good, how are you?
Monica: So good. I’m so glad you’re here. So I wonder if you could just start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your family?
Collette: So I’ve been married for 17 years, I have 5 beautiful children who are growing rather fast, and we are learning all the new steps of teenager life and things that come in those areas. I love health and fitness, it makes my day to be able to get a little something in for myself. So many things. I still have a toddler at home that keeps me running, and doing all the things, playing dolls. I feel like right now, that’s who I am. I feel like I’m a toddler, learning how to navigate teenagers.
Monica: Yeah, so you are married to Russell Brunson, and we’re going to talk a little bit about him in this interview, and I just want to make sure everybody understands that I credit Russell with the fact that we’re even sitting here podcasting. Because I was at kind of an all-time low in my life. I had tried something new, I went back to school and it didn’t work out. So I was super discouraged , and just kind of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. And your husband Russell came over and sat on my couch and he was like, “You should start a podcast.”
And I was like, “What are you even talking about? No way, I have no idea how to do that.” And he’s like, ‘Oh yeah, you should do it, here’s how and you’re going to be great.” And I was like, “Oh my gosh.” And I did it, and it has been literally the most rewarding thing, obviously besides raising my children, that I’ve had the opportunity to do. So I’m probably going to give him a hard time a little bit in this interview, but just know that it is with so much respect and love and gratitude that I speak about him. I really do hold him in such high esteem.
So I had the opportunity to interview him on the podcast. He was my 5th guest ever, and I was so grateful that he agreed to come on. He totally didn’t have to, but it was in the very beginnings of the podcast, the audio quality was horrible, but it was a really good interview, and I noticed a few things.
First and foremost I noticed that when I introduced him, I introduced him as my really good friend, Collette’s husband. So I made sure that he was, he is kind of a big deal, but first and foremost he is your husband. And I also noticed that my love of interviewing came through. Like you could tell that I love interviewing people and hearing their stories. And it was so fun to interview him.
And we started off my first question was, “How did you Russell, as a goofy wrestler get this amazing, gorgeous girl to marry you?” and he told the story, and so now I want to hear your version of the story, of how you met and fell in love with the goofy wrestler.
Collette: Russell and I met at Boise State, we are a product of the singles ward. So in the Latter Day Saint Community, the singles ward. So we, here’s the thing, Russell is 5 ½ years younger than I am, so when I first met Russell, you’re right, he was a goofy wrestler, he was just fun, his apartment was fun, and we did lots of things together. My roommate and myself and his apartment, they were known as the wrestling apartment. And it wasn’t until October, I believe it was October, and we went to a youth activity at the corn maze and we were goofing around and being silly, but Russell, you could just feel his energy.
So that was kind of the kick off. And then once our apartments kind of got closer in friendships and things like that, the more we would talk about qualities our spouses would have. And the more he talked about the qualities his spouse would have. I kept thinking, oh my goodness, he’s checking the boxes of me. And I’m like, I can’t fall in love with somebody that’s 5 years younger. Who are you kidding? He can’t support me. So yeah, we kind of…
Monica: That’s a funny thought.
Collette: I know, right. I’m like, how is going to support me? And it is funny because I work hard, you know what I mean, but I wanted, my dream was to be a mom. So it came out in January that I liked him. And he was floored because he never in a million years would Collette Brunson like Russell Brunson, or whatever my maiden name was at the time.
So yeah, we started dating and it moved rather fast, so we started dating in January. By April we were engaged, and August we were married. So once the I love you’s came out, it was moving and grooving.
Monica: It was time. So when you were first married he was wrestling at Boise State and you were supporting him. He couldn’t get a real job because of wrestling, but he started selling potato guns online. Were you ever like, “Oh no, what have I done? This guy is totally crazy.”?
Collette: Never. I enjoyed, because when you’re first married, you’re super duper in love and you’re like, “I’ll follow you to the moon and back.” And so we always, I don’t know, just did really goofy things. So when he’s like, “I’m going to make a product out of potato guns.” And I’m like, “Yeah, do it.” And you know, it was during spring break and his wrestling buddies were off to Vegas doing their thing, and he and his buddies stayed home trying to support their wife’s that are working, loving Russell.
So nope, I was never like, “Oh my gosh, what in the world?” I was right along there with him filming them do their thing. And just out there having fun together.
Monica: That is so cool. So when I was interviewing Russell, I asked him about his failures. And he talked about, I love the word he used, he called it cycles, not failures, he cycled. And almost went bankrupt a couple of times. And I wondered if you could talk about your experience in the early years and what it was like for you to be kind of successful and then lose it all, and then cycling like that.
Collette: Okay, you know what, it’s kind of funny. I feel like I live in this little bubble of protection. So Russell is the kind of man that kind of kept it to himself. I didn’t know he was cycling until it was really bad. Our boys were little and remember it being December and I kept saying, “We should go to Disneyland for their birthday. They’re December birthdays, let’s go do Disneyland.” And he’s like, “Um, we don’t have any money.” I’m like, “What?”
It’s just kind of one of those things where he was trying to protect me, but I do, it’s just so cool when you do cycle, how you build a stronger relationship and how to get through all the tough times and the scary times and you make it work. And I never was really fearful, I mean, Russell’s brain is always constantly working, and immediately, I’m not going to lie, we did hit our knees together and said a prayer, trying to bring some comfort into those hard times, like always. But I was never afraid. But I think that’s just because I grew up in a super duper humble setting and we didn’t have a whole lot and I worked really hard for things. So I kept thinking to myself, if I need to I can get a job, I can help out where I can. So I was never super fearful, I guess.
Monica: Yeah, you always believed in him.
Collette: I always did. He just, I don’t know, he has a really good way of making you feel certainty, I guess, when he was not certain. All the uncertainty for him, and he just did a good job of making us feel safe.
Monica: Yeah, so there’s this picture floating around the internet of you guys cutting up all of your credit cards, and you look kind of sad, and you know, not horrible, but you know it’s like, “This is really hard, we’re cutting up all the credit cards.” What were you thinking in that moment and what got you through those months and those years when you just had no clue where money was going to come from?
Collette: Okay, so I’m going to just say, I love our younger years, and our cute little humble duplex that we lived in and I do remember sitting on there being silly and acting like, “Oh man, this is the end of the world. I’m cutting up my credit cards.” Because it was actually a relief, because it’s so easy to just go wrack it up and spend and spend and spend. So when we did cut them up, it was actually a sense of relief to move forward and create a new beginning, but work harder than I’ve ever worked before. I had an awesome job, I was able to make the payments needed for the loan that we had acquired, which was my in-laws, they helped us out, and we made payments to them.
But yeah, I just, I don’t know. It was fun. And I do remember selling CD’s, like all my music CD’s. I went to Hastings and I sold my CD’s one time for grocery money, and just different things, getting creative on how to make ends meet, and we did. And it’s seriously one of my favorite times in our lives.
Monica: I remember those younger years when we nothing, but we had each other and it was like, fun.
Collette: We’re invincible, we can do this.
Monica: Yeah, we weren’t wasting away by the side of the road, we had what we needed. So you guys tried for a really long time to start your family and there was some heartbreak and some hard times in there. Can you talk about what that was like for you, and did you ever think that you really wouldn’t be able to have kids?
Collette: So when we got married I was 28, so by the time we were seriously thinking about having children, I was in my 30s. So yes, it did cross my mind. I’m like, oh my goodness, is my body starting to take over with age, and I can’t have my baby? And there was heartbreak, because some other members of my family, and I feel like fertility was super easy for them and they would be instantly having kids. So for my journey in trying to have my family took, we always have a timeline in what we think, the way it should happen. Yeah, we did, we went on fertility.
And I remember the very first time I started the fertility process was when Russell was at the PAC 10 tournament, we were in California and I had to start the injections. And I just remember to myself, I don’t know what I was thinking actually, like holy cow, what are we doing? But I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I feel like once my body did get pregnant, holy cow, no holding back. My family came and there’s a lot more stories out there that are heartbreaking, and I don’t know if I ever felt like I would not have children, so I was super hopeful. And really once we did start the process it was 3 months in the fertility world that we conceived and found out we were having twins. So I don’t know, it was a fun time.
Monica: Yeah, and now you have 5 happy, healthy, gorgeous kids. They are some of my favorite kids. Most of us have gotten to know and love them. Is that what you always envisioned, or did you think more or did you think less or was it just right?
Collette: You know what, okay, so I don’t come from a very big family, so when we had the boys, my body got, I mean, I got pregnant right away after having them, and I actually miscarried in between there, which made me think, I’m going for it. I just want my family, let’s get them here. My time clock is ticking. So in between there Ellie came, so they’re 18 months apart and I was good. Three is my number, it’s good. Until the overwhelming feeling of these cute other spirits, 4 and 5 came. But yeah, I never thought in a million years I would have 5 children, ever. I find myself to be the least patient person.
Monica: Oh my gosh, that’s not true.
Collette: I’ve learned. I’ve learned how to be patient, but there’s a lot of times too, never in a million years, how do I have 5 children, its insane.
Monica: Well, they’re so cute, for sure. So as you were raising these 5 children, and they were close together, so you were really busy with young kids for a long time, and still kind of are. Did you ever feel resentful about being at home while Russell was out there kind of making his dreams come true and you’re here with all these kids?
Collette: I was never resentful, but I did get a little jealous sometimes. Because I was the one getting up and getting ready for work before he became the office man or the entrepreneur man. But yeah, I was never resentful but I was a little bit jealous sometimes. You’re like, “Oh, I would just give anything to get out for just 30 minutes, and take a minute.” But I find myself super blessed because once Ellie was born we were able, we were blessed to be able to bring somebody in to help me out a little bit so I was able to go grocery shopping without kiddos or run some of those silly errands.
Monica: That’s awesome.
Collette: Never resentful.
Monica: Yes. What do you think has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome in your marriage or in your life together?
Collette: Okay I think the biggest challenge that we have, I think is sometimes feeling connected, because I don’t talk Clickfunnels, or I don’t talk entrepreneur talk. So Russell talks to everybody else who speaks his language, so I always feel like our biggest struggle is when I don’t give enough appreciation to Clickfunnels or to anything that he has created. So sometimes I feel like the gratitude there, or the appreciation was out of alignment, and then I feel like also the other struggle is communication. I feel like we’ve worked on that a lot throughout our marriage, but I feel like we get going a thousand different directions, he with Clickfunnels, me with the kiddos, which by the way, he’s a super awesome dad and being involved.
But sometimes we’re crossing paths and the first time we see each other for real, or for a real conversation is when we’re too tired to talk. Anyway, that’s been kind of our thing that we’ve been working on and just growing, our conversation, learning how to communicate with each other, because sometimes we’re like, “How do we not talk about the kids? How do we not talk about Clickfunnels?”
Collette: Anyway, just to find a common thing to talk about is….yeah.
Monica: Yeah, and I get that. I think other wives can relate to that because there’s husbands with hobbies like golf or sports or something and you know, you want to be supportive and interested, but you’re kind of like, I don’t really talk football-talk, or you know.
Collette: I’m not speaking your language. I’m going to support you…
Monica: Your eyes just kind of glaze over. You’re like, ‘I hear you, that sounds awesome.”
Collette: I hear you and I love you. Keep up the good work.
Monica: Yeah, good job. So let’s talk about stuff at work. I’ve heard you talk in another interview about the moment when you realized kind of the impact Russell was having on other people. And you probably didn’t know because he doesn’t share a ton of that with you. What was that like when you realized, “Oh my gosh, this is Russell and he does all these things for all these other people, and I had no idea.”?
Collette: It was after I had Norah, our baby number 5 and she was 3 months old when the very first Clickfunnels even was kicked off in Las Vegas. And I remember going and walking into the event room before anybody was in the event, but we walked in just to see the process of it being set up and how it looked. And I broke into an ugly cry, and Russell’s like, ‘Ugh, I don’t know what to do here.” And I’m like, “Give me just a minute.” I just said, “I don’t understand. All of these people are here for you?” and he’s like, “Well, yes. They’re here to learn what we teach in marketing and things like that.” And I’m like, “I’m finally seeing that.”
Because being at home with all the kids and surviving daily life, keeping them alive, I just kind of… You know, he goes to the office and does his thing. So the first time for me to realize that he was, had an influence on so many people was super overwhelming for me, which is a really good thing for a wife to see, because the greater appreciation and like, “Oh my gosh, keep up the good work. This is amazing.” But I did do an ugly cry for probably a good 30 minutes and trying to catch my breath, realizing who he was. It’s kind of funny, I don’t know.
Monica: That’s awesome.