What’s up everybody? This is Russell Brunson, welcome back to Marketing Secrets podcast. I’ve got a really fun special episode for you today. Recently I had someone in our community contact us and say “Hey, we run a school with kids from (I don’t even know how young), from first grade up to sixth grade.” I think the oldest kids were about 12 years old. Anyway, they said, “We’d love to have these kids come over and ask you questions about your company, about being an entrepreneur and all that kind of stuff.”
So I thought it’d be really, really fun, so we had them come over this last week. And they’d been studying entrepreneurship and business and they were doing a bunch of things, and they had to make a pitch deck to pitch to investors, they were going that night to actually go sell stuff. So this little cute entrepreneurial classroom of kids came here to the Clickfunnels offices, and I thought, you know I’m going to record this just in case anything cool comes out of it. And it turned out to be really, really fun.
This is an episode that if you have kids, you should probably pull your kids in and listen with them. I think you’ll hear some new stories and get some ideas whether or not you have kids or not. But this is definitely a presentation geared towards children and getting them excited about entrepreneurship and kind of telling them some stories about how I built my company.
It was funny, we had this little microphone box you can throw to them, and they were all fighting over it, they wanted to hear their voice. So you’ll hear a little bit of that. I had my brother try to edit out any of the long pauses, or the awkward things. So hopefully it’s listenable to listen to everything. And it’s kind of fun, I think 8 or 9 kids asked the exact same question, so I had to re-answer it different ways every single time. So hopefully you guys catch that in there.
One of the girls talked about entrepreneurship, I asked who wants to be an entrepreneur, and she’s like, “No.” and I’m like, “Why not?” and she’s like, “It’s kind of like a teeter totter, where you’re off a cliff where either you fall of a cliff and you die, or you don’t.” or something like that. And I was, “That is the best explanation of entrepreneurship I’ve ever heard.”
Anyway, this is just a fun episode I wanted to post here for you guys. I hope you enjoy it. Again, if you have kids, maybe have them listen in as well. And with that said, I will queue up the theme song and I hope you guys enjoy this Q&A session from the kids group that came into our office the other day.
What’s up guys? How are you guys doing?
Russell: Welcome to Clickfunnels. We’re excited to have you guys here.
Why do what?
Kid: Why do you sound like you have a microphone?
Russell: Because I have a microphone. Check this out, I have a microphone here. This is called the catch box, you hold it like this and you talk into it. I wanted to this so that way when we ask questions we can make sure we hear everything. Because it’s kind of fun, and sometimes this room gets loud because we have all these super heroes everywhere that sometimes mess things up.
So we’re going to practice this to make sure you guys can make this work. So who wants to tell me their name?
Kid: My name’s Garrett.
Kid2: My name is Paxton.
Kid3: My name’s Brynn.
Kid4: My name’s Jack.
Kid5: My name’s Liam.
Russell: Alright, so my first question for you guys is do you guys know what my name is?
Russell: What’s my name? Do you want to catch it?
Kid: Jack! It’s Clickfunnels.
Russell: You’re right, good job. Okay, thank you. Russell. I am one of the founders of Clickfunnels, which is where you guys are at today. So I heard you guys have been learning about entrepreneurship, is that true?
Russell: How many of you guys want to be entrepreneurs when you grow up.
Kid: No thanks.
Russell: No thanks. How come, I want to know why you don’t want to.
Kid: The reason I don’t want to be an entrepreneur is well, first of all, I’m afraid of messing up and I don’t like the risk that I’m taking.
Russell: Who has a cool thing about being an entrepreneur?
Kid: One cool thing is that you can be almost anything that isn’t already a corporation. You could be like a UT bridge kind of entrepreneur. Like Clickfunnels is made by entrepreneurs and it’s made for entrepreneurs as well. Stuff like that.
Russell: Okay, so I’m going to tell you guys my story real quick about how I became an entrepreneur, and then I’ll let you guys ask questions because I heard you guys had some good questions.
So I didn’t know I was going to be an entrepreneur my whole life, but when I was…how old are you guys?
Russell: Who’s the oldest?
Kid: 6 to 12
Russell: How old are you?
Russell: 12 okay. So I was about your age, I was about 12 or 13 years old and I didn’t know what I was going to be when I grew up. I had no idea. I remember I was watching TV one night, and late at night there’s these things called infomercials. Any of you guys ever seen an infomercial before? Where they try to sell stuff? And there was this guy on the infomercial, he was selling this book about how to make money in the newspapers, and I was like, that is the coolest thing in the world.
And he was selling, you had to pay $40 to buy this kit, and I did not have $40, so I begged my dad for money and he said, “No.” He said, “If you want to have that money, you have to earn it.” So I went out and mowed lawns for a whole month to earn $40 and then I took that and bought this kit on TV that taught me how to make money with newspapers, which was kind of cool.
So that’s when I first started learning, I was about your age when I started learning about it, so you guys are in a good spot. So then fast forward to when I was in college. I was going to school and I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I liked to wrestle, do we have any wrestlers in here? What? We got a couple of wrestlers. So I’m a wrestler, so I was wrestling in high school and I loved it and then I started wrestling in college. I came to Boise State to wrestle, and then I met my beautiful wife and I fell in love with her and I wanted to marry her.
But guess what you have when you get married? Do you know what this means?
Russell: Money. And I didn’t have any money, I was completely broke. I didn’t even have a job. And I was like, I gotta do something or else I’m going to be in big trouble and my wife’s not going to have a house to live under if I’m going to marry her. So I tried to figure out how to make money, but I couldn’t get a job because I was wrestling. So I gotta figure out a different way to do this.
So I thought, you know I could do, I could quit wrestling, but I love wrestling. I was like maybe I could become an entrepreneur and try to sell something of my own. And I didn’t know what to do. So I started trying to learn how to do, how to make money. I was trying to think what my first big idea was going to be. And I tried a whole bunch of things, and guess what, none of them worked.
I tried thing after thing to make money and none of them worked, and then one day, one of my friends said, “Russell, do you want to make a potato gun?” and I was like, “What’s a potato gun?” How many people here know what a potato gun is?
Russell: So this is a potato gun, and I didn’t even know what it was. I was like, “What’s a potato gun?” and he said, “What a potato gun is, you make it out of sprinkler pipes and you get a potato and put it here and you jam it, so a potato would be right here, and you get a broom and push it down so it pushes it all the way down to right here. And then over here there’s a big hole. So you spray hairspray in here, and you put a cap over the top of it, and then guess what happens?”
Kid: It goes boom.
Russell: Inside of here there’s a whole bunch of fuel and there’s a potato stuck right here. So in the cap, and I couldn’t find the cap this morning because I think somebody stole it, or somebody just misplaced it, there’s a little igniter, and if you click the button on the igniter it makes a little spark inside of this hole right here, and that spark lights the hairspray on fire. And the hairspray is like, ‘Ugh” and it wants to explode, but it can’t. But guess what it does? It takes the potato right here and goes, pfft, shoots it out and it goes like a hundred yards. How many of you guys know how far a hundred yards is? Have you ever been to a football game before? A hundred yards is the whole football field. It shoots it all the way across a whole football field. Is that crazy?
So he told me that, my friend told me that. And I was like, “That sounds like so much fun. Let’s do that.” So we went and we didn’t know how to make it though. So we went on Google and typed in “how to make a potato gun, and then people had different instructions, “This is how you cut the pipe” and “This is how you glue it together” and “You gotta buy pipes this size and this size and this and this.”
And we read all the instructions about how to make it, and then we went home that night and we started making it. And we had so much fun. It took us three or four days to build our first potato gun, and when it was done we went out by the airport and we started shooting potatoes, and it was so much fun. But then, guess what happened? We were shooting potatoes and all the sudden this big huge jeep, that had camouflage on it, started coming toward us. And I was like, “What’s going on?” and they drove all the way up and out came this big, huge army guy, with a big old mustache. And he walks over, “What are you guys doing?”
I’m like, “We’re shooting potatoes.” And he’s like, because we were behind the airport, he said, “You’re on government land. You cannot be shooting things back here.” And I thought I was going to go to jail. I was so scared. I was like, “Ah, okay. Okay.” And he’s like, “How does that thing work?” So I kind of told him, and he’s like, “It doesn’t go that far.” I’m like, “No, it really does.” And he’s like, “Prove it.” I’m like, “Really?” so he said, “Yeah.” So he started shooting guns with me, this big police man who was going to arrest me.
And he shot like 5 or 6 potatoes with me, and then he’s like, “Okay, you can’t shoot back here or I’ll have to put you in jail. So go shoot them out in the forest or something.” And he let us go and I was like, “Oh good, I thought I was going to go to jail.” So luckily I didn’t.
So then, we had so much fun making these, they were so much. The next day I went back to school…yeah?
Kid: Why didn’t he arrest you for having an illegal and dangerous weapon?
Russell: That’s a good question. He said, “How come he didn’t arrest you for having an illegal and dangerous weapon?” I think it’s because he thought it was kind of cool. It could have been worse. Anyway, luckily he didn’t. I don’t know why, but I’m super grateful he didn’t arrest me.
So anyway, I went back to school on the next Monday and I was sitting there thinking, “What should my business be? What should my business be?” and all the sudden, boom, the light bulb went off in my head. Have you guys ever had that before? You have an idea? I was like, “What if there’s more people besides me that want to make a potato gun? What if I’m not the only person.” And I thought, I’m going to see if there’s more people besides me.
So on the internet, what’s cool is it will show you how many people are typing in different searches in Google. And guess how many people were looking for potato gun plans that month?
Russell: Ooh, I wish.
Russell: 500, 100.
Russell: So if you look at the entire world, around the whole world, there were 18,000 people searching for how to make potato guns and nobody was selling a product on how to make potato guns. I was like, “What if I made a product on how to make potato guns? I could make some money. This would be the coolest thing in the world, and I could get arrested.”
So I had the idea. So then I called my friend up, his name is Nate. I said, “Nate, we’re going to make a product teaching people how to make potato guns.” And he said, “How do you do that?” and I said, “I don’t know. I’ve never done it before, but let’s figure it out.” So we borrowed a video camera from somebody and then we drove down to Home Depot, maybe it was Lowes, I can’t remember. Home Depot or Lowes, and we walked to the sprinkler isle, and I had all the sprinkler pipes and I recorded a video and said, “When you buy the sprinklers, there’s a secret, you have to make sure that the PSI is right. So if you look on here it talks about the Pounds per Square this thing can handle.” Anyway I summarized how much that is, how much these are, and what sizes.
So we made a video of us buying all the pieces of the gun. Then we drove to my wife’s work, where they had a little workshop, and we made a video us, recording gluing the thing together and making the actual potato gun. Then we drove and filmed us at school writing out all the different formulas and how, you know, all the different plans on how to make potato guns. And we took all those different things and we put it on these videos and then we made a dvd. And this was my very first dvd, it’s called HowToMakeAPotatoGun.com.
And this dvd taught people how to make a potato gun, just like that. So this was my very first product ever made, and there’s the dvd inside. Do you guys even know what dvd’s are? You’ve seen those before.
Russell: I know, it’s a pain. It gets scratched, they have to rebuy a new one, which is good for me.
Kid: Just put a bandaid on it.
Russell: I don’t think you can put a bandaid on a dvd, but that is a good idea. Alright, so this was my very first dvd, and I was so excited, I’m like, “Now what do I do? How do I sell it?” and I didn’t know how to sell it.
So I went and got this website, howtomakeapotatogun.com and then I put up a webpage to sell it. And it had a little picture of the dvd. I said, “Here’s a dvd teaching people how to make potato guns, just like the one that I just made. And I started buying ads. So when somebody would go to google and type in “How to make a potato gun.” They would see my ad and see, “Do you want to learn how to make a potato gun? Click here.” And they’d click on my ad, come to my webpage, and a lot of them started buying this dvd for like $27, they’d buy the dvd.
And that’s how I got started as an entrepreneur, I started selling this dvd. I sold a whole bunch of them for a while, and that was my very first product. Any questions about that at all?
Kid: What was the hardest part about making it?
Russell: Ooh, good question. The hardest part about making it is I didn’t know how to edit videos. So we recorded them on this camera, and then I didn’t know what to do. So I had to read books about how you get them from the video camera onto the computer. So then we got them on the computer. And it’s like, how do you turn it into a dvd? I didn’t know how to do that. So then we had to edit the thing, then we had to glue it together, put it together, then we had to burn it on dvd. So learning how to actually make the dvd was the hardest thing for me.
Kid: What was the most difficult thing about making your whole business?
Russell: The most difficult thing about making my whole business was probably believing it was going to work. A lot of times…
Kid: It seems so fun.
Russell: A lot of times we have an idea but we’re like, is that really gonna work? We have to do all this work, should I do it or not? So the hardest part is just believing it will actually work the very first time.
Kid: And how did you make it?
Russell: Alright, who else has got a question?
Kid: What was the easiest part about making your business?
Russell: The easiest part, man, there’s not a lot of easy parts. There’s a lot of hard parts. The easiest part was probably after it started working. Because there’s a lot of hard work to get it started, then when it started working, then guess what? The webpage was there, my ads were there, and I’d go to school every day, I’d go to wrestling practice, and while I was goofing off and having fun, people were going to Google, type it in, click on the ad and they would buy. So even when I was sleeping at night, people started paying me money. So I was making money in the morning, at night, when I was on vacation, the money kept coming in. So that was the best part. After all the hard work was done, then it just started making money whether I was there or not.
Kid: What, how much money did you make every day?
Russell: Good question. So this product, this was my very first one, so it never made me tons of money. But it was making probably between 25 and 50 dollars a day. But for me, how many of you guys think that $50 a day would be amazing. So it was tons. When I was going to college I was like, $50 a day is a lot of money for me. It was really, really cool. Good question.
Kid: My name is Paxton.
Russell: Thanks Paxton, you’re awesome.
Kid: What inspired you to make the potato gun?
Russell: Ooh, good question. So when I was trying to figure out what to make, I was looking around and I saw a lot of other people selling things. So I was looking at what’s everyone doing? And I had a friend, one friend who was making a product teaching people how to do baby sign language. So I was like, that’s kind of cool. Because she was really good at teaching babies sign language. I had another friend that was teaching people how to do hair bows. They’d make hair bows, any girls have hair bows? They’d make these really cool hair bows, and they had a dvd teaching that.
So I saw three or four things, I saw all these people who were really good at something, they made a dvd teaching it, and I was like, “I’m not good at anything. What could I do?” and then when I made that potato gun I was like, “What if that’s my thing? What if I make potato guns?” So that was my very first, that’s how I got the inspiration.
Kid: What was your biggest regret?
Russell: My biggest regret…hm. Probably my biggest regret is I didn’t start sooner. I waited for like 2 years before I made my first product. I was thinking about it, talking about it, I was scared. So I didn’t do it. I wish I would have started faster, because I would have started having success faster.
Kid: How much money did you make every year?
Russell: Every year? Well the first year I didn’t make very much money. I made maybe $10,000. And then it started getting bigger and then one year I made a million dollars in a year, which was so cool. And then it got bigger, and then Clickfunnels, this company now, I’ll tell you what we do in a minute, but Clickfunnels did over a hundred million dollars last year. What would you guys buy with that? Just kidding.
Kid: I’d buy the company.
Russell: You’d buy the company.
Kid: What was your favorite part?
Russell: My favorite part? I love when somebody buys your product and then they use it, and they have success, that’s the best. So someone who’d buy it, they’d make a potato gun and they’d send me a picture, “Look at my potato gun that I made?” Yes, that’s awesome. I helped them do it.
Kid: How many did you sell in the first week or month of you releasing it.
Russell: Good question. First week, I don’t think I sold any. First month, I probably sold 5 or 6. And then it got to the point where I was selling about one a day. So probably 30 a month. One or two a day was kind of average.
Kid: Do you have any advice for people who want to be an entrepreneur or want to get what they’re doing out there. Like if you’re streaming and stuff.
Russell: Yes, great question. Can I tell you a story about that? I have a friend, his name is Jacob Hiller and when he was born he wanted to be able to dunk a basketball. How many of you guys here can dunk a basketball?
Kid: In a baby.
Russell: How many guys dunk on a ten foot hoop? It’s hard right. I still can’t do it either. I’m not good enough. But he wanted to be able to dunk that. He loved basketball, but he couldn’t quite dunk it. He said his arms were a little bit shorter, so he couldn’t ever dunk. So he said, “I want to figure out..” He set a goal, he said, “My goal, I want to become someone who can dunk a basketball. How do I do that? I can’t dunk right now. I have to learn some exercises.”
So he stared reading books and started studying, how can I increase my vertical. That’s what they call it, you’re vertical, how high you can jump. So he started learning, started watching videos, and reading books, and then that’s how he started. Then he started learning some stuff and it started helping him. And he thought, “I’m going to start a YouTube channel teaching people what I’m learning.”
So he started this YouTube channel, and in the YouTube channel he would learn something. So he would learn, if you do a certain exercise it will make you jump higher. So he’d show people how to do the exercise and posted a video on that. Then he’d post another video learning other ways to increase your vertical. And he had a whole bunch of videos and started posting them on YouTube because he was loving it. He was learning it and then he would share it as he was learning what he was learning.
And then one day he ended up having about 10,000 people who were following him on YouTube, and he’s like, “This is so cool. I have all these followers that are following me and I don’t know what to do with it.” So he asked those guys, “What do you guys want me to, what can I do?” and someone said, “I wish you’d put together a book that would teach me all the different ways you learned how to jump.” And he’s like, “Okay, that’s kind of cool. I could do that.” So he wrote an ebook. Do you guys know what an ebook is?
Kid: Yeah, it’s like a book that’s online and it’s really cool.
Russell: Yeah. So he wrote his first ebook and all it was, was a whole bunch of different ways that he used to jump higher. So he’d show, “Here I tried this exercise and how I did it.” And then “This exercise” and he showed like a hundred different ways to jump higher and he put it together and he called the book The Jump Manual, teaching people how to jump higher.
So he got that all done, he started being excited about something, then he started talking about it every single day until he got a lot of people following him, then he came out with his very first product, which was an ebook. I think he sells the ebook for $37, and he makes 3 or 4 thousand dollars a day, every single day, selling that book. But what’s crazy, he did that while he was in college, then he met his wife and they fell in love and got married, and they said, “Where should we move to?” and he said, “Our business is on the internet, we don’t have to live anywhere.” And they said, “What if we just picked somewhere really cool.”
So his wife a globe out, a big globe. You guys know the big globes?
Kid: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Russell: And they spun it like this, and said, “Ready go.” And they stopped it and it was like, “Kenya.” And they’re like, “Let’s move to Kenya.” So they got in a plane, packed up all their suitcases, they didn’t have a house yet, and they flew to Kenya, and then in Kenya they found out there’s warriors called the Maasai warriors. Have you ever heard of them before?
Russell: Well, guess what they’re famous for? Jumping. They’re famous for jumping. They go out in these plains, in the desert and they jump. So they got to Kenya and he’s like, “There’s these guys that are great at jumping.” So he got his video camera out and said, “Teach me how to jump better.” And these warriors in the middle of the desert in Africa taught him how jump higher and he filmed it all and posted those videos online like, “I learned how to, these cool jumping tricks from these guys.” And he said, “If you like these you should go buy my book.” And more people bought his book.
So he lived there in Kenya for 3 years, excuse me, 3 months and the whole time they were there people were buying his book on the internet, so he didn’t have a job, he was just living and having fun. And 3 months later they said, “Let’s move. Where should we move to? I don’t know.” So he got the globe out again, they spun it, “Here.” And it was like the Great Wall of China. They’re like, “We’re moving to China.” So they flew to China and they got to China and they’re like, “What should we do in China.” And they said, “Well what kind of exercises can we do on the great wall of china? We can sit against the wall, I can do jumps on the wall.” So they made videos of him doing all sorts of exercises on the great wall of china, and put those on YouTube and then more people bought his book.
And then 3 months later they spun the globe again and picked a new spot. And they’ve been doing that now for like 8 years. They have not had a house for 8 years. Every three months they pick a new place around the world and they fly there and live there, and their internet business, people keep buying his ebook while he’s traveling the world having a good time. Is that cool?
Kid: And another question, is buying ads for your video even worth it, in your opinion?
Russell: Definitely. We spend about $750,000 a month buying ads. So we spend a lot of money because it’s the fastest way to get to people. There’s free ways you can do it, but it takes a lot longer. If you can buy ads, it speeds up the process a lot.
Kid: But for smaller YouTubers who are trying to get out there.
Russell: Yeah, so it’s good to buy ads when you have a product to sell. Because if you’re just buying ads to grow your channel, it’s hard because you’re not making any money and you’re just spending money. But if you have a YouTube channel and you’re selling something on the channel, then it makes sense to buy as long as you make more money than you’re spending. That’s all we’re looking at. I want to make sure that if I spend $1 I want to make $2. And you just kind of watch that really close. Good questions.
Kid: What was the best part after you made your business?
Russell: The best part is, let’s see, there’s been a lot of really, really cool parts. But I think my best part is there’s this group, have you ever heard of Operation Underground Railroad? Have you heard of it? You think so. Do you guys know what the Underground Railroad is? Did you learn about that yet in school? What’s the underground Railroad?
Kid: It’s how slaves get away from their owners.
Russell: Yes, the Underground Railroad, how they freed slaves back in the day. So, Operation Underground Railroad is an organization, it’s called a charity, and they help save people who are enslaved. Did you know there are still people in slavery? There are little kids that get kidnapped that are put in slavery, and they think there’s over 2 million kids right now that are in slavery all around the world. It’s really sad. So, there’s this group and they go in and they try and save these little kids. So, the most exciting thing so far is the last two years a in a row we helped raise money for Operation Underground Railroad. We raised over $2 million for them which is enough money to save almost 1,000 kids from slavery. So, of everything we’ve done, that’s the thing that’s the coolest for me.
Kid: How did you get the idea of ClickFunnels?
Russell: Ooh, good question. That’s a great question. Ken, so after I made my potato gun… So, I made my potato gun and we were selling this, right, and then what happened is I wanted to figure out how do you make more money. I was just selling DVD, but I wanted to make more money. So, I had a friend and he said, what you need to do is you need to add an upsell. Do you guys know what an upsell is?
Russell: Who’s ever been to McDonald’s before? So, you go to McDonald’s and if your mom or dad says, hey, I want to order a Big Mac. Then what does the guy say at the drive-through, do you know? Goes, a Big Mac, do you want a fries and drink with that? You heard him say that before?
Kids: Yes. No.
Russell: That’s called an upsell.
Kid: I don’t go to McDonald’s.
Russell: Good, it’s bad for you. That food kills you. Anyway, but if you go, that’s called an upsell. So, my friend said you should have upsells for this. I said, what does that even mean? He said, well, when someone buys potato gun DVD, what’s the next thing they need? I said, well, they have to go to Home Depot and they have to buy all the pipes and all the stuff and the glue. He said, what if you put those together in a kit and then just sold the kit, and you send the kit out to people? I said, that’s a cool idea. So, I found somebody to make these kits and they make a potato gun kit. Had all the pipes and everything, all the glue, everything.
So, what we did was somebody would buy the DVD from me and they’d say, I want the DVD. Then the next page would say, cool, you bought the DVD, we’re going to send it to you. Do you want us to put one of these kits in the mail that way you don’t have to buy the pipes, you can just glue them together? Out of every single person who bought the DVD, for every three people got the DVD, one person would buy the kit right there.
So, that’s what we call a funnel. A funnel is where you take people through a sales process. Someone buys a DVD, and then someone buys the kit. So, that’s kind of what a funnel is. I know it’s kind of confusing, but that is what a funnel was. So, we did it for my own business. I did it for a lot of other people’s businesses, and then one day I met this guy named Todd. He’s my business partner in ClickFunnels. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, though. You guys know where Atlanta is? Couple of you guys. So, he lives in Atlanta, way over there, and he said, what if we build software that makes it super easy for people to make websites and funnels the way that you do. So, he built the software and we decided to call it ClickFunnels.
So, what we do is we help entrepreneurs and we teach them about stuff like this. Teach them how to start their own businesses and then they use ClickFunnels to build-out their web pages and their funnels. So, that’s how we got the idea for ClickFunnels. And you guys know what a Funnel Hacker is on your shirt?
Russell: A Funnel Hacker is someone who uses ClickFunnels. So, you guys are all Funnel Hackers now. So, that means you are a part of our tribe. So, all of our people they say, I’m a Funnel Hacker.
Kid: What was your most exciting part of starting your business?
Russell: Most exciting? So, there’s this guy, he’s 6’7″. You know how tall that is? It’s like this tall. His head’s like this big, and he’s super-famous. His names is Tony Robbins. Any of you guys ever heard of Tony Robbins before?
Russell: You guys have?
Russell: He could be. Anyway, Tony Robbins is cool. He was someone I saw him in movies, on TV, and he was super-famous. I always thought he was awesome. So, about 10 years ago, I got to meet him, and then he had me fly out to Fiji. You guys know where Fiji is? You do? Fiji’s awesome. He owns a resort in Fiji, so I flew to Fiji and I got to speak at his seminar. Then he spoke at my seminar which was super cool, and then recently we became business partners. So, I got to be friends with somebody who was my hero for a long time, and I even became friends and business partners with him. So, that’s probably the most exciting to be able to hang out with a giant, he’s literally a giant. He is so cool.
Kid: What was the most expensive part of your business?
Russell: So, for ClickFunnels there’s over 300 people that work here. Not all of them in this office, but it costs us a few million dollars a month to pay everybody who works here. So, that’s by far the most expensive is all of the people. Okay. But they are amazing people, so we love it.
Kid: What was the most fun part?
Russell: Ooh, the most fun part? Let’s see. I think the very first time I made my very first sale, that was so fun because I tried to sell something, nobody bought it. Then very first time somebody gave me money, I made $20. Someone bought something on the internet from me, I made $20. I was so excited that I called my wife up, I said, we made $20. She said, that’s not very much money. I said, I know, but it’s the very first time I made money on the internet. So, we went out to dinner and spent that $20 on dinner and a movie. And then guess what?
Russell: The next day, the person who paid the $20, he asked for a refund and I had to give it back. But it was the very first one, so it was still exciting.
Kid: Can we watch your potato gun video?
Russell: Oh, I can give one to your teachers, if they want to make a whole class on potato guns, I don’t think… But that’s up to them, not to me.
Russell: That would be a cool class in school, but I think Potato Gun 101. Yes?
Kid: Like, on the commercials it cost a lot of money. Have you ever been in debt from the commercials?
Russell: Mm-hmm, yeah, a couple of times we tried to… A couple of times we did commercials and they didn’t make any money, and we got in some debt. But we were able to pay it off. What happens a lot of times, a lot of times you’ll do a lot of different commercials or ads, and sometimes some of them work and some don’t work, but hopefully you get more that work than don’t work. And the other thing is if you put a commercial on TV, it costs a lot of money, but if you put a commercial on Facebook, it doesn’t cost very much money.
Kid: What made you come up with the name ClickFunnels? What’s the inspiration for that?
Russell: Great question. So, we had this other company that we tried to start back in the day called ClickFusion. I was thinking that’s a cool name. I don’t know why we thought it was kind of cool, but guess what? That business failed three times. It kept failing, and so when we started the idea for ClickFunnels, Todd, who is my business partner, I said we should call it ClickFusion. He’s like, ClickFusion always fails. It’s bad luck. We should call it something different. Like what should we call it? Like Click Waffles, Waffle Funnels, Funnel Ice Cream, Funnel Cake, Funnel, and then all of a sudden he said, ClickFunnels. I was like, ooh, that sounds cool. Let’s see if we could buy it, and nobody owned it. So, we’re like, yes, so we bought ClickFunnels.
Kid: What do you sell besides weapons of death by potato?
Russell: So, besides weapon of death by potatoes? So, I’ve written some books. Want to see? So, I’ve written these books. I wrote this book right here called Expert Secrets. I wrote a book called DotComSecrets. So, I sell these books. We also do seminars where we have entrepreneurs from all around the world. They fly actually here to Boise sometimes. We actually, last week we had people here from all around the whole world and they pay us to teach them how to build funnels, and then we also sell ClickFunnels as software. So, most of our money comes from ClickFunnels from the software. We use these as coaching people on how to build businesses or it’s the ClickFunnels software. That’s where most of the money comes from now.
Kid: Where were you originally from?
Russell: I grew up in Utah.
Russell: Yep, I grew up in Utah and then I actually, I told you I was a wrestler, remember? So, I wrestled, then I wrestled at BYU, and then BYU dropped the wrestling program, so I was like where should I got to wrestle? And Boise State had a program, so I moved to Boise, and I’ve been here ever since.
Kid: Is it hard or easy to own your company?
Russell: Ooh, good question. Some days it’s really easy because I wake in the morning and I’m like, I can do whatever I want. I don’t have to wake up. But some days it’s really, really hard. Some days you wake up and it’s like, for me I have 300 people to work for me, so if we don’t make money, then where are they going to get paid from? And somebody and they have all their kids. Sometimes it’s kind of a stressful thing to manage a lot of people who rely on us. So, some days it’s really nice. I go on vacation for a week and not worry about it, or a couple of weeks, but some days it’s really stressful. So, that’s with entrepreneurship there’s really good things and really scary things at the same time.
Kid: Why is your logo like a tablet with gears?
Russell: Oh, good question. So, when we started ClickFunnels, we needed a logo design, so we hired this guy, his name is Mantis, kind of like praying mantis, but he’s Mantis. He lives over in Europe somewhere. I don’t even know. And so I said I want a really cool logo, but I don’t know what it looks like. So, he designed 20 different logos and a whole bunch of different ones, and that was one of the ones he designed. I was like, ooh, it’s kind of cool. That was my favorite one. I like the gears because we can do gears like, on my jeep we could have gears on it. We could put gears on our T-shirts and things like that. So, that was just the favorite one I liked of all the different ones that he designed.
Kid: Did you ever get like, when you wrestled, did you ever get really hurt really bad?
Russell: Nothing too bad. I got hurt a little bit, but I never broke a bone or anything super bad.
Kid: What was your favorite part about starting your business?
Russell: I think my favorite part is my boys now are wrestling. My kids, they do a lot of sporting things, and it’s cool because I can leave any time I want in the middle of the day, and go and see them. Go see them at wrestling practice, or I can do things like that. I kind of set my own schedule. So, those are my favorite things. I can set my own schedule and be able to to whatever I want.
Kid: Were you nervous at all?
Russell: Oh yes, all the time I get nervous. Especially sometimes I get to standup… So, this is kind of a little stage, and there’s about, I think about 50 people can fit in here. But this year in February I spoke at a baseball stadium with 35,000 people in it. So, I walked on this huge stage and there’s 35,000 people, and that was really scary, but it was pretty cool too.
Kid: If you don’t have this restrictive access, what’s the next product you plan on selling if you are going to?
Russell: Oh, that’s a good question. I love software. The software business is fun because you create it once, and people pay you every single month for it. So, I think if I ever sold ClickFunnels or if I ever got unrestricted access to whatever, I’d probably call my business partner, Todd, up I’d say, okay, let’s build some more software. This will really be fun because it’s really nice. Some businesses are hard because it’s like you have to ship products from China, or the supplements, you have to get all the materials and mix them all. This ones just nice because it’s like we have a bunch of programmers who make the software better every single day. But people are just buying the software, they keep paying every single month. They keep using it.
Kid: Also, I’m wondering where did you get your, you know, you said you had that extra pack with all the tubes and stuff, where did you get those things? Do you ship them in?
Russell: Oh, the sell the kits?
Russell: There was a guy in Northern Idaho who I met who was selling potato guns online. He wasn’t selling very many of them. So, I bought a kit from him and I’m like, these are really cool. So, I called him and I said, hey, you’re selling these kits, I’m selling DVD, if I sell your kit and I pay you for it, will you ship it out to people? And he said, yeah. So, I think, I can’t remember exactly. I think I’d pay like $50 to buy the kit from him, and I’d sell it for $200. So, basically, somebody would give me $200 and then I would send him $50, and he’d send the kit to them. It was really cool.
Kid: Would ClickFunnels be something that smaller YouTubers would may be beneficial to them or would it be like-
Russell: You want to be a YouTuber? No, for sure. In fact, we have a… Did you see the bathroom hallway yet or the kitchen? So, we have a really cool thing that we created, it’s called the Two Comma Club. When somebody makes a million dollars inside of a funnel, we give them this huge gold record and there’s two commas in it. Do you know why it’s called Two Comma Club? Okay, this is why. If you draw a million dollars, this is what a million dollars looks like. That’s a million dollars. How many commas are in a million dollars?
Russell: Oh, so we call it the Two Comma Club. So, anytime somebody makes over a million dollars, we send them a trophy like this and there’s two commas it says, you’re in the Two Comma Club. So, when you guys see we send them a big one like this big, and then we put a small one in our office. So, when you guys do a tour, you’ll see all these all over the place. And then there’s a silver one that means they made $10 million in side of funnel.
So, anyway, I was going to tell you this because we have some kids right now, there’s one kid who’s I think… What’s Caleb, Caleb’s 17 or did he just turn 18? Well, anyway, one kid was like 17 or 18, he won a Two Comma Club award. We’ve got a couple of other kids that are teenagers that are like 15, 16 year old, that have almost won a Two Comma Club award. So, there are kids that are not that much older than you that are doing this. We had one girl who was here last week, when she was 13 years old, her mom taught her about how this whole business works, and she started selling scarves. And at 13 years old, she made over $100,000 on the internet selling scarves. Is that crazy? And then when she turned 16, she didn’t want to get a driver’s license because she had too much money, so she just had Ubers drive her around everywhere. So, she never got a driver’s license. That’s how much money she had. That be crazy? Take an Uber to school every day.
Kid: If you’re just selling merchandise on your channel, like you know how YouTubers sell merchandise?
If you were to make some merchandise, would it be worth it to advertise it through your ClickFunnels or no?
Russell: Yeah, for sure.
Russell: Yep, for sure.
Kid: What was the part that you found most interesting?
Russell: Ooh, the most interesting? Definitely is all the different people we’ve had a chance to meet. So, people that started using ClickFunnels. First we didn’t know who was going to use it, and then we started meeting these amazing people. Like there’s one guy, his name’s Chris, and Chris had cancer. He almost died of cancer, and he figured out how to fight cancer, and he ended up not dying. So, he wrote a book called Chris Beat Cancer, and he was trying to sell it. He started selling it on ClickFunnels, and he’s helped tens of thousands of people to overcome, to be able to fight cancer now from his book which is really, really cool. That was just one person, and there’s so many interesting people like people selling all sorts of things. So, definitely my favorite part is just seeing all the cool people that we’re helping and letting them sell more of their products to help more people.
Kid: What other awarenesses do you help with?
Russell: So, the main ones that we do, we do Operation Underground Railroad to help children from slavery. We go to Kenya every year. We build schools in Kenya for kids out there. And then we, a lot of the people that work with us do stuff like, one of these guys, he helps gym owners to build up their gyms, and last month… You guys know who Arnold Schwarzenegger is?
Russell: Arnold Schwarzenegger is like Mr. Olympia like 20 years, like the strongest man ever for a while, he gave $100,000 to Arnold Schwarzenegger to The Boys and Girls Program or, yeah Boys and Girls. So, we got to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger to give him $100,000 to help all these kids. So, a lot of people that we help, help tons of different organizations and charities too. It’s really cool.
Kid: What was the hardest part of your job?
Russell: For a long time the hardest part was how to fire somebody. Oh, that was the worst. Someone works for you and they’re not doing a very good job, you’d be like, I have to fire you. In fact, the first time I fired someone, guess what happened afterwards?
Russell: I cried for like 10 minutes. It was really bad. I don’t fire people anymore which is really nice. The hardest thing now is sometimes when ClickFunnels has a problems, we have 89,000 people that use our software, so like one time we were flying to London and when I was in the air, ClickFunnels went down, and everybody’s websites, and everybody’s Funnels went down. When I landed, people were super mad, and I got thousands of messages on my phone, everyone who was mad that all of their websites were down, and that was not very much fun. So, those are the hard parts sometimes when stuff like that happens.
Kid: What’s the hardest part that happened to you before, like in the start of your business?
Russell: The start of my business? Twice I almost went bankrupt. Twice when I started making a little bit of money, and then I lost it all. That was the first time I had like probably six or seven employees, and then I couldn’t afford it all, and we almost lost it all. The second time I built it to 100 employees, I was like, this is amazing. And then everything fell apart and I had to fire 80 people in one day. Oh, that was really hard too, so there’s a lot of ups and downs.
Someone earlier, oh you back here earlier said you didn’t want to be an entrepreneur because of the risks. So, the nice thing to being an entrepreneur, there’s two things, right. There’s a lot of risks. Like a lot of times you can fail, and if you fail, you don’t get paid anything. Like when I show up at work, I don’t guarantee to get money. When you’re an employee, if you get a job, you always get paycheck every two weeks. For me, I didn’t get a guarantee. But the upsides is that you can make unlimited money. So, you have unlimited… There’s no ceiling on it, so you kind of have the both. You can lose everything or you can make everything, but that’s the scary part of it. But I still think it’s worth it.
Kid: It’s sort of like a teeter-totter, like hanging off a cliff. You either fall or you live, so. Risk or no risk? You go on it, you risk your life. You don’t, you stay alive.
Russell: There you go. The entrepreneur teeter-totter, you either live or you die. The last question. Make sure it’s the best one ever.
Kid: What’s your favorite part about your job?
Russell: All of the people that work here at ClickFunnels are my best friends, so my favorite thing to come in everyday and I get to see all of my best friends. We all get to hangout and talk about business, and have ideas and brainstorm, and it’s just fun to hangout with all of my friends everyday.
Man: I’ll give you one more final maybe tough question.
Russell: All right.
Man: As you’ve built this, obviously, you’ve had to venture out into different things whether that’s speaking, or hiring people and firing people, all these different things. What would you say has been the greatest fear that you’ve had to face?
Russell: It’s tough because there’s a lot of fears that go into starting a business because the path never, there’s never a path. It’s always you’re just kind of like, so when you hire your first employee, you’re like do I hire somebody, do I have enough money to hire? Like what’s the rule, what’s the laws? I don’t even know, but I know I need help. It’s just like you hire them, and then you’re like waiting for everything to collapse. Then you’re like, okay, nothing bad happened. Okay, cool, then you hire another person. My first time I hired eight employees before I knew I had to pay taxes. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I had no idea, and I found out later. It’s like, oh, you have to pay taxes and payroll tax, and like I didn’t know that. So, like you have to go fix all the problems that you made, but I think a lot of times for me the scary part is I just didn’t know anything. I was just kind of just stepping out.
I was passionate about stuff so I was trying to create things, and as I was creating things, that’s when to be able to support the art of what we were trying to do, like you had to figure out all of the other stuff along the way. But we were so passionate with what we were doing, it made it worth it.
But just the fear of like at every step of it, because there’s a million books but you don’t know which book to read for this problem or this situation. A lot of times you read a book later, you’re like, oh, that would have been awesome to know way back here. So, a lot of it is just being willing to risk it all and just hope for the best and hope you figure it out as you go. I heard someone say one time it’s like you’re jumping out of an airplane and you’re building the parachute as you’re falling. You know, like I hope I get this thing figured out before I hit the ground. That’s what it feels like most days, especially the early days.
Less nowadays. We’ve got pretty good structure in place now, but initially it was a lot of that kind of stuff. That’s why I think a lot of people don’t do the entrepreneurship because that first step is really scary. It’s not like I know this is the path, get a degree, go to college, get a job. There’s no path like that. It’s like okay, go create something and the market will tell you if you’re worth it or not. That’s kind of scary to put yourself out there a lot of times.