Foundr Magazine Podcast with Nathan Chan          151: How to Build a Cult Following Tribe Resulting in 10’s of Millions of Annual Recurring Revenue Russell Brunson         


151: How to Build a “Cult-ure” Like Following Resulting in 10’s of Millions of Annual Recurring Revenue with Russell Brunson


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Russell Brunson, Owner of ClickFunnels

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Making it Click: How ClickFunnels’ Founder Russell Brunson Built a Multi-Million Dollar Movement

Learn how this passionate godfather of the modern sales funnel created a more than just a company – he created a movement.

Russell Brunson was just a guy in Boise, Idaho. A town known more for its potatoes than it’s startup culture. Yet as a college student and wrestler at Boise State University, he built a foundation that led to selling more than a million dollars of products in his first year after graduation and became the genesis of ClickFunnels.

Eager to make his own way and cut his parent’s purse strings, Brunson looked for ways to make money online while still a university student. He sold potato gun DVDs and created websites for everything from couponing to dating. He confesses that while he did not know it at the time, what he was really building was a sales funnel.

And Then One Day it Clicked…

russell brunson

It was not the sale of products that had become his obsession but the study of consumer behavior. He gathered up his co-founders and the group spent a solid week in front of a white board mapping out the concepts for ClickFunnels. At its core, the company had to address two things:

  1. Making sales funnels work better
  2. Training others to get as much out of their funnels as possible

In the early days, Brunson funded the venture through the sale of his online products. This kept him seriously interested in every dollar they spent to acquire a customer. At one point, ClickFunnels was paying $120.00 for every free trial download through Facebook, money that came directly out of Brunson’s wallet. For a company that is experiencing serious growth, this is music to a VC’s ears but not to Brunson, he turned off the ads. “I’m not going to pay $120.00 out of my own pocket for a customer!” he recalls.

Practicing What We Preach

Instead of taking on investors (and there were some offers) the ClickFunnels team doubled down on their own brand of funding – funnels. “We have had a couple VCs that want to give us money. funny because they just don’t understand our model. They don’t understand how the whole thing works” Brunson says, “our software makes it so we don’t have to do things like that.”

The ClickFunnels team created front-end funnels to fuel their growth. The company now has over one hundred employees and 36,000 members and is still “insanely profitable.” Every paid customer acquisition results in direct profit. “We did it smarter. We practice what we preach” Brunson says proudly.

This “eat what you kill” mentality is alive and well within ClickFunnels and it helps the company retain the best talent. Brunson recognizes that those with an entrepreneur mindset are very best type of employee to have but also the hardest to keep. “Entrepreneurs works the hardest and they have the talent, skills, ability, and work ethic but as soon as they figure it out they are gone.” To keep this from happening, he cultivates an entrepreneurship culture at ClickFunnels that ensures his top employees see growth as a direct result of their work.

russell brunson

The ClickFunnels Cult

ClickFunnels is more than just a tool or a company. Thanks to Brunson’s efforts, its community has become its greatest asset. “A software company is cool but there is no soul around a software company…I want to build a movement, a culture” Brunson says. This led to an in-depth look at mass movements and cults during which Brunson studied Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement, Jesus Christ and Christianity, and Steve Jobs and Apple.

He discovered that each had three core things in common:

  1. A charismatic leader
  2. A focus on the future
  3. An offer of a new opportunity

Every movement has to have someone in charge – a physical person that can grip their audience and deliver the message. Obviously, for ClickFunnels, this is Brunson. Focusing on the future gives everyone in the group the feeling of being on a journey together. To determine what this future should look like, Brunson looked to his own experience as an entrepreneur.

While still in college, Brunson had the goal of making $1000.00 a month from his online ventures. Then he met Traffic Secrets author John Reese and learned that Reese generated over a million dollars in the 18 hours following his book launch. “He broke the four minute mile for me…how do we create something that breaks the four minute mile for our customers” Brunson says. The Two Comma Club was born. At large events, Brunson hands out trophies to every ClickFunnels member with a sales funnels that breaks a million. The Club made it real and now everyone wants in.

Next, Brunson threw out every word that ends in –er. A new opportunity is not a way to do something “better” it is something that is completely new. “For me to admit that you are going to make me better, I also have to admit that I suck at that thing,” Brunson says. Who wants to start the sales process there? To offer something new, get rid of everything that came before and start over. That is what the company’s product does – it offers a completely new way to look at the sales process.

To round out the movement, the ClickFunnels team is continually giving away t-shirts that generate excitement and keep their members connected. Every member of the ClickFunnels community feels like they are a part of something amazing – the sales process doesn’t get much better than that.

What’s next for Brunson and ClickFunnels? Expect to see more amazing stuff because Brunson is a founder that is truly passionate about building his empire, “it’s been the most rewarding thing ever…I love it,” he says.

russell brunson

Becoming an Expert

What does it take to find your message, build a tribe, and change the world? Brunson shares his tricks!

  1. Live the life your audience wishes to live. “People will follow you because you have completed the journey they are on right now, and they want the result you’ve already achieved. They want to become like you.”
  2. Give them a vision. People want to plug into something bigger than themselves. Your job is to create that vision. Give them something they can place their faith and hope in. Change their perception of what’s possible. Help them identify with who they are in your group.
  3. Give them a new opportunity. Most people have tried to improve in the past and it didn’t work. They don’t want to be reminded of that pain. Instead, give them something brand new. People always believe “the grass is greener on the other side.” Offer to help people move away from their painful situation into a brand new situation.

Persuasion 101

Are you having a hard time persuading people to buy into what you’re doing? If so, it’s probably because they don’t believe you. Here are Brunson’s 4 keys to creating belief:

  1. Focus on only ONE thing. The more things you ask people to believe, the less likely they’ll take action.
  2. Use stories. You have to get people to have the same experience you did when you experienced your epiphany. Avoid using “techno babble” that they won’t understand. Go back to the beginning and tell them how you first discovered what you’re so excited about today.
  3. Help them overcome their doubts. Once people understand the new opportunity, their next reaction is usually to doubt that it will work for them. Tell another story about how you were nothing special when you started but it still worked for you.
  4. Show them how to get started. Even if people believe in your new opportunity they will tend to believe that they can’t get started due to a lack of money or other resource. Tell them another story to show them how they can still succeed even if they’re starting from scratch.

Key Takeaways

  • The key to building an effective sales funnel
  • How to inspire and build a community around your brand
  • What qualities you need to be a leader who inspires
  • Why the best way to understand your market is to be your own customer
  • How to find and keep A-players on your team

Full Transcript of the Podcast with Russell Brunson

Nathan: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Foundr Podcast. My name is Nathan Chan, and I’m the CEO and publisher of Foundr Magazine. And I’m coming to you from Melbourne, Australia. Hometown, homegrown. Boy, do I love this place. Jeez, I just love Melbourne so much. It’s why I say it. I say it with pride.

All right. So, let’s talk about today’s guest. His name is Russell Brunson, a very, very smart SaaS online entrepreneur. One thing I can tell you is I spent a lot of time, as you guys know, just speaking to very, very smart people. And also, like, you know, with the stuff that we do at Foundr, I study a lot of pieces of software, I study a lot of businesses. And, you know, this is businesses in all sorts of different industries as well, not just online, offline, brick and mortar, e-Commerce, apps, you name it.

And I’m always thinking and looking and watching businesses grow, and Russell Brunson is the founder of a company called ClickFunnels. Now, we are a paid customer of ClickFunnels. I love that software. It’s absolutely killer. Cannot recommend it enough. And another thing I will tell you, also, is he’s grown that company at an extremely rapid rate. It’s only been going for a couple of years and they’re doing tens of millions of dollars in annual recurring revenue, which is absolutely insane for a SaaS company to grow that fast. They’re self-funded.  And Russell is just a master of growth, a master of sales, a master of, you know, positioning offers and also building a very, very loyal tribe. When I’ve seen what he’s done with ClickFunnels, and just building a cult following, it’s absolutely insane. And I just think you guys are in for an absolute treat.

He has launched a book about this as well, about how he’s built a cult following around his brand and a movement. He started an absolute revolution around funnel hacking, building funnels. And it’s something that you definitely wanna consider. And one thing I will tell you is at Foundr, one thing that we’re thinking about always now, is when somebody goes through the purchasing process, let’s say you subscribe to the magazine, for example, that breathes another opportunity to raise your average order value. Now, this is not, you know, internet markety, scammy, salesy stuff. Very, very big businesses do these kinds of things all day every day, where they try and raise average order value. And just while you’ve captured a customer’s attention, there’s more likely a chance to let them know about other products or services that you have. There’s a much higher chance that they’re gonna be interested.

You look at, like, Vistaprint, the business card service that hits you with so many different upsells, downsells, cross-sells, it’s insane. You look at Amazon. Many of these companies do this, and it’s very, very smart. And ClickFunnels, and also Russell, is a big proponent of, you know, adding a lot of different items to the sales process, upsells, downsells, cross-sales to increase your average order value, especially if you’re paying to acquire a customer. So, you’re doing Facebook ads, you know, Google AdWords, paying for traffic. It’s something to think about because on the front end, Russell, you know, for every $1 he spends, he makes, I think, $8 or $16 or something along those lines. So, you can see how he starts to build a profitable business very, very fast and how he scales that. He just spends, spends, spends. So, you know, that’s another thing I’m learning about scaling a company, you have to have, you know, some form of paid acquisition as part of one of your channels once you take it to multiple seven figures or seven figures plus. It’s just how you get to the next level, it’s how you get to 5 million, it’s how you get to 10 million. You have to be able to scale, also, via paid acquisition.

All right. So that’s enough rambling from me. If you are enjoying these episodes, please do take the time to leave us a review on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify. Wherever you’re listening, it would help more than you could imagine. Also, make sure if you are enjoying this, please do let one of your friends, I know that you must have friends that are founders, friends that are new to entrepreneurship and business. Please, let them know, it helps us grow. I am on a mission to build a household name, entrepreneurial brand which impacts the lives of tens of millions of founders all around the world, and I can’t do it without your help. All right, guys, that’s it from me. Now, let’s jump into the show.

The first question I ask everyone that comes on is, how did you get your job?

Russell: My job, my current job, I guess, so…I’ve never been asked in that way before. You know, when I got started in this business, I was wrestling in college and I started trying to learn how to figure out how to make money online. And I was…interesting. I was building, I didn’t know it at the time we were building funnels. I build a potato gun website, we were selling potato gun DVDs. We built ones in the couponing market, and the dating market, and the weight loss and a bunch of different…these funnels. And it became kind of an obsession for us, for me and my team for, probably like, eight or nine years or so. And then I found some amazing partners who…one day, we sat down, we had this idea for this thing that’s become…today, it’s called ClickFunnels. We kinda had an idea for this project, and we sat in front of a whiteboard for a week, we mapped out the concepts, and we launched this thing. And, you know, it was about two and a half years ago that it went live. Now, that’s my job, I guess, is being the CEO, whatever, the head of ClickFunnels.

It’s been a fun ride because it’s something that I am insanely passionate about, something we did for 10 years. It’s something we always thought about and dreamt about was that, like, how to make these funnels, how to make them work better. And now we’ve got a tool that makes it so easy. And then now it’s just like, how to make this better for our community and how do we train other people to do it. And how do we, kind of, spread what we’ve learned over the last 10 years and help other entrepreneurs to be able to have success like we did. And it’s been the most rewarding thing ever, I love it.

Nathan: Yeah, no. Amazing. So, I said off air that at Foundr, we’re big customers of yours. I think we pay for the biggest plan at ClickFunnels. It’s an amazing product. We’ve actually switched, 100%, from Leadpages to ClickFunnels. Awesome tool, absolutely love it. And we build a lot of funnels at Foundr. And I think, one thing that’s really, really impressed me with your story out of all the founders that I speak to, is that you guys are bootstrapped, and you’re growing very, very fast and you make money every time you pay to acquire a customer.

Russell: Yes. It’s funny. We have had a couple VCs that have come in that have wanted to give us money. And it’s just been funny because they don’t understand our model and they don’t understand how the whole thing works, they don’t understand. And so, yeah, we basically, you know, we definitely bootstrapped it. You know, I had my business on the side selling things through funnels, and that funded the initial building of it. And, you know, my partners, they put in their sweat equity and they put in their time and their energy to build out ClickFunnels. And then, you know, pretty much from day one it was profitable and we never saw a purpose for taking on money. So, we started kinda growing it ourselves. And it’s remained…even with, now, we’ve got over 100 employees, it’s still insanely profitable. And so we just have never looked at that.

And like you said, it’s interesting, like, most businesses, they look at it like…you create the company and then you need investing…you need investors to come and fund, like, the growth and the acquisition, those kinds of things. And so we had to do it different because, you know, all the initial growth and acquisition was coming out of my own pocket. So, I had to pull my wallet out and pay for all that. So, I was like, “I can’t do what these other guys are doing, you know?” Like, it’s interesting, our first meeting with a potential VC and they came in and they asked, like, “Well how much is it costing you to acquire a customer?” And we said, “Well, we’re spending about $120 on Facebook to get a free trial.” And they’re like, “Oh, great, you know. That’s amazing. We can put money behind that.” And we’re like, “Well, we actually turned those ads off.” And they’re like, “Well, why did you turn them off?” I was like, “I’m not gonna pay 120 bucks out of my own pocket for a customer.” I’m like, “The coolest thing is, like, this software. What we do makes it so you don’t have to do things like that.”

So, instead, we created these front-end funnels, like, my book funnel and like…we’ve got just different front end funnels, webinar funnel, things like that, that we can go and we can spend money to acquire customers through. But we actually make money upfront before they are introduced into ClickFunnels. So, like, one good example is my book funnel, and right now, we spend about $12 on Facebook to give away one of my books. It’s free, plus shipping so they do put a credit card in. But then after they come in that, into that funnel, then we sell them the audiobook, we sell them a training course and two or three other things, immediately during the point of sale. And right now, we average about $32 for every person who buys the book. So, we spend 12 on Facebook, we make 32 immediately, and then we introduce those people into ClickFunnels. And so, like, we got paid $20 net in our pocket before that person was ever introduced to ClickFunnels. And that’s how we’re able to grow our company. And, you know, we’re two and a half years in, we’re at 36,000 active members. And we’re growing faster than any VC backed company that I know. And we’re doing it because we just had to do it smarter, and we had to do it through the funnels that…we practice what we preach and it works.

Nathan: Yeah, I see. And I’m curious when it comes to…because I think, man, you’re one of the best, and I was saying this to a friend. Like, you are really on fire right now with just growth. And I see you everywhere. You’re really on fire right now. And I’m curious. One thing that you guys have done that’s really, really smart, is you’ve built this massive Facebook community, and you’re really, really good at wrapping community around this product. Like, you have absolute serious evangelists. Besides building a great, great product, how have you done that? How have you got people to be so passionate about a technology product like…even, like, someone in my team, he always wears your funnel hacker T-shirt. Like, man, I really wanted to know…like, can you give our audience, like founders that are listening to this a bit of an insight around how you’re doing that and a bit of a framework to work with or something?

Russell: Oh, 100%. So, actually, this is, like, a topic that’s top of mind for me right now. I just finished my second book that’s rolling out in a couple of weeks but…it’s called “Expert Secrets.” And the first, like, third of the book is all about that, like, what you just asked, that’s all I’m talking about, is how do you build a mass movement, like a culture of people. We call them cultures, but like, it’s a cult of people that are obsessed with your product. And for me, the first time I kinda started thinking about this, I was at a…one of my friends had signed me up for network marketing program. And I joined and he’s like, “You gotta come to the meeting.”

So, I went to this event. And I’m down at this event, and there’s, like, 5000 or 6000 people in this room. And everyone’s there and they’re talking about the product, and they’re crying, and they’re telling stories and all these things. And I’m sitting there and I’m looking around and I was talking to people, and I realized that most of the people in that room hadn’t made enough money from that network marketing company to even have covered their flight or their hotel to the event. But they were so passionate about the product and they just, like…they wanted to share and talk and they were just so excited. And I remember looking at that. Actually, it was a card sending software, and the software wasn’t…honestly, it wasn’t even that good of software. But they had built this movement and people, like, were bought into this bigger vision.

I remember talking to one of my friends there and he looked at me and he said, “It’s a software company, but they’ve wrapped this huge thing around this mission and people have bought into that. And that’s why it’s so powerful.” And so when we started launching ClickFunnels, I was like, “Huh.” Like, a software company’s cool, right? But like, there’s no soul to a software company. It’s just kinda like, “Oh.” And people will switch from tool…I’ve watched that my whole, you know, last 12 years in this business, watch people switch from tool…like, wherever the hot thing is, they just move to the thing, right? Because that’s what’s cool. As we started building ClickFunnels, I’m like, “I wanna build it the way that those guys built that, where it’s a movement and it’s a culture, and it’s a whole bigger thing than that.

And so about that time, it was kinda fun. I went in this period where I started, like, geeking out and studying mass movements and cults and things like that. Like, how do they work and what are the commonalities? And what makes these things…not cults but movements like Christ and Christianity. And you look at companies like Apple. And I started studying all these different movements. And what was interesting is that all of them had three core things that they all had. And that’s exactly the first section of the “Expert Secrets” books is this. It’s just three things.

And the first thing all of them had is some type of, like, charismatic leader, right, someone who’s out there and who’s sharing, and who’s talking, and who’s inspiring. Like, there’s always a figurehead. Like, Apple had Steve Jobs. Like, they all had a person. It wasn’t just a company or a brand. There was, like, a physical person who was leading the charge. Number two is that all of them were…these movements were all focused on, like, a future-based thing. Like, “Where are we going?” It wasn’t like, “We’re gonna make this thing better,” or whatever. It was like, “We’re going somewhere together.” And how do you create that? And so we wanted to build this community, like, we’re all going somewhere together. And that’s where these shirts, you know, we got, probably a dozen shirts we made, like the funnel hacker ones, I build funnels. And shirts that people can wear that they identify with, like, “I am a funnel hacker. I build funnels.” Like, we give away tons of shirts in our community. We try to, like…the whole future-based cause like, “Where are people trying to go?”

And I remember…I have a website that kinda tells this story in a little more detail. But when I got started in this business, I remember my initial goal was to make $1000 a month, that was my…I was really…my mind was big. I thought I was gonna be really successful if I made 1000 bucks a month, and that was what I was kinda going towards. And as I was doing that and I was starting my business, there was this guy that I met. His name was John Reece. And, about that time, he had launched a product. And he, during that launch, he made $1 million in a day. It was actually 18 hours it took him to make $1 million. I remember, like, looking at that, and for me, it was like he broke the four-minute mile.

I’m sure you’ve heard the story about Roger Bannister and, like, no one could break the four-minute mile. Then when he broke it, then, like, a whole bunch of people afterwards did it. And for me, like, John Reece broke that. He made $1 million in a day. And I was like, “I’m just gonna make $1000 a month. He’s made $1 million in a day, and he’s a human being just like me.” And so I was like, “That’s my goal. I gotta make $1 million, like, period.” So, I was like, “I’m gonna be a millionaire.” That was my goal. And then I started going towards that, and within the year, I’d made $1 million. And I was like, “Can I make $1 million in a year, like, in a 12-month period of time?” Then it took me three years to do that. And then I was like, “Okay. I’m gonna make $1 million in a month,” and then we did that. And then I was like, “I’m gonna make $1 million in a day.” And then we did that.

But because he had broken that barrier, like, I was able to, right? Because saw that it was possible. And so inside of our community, we’d start thinking of like, “How do we create something that breaks the four-minute mile for our members?” And so this was probably seven or eight months ago, I had some of the tech guys on our team go into our database and, “Who has a funnel that’s made at least $1 million?” And at the time, there were, like, 60 something people that had a funnel that made at least $1 million. And so we created this award called the 2 Comma Club. It’s this big, huge, gold record with big commas on it and big frame thing. And then, at our event, we handed out these trophies on stage. And it ended up, by the time the event happened, we had just shy of 100 people had won it. And each person came up on stage. We hand this big trophy, you know. And what was interesting is that since then, everybody I know is like, “That’s my goal. Make the 2 Comma Club. Maybe my 2 Comma Club.” And it made it real for everyone, where they could all see themselves doing that within our company, right?

And so there’s a huge movement, like everyone’s trying to move towards something. And so that was number two. So, the first one that every mass movement had was the charismatic leader. Number two is like a future-based movement they’re all moving towards. They’re all going towards a common goal they could see, that they could visualize. They felt belonging. You know, the teachers, they felt like they could identify with, “This is my movement. This is who I am.” And then the third thing that all these mass movements have is that they offered their audience a new opportunity. So they weren’t offering like, “We’re gonna help you make a better website. We’re gonna help you to…” Like, the opposite of a new opportunity is what I call, “An improvement offer.” Like, an improvement offer is you’re trying to help somebody to improve. “I’m gonna make you better or smarter or faster,” you know. But as soon as you say, like, faster, or basically any word that ends with E-R, like, if I’m gonna say, “Look, I wanna pay you to make me better,” that means I have to admit in my head that that means I’m not very good. And there’s this huge negative… Like for me to admit that you’re gonna make me better, I have to also admit that I suck at that thing.

And so there’s this…like, it’s really hard to sell somebody an improvement offer. And so every mass movement, they came out and, like, “I’m not trying to make you better. I’m gonna offer you a new opportunity.” Christ with Christianity was the same thing. He came back like, “Look, we’re not gonna… You have the law of Moses. I’m not gonna, like, take that and try to make it a little easier, make it a little better.” He’s like, “No, like, it’s gone. We’re getting rid of it. Here’s the new opportunity.” And he presented a whole new opportunity to them. Apple’s the same thing. Steve Jobs didn’t come out and say, “I’m gonna give you guys a CD that holds 50 songs.” He’s like, “No. Throw the CDs in the garbage.” You know, “Get rid of all this stuff.” Like, “You’re gonna have your entire CD collection in your pocket in this new little thing. This is a new opportunity.” So, every mass movement also had a new opportunity. And so as I started looking, I was like, “Those are the three things. There’s a charismatic leader, there’s a future-based movement they’re moving towards, and then they’re always given a new opportunity.”

And so as I started looking at it. I’m like, “Okay. How does that fit in our business?” And so I started looking. “Okay. Who’s gonna be the attractive character? How is that person gonna communicate with their audience? Where’s our goals? Where are we trying to get people to go? How do we get them to self-identify with our movement? What’s the new opportunity we’re offering them?” And as we started looking at those things, as soon as you become aware of them, then it’s like, “Okay. I need to structure the way I speak to my audience differently. I need to, you know, have somebody there. I need to do these kind of cool things.” And as we did those three things, like, honestly, that’s what’s built this huge mass movement of people. And it’s amazing to watch and it’s so cool to be part of it.

Nathan: Yeah, man. Like I said, that was serious gold, and thank you for sharing that. And, yeah, like I said, I’m really, really impressed just from watching and being a customer. We’ve been a customer for a while now. And just seeing the growth of the product and the growth of this movement that you’re creating, it’s really, really impressive. So, I’m gonna be a bit selfish and I’m gonna ask a few questions around our business. All right? And I’m hoping that our audience can be a fly on the wall and learn as well. So, we’ve got a couple of problems in our business. We’ve got quite a significantly sized audience, not enough products to help service that audience because entrepreneurship is quite broad and, you know, we really, really tackle many different elements of entrepreneurship and business building, all these kinds of things. And so we’re working on building a lot more products. We’re scaling up our courses. We plan to have at least 40 courses by the end of next year taught by instructors. Really, really high-production value courses. And that’s one piece of the puzzle we’re trying to fix. But at the same time, I’m struggling, dude, with, you know, working with agencies or consultants doing, you know, CRO, Facebook ads, all these kinds of things. And I’m curious. Like, for you to build funnels at the speed and scale that you do, you must have people internally, right? You don’t use contractors or people externally, right?

Russell: There’s been times in my business where I’ve had things external, but right now, we definitely have everything internal. And there’s a couple reasons for that. One is because that’s what we do, like, I’m obsessed with it. People always ask, like, “Russell, what’s your job in the business?” I’m like, “I build funnels.” Like, there’s me and Steven, me and him. There’s two guys sitting in this office, and like, that’s my role. I’m building funnels. Because it’s like, in my mind, that’s the most important part of the entire…like, everything else is just details. Like, the funnel’s the most important part. And so, like, my hands are in it every single day. And so that’s, like, a big part. Like, I wanna be able to see it because, like, I know my audience more than anybody else. I understand what they want, what they need. And If I’m not in there, I lose that. Like, I’ve watched these companies that take on VC money and the CEOs and the founders step out and they plug in these other people. And then I come in to compete with them and I’m thrashing them because they don’t understand the market. Like, they’re not the market anymore. Like, I am my market. I’m so obsessively passionate about this that, like, what we create is what I desire, what I want. And then I get so excited to tell everybody else about it and then they’re excited, and then like, that’s how we get buy-in and everybody comes in.

And then with traffic, it’s the same thing. Like, we tried in the past to outsource traffic agencies. And even the ones that were good, we’re like…we’d say, “We need to get a customer at whatever acquisition cost,” right? And so they’d do that. But then you factor in, like, their agency costs on top of it, and it never worked, right? Like, let’s say we needed a customer at $80 and it’s like, “Hey, we got customers at $80.” And we’re like, “Yeah, but when you add in your management fees, now we’re at, like, $160.” And, like, “Yeah, but if you take management fees out, we did exactly what you asked for.” We’re like, “Yeah, but it’s so expensive.” And then for us, like, this is changing so rapid, like, everything, right?

Especially right now, like, we’re at such a fun time in business where things are coming up. Like, Facebook Live’s come out and then this and this, and like all these tweaks and changes. Me as, like, the person who’s trying to drive this thing, I wanna try things all day long in my head agency. I’m like, “Okay, look. We did a Facebook Live today. We did this, we did this. Like, you need to promote all those.” And they’re like, “Well, you’re one of, like, 30 accounts. You’re asking me to do a lot of stuff.” And I’m like, “Well, yeah. Like, we’re trying to do a lot of stuff.” And they’re like, “Well, you know, you’re budgeted 10 hours a week.” And like, no. “I want 10 guys who have full-time just focusing on mine so that I can go and we can test 20, 30, 40 things and find the best ones, then double down on that, and triple down on that, and keep doing deeper and deeper.” And you can’t do that with an agency. And if they’re not in here…like, our traffic team’s in the office with me because they see all the stuff we’re creating and they’re looking at what we’re doing, like, “How can take that? And what can we do with that?” And where it’s hard for, like, you create a funnel and then you send an email to some team and like, they look at it and you hope that they get the gist. And then they spend their 10 hours on your project and it’s hard.

Nathan: Yeah, exactly. So that’s the problem that we’re finding because we’re trying to scale up, too, and you know, we need to connect our audience with all these new products that we’re launching because we’re building product out really, really fast now. And my question to you, Russell, is you guys are based out Boise, Idaho, right?

Russell: Mm-hmm.

Nathan: How do you find talent and really, really talented people that, you know, do CRO, build funnels, do Facebook ads, these kind of, you know, roles where somebody could do it…you know, starting their own company but they would choose to work at ClickFunnels? How do you find that kind of talent, especially being in Boise, Idaho, like how I’m in Melbourne, Australia?

Russell: Yeah. So of the 100-plus employees we have at ClickFunnels, only about, maybe 20 are here in Boise. Because you’re right, it’s hard to find talent sometimes in a local area that’s a smaller city. So that’s the big part. Second off is most of my talent is not found, like, in my city. It’s found in my community, like, my people. We hire from our member base. Like, I want people joining our team who are as passionate about this movement as I am. And so if you look at our support agents, like, when you talk to someone in our customer support, people are like, “Man, your support’s awesome.” I’m like, “Yes. Because they’re our members, like, they are you. They’re excited as you are. They’re building funnels at night when they’re offline with us because they love this, too.” And it’s like we’re bringing people from there.

And the other thing is to find really good people. Most of them don’t…how do you say it? Like, obviously, I’m an entrepreneur, you’re an entrepreneur. Like, entrepreneurs are the best people on one hand and they’re the worst on the other hand. Like, they’re the best people to work because they will get more done than, like, hundreds of non-entrepreneurs, right? In fact, I read an article. Todd, my partner in ClickFunnels, sent it to me. It was like, “An A-player is, like, 3200 times more productive than a B-player.” Thirty-two hundred times. Like, one A-player is worth 3200 B-players. Most try to get a B-player then try to, like, buy a training course, and give it to them, and hope that they can learn it. And that doesn’t work. And so then…or the other side is you hire an entrepreneur and you bring them in and you try to pay them like an employee. And that person produces for you. And then really quickly, the entrepreneur’s like, “Man, I’m producing for them but I could do the same thing on my own,” and then they’re gone. Because the entrepreneurs are like, the people you want because they have the talent, the skills, the ability, the work ethic, and all those things are there. But then they’re also the worst because as soon as they figure it out, then they’re gone, right? And so it’s like, “How do you harness that?”

So, like, what I’ve tried to do is, inside of this company, is to cultivate entrepreneurship within the company, especially, like, the higher level things. So the people we bring in for the bigger roles like that, yes, they are getting paid a good salary but they also are part of, like, our eat what you kill mentality. Like, a percentage of what they make, they get to keep. And so because of that, like, that’s what entrepreneurs need, is that growth from what they’re doing or else they’re gonna leave and they’re gonna find it somewhere else. So you look at the key people, the guy that runs all of our Facebook ads, my ad side as a whole, like, he gets paid really well, but he also gets a cut off everything we do. And so because of that, like, he’s not gonna leave to somewhere else because his efforts with his own project versus his efforts with our team’s projects, he’ll make way more here than he could somewhere else. And so you have to create opportunities that are so good for people that they’re not gonna go off on their own, otherwise, they will.

And it’s hard sometimes, like, Steven’s sitting over here. He’s one of my favorite people in the world. He’s been my assistant funnel builder. And he’s so talented that he keeps trying to go out and launch his own businesses and I’m like, “Okay, how do I incentivize him not to leave? How do I do…” Because like, he’s so amazing and if I lost him, I’d be screwed. And so it’s like, “Okay, how do we create this…an environment where he gets what he needs out of it, and he can be incentivized and make money out of it. And then, like, we all win together. And so that’s kind of the way I’ve tried to structure things with the producers on team. Because, I mean, like I said, 3200 times more valuable, a producer versus someone who’s, you know, a B-level person. So, yeah.

Nathan: Yeah, no. That’s really smart. So you think that we should look to find someone in our community?

Russell: Hundred percent. All of our ads go out to our community like, “Hey, we’re hiring people for this, this, and this. Who’s interested?” And what we do is we make them…I don’t even know if this is even legal, it might not be. But we’re like, “Make a video selling us on why you think you should work for us.” And so we’ll get 50 to 100 video responses from our team, people begging us. And we’ll find people who will take less than they’re already making because they love the movement and, like, they can work with us on our team on this thing that they love. They’ll take less money. They’ll do other things because they’re already bought into you and what you’re doing. And, like, to be part of that is so exciting. And so, yeah. All of our hires come from our members.

Nathan: Yeah, got you. That’s gold. Okay. Look, man, I could talk to you all day but we have to work towards wrapping up. Couple last things. We could talk about funnels, but I think the best way to talk about them is to watch one of your videos visually. So, we won’t really talk about that too much. But I’d just love to know, would you be able to walk somebody through one of your favorite funnels, just how it works and why it’s important to have funnels in your business, even if you have a local business? Don’t have to have an online business. Like, yeah. I’d love to hear that for our audience because some people might not know how powerful funnels are and why you need them in your business to connect your audience to your products or services.

Russell: Sure. Yeah. Like in my…the lens that I view the world through, like, the funnel is the most important thing, right? Like, it’s all that really matters. And so because, like, I’m always looking at that. And most people actually have funnels. Like, everyone’s got a funnel. But a lot of times, it’s just a really, really bad funnel, right? And sometimes, they’re online, sometimes, they’re offline, and things like that. And so, initially for people to start looking, start looking offline, like, where do you see really good sales processes happening? That’s all a funnel is. Like, you walk into…like, one of my favorite stores is GNC. It’s a vitamin store, right? And I walk into a GNC and despite the fact the I love buying supplements more than almost anything on earth, as soon as I walk in there, they immediately have someone from the back come up to you and are like, “Hey, can I help you today?” And I’m always like, “No, I’m just looking.” And then they awkwardly stare at you and you walk around, then you always try to leave really quick, right? So they have a funnel but it’s really bad.

It’s like having a website. You go to the site and there’s 1000 offers and you get there and you’re like, “I don’t know what to do,” and then they leave. Right, like, if I owned GNC, the funnel I would do, I’d have someone come in, I’d say, “Hey, welcome to GNC. You know, here’s a little sample of one of our new protein drinks. Here’s your protein drink.” And then they take that and they’re like, “Wow, like, I got a free protein drink.” They drink it and they come on in. Like, “Hey, over here, by the way, we got samples of this and this, and here’s one of our new things that came in. If you have any questions, let me know.” And I’d step back and I’d let these people come now and enjoy this experience, look around and see what they wanna see. And I would take them on a process.

And then as I saw them and I saw, hey, they’re holding up a bottle and, like, they’re looking at two different bottles, maybe like, “Okay, they have a question.” I’d come over and I’m like, “Hey, so I see you’re looking at two different proteins. Do you have any questions? Can I help you?” And then they’d be like, “Oh, yeah. Which one of these is better?” I’m like, “Well, this one’s the best but if you also took it with this thing over here, when you take these two products together, like, that’s what shreds you up the most and, you know, makes you feel the best, and gives you the best health.” They’d be like, “Oh, thank you so much. I will buy both of those now.” And then I’d walk them over to the cashier register, I’d check ’em out. And then I’d be like, “Hey, by the way, do you want a GNC gold card? If you get that gold card, you can come back every single month at a discount.” They’d say, “Yeah, sure.” And I’d give the GNC gold card. And then what I’d do is every month in the future, I call them on the phone and I invite them back to the store to come get their discount. And that’s how I would do a funnel if I was GNC, right?

And the same thing with my website. If I owned GNC’s website, I would turn that into a funnel, where you come to the first page it’s like, “Hey, welcome to GNC. By the way, we just got this new product. Do you want a free sample of it? Just give us your address, we’ll ship you out a free sample.” And they ship out a free sample. And then next page, like, “Hey, you got the free sample. We’ll give you a 50% discount if we just put a whole bottle of this stuff in right now because we’re already shipping you something anyway.” And they’re like, “Oh, cool. Yeah. I’ll do that for sure.” And then it’s like, “Oh, by the way, did you know that this works really good with this over here?” And I would just take them through a process just like that.

And so for me, funnels are everywhere and most people’s are just really, really bad. And if you have a website right now, you have a funnel but it’s more like a brick wall, right? And that’s what people need to understand is you’ve got one. You’re doing them offline, you’re bringing customers in somehow offline. Online, same thing. And if you’re not getting the customers you want, it’s because you’re funnel’s bad. And usually, it’s because you’re using old, outdated technology like a website that’s just like, “Here’s a brick wall you run someone into.” And so the funnels are all about, like… you know, for me it’s been 12 years of just geeking out and studying sales process and consumer behavior, and why do people do this, and where do they go from that. And I can take ’em through a process. And then, how do we replicate that online to give them an amazing experience as well? And when you do the funnel right, it does a couple things. First off, it gives your customer a way better experience. They come getting exactly what they wanted, they don’t have any questions. They leave happy. And second off, you make way more money from every single person that comes into your world, and it becomes a huge win-win for everyone.

Nathan: Yeah. Amazing. Awesome. Well, look, we have to work towards wrapping up. I’m curious, do you have any resources, great resources that you’d recommend for consumer behavior psychology sales processes that have really helped you?

Russell: Man, there’s so many good ones. Honestly, and I don’t want to pitch my own stuff, but, like, if you read the “DotCom Secrets” book, that’s basically 10 years of me kind of distilling all the stuff that I learned and breaking it down into really simple processes and sketching out all the sales processes and sales flows. That’s probably the best one. And in that book, I always give attribution to who I learned things from. And so it’s like, “Hey, this process right here, I learned over here. And this is where I learned this from.” And you can kinda go deeper on the concepts from the people you wanna learn from on specific areas of it.

Nathan: Yeah, no. Look, it’s an amazing book. I’d highly recommend it. I gave it to my whole team.

Russell: Oh, cool.

Nathan: Awesome. All right, dude. Well, last question is…it’s been an awesome chat. Where’s the best place people can find you and your work, and find out more about your new book?

Russell: Yeah. The best place, let’s see. Probably, the best place is to just go to In fact, we’re just updating that funnel right now as we speak, but it has links out to most of the core things. It has links to ClickFunnels and software products. It has links to books and things like that. And you can find everything there.

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