Do you have a business or side hustle, and you struggle with online presence? You are not alone. Cash Crone asked Russell Brunson, CEO and co-founder of ClickFunnels, to weigh on on the topic. ClickFunnels is a simple-to-use marketing solution for entrepreneurs and business owners interested in marketing their products online. ClickFunnels was entirely self-funded – and today it is worth billions. Besides ClickFunnels, Brunson owns several businesses that sell technology products, health products, and more. He is also the author of the book, Expert Secrets: Find Your Message, Build a Tribe, and Change the World. Most of all, Brunson prides himself on being a family man.
Cash Crone: We read that you sold a DVD on how to build a potato launcher while a student at Boise State University. Tell us how that DVD came about. How can a simple idea become a money-making opportunity?
Russell Brunson: I didn’t set out to become a potato gun expert, but that’s exactly what happened. I was a sophomore at Boise State University, newly married, unemployed and on spring break. I had been studying marketing and learning how to sell things online. At that point, almost everything I tried failed. My friend Nathan Ploehn told me about potato guns. I had heard of them before but I’d never actually seen one. You glue PVC pipes together and when they’re dry, you jam a potato down the barrel, spray hairspray into the chamber, create a little spark, and shoot them a few hundred yards! We found some websites that had free potato gun plans, along with information on things like how to stay safe and the right propellants to use. We built our first potato gun and had a blast with it. Then we spent the rest of the week making more guns, trying out other plans, and even creating some designs of our own.
During that week, we learned more about potato guns than most people will ever know. While sitting in finance class the next Monday I had a flash of inspiration. I was curious who else besides me had been searching for information on how to make potato guns. There are places online where you can see how many searches in Google are happening each month. I went to one of those websites and found that over 18,000 people that month had searched for the phrase “potato gun plans.”
(Potato) Eyes on the Future
At that time, there were no products, no plans, and no other experts out there. There was a lot of free stuff, but nothing for sale. It occurred to me that this was my chance to become an expert in potato guns, and to sell my advice. I just needed to create a product and sell it. I called Nate and convinced him to help me record a demo of us explaining how to make potato guns and demonstrating the whole process. We turned our homemade video into a DVD to sell online.
While I never became a millionaire as a potato gun expert, we did make sales. In fact, we averaged $20 to $30 a day selling that product, which was huge for a couple of college kids. It completely transformed my life and helped me understand the power of an expert business.
CC: Explain how ClickFunnels can work for our readers, many of whom are working to reduce debt, and change or changing their lifestyle as a way to help save money and build wealth. Many have side hustles or work extra jobs. How could they use ClickFunnels for their side hustles?
RB: Online sales funnels are a series of strategically designed webpages and emails that walk prospects through the sales process when they click on an advertisement from a business. ClickFunnels allows anyone to create custom sales funnels designed to increase the likelihood of a sale. It’s designed to help any self-employed person or small business market their sales and services online simply and effectively. You don’t have to have a lot of tech or marketing experience. You just choose from a variety of templates to create a simple sales funnel in minutes. It’s designed for entrepreneurs at any level, from a Fortune 500 company to a semi-retired person who wants to turn a lifelong passion into an income stream.
CC: Please tell us how a person with little knowledge of marketing could start making online income.
RB: At ClickFunnels, we specialize in turning everyday people into millionaires. In fact, we’ve helped over 265 business owners surpass $1 million in sales, with 18 of them scaling to $10 million or more, in a little over three years. If you want to get started making money online, ClickFunnels basically automates the process for you. It allows you to quickly set up online sales funnels, websites, shopping carts, memberships, email follow-up sequences, and more, without needing to know code, design, or hire an expensive marketing team. We also have marketing training programs to teach aspiring entrepreneurs, armed with just an idea, how to get up and running quickly and profitably. We have more than 100,000 businesses in our growing community.
CC: DotComSecrets.com went from a small one-man basement shop to a major online business. This is inspiring to readers. But they wonder if this only applies to Russell Brunson, and not to their situation. They might say, “I don’t have any skills. How can I be successful when I can barely understand WordPress?”
RB: One of the most important takeaways from my books is that in order to be successful, you must find what you are passionate about, become an expert in it, and then grow your audience or tribe. With DotComSecrets.com we focused on training entrepreneurs to create and market products and services that would take their lives and businesses to the next level, including helping offline businesses grow and promote themselves online. With ClickFunnels we’ve taken that a step further by making it simple for anyone to create sales funnels, even if they don’t know much about technology or marketing.
We asked Russell Brunson to offer three simple tips about increasing income potential:
Find a Hot Market: There are three core markets: wealth, health and relationships. Start by identifying which one your expertise fits into. Within each of these there are many submarkets. For instance, under health you have submarkets like diet, nutrition, exercise, and weight loss. But the money is not in the submarket! The riches are in the niches.
Create Your Own Niche: Look around at other experts in your submarket, and define what can offer that is unique and special — something that people aren’t already getting somewhere else. Notice I didn’t say pick a niche. If you pick a niche that already exists, it’s going to be very difficult for you to succeed. Carve out your own.
Create a New Opportunity: Build something people will want to jump into. Are you irrationally passionate about your topic? When you hang out with friends or family members, do you always bring it up, even if no one else seems to care? If so, that’s a good sign. Next, ask if other people are as passionate about this topic as you are, and if so, are they willing and able to spend money to find out more? These are two keys to determining if an opportunity will sustain your expert business. For more information on how to create new opportunities and become a leader in your area of expertise, see my book Expert Secrets.
(Editor’s note: Although Cash Crone does earn income through advertisements, affiliates, and reviews, this interview with Russell Brunson is not a paid relationship with Russell Brunson or his company.)