Russell Brunson: 16 Timeless Business & Life Lessons

Who is Russell Brunson and why should you listen to him? That’s what I’m going to tackle right now. Let’s jump in.

Who is Russell Brunson?

Russell Brunson is the founder of ClickFunnels. ClickFunnels is a SAAS company that helps you build sales funnels for your business.

Russell is an Internet marketer at heart and that’s where he adds insane amounts of value.

Russell Brunson by the Numbers

According to Inc, ClickFunnels’ annual revenue was $94 million in 2018.

ClickFunnels’ also has between 101 – 300 employees according to Inc, Owler and Crunchbase.

Russell has built a beast of a company and here’s the most impressive part:

ClickFunnels is completely bootstrapped and self-funded.

Russell has also authored two successful books, Expert Secrets and DotCom Secrets (both are must reads for any marketer). He has a third book coming out soon called Traffic Secrets as well.

Now let’s examine Russell’s marketing performance:

Organic Search Performance

According to Ahrefs, Russell’s company website ClickFunnels gets around 126,534 organic search visitors per month.

Now what’s fascinating about ClickFunnel’s SEO performance is that most of their organic search traffic comes from branded searches.

This is an important lesson for us SEOs. You can drive organic search traffic by having a great product and great marketing.

Ranking for non-branded keywords can be volatile, but you’ll always dominate your branded keywords.

Something to keep in mind.

I do think ClickFunnels is underperforming when it comes to SEO because their website is so authoritative.

They could drive tons of new organic search traffic for non-branded keywords with a refined SEO strategy.

Social Media Performance

As of 1/4/2020, Russell has:

Now let’s jump into the lesson I’ve personally learned from Russell.

16 Timeless Lessons from Studying Russell Brunson

Here are 16 timeless business, marketing, and even entrepreneur lessons I’ve learned from reading Russell’s books and following his work for years:

1. Become a Relentless Tester

Testing is the only way to achieve real marketing and business results.

Russell emphasizes the idea that you should rely on market feedback. Not you or others’ opinions or theories. Let people’s credit cards do the talking.

He is a relentless tester and lets the data guide his decisions.

That’s something that we should all be doing as SEOs, marketers, and business people.

Theories and hypotheses are fine as long as you actually test them. If you don’t test them, they aren’t true. Seek real market feedback when it comes to everything in your business.

That includes your marketing, products, customer experience, etc.

To put Russell’s love for testing in perspective, he created a book called “108 Proven Split Tests Winners”.

The truth is that he’s probably done 100x more testing than what’s in that book. I believe that becoming a relentless tester is the key to getting unicorn-like results and for developing lifelong skills.

Experience is the best teacher.

2. Never Stop Learning

Russell is an obsessive learner. He learns through testing, analyzing, reading, and getting 1-on-1 advice from mentors.

I’ve heard him say before that he collected advertisements when he was younger because he enjoyed studying them so much.

He’s also read hundreds of books on advertising, marketing, sales, etc.

Plus, he’s studied and worked with all the great direct marketing greats like Frank Kern and Dan Kennedy.

Russell is a passionate learner and seeks new information that can help him 100x everything he’s doing.

If you get anything from this article, model his passion for learning.

3. Love What You Do

There’s one thing that elevates Russell above other entrepreneurs I’ve seen:

His insane passion.

Russell’s energy is unmatched and that’s because he loves what he does. If you want to achieve success if whatever you’re doing, you have to love it.

Entrepreneurship is HARD and you need to love what you’re doing to push forward.

My favorite quote about this is from the great Steve Jobs.

He said:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

4. Get Mentors

If you study Russell, you’ll see that he surrounds himself with other high-performers. This isn’t an accident. He seeks advice and mentorship from the best of the best.

That behavior helps him elevate his performance.

One of the best ways to accelerate your results is to get help from people with more experience than you.

The truth is that you can’t learn every skill you need to succeed in business because there isn’t enough time. You need help from other people who have already become experts in their respective fields.

This helps you accelerate your growth because you don’t have to go through the process of learning.

It’s been said that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in any skill.

The average person lives 27,375 days, which equates to 657,000 hours in your life.

If you subtract 8 hours of sleep, you only have 438,000 waking hours in your entire life.

The conclusion is that we don’t have much time. You need to get help from other people.

Push your ego to the side and you’ll achieve results you never thought were possible.

5. Be Patient

Russell isn’t new to Internet marketing or entrepreneurship. He’s been consistently playing this game for over a decade. You need this type of commitment.

Becoming “successful” in whatever you do takes TIME. This is one thing that most people never talk about when it comes to success. It doesn’t matter how hard or how effective you work.

It will still take a substantial amount of time to reach your goals.

All you can do is put in consistent effort day-by-day towards your goal and be patient.

As cliche as it is, success doesn’t happen overnight.

6. Write Your Sales Letter First

“Write the sales letter first. Come up with the best offer, the most insane bonuses, and the craziest claims you can think of. Write with abandon—the only limit is your imagination. Create the best marketing vehicle for your imaginary product, and when you’re finished, you’ll have an incredible sales letter. Your next job is to make the product live up to the sales letter.” – Russell Brunson

This simple lesson will stick with me forever. I used to think that you needed to create your product first and then work on marketing and sales.

I had everything backward.

Instead:

It’s best to write your sales letter BEFORE creating your product.

Why?

Because when you write your sales letter, you’re creating a vision for what your product should be. You outline all the amazing things that you want to do.

Then you just need to make that sales letter become a reality with your product.

This backward approach literally transformed everything that I do when it comes to product development.

Try it once and I promise, you’ll never go back to the old way.

Also, you’ll create products and solutions that are 100x better than your competitors.

7. The Only Thing That Matter (In the Beginning) are Sales

There are countless distractions when you’re first starting a business.

Should you redesign your website? Should you do social media? Should you do Google ads? Should you do SEO?

You get the point. The possibilities are endless. And that’s both a blessing and a curse.

These things are all distractions in the beginning.

All that matters, in the beginning, is selling your product and/or service.

“The only thing that matters, if you want to go from zero to a million dollars, is sales. Sales are the only thing that matters.” – Russell Brunson

Remember:

No one knows how good your product is until they use it.

That’s why you have to focus on creating a minimum viable product and then put it into the market.

Focus on sales and iterate on the product based on real customer feedback.

That’s all you can do.

8. Money is Made on the Backend

It’s no secret that Russell believes that backend sales are more important than front end sales.

In fact:

This methodology is the foundation of his software ClickFunnels.

In essence, he believes you should offer low-end products on the front-end and then sell your higher-priced products on the backend.

The front-end offer is used to break even with advertising and to acquire customers affordably. It’s also lower priced because getting the first sale is the hardest. Once someone pulls out their credit card, it becomes substantially easier to sell them other products.

Russell refers to this as sending them up the value ladder.

The goal is to increase the lifetime value of every customer. Sometimes this happens immediately after the first sale by means of upsells, cross-sells, etc.

9. You Need to Break the Pattern & Get Attention

Effective marketing and advertising disrupt and grab your ideal customers’ attention. This is particularly important on social media when people are mindlessly scrolling.

You’ll notice that Russell’s ads are purposely disruptive.

He does this because he knows that you can’t drive leads and sales without capturing people’s interest and attention.

Attention is everything.

That’s why we all need to work on it because it IS a skill. It’s also why I always say you need to aim to be different in your marketing, advertising, etc.

10. Keep it Native

Russell isn’t someone who repurposes identical content across all platforms. He believes that content should always be native to the platform.

I agree with this 100%.

It’s much more challenging to create unique content for each platform, but it’s a necessity.

Not only that:

It’s lazy to repurpose your content without tailoring it to the channel. I believe every channel should have content that’s unique to it. That’s because every channel is different.

For example, what works on Instagram may not work on TikTok.

And vice versa.

11. It’s What You Do BEFORE You Ask for the Sale

While your sales page/video is a persuasion vehicle, it’s not the only factor.

What matters the most is what happens BEFORE a prospect gets to your sales page.

“The sequence is what sells people. It’s all of the indoctrination pieces. It’s what happens ahead of time to pre-frame them. It’s the social media posts and the blogs and the ads. It gets them prepared and warmed up to buy. Your sales letter or webinar stack might be incredible, but if you do the sequence right, they are going to buy whether your pitch sucks or not.” – Russell Brunson

This comes down to the framing, positioning, and seeding. You must establish rapport and interest BEFORE they see your sales message.

It begins with your organic content and then it has to continue with your advertising. You want to prime your prospects early and that will make sales easier.

12. Make Decisions Based on Market Feedback (Not Your Opinion or Theories)

Nothing is known in business until it receives market feedback. That applies to your products, marketing, advertising, etc.

You must seek market feedback so you can iterate on everything.

If you don’t, your business is built on nothing but opinions and theories.

Opinions and theories don’t pay the bills.

You have to TEST your opinions and theories. You must get real market feedback.

Don’t be scared because it’s the only way to grow your business.

13. Use Scarcity

Unfortunately, Internet marketers have abused scarcity beyond belief. Some Internet marketers use fake scarcity to get people to buy their products.

This is wrong.

If you decide to use scarcity, it must be real. Otherwise, it’s nothing more deception.

Persuasion and deception are not the same things.

Russell knows that scarcity is key to driving sales. Based on what I’ve seen from him, it’s genuine when he uses it.

There are many ethical ways to tap into this deep principle of human psychology.

You can use deadlines, limited-time discounts, expiring bonuses, limited quantities, or even limited spots available.

It will depend on the type of product you sell.

Find ways to leverage scarcity in REAL WAY whenever you can. It dramatically boosts sales in my experience.

14. Create a Movement

One thing that Russell does better than most people I’ve seen is to build a movement/community around his products. The ClickFunnels community is super connected and the community is strong.

That’s all the doing of Russell.

As a result, the ClickFunnels community creates a powerful network effect.

In other words, ClickFunnels customers are also their biggest salespeople.

Imagine having thousands of salespeople?

That’s what happens when you build a strong community (and a good affiliate program ;)).

15. Embrace Imperfect Action

No actions are perfect. No products are perfect. Nothing is perfect.

You can aim for perfection, but at a certain point, you must put your work out.

Because at the end of the day, you don’t know how “good” or “bad” something is until people interact with it.

“Imperfect action means you create the minimum viable product and test it as soon as possible. Let the market vote with their credit cards and tell you whether you should spend more time and money on it. Imperfect action builds more millionaires than perfection, every day of the week.” – Russell Brunson

Once again, make sure your decisions are based on real market feedback.

Create and iterate on your product based on how customers are using it and the feedback they’ve given you.

Stop guessing. Stop trying to be “creative”. Embrace imperfect action like Russell and you’ll achieve insane results.

16. Fire Yourself

The goal of every business owner should be to build a business that isn’t reliant on them. The only way to do that is through building systems and hiring the right people.

Russell has surrounded himself with A-players who help his company achieve its goals. He’s realized that he can only go so far by himself.

We can all learn from his operational excellence. We all need other people to achieve our wildly important goals.

Last Words About Russell Brunson

Russell has achieved tremendous success in business and entrepreneurship.

But here’s the deal:

He has dedicated himself to his craft for a long-time.

That’s the only way to achieve mastery in anything. You must be willing to do the work every day.

But that’s all:

You also have to be willing to do it for an indefinite amount of time. The biggest factor that people disregard in the field of “success” is the total time invested.

In other words:

Achieving success in whatever you’re doing takes time and there’s no way around that. If you expect to be successful overnight, in a year, or even in a couple of years, you’ll likely be disappointed.

Play the long game and your efforts will compound over time, which leads to more success. Ultimately, the more you act and learn, the more effective you become.

The more effective you become, the easier success becomes.

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Thanks for reading!