Writing The Clickfunnels Startup Story...
Play • 13 min

My thoughts as I start work on my new book.

On this episode Russell talks about the process he is currently in to write his Clickfunnels startup story. Here are some of the awesome things you’ll hear in today’s episode:

  • Find out how long this book idea has been in the works, and what kinds of things they are doing to gather information.
  • Hear a timeline of all the main events that will documented in the new book.
  • And find out why Russell believes this book is his way of leaving a legacy on earth when he’s no longer a part of it.

So listen here to this awesome timeline of the Clickfunnels startup story.


Hey what’s up everybody? This is Russell Brunson, welcome back to the Marketing Secrets podcast. Today I’m going to take you on a trip down memory lane.

Alright so now that the Traffic Secrets book is done and everything is done and I swore I would never write a book again, the first thing my brain wants to do is write the next book. So here we go. Some of you guys have heard me talk about the fact that I bought the domain bootstrap.com and my goal was to tell the story of how Clickfunnels got bootstrapped. So instead of being a how-to book like all the secrets trilogy has been, this is going to be the story of what we did and how we did it.

Anyway, I’m really excited for it, so I thought to start this project, obviously when I rewrote the Expert Secrets book I geeked out on A Hero’s Two Journeys and what it all looks like and mapping it out and I totally want to sit down and think, I want to take the Hero’s Two Journeys, and take the Clickfunnels storyline and see if we can sync it with all the different parts, to see how close we can match the actual hero’s two journeys. So that’s going to be a fun part of the process, but I’m not ready for that yet.

So the first thing was like, I need to start building out a timeline to kind of see how this whole things started and where we went and everything. So I started a new trello board. And I basically started, if any of you have used Trello before, there’s different columns right. So I had a column for each year, and then Melanie’s working with me to go through and inside of each column is to make a card for all the major milestones like, “Oh we did Funnel Hacking Live. Oh, we wrote a book. Oh, we went to this event. Oh, we did that. Oh, we hit this…” just so we have a timeline of all the things that happened year by year.

So we started in, let’s see, we started 2014 because that’s when we launched Clickfunnels. I’m like, well it started before that though because in 2013 we started building Clickfunnels, but if you go back to 2011 when I met Todd. And we kept going back, so now we’ve got the timeline all the way back to basically 2009. Anyway, it’s going to take me and Melanie probably the next couple of months to get this whole thing built out. But it’s kind of crazy.

I started this whole, basically the first year I’m starting this is 2009. 2009 is when I met Dylan who is one of the original cofounders of Clickfunnels, and the long story is that early that year I got a random call from someone on Tony Robbins’ team who said he wanted to meet me. So then two weeks later I was in Toronto at UPW, which I need to add this to the card. At UPW I met Tony, and then I left and didn’t hear from him again. And then August 11, the day after my anniversary, I think it was August 10th we heard about it, but August 10 or 11 I was speaking at Stompernet and I got a call from Tony’s assistant asking if I wanted to speak in Fiji.

And then you fast forward to two weeks later, August 29 I’m in Fiji with Tony Robbins. While I’m in Fiji I’m sitting there and I see this guy who is like the best designer I’ve ever seen.  And I asked a bunch of people, “Who is this guy?” his name is Dylan Jones, so I email Dylan Jones. And while I was in Namale in Fiji, I got an email back from Dylan saying, “Hey what’s up? What can you do for me?” So we did a couple of projects.

And then in October of that month, he designed the user interface for a site called clickdotcom.com which was the original Clickfunnels. It never came to light, but we designed every single page. It’s crazy to look at the designs now, it’s like, this is so similar to what Clickfunnels ended up becoming, just in 2009. So this is 5 years before we actually launched Clickfunnels, which is crazy. So that’s how I met Dylan.

And then, so that was 2009, then 2010 is when I had my big company crash and I laid off 90 people overnight and everything fell apart and I was like, “This is the worst thing in the world. This is horrible.” And then on the back side of the crash, 2011 is when I down to my last dollar I was like, I need to figure out a way to shift our company and I saw that on flippa.com there was somebody championsound.com which was an email/text message auto-responder for bands. I’m like, “This the future, I’m going to buy this thing.”

So I bought championsound with money we didn’t have, and then we found out it coded in Ruby on rails, and we didn’t have Ruby on rails programmers or servers or anything. And I tried to hire a bunch of people, it didn’t work. So after we lost all that money, I was about to delete the site, in fact, I think I emailed, I’ll have to go back to my emails and see, but I think I emailed someone on my team, like, “Let’s just turn this off. It’s not going to work.” And then I had this impression of like, “Go email your list and see if there’s anybody on your list who knows Ruby on rails.” So I email my list, get a response back from, enter Todd Dickerson.

Todd Dickerson emailed back and we started working together. And for the entire year of 2011 and 2012 we worked on projects together. Todd didn’t get paid until, I don’t even know when. He didn’t get paid at first, for like the first year, and the second year we started paying him a little bit. And then 2013 is when we started building Clickfunnels. I’m excited to go back in the timeline to find all of the actual, like when he flew into Boise, the email he sent me, all the stuff, us brainstorming. I’m going to find those assets and plug them in here.

So 2013 was the year of us building Clickfunnels. Us, I say us. I have no skills. It was the year of Todd building Clickfunnels and me being excited by it. And then 2014 we did the initial beta launch in the summer while I was at my family vacation at Bear Lake. Then we came back and October 25th is when I spoke at Mike Fillsame’s event and did the very first ever Funnel Hacks presentation. And then November 7th was the first day I did a webinar. So I did 3 webinars on November 7th. And then it was off to the races.

So anyway, it was kind of fun finding these landmarks and putting them into this timeline of all the events that happened. So what we’re going to do is try and go back through email, calendars, memory and as much as we can to try and build out as big of a timeline as possible, of all the different events. And then my plan is I’m going to fly each of the people that were involved, so like Dylan and Todd and Brent and Dave and Ryan and everybody who’s been involved in Clickfunnels from the beginning, fly them out here and then interview them about each step in the thing. Like, “How were you feeling when this happened and this happened?” and just getting them all to tell their stories from their point of view, because everyone’s got such different unique points of view and the direction they came into this.

So we’re trying to build the timeline out first so I can go intelligently interview people and spend 5 or 6 hours and go through each thing like, ‘What was happening at this point? What were you thinking, how were you feeling, what was happening at your home, what was happening in your life?” and just getting really, really deep.

And so that way when it’s done I will have interviews with like 30 or 40 people who are a big part of the initial Clickfunnels story. And then we’ll have all the video, the audio. We’ll have the timeline, we’ll have all the assets from the timeline, all the emails, all the pictures, all the videos, all the different assets we’ve created throughout this whole time, and then from there I’ll take all that and start writing the Bootstrap book. Ah, so exciting.

And hopefully at that point I’ll be able to look at the timeline of events and see does this match the hero’s two journeys? How can we make it match and fit into this thing? I don’t want to write just a story to tell a story. I want to make sure it’s a story that fits. And I think you know, it’s been fun as I’ve, I don’t think we have an ending yet to the story. That’s the hard part, I don’t have an ending to the story. It’s just like, “And then we were here…. Bootstrap part two coming soon.”

We don’t have an ending to the story yet, but it’s just kind of fun to put all the pieces together. And the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows, the stress and the excitement, and the anxiety and the stress, and the happiness and the victories. It’s going to be so much fun to try to tell the story in a way that will help people understand the Clickfunnels story and how it came to be. And I hope in the process you’ll learn a lot. You’ll learn about what we tried, what worked, what didn’t work. But again, it’s not going to be a how-to book, it’s going to be more of a telling the story, and the journey, and all that kind of stuff.

All the how-to stuff is in the Secrets’ books. You’ve got enough secrets over there, you’re good. Now you just gotta hear the story, the behind the scenes, the stuff that they don’t tell you, they won’t tell you on TV right. Anyway, so that’s my fun project I’m working on right now.

Anyway, I hope that you guys have a project. I think one of our missions here in this world for all of us is to go and learn a bunch of things, and spend time and trial and error in learning something. And then to take what you’ve learned and compile it in a way that you can pass it on to people after you. To your kids, or your students, or your whatever, your posterity. You know, I think all of us come to earth and our goal is to try to make the earth a better place when we leave, so how do you do that?

You come on earth and you assimilate all these things and you package it in a way that lives beyond yourself. And that’s why we do business right, that’s why we write books, that’s why we create courses, that’s why we teach, that’s why we make podcasts, why we make videos. It’s with the hope that the stuff we created and the stuff that we discovered can live on beyond ourselves. So for me this is a really fun thing to be able to take this time and try to retell the story. You know, I think, how cool would it be, I guess a lot of founders have told their story, but how cool would it be for more companies to hear the actual, all the pieces and the timeline and the people and how it all worked and how it worked together.

Anyway, I’m excited for it. This book is coming to you the year 2030, so I got a decade to write it. So don’t be like, ‘Russell, when’s the book coming out?” This is not going to be a short project. In fact, I’m not even going to pitch it to a publisher until it’s done. Because with the Traffic Secrets book a publisher, I don’t know if I told you this, Hay House, I pitched it to Hay House and they loved it, so we signed a contract, and I’m not a contract guy so I didn’t read it, I didn’t look at it. Then the next week in the mail we got a check, I’m like, “What’s this?” They’re like, “This is your royalty check.” I’m like, “I get a royalty check? What? This is like what real authors get, this is crazy.” And I’m like, “What do I do with it?” and he’s like, “Well most people take the year off and then write a book.” I was like, “Oh, huh. That sounds nice, I can imagine that, but that would be amazing.”

And so I took the check, cashed it and felt good about myself and then the next day I get an email with the timeline, “The book has to be done by this date, we have to publish it…” all this stuff. And because they had paid me, I felt so obligated and I had this increased level of stress and anxiety of like, “You have ot have it done by this date because we gave you money.” I was like, I wanted to give the money back like, “Here you go, I don’t want your money. Your money is stressing me out. Just let me write my book in peace.”

So this one is going to be definitely different. There’s no timeline attached, there’s no money attached, there’s no nothing until it’s done. Then we’ll go shop it out. A couple things I want to do, do you guys think this would be cool? So with all these different landmarks and timelines, we tried to put all the images and videos, and the stuff that we’ve captured, all these, you know along the way we’ve captured so many amazing things. How cool would it be inside this book, you could see a picture of it, let’s say, but let’s say there’s a video, if there’s a QR code and you hold your phone over and boom it pops and you watch the video of the thing that I’m telling you about, the experience. Any of the times we’ve captured or caught any of those things, like plugging them in. That would be so cool.

Anyway, that’s kind of the gameplan, who knows. We’ll see what happens. But anyway, I’m pumped, I’m excited, hopefully you guys are excited about some project right now, something you’re creating that will tell your story beyond your time here on this earth. So that’s how you build a legacy right, that’s how you take all these life experiences and leave them for the next generation, for the next set of people.

So this, literally it was 11 years ago that I met Dylan, so this has all happened in the last decade, the last 10 years. It was 5 or 6 years ahead of time of trying a bunch of stuff, ups and downs, and you know meeting Dylan on the very end of the up in 2009, and then boom, 2010 was a crash, and then it’s been literally a decade from the crash until now. And anyway, and now we’re in this other crash. 2010 crash was the Russell crash, where my business crashed. Now we’re in the Corona crash which is a little bit different.

Anyway, alright, that’s all I got. I’m going to go back to work. Appreciate you guys all, thank you so much for everything. And I hope you guys are having an amazing day. If you got any value from this, please take a picture of it, post it on Facebook or Instagram and tag me on it, I’d love to hear from you. And with that said, I will talk to you all soon. Bye everybody. 

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Charles Palleschi
How Independent eCommerce retailers can Compete Against the Giants (E154)
https://www.youtube.com/embed/UbnQrRDTuZQ Jeremy BodenhamerCo-founder & CEO of ShipHawk Show Notes: 5 API of the ApocalypseAmazonWalmartAlibabaJDShopifyThe Power of HabitGrove CollaborativeParker Clay - Leather ProductsAll BirdsBoneless Knee Pads Sponsors: PrisyncSpark Shipping Links: Jeremy BodenhamerShip HawkAdapt or Die: Your Survival Guide to Modern Warehouse AutomationJeremy Bodenhamer LinkedInJeremy Bodenhamer Twitter Transcript: Charles (00:00): In this episode of the Business of eCommerce I talk with Jeremy Bodenhamer, about about how independent retailers can compete with the giants. This is the business of eCommerce episode 154. Charles (00:20): Welcome to the Business of eCommerce. The show that helps e-commerce retailers start launch and grow their e-commerce business. I'm your host Charles Palleschi. And I'm here today with Jeremy Bodenhamer. Jeremy is the co-founder and CEO of Ship Hawk, and also the bestselling author of adapt or die, a leading expert at the intersection of shipping. And e-commerce I asked Jeremy on the show today, talk about how in 2021, an independent retailer can compete with some of the largest e-commerce companies out there like Walmart, Amazon, and how you can not just compete, but also win. Jeremy has a lot of insights on both the logistics side, but also how you can attract more customers by talking about your brand. And I think it's super interesting. So let's get into the show and I think you're going to enjoy this. Hey Jeremy, how are you doing today? Doing well. Charles (01:09): How are you doing Charles? Doing good. Awesome. To have you on the show. I love the topic and want to kind of get into us. I've been seeing, kind of been following the the Shopify guys for a while, and I love the whole concept of, you know, arming the rebels, right? Where, how can you know, how can the smaller retailers compete against some of the big guys? And it's something where I think the world is going to very different ways, right? Where you have these like marketplaces kind of Amazon, like the big ones everyone knows about, but then you have these new brands that are kind of just popping up and becoming almost household names. In some cases you see this with, you know, some of like the big companies, like some of the, some of these, there's just so many retailers now that all of a sudden you, they can just build a brand name. So you're are okay. So you've been around with ship for, you said about seven, eight years now, you guys started that for about eight years. Okay. And you recently came out with a book on also basically competing with the giants, right? Adapt to die. Jeremy (02:11): Yeah. Adapter die came out a few weeks ago and is a survival guide for the independent merchants and how to compete against the giants. Charles (02:21): I love the cover also with the, the dinosaur on there. Very cool. Yeah. It's sorta my voice. Speaker 2 (02:30): So Charles (02:30): If you're talking to a small retailer, if someone's starting, you know, 20, 21, right. And they're, I want to get into e-commerce, you know, I have some products, but they're looking at all the expectations of what you need to do nowadays. How would you start kind of guiding someone to say, okay, you have to compete. You want to come up with a product X also sold on Amazon and tons of other marketplaces. How would you start kind of guiding someone through that process of competing? Jeremy (02:57): Yeah, good question. I would start by challenging them to understand the state of the current marketplace. The fact that these marketplaces by and larger, not friends but competitors. In the book, I talk about the five APIs of the apocalypse. Those five API APIs are Amazon Walmart Alibaba, jd.com and Shopify. And I predict a, a future that I think is a very real scenario where those five companies own global commerce, every transaction, every dollar spent,
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