Mitch Russo 8:55
Yes, yes. So this individual in particular, let’s see Say that they were unstable. And after threatening the lives of most of my staff and using anti semitic curse words heavily I then I had another inspired decision. Yes, I did call the FBI but I made another call to the Jdl that became the most effective tool of all because couple of guys who probably bigger than you and I knocked on his door and said, You know that Mitch Russo is a Jew, right? You know that, don’t you? And the things you said you’re offending Jewish people and doing so in a public way. Do you understand the gravity of what you’ve done? And the guy just started to cry. And next thing I know, I didn’t hear back from them. But two days later, I got a call from him profusely, apologizing, begging my forgiveness into please call the JBL let them know that he did that. So my proudest moment But it was, you know, I used to resource I felt like I would never ever, ever do. But I had to because I mean, literally our lives were being threatened. And bottom line is that I realized that it wasn’t doing a good enough job of screening people. And more importantly, I wasn’t creating a culture. And to me, that became the key to building great certification programs, of which now I built several, it all comes down to culture, it really comes down to a code of ethics, a Think of it as building, creating, installing a culture, so that when people join, they understand what the boundaries are, you know, it’s sort of like, you know, you create a playpen for your children, they could do anything they want in the playpen, well, that’s what boundaries are for certification program. And, and it’s served me well and it served my clients really, really well over the years. And I stress it a lot in the book because clearly, it’s just so important.
Jeremy Weisz 10:56
What are some of those a couple of the boundaries that you You have found to be most important that you fit in with?
Mitch Russo 11:03
Well, first of all, I mean, I have built what I call a code of ethics. It’s 38 point code of ethics, which I distribute to my clients, when we build programs like this. And their job is to go through them and customize them for their own companies. But a few of them that are and by the way, these are going to sound to people like you and me, like common sense. But we both know that common sense isn’t particularly common.
Unknown Speaker 11:31
So we do need to make it
Jeremy Weisz 11:34
it’s like with anything, right if like, fundamental like I always go to a virtual mentor, john wooden, you know, which you teach them the best basketball players of all time, how to put their socks and shoes on, right, and it gets down to the fundamentals of
Mitch Russo 11:46
Exactly, exactly. So one of the things we talked about is how to show up. You know, we had stories, you know, I ended up by the way, calling every single person who experienced our first batch of certified consultants and this story is where Unbelievable. people showing up looking like Elmer Fudd. You know, they basically had body odor that you could sense them coming, you know, 30 feet away, not good. So we had to talk about hygiene, personal hygiene, we had to talk about appearance, we had to talk about matching tones when you go into an office, you know, if you just got a ticket you can’t be angry walking into. So you would think these are things that you should know, but they’re not. They’re the like putting on your basketball shoes and socks the right way. So we go through some of that, but the other things are more important than a sense. Well, those those are two, for example, who owns the intellectual property, you know, after all, you just poured your heart and soul into these certified consultants. You taught them almost everything you know, and you’re sending them off into the world. So there has to be some rules. Number one, they don’t own with what you just taught them. Number two, they can’t compete with you, no matter what, with your own intellectual property. Now, these are what we call some of the basic fundamentals of the code of ethics, you know, and then there are others that relate to how you treat people, and how you treat others in the program. But the some of the lessons are for the CEO to, you know, I learned a lesson the hard way by playing favorites. You know, I had a guy come up to me and goes, I love your software. I’m a certified consultant, and one of your top certified consultants mentioned, I want to as my gift to you, I want to convert the entire program into Spanish. I said, Oh, sure. Go right ahead. Thanks. Okay. But now all of a sudden, he’s an fo em. And that immediately set him apart from everybody else in the program. fo M is friend of Mitch, right. So he claims he’s now my friend. He’s doing this for Mitch because Mitch asked me to, which I didn’t. And next thing I know, I’ve now created a strata, a level something different than everybody else, which was never my intention. And then more people volunteer to do stuff. And I said, Oh, that’s wonderful. Go right ahead. And once again, what I’m doing is I’m building a barrier between others not serving me or my company. And by the way, because they offered to do it for free, and I had nothing in writing, they could claim later that I agreed to pay them and didn’t anything they wanted. So one of the things that I try and teach my my co clients is never accept free gifts when it comes to work. Always have a contract in place before you do something, and know in advance what the outcome will be and be happy to pay for it. You know, and, and so these are the things you gain in maturity. And the lessons that I try to pass on to my clients and save them. My goodness, all the years it took me to learn them. So those are the important things and, and many more things related to, for example, any program I build can never, we can never sell certification to an individual ever. We only sell certification to a corporation. And the reason is, is because we don’t want to have the state tax. And authorities come after my clients for back taxes or employment taxes or any of those things. So one of the key elements of a good program is that when we bring someone on board, we make sure that they are an LLC and they have a federal ID number. Without that they can’t play simple.
Jeremy Weisz 15:20
You started off doing certification internally for your own companies. I’ll talk about I want to talk about who was the first notable company that you did it for externally, but talk about first, Mitch, what some of the criteria you mentioned, it’s got to be an LLC Corporation. What what are some of the criteria for someone who could should consider doing a certification program?
Mitch Russo 15:41
Yeah, that’s a great question. Because I think a lot of people say, Oh, yeah, I’d love to build a certification program, but they haven’t thought through any of the elements of what it really takes to do it. So let me see what’s great, right, you
Jeremy Weisz 15:55
know, workforce, ads, low hanging fruit dollars, and a lot of others. You know, business lines. So
Mitch Russo 16:03
but so here’s the basic thing. And I, I have been approached by many different people in many different fields to do this for them. And I turned down several, because they’re not in the right. They’re not, they’re not in the right place, and I’ll explain what I mean. So, and you’ll see clearly this in about 30 seconds. So if you’re a software company, if you are a coach, if you are a training company, if you are a medical device company, in other words, if you have intellectual property that requires skill to implement on behalf of your client, then that is the place to start. Now, what I mean by that, and some examples would be for example, we had a client who came to us who had the equivalent of an Invisalign appliance, but it would require that in before they could sell it to another orthodontist that doctors had to be trained. Now they were running quarterly training sessions, but it was going slowly, you know, you’re basically taking a dentist out of his own business for a week. And instead, what we talked about is building certification where instead, we can create certification all over the country and have local dentists go in and train them on site. And their sales would blow up if they did that. And so that would be an example of a medical device. Software is easy. I mean, my software time subscribe operation, we built certification program second time around, went to 350 people and growing, generating all kinds of cash, all kinds of sales channels, all kinds of benefits to the company decimated the competition, because now we had 350 offices all over the country. My competitors couldn’t even come close to that. But other companies like like Salesforce, and like Infusionsoft, and like HubSpot, and all of these companies are perfect. Because they have a product that requires some help implementing training, sales training, perfect example. I mean, you could teach sales training all day long. But imagine if instead you had 350 sales training offices like Sandler does to some degree. The only differences is that Sandler? Well, I’m not going to speak of another company, because I don’t know them intimately, intimately enough. But I know with my clients, when we put somebody in the field, they are operating at the competency level of the creator of that technology or that transformation, because I will accept no less and neither will they. So those are the people that are basic prospects. Now, step two is how many clients have you done this with already? And if the answer is, well, I’ve done it with seven clients, the answer is well, then you’re not ready for certification. And the reason is, it’s not just the obvious reason, like you don’t have enough experience yet to have perfected the process. Which is a part of it. The bigger picture is that if we’re going to build a business division called certification, we have to start somewhere. And the most and most profitable, easiest, pleasurable way to start is with my own clients. If I’m going to do it, I want to start with my own clients. Well, one of the things that, that Chet taught me long ago, was the fact that when he used to call it the stadium pitch, you know, if you brought a million people into a stadium, but the only criteria is that they don’t have to stay, but you have their attention for at least the first 90 seconds. So those who stay will probably buy so this is the same sort of thing. So if you have a client base and you have 500 clients, and you look at the early adopter concept, which means that when anything new is released, 235 percent at most are going to jump right away. Why? Because they love you. Why because they’re natural. Early adopters, and, and also because they see it as an opportunity. So when you have less than 500 people then two or 3% of 500 is not quite enough to build that pilot class, I like to see a minimum of 10 people in a pilot class. And if you get 2% adoption, then 500 it’s about the right number 1000 is better, because we can fill a pilot class to 20 I don’t let pilot classes get above 20. And the reason is, is because heck their pilot classes, there’s going to be problems in a pilot. That’s what pilots have for you to uncover the problems, fix them, and then roll it out in a much bigger way. So when you join the, when a client finally launches and they have their clients join the pilot, they get a discount, they get extra attention, they get all kinds of showered with with attention basically to make sure that and guarantee they got to be successful, because without success, we can’t take their testimonials. use those to market to the bottom of the pyramid as we as we continue the process makes sense. Totally.
Jeremy Weisz 21:06
What are some of the common mistakes people make when implementing certain, you know, certification programs? I’m sure you see a lot of them even with with guidance in the beginning, and that’s what pilots are for. But
Mitch Russo 21:19
well, you know, I’ve been brought into fixed coaching organizations several times now. And the most common mistake is what we talked about early on is building culture. So most, most coaching programs and some certification programs start casually, like oh, my brother said he volunteered to talk to some customers. And over three to six months, he’s gotten to know the product. So he’s a certified consultant. Now. I mean, there’s never been any formal, true training testing process. And one of the things that I reveal in the book is how to tell whether someone has 100% competency Or how to train someone to 100% competency guaranteed. And and the reason that that’s important is because even 98% isn’t quite good enough. If what you’re teaching somebody would affect a change their lives, it needs to be 100%. And there’s a way to do that. That’s not that hard. Tony taught it to me. And I now work with my clients and we do this all the time.
Jeremy Weisz 22:25
So, you know, Mitch, you never set out to be like, I want to build and help companies do certifications, you just did it for yourself. You found a successful when you started helping others, who after you was a good, you know, notable example that you then helped afterwards.
Mitch Russo 22:43
Well, you know, it’s funny because a lot of the concepts that I invented and created by building certification for my own company was was picked up by my friend Scott cook, who is the founder of Intuit. So Scott came to me and said, Hey, what are you doing? Hey, how did you get 350 certified consultants? We want to do that too. He says, Can I have your like, Can you tell me how to do it and give me your your playbook right in your playbook? And I said, Scott, for you? Yes. Because I knew that I had a favor. I could ask later if I did that, and that favor, by the way, was to get exclusive access into the source code of his software that I could link time slips to, which he granted me later down the road, which is amazing. So I had a big edge in that regard, too. But so Scott basically took the manual that I gave him, and he basically gave it to his team and the team they selected it, they built the certified advisor program, which is thousands of CPAs now as a result, but but after you know, Chip and Tony after we broke up after that company ended I had a conversation with Josh Turner. Now I know you know, Josh knows Who don’t he’s the CEO of link selling. And in this conversation, which I was actually doing something completely different we were, I was trying to share with him how we used to run a very successful Webinar Program. And I either I mentioned it or he mentioned it, and then he said to me, could you do that for us? I said, Yeah, of course. Of course. I hadn’t done it really in 20 years. And he said, When can we start? And I said, Friday?
Unknown Speaker 24:30
Now, yeah, I’d love to.
Mitch Russo 24:33
So I didn’t know what to charge. I didn’t have any, you know, materials. No, blueprinting done had nothing really. So he was patient enough with me as I worked all of this stuff out. And, and we built his program in 10 and a half weeks, and it launched and it became a six figure program instantly. And he was thrilled. I was thrilled, and I realized that hey, I could actually I work with clients like Josh to do this over and over again. And so it was really my, you know, my friendship with Josh and his patients with me as they built that first program that led to me doing this now, I would say almost 60% of my work comes from certification.
Jeremy Weisz 25:18
There’s probably different factors that lead to a successful sort of, you know, certification program and launching a successful certification program. What are some of the key elements in actually, okay, the team’s ready to go, now I gotta launch this thing.
Mitch Russo 25:35
Right. So so one of the things that I have perfected is a launch formula for this. And it’s, you know, are indeed, from you know, the Product Launch Formula that general Yeah, Jeff Walker’s thing. So RND, by the way, stands for rip off and deploy. So, so I are indeed Jeff Walker’s program, and I borrowed elements of it. And not not wholesale. I mean, I took the idea of it into three videos. But what what I constructed with, with the help of Josh and with some other clients is we, we created a scenario that positions, our potential customers as going from where they are to where they truly want to be in a way that is so compelling that people jump to sign up, even if the program’s 20 or $30,000. And, and it’s not magic, it’s really just stating the facts of reality today, and some of those facts are quite obvious. You know, we don’t live in a world anymore where you get a job for 40 years and retire. You have to you have to understand that the only way to truly be not the only way but the way many of us have chosen to be successful is to go out on our own and create a business. Well, okay, and we did that and that world. You know, being the independent business consultant is a very hard road to travel for the beginner in particular. However, what we’ve created is a massive system that will not only just allow you to express yourself as a business consultant, but more importantly, give you a powerful toolset that you can implement, it’s guaranteed to work every time and more importantly, make a fantastic living doing it. And then the scenario that we paint is, look, this is the world this is where the world is going. And if you don’t go there, you will be left behind. And then the third video is how to get there using our system and what you will be once you’re there, and in a summary form nutshell, that’s the process that we use and and you know, we work on a custom scripts for every client that we start with the core script. And the core script is a story and it’s once we tell The story in the voice of whoever is my client at the time, that story becomes super compelling.
Jeremy Weisz 28:06
Mitch, you know, how should a company think about pricing their certification program?
Mitch Russo 28:11
I know it probably varies wildly. I’m so glad you asked that question. Nobody asks me that question. Thank you.
Jeremy Weisz 28:19
Yeah, I mean, it just made me think of it, because when you’re helping launch it, you gotta charge something. And you mentioned, you know, even charging a large amount for this, this structure works.
Mitch Russo 28:30
Yes. So here’s, here’s the first question that we explore together one on one in my relationship with my client. My my question to my to the CEO to my client would be if somebody were doing this, how much could they make? So like, for example, in Josh Turner’s case, he felt like people people could make internet engagement, a few thousand dollars, three to four or $5,000. And then obviously Per engagement. So I said, Well, how many engagements could they have? And then we pick the number. And ultimately, what we’re looking for, is we’re looking to figure out what the average person could generate from doing this thing, whatever that thing is. And then we ask ourselves, what would happen if we took that number, and we divided it by five. So if they made five times what they paid for certification, every year, would they re up the following year? So what it comes down to is we’re reverse engineering ROI. And once we do that, the prices become quite obvious. So usually,
Jeremy Weisz 29:43
it becomes a no brainer,
Mitch Russo 29:44
you know, it becomes a no brainer. We just got finished with a program for a client. And their certification fees is going to be $25,000 a year period. No discount for year two and why? Because the ROI is so high, that you’d be crazy. easy not to do it for year two or three or four.
Jeremy Weisz 30:04
Yeah, I think you have a tougher next book reverse engineering ROI.
Unknown Speaker 30:08
That’s right. That’s right.
Jeremy Weisz 30:11
You know, it’s um, it’s interesting because I’m other any other, you know, but Josh Turner is a good example. What other maybe not that similar type of program, maybe a medical device or SAS or coaching will be good example to talk about maybe in a different sect?
Mitch Russo 30:31
Sure. So I’ll talk about my last client, we just finished up with him. And he’s he just emailed me and told me, he’s having a problem keeping up with sales. I feel so bad for the problem. I know it’s horrible. They’re selling so much of it, they can barely keep up. So so he and this is kind of interesting, because it’s not traditional. He’s in the real estate training business. So he trains people to buy properties and build a business. Surround owning single family homes and multifamily units. And when he first came to me, I was like a little confused. They said, Yeah, okay, tell me more. What Why do you want certification? Because I almost didn’t get it at first. But then what he said is because look, a lot of the people that I work with want love this so much they want to teach it. And we of course want to sell more of it. So if we certify them in this process of building real estate, empires, then we’ll sell more product will sell certification, and they will be able to help many, many more clients than we can alone. So I said, She’s, you’re right, you’re absolutely right. And and so we did it and we built this program. Now, one of the things we haven’t talked about yet is the personality of the person who signs up for certification. Do you mind if I
Jeremy Weisz 31:54
Yeah, go ahead. Yeah, go on.
Mitch Russo 31:56
So what it really comes down to is most people who are good at coaching, we’re good at buying real estate are good at being a dentist are not very good at selling. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that but or
Jeremy Weisz 32:09
they may and they don’t like it.
Mitch Russo 32:11
Right or they may not like it. So if you instead were to go out today and buy john Maxwell’s coaching certification, I think it’s $18,000. And what you’d get is this very beautiful piece of paper, I think there’s some gold leaf on the paper. And you can hang that on your wall that exciting. So here you are. Now I’m a john Maxwell certified coach, and I got this on my wall here. But then the mortgage is due, I can’t like snap a picture of it and send it in. They don’t accept that. I somehow got to take this skill that I just acquired and find a way to sell it. I’m not very good at selling, which is why I’m a coach, let’s say. So right away, we hit the very biggest problem that any of my clients and ice we solve it first. So here’s the simplest way to solve the problem. We do it for them. So what does that mean? Well, first of all, we have prospects. And what we do is we, we basically provide a steady stream of prospects with a sales closing system that we teach them that our company hosts that my client has used for sometimes decades to close sales that they guarantee works. So all of these things must, like an intricate puzzle must all fit together cohesively, and in a in perfect symmetry, or else none of this works. And so someone is a prospect for me and they say, Well, I don’t know. We can barely get enough prospects for our own company. Why would we go and try and pay money to spend to get prospects for a certified consultants? I said you’re missing the point. They’re paying you. First of all, you ignored the fact that you already have an enormous base of prospects to give them to start with? They say, No, we don’t. What do you mean? I said, Well, you told me you had 1000 clients, right? Well, I’m going to take a wild guess. You have a database of 10,000 to 20,000 people who never bought but have expressed interest in your products. And they go, Well, yeah, of course we will. Everyone has that Is it right? But what would happen now, if we went back to those same people and said, Hey, remember when you want them to buy our stuff, but turned us down? Well, how about if we gave you a free coach for four sessions? And, and not charge you any extra money at all, but do this because we want to get you going and we want to make sure that you’re getting everything you’re paying for a product would you buy now. And interestingly enough, eight to 10% of that prospect base is going to say yes, that becomes the base of prospects for our first batch of certified consultants. So it didn’t even cost us money to feed our certified consultants that first batch prospects but now we’re certifying people at 20 or $25,000, we’re getting 10 2030 people per quarter, saying yes to certification. Let’s not be pigs. Let’s take 15% of the money that we’re generating and dedicated to marketing for our certified consultants generating leads for our certified consultants. And then I described a lot of different cool tricks. So one of the things that all of my clients do on my insistence is they hire a PR person whose only job it is is to get local speaking engagements in the area of every single certified consultant. So we we have somebody who typically an intern, who we train, sit on the phone, call the the Michigan Bar Association, find out where the local offices are, and call them up and say, Hey, would you like to get an expert on whatever their processes to come and speak to your group? And they get it? Oh, sure. You kidding. Then we set them up as Vistage speakers, we teach them how to become Vistage speakers. So before you know it Our internal PR person is generating speaking opportunities for every single certified consultant, we’re generating prospect lead flow every single day for us certified consultants. And we have a dedicated CRM on the back end of our website just for our certified consultants. That’s the trick.
Jeremy Weisz 36:21
Thanks for sharing that much. That’s awesome. And, you know, I know for me, if I was signing up to do a certification, the most compelling argument or piece that I could know is, oh, you’re going to hand me clients, then it becomes even more of a no brainer.
Mitch Russo 36:34
Yeah. In one program, we actually handed people close to clients, the one program that that we built, we said, You know what, why don’t we just close them for our certified consultants, they don’t care about that. Anyway, they just care about providing the consulting and coaching element of it. And next thing you know, we have a multi hundred person coaching organization that pays us every year to be Coach de what’s wrong with that picture?
Jeremy Weisz 37:04
I mean, do you recommend someone have a marketplace on their website? Or does that not give the company enough control over their certified partners? When you say a marketplace you don’t like, um, you know, if you Yeah, directly like you’ve digit let’s see, digital marketer had like a marketplace of their certified partners in certain areas or anything like that.
Mitch Russo 37:26
No, no, it doesn’t work it First of all, it doesn’t work. Second of all, if you say you have a page that says, Would you like to have a certified consultant, come to your facility work with you directly? Enter your name and address here. And at that point, if initially, we’d start calling people and then recommending them, but once we understand kind of what people are looking for, we would have the software do that for us. But never, never never. I mean, why publish a directory of everybody? I mean, why don’t we just hand our competitors our source code at the same time, just to make it easy
Jeremy Weisz 37:59
right? My Well, I’m a couple questions. You know, I want to hear some interesting stories. I know you have a lot of interesting stories, Tony Robbins, Kevin Harrington, Chet Holmes, but I want to start with the most important, which is your dad, your early mentor, he, I believe started candy stores. What was that? Yeah, he started candy stores. So we’ll talk about a little bit what you learned from your dad and what you saw him doing, how you helped you know what you did early on as a kid because I’m sure that you know, kind of fueled your entrepreneurial spirit.
Mitch Russo 38:33
Absolutely. And I dedicated my my second book to my dad who’s passed but he taught me so much. I remember one day I’m at the store we just finished he finished building a brand new store on Canal Street in New York. And they’re installing the, the roaster, the the, his stores all had nut roasters because they always had fresh nuts, but he’s installing the nut roaster The front of the store venting out the window. So you cut the window. And I said, Dad, why don’t you put that in the back you block in the window. He goes, watch, I’ll show you why. And he puts a batch of cashews in and he turns on the roaster and 45 minutes at eight o’clock in the morning. 45 minutes later, we had a line outside the store. Wow.
Jeremy Weisz 39:22
So it was walking by? Yeah. Where’s that coming from? That’s right.
Mitch Russo 39:27
That’s right. So my dad taught me marketing in in the most basic way. And he, he didn’t. He wasn’t a copywriter. I mean, there wasn’t any of that stuff going on. He just understood the psychology of how to generate people wanting things and he he he did this over and over again in many of his businesses. One One day it was it was his Easter, and he he said to me tomorrow was the day before Easter. He said tomorrow We’re getting up early, and we’re going into New York. And they said, great, because I always loved hanging with my dad. So what are we doing? He goes, we’re selling Easter baskets. I said, Really? You mean we’re opening the stores? There’s no stores closed. We’re, we’re selling Easter baskets. I said, where he goes, I’m not I’m not sure yet. So we’re driving around now Sunday morning, and and we’re, we’re just driving and then all of a sudden, he goes, Okay, let’s stop. And on the street, there was a door that someone had thrown away. So he found two boxes, and he propped up the door. And then we emptied the car of all the baskets that we had. And we set up on the street on a random street corner. And we sold every basket that we could fit into the car before 11am. Wow. I mean, my dad just knew that if you on Easter came up with Easter baskets and showed up in a public place, you’d sell them and it was intuitive stuff like Yeah,
Jeremy Weisz 41:00
he has had a knack for looking around where’s the best spot and he found the spot on the corner. That’s traffic and just set up shop.
Mitch Russo 41:09
Yeah, yeah. And Tim shop was a door. It was just a discarded door on balanced by a couple of boxes. I mean, that’s the stuff that I mean. And those lessons are really how I started time slips. You know, we only started the company with $5,000. And that doesn’t go very far. And so we went to our first trade show. I literally, I mean, imagine walking into legal tech in New York City. And the only thing we could afford was the sign the paper signed and the table. We couldn’t even afford the the skirt on the table. So we brought a sheet and then we throw the sheet on the table. And exactly, we put this this basically a rented TV set connected to a laptop. And we were the most popular booth in the entire show. All these multi million dollar booths. Thompson company all these big legal software names, we had more traffic than all of them because we had something new and exciting. And and it was causing a buzz. So a lot of that came from just watching how my dad did stuff. You
Jeremy Weisz 42:12
know, what was what was your dad stores? Like? What was in there? You mentioned the nuts. What else do I have in there?
Mitch Russo 42:18
Well, uh, he had so my, my, my, my dad’s side My family is from Turkey. And and so they imported holida for the first time into the United States. So we used to get these big wheels of holida and and we would slice it up and give people tastes and we’d sell the whole wheel out that day, you know, so we would sell more. We sold standard stuff package candy to some degree, but most of the store were custom things like for example, he would take Carmel nuts and chocolate and put them in a little paper cup and sell them for 25 cents. Well, the coffee That those ingredients, the cost of that was less than three cents. But he would never be able to get those type of profit margins on packaged candy. So he figured out what would be the best and unique and profitable and offered to people. And it was it was all he was just about always right.
Jeremy Weisz 43:21
Mitch, take me back to that time. Candy wise, what were your favorite candies? What was the candy of that of that time? Like the package candy of that era?
Mitch Russo 43:30
Well, I mean, clearly there was Pez there was, you know, there was good and plenty. I was one of my favorites. There were turning over the name of Jesus. I wish you would have prepared me I would have done the research. Now, I will tell you this. You’re you’re in New York, aren’t you? A Chicago show. You said that. You know, Chicago? Well, in New York, there’s a store called economy candy. And that store was founded by my dad and his father, my grandfather. Wow. And it’s still there. To this Day. And so we would go to the candy store, you know when in the early days, and I would work there at the store. And I learned a lot about business and transactions and inventory from just hanging out at the store with my dad. And so when he built a store, he chose candies that were unusual as opposed to the regular stuff. But the stuff that I really liked, and I’m just thinking now as I’m going back to some of the old time, favorites from that day, I mean, I don’t know if you remember, I think called rocky road, which was like a chocolate bar. I love those. And of course there was always Pez and, and I don’t know, licorice strings of licorice. I mean, all that stuff. I wasn’t a big baseball fan, but you know, I love baseball cards mostly for the GM.
Jeremy Weisz 44:57
Mitch Russo 44:58
you know, just the rock
Jeremy Weisz 44:59
star. gum has been in the package for for a year, two years, I’ll still eat it. Exactly, um, any other lessons that really stick out from your dad that he either he, you know, sat you down and talk to you or you just observing?
Mitch Russo 45:15
Well, you know, it’s very interesting. We My dad was a depression era. Dad, he grew up in the Depression era. He told us all the stories of how he had to melt lead out of the milk containers to get enough money to feed the family when he was a little boy and but the story that the phrase that he left me with, which served me so well, and I taught this to many people had mentioned it many times. He says, you know, Mitchell, money is round, it rolls in and it rolls out. And his point was, don’t get infatuated by money, because it comes and goes, and if you don’t want it to come and go, you need to learn how to make it stay and To me, that was like an incredible lesson. I have watched many of my contemporaries back in the 80s and 90s sell their companies and later be penniless. Basically working, you know, working a jobs. Why? Because they didn’t understand that money is round. You know, unless you capital, it’s gonna roll out. Yeah. And so that was one of my favorite things that he taught me now.
Jeremy Weisz 46:23
Thanks for sharing that. I’m Tony Robbins story. Favorite Tony Robbins story. I know there’s a bunch. I know. There’s one that involves your daughter. I don’t know. But you know, the story that kind of talks about your relationship with Tony Robbins and his his lesson that he imparted on you?
Unknown Speaker 46:44
Well, I mean,
Mitch Russo 46:46
if I were to go back and try and distill and encapsulate everything I’ve learned from Tony would take a long time, but the thing that sticks out to me is the integrity of the spoken word. Tony has a way of never speaking before he thinks Tony doesn’t get. I mean, people will disagree because they lonely looking at the surface, Tony doesn’t get angry. He gets urgent. And there’s a big difference. I’ve watched how he treats people when he gets urgent versus others when they get angry, and he treats everyone, everyone with respect. And more importantly, he understands the psychology of how problems are solved. He also understands a deeper level. One of the things I learned from Tony and I’ll never forget this is that when there’s an issue between people, many times there’s a secret of third party to blame. And I didn’t understand this until I watched him dissect the problem right in front of my eyes, where there was a third party spreading rumors about one of the two people that were in the middle of this disagreement, and immediately I said to myself, why isn’t he dealing with the problem? And because I didn’t, because I figured he would deal with the two people in particular. But instead he dealt with, he went deeper and found out who the third party was, who was telling them what this other person, quote unquote, did. And they didn’t. But it wasn’t until I watched him do that, that I truly understood that there’s a whole nother level of human psychology that Tony plays within his toolbox every single day. That is beyond extraordinary and, and I learned a lot of that from him throughout the years. And I told you before I learned, I learned how to help people create training programs that guarantee 100% comprehension. And it’s not that it’s hard. By the way, it’s just that if you got to pay attention carefully to these several important points.
Jeremy Weisz 48:52
Yeah, thanks for sharing that. Mitch. Chet Holmes.
Mitch Russo 48:59
Ah, good. This. Chad and I met each other because he was a salesman calling on me. And he was trying to sell me advertising when I was building time slips. And he was so persistent that it was almost a joke. It was like he was a, a character in a comic book is persistent. Oh, is he doing? Well, he would never give up. He would never stop calling, he would never stop mailing me things he would never stop visiting. I mean, this guy was the the if you looked up persistence in the dictionary, his face would be there. He would just the type of person that when he wanted something, he would not stop until he got it. He used to tell the story that it took 17 years to get in front of Tony Robbins to have that conversation. And when he did, we built the company together. So Chet was a master at understanding how to get people to do things in a way that benefited them and If you’ve read his book, The ultimate sales machine, which is a Bible of mine, someone said that I’m in the book four times. I think he uses me as a reference. He uses me as a testimonial and also says that we were we were best friends. I mean, we built our friendship. He said to me one day, he said to me goes, You and I were going to be best friends. You’ll see.
Jeremy Weisz 50:19
I got that book, and I print it, bought it. There was a online version, I printed out and put it in a binder.
Mitch Russo 50:27
So yeah, yeah. I mean, to tell you the truth, the book is so packed with incredible wisdom. And now that he’s gone, of course, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s really, it’s, it’s a classic. But the things in that book are the things we live every day. You know, all the stuff that he teaches in that book are the elements of how we build business breakthroughs. So you know, when he talked about core story, we built the core story division, when he talked about dream 100 we built an entire sales division around dream 100 We ate our own dog food, we used all the tools to create business breakthroughs. And one of the chapters in the book became how he and I got started working together, chapter five, which is basically how to hire sales superstars. And it turns out that I jumped in and started to help him and Ted, do some hiring until eventually, you know, when I started seeing how they were doing it, I said, There’s got to be a better way. And I started using some of my software and technology skills, and automated the entire process. And so once I did, I perfected it even deeper than Chad had in the book, Chet told me before he died, that I actually interviewed more people than he ever did. And so a lot of what I learned from Chet, were the core elements, and then I would need to take them to the next level, to make them useful to me in in implementing in the business. But I mean, Joe was the type of guy we’d go to Las Vegas for a trade show, and he’s Come on, come on, let’s go. I said, Where we going, he goes, we’re going to, we’re going to sneak into the theater and sit in the front row of the show that’s going on right now. I said, Yeah, but we don’t have tickets because I don’t worry about it, but, and I’d go with them, you know, it’s a and I do my ethics would be I would never, you know, steal anything. And that’s kind of like stealing, but it was so much fun. And that was nature was mischievous, you know, and, and so I would, I became his sidekick, if you will, in so many cases. So we would do things like that all the time. But Chet loved life. You know, he loved his family. We had an incredible friendship. And then unfortunately, you know, when he, when he contracted leukemia, one of the first things that happened to him was he had a mini stroke. And a lot of the barrier between emotions and thinking sort of got distorted for him and a lot of the raw emotion, of being disappointed about being sick and even deeper was started to come out as it doesn’t many people who have strokes of that sort. So it became very difficult in the last 1618 months with chat. I was there the day before he died in his room talking to him. Next Next morning, he was gone. I left
Jeremy Weisz 53:17
Mitch Russo 53:18
Rich 53 Yeah, he was. He was
Jeremy Weisz 53:24
thanks for sharing some of those stories. And and I remember his book I I’ve read the book. It’s amazing. I always ask this, Mitch, since it’s inspired Insider, I always ask what’s been especially low moment that you had to push through because, you know, as a entrepreneur, business owner, there’s just lots of moments that are ups and downs. And then what’s been a proud moment on the other side of things. What’s been a challenging moment or low moment you remember that you had to really push through
Mitch Russo 53:57
this week this month this year. This quarter an hour.
Jeremy Weisz 54:01
No. Yeah. Anything and yeah, half the strikes you Yeah,
Mitch Russo 54:06
I got a great story. Okay, so so when I met my partner, Neil, the way we met was because I was having a problem with trying to deduct my personal computer from my taxes. And so I shared that problem with my brand new next door neighbor, Neil, Neil air. And we we became friends, we started going to lunch and breakfast, and I told them, Look, the only way I can solve this problem is I have to write a software program to keep records of usage on my computer. And without, to beat six weeks later, he shows up at my house tells me to come on over and he shows me a program that he wrote to keep track of time on the computer. And I had this declaration and said, you know, we could sell a couple of these, those were my words. And so we continue to meet for breakfast and refine the process. And meanwhile, I wrote the manual and he wrote the software. I started figuring out how to build the business and what channels blah, blah, blah. Well, we both quit our jobs. My job was in sales, I was selling semiconductors, I quit. And I was now working full time for my own company time slips Corporation. He did the same thing. The day after we quit the IRS relaxed rulings on contemporaneous record keeping. So this last nine months of work, we’re now completely gone. no purpose whatsoever. Let’s call that a disappointment. A disappointing moment a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. So we had burned the boats. So at this point, there was no going back. So after throwing some stuff around and screaming and ranting and raving, we said, okay, what do we got? Let’s do an assessment here. What do we got? We got this software. It’s pretty amazing. What can we do with it, who else might use it, who else might need it? And then we came up with the idea of maybe lawyers could, maybe we could use it to build time and so on. We did a pivot at that time, we ended up going another three months to finish the software and build it out so that it’s at least, MVP, minimum, minimally viable product so that we could sell it. And that one mistake, that mistake of building the wrong thing first, was the blessing that turned us into a figure company. So had we not had that not happened to us and we given up walked away, we would have both been back at jobs three months later. Instead, we built this incredible company together. So you know, and one of the greatest moments in my life is also part of that story, too, because my partner happens to have been his family is a very wealthy, wealthy, wealthy family. They have a building somewhere that does nothing but managed the family’s money. I’m sure you know what those are like? Well, he grew up feeling useless throughout his life. He could Get a job because people realize that he doesn’t even care about the money, which wasn’t really true, but that’s what they thought. So his unfortunately rich, the children of rich people suffer in this way, because they never really have a purpose as it relates to money. But when we sold the company, he actually put millions of dollars back into the family trust and was the first person in 200 years to do that. And he gave me all the credit, which I didn’t deserve. And to his family. He was a hero, because he was the only one to ever actually go back and return money to the trust. And I was, I was a member of the family from the day that we began our business together. I became a member of his family, and I was treated that way. And and and he said, Today still one of my best friends in the world now,
Jeremy Weisz 58:03
Mitch, I want to be the first one to thank you This has been absolutely fantastic I want to point people towards your website Mitch Russo calm, they can also go to my power tribe calm anywhere else. We should point people towards online to check out more about what you’re working.
Mitch Russo 58:18
They can go to power tribes book calm and get the free course that goes without sounds
Jeremy Weisz 58:22
fantastic. I’m going to get it now. So Mitch, thank you again. My pleasure.