Search Interviews:

Mitch Russo 5:09
Yeah. Where’s that coming from? That’s right. 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 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. 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 you were opening the store? It was normal stores closed. We’re we’re selling you The baskets they 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. Well, 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 this. Yeah,

Jeremy Weisz 6:45
he has had a knack for looking around. Where’s the best spot and he found the spot on the corner that’s trafficked and just set up shop.

Mitch Russo 6:54
Yeah, yeah. And Tim shop was a door. It was just a discarded door on balanced bicycle. 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. And 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 and 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 know,

Jeremy Weisz 7:57
what was what was your dad stores, like? What was in there? You mentioned the the nuts What happened there?

Mitch Russo 8:03
Well, 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 Karmel nuts and chocolate and put them in a little paper cup and sell them for 25 cents. Well the cost of 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 package 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 9:06
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 9:15
Well, I mean, clearly there was Pez there was, you know, there was good and plenty. I was one of my favorites. There were cherry moon, the name of a tease. Oh, yeah. 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? Yeah, 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 is 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. 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 gum. Yeah, you know, just the rock solid

Jeremy Weisz 10:44
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 11:00
Well, you know, it’s very interesting. We My dad was a depression era. Dad. He grew up in the Depression era. And 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 he didn’t understand that money is around You know, unless you careful, it’s gonna roll out.

Unknown Speaker 12:04

Mitch Russo 12:05
And so that was one of my favorite things that he taught me now.

Jeremy Weisz 12:08
Thanks for sharing that. Um, 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 12:29
Well, I mean,

Mitch Russo 12:31
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. Were 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 14:37
Yeah, thanks for sharing that. Mitch. Chet Holmes.

Mitch Russo 14:44
Oh, goodness. Um, 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, as he’s doing, 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 all the sites that we were we were best friends. I mean, we built our friendship. He said to me, when He said to me, because you and I were going to be best friends. You’ll see.

Jeremy Weisz 16:04
I bought that book and I print it, bought it. There was a online version, I printed it out and put it in a binder.

Mitch Russo 16:12
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 a classic. But the things in that book are the things we lived every day. You know, all the stuff that he teaches in that book are the elements of how we built 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 implementing in the business. But I mean, john was the type of guy we’d go to Las Vegas for a trade show. And he said, Come on, come on, let’s go. I said, Where we going? He goes, we’re going to over 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. He goes, Hey, don’t worry about it. But and I go with them. You know, it’s a and I my ethics would be I would never, you know, see Anything and that’s kind of like stealing, but it was so much fun. And that was his 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. We 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 Chet, I was there the day before he died in his room talking to him. Next Next morning he was gone. I left

Jeremy Weisz 19:02
really young Mitch 53.

Mitch Russo 19:05
Yeah, he was. He was.

Jeremy Weisz 19:09
Thanks for sharing some of those stories. And I remember his book. 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 as 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 19:43
this week? This month, this year, this quarter an hour?

Jeremy Weisz 19:46
No. Yeah. Anything in the past that that

Mitch Russo 19:50
strikes you? Yeah, 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, he 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 and he wrote the software and 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. From 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 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 can 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 couldn’t get a job because people realized 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. Hmm 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’s today still one of my best friends in the world.

Jeremy Weisz 23:48
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 rusa calm they can also go to my power tribe calm anywhere else. We You should point people towards online to check out more about what you’re working on.

Mitch Russo 24:03
They can go to power tribes book calm and get the free course that goes with that

Jeremy Weisz 24:07
sounds fantastic. I’m gonna get it now. So Mitch, thank you again.

Mitch Russo 24:11
My pleasure.