SFR 36: “How I Broke Into The Industry.” – Stephen Larsen

SFR 36: “How I Broke Into The Industry.”

Feb 17th, 2017 anchorwave

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I realized a few years ago that I needed to stop asking people for permission to prove myself…


What’s going on, everyone? This is Steve Larsen, and you’re listening to Sales Funnel Radio.

Welcome to Sales Funnel Radio, where you’ll learn marketing strategies to grow your online business using today’s best internet sales funnels, and now here’s your host, Steve Larsen.

Hey, how’s it going, everybody? Hey, I am really excited for today…

First off, it is still freaking cold here. Oh, my gosh, it’s so cold. I love motorcycles. I think some of you guys know that. I’m not a motorcycle connoisseur as far as like brand and all the little nitty-gritties of it.

What I know is, I like to ride them, and I love to ride mine. Right? I’ve got a, it’s a 2001 Kawasaki Vulcan. It’s a cruiser. I wish it was a little bit more powerful. It’s only 500cc, but anyway. It’s still crazy fun, right? And the snow has been melting here, and the roads are clear, and so in the mornings, I have been riding my motorcycle, and what was funny is, I woke up this morning, and I rode it a little bit last week, and … Anyway.

It was fine, but this morning, I woke up, and I was like, “Oh, man, it’s extra cold out. Oh, man, it’s really cold out. Oh, my gosh,” and since we moved new offices, we were only a mile and a half away at the other one, now I’m out four and a half miles away, which isn’t that much difference, but it is when you’re on a motorcycle and when it’s that cold outside.

And I started riding, and I was like, “Oh, my gosh, that is so cold,” and I start driving, I start going, I start going, and now I have had a little bit of frostbite before in my life. I was a hardcore skier growing up. We’d go like 25 times in a single season. I started skiing when I was five years old.

I don’t think you guys know that. I don’t think I’ve ever told you that before, and my dad was going to go be an Olympic skier, and I’ll tell you guys more about that stuff later, but … So we skied like crazy growing up, right?

And my hands and my face and my feet are used to that kind of cold abuse. Right? And I was riding along, and I’m not going to lie, but about a mile in, I was like, “My hands are going to freaking fall off. This is ridiculous. I cannot feel anything anymore.” I was like, and it starts to get dangerous, you know what I mean? Because your right hand controls the brake. Your left hand controls the clutch.

You know what I mean?…

Left foot is the gears, right foot, you got the back break. Right? I mean, riding a motorcycle’s an involved process, you can’t just sit there. And so I was like, “If I can’t freaking feel the grip, this is going to be a scary experience,” and it was about a mile and a half in, and my face mask starts fogging up.

I wear a full mask helmet, especially when it’s this cold. I mean, my face would be falling off otherwise in … That’s what it was like when I was a skier, a hardcore skier, but … Anyway, I get to the office here, and I cannot feel my hands at all, and if you guys have ever had that experience before, I don’t just mean like numb, but it’s where you got the actual cells in your skin, in your fingers, they start to freeze, and it’s a very painful experience, until your hands go numb.

They go numb, but then you can tell they’re getting extra stiff and hard. You can’t really move them, and it starts to freeze, literally, and it’s a painful thing to have happened, but it’s like 12 times more painful to have them thaw. Oh, my gosh.

So I got here to the office and I was like, “Hey, I’m going to record a podcast. I want to jump out to you guys real quick,” but I had to wait for like 15 minutes just pacing around the office quickly, because my hands are just throbbing as they start to thaw. It’s a … Anyways, it’s an awful experience, and I was like, “Hey, Siri … “

Let me see if … Hopefully it doesn’t turn on. Okay. And I was like, “Hey, Siri,” hopefully Siri doesn’t hear me, I was like, “What’s the temperature?” And it was like, brr, 24 degrees. I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I didn’t know it was 24 degrees outside,” and I was wearing gloves, but they’re these paper-thin little things, so like, oh, gosh, okay.

I’m not going to do that again. Anyway…

Hey, super excited for today. We are still about … Gosh. I’m so excited. We’re still about a few days away from Funnel Hacking Live, and I just wanted to recap real quick what happened last time. That was a life-changing experience for me.

At the time, I was about to … So this is last February. I was still in college, but I only had a week left of school, and I was getting straight As, and I was … I mean, I was a … For the most part, I was a straight A student. I graduated with a 3.85 GPA, and … Which is kind of a rare thing, but I feel like, because most people are straight A students, I feel like they’re really, they’re kind of tightwads, and they don’t know how to sell stuff, and they’re … I just get really into all the subjects.

If something interests me, I’ll go learn it and try and get good at it…

But anyway, so I was nervous because Funnel Hacking Live was basically during finals week, and I was excited to get there, though. All I knew is, I had to get there. I couldn’t explain it, I didn’t know why other than it was my tribe. You know what I mean? I knew my tribe was meeting.

I knew they were getting together, and I knew there were things that were going to happen there that were going to get taught that would not be taught otherwise. It would be hard for me to learn the things that I was going to learn there outside of the event. You know what I mean? That’s why it’s so exciting to go. That’s why it’s so important to go, and I didn’t have any money, though. I knew that Russell’s going to be opening the cart.

This is like, rewinding even more, the last time it was in March, so in like January, he was like, “Okay, I’m going to open up the … “

I think that was in, he’s like, “I’m going to sell some tickets and get this thing going,” and I was like, “Crap, I got no money.” I was a poor college student. I was in the army, I was in … I mean, there was a lot of stuff going on, my wife. I was trying to just keep up with school, we had two babies. We had, there’s so much stuff going on, and that’s kind of cool to have met a lot of you guys since starting this podcast. A lot of you guys were in the exact same situation, or are still now. It’s kind of cool to bond over that, for sure, but …

And I was like, “Cool, I’m going to go find some guy that I can build funnels for who will, instead of paying me, he will just pay for me to go to the event,” and this, it sounds cool, but it was like, man, the execution of that was rough, and so I went in …

Some of you guys are making a mistake when you go build funnels for people, you’re trying to prove yourself. You’re trying to ask for permission too much. I’ve done a lot of coaching sessions with you guys recently, and one of the things I’ve noticed in there is like, “Hey,” I’m like, “Hey, now go build for somebody for free. Go prove yourself,” and it’s like some of you are asking permission to prove yourself.

You’ll go out and you’ll say, “Hey, can I build you a funnel? Hey, can I build you a funnel? Hey, can I build you a funnel?” Right?

And that question needs to happen eventually, but the time that it happens does not need to happen first, so what I did is, I went out and I found this guy, and I was like,

“Hey, look. What I did at first is, I found a business that it was already succeeding, which makes it ridiculously easy to be successful with a funnel with.

…Hint, hint, hint. Massive gold drop, right there.”

Right? Go find a business that is already being successful, that, especially if it’s eCommerce, it’s going to be really, really easy. If they have their own list, that’s huge. If they have a social media following, absolutely massive, those are like the big pieces, man.

If you got to find a company that’s like that and you’re trying to prove yourself as a funnel builder, that is one of the magic formulas.

It cannot be a new company…

Okay? It’s very, very difficult to do that with a new company, and you guys know that’s kind of my policy. I don’t do funnel building with new companies anymore.

I tried that for probably two years. Half of that was when ClickFunnels existed. The other half, when it wasn’t, and I was using it with WordPress, and it sucked, but okay, so I went out, and I found this company, right? And some of you guys are going at me saying, “Will you let me? Will you let me?”

What I did, though, is I said, “Hey, I have an idea. I know you … I build these things called sales funnels on the internet, and it’s kind of a technobabble term.

Most people have no idea what it is, which is totally fine. Anyway, your business fits perfectly in this scenario,” and he’s like, “Really? Okay. Oh, that’s interesting.” I was like, “I don’t expect you to know what this is. I will pay for all the software. I will put everything together for you.

I want to build you a sales funnel online…

Actually, I’m going to do it for completely free, and I know that sounds crazy, but it’s honestly so that I can show you that I know what I’m talking about, and that they work,” and he was like, “Okay.”

And is a company, they sold water ionizers, and they had a whole bunch of monthly products, and they had a whole bunch of … It was a really fascinating company, actually. Actually, it’s still the water we drink here in the office now, with Russell, because I showed it to him, and he’s like, “That’s cool.” Similar to the Kangen Water thing, but they actually work.

Oh, man. Anyway. So I went out and I was like, “Hey, we’re going to build you this sales funnel,” right? And I went out and I built it, and I ran ask campaigns, just like you guys have seen me doing recently, which I should probably give you an update of that at some point, but I was running ask campaigns, and I was gathering all this research, and I was learning about his competitors, and I was all over the place.

I was doing, I was funnel hacking, right?

I was learning his competitors’ businesses better than his competitors knew their businesses, right? It’s kind of what you have to do with funnel hacking. It’s not about just screenshotting pages.

You got to, man, figure out what their margins are. I mean, figure out what the costs are. Where are they getting the … Who’s the suppliers? You have got to know their business as well as the business owner when you funnel hack someone hardcore, if you’re actually going for it. Do not do a shallow funnel hack. Right?

And be open about it…

Don’t be sold on those are the people that you’re going to go out and build, that’s the funnel you’re going to go out and build. That was the challenge, is that I was going through saying, “Okay, are these guys actually making money? Are these guys actually succeeding in the marketplace?” Right? And I was going through, and I remember, I would get up crazy early, and I would …

Just like I do now, and I would go, and I’d hide in different places on campus where there was sweet internet, when the buildings were all closed, because I needed to funnel hack.

I needed to build, I needed to get this funnel out, right? I wanted to go to Russell’s event, and I had to figure out a way to get there, so I freaking hustled. And I went out and I ended up building this funnel for him, and it was a tripwire funnel. I was like, “Hey, let me walk you through it,” right? And I just made all these screenshot videos of it, or I’d get on Skype with him and I’d walk him through it, and as I started showing him this stuff, he’s like, “Oh, my gosh. I didn’t realize this is the kind of stuff you’re talking about.”

I was like, “Yeah, this is what we mean by sales funnels in this industry,” and he’s like, “Would you take over all of my social media?” And I was like, “Crap, okay. Yeah.” He’s like, “I’ll start paying you for that. Let’s see what this funnel thing is first,” and as I’m taking over social media, and I’m starting to do posts and all this stuff, he goes, “Would you take over all of the server and tech stuff?”

And I was like, “Sure,” and I knew I had to do a lot of that stuff, just because I was … I mean, my dad was an executive at IBM. We built our own like 115-port network inside of our house. Totally geeky, but, I mean, it’s fun, and so I knew some of that stuff. He’s like, “Would you take over this? Would you take over this?”

Pretty soon, anything that had to do with a circuit I was in charge of, right? And so by the time I launched the funnel, I went out and I was like, “Hey, here’s the funnel. This is going to be an awesome funnel.

Let me show you…

It works like this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and the easiest way for this to make money is for you to send an email, a series of emails, out to your internal list,” and he was like, “Okay.” I was like, “So here’s the email. Let’s send it out, boom. Let’s send it,” and so we sent it. Right? And within the first day, it made 20 grand, and in, over the next three … Because people open their email at varying times.

Over the next week or two, or a little bit of time, overall it made I think almost 60 grand, and he was like, “Oh, my gosh,” and it was all through my system. It was all through the thing that I built, and I was blown away and was changing my mindset, just I was reframing my brain.

I was like, “This is insane. I’ve never done this before, and I’m proving myself, and I’m … ” He didn’t know that I hadn’t done all that stuff. He didn’t know that … Anyway, all I was trying to do is prove myself, right? That’s how you do a hardcore funnel act.

That’s how you actually prove yourself for the marketplace, and there’s been people that have been coaching with you, like I said, I mean, you guys, you’re doing a great job just getting more hardcore on it. Don’t ask permission. Just go build it. Right?

And that’s what I was telling these guys, also, when I built for them, was like, “Look, I know you don’t know what it is. I’m just going to build it. If it works, awesome. If not, you’ll never hear from me again,” and he was like, “Okay.” That’s an easy proposition as a business owner. Some kid’s going to work for me for free, if it works and makes money, then I’ll start paying you, and if not, no harm, no foul? It’s like, “What?”

I ended up rebuilding his entire website into ClickFunnels, building out tons of funnels that hooked from his main website, and, I mean, it was a cool experience. I left right before we were about to launch a webinar, and that’s when I got hired by Russell, and … Man, that webinar was going to crush it.

Oh, I’m so sad they didn’t launch it, but you’re the only one that’s passionate about it, and your value proposition goes through the roof, right?

So after he started making money, I was like, “Hey, look, there’s … Honestly, as far as payment, it was good for me just to prove myself to you and to myself and to the industry that I know what I’m doing on this stuff, so as a payment, I would love it if you would just pay for my hotel.

Just pay for my ticket, pay for my flight,” and he’s like, “Okay, and so you brought in 60 grand. I can cough up a little bit of that. It’s hardly anything, comparatively.” And I went, and I went to Russell’s event, and I totally miscalculated the days, and so …

The first night, I got my own hotel room. It was this total dump. I mean, it was like a 50-dollar-a-night hotel, and I couldn’t get a car, so I was renting bikes on the other side of San Diego, and I would bike, I don’t even know how many miles, but I biked a long way, all the way into the event, and so I was kind of sweaty, but I just knew I had to be there.

I knew I had to be there, and I remember I … There was a very surreal feeling, you know like those moments where you just, you are where you are supposed to be, you know?

You walk in, you’re like, “My gosh, this is it.” Like, “I’m, this is … I don’t even know why, but this is it,” and I walk on and into the event, and it was the day before … The day before the event, it was registration, and I walked in, I was like, “Hey, here’s my ticket,” and they’re like, “Awesome.”

They gave me my name tag, and it was like, “Oh. Wow.” And some of you guys might laugh at that, but that’s what, it was a huge deal to me. I knew my life would be changed by being there. I did not know why, I could not explain it …

And I walked in, and I was like, “Hey,” I got my badge, and they hand over this bag with all this stuff in it, and I was like, “Whoa.” I mean, it was like holding gold, I was like, “Holy crap. Wow,” and I had biked several miles to get there, and I was biking around the bay, and I was like …

Anyway, it was a really interesting night, and I remember, after they gave me my bag and they gave me this badge and all the stuff, I turn around and there’s all these support guys sitting at this table if you had any questions, and I walk up, and I think some of you guys heard the story, and it was actually Mark Bangerter.

I’ll tell him that I mentioned him, he sits on the other side of the window from me over there. He’s like, “Hey, who are … ” Oh, and he looked at my name tag and he goes, “Wait a second, are you that guy who’s pulling off all that Star Wars ninja crap on our software?”

And I was like, “I don’t know.” And he goes, he’s like, “Where do you work now?” I was like, “I graduated on Friday,” and he’s like, “Are you kidding me?” I was like, “No.”

He goes, “Get this kid an application.” He’s like, “What have you been doing?” I was like, “Well, lately, I’ve been building up a CRM with Infusionsoft that integrates with ClickFunnels back and forth,” and he was like, “Oh, my gosh. You know Infusionsoft?”

And I was like, “I’ve set up,” and that’s where, the company that I built a funnel for, that’s where it had turned into. They wanted me to build up the CRM, despite me telling him how much they did not need it and how much of a waste of money it was, and how much it did not work, and how hard it was for it to do everything, they still wanted me to use Infusionsoft and go and integrate ClickFunnels with Infusionsoft, so I ended up doing it.

And so anyways, Mark was like, “Holy crap, you know this? Man, get this kid an application,” and I got asked to apply to ClickFunnels four more times throughout the event. Four more, and the peak of it all was when Russell gave the speech for certification, and he stood up and I knew I wanted to be certified.

Again, part of that whole, I don’t, mystical crap, whatever, but I knew I needed to be certified, and Russell stands up and he goes, “Okay, we got this thing called certification. Here at the event, it’s eight grand. Besides here, it’s going to be ten, and basically, by the end, you’re going to be making a butt-ton of money,” and I was like, “Cool.”

I already love ClickFunnels, I already know I’m pretty good at it, I already … Part of it was my background in layout and design in high school. I was a head editor for yearbook, I designed all the editors in InDesign with Adobe, and …

Anyway, I’m kind of rambling now, but all I’m saying, guys, is this event is a big deal, and for those of you guys who are going to make it, I’m really excited for you to be there, and this isn’t like a, I’m not trying to … There’s no affiliate link here.

There’s no … I’m just really freaking excited. This event changed my life, and this is one of my … I look more forward to this event than I do, like, Christmas or my birthday, all right?

People’s lives change here…

Now, for those of you guys that are coming, my dad’s going to be there. He’s, we’re building out his product for the financial … It’s called

He’s got a futures trading product…

I think I was just telling you about that, but anyway, all I’m trying to say is, I’m super stoked that you guys are going to be there, and when you come, already have … For those of you guys who are just starting out, already have funnel hacked somebody, all right?

That’s the … I’m trying to think of the easiest ways you guys can get the most out of it when you’re there. Anyway, guys, it’s going to be a great experience, and I’m excited to see you guys when you’re there. This … You know what, I’ll just bring it full circle here, all right?

So when I was at the event, I heard Russell give certification, and I was like, “I got to figure how to … I do not have eight grand. I barely made it here as it is. Somehow, I don’t even know how, but I’m going to make it work.” Right? And I …

Some of you guys know I’m religious. I went back to my hotel room and I said a prayer and I was like, “Heavenly Father, God, I’ve got to get to certification. It’s the next step for me. It’s what I’m good at. It’s what I do for Russell, I’m his funnel builder. It’s what I’m good at. I’ve got to figure this out.”

And he didn’t know who I was yet, and he had no idea who I was, and I walked back into the room and I kind of had this feeling like it’s all going to be okay, and I walked in there and I started talking to some of the other certified partners, and I was like, “I got to make this work,” right? And I started talking to Nora, who’s a ClickFunnels employee, and I was like, “I got to make this work,” and she’s like, “I feel like you got to make this work,” and I was like, “I’m trying to make it work,” and the Hackathon started shortly thereafter.

And I went downstairs, and there was a whole bunch of people, all of their computers set up, a huge noise going over, the smell of pepperoni pizza all over the place, people are staying up crazy late funnel building, and there was a guy there, a ClickFunnels employee who was, I won’t name him now, but he was sitting there and he was building something, I saw what he was building, and I was like, “I can build that faster.”

And I pulled up my computer right next to him and I was like, “I’m going to beat him,” and I just started hauling and all these people started watching what I was doing and I was beating him on this funnel hack using the editor, and I was, I mean … Anyway, I’m very competitive, and I eventually met this lady whose name’s Nora.

She was in charge of the certification program, right?

And she was like, “Oh, I’m super impressed with you. Oh, my gosh, you got to … You’ve done that and that and that with our software? Oh, my gosh, that’s crazy. You’re in college? Oh, my gosh, I need you.”

And she’s like, “Let me introduce you to Brent,” and I go and I get introduced to Brent and Brent’s like, “Cool, why don’t you get … Why don’t you go apply? That’d be awesome,” “Sounds good,” and I was like, “Okay, sounds good. I’m literally going to go be the CMO of this other company they’re building funnels for and on Friday, four days from now,” and he was like, “Holy crap. You’re graduating that fast.” He’s like, “Please apply.”

And the last night, I stayed up the entire night, the event was over, right, and I remember just, I needed to just act, I needed to act, and I was definitely the last person at the event. I was definitely the last person to leave the hotel, and my flight didn’t leave till the next day, and I stayed up the whole night making this video explaining to them why they should hire me.

I don’t think a lot … That’s probably the part of the story that you have not heard. Russell’s told the story before and he’s like, “Hey, he stayed up the whole night because he didn’t have a hotel room.” Well, there was a hotel room that I got, and it was a junky piece of crap one, because I didn’t have enough money for another one.

I could’ve stayed there, but I ended up just staying in the hotel where there was good WI-Fi, and I worked my butt off, and I funnel hacked, and I built a brand, and it’s actually where the basis of came from, that night, right? And I created this huge, amazing video. It was only about, they only wanted a seven-minute one, so I was like, “Okay, cool,” so when I made it, this awesome seven-minute video, and I’ll put that video in the show notes as well. Ooh, that’d be kind of cool. All right, I’ll put the video in the show notes. And I went back to college, right, and I sent the application in, right, the night before I left San Diego, and on Tuesday, right, I came back on Sunday.

On Tuesday, I got a call from Brent, and he’s like, “Hey, man, just saw your application. Crazy impressive. I loved it if you came down for an interview,” and I was like, “Cool, I’m in the middle of finals, but what if I drove over there?”

And he was like, “Okay,” so I drove from, it was about four and a half, no, it was about, yeah, about five-hour drive, and luckily I’d been doing so well in my classes I kind of just left, and I went and I stayed the night somewhere and then drove into ClickFunnels headquarters the next morning, and I walk in there and Brent’s like, “Hey, how you doing, man? Looking sharp. Thanks for dressing up,” and we chatted for a while, and he’s like, “Hey, would you go sit and just wait for a little while?”

He and I talked for a while, he was like, “Would you go away for a while and Russell will come in, you’ll get to meet him,” and I freaked out.

I was like, “I get to meet Russell Brunson? Oh, my gosh,” and I started freaking out. And I went, and I started sitting in another room. I was just trying to make conversation with another guy, because I was freaking, I could not believe that I was about to meet the man who had already changed my life, and such incredible respect for him and what he’s doing.

Most entrepreneurs get pretty cocky…

Most entrepreneurs get pretty all about the money, and, no joke, I mean, he, the guy wants to make a lot of money, it has nothing to do with not wanting to, and he makes an absolute insane amount of money, but he is more about helping people, and I’m all about that, so it was really kind of cool synergy there.

successBut anyways, he walked in, and we met, and we had an hour and a half conversation. We talked for an hour and a half face-to-face. It was so crazy cool, and at the end of it, before I left, he sent a message to Brent, and he’s like, “I want that kid. Do whatever you need to take, do whatever you need to be able to get him.”

And I was like, “It’s Wednesday. I’m supposed to leave on Friday for Florida,” and he’s like, “Well, what are you going to do?” I was like, “Well, if you offer me a job, I’m coming here. I’m not going to Florida, I’m going to stay here, and I’m going to go … ” Oh, man. Anyway, anyway … All right, guys, that was a long episode. I just wanted to tell you guys how stoked I am for click, for funnels, for…

… Anyway, this is a long episode, and I want you guys, when you who are, those of you who are coming, I want you to come and know that this is something, expect that it will change your life.

Expect it, right?…

I do, I did, it did, it has, and I’m really excited to meet you guys. Definitely say hi to my dad when you guys are there. I’m just, he’s just getting introduced to this world, I’m just introducing him to people, so that’d be awesome too, but …

Anyway, long podcast there, but, anyway, hope you guys enjoyed it. Super stoked. If you want to turn those intro things into your own alarm clock, go for it. That’s me getting stoked every time, every morning to do stuff with Russell, but …

Anyways, guys, I will talk with you later, and, yeah, I’ll talk … All right, well, see you guys. Bye.

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