Guts, Grit & Great Business Podcast
December 1st, 2020
Power Tribes – How Certification Can Explode Your Business
With Mitch Russo, who started a software company in his garage, sold it for 8 figures and then went on to work directly with Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes to build a $25M business together. Nominated twice for INC Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year, Mitch helps companies scale rapidly! Join us for this conversation where we talk about hitting dead ends and roadblocks, how they can become some of our best opportunities, and what it really takes to persevere in entrepreneurship and business.
“The job of an entrepreneur is to pivot into success.” Mitch provides some fabulous business stories and firsthand experiences from his own path of entrepreneurship. “Your greatest accomplishments are on the other side of fear.” Mitch shares with us his love of helping entrepreneurs break-through and grow, including moving through fear. Mitch has worked with numerous clients disrupted by Covid, and by taking them through a 60-day program, has helped to totally turn their businesses around and get them back on track.
We dive into what keeps people stuck, as well as mindset and transformation. Mitch shares his beliefs and understanding about what it takes to truly build a “power tribe” (that won’t implode, like so many do), and how businesses can scale using certification programs. Mitch helps businesses evaluate their business models, core values, and design and launch these programs. Mitch’s 1st book is “The Invisible Organization – How Ingenious CEOs are Creating Thriving, Virtual Companies” and he’s here with us today with a new book called “Power Tribes – How Certification Can Explode Your Business.”
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Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:
- Your greatest accomplishments are on the other side of fear.
- “Belief is nothing more than a thought you keep thinking.”
Check out these highlights:
8:34 How Mitch created a software company out of his garage, later selling it for 8 figures.
13:00 How the craziest of times can create great opportunity.
18:26 “If you’re not willing to move through fear, then you will never accomplish anything, because playing it safe and being comfortable, is the exact opposite of what is entrepreneurship.”
39:25 The concept of The Power Tribe.
43:00 “The point is to create vibrant, thriving communities that are self-supporting and nourishing to its participants, and to the company that hosts them.”
54:00 Why making it easy for people to understand will make them buy it.
How to get in touch with Mitch:
On social media:
FREE GIFT FOR LISTENERS:
Grab a free copy of 8 Steps To Build Your Power Tribe here.
Meet Mitch Russo, who started a software company in his garage, sold it for 8 figures and then went on to work directly with Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes to build a $25M business together. Nominated twice for INC Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year, Mitch helps companies scale rapidly! Mitch’s 1st book is “The Invisible Organization – How Ingenious CEOs are Creating Thriving, Virtual Companies and he’s here with us today with a new book called Power Tribes – How Certification Can Explode Your Business.
Learn more about Mitch here.
Imperfect Show Notes
We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below.
GGGB Intro 0:00
Coming up today on Guts, Grit and Great Business.
Mitch Russo 0:04
Your greatest accomplishments are on the other side of fear. And if you’re not willing to move through fear, then you will never accomplish anything because playing it safe and being comfortable is the exact opposite of what is entrepreneurship.
GGGB Intro 0:21
The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Heather Pearce Campbell 0:54
Hello and welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I am an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business. I am so excited to bring you my friend Mitch Russo. Mitch and I met recently, probably a month or so back through our mutual mastermind group. And it’s been really fun to get to know a bit more about Mitch, and we’ll get into some of that. But to introduce Mitch, Mitch started, I actually love this story about how he started. So I’m going to make him tell us a bit more about that as well. But he started a software company in his garage. And originally, this had to do with tracking time, right time tracking. And being in the legal field. Like we had a good chat about this because that can be problematic and hard to find software that really meets your needs. Well, Mitch just went and built it out of his garage, sold it for eight figures, and then went on to work directly with Tony Robbins, and Chet Holmes to build a $25 million dollar business together, nominated twice for Ink magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year, Mitch helps companies scale rapidly. And Mitch, his first book is the Invisible Organization, how ingenious CEOs are creating thriving virtual companies. And he’s here with us today with a new book called, Power Tribes, How Certification Can Explode Your Business. The other thing that I happen to know about Mitch, that I love, is he is a phenomenal photographer. So I hope we get to talk a little bit about that today. Because when we first spoke, I went of course, and immediately looked up his photography site. And I basically wanted to order like 8 billion prints. So good work that it was really, really fun to explore your photography. So happy to have you here today.
Mitch Russo 2:54
Thank you so much. It’s great to be here. You talk about my favorite things. And you know, I love business, I love helping people. But boy, my photography is truly my passion in life. And I miss it a lot right now.
Heather Pearce Campbell 3:08
So I can relate to that, you know, photography for me started young, I was a little kid and I would find these old. Like the the Kodak you know, the little clicker cameras in cymatics. And the little, you know, plastic pocket sized ones you could carry around, and I’d buy them up, I didn’t know how to use them. But if I had 25 cents or whatever, I’d get all these little Kodak cameras. And when I was about eight or 10, I started to like, actually buy some film and learn how to use them. And it’s really funny looking back on some of my early photos, but I came from a family of six kids. And so I would make all my siblings be my subjects and I learned portraiture that way I drag them down to the basement, turn on lights. So I share with you a big love for photography. And it started really early in my life. But I’m a big fan of anybody who has photography as a creative outlet, because I think it’s just such a wonderful way to explore and share the world.
Mitch Russo 4:11
Of course, I agree. And you know, it’s funny, because we started very much the same way I was a little boy. And I saw my dad had this thing. And it was a brownie camera. And so I took my allowance and I bought a kit from the drugstore it was it was a roll of film. No, I’m sorry. The film was separate. It was a packet of developer, a packet of fixer, tiny little plastic trays and and then I exposed the film and in my basement. I sat there dipping the film in these little tiny trays in the dark. And by about 10 years old, I developed my first roll of film and then made contact prints and I was hooked. That’s all it took. As soon as I saw that picture emerging from a blank page, you know, it fueled my desire to do more and more and more. Eventually, I built five doc rooms. Throughout the years that I’ve moved. My last darkroom was an absolute beautiful commercial grade darkroom. And my new house back in 2003,2004. And, and then eventually, I got very allergic to the chemistry and I bought a digital camera, I tossed it in my bag as I was leaving from Morocco, never realizing I forgot almost that it was there. And I used it for the first time in Morocco at the Hassan to mosque and Casablanca. And when I got home, I said, Oh, my God, I’m selling all my film cameras. And that was the beginning of moving completely into digital way back then.
Heather Pearce Campbell 6:04
Well, there really is something magical about developing images yourself. And I didn’t start as young as you did on that path. But when I got to college, I you know, I was a business major, but I took I kept trying to enroll in a photography course at school, and I finally got into it, but it was my last year of school. Hmm. Because it because I wasn’t an art major. They didn’t let you have priority as you know, if you were enrolling in photography as an elective, which it was for me. So I finally got in, but I lived and breathed photography on the two days a week that I had the class and then I just lived in the darkroom. Yeah, that’s all I did. And you’re right. It is so addicting and so amazing to be a part of that process and the transition to digital for me like I was really reluctant to make that leap. But to Yeah, once I did you know, it’s man, it’s simplified things. In a way, I guess it it makes your digital life more complex, right? With all the imagery, you have to track and capture and store.
Mitch Russo 7:11
Yeah, but for me, it was, you know, it was the quality. I mean, I was formatting with a large format camera, I was addicted to resolution. And this was even back then when the Canon Five D was just released, it was just 12 megapixels. But what I saw in those images on my crappy old computer screen compared to my 4k screens now, but what I saw on those screens back then I knew I knew that this was better than medium format. And that it would only get better from here. And that’s why I said that’s it. And, and of course, the other thing about it was that I can carry this tiny little SLR with one lens, instead of a 30 pound backpack filled with, you know, basically old style metal cameras. So yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 8:04
Anyway, so yeah, it’s a big upgrade. Well, that’s fun. And I would I mean, if you’re open to sharing your photography website, I’d love to include it in the links that I put into the show notes. Sure. Yeah, it’s super fun for people that want to see some images work. I think it’d be really fun. So stay tuned, but you can catch the show notes at legal website, warriors comm forward slash podcast. So Mitch, switching gears, let’s talk about that period of time when you were creating software in your garage.
Mitch Russo 8:34
Yay. Well, I mean, back then it was everybody was creating software in the garage. You know, like, I had done anything really that special. You know, I was, a working guy. I mean, I had a, you know, I had a job. I was a salesman in the semiconductor industry. And then I had an idea for a product and I, you know, sat down with my next door neighbor over breakfast, and we brainstormed about it. And then six weeks later, he called me over and said, Come on, show you something and, and for heaven’s sakes, he built it. I mean, it was like, what, but he built it on on an apple two, we didn’t, I didn’t want it on Apple. Two, I wanted it on PC. S an interesting thing happened right around that time, my industry was crashing. Now, I was really a novice salesperson. But I was an electrical engineer by education. And, and so I went to the Dale Carnegie sales course to learn how to sell. And then I realized that it selling is like engineering. It’s a very step by step process that if you simply follow the steps, and I’m a systems guy, so just follow the steps and close sales, you know, and so, I mean, everything was going great, but then the industry crashed. Now remember, this is like 1970s, 80s. I mean, obviously looking back then about $34,000 a month in commissions, which was insane. I didn’t even know what to do with it. I was literally putting it into passbook savings accounts. And when I hit $100k in each of these banks, I just throw the, the little booklet in my sock drawer. I wasn’t even sure if I found them all at one point, you know? So I mean, that’s how unsophisticated I was about money. And, and so I call up this guy. So what’s going on? All my orders just got canceled. He goes, Yeah, we’re gonna go through a downturn, but don’t worry, it’ll come back in five or six years. To what? Because Yeah, yeah, it happens all the time, every five or six, seven years. And I said, Okay, thanks. I said to myself, I’m out of here. Yeah. And that’s when this whole thing with the business really kind of took shape. So it was a crazy ride, you know, we had at that point, we worked sort of as a skunkworks, you know, I’d work my job during the day. So my partner, we come over at night, we would stay up all night testing and writing the documentation. And then, and then we both burn the boats, we quit our jobs. We’re stuck on the island now called entrepreneurship. And the next day, the IRS released the relaxed their rulings on contemporaneous record keeping, which was entirely what our product was built on.
Heather Pearce Campbell 11:22
Right. And I was gonna say you had intended to build this product to serve a very specific purpose, right, related to your work. And then it totally went away. The purpose of it just arrived overnight.
Mitch Russo 11:35
Right. So this is a great example of entrepreneurship. So what did we do? We screamed at each other, we blamed each other, then we took complete blame and said it was all our fault. Then we threw things around the house for a little while, because that was kind of fun. Then we went out and we had several beers and talked each other. And then we came back, we said, okay, how, what do we do next? We got this great piece of technology, what do we do? And in that one day, we imagined going through this entire range of emotions and circumstances. And that one day, we came up with the idea of taking our incredible time tracking technology, and building time and billing software for lawyers and accountants.
Heather Pearce Campbell 12:23
Yeah, people who needed it.
Mitch Russo 12:25
Yeah. And thank goodness that the IRS did that. Because that would have been a pretty shitty business, to be honest. It turned out that the timestamps business was incredible. And it was it was my, it was an adventure that I will never forget. And it was one of the highlights of my business life. And one of them because I got very lucky later on in life to work with Tony. But it was it was just one of those things where I look back. And you know, to this day, my partner is still my best friend in the world. And, you know, we do things together, we been to each other’s funerals, and, you know, and weddings and families and, yeah, amazing.
Heather Pearce Campbell 13:06
Now, I love that well, and I appreciate you saying, thank goodness, the IRS did that. I mean, I think in the midst of chaos and crisis like that, right here, you guys have quit your job is done this thing. And then the IRS is just kidding, we’re not requiring that anymore. Nobody needs this. But then out of that came this massive opportunity, because you guys re evaluated it and turned it into an opportunity. And I think that’s a really powerful reminder, even for people right now going through, you know, some crazy times, I think it’s important to remember that there, there is still opportunity and what feels like crisis and craziness right now can can be shifted at times into some of our greatest opportunities.
Mitch Russo 13:54
Absolutely. And you know, what it what it really comes down to, and this is the thing, you know, a lot of the lessons for me came later, not in the midst of it, you know, right. For me, one of the lessons was we did not quit and we could have, I had a lot of cash in the bank at that age. I had a couple hundred grand in the bank knew that we,
Heather Pearce Campbell 14:15
were losing your cash in the drawer.
Mitch Russo 14:17
Yeah, I mean, I was like, you know, I hate I could go on vacation for a year and not even turn around, you know, I could go get into the job I but I really wanted to start a business. I knew in my heart of hearts that true freedom lies in having your own company. And,then of course, you know, I told my dad about it, he goes, Well, what do you mean? I, he said, you’re gonna quit your job. And I said, Well, yeah, dad. I mean, look, come on. You did it. You have your own company, because I know I know. But you know, I have this thing. What do you have in my dad’s jewelry, you know, very gifted. He was a very gifted jewelry designer and, and for him and in his world. That was He was well known, you know, we go to magazines. And he go, yeah, that’s my cover there. That’s mine there, that’s fine there. And that’s been, and all the women on these fashion magazine covers were wearing his jewelry. So then he said that to me, I said, Dad, I’m, I’m going to do this. And I’m, if you can, if you feel like helping me, that’s great. If not, no problem. I’m doing it anyway. So I was determined. I was focused. And I, I basically cleared my pathway of distraction. So I remember, after we finally got the business really restarted. I had a date with my girlfriend that Saturday, and she stayed over Saturday night, Sunday morning, she gets up, because what are we going to do today? I said, Well, you’re going home, I’m going to work. She says, What do you mean? I said, Well, I got a business to build here. I don’t know what you were thinking she was, well, I thought we just spend the day together. I said, I don’t think so. And she says, Well, well, when can we spend the day together? I said, I don’t know if we’re gonna be able to do that for a while. And the last thing she said, as she slammed the door behind her was, well then Call me when you get some time to spend with me. And I don’t remember if I don’t think I ever did actually call her. We just plowed into it. And that’s, it’s the determination. You know, it’s the drive, it’s the desire, if you have these things, and and Listen, don’t be mistaken, you’re going to make mistakes, right? But never quit. The job of an entrepreneur is to pivot into success. Because we don’t get to choose success. As you probably know the story Heather, the founder of FedEx, Fred Smith, got to see on his master’s thesis for the idea of Federal Express. And no one really understands the story. The story is because his master’s thesis was a plan to have planes with check processing equipment on those planes to fly checks around the country. So that the time check would clear would go from eight days to one day. And the only element of that entire plan that survived going forward with the Hub’s Yeah, everything else. So his professor said to him, Hey, genius. How much does that equipment weigh? Because, well, I’m not really sure. Turns out the equipment and the paper of the checks themselves. The plane wouldn’t fly. I mean, what? hubs, the hubs for the kids? Yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 17:43
Yeah, absolutely. Well, and it’s, I believe that there is, you know, you just cannot have enough perseverance when it comes to entrepreneurship. And you make another really good point about people not, I mean, often not understanding the path, right, saying, like, what you’re going to do what and I think a lot of entrepreneurs face that at some point in their path, when they make a choice to go out on their own, quit their job, do whatever it is that they’re about to do. And for me, personally, I think that’s actually one of my favorite parts about entrepreneurs is the courage that it takes to make the choice.
Mitch Russo 18:26
Right, well, that’s right. And as they say, and I, I don’t know who said it, but it’s something I have lived by for many years is that your greatest accomplishments are on the other side of fear. And if you’re not willing to move through fear, then you will never accomplish anything, because playing it safe and being comfortable, is the exact opposite of what is entrepreneurship.
Heather Pearce Campbell 18:52
That’s right. That’s right. And I think something slightly less than 10% of people ever, you know, build something, create a business go into an entrepreneurial path on their own. So it’s, it’s a definite minority. And it’s, I just love I mean, I love people who are entrepreneurs, I love the croods that it takes to make that choice. Now, looking at where you’re at now, right? And you’ve had a really fascinating, interesting time. I mean, you’ve you’ve done some phenomenal themes in your work. Talk to me about what your love is right now when it comes to supporting other people on this path.
Mitch Russo 19:28
Hmm, wow. That’s a big topic. Yeah. So I’ll I’ll start by saying that I love to help entrepreneurs breakthrough and grow, I get more pleasure and satisfaction out of that than any other activity so I could, I bought authored several books. I like writing, don’t get me wrong. But there’s nothing compares to the feeling of helping another person, move to the next level in their lives and help them as they move through that fear themselves. And so what I’ve been working on is I’ve been attracting clients who have been disrupted by COVID. And I basically put together a system where we can get them back to where they were, and sometimes past where they were in about 60 days. And it’s called my my revenue disruption program. And it’s been a lot of fun running it and perfecting it. Now I got people signed up where we just take them right through 60 days later, they are booking clients and, and, you know, selling courses and doing all the good stuff that we know, in our world makes money. And, you know, it’s kind of cool, because some people were completely I mean, I had one client, who basically was making a nice living from stage for decades, and COVID hits, all his stages disappear. And you know, we’re on the call for the first time minister will tell me about your business. He goes, I don’t have a business I never did. All I did was work through booking agencies who would book me and send me checks. So I said, Okay, well, we’re gonna change that. And, and we did, and it practically makes me cry to hear him Tell me what’s happening now in his life when clients call and he’s, you know, he’s following the pathways that we designed together for him to uplevel each of his clients, you know, to the next level, and the next level, the next level. And he’s an incredible individual. And he’s created some amazing intellectual property that will change lives. So and that’s just one story. There’s so I love doing that. That’s my favorite thing. I have some specialty things I do like my certification programs, I build certification programs for and with companies. That’s what my book, power tribes is all about.
Heather Pearce Campbell 21:58
I love that well, and backtracking just a second for the folks that have been disrupted by COVID. Right, and are having to try to figure out either how to regain their balance, create new business, are these people that are all that were already in the consulting industry are these folks that have had to totally transition from what they were doing before.
Mitch Russo 22:19
It’s a combination, I have one guy who really had never really been even on stage. I mean, he had, he had basically made his business by setting up hundreds of small groups all over the country, he has this amazingly powerful meditation technology. But he requires that he does it with a physical demo. So he was generating six figures a month with, you know, all these other folks out there, helping him and doing this course all that went away instantly. And so what we did is we we basically completely took everything and build online platforms and training systems, and we repurposed a lot of what he had done before, into ways that people can get the same results not as quickly or as even as elegantly in some ways. But he’s doing it now, when this happened. He was basically broke, because he had spent, you know, like me, and I’m sure, like YouTube, in the beginning, we invested in our own businesses, you know, and, and so if all of a sudden someone just pulls the plug, you’re, you’re kind of dead in the water. And like many restaurants, I’m sure Heather in your area. I mean, these folks were just left stranded. I mean, some of them had food in the freezer and refrigerator. And, I mean, it was just, it was just shut down. And, and so he was in the same position, but but in a matter of 60 days, we got him back up and running his revenue isn’t where it was, but it’s getting there. And that’s just so exciting.
Heather Pearce Campbell 24:01
Yeah, I love that it’s, you know, the way you describe loving, helping somebody on that journey, you know, building and for me, my personal belief around entrepreneurship around business is that it’s it’s one of the pathways for us to express our greatest good in the world.
Mitch Russo 24:21
I think so. I think you’re right.
Heather Pearce Campbell 24:23
You know, it’s it doesn’t have to be exclusively that but I really like hearing the way that you can support people doing this just brings me so much joy because I think like the ripple effect of what that does, not only on his life, but the way that he’s able to support his family or at some point give back to community like all of this just becomes a bigger and bigger ripple effect when we can serve people building good businesses doing good work.
Mitch Russo 24:53
Yes, and that’s part of the joy that I have is watching those ripples and you know, the other thing is, is that I don’t really operate like other people. So when somebody signs up to be to work with me, you know, they sign I have a little contract, I should ask ask you to take a look. It’s a crappy little contract. It basically obligates them to a certain amount of money and obligates me to a certain amount of time. But I never stick to the time. You know, my goal is the end result. So when someone signs up with me, my belief is that I’m really not done until we have the end result. And my some of my, quote, unquote, quote, coaching friends say, Well, you know, that’s no way to build the business. And I said, I don’t care. That’s not what I’m here to do. I already made my money I I built, sold my company and retired at 44 years old. And, and so I’m not really in this for the extra dollar. I don’t mind making money like anybody else. But I, it’s not my primary goal anymore hasn’t been for many years, my primary goal is to express myself in a creative way that helps others or brings them joy, whatever that turns out to be great.
Heather Pearce Campbell 26:12
I love that. I similarly, and I think people it’s funny, because I just recently, like about a month ago, I ran a workshop for people. And, again, I did a special because of COVID. Because of the the amount of pressure that people are under to get businesses online, create revenue, like do do the thing that they’ve been wanting to do that maybe they now have to do. I ran a workshop for legal protections for online businesses, right, and ran a whole group of people through this and kept emailing all of them after the workshop, like, did you get the documents done? Are they plugged in, you know, hounding them, because I care that if they’re going to invest in putting the support in place, that they take it across the finish line, right? Because that is what matters. It doesn’t matter if you’re halfway there doesn’t matter if you paid for the thing if you never actually get the result. So I’m with you. But I’m sure your clients really appreciate that about you.
Mitch Russo 27:08
Well, you know, it’s funny, because I have a client who is one of the most successful asset protection attorney law firms here in Florida. And we were chatting one day, and I asked him, you know, tell me about your, you know, this is one aspect of the business, I said, I know, you build these amazing asset protection plans, and you speak all over the world, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. What is your experience working with clients? He goes, Well, what do you mean, he goes, Well, you know, we build these very beautiful plans. They’re, they’re perfectly designed, they’re customized exactly for each individual. And then they don’t implement them. So what do you mean, they don’t implement them? Because? Well, they don’t, they’re supposed to do things like we rename accounts or file, you know, to get things into the trial.
Heather Pearce Campbell 28:01
Mitch Russo 28:02
They just don’t do it. This is, but you’re pretty expensive. I mean, they paid you a lot of money. Because yeah, I know, but they just don’t do it. I said, that’s so interesting. But you know, it’s, it’s, again, it’s, it’s kind of human nature, in so many people are not taking action, if you will, they don’t move into that next place. And I don’t know why I that’s an area I’ve never quite uncovered. I mean, think about all of the folks who have bought courses and never even crack them open, let alone finish them. I mean, there’s something here. And that’s why I’ve found over the years information by itself is not that valuable. Like in my power tribes book, I practically give away every single thing I do in my standard hundred k program. I mean, who in their right mind would do that. But the fact is, is I’ve only known a handful of people who have taken the book and implemented. And even now I at one point I tried to teach what I do is a course at a very high price. And still nobody followed through. That’s why I work with somebody, part of what I do maybe the most valuable part, which I hate to say is keeping them accountable and pushing them to the finish line. And doing that final launch and watching is hundreds of thousands of dollars pouring to the door for a program that we just spent the last three months building.
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:35
Yeah. And that’s amazing. And I think there is something really I mean, for all of us in the online space that the point you made about people buying courses, having, like literally having the tools at their fingertips that could really revolutionize any part of their life. Right. But I think it gets to some very deep aspect of behavior change and our psychology just the way that humans work, right, we can gain a certain momentum when we have the activation energy to make the choice. But doing the follow through and staying committed, like there’s, there’s so much that feeds into that, that I think makes it really challenging for people to stay the path and which is also why, you know, even in regards to this podcast, one of the themes that I care deeply about is this idea that, whether it’s entrepreneurship, building a business, you know, being a committed parent to, you know, your family, or whatever else it is that you’re doing in life, like, it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint, it’s not like you show up for two days, and you get amazing results the rest of the week, right? So it’s right.
Mitch Russo 30:46
But you know, I want to take that theme one step further. About three years ago, I was about to click the button and buy another $2,000 course on the internet. And I stopped myself, I said, wait a minute, before I buy this course, why don’t I go back and finish some of the other courses that I bought? So I open up my spreadsheet, and I take a look. And there’s all the courses that I bought, and I actually finished several of them, but not all of them. So I picked one. And I reached out to the company and said, Look, I I’d like to finish the course I would like to hire a coach or, and they said, Well, we don’t have that we don’t do that. I said, Okay, good. Well, how about can you connect me with another member who’s already been through the course? So we could be accountability partners, or and they go? No, no, we don’t we don’t do that either. And I thought to myself, maybe this thing with accountability could help a lot of people through this. So I actually invented accountability tracking software, called results, breakthrough calm, and I released it, and nobody bought it. Nobody. And I started to do research. I said, Okay, well, people say they want accountability partners. They want to be held accountable. But they don’t follow through. So then I thought, Well, okay, well, this reminds me of the early days of CRM. CRM was, you know, people salesmen said, Hey, I just want to sell Don’t make me learn how to use the software. So I went to the companies that sold courses. And I said, Hey, I got this software that will almost guarantee that more people will finish your course, so that they can buy the next one, wouldn’t you like this? They go? Yeah, this is great. And several of them bought my software and then deployed it throughout their population. And guess what? Heather?
Take a guess.
Heather Pearce Campbell 32:41
I don’t know. Did it work? Like magic?
Mitch Russo 32:43
Nobody used it? Hmm. So I basically abandoned it. I said, You know what? It’s, there’s something going on in the psychology of the population. And I I’m not, that’s not my field. I don’t know what it means. But I will tell you this, a lot of people are reluctant to follow through or have an accountability partner. And, you know, one theory I have is maybe it’s just this whole social media, maybe our attention span has been so devastated by cell phones that we don’t, we don’t have the focus anymore, I don’t know. But I will say this, when people are determined when people are focused, that’s when amazing things can happen. And that’s what I love to be involved with people, whether it’s helping them or partnering with them. I mean, I love partnering with somebody who’s as determined or even more determined, than I’ve ever been, that is a thrill. And that’s what I love to get involved in.
Heather Pearce Campbell 33:43
Well, you know, this idea of commitment, because really what this is all about is like, are we committed to creating a result creating a change building the thing, like whatever it is that we think should come next? And I think there is something there. I mean, I think generally, a fair number of people just want band aids, they want to be able to like, kind of crack the door open and say, I tried or I looked or whatever. But when it gets down to like, how, how truly deeply committed, are they you know, if life is just consistently getting in the way, then the commitment level is just not that high. And so I know, because I i’ve debated this issue, even in my own business, right? How do I help everybody get across the finish line? And maybe the reality is that I just don’t that I don’t, you know, if people want it, it’s there. And it’s really interesting, because next week, I’m actually kicking off this. It’s just a personal passion project that I started in the midst of COVID as a way to support women with creating change, substantial change when we’re just under and you and I have talked about this. We’re under extraordinary pressure. You know, we don’t have normal supports. You can’t travel you can’t get out and go do some of the things that bring us So much joy in your life. I know, for me as a mom being home, like literally 100% of the time with two little people, and doing all the things momming working, making meals clean, like, it all lives in the same space and all at the same time right now. And the reality is that, you know, at least in the near term, there is no end in sight for this. And so, right. So the only way to change our relationship to that reality is to go in, and to go deeply in and to consistently do that work. And so that’s what the leap lab is about kicking off next week. But as I look at that, like, I know that when you do the work, and when I talk about the work, I mean, like do that inner work of evaluating your values and how you’re performing and what your commitment level is to various things in your life and how that relates to your goals, and you know, everything that you’re doing, it’s so easy for that type of work to be pushed aside during times of constraint and pressure. And so for me, selfishly, the leap love really is also about this idea of accountability. If I lead another group through the work, like I will show up and do the work, and that really feels like a gift to myself right now, because I haven’t been able to carve out that space so far to do that. So, you know, it’s, I think that the pressure in life is real, like I don’t want to discount the fact that for people that are not getting to the thing that they want to do, like the pressure is real, I don’t think it’s a it’s a choice that they’re really making to ignore certain things. I think that there’s a lot that goes on in life that gets us off course and that we just have the opportunity over and over to reevaluate how do I want to do this? Do I want to keep going down this path of struggling and not getting to it and so like you mentioned, it’s a real joy when people show up prepared to do the work and go through it with you to get across the finish line because it is the exception not the rule.
Mitch Russo 37:07
That’s right and honestly I don’t know how women do this I mean to have children and to be cooking, cleaning and mom and run a company run a business I don’t know. I mean I you know, I can’t imagine doing this and I know you’re in the thick of it and I know you’re not alone there are many of of you with young children now struggling like crazy to try and just keep up and I just can’t met so hard. And and of course you know, you have everything else in life that goes on to you know everything you have husband’s and and you have weather I mean we had hurricanes here recently. I mean, it’s like you know, can we get it can someone cut us a break sooner or later.
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:57
You know, I just have to insert yes yes at that point of like can we just catch a break? You know we have in Washington we’ve got this like super mega killer wasp that has showed up right and I literally like the day you know what is funny about that is the david that happened and I think when that hit the news here in Washington I want to say it was maybe may someday May June and I just thought like are you kidding me? Are we living in Jumanji? You know, like what is this and but it was the one thing that like took it over the top where I just had to laugh I just had to be like this is our reality we now have like killer was moving in. And the crazy part is that the other day over the over actually knows the middle of this week I my days all mushed together like I you know, where am I? Is it Friday is it Monday, but we had something really weird fly into our yard that was humongous and looked like a wasp to me. I know the difference between a wasp and a bee. I’ve lived my entire you know most of my life here in Washington. And sure enough, I had to raise my kids inside it was very aggressive like wasps are flying right up to our faces. And anyways, when I looked it up online, I can’t tell if it’s one of those killer wasp because a variety of images come up. But there are killer wasps from Asia that look like that. Like,
Mitch Russo 39:24
Oh my gosh.
Heather Pearce Campbell 39:25
Don’t tell me that I can no longer send my kids outside to play right now because that literally might put me over the top. So yeah, I know it is just crazy times. And I think it’s a reminder that you know, anytime where we’re feeling pressured, we have an invitation to do the work and to dig in and to change our reality by changing ourselves. Really quick, I want to touch on this concept of the power tribe. I want to hear from you because I love the title of it. I love the work that you do. And helping people take their work even to new levels and distribute it in bigger ways to talk to us a little bit about power tribes.
Mitch Russo 40:07
Well, let me just make one quick comment about what you said before. Yeah. You know, with all of what’s happening in this world with, with incredible floods in China, where dams are about to burst with chaos all over the world. And I believe that this is all coming to a head, I believe we’re in a great period of, of incredible change. And I’m optimistic, I believe on the other side of this, we will reach a place where humanity will evolve to the next level. I don’t know how I I’m not trying to figure it out. All I know, is that from the standpoint of energy, this is exactly the path that energy takes before it transforms into its next, its next level if you want to use those terms. So while I see it as chaos on a macro level, on a on a much larger scale, it’s positive. And I believe that by holding that viewpoint, we will evolve in that direction much quicker, as opposed to trying to figure it out, which we can’t do. It’s not part of what we’re here to do.
Heather Pearce Campbell 41:22
Well, and I appreciate you making that point. Because I mean, even one of the things that I want to cover in the leap lab that starts next week is this idea of like how co creation and manifestation happens, right? And I’ve seen it really powerfully work and giving up on having to have the How is essential because if you get stuck on the how you don’t make progress, you know, you’re too busy down in the details to actually allow for what comes next. And I also think that giving up on the how allows us to hold on to hope. Right, right, and allows us to hold on to the idea that and and you know, and I also really appreciate what you say about like holding on to that vision, and that reality is way more like likely to make itself. And I believe that as well. If there is a whole bunch of us that believe like, Look, what’s coming next is growth and improvement and evolution, then we will help to co create that.
Mitch Russo 42:22
Exactly. And that’s part of what I think we’re here to do. I don’t think that chaos is anything more than a distraction. I know it’s a very severe distraction. But I ultimately I think it’s the evolution of the spirit of our energy of our beings moving through this period to evolve into the next phase. That’s my belief, and I’m sticking to it. So they this, but to answer your other question about certification. So I want to be clear about something really important. certification is a fairly mechanical process, you do a bunch of stuff and you have a program. I cover that. And that’s really, you know, it’s important, but it’s not really why I take point.
Heather Pearce Campbell 43:11
Right? It’s not right? Yes, it’s the tool. It’s not the point, right?
Mitch Russo 43:16
The point is to create vibrant, thriving communities that are self-supporting and nourishing to its participants, and to the company that hosts them. And, you know, the reason I know this is because the first one I built wasn’t, and it evolved or devolved to the point of complete chaos and lawsuits. So, I mean, there’s no better way for me, I’m the type I need to miss make mistakes before I learn. I mean, I was the kid who had to touch the flame on the stove, just to see if it’s really as hot as my mom said it was. So for me when I built my cert first certification program. You know, I had 60 angry people describing circumstances that they had to go through with my quote-unquote, certified consultants. And my determination was so strong, I was so convinced that this was a great thing to do that I called every single one of them and I figured out what went wrong with each individual, certified consultant, and client.
Heather Pearce Campbell 44:24
But a fascinating learning experience.
Mitch Russo 44:26
Oh my god, and it took me six months to recast the program completely into one that created a foundation and some people might say it’s a spiritual foundation. I believe it’s a Cultural Foundation. I believe that before you even conceive of really a business model, which is part of the joy for me of doing this, you got to think of the community and the community is I love Jay Abraham’s term. I think he uses the term Parthenon. So to me, a Parthenon is a structure with a big solid roof, and columns all around. Well, the Parthenon, the culture, Parthenon, to me is a group of values, key core values that are aligned at the deepest level with the CEO and the company. And the columns are the code of ethics that support those values. So we start there, we start by extracting what those values are. And I’ve worked with CEOs who’ve had companies that are 2030 years old, they never thought about this before. I mean, they have them, but they just never articulated them in a way that anybody would want to listen. And so we get those really, really, really right. And then I give them the core value, I give them the code of ethics. And from there, we modify them to make sure that they’re a perfect fit, modify, subtract, add, make sure they’re a perfect fit for the Parthenon, the culture, Parthenon, they are creating with my help. Now, we have a basis for building a program. That’s how we start, the next step is to look at the company and the business itself. And we asked the simple question, Where does certification fit? If we have this army of people that are willing to do whatever we ask them to do as long as they can make a living doing it? and you know, enjoy the process? What are we going to ask him to do? And so we look at the business model. And this, this is where for me the the the joy of it comes, because what I do is I open up my heart, and I feel what’s best for this company. And I find things that were completely uncovered. Before I know it, I don’t want to make it sound like I’m bragging, I’m not, I’m just being aware. It’s sort of like forest and trees, I go, I can walk into a company and see things I’m sure Heather, you’re the same way, you could just see stuff that’s there, because people aren’t, you know, they’re too close to it. So right, I see all these opportunities, and we map them out using mind maps and flowcharts. Until eventually what we have is this incredible plan that if we can execute will generate hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars every quarter, and create these multiple streams of recurring revenue, all stemming from certification. here’s the best part. And this, again, goes back to what I said earlier, it’s the communities that we create, it’s the families that we nourish and help because when we build the certification community, we have hundreds of families that are being fed and nourished by these communities, hundreds of relationships that will endure even the company I mean, I’ve had CEOs tell me that their certified consultants are more important to them than their own employees. Because they’re beyond loyal. They love the company, and they love the CEO. That’s the goal.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:08
That is in and of itself, a big conversation, like everything that you touched on there. I quickly want to say that, first of all, I love, love, love, that it starts with the conversation around values and ethics as the building blocks to everything else. Because I think it is really easy to assume that you have those or that they’re built in. When they’re not. As right you don’t realize that until things start going wrong. And you’re forced with making decisions. And if you’re not on track, like things can go sideways in our hurry for people, if they do not have a foundation that is very specifically laid out and built on that.
Mitch Russo 48:49
So true. And there is so there are common simple mistakes that by human nature we will make that will destroy a tribe. And it’s so important to be aware of the I’ll give you one very funny example if you want to think of it as funny. So I built this amazing tribe of certified consultants from my first software company. And then one of the people in the group said to me, Mitch, you know, your products, not in Spanish, let me translate it for you. And I’ll deliver the entire completely laid out manuals, you could just publish them and everything would be perfect. I said, Wow, that’s really nice of you. Thank you very much. Well, now what I just did was I created two levels of certified consultants. One is friends of Mitch, and the other is everybody else. Well, Mitch has gotten I’m doing this for Mitch. And then somebody else came forward and I said, Oh, sure you’ll do that. Great. Yeah. Before I realized that I had infighting going on between these classes of people now. It’s a simple thing. But so how do you fix something like that? Well, now that I told you this, you’ll never make that mistake number one, number two way to fix it is to say, well, that’s a great idea. Thank you so much, how much would you charge to do that? And they say, well, x, y dollars, I think, Well, great. I’ll tell you what, let me put an email out to the group, see if anybody else would be interested in participating. And we can actually put together a small cohort and pay everybody to get this done to benefit more people that way? Now, there’s no caste system anymore. There’s no FOMC, there’s no, there’s just all of us together working towards a common goal. I had a client just yesterday, say to me, Well, you know, if we’re going to convert these folks to certified partners, I should recognize the ones that have already been around for a while, we’ll give them gold badges and called them, you know, ambassadors or something. And I said, Nope, you can, you can send them a nice new iPad as a thank you. But you’re not going to do that. And he said, why not? They said, and I told them the story I just told you. So because we’re not creating multiple levels here. We’re not creating in groups that will cause fighting, we will not be doing these things that I’ve learned the hard way, are going to crush you. So please just follow my lead us. And he goes, Oh, my God, I didn’t even realize it. That makes so much sense. And so, unfortunately, I don’t know where you’ll learn this stuff unless you experienced it yourself.
Heather Pearce Campbell 51:33
You learn it in a family of six kids, where you figure out in a hurry, you know, around fairness, right? It’s really this issue of fairness and the fact that it’s human nature that we all want to be treated fairly, right. And unfortunately, it can be painful to learn that life is not fair. And this is not really the way that it goes. But you’re right that we have an opportunity to build that into our system in advance before we learn out how painful it is to get it wrong.
Mitch Russo 52:00
That’s right, you know, and another thing around that same idea is that we have to be clear that we cannot accommodate everybody. Yes, their words, we love everybody. And we hope everybody is happy and comfortable. But we cannot accommodate everybody. And what that means is that certain people will have to be told that I’m sorry, but maybe this just isn’t for you. And if you understand that going in, then it allows you to stand firm in your own convictions and values. And that’s another very important, hard one lesson, because so many of us are people pleasers and want to please everybody, and particularly since they already paid us $25,000 a year to be in our program. We want to please them Well, no. That’s not the way to go. And the reason it’s not the way to go is that’s how you devolve into complete chaos by trying to please everybody.
Heather Pearce Campbell 52:55
It’s true. One of the modules in the leaf lap, at the end, but it’s actually one of the most important parts is this idea of boundaries. And the only reason that we have boundaries in our business in our personal life anywhere is because we have clarity first, right? That’s right, we decide what works and what doesn’t that often comes from painful experiences.
Mitch Russo 53:17
Heather Pearce Campbell 53:18
Yep, it does. But once you’re there, man, it makes the path so much smoother, so much. Like you just have so much more momentum without these unnecessary obstacles. So yeah, I love that point. So Mitch, I know, before we wrap up a couple of things, I know you’ve got a gift for folks. And I think it’s the link I will share for folks that are listening and you want to check out Mitch, his work has various links as far as where you can find them online. This link is https://powertribesbook.com/8steps, but you will find that alongside the show notes at https://lwwhost.wpengine.com/podcast. Mitch, tell us a little bit about this gift.
Mitch Russo 54:02
Well, it’s a very so here’s the thing I learned a long time ago. If you make something easy to understand, then people will get it. And so what I tried to do here is and I use an infographic because it’s convenient, but I try to distill the core values of a tribe into this infographic. And so it’s really a very simple thing. It’s probably a total of 200 words, if that many, but if you look at it, and you think about each of the steps, they lead directly to where you need to be. And again, if you’re thinking about building a tribe, even if you’re not thinking about certification, please take into consideration the points that you will, that you’ll be that you’ll see on this infographic because it makes for a happy group. You know, when and I’ll never forget that. I, I made friends with the CEO of Intuit many years ago, and he called me up out of the blue. And he said, Mitch, what are you doing with this certified consultant thing? And I told him and he goes, Well, can you share that with us? I mean, can you teach me how to do it? Sure. And of course, I realized, like, I now had a person I could ask a favor of, you know, later. So I taught him how to do it, it became the Intuit certified advisor program, which is now thousands and thousands of certified advisors. And here was my favor. I said to him, Scott, can I link-time slips directly into QuickBooks? without having to export a file and import it and this and that, he goes, Well, you know, we don’t really have that facility. I said, Hey, no, he goes, let me see what I can do.
Heather Pearce Campbell 55:52
I got it.
Mitch Russo 55:54
That’s a long time ago. But yeah, and he’s not running the company anymore. I think he’s the chairman. But it was, it was great to see how my system became really exploded. I mean, I had 350, certified consultants, he has something like 6000 certified advisors. So it’s exciting to watch as, as these ideas take form and take life. And I get to do that all the time. Now I got to I get to help people build programs, and they just come to life. And that, to me is incredible.
Heather Pearce Campbell 56:27
Yes. Oh, how joyful to be able to see your work taking roots in the world and spreading and serving all over the place. Well, I love that for folks listening, make sure that you check out his gift eight steps. And then, Mitch, before we sign off, what final thoughts do you want to leave with people who are listening today?
Mitch Russo 56:46
Well, you know, I, I think the most important thing I could say to anybody is that you have greatness inside of you. We all do. There isn’t a single person born today, that cannot accomplish amazing things. If you believe that you can, and it’s nothing more than a change of your mind. You could change your mind and become successful and, and I just want to encourage everyone to please do that too. Please find a way, find a mentor, find a podcast, find a coach, find something to nourish your soul. So that every day when you get up, you believe in yourself more than anything, because unfortunately, that’s all we got guys. It’s it, we got ourselves. So if we don’t believe in us who will?
Heather Pearce Campbell 57:37
Hmm, that’s a beautiful message I am. The reality of all we have in this life is ourselves. Like I learned that lesson when my mom passed away. But it it was both hearts wrenching to be with the truth of that right in her final day seeing that she really truly was alone, even though she was surrounded by family, nobody could go through that experience with her in the way that you know, you could really be with her she was alone. And yet there was also something about the recognition of that truth that was absolutely beautiful and empowering at the same time. Like, you know what? That’s right. We do have ourselves and not as something that we can always rely on. That’s right. And the truth about it starts with your beliefs. The piece that I want people to understand is that belief is a decision. That’s right, it’s a decision. And if you’re being challenged right now, by your beliefs, you have to make a different decision.
Mitch Russo 58:41
Another way to think about it, Heather, is that a belief is nothing more than a thought that you keep thinking. And if you change that thought it doesn’t have to be a belief.
Heather Pearce Campbell 58:49
That’s right. That’s right. It’s literally just digging in understanding what beliefs are getting in the way of something and putting some light on that and making a different choice about what you’re going to tell yourself and what you’re going to believe each day. So I love that I think it’s a really powerful point to end on. Mitch, so great to see you. Great to connect with you again. I love this conversation and I’m so glad we get to share it on the guts grit and great business podcast. Thanks for joining.
GGGB Intro 59:21
Thank you for joining us today on the Guts Grit and Great Business podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup, and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more, visit the shownotes at www.legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us to keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.