What do Salesforce, Infusionsoft, Hubspot, Intuit and Microsoft all have in common? Among other things, these software giants have all witnessed the impact of the power tribe and the miracles that the certification process can do to their businesses. And it all started with Timeslips Corp, which its Founder, Mitch Russo, eventually grew to an eight-figure business at its peak. Inspired by this success, he authored two books, including Power Tribes, where he explains the tools and processes he has created that can help other businesses build their own certification programs. In this conversation with David Adelson, Mitch spills the juice on how to use certification programs, create a power tribe for your company and make serious revenue out of it as a bonus. Stick to the end and don’t miss his giveaway: a free 90-minute mentoring session where he explains the exact strategies and tactics to grow a company to 1000 clients and beyond!
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
How To: Create A Power Tribe With Mitch Russo
And Make Money With It
I am excited to have with me, Mitch Russo, who is a dear friend and someone I’ve been wanting to introduce to you for a long time. Mitch is here to tell you how to create a power tribe to help get your message, get your programs to the world in a powerful, effective and efficient way. I’m excited to hear what he has to say. Mitch, welcome. I’m grateful to have you here.
It’s my pleasure, David. The world has changed around us rapidly and dramatically. There’s never been a better time to build community. In my opinion, you could talk about rules, laws, and COVID and all of these other things, but what keeps us all going is the communities that we participate in. For some, building a community is a priority. What I have evolved my system to be is a methodology for rapidly building a powerful community, this is the bonus part, that makes you a lot of money. It’s one thing and noble to have a community. If you have a community, you can call it a name and run through the streets and light cars on fire. If that’s the type of community you want. Instead, what I prefer as a type of community that brings people together and find common ground and understands what we collectively need and then finds a way to deliver on those needs and finds a way to make sure that we all create a powerful income experience at the same time. In essence, that’s what a power tribe is. It’s employing the business model called certification along with a powerful human model called communities and tribes.
This is exciting to me for many reasons. I want to get into it. I want to give people a little bit about your background. I met Mitch a few months ago. He stood out in the crowd, an impressive and brilliant man. Mitch has started a software company in his garage and then managed to sell his company for eight figures and then went on to work directly with Tony Robbins, who is a household name in the self-development world and Chet Holmes to build a $25 million business together. He’s been nominated twice for Entrepreneur of the Year and he helps companies scale rapidly. His first book is The Invisible Organization: How Ingenious CEOs Are Creating Thriving, Virtual Companies. His second book is called Power Tribes: How Certification Can Explode Your Business. He said the volume two of that is coming out in a few months.
This is exciting to me, and I agree that the world is changing. What we’re seeing is that for a long time, what has been propagated in the world is differentiation and segregation by virtue of geography rather than commonality. What we’re finding because of the internet and especially exacerbated by COVID that people are realizing that there are people like me around and there’s enough of them that I can accomplish whatever my goal is and I’m here to accomplish, that we can connect however we connect virtually and that one can make enough money from a small dedicated group. You can have a good effect on the world and you can also have a good living. I remember several years ago looking at somebody on their YouTube channel. They had at that point 30,000 subscribers. I remember thinking if I had 30,000 subscribers, I could make a good living with that. She’s now at 120,000 subscribers. The first thing is, why don’t you tell me what you think the number one reason to create a tribe is?
I’ll tell you from the perspective of my clients and what I hear. When I speak with a potential client, their concern is that they have a company and they have diligently built that company to the point where it is now. They have reached the point where they either are spread too thin, can’t create new products, revenue has become a little lumpy and comes in a little bit here and a little bit there and then not anywhere for a little while. They have some revenue and longevity concerns. There are other situations where the CEO, like you David, is the only one who can create a particular transformation in a client. That’s great, but it’s not scalable. They come to me to see if there’s a way to fix that problem. There always is. I’ll give you an example.
I had a woman come to me and said, “I’m the only one who could do this.” I said, “You maybe, but I’d like to try and show you how, in fact, that’s not the case.” In a matter of a few weeks of working with them, we were able to create a team of people who could do virtually the same thing almost as good and probably we’ll get to do it as good over as time goes on. It’s usually the reasons related to business the tribe in some ways might be thought of as an aftereffect of building the business model. The business model is designed to create enormous value. It’s designed to create big influxes of new revenue. The side benefit is the fact that what we do is create a community around this group of people called certified coaches, consultants, and partners. The keyword is certified, which means that we take them through a process and we make sure that by the time we’re done with them, they have 100% competency in whatever it is that we’re trying to get them to do. No less than 100%, because that’s not acceptable.
Using what I teach, we’re able to do that because there are tools that I’ve learned from Tony Robbins and others that will get us there is a relatively straightforward way. That’s why people come to me. The bottom line is that after we build their certification program and after we create the culture, then that’s the most important thing. Culture, in a nutshell, if you could think of the Parthenon structure of a roof and columns. The roof of a good tribe is the values set, the set of values that the tribe has. Those should be debated. Those should not be rattled off. Those are core elements of what we stand for and what the true vision of the company is. The pillars of that Parthenon are what I call the code of ethics. By creating this code of ethics, what we’re doing in effect is think of it as the physical structure. There’s a building with these columns or around the edges of it and the whole center is empty and it has a beautiful roof.Certification is a win-win. You're giving people a new profession, and, in exchange, you're being paid first to certify them. Click To Tweet
Inside that Parthenon, you’re free to do anything you want. You’re encouraged to do anything you possibly can as long as you stay within the confines of the code of ethics or in this case of the columns. What you’ve done is you’ve created not just a culture, but a self-correcting, a self-fulfilling community that is interested in making sure that everybody plays by the rules so that the environment can always be pleasant and I would say enlightening to all of those involved. That’s the idea behind it. If you do it the right way, then the culture is self-perpetuating. In many ways, when you used to join a company, they give you the company handbook. You don’t have to sit and read it and all that. Once you build a great culture, all you need to do is insert somebody into that culture and through a form of osmosis, in a matter of time, they become indoctrinated in that culture and thrive like others.
What I love about this is that you’re not starting with the concept of making money. I appreciate that because for my audience, for the most part, what they’re doing is they feel they’re here to have an imprint, do something good so that their core beliefs leave the world a better place. If nothing else, the bottom line is to leave the world a better place than what it was when I came in. Everybody’s going to have their individual thing about it. I love that you’re starting with that rather than, “Here’s how you make money.” My belief has always been, if you’re doing it right, money is a byproduct. If you chase money first as we all know the people who can spend their lifetime saying, “Once I get money, then I’ll.” While there are some people who have historically done that’s okay, it’s few and far between. Most people get distracted by the carrot. I wanted to tell you, I was a TM teacher since the early ’70s. One of the things I learned with Maharishi, I know there are other great teachers, I’m in a town where there’s a big temple to Yogananda, that’s fabulous. We support anybody who’s bringing truth.
One of the things that Maharishi when he was first introducing this in India, he realized that he was one man. Somebody said, “How are you going to do it the whole world?” He said, “I’ll multiply myself many folds.” He effectively created exactly what you’re talking about. Certified people who were teachers that he authorized each of us individually. Eventually, it grew into a big organization with however many tens of thousands of teachers in the US alone. This idea of creating a cultural atmosphere or cultural integrity based on the premises of what I stand for, you stand for, your client’s stands for is a fabulous way to do it. For those reading, what are your core beliefs? What is it that you feel to help the world remove a problem or whatever it is that you’re doing instead of trying to do it alone with a certification program by building a power tribe where you can start to see that 2, 10, hundreds, thousands of you can do so much more?
If you could build that tribe quickly, how much more quickly could you fulfill your goals? How much more impactful would you be in the world instead of some slip of paper that somebody reads twenty years after you leave, which goes, “This is cool?” You could affect tens of thousands, 20,000, however many. That’s amazing. When you meet with people, I want to say, how should people start? I know you have a giveaway. I don’t know if you want to talk about that now or later or if you want to talk about the process and we’ll tell them at the end where they can get this.
Let’s start with some basics. Realistically to build a tribe, you need to have what I would call IP. What that means is that you need to have a transformation that you perform on a person or a group that is unique to you. If you are out to build a tribe on some coaching program you took in the past, it’s not going to work. It’s also against the law because that’s not your intellectual property. You got to start with your own stuff. It sounds simple, but a lot of people don’t realize that. Another thing, a lot of people don’t realize is that they have their stuff, even though they don’t formally call it that. In other words, people who have been doing something special for several decades have created their intellectual property, but they’ve never codified it.
One of the things that I do when I work with someone is to make sure that we codify it. We make sure that we take that and we encapsulate it inside of a learning system so that others as I said get 100% competency in doing it. The whole idea here is, number one, if you have this and the transformation you cause is a beautiful, massive and powerful transformation, then you have a moral obligation to share this with the world. It’s not a matter of whether you want to anymore. You’re obligated to. That’s why you’re here. If you don’t, it’s going to hurt you inside. Most of us who are of the creative types and understand this can relate to that experience of feeling sad or hurt when they can’t share or we can’t share our gifts. That’s one of the reasons why certification is powerful.
I don’t know if you’ve experienced it. I know a lot of people when we were at New Media Summit, I know I’ve had this issue before where it doesn’t matter whether I am embarrassed or uncomfortable getting on stage or standing up and promoting anything. I have to do it to fulfill my purpose. There’s an obligation that I feel. It doesn’t matter what I want, whether I’m embarrassed or I know the exact right words to say, but I need to speak up. I need to say this truth. I need to present this to the world. If you’re the only one that knows where the exit is and the building is on fire, it doesn’t matter whether you’re comfortable speaking in public or not.
Occasionally, what I do is I find people who are comfortable doing the thing they do. They may make a decent living and the idea of training others is a little daunting to them. They have the feeling of, “My goodness. Now there’s a lot of work here I didn’t already have on my plate.” My goal is, first of all, make the process as streamlined as possible because I’ve done it many times with others. The more important goal is to extract their gifts and find a way to communicate them to others so that they can use those same abilities and transform people in the same way as well. We go through that first. That’s the first thing.
The next step is to understand what their belief system is. What is their why? If that ‘why’ doesn’t match what I believe is the proper system for communicating it, I’ll help them with that and see if it fits. If it doesn’t fit, then I’m not a fit. If it does fit, then what we’ve done is we’ve streamlined the process of communicating their transformation. The third thing, and this is maybe to some the most important, is then we go deep and create the proper business model to make sure that both the people they enroll and the company who’s doing this makes a lot of money. Those are the overview of the three basic steps of how the planning process unfolds.
I have some questions because everything that you’ve described, especially the last point that you made seems to be that if I’m going to certify someone in a knowledge program, in a program that they can then replicate or somehow work with clients with this specific knowledge that I’m presenting. In my particular case, I have a whole bunch of programs that have unique understandings of the world. It was a real eye-opener to me. When I was in high school, I realized that the way that you came up with your ideas is that you read other people’s ideas and then you put them in your own words. What is that thing that says, “If you steal a line, it’s plagiarism, but if you steal a whole bunch of stuff from a lot of people, it’s research?” In my case, I do have some knowledge. While it’s lovely and I can see how I could move forward and certify people in particular things maybe and I have done that for some people that we’ve given some healing abilities for, my main focus is these Peace and Harmony systems. I know you said you’re still playing that every day. What are you noticing when you play it?
I noticed that my personal stress level has dropped significantly. There’s a sense of calmness that I have.
A lot of people have that experience, but as I was talking to you before we started, that’s a sample and we make bigger systems. My goal is to get 10,000 of these systems out in the world and they’re incredibly powerful. I won’t go through all the details because people can get that at PeaceAndHarmonyCO.com. My goal is to get a lot of these out right away. Is that something that the program that you’re talking about can match with or is that something that’s completely separate?
It could be part of it, but it’s not the program and here’s why. If you got a Salesforce, it sounds like that would be a better fit because you want to take a group of people and get them to sell this and place it in as many places as possible. Certification is around a personal transformation that you conduct or that you perform on an individual. Let’s say you’re a coach and you’re coaching me. I come in and I’m in condition A. After working with you for a period of time, I leave in a much better condition B, then that is a transformation. If you then say to me, “Mitch, I’m the only one who could do this because I cap into some mystical states,” I would challenge that. I would dig deep with you and find exactly what you’re doing. Ultimately, we would find a way to teach it to others and get them to tap into those same places. If we did that, then we build the mechanics of how to make sure that they make money when they do it and that you share in that or the gift of having enabled them to do this transformation with technology.
I’m going to use me as an example. I do things that I believe are unique, but I have also worked with people and certified them to do special programs using specific energies. We call them guides instead of coaches because they both help you as a coach would help you. They’re trained as coaches. They’re also trained to remove the blocks that someone has that prevents them from moving forward. Almost every coach who’s had clients where they’re working for six months or longer to get them to take one step and the coach has stymied. He doesn’t have a way to get rid of that. We have a program that does that. I know this from other people who have similar programs. Christian Mickelsen has an instant miracle process that he teaches his coaches to remove the blocks. Other people do that. My question has to do with the difference between a Salesforce, and all of this is in the concept of creating a power tribe because I can’t help but think that if I had certified people, wouldn’t they be able to help sell as well?Start mapping out your culture. Figure out what your values are. Click To Tweet
Yeah. That’s one of the ways you and they make money. The point is you don’t need to go through the certification process if all you want is a Salesforce. There’s nothing wrong with all you needing is a Salesforce if that’s the case. If there’s an element of it that requires this personal transformation, it’s not selling licenses to a software product, it’s something like a consultant or a coach would do.
When I think of it and when I think about building a power tribe and certification, I think, “I’m teaching these programs already. I can add a certificate.” I know that I need more knowledge than we’re getting in this one call. Also, what we’re hoping is that other people who are reading are starting to expand their thinking and starting to plug in to, “How does this apply to me?” In my case, if I certify people and then I give them the ability to sell, they can go in and they’ve had personal. There’s more of that community, tribe, commitment and I’ve experienced this and I would like to offer this to you, which is a different experience than, “This is a nice car. I’m the salesmen and take it for a drive.”
That’s in many ways what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a way of communicating this incredible transformation that you’re capable of and teaching other people to perform it and then helping them get clients and then sharing in the revenue that those clients generate. You’re giving them a new profession and in exchange for doing so, you’re being paid first to certify them. As they get new clients, you’re sharing in the revenue that they create from the skills and information and the systems that you provided with them. Yes, it’s like creating a Salesforce for sure.
I worked with some, and I love this idea of getting something from the people that you trained. I had a client years ago. She also had a profound gift, but she was also teaching people and certifying them. They paid to get certified and then they were on their own. The guidance that we got to tell her at the time was, “Don’t do that. Once you’ve certified them for everybody after that they get, you get some percentage of whatever it is. It doesn’t have to be huge.” At the time, she had 30 people and if she gets $10 from each of their clients, that hugely impacts her business and it doesn’t dramatically decrease their business.
The typical misconception is that, “Mitch, are you saying I should teach what I know to other people so that they could steal my business? Aren’t I creating a whole group of people who will compete with me?” The answer is not if they’re paying you a percentage of what they’re making when they perform the skills that you taught them. What you’ve done is you’ve multiplied your efforts by several 100 people in a matter of a year or less. All those people are paying you every single time they perform your transpiration. It’s a licensing. If you’re willing to do that, then why not?
What I love about it is that it multiplies your efficacy and it can increase your income and then everyone has the support of the whole group, which is hugely powerful.
The other thing is that there’s no real competition. We never build a tribe that has competition as an element. Here’s another important key concept. When you create a power tribe, we make an assumption that the people that you are certifying are probably not going to be good at promoting themselves. They don’t know how to sell or are going to learn how to sell what you have. Our job is to make sure that we create the lead flow they need to go out there and make money. At first, to some owners, they say, “Why would I do that? I don’t even have enough leads from my own company.” What ends up happening is in a matter of working with me for a few weeks, we uncover real, incredible ways of doing that because of this new superpower, because of having a tribe and having this new incremental revenue that’s coming in from the left field where the profit margins at the end of the day are in the 70% range. You do have quite a bit more money coming in and a lot of it is profitable. If we allocate in a responsible way, a percentage of that to lead generation for your power tribe, you’re sending leads to your tribe every single day. That’s pretty powerful.
To start this process, what do you feel someone needs?
What somebody needs is they need to have enough people who’ve already experienced the transformation. Let’s call them clients. What you need is approximately 500 to 1,000 of your clients. There are two reasons why we choose that number. The first reason is because we know then that when we launch your first class, you’re going to generate mid-six figures. If you charge anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 for certification, then you’re going to get 10 or 20 people who are going to say yes right away because that is what we called the early adopter rule. Two to five percent of any groups are early adopters. If you offer them something, they’re going to say yes.
The second reason is we choose the price based on the ROI. If we’re going to charge $10,000 for certification, we have to know in advance that they’re going to generate 3X to 10X what we charged them for certification. If they can’t make $30,000, then you can’t charge $10,000. If they can’t make $20,000, then you can’t even charge $8,000. You need to build the multiple, so that you’re guaranteed that they will hit their minimum 3X and hopefully exceed that. That is so next year, when you tell them they need to recertify, they are there, willing, able and thrilled to give you more money. That’s part of what I call the multiple streams of recurring revenue that come built into a great certification program.
That’s a brilliant idea because I know a lot of people, once they’re certified, I know nurses and doctors and everything has to keep going back to do certain things. Unless you’re in that field, most of us think, “I got my college degree. I got my certificate from the woodworking class. I’m good for the rest of my life.” For the recertification, they’re bringing in new information or they’re requalifying them? Is that a similar program in length and structure or is that different?
For some clients, it’s bringing in new levels of certification. For other clients, it’s a business model. In other words, we taught you how to do something and we built a system that feeds you every day, every week with new leads, customers, content, presentations, systems, your own website, your CRM that we populate for you. If you’d like to continue with us, then you pay certification fees again.
Is it a fee or do they get a program that goes with it?
Most people want to give them a program that goes with it. Why? It will increase the viability of what they’re doing. The other thing is that we have this built into certification. We create this thing called the ascension. What is ascension? If you took a job and you came in at the entry-level, you’d probably enjoy the job for a little while, but you’d want a raise. You’d want to advance. In certification programs that don’t have ascension, people get bored and leave. What we do is we build levels directly upfront, deliberately inside our certification master plan before we even launch it. As people propagate up and through, they’re always advancing. They’re always learning. They’re always growing and they’re given new business opportunities at the same time.You have a moral obligation to spread what you know and what you do to benefit humanity. Click To Tweet
You said you want people who already have 500 or 1,000. What about those people who might be reading who aren’t quite at that level yet? How would you recommend they get to that level quickly so that then they can move forward like this?
There are several ways. First of all, I have a book called Power Tribes. It’s a $15 or $16 investment. I highly recommend you make the investment to read the book. It’ll give you an overview of what we’ve been talking about. It’ll get specific about certain elements of this. Start mapping it out in your mind, what your future tribe might look like. The other thing that would be good to do in advance is starting mapping out your culture. Start trying to figure out what are your values and the book will help you do that to some degree. I also have a free gift, which is 8 Steps to Build Your Own Power Tribe, which again, is a simple infographic, but it has a lot of good content and makes you think. That would be another place to start and that’s free.
Once you start doing things like that and you think about it, here’s the most important thing. If you believe that you have a transformation that is unique that only you can do it, I would like you to challenge yourself a little bit. I’ve helped people who have had spiritual programs or intense coaching program is based on personal life experience all create others who can create the same transformation that they are able to create. What I would suggest doing is mapping that out, starting now, start mapping it out. As far as growing your company, do what you need to do. One of the things that I tell all of the people that I come into contact with who have businesses is go get yourself a coach. Why wouldn’t you trade some of that phony paper money that they keep circulating around for a year of your life? That’s what good coaching does. It advances you a year, a month or two. Go get yourself a good coach, listen, follow those directions, and build and grow your company. That’s how you get to 500 clients no matter what you’re doing.
I’m going to say promise, but you threatened, I don’t know what the term was, talking about some experiences that might be a little off the beaten path? What were you thinking of?
I was going to talk a little bit about my origin and some of the things that led me to have the spiritual life that I do. Some of it isn’t pretty.
Why I’m asking this and why I’d like to cover that is because we all come from different part of your ability to do what you can do now and help as many people as you can help and have the podcasts and write the books and all of that is because of this origin story. One of the things that I personally believe is that the world is for you. Whatever experiences you have, which you may decide are positive or negative, may ultimately be incredibly helping you move forward. The reason I want to spend time going through this is because for people who should build a tribe, you probably had some interesting things happen to you. I want to give validity to that. Your example is something that will help people.
I’ll tell the story, but I want to start out by saying that what I’m about to share with you is something that a lot of people go through, but not a lot of people get to the end. The reason that it’s important is because I was able to do this, I was then able to do what I do now. David, that’s what you were saying before. At sixteen years old, I became addicted to hard narcotics. I became addicted to heroin in high school. I was mainlining heroin every morning in the high school boy’s bathroom. It was a path that wasn’t like a decision I made, “I’ll mainline heroin now.” It was a gradual path that took me down this road. There was a pivotal moment in the way this evolved for me. I got more and more hooked on drugs. It came down to a particular day in time. It would happen to be a Thursday.
On Thursday, I went into the bathroom to make a purchase of some dope, as we used to say. I found my dealer was out, but he had somebody else there in his place. I bought a $5 glycine bag filled with dope and stuck it in my wallet. This bag of dope was burning a hole in my mind for the rest of the week because I wasn’t going to use it until Saturday morning after band practice. My goal was to get through Friday and part of Saturday before I shot up again. All throughout the time, all I kept thinking about was that bag of dope in my wallet, which is one of the key telltale signs that you’re an addict. Finally, the band practice was over and everybody had left. I pulled out my little box of goodies, which consisted of a needle, a spoon, some cotton so I could draw it up and a pack of matches.
I started to cook up my little mixture. I added some water to the spoon. I’ve bent the spoon over so it would stand up on its own. I then lit the match. I poured the water in, tapped the glycine bag into the spoon, waited for it to bubble and then I filled it with the syringe. I sucked it into the syringe and filled it. I then tied my arm off and I tap the tip of the syringe to make sure that I was getting the air out and then the phone rang. I picked up the phone and I said, “Hello.” I heard clicking. It wasn’t a dead line. It was like there was something trying to come through. I kept saying, “Hello.” There was nobody at the other end of the line. What ended up happening at that point was I hung up the phone, then went to resume what I was doing. I was about to put the needle in my arm when I tapped it one more time.
I realized that the concoction that I had cooked up and put into the needle was false, was phony, and was Drano. It had coagulated into a solid block. What’s interesting about this story and what struck me at that moment in time was that had that phone not rang, I would have put that needle in my arm while the fluid was still hot. I would have injected directly into my veins and it would have moved into my heart and gelled solid. I would have been dead in about 35 seconds. The question I have for you, David, and for the audience is, who called me on the phone that day?
The whole thing that when you described the phone and sat there tapping, that’s what you were doing to get the air out and everything. It’s an interesting experience. A lot of people who have that experience, you start thinking, “That’s a transformational moment.” When people have these and they allow themselves to recognize them, I don’t know if you’re familiar through show on TV called The Good Place. At one point there’s a celestial being who is talking to some people and he’s trying to get them a message tactfully. They all say, “We got the four points. The hints that you gave us, we got them all.” He said, “I gave you 34,000 and you got four.” We’re all getting them all the time, but this was such a pivotal one. What happened?
I realized at that time, the only person that could have been calling me was God or whatever you call God for you. What for me happened as I started to sob and I cried for 5, 6, 7, 10 minutes maybe. I cried because I realized at that point, I was standing between the junctions of two pathways. I realized at that point, if I take the left side, I’m going to die of a junkie and probably in the next six months, this was proof because had I put that needle in my arm, I would have been dead. I could take the right path and become clean and sober and maybe make something of value to this world of myself. I chose the right path and I never shot heroin again. It was hard because I had to go through withdrawal on my own. The interesting thing was months later, my family found out about my activities, and I’ll use the kind word, enrolled me in a rehab program in New York City which was the most powerful, wonderful experience of my life. Going through drug rehab not only saved my life, but it was the most transformative experience I could have ever had because I came out clean, sober, and sane. I came out having unburdened myself of all the emotional baggage that you accumulate growing up to be 17 or 18 years old of which there’s much, at least it was for me. I came out able, willing, and focused to be an adult, to create a life for myself a value. I have been doing that ever since.
Thank you so much for sharing that. I’m sure the first few times you shared it was quite emotionally raw. What we talked about before is we realized that, “This is not me. I have to tell you this story. My role is to say this whether I like it or not, whether I’m embarrassed or not.” I don’t know about you, but I have been on stage and tears are rolling because of what I’m saying. I know other people who are powerful and influential speakers, and you say what you need to say. You tell the stories that you need to tell to motivate, to uplift, to share, and to bring about a more harmonious vision of the world. You went from doing that in the men’s room to building a software company in your garage. Did a lot go in between there? What happened?
It was a little indirect, but the bottom line is when I finally graduated from the drug rehab program, I did decide that I wanted to be involved in the electronics industry because that was my passion. I went on to figure out where I fit in this big industry called the electronics industry. It took me a while to figure it out, but I became an engineer. I loved what I was doing when I was engineering, but I hated what I was doing when I wasn’t designing circuits. Being an electrical engineer is 95% busy work and 5% creative work. I realized it wasn’t enough and it wasn’t the right profession for me. I decided I would instead do something that I saw other people doing that I thought I could be good at, and that was selling. I had to end up going into sales and selling semiconductors, which interestingly enough, I did well at, but when the cyclic downturn came, as it always does in the semiconductor industry, instead of waiting it out, I said, “This is my moment. I’m going to start a company.”The more the world changes, the more we need communities to contain us, hold us, and nurture us. Click To Tweet
The way I think about it is that I announced it to the universe. I said, “I have this money that I’ve saved up. I could either take a year off and go to the beach, I could travel or I could start a company.” I decided to start a company, but I didn’t know what company to start. In my own way, I said, “God, bring me as much opportunity as you possibly can so that I can choose.” All of a sudden, in a matter of two months, I had five different opportunities all show up at the same time. It was in that mix of trying out each one that this one long shot has an opportunity turned out to be a software company. Even that had a pathway that was unexpected because the company was created around solving a problem as all good companies are. Except, what do you do when you take all of your resources and dedicated to solving the problem and you quit your job and you get on board and you do everything you can to launch this amazing new company and product only to find out the day before you’re launching that the problem no longer exists?
In our case, we had solved the problem that the IRS created and the IRS then relaxed its rulings. We no longer had a product that was a value. We had to pivot. Thank God, because if we would have stayed in that business, even with the problem, it would never have been a big company at all but because we pivoted into a bigger, more lucrative space. We had the opportunity to redeploy a good part of what we had built to a much bigger market, which later turned out to be a huge market. We got lucky. We were persistent. The way that life orchestrates circumstances requires that you be aware enough to see the pathway in front of you. I wanted to break down and cry, complain, and go back to my plan A, which was to go to the beach for a year. Instead, I said, “No. What do we do with this thing? This is incredible technology. How can we repurpose it? Who else needs it? What else could we do with it?” These are the pivot points that gave us the opportunity to then create that $10 million company from nothing.
I want to get back to this whole idea of tribes. You’ve covered by example many useful points. The idea of finding happiness if the job which I’m trained for, is it working for me? Allowing the flexibility to not think, “I’m trapped in that,” but rather, “There’s something better.” This idea of going into sales, something that you could do and you were good at, but it may not fulfill your heart, but it gave you a pathway to have the cash to decide to open a company. The way that you said, “Bring me opportunities so I could choose,” that was also brilliant. The idea of investing in getting the company going and then when this opportunity at the end go, instead of saying, “F it, I’m going to go to the beach. What I tried, it didn’t work. I’m going to have to start from scratch.” I personally believe that everything built and if we do it right while we may have thought we were building a ladder to X, it may be that, “We push it over here a little bit. It’s a treadmill, whatever it is, something that’s a little bit different. I thought I was going for one thing, but it turns out that it’s something else and it’s even better.” That’s fabulous. To have that wherewithal in terms of emotional stability and the clear thinking to go, “We’ve got this. We put a lot of effort into it. What can we do with it now?” and then using the term pivot, but reacting to what’s available in the world.
There’s a lot of that going on. People readjusting even their core beliefs about things because of how the world is functioning right now with the COVID thing going and everything. Somehow from there, you ended up working with Tony Robbins. I want to get back to this whole idea of tribes because that’s what we want to bring home to people. It’s such an effective way of building a community. When I was a teenager, I worked in a record store and my whole life was music. I am tone-deaf. I can’t play a note. I have no musical talent, but I grew up with music. My dad was on the radio. He had 1,200 records when he married my mother. This was back in the late ’40s, 1950s. That’s a ridiculous record collection. I had a similar one in high school and I loved everything about music and all of my friends were musicians or a good deal of them. They were in bands and I would come up with them and I’d say, “You need to hear this.” It would be some obscure thing. I said, “You need to play this song.” I kept doing it for a while and then they discovered that all these other bands were doing exactly what I was saying. He said, “I’m willing to listen to you. What music should we do now?” I said, “At this point, it’s all breaking up. It used to be The Beatles’ Rock and Roll.”
That has developed enough so that there’s Country Rock and all the different genres. I said, “You have to be aware of that.” At this point in the world, people are recognizing that I can be part of a fulfilling community that adds to the richness of the garden that doesn’t have to involve everybody. I can have a community of 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 and 100,000. I don’t have to conquer the world. I can find a good space here. Building the communities and the tribes that you’re talking about is an incredible way to harmonize all the differences within the world in a beautiful way. We want differences in the world. We don’t want a garden that’s just one flower. We want all the different flowers. From my perspective, as I said, this is brilliant. It’s spot on timewise in the world, this need for people to recognize that I can have a community and be part of something that doesn’t necessarily mean the kids in my neighborhood. What other things do you feel would be useful for people to know about building tribes and in terms of building their business as part of it? What key points maybe do you want to share with people? Do you want to tell them about that 90-minute thing that we talked about?
Let’s go in a little different direction here. This would be a value. Remember when we started the broadcast, I said, “The world has changed.” Maybe for the people reading who have businesses, the world changed, but not as much as it was for people who don’t have businesses. One of the things about this newly changed world is that over the last years, security overall has become almost nonexistent, particularly job security and in some cases, many other types of security too. The thing is that whatever it is that you’re doing, you have the chance to create this new profession for people outside of your world to join and become part of your mission as part of what they do to personally evolve. This is what I meant by the world has changed. This never existed before any form of an organized way. This is giving people a chance to say for you as a company order to say, “Join me. I’ll feed you, keep you safe, give you the tools you need.”
Yes, you have to pay for them but if you follow the pathway, you’ll enrich the world. You’ll enrich yourself and your family. You’ll make a good living and there’s a higher purpose as well. You’ll feed into this much bigger purpose of doing good in the world. It’s like you have a moral obligation to go forth and spread what you know, and what you do to benefit humanity. It’s true. That’s what I would love to leave people with to understand that this isn’t only as I think we’ve made clear 100 times, it’s not only about money. It’s great to generate revenue and it’s hard work to put it together, but it’s about how the world has changed and where the world is going. The more the world changes, the more we need communities to contain, hold, and nurture us. Without those communities, we’re alone in the world and that’s no fun at all and not healthy.
I love the way you consolidated all of that. I do want to address that there might be some people who are reading who get the whole idea, but they realize that they’re not the entrepreneur. For those people, I want to say, find the community to join. Get certified. You may not be the one who puts the program together. You may be, but if you’re not that person, but you feel that there’s something you’d like to do that you love this idea of moving the world forward but you’re not in that one role, find the community, the certification program, and what it is that will arm you to move forward. Look for them. They’re around. Look through the social media. Pick some keywords of the things that you most believe in and do searches on Google. “We don’t need money anymore,” maybe as an example.
We should live in a world that doesn’t have money. There’s a tribe for that. There’s a city in the world that I’ve seen the article about that they don’t have money in this small town. They got rid of it a long time ago. I don’t know what’s happening there. I’m not necessarily saying this is a good or a bad thing, but I’m saying one of the things that came up as I was walking around is that 90% of the world’s problems are somehow related to money. If we didn’t have money, those would all go away. That doesn’t mean we have to starve, but I don’t want to get into that whole thing. The reason that I mentioning this as an example of whatever it is that you feel maybe you’re out of sync within the world, that your belief is a little bit of skew from somebody else, but you feel that it’s a movement in the right direction, find your tribe. Join a tribe. Move in the direction that helps you.
Mitch, I am grateful for you to be here. I’m still thinking, how do I use this for what I want to do? While I can see clearly how I could create power tribe based on what you’ve said, yes, I’d love to work with you and we’ll talk about that. There’s some confusion about, do I want to sell the product or build a tribe? The big thing is I appreciate you. I appreciate what you’re doing. I appreciate the transformation that you went through and your willingness to share it, to help people to say, “It doesn’t matter what your origins were, what your beginning was. It’s what we do with our circumstances.” If we move towards the light, God, love, and whatever it is that we feel that is in a positive direction, that’s immensely helpful. I’d love your example.
I want to mention again the Peace and Harmony Program that you’re playing. It’s a sample that our audience can get at PeaceAndHarmonyDownload.com. I encourage people to do more than that. That’s a little field that you’ll do in your room, but we have programs that will do entire cities. If you want to step up to the plate, they’re not that expensive. Our lowest price one is on sale, which we’ll do 10,000 people or ten square miles, depending on if you’re in a dense population around the country. That is on sale for $4,777. The one that does three times that is on sale for under $10,000. We have these systems. They’re small, portable, and work great. I want to encourage people what they do is exactly what you said. Your thinking is clear, calmer tolerance level and then imagine projecting that where people have been looting and all of a sudden, they’re all feeling that way, you can see how that can make a big impact on society. Do you want to send them to the PowerTribesBook.com/eightsteps or to anything else or you’re good with that?
That’s easy to consume. Readers, if you have any other questions or you’re interested in other things I do, you’re already going to be on my website anyway. Go poke around and see if there’s anything that interests you. There are 390 blog posts, interviews and other pieces of content that I’ve created. It should keep you busy at least, go enjoy it.
Mitch, thank you very much for being here. I’m appreciative of you.
It’s my pleasure, David. Thank you for having me.
- Mitch Russo
- The Invisible Organization: How Ingenious CEOs Are Creating Thriving, Virtual Companies
- Power Tribes: How Certification Can Explode Your Business
- 8 Steps to Build Your Own Power Tribe
About Mitch Russo
Meet Mitch Russo who, at the age of 16, was the lead guitar player for his high school rock band.
Besides being the best way ever to meet girls, it taught him how to build, run and promote a business. His band; Absolutely Free, was the highest paid high school rock band in his school district, making over $500 a night, and that was in 1970.
In 1985, Mitch co-founded Timeslips Corp, which grew to become the largest time tracking Software Company in the world. In 1994, Timeslips Corp was sold to Sage, plc. While at Sage, Mitch went on to run all of Sage U.S. as Chief Operating Officer, a division with 300 people with a market cap in excess of $100M.
Mitch was nominated for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” on two separate occasions, 1989 and 1991.
Mitch joined Chet Holmes and Tony Robbins and together created Business Breakthroughs, Int’l, a company serving thousands of businesses a year with coaching, consulting and training services, generating over $25M a year in revenue. Mitch was the President and CEO.
After the untimely death of Chet, Mitch left Business Breakthroughs to help others build their business as a consultant specializing in working with call centers with large volume lead flow and helping coaching organizations scale.
All our episodes are recorded using a sample of our peace and harmony program that can reduce tensions, end arguments, and create peace quickly. Try it for free at www.peaceandharmonydownload.com and enjoy your own pocket of peace!