Q&A: Do God And Business Go Together?

Marketing Secrets - Podcast (Russell Brunson - FunnelHackerTV)

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I did some rare Q&A for a group talking about business and how it relates to God that I thought was unique and I wanted to share with you.

On today’s episode Russell talks to the Duck Dynasty audience about faith and business. Here are some of the questions he answers in this Q&A:

  • How Russell prioritizes his with with his faith?
  • Did he ever lose faith when business wasn’t performing well?
  • And does he feel he faces more temptation with higher levels of success?

So find out the answers to these and many more questions on this special faith based episode of Marketing Secrets.

—Transcript—

Hey everyone, this is Russell Brunson. Welcome to marketing Secrets podcast. Today we’re going to be talking a little bit about faith and how it relates back to your business, because people always ask me, “Russell I know you believe in God, what does it have to do with your business? How does it tie together?” So I wanted to share with you guys this really special episode and I hope you get a ton out of it.

Hey everyone, alright so this is the deal. We have a fan page that has half a million fans, in fact I’ve got a bunch of them. So it’s one of my secret little ninja marketing strategies on the side. This one is a fan page for people who are followers of Duck Dynasty. So I made a video that went out to these guys that was talking about faith in business, because obviously Duck Dynasty fans believe in God as do I. And I shared something there that I don’t normally share, but after we recorded it I thought it was really good. And I thought it would be really helpful for a lot of you guys who try to reconcile God and business and how those things fit together. So I wanted to share with you.

I get emotional in this episode. It does start with me welcoming the Duck Dynasty fans, that’s why. There’s some context so you’re not like, “why is Russell talking to us like we’re watching a TV show?” Anyway, I hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you love it. And if you do like it, please share it with others. Thanks so much and enjoy this episode.

What’s up Duck Dynasty fans? This is Russell Brunson again, and I’m so excited to be back with you guys today after our last show which was all about entrepreneurship. We had tons of you guys asking questions and leaving comments and private messaging us. Asking us a whole bunch of different questions and we decided to come back and do another show today, very specifically on one set of questions that a ton of you guys were asking about, which is entrepreneurship and faith. Do they work together and do they not? How does this whole thing work? And I thought it would be a lot of fun to answer some of the questions.

So I have the top questions you guys asked here and we’re going to go through them right now and spend some time together. Because I know so many of you guys have strong faith. I have a very strong faith. I have a belief in God and in Jesus Christ and a lot of times people ask, “Do those coincide with business or do they not? Should they be separate?” So I wanted to kind of give you some of my ideas and feedback. So that’s kind of the game plan.

So the first question you guys asked is, “Do you believe that your level of success is based on your level of faith?” I think that’s a very interesting question and it’s one that makes me a little nervous to answer that. I personally, it’s a tough one because you see people who don’t have faith, yet have huge successes, right. And sometimes I know for me, that was confusing sometimes. This person is not necessarily doing what’s right, why are they having all these huge successes?

And other times you see people who are doing everything right, they’re following God and living the commandments and doing all these kinds of things, and then they’re struggling in business or their finances or their companies. Sometimes it’s like, it doesn’t correlate why those things work together.

My personal opinion is I think that when we’re doing the right things God blesses us. I’ve seen that in my life over and over and over again. But a lot of times he blesses us in different ways. We work with an organization called World Teacher Aide, and about once a year I have a chance to fly with this organization out to Kenya and we actually build schools for these kids in Kenya.

And I remember the first time I was there I was in this little, they’re called IDP camps, which is basically they are Internally Displaced People, people who the government, there’s this big, huge war and they pulled these people out and threw them out in the middle of literally of nowhere, and said, “Good luck. Hopefully you can survive.”

So we came in later, a few years later, to these IDP camps and started building these schools for them. And I remember the first time going there, I was looking at these people and I was like, “What did they do wrong?” Why are they in this horrible situation where they’re lucky if they get one meal a day. They’re lucky if they’re able to survive the summer heat, because sometimes they have no access to water. Why is God so upset with them?

I remember feeling that, and the second day we were there with these people, was Sunday. And it was really cool because they wanted to do a church service with us, and most of the people, they were Christian. So we all got together and did this church service. And I see these people who are the lowest level of poverty I’ve ever experienced, people who literally don’t have a meal every single day. People who, most of them don’t have fathers, they have brothers and sisters who were dying around them. It’s just a sad thing.

And we met together for this church service. And I see these people with these bright, the whitest smiles you’ve ever seen, singing and praising God and having this amazing thing. And I remember as I was sitting there, I was just thinking about the fact that because they were here, it wasn’t that God was upset at them or anything. I felt that God had protected them, kept them away from so many other things in the world that a lot of times we have to deal with.

We have to deal with the internet and pornography and crimes, and all the stuff that we deal with here in our first world countries. And I was thinking about these people and I was like, man, God loves them so much that he’s protected them.

So I don’t think that necessarily our level of success is tied to our level of faith. Again, I feel like we’re blessed, but blessing isn’t always financial. Sometimes blessing is not having finances. I’ve learned during the times in my life when my businesses were struggling, a lot of times is the time where I’ve had the biggest growth, and the times where I’ve felt God closest in my life. So that’s kind of my beliefs. I do think he blesses us, but it’s not always financial. A lot of times it’s from other things. So that’s kind of my opinion on that.

Alright, question number two, “Where does my personal motivation come from?” You know, I’m going to be completely honest and vulnerable. Initially, my initial motivation when I first got started with my very first business was, I just met my beautiful wife, fell in love with her, proposed to her, and we’re going down this path and we were going to get married. And at the time I was wrestling at Boise State University, I didn’t have a job, she was making $9.50 an hour. As soon as reality clicked in after we were engaged and we were getting ready to get married, I was like, “how are we going to live on $9.50 an hour? I’m either going to have to quit my wrestling or quit….” The numbers didn’t add up. I was like, I have to figure out a way to make money.

So my first initial motivation was, I gotta make money. I gotta make money. I think a lot of times, that’s what happens for entrepreneurs because that is the initial need, right. So initially I started making money and trying to start businesses and it took a while. But after it started working, then it was nice because I was able to let my wife quit her job, and then I was able to start building a company and then hiring employees and it started getting better. And there came a point where finances didn’t really matter to me.

I’m at a point in my life now where my house is paid off, my cars are paid off, I don’t have any debt. So it’s really weird where there’s a transition point where money doesn’t really matter to you anymore. So it’s like, why am I in business? Why am I doing this? Why am I working late nights and early hours and doing all the work behind this?

And it’s interesting because there comes a transition point I think, in most people’s lives, especially entrepreneurs who are going through this. Where initially it’s like I’m trying to figure out a way to make money so I have freedom and I have these things, and then when you get that freedom there’s this shift.

And if you’ve read my book, Expert Secrets, I talk about this shift. There’s this shift from growth, where you’re trying to figure out how to grow as a person financially, get education and learning and all sorts of stuff. But eventually you get to a point where you can’t grow anymore, in and of itself. There’s a point where you’re going to be as good as you are at that thing. The only way to continue to grow and progress in life is to transition from trying to make yourself better, to this concept of contribution where it’s like, “Now how do I help other people?”

If I can figure out how to help other people, that’s how I continue to grow. I don’t continue to grow by getting smarter, or reading more books, or making more money. I started growing by helping other people. So for me, my contribution came from like, I want to help other entrepreneurs. I figured out this process and this path and I’ve done it over and over and over again in my companies. How do I help other entrepreneurs have the same kind of success? How do I contribute to them so they can have the same kind of impact that I was able to have.

Because if I can help them feel that same freedom, man that lights me up on fire. So I do think that for me, my motivation initially was about getting myself, my life in order, my marriage in order so that we could survive. As soon as those needs were met, then it transitioned to contribution. And what fires me up today, is I look at the entrepreneurs we work with inside of our software company, Clickfunnels, we have over 55,000 customers who use our software. These are all entrepreneurs who are using our software to get their messages out to other people.

And for me, that’s what fires me up in the morning. I hear stories about all these, I could share a hundred different stories of entrepreneurs. One of my favorites is Brandon and Kaelin Poulin, who are in the weight loss market. And they teach women how to lose weight. And Kaelin is a great success story. She lost a whole bunch of weight and she’s able to use her powers as an entrepreneur to help other women.

She lost the weight, she’s in shape now and now for her it’s hard for her to continue to grow. She can’t lose more weight. She’s in a spot where her body is perfect the way that it is, so how is she supposed to continue to grow, she can’t do it by working out and lifting more. You don’t continue to grow that way. The way that she started to grow was turning outwards and started contributing to other women. And right now, I’ve watched as their company in the last 2 ½-3 years, they now have over 100,000 women that they’ve helped lose weight.

And that’s the motivation I have. For me, to be able to give entrepreneurs the ability to help share their message with more people is how I continue to grow. And that’s my motivation right now.

Number three, “Do you feel you face more temptation with higher levels of success?” Okay, I would say 100% true. Before I had success all my focus was on having success. When you start having success it’s interesting. One of my friends once told me, “Money is just an amplifier of who you are.” So I’ve seen people in my, the last 15 years I’ve been doing this, a lot of times younger people who make money really, really quickly. And I’ve seen it completely destroy their life. Because suddenly they have the ability… a lot of times, when you don’t have the financial means, you may have desires for things that aren’t right, but you don’t have the means to do it.

I’ve seen people who, I’ve seen 18, 19 year old kids who make a million dollars, and all the sudden they have the ability to do anything, to buy their own houses, get drugs, alcohol, women, whatever they want is at their fingertips. And a lot of times when they’re, not too young, but not mature enough to handle it, it completely destroys their life. And it’s sad, I’ve seen so many people who have that.

So I definitely think that when you start having success, it’s almost like a double edged sword, if you’re not careful it could be the biggest curse in the world. Or if you’re smart about it, it could be the biggest blessing. It could help you to serve so many more people and have a bigger impact. But if you’re not careful it will amplify whoever you really are.

So if you’re not a good person, you struggle with addictions or things like that, money is just going to amplify that. It’s not going to make it easier by any stretch of the imagination. If that was true, you look at all these celebrities who have insane amounts of money, and you see them all happy. But instead you see them in rehab clinics, why? Because now they have the means to do whatever they want. And again, money just amplifies your tendencies anyway.

So I think a lot of times it’s good for people to get themselves right, so that way when they do have more means, to do good things with it as opposed to just destroy themselves, which unfortunately happens way too often. We see it in pop culture, we see it in entrepreneurship. But then the flip side of that, you see people who get the money, get the means and then they use it the right way. It’s amazing because the impact they can have is second to none.

Alright, question number four, “Do you have any advice for staying grounded, humble as you become more successful?” Alright, I have a really cool story about this. My business has, I’ve grown my business and I’ve crashed it now twice, big crashes. First one wasn’t quite as big, it was probably the most painful though, because it was my first one, and my identity was so tied to my little business I was building. I built it up and I had probably 30 or 40 employees at the time and the whole thing crashed and I had to reset. I built up a new company, had over 100 employees and it crashed again.

And I remember because I think most of us, as entrepreneurs, we’re building stuff, it becomes our identity. It was embarrassing, it was humiliating. It was hard to go talk to your friends, your family members. You see people at church who are asking, “How’s business going?” And you’re just like, I don’t really want to tell them. It’s not something I’m proud of right now.

But fast forward, after my second business failure, I was actually at a retreat in Mexico with some entrepreneurs and we were talking about it, and there was one guy who was very, very wealthy. He had bought and sold 40 or 50 companies and made hundreds of millions of dollars. And it was interesting, we were sitting next to each other at dinner and he was fascinated about my story and kept asking me these questions.

And initially, a lot of times what we do is we talk about the highlight reel, “Oh I did this, and I did this.” And we’re proud of it. And he kept asking me questions, he’s like, “Tell me about the tough times. What happened?” Finally he got into me and I told him, I think it was getting late night, I was tired so I just kind of broke down and I was like, “Okay, this is the first time that my business crashed.” And I went into the details and I told him. And he asked me so many questions as I went through the pain of it.

And I talked about the second time and went through the pain of it, and what happened and why it was so hard. And afterwards he looked at me and nodded his head and said, “Good.” And I’m like, “What do you mean, good?” he was like, “I will never work with an entrepreneur who hasn’t cycled at least once.” I was like, “Cycled? What does that mean?” He’s like, “Cycled means that you built something up and then it crashed. The first time someone builds something and have all this success, the problem is they think it’s because of them. They read their bio and they believe it. They’re drinking their own Kool Aid. Until you built a company and you’ve crashed it…” and he called it cycling, which is such a better way than saying going through bankruptcy.

He’s like, “Until you’ve cycled once, you still believe that you are the greatest thing in the world. After you’ve cycled you realize it’s not you, there are other people that made this possible. You were a piece of it, but there were other people. There were people on your team, there were employees, customers. There was inspiration from God. There were all these things that happened that made you successful, and just as easy as you were given it, you can be taken away. After you’ve cycled once, typically you’re more humble.”

So for me, my biggest advice is know that. You are not the greatest thing in the world. If you’re building a company there’s so many external forces. I look at the companies I’ve built and a lot of it was yes, we worked hard. Yes, we were smart. Yes, we did a good job. But a lot of it was we had really good timing. There were doors that were opened up that shouldn’t have been there. We had inspiration and ideas that weren’t from ourselves that just somehow showed up, that gave us the ability to execute ways that we couldn’t have done before.

So realize that it’s not you. You are a piece of this thing, but realize there’s a lot more people behind you. And if you have crashed, if you’ve cycled, if you’ve gone through bankruptcy, don’t stress out about it. That was a gift our founding fathers gave us as entrepreneurs, so we can risk things and try things, and not have ultimate punishment where your business fails, you end up in jail for the rest of your life. If that was true, no one would try to do anything. We wouldn’t have that ability.

So cycling, crashing, bankruptcy, those things, it’s a gift from God, I believe. It’s a gift from our founding fathers so that we as entrepreneurs have the ability to risk things and try things, and if it fails, worst case scenario you cycle, start over and you can do it again. So that’s kind of my best feedback for staying grounded and humble.

Alright, I got a couple more questions here that I want to go through. These have been fun. I don’t have the chance a lot of times to talk about the religious aspects of entrepreneurship, so I appreciate you guys sending these questions, it’s really fun.

Number five, “Did you ever lose faith when your business wasn’t performing well?” So this kind of runs back to the second time my business crashed. I don’t think I’ve ever lost faith. I know I have friends who when things have crashed, they questioned God, they’ve been upset or angry at him as well. I don’t think I ever had that. But I think, I remember going through this process and feeling like I had to figure this out on my own.

So it wasn’t so much I lost faith, I think I kind of distanced myself because I felt like I had made this mistake and I had to fix it. I remember for months going through this process of trying to fix it, trying to fix it. And a lot of times not knowing what to do and being confused and being stuck, and I kept hitting these walls. It was like trial after trial after trial.

I remember one morning I was getting ready and I just didn’t want to go in. I remember thinking in my head, “I wish I had a boss so they could fire me. But I can’t because I have to clean up this mess that we’ve created and I have to figure my way through it.” And I was kind of lingering in my room and I was just taking longer to get out the door and my wife came in. And she could tell that I wasn’t in a good spot.

And she looked at me, when she looked at me I kind of just, I started breaking down and I was just like, I didn’t know what to do and I was scared. I still remember this moment, it was one of the coolest moments with my wife. She came over to me and she grabbed me and she pulled me down to my knees and she prayed with me. She said, “We need God’s help.” And she prayed that I would know what to do and how to do it.

And that was this thing that brought me back to that point and it was the turning point where it gave me the ability to kind of re-tap into that and know where to go and what to do. So that was kind of my experience with that. Sorry, it’s not normal sharing some of those more emotional things.

Alright, I got two more questions here that I want to share. The next one was, “How do you prioritize your work with your faith and your religion?” A couple of things. First off, with me they’re not separate. If any of you guys, if you’re watching this show now, I talk about my faith openly. I talk about my faith on my podcast. I don’t, in my books I talk about it. I don’t hide it. It’s not things that are separate.

I honestly feel that God has given me gifts, not because he cares if I’m an entrepreneur, or cares I if make money. He cares that I’m having an impact on other people. I feel like if I didn’t talk about that, it would be a disservice to him. So I don’t hide those things, for me they’re very much one in the same. They work together.

I know that in the society we live in now it’s scary. Because you can sued for talking about God at work, and things like that. It’s one of those things that I just think it’s, they can and they should be together. I feel like business is a gift. Businesses were created so we can serve people, we can serve customers, which is what religion is.

Religion is all about service. I look at Christ, he didn’t come to this earth to tell people how great he was. He came to serve other people. It’s the same thing, business is one of the most pure forms of service, I feel. So that’s kind of how I tie them together.

And then the last one is, “What is your why? Is it to be rich, retire young, to be able to have freedom to serve? What is your why?” So I’m in a spot in my life where I’ve experienced things. I am rich, I could retire. Those things don’t motivate me. If they did, I would be retired, I would just close down shop. We’re in a good spot where we could do that.

But for me, my why is all about the contribution to entrepreneurship. I love entrepreneurs, I love what they can do. I know that one entrepreneur can affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people’s lives in ways that I can’t do. I told you earlier about Kaelin Poulin with weight loss for women. I can’t help women lose weight. I have no idea how to do that. I don’t how the intricacies of how it works. But I can help Kaelin to get her message out to more people. If I can affect her and help her be able to share her message, she can help a hundred thousand women.

If I can help somebody else with their message, how many people they impact. So for me, my why is entrepreneurs. I love entrepreneurs. I love what they do, I love their ability to impact change. I don’t think the government is going to change things here in this country. I don’t. I think entrepreneurs are going to do it. So I love the ability to serve entrepreneurs, help entrepreneurs, give them the tools, the ability, the skill sets they need to have legitimate change in the world.

So that’s it for today’s questions. I hope that helps you guys. Thank you so much for letting me be on the show. If you have any questions, comments, please post them down below and message us and we will do another follow up show with more Q&A’s, answering your questions. Again, thanks for having me here today. Appreciate you all and we’ll talk to you guys soon.

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