EP 49 - Mitch Russo - The Powerful Benefits of Having an Accountability Partner

Awesomers Authority - We'll talk to subject matter experts that talk about various topics that would be of interest to other Awesomers who are listening including, but not limited to, starting a business, running a business, best marketing ideas, sourcing in China, organizational development, tools to help your your business more profitably and much more.
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 long time friend 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. 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.
In 2015, Mitch published “The Invisible Organization” which is the CEO’s guide to transitioning a traditional brick and mortar company into a fully virtual organization.
In 2017, Mitch launched The Results Breakthrough Network, www.ResultsBreakthrough.com to match entrepreneurs for the purpose of holding regular accountability sessions to complete their goals and be successful.
Mitch’s Podcast: Your First Thousand Clients, focuses on discovering the secrets of success from business owners who have served 1000 clients or more.
TODAY, Mitch helps his clients build recurring revenue streams by using his proprietary certification training and podcasts with super smart business owners.
An avid travel and landscape photographer, Mitch’s work won 1st prize with The Sierra Club in 1994 and more recently was published in JETGALA Magazine with a 2-page spread. Mitch is always checking for a full moon in Iceland and has been known to disappear in a moment’s notice. Mitch’s photography can be seen at www.MitchRussoTravels.com.
Mitch’s consultant/business website is at www.MitchRusso.com.
Mitch’s Book site: www.InvisibleOrganization.com
Mitch’s Podcast: www.YourFirstThousandClients.com
Mitch’s Productivity Software App: www.ResultsBreakthrough.com


The Powerful Benefits of Having an Accountability Partner

Taking care of your mindset and having a good support system is probably the best thing you could ever do for your business.

On today’s episode, we are introduced to Mitch Russo, President and CEO of ResultsBreakThrough.Com. Today Mitch helps businesses create recurring revenue streams by using his proprietary certification training and podcasts with super-smart business owners. He's also an avid traveler and landscape photographer. Here are more key points on today’s episode:

  • How Mitch started his entrepreneurial journey.

  • The importance of having mentors and accountability partners.

  • Why persistence and just pushing through adversity is a key lesson.

  • His company resultsbreakthrough.com and how it helps businesses reach goals.

So listen to today’s episode and learn more about how you can create the right mindset and find a connected community.

Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope that you will join me on this Awesomer journey.


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1:29 (Steve introduces today’s guest, Mitch Russo.)

Steve: This is episode number 49 of the Awesomers.com podcast to find the show notes relevant details, etc. Just go to Awesomers.com/49, that's Awesomers.com/49. Now today I'm going to introduce you to a great guest named Mitch Rousseau. Now at the very young age of 16, he was a lead guitar player for his high school rock band. Besides the best way ever to meet girls that 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 by the way that was in 1970. I can't do the inflation math but I think that's about 1 billion dollars in today's numbers. In 1985 Mitch co-founded Timeslips Corp which became the largest time tracking software company in the world. In 1994 Timeslips was sold to Sage which is a very large finance company. And Mitch went on to run all of the Sage US as the chief operating officer a division with 300 people. And a market cap of over 100 million dollars. Mitch was nominated for Inc Magazine's Entrepreneur of the year on two separate occasions in 1989, in 1991. Later Mitch joined longtime friend Chet Holmes and Tony Robbins and together created Business Breakthroughs International. A company serving thousands of businesses a year in coaching, consulting and training services. Mitch was the president and CEO of that enterprise after the untimely death of Chet. Mitch left Business Breakthroughs to help others build their businesses as a consultant specializing and working with call centers with large volume leads row and helping fortunate coaching organizations scale. In 2015 which published the invisible organization which is a CEO’s guide to transitioning a traditional brick-and-mortar company into a fully virtual organization. In 2017 Mitch launched the Results Breakthrough Network to match entrepreneurs for the purpose of holding regular accountability sessions. And we dive into those details in today's episode. It's really fascinating. I'm really excited by this premise and probably something that we're going to try to deploy him one or more of my enterprises. Mitch's podcast Your First Thousand Clients focuses on discovering the secrets of success from business owners who have served a thousand clients or more. Today Mitch helps businesses create recurring revenue streams by using his proprietary certification training and podcasts with super-smart business owners. He's an avid traveler and landscape photographer. In fact, Mitch's work won first prize with the Sierra Club back in 1994 and was more recently purchased in Jetgala Magazine with a full cooperate spread. Mitch is always checking for a full moon in Iceland and known to disappear at a moment's notice. And we'll put the links to Mitch's photography in the show notes as well. You're going to be glad to join us we're going to learn all about kind of that that business he did with Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes and so much more. Mitch is a great guest and we're lucky to have him. Thanks for joining us today. Hey, Awesomers welcome back, Steve Simonson and today I have a very special guest for you Mitch Russo. Mitch, how are you today?

4:37 (Mitch starts to talk.)

Mitch: Awesome Steve. thanks for inviting me on the show.

Steve: Certainly my pleasure. Glad to have you and let me just switch one of my little settings here. I noticed that one of my settings is it's a little on the mind of its own. If you will all right so we're in good shape here. I think we're all lined up and set to go and Mitch if you could just, so we've already read in kind of your bio so that people have a sense of who you are from my perspective. But tell us in your own words kind of what you do and day-to-day what takes up your time?

5:06 (Mitch talks about his origin story.)

Mitch: Sure, yes that's a great question. I've done a lot as you have already mentioned but right. Now I'm focused on two things. Two things that keep me happy and enjoying my day. The first thing is I work with amazing people as clients. So I'm a high level business consultant. I change people's lives by helping them understand what they really have as assets. And then we work together to leverage those and I have a very small number of clients. I can't take more than five at a time because of the concentration level. And at the same time my building a software company again this time, it's all about again helping people. So the name of the company is resultsbreakthrough.com. As we get into it I'll tell you the story of how I built this company and why I built it. but it's here to serve, it's here to help people. All of us entrepreneurs and anyone who's ever bought an online course or ever wants to make rapid progress in whatever they're doing. This software will help you.

Steve: I love it. Yes. I can't wait to dive in on that. I've gotten a little sneak peek behind the scenes to understand the big picture there. And for me, it's very exciting because as a guy who I have a mastermind and trying to get the accountability through that mastermind membership and so forth. And getting them to hold themselves accountable, hold each other accountable, not always the easiest thing to do. And we know I guess, a spoiler alert your software might help with that. Is that right?

Mitch: Yes that's it. You're going to hear the full sales pitch in just a minute.

Steve: How about that. Yes. So before we kind of dive into the particulars of that initiative. Give us a sense of where are you from.

Mitch: Sure, well I live in Massachusetts and I grew up in New York City. I grew up in the 60s. I'm a baby boomer and I had a rock band in high school. And we had a lot of fun. We were one of the highest-grossing rock bands in our region of Brooklyn New York. And you know it's funny because I always reflect on that time. Because I learned a lot of lessons from building a rock band as lead guitar player and as band manager. And some of those lessons, if not all of them are the same lessons I use every day to guide my own business and to help clients. So it was a lot of fun. And then from there, I went on to move out of New York and into Boston Massachusetts area where I worked in the semiconductor industry, in the computer industry and really got to understand selling and sales. And I became a salesman and was selling semiconductors and really really enjoyed that. I didn't know how to sell it all Steve, so I asked the best salesmen in our whole area. I said can I go to lunch with you? Can you sort of tell me how you got to be how good you are? And he said sure. I sat him down and we ordered lunch. And I said, so tell me what should I do? I'm just starting in sales and I was in my early mid-20s maybe or early 20s. And he said, “Mitch you should go over to the Dale Carnegie Institute and sign up for the sales course.” I said, “You know that's a great idea. I'm going to do that.” Well I did it and it changed my life and after that lunch, I drove right over to Walt in Massachusetts where the office was. And I walked in and signed up and it was fantastic. So I learned how to sell from the Masters.

Steve: I love that and really I like that there are two pieces of that puzzle. I like that the first is, as you started embarking on this new journey. You said to yourself immediately how do I get good and you said I'm going to network my way to good right? Or maybe even the great. And then the expert was willing to share with you and said, hey here's the secret, “Carnegie still works and it's great.” And that is obviously a name with a great legacy and sailing and influence and so forth. That sounds like a pretty cool defining moment. Was that your first job? That sales job?

Mitch: No it wasn't. Actually, I transitioned to it from a different role, completely. I was actually started out as an electrical engineer, as a hardware guy and I worked at computer companies for a while. And I eventually was hired by a semiconductor company to be their field engineer. The field I guess you call it a service engineer. And so I would go out to customers who had difficulty implementing our designs and our products. And I'd help them. And it was in that environment that I became enamored with selling and sales. So it was from that environment that I made the jump from engineering and marketing into sales.

Steve: Boy that is such a… I would say a unique set of skills both engineering and sales because I've seen the sales guys who don't have any of the technical particulars it flies right over their head but they're great at selling. And I've seen the engineers who don't want to interface with customers in any possible way. They prefer to be in the dark room. And the set of an email or whatever is it's very unique. Did it strike you as unique at the time?

Mitch: Well I gotta tell you, Steve, it turned out to be my secret sauce you see. What I had was the ability to get into the back offices that the engineering labs because I spoke their language. In fact, I was the expert in what they were doing. So they welcomed me in and so I was able to get custom integrated circuits designed into prod they were shipping in the millions. And because of that, I need a lot of money at a very early age. I was at the age of 27-28. I was generating almost thirty four thousand dollars a month. And I was making so much money. I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't even know how I was so lacking savvy of any sort. I just started putting it into passbook bank accounts until I hit a hundred thousand in each bank. And I'd move on to the next bank. So I mean I was pretty unsophisticated. I didn't quite know what to do. But yes that was me, that was one of my calling cards ability to both understand engineering from a very technical level and interface directly with those engineers.

Steve: It's a Cadillac problem for those keeping score at home. When you have to keep opening new bank accounts to make sure you don't run over the FDIC limit but increase to 250 by the way. So how about give us a look back just from the very beginning to today and is there a big lesson that you've learned along the way that you care to share with the Awesomers out there listening?

Mitch: Well there's so many Steve. I almost don't know where to start. I mean the things that I learned the hard way. I mean here's the simplest thing of all learn from others as much as you can. I had the amazing luck of either accidentally or purposely running into some amazing people and using them as mentors. Whether they knew it or not. One time I was its young man, I was asked to get on a bus and be transported to a factory area and move boxes and heck I was happy for the money. So I got in this little bus and we drove out to this factory. And I'm carrying boxes and we sweated for 10 hours that day. At the end of the day, the bus was full. I was the only one that couldn't fit in the bus. So the president of the company says once you ride with me, so I said sure. So he said, “Do you know what's in the boxes you've been moving?” I said I think they're vacuum cleaners because it says vacuum cleaners on the boxes.  That's right he said. Have you ever heard of a Hoover vacuum cleaner before? I said yes of course. He goes, well I'm the president of the company and my father or grandfather founded the company. And here I am, I'm a beast, I guess, I was 18 or 19 years old. And I have this chance to sit with the president of Hoover vacuum cleaner. And I said to him how did you do all this? How did this come about? And the first lesson I really learned which was one that I had to remind myself over and over again is he said to me. There's something very simple he goes, “I just never quit,” he said. I may have had to change direction from time to time but I just never quit. And if you don't quit sooner or later you're bound to win and that's what I did. And he started to tell me all what they went through and how they almost went into bankruptcy and all that. But at the end of the day, he did it, he won, he stood, he stuck with it and he made it to the point of creating a hugely successful company.

Steve: I love that story. First of all, I like the idea that you create opportunities by doing stuff, right? If you hate, if you were like that, too good to carry boxes, you would have never had that chance. But secondly, I really liked it, the idea that we remind ourselves that persistence is the key. It's not just Hoover. I didn't know about them you know flying close to bankruptcy at one point or another. But many companies have faced those challenges. The founder of Uggs once told the story where they were literally down to their very last payroll. They had nothing else going for him and then they kind of break right. Otherwise, if the break went the other way they were out of business before anybody ever knew the name. There's been a lot of people today don't realize that the most valuable company in the world, Apple was right on the verge of bankruptcy itself and Microsoft. The antithesis of Apple right? They were more or less enemies at that stage. Microsoft saved the day by lending Apple a bunch of money and had it kinda another way. Apple could have disappeared off the face of the earth. So much of our mind is all about, hey we have to keep things positive and keep things moving but really persistence and just pushing through adversity is a key lesson.

Mitch:  Yes, yes.

Steve: So how about this, we talked about this idea of persistence. Was there ever a time… Because you've done all kinds of things. You've got the coaching stuff and you have the software stuff and you've helped other big companies including the Tony Robbins and these types of big names. Was there ever a day where you're like - this is too much for me? I want to just step back and do something different. Where you maybe wanted to give up?

15:53 (Mitch talks about times he almost gave up and what stopped him from doing so.)

Mitch: There have been times when I have and I remembered the lesson that that man taught me. And I never would, I never did if nothing persistent. And the one thing I will say though is that the second part of that lesson was the most important. And the second part of the lesson is to pivot. So even with this new software when I first released my software system resultsbreakthrough.com, I tried initially to sell it to everyday people who simply wanted an accountability partners. And it turns out very few takers, very few people were interested in the software. As individuals what I later found was that had I not pivoted. I would have gone out of business. So I changed direction when upstream and started marketing it to the people who build masterminds courses and programs. Now they have a lot of interest in making sure people finish those courses and like you said earlier in a mastermind, staying accountable, staying on top of the assignments and the changes that they're going through as part of a mastermind. So those folks came and said, great what do we got to do? I'd like to buy a seat for everybody in my program. And so what we did is we evolved the software to create a private-label version. So now we basically create a private environment for every one of our customers. And it's been working out.

Steve: Fantastic, I love it. I can't wait to dive into the details because one of the things I know that even people who invest a lot of money into a mastermind. I'm talking about a thousand, two thousand, four thousand, five thousand dollars as much as 60 to 70 percent of those people don't even go through the course not just not finish it. Like 50 percent don't even open it. It's a crazy statistic that some of these guys have shared they saw. I can't wait to hear your solution to it. We're going to do that right after this break. We'll be right back.


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Steve: Okay, here we are back again everybody on the Awesomers.com podcast. I'm joined by my guest Mitch Russo today and you may tell that my voice has a little scratch to it. I have been fighting a cold and flu the last several days but the show must go on. So here we are and Mitch maybe you could frame up this problem we talked about just before the break or people are maybe they need an accountability partner. But they don't recognize how to do it, to tell us about why people buy a course and then they don't go through it. It seems perplexing.

Mitch: Yes. Okay, so I'll do my best on that one because I got to be honest. They don't really know, I mean but I'll tell you my up my opinion. I think what happens is that the way courses are sold to us on the Internet these days if they're sold in scarcity and they're sold with huge packages of perceived value of bonus. So someone would in effect buy a course thinking they're getting $15,000 worth of bonuses. And the course is not going to be sold past Tuesday. So what do they do is they jump on the bandwagon and they buy that course. Now the good thing is yes they own the course. Now the bad thing is that some of them had to borrow money. Some of them take the payment plan at exorbitant interest rates. And now they're paying for that course maybe a year later and they still have not had the time to really crack the cellophane and dive in. Well, I don't know why and if I did I would have finished all of the courses that I bought. Never did but I will say this, your intention initially to buy that course was to better yourself to get something from it. To increase your value to others by learning a new skill. And what ends up happening is that life gets in the way. You get busy or you start the course and then you miss one of the group coaching calls. You say ah I'll just pick it up on the recording and maybe you never do, maybe you do join group coaching. And now you're lost well the solution that I came up with. And I'll tell you the story, I was it's almost two years ago a year and a half or so ago,  I was about to buy another course. And I had this thought I said, you know why don't I finish one of the many courses I've already purchased before I buy another one. So I pulled up in my spreadsheet where I keep the login information for all these courses. And I'm staring at this spreadsheet and I said wow I got so many to choose from. So I picked one and I must have bought it about eighteen months prior. And I go back and the Facebook group is closed like there's no longer offering any sort of help. I couldn't connect with any of the other members. So I pick another one and I go back into that Facebook group and it's basically crickets there's nobody there. So I call a company and I said well I'd like to get started with the program. I realize I didn't take it. Well we can, we could basically set you up with one of our coaches I said great how much is a coach, 2,000 a month they said. Well, wait a second only paid too thousand dollars for the whole program. I said that's not going to work for me. And they said sorry that's what we have. So I thought to myself how do you solve this problem how do I get a coach for myself and maybe even for others. And I had remembered that I had actually solved this problem once before when I was building Chet Holmes and Tony Robbins business breakthroughs international company. We had accountability coaches which paid us, people. CEOs would pay us $1,800 a month just for 30 minutes of accountability once a week. So I said well why don't we pair people up who took the same program to be each other's accountability coach. And so that idea started to percolate in my mind and I said, well okay what kind of skill does it take to be an accountability coach? And so what I did is I created a very short course like 10 minutes on how to be an accountability coach. And it's really very easy, there's only three questions, so if you can master three questions and just be friendly and supportive you could be an accountability coach. So now the question is, okay now I know how to do it. Now I know how to train others to do it. How do I find one? How do I match people up? Then I had the word matching my mind, so match.com, dating sites. Why don't I emulate a dating site and build the site where entrepreneurs can go get matched? Find someone to work with and immediately engage and start working together. So I thought okay one step further. Well once they're matched what are they do well, they need accountability questions. So then I said okay good I went back to the curriculum of one of the courses I took. And I turned the curriculum into questions. So now I had accountability questions for every module in the course unloaded those online and I started calling course owners. And say by the way would you give me your curriculum. So I could create accountability questions for you and I got several dozen of those. So the fun of this was is that involved as I added energy to it. You got bigger and bigger and bigger and he'd evolved. And now as it stands when someone wants to work with me and when they want to have their mastermind course or training program inside of my software. We work together on building their best accountability questions. And the results although they're early we're looking at between three and five hundred percent increase in completion rates using the software.

Steve: Wow that is a very impressive. I do generally agree with your premise. That because of the FOMO right, that fear of missing out and the scarcity. And if you don't buy today then you know the sky's going to fall or you're out of luck. And in many ways, I have to say I wish that courses didn't rely on that marketing tactic so much. I'm more preferred something that has an evergreen availability. I prefer things that are not you get to garden this caller recorded six years ago. And that's an 18 million dollar value. It just it doesn't feel right to me. That said we know that to get people across that threshold. That they need to get excited about it. So finding that balance is difficult but I do think that so often people get whipped up into a lather. They make the decision to purchase and they're even probably generally happy with that decision. They just don't ever get into either loading the course or completing it. So I'm curious when you think about creating these questions related to the training materials themselves. Is that a difficult process that seems like I wouldn't know where to begin. But it sounds like that's right up your alley.

Mitch:  Well it's actually as simple as can be. All you really need to do is, for example, the... by the way if you're a listener and you have bought courses, you might have a peek over it resultsbreakthrough.com. They may already be there but if not you need to create your own accountability questions do as I said earlier. Just go to the curriculum itself and turn each curriculum head into a set of questions. So all that really means is that you're looking at the topics that are listed. And you see exactly how those topics are set up. And now you are able to change the topics into questions. I'll give you an example, so Charles bird has a great program called zero to 60 with Evernote. And when we work together on his questions. Now he has one, two, three, four, five, seven modules in his program. So module one starts with a very simple question. Did you watch all the videos in this module? Do you have Evernote properly installed? Do you have any questions about the layout and framework of Evernote. So there's no rocket science here. it's basically simple right. So if I bought Charles's course by the way. If you do by Charles course which I highly recommend. You get my system for free because he's one of my members. And at that point, all you got to do is choose 0 to 60 with Evernote from the lists on your profile. It's choosing your accountability questions for module one and boom you're ready to go.

Steve: That is very simple. Often the most elegant solutions are the most simple solution. So that really makes a lot of sense when you want about this idea of trying to figure out how to fix the problem. Was there any big obstacle that stood in your way that took time for you to resolve?

Mitch: There were several, I mean first of all I didn't know how to fix the problem. I was hoping the company would help me released the course and they didn't. So for me fixing the problem came down to getting a coach. That was the final thing that made sense to me. I don't know any other way but to get somebody to walk me through or keep me moving through the program. And what I realized that coaching was too expensive. I said well ok how can we be Co-partners in going through this product together. That's when I came up with the idea of creating this matching system.

Steve: I like the way you kind of talked about mashing it all up right. You're like match.com there's dating profile. What if we put the Q&A together. It seems like it's a series of bits of your past experience that all have kind of collided into this new venture.

Mitch: Very fair to say and very observant.

Steve: Well it's one of those things turns out experience does matter. Everybody can write that one down. I had only one way to get experience. You got to go through it. So when you started experimenting with this and you already mentioned that going direct to the end-users was not that lucrative or not that useful. Nobody signed up or very few did but when you flipped and you did that pivot that you talked about earlier. You looted in the Hoover story you got to make changes from time to time. How did that change things for you?

Mitch: Well I figured okay who cares about this and by the way when people build courses or have programs or masterminds there's two very distinct ways of thinking about that which I learned earlier. There's the Dan Kennedy way, Dan Kennedy says sell a course, make the money. Put the money in the bank and spend it until next year when you sell it again. And don't worry about what happens after that. You did your job, you sold the course, it's up to them to complete it. Now luckily that's kind of dying out. Now we have people that are more ethical, that are more I would say conscious about their students for two reasons. Number one because they care about them genuinely and number two because if they wanted to buy something else, they should finish what they already bought from them to begin with. So if you have a low-end course and you want to migrate to the high-end course or the mastermind program you need them to finish. And unless you're going to do the group coaching yourself or the coaching yourself, odds are they're not going to finish the statistics are four to eight percent finish. So we wanted to improve that and so now when I find those course owners that really get it. And they say how much does it cost if I would buy everybody in my program a seat and they find out how inexpensive it really is, most of them just say geez let's do it.  It makes so much sense and then we'll support, we'll build it into our methodology. So accountability now becomes part of our program which again feeds the whole environment of always self-improvement.

Steve: Yes, you mentioned a four to eight percent completion ratio but if we do the inverse of that, that is whatever 92 to 96 percent not complete ratio. Which is a nightmare and nobody really who is putting out a course that is worthwhile. But that they're really proud, wants to see that kind of Miss rates right? They want people to go through, they want it to be successful because ultimately that's the social proof. That's really what builds their name and it establishes their credibility. So we all kind of want this solution. And you've mentioned courses, you've mentioned masterminds, is there any other kind of application to this idea that we haven't talked about yet?

Mitch: Well turns out that I'm in discussion with two very interesting but diverse groups. I'm in discussion now with diet companies because they know that if you have an accountability partner on a diet odds are, you'll stick to the diet even better. So if you think about it where else would an accountability partner in life work well, turns out that accountability partnership is a lot of how AAA and all of the 12-step programs are built as well. I mean they call them sponsors but ultimately it's the same idea. So we're now talking to some of the religious groups and some of the 12-step programs as well. Because they're interested in it for their own organizations. Because it simply makes a lot of sense but here's the big surprise. So I figured once I got my very first outreach from a corporation who had purchased corporate training. The surprise to me was corporate training has the same exact completion rate, four to eight percent. Now I would think that corporate training has a far higher completion rate. Because of the price, because of the fact that you work for the company. And they're paying you to take the course basically it doesn't. So that's when I oriented towards working with corporations to operate and sell through the HR Department and through the training manager and director of training.

Steve: Yes that is alarming actually. As someone that has a lot of training available for my people without that accountability, it is difficult to know what it's actually happening. I find that the 12-step idea and the diet idea very on point in terms of needing that accountability check in. And I don't know what your thoughts on this Mitch are but mine are Entrepreneurs in particular which is a large part of the Awesomer contingency out there. We need accountability maybe more than the average person because we really don't report to anybody right. We're at the end of the day we're the boss most of the time. And so who's going to call us out right? Even if we have a board of directors like hey I've made this board, brought you into this world. I'll take you out too. Nobody really is going to challenge the owner or the founder. Very often where's an accountability methodology seems to be a good way to get us to jump through some hoops. Is that kind of your findings as well?

Mitch: Absolutely and again what it really comes down to is that accountability is a privilege. It's a gift if you are giving yourself to another person to help them and they give back to you. There's something interesting. The dynamics here which is the second level of our discussion, the dynamics between individuals changes dramatically. So Steve if you and I were accountability partners and we got on the phone every week. And I had you ask me my questions and then you had me ask you your questions. We become friends and then as friends we care about each other. And as we would care about each other pairs of other people in the same organization would care about each other. And eventually our culture is now stronger and we're building community where we had almost none before. So the effect of adding back the live person to person over the phone or over Skype voice conversation as opposed to a digital world, where everything is tweeting and twatting and tweeting and texting. We find that this is really more fulfilling and more powerful than all of the digital technology put together. But the best part is combining the two. So when someone works in my program what they do is they get on the phone together. And they load their dashboard at resultsbreakthrough.com by loading their dashboard. That's where the accountability questions are and that's where your accountability partner gets to type their answers. Which creates a weekly record week after week after week. Which you find me, our accountability partner. I could go back two weeks and see what you said two weeks ago.

Steve: So now I want to dive more into the practical application of this. I'm going to do it right after this quick break.


Empowery, the name says it all. Connecting E-commerce entrepreneurs with great people, ideas, systems and the services needed to sustain business dynamic into growth. Empowery is a network; a cooperative venture of tools and resources to make you better at what you do. Because we love what you do. We are you. Visit Empowery.com to learn more. You're listening to the Awesomers podcast.

Steve: Hey everybody we're back again. Steve Simonson joined by Mitch Russo and we're talking about a very engaging and interesting idea of being able to apply both people and technology to this idea of accountability. And trying to get through the training courses that we bought. I don't know if you're like me but I have dozens of courses. I probably bought over the years majority of which I probably never even opened, not completed never even open them. And sometimes I buy them and have my team go through that or this would be good to think about later. And I'll be honest many of my forgotten about but like you talked about earlier Mitch, you load up that sheet with all the passwords you like wow I got a bunch of them here. I don't even know where to begin. So I'm also in that general frame of mind. But just before we went to break you talked about this idea of marrying the technology with the people and I wonder if you could just tell us again in practical terms, how does it work when somebody uses the resultsbreakthrough.com system? How is a human being matched up with them? How does that work in real life?

37:23 (Mitch talks about resultsbreakthrough.com.)

Mitch: Okay, so in the normal sense and accountability session, if you will between two people would be two people sitting and talking with each other. And asking them each other questions and those questions would be very meaningful. Because it would relate to how they are doing. So the idea behind them is to keep people on track, to keep people in the groove and focused on their accomplishments and their achievement. So what we decided to do was build a structure for those accountability questions. To basically guide the session directly. So I'm going to share my screen for just a second to show you this.

Steve: Okay sure, so to our audio listeners, they will describe as best they can.

Mitch: Sure. So what you're basically looking at now is a session screen. So here it says Yogesh is currently coaching you, Mitch. And so Yogesh asks me of my first accountability question which as you could see is a very important question. It is, what is the best sauce to put on hot dogs.

Steve I'm on kinds of needles over there just so you know.

Mitch: Yes I know and if anyone's ever been to Iceland, it's not mustard. So in Iceland would they like a combination of mustard, mayonnaise, and dried crunchy onions? So that's a joke question but there again this to illustrate the point you could ask anything you want as an accountability question. Now as soon as someone types in an answer like if for example Yogesh, she asks me all of a sudden, that answer shows up on his screen. So our screens are synchronized. We have history as you can see on my screen Steve we have history of all the other sessions in the past. You can see I answered mustard a lot but the idea here is that now we have built a system where we are tracking week after week the progress that we're making. and the questions that we're asking.

Steve: So you have a human coach on the other side. Now, are you guys on the session live as they fill out the questions or you go in at any time? How does that work in general?

Mitch: No, we do it live. We don't encourage people to do it offline because every question and invokes a conversation and he evokes a response. So ideally what I want to see and I think what our customers like is the idea that this is not just answering a question in a digital app. It's a conversation and it's the conversation that keeps us accountable.

Steve: I really do like this concept. So for those audio listeners just note that each side of the coaching relationship has a screen right. You've got the coach side and you've got the coaching side if that's the right word. And the data is flowing in both directions. So the person filling out the data is putting it in and the person who's a coach it needs to see the data. They get to see the same thing and Mitch just demonstrated that live force. So I really like this idea. I think it's quite unique to be able to marry up kind of the coach. And put the technology there together, I'm curious. So how do we know who's going to be our coach?

Mitch: Well that's interesting. So ideally what we want to do and before I just leave this screen I want to show you one more thing. So after we answer all of our questions, our next step is to enter our stats is the way we know we're making progress. Now any stat you want to keep track of as long as it's numerical all you got to do is fill in the field. It could be calories, it could be Twitter posts, it could be number of new customers, it could be cash in the bank, whatever your stat is. You just click on it change the name of it and then enter it every week. Then when you go back to your dashboard, here's your stats right up top.

Steve: I love my dashboard I have to say. I saw Mitch is demonstrating the dashboard for those audio listeners where you've taken these key indicators or metrics that you've decided to track. You've defined them for yourself, in this case website visitors and Facebook friends and so on. Twitter posts it looks like and then they're tracked each week. And what a great way to just have not only as a coaching session kind of online and integrated but this dashboard is integrated. I'm very intrigued by this indeed.

Mitch: Yes and we should set your mastermind up with this as well.

Steve: So not just the best way. I have a question about how to apply it to another concept here in a minute.

Mitch: Okay so you asked, I want to answer the question you asked before how do you know who you're going to get matched up with. Because when you hit the search button on top you get to the partner finder screen. And for those audio listeners I'm going to describe this in some detail. So you get to choose your partner based on criteria that you find important. Maybe you think gender is important, maybe you want to work with someone in a specific niche, maybe you would like to work with someone who has about the same size business as you do. Maybe the only thing you care about is that they bought the same training program that you did. So once you fill that out you then get a list of everybody who matches you. Then you could look at their profile and say okay, well here's a woman who basically bought the same training program as I have. And she looks like she'd be a good match. So all I got to do is invite her and I set a date and a time and next thing I know she's getting. And I tell them what I want to meet on zoom' Skype or a phone. And next thing I do, I hit invite and it sends out the emails. She gets her email and she chooses the date. If it's not right for her and boom. We're going to meet, we're going to be on the phone and we're going to be inside Results Break Through and we're going to be partners.

Steve: I love it that is extraordinarily efficient. I have to say and I do like the fact that you can kind of filter based on that different criteria. Because for different types of training or different kinds of relationships those filters may be more or less relevant at different times. Sometime it's just a simple idea of I need somebody to a weekly call. Let's just go through our metrics that's enough. And other times you need some area of expertise that is correlating and crossing over. So very interesting. I think that's a very effective demonstration and this idea again of putting technology and people together. This is quite unique, are you aware of anything else like this that exists Mitch?

Mitch: I really am NOT and I guess this is part of why I patented this process. So the patents as you know, patents take a long time. We applied for patents mid-year last year. So maybe in another couple years we'll find out whether at least it wasn't rejected. Usually, you get a quick know if it's a rejection. So it's probably in the process now. We're hoping it will be approved but its patent pending for a reason. It's because we did kind of create something relatively new and unique.

Steve: Yes it's my hats off to you because it is really addressing a problem right. And so for the others out there we often talk about this idea. Where do you find an opportunity? An opportunity most often exists where a problem exists, right? And you have to solve the problem. It just has identified a problem that both him and I kind of suffer from lots of courses. And lots of things that we don't necessarily get full accountability on and pretty unique solution. So how long is this thing going Mitch?

Mitch: It's only out since March and I haven't really... I mean it's you might call any new released a beta version. I mean Gmail is theoretically still in beta but it turns out that I call it beta because we're always adding new features. Just last week we completed the link between Results Breakthrough and thinkific the popular training LMS platform. So now people would think if it courses can actually click a button and link all of their students directly into Results Breakthrough in one click. So we keep making progress constantly all the time and we're always adding little features here and there that people asked for.

Steve: It's intriguing to me. So one of the ideas that I want to ask you and see if this applied is the Empowering Ecommerce Cooperative which people know. They can find it in power E-comm this is a group of entrepreneurs and E-commerce business owners that are banded together. To say let's put some buying power together, let's earn some cash back from aligned suppliers and so on and so forth. But one of the challenges that I think will exist is when somebody joins just like any other thing they just kind of put it to the back of the shelf and go. I'll get to it. When I get to it whereas if they had some sort of check-in process to say hey have you check the freight supplier? We check the 3pl supplier or the software provider to see if you can get cash back. I think their results would be improved or more engaging have you ever contemplated this idea of a cooperative eyeing group more empowered by using something like this?

Mitch: Absolutely I had Barth on my show. And he loved the idea. And he asked me to sign up as one of their vendors.

Steve: Oh beautiful. Well, there you go. So I'll have to talk to Barth about that. I think it's a very effective idea to be able to get engagement and remind people of the benefits that they have. That's fundamentally part of the challenge when you have any sort of community is what kind of benefits exist for all the members. And especially as those benefits are dynamic and ever-changing some members or some coaches out there may be on the front end of some of those things that may involve the technology piece. And somebody else may be more involved in the supply chain piece or whatever but they can help each other using a tool like yours. In my estimation, what do you think?

Mitch: Absolutely. Which is why again Barth was interested in it. And for those listeners Barth is the founder I think of Empowery and he was on my podcast called yourfirstthousandclients.com. So Barth came on the show, we had a long discussion about his whole cooperative structure which I thought was brilliant. And then from there, I showed him the software. He loved it and he said look sign up as a partner so we could use it too.

Steve: I love it. Yes, I can't wait to talk to Barth about that. I think it's a very engaging and interesting idea to be able to take any community and foster that level of communication and engagement that wouldn't otherwise exist. But instead of it just being a piece of software that just pings somebody from time to time ago. Hey, you got a new Twitter message, you got a new Facebook message, we get enough notifications right? That's our life is full of notifications but to be able to combine that with hey here's something actually, here's something you care about and here's some metrics that we're going to keep track of these conversations. That's very powerful stuff.

Mitch: Exactly and you know this is all good if you have a very clear picture of what you want to do. I want to finish a course, I want to lose weight, I want to stop smoking, I want to have an effect in my life that has an outcome that you know what that is. But for many people and particularly for successful people, many people don't know what their true next step is. And so that's where the other side of my business really comes into play. So I really try to help people in a way that no one else can. I have a way and I don't exactly know how to explain it but I have a way in a process of taking very successful people and helping them zero in on what their highest purpose and mission is. And then not just zero in on it but literally build the business around it. Then we can put accountability in place because now at least we know where they're going.

Steve: Yes that makes a lot of sense. It is ironic but some of the most successful people do need kind of help with that roadmap. And do need help with the exact action steps otherwise I kind of just kind of we try this then we try that. And obviously we successful people you end up finding your way but boy it sure would be nice to make a little road map, a little faster.

Mitch: Absolutely.

Steve: So I do find this to be a unique solution and I think that it really would work in real life. That's a big part of the equation for me. Do you see any obstacles for people adopting this in the future? Is that all going to be cupcakes and rainbows from here?

Mitch: Well it never is cupcakes and rainbows. There's an occasional rainbow and one or two scrapes of the icing off the cupcake. But what the thing again I mean this is the business. Is like being on a raft going down the river. They're going to be rapids from time to time is going to be still and easy going other times. And being an entrepreneur having your own business is all about I know that we are going to run into issues with clients who want to use this in a way. We haven't anticipated and it will be up to us to either adapt it for that purpose or simply explain that it's not for that purpose. So our system is designed to really work the way you see it on the screen which is to help people be together in a group of two. Some people have asked can we make it work for three people and we said yes we can. And we would accept in our experience, scheduling three people together is incrementally far harder than trying to do it just for two. So that's the challenge.

Steve: Well that definitely is the truth. Yes if there's any hope that I would have at some point is that system would allow almost like a calendly integration where people could have their schedules line up. Be relatively easy but I suppose once you set the schedule if you do it on a recurring basis it's a one-time entry in your calendar. You're done right.

Mitch: Actually it is set up so that it feeds your Google Calendar. So if you have Google Calendar you connect resultsbreakthrough.com to your Google Calendar and every time you and your accountability partners set a new date and time, it basically sends you an email says would you like to add this to your calendar.

Steve: Got you. So it's there. I love it and I also really do appreciate the analogy that running a business is often like a river, right? You're going to have those Rapids. You're going to have the whitewater and then you have the content. You’re okay, everything's great, no problems. What could possibly go wrong and then around the bed here's the whitewater you never saw coming and education like a waterfall. Luckily we get our life vests on and we're ready to ready to go. So let me ask you this. Mitch just take a moment get out your crystal ball if you will and tell us what you think the future looks like for kind of the online learning. This space has really exploded to the last three to five years. Where do you see the online learning and the courses and these types of things going in the next five years, let's say.

Mitch: Well here's what I've observed and my belief is that it's going to continue to head in this direction. I believe that there are two things affecting learning these days that are slowly being addressed by people who build courses and programs. The first is our attention span. Our attention span as a population gets shorter and shorter the more we have cell phones in our hands. So the more we're on computers with browsers in 30 open tabs at a time our attention span is now causing us to seek programs with three to five-minute lessons. Now truthfully I think it's great. If I reflect on the days back when I used to be hush settled off into the training room at work and plunked down in front of him, a VCR and a two-hour video. I mean that was a snorefest. So the bottom line is, I like the idea of shorter videos. I like the idea of checking in with people after each video to see if they learned that concept. And if not they watch another five-minute video again to pick it up. The second thing that I'm seeing which I think is the trend, we've all seen is that most of this is migrating to mobile. So our system is mobile responsive, it works great on an iPad, it's okay on a phone. And we'll have a mobile version. A phone version out sometime later in the year. But ultimately on a iPad, it works like a champion. So that's the trends that I see. The other thing that I see is people are getting smarter about how to build courses. I was very lucky. I helped Tony build his learning management course basically it was almost like virtual reality. It was a virtual training room. And so I worked with him and the provider of the technology. So Tony was able to help me understand how people learn and now I take those lessons and I impart those to my own clients who are building courses as well. So the idea behind learning is very simple, people have to understand the words before you try to teach them something. How many lessons or how many courses have you started where immediately they start using terminology that they think you're familiar with and you're not. That's why learning the terminology, defining it upfront has become so important. And now people are aware that.

Steve: Very sage wisdom there. Too often I think it is a case where people are making these assumptions of base knowledge some kind of existing. Even people talking about the Amazon, FBA. The majority of the population has no idea what FBA means.

Mitch: That's right.

Steve: Like FBA who knows what that means right. And everybody can make up their own definition. In this case, it means to fulfill my Amazon and that has its own series of connotations if you understand it. But it lacks context if you don't know. So I really do think that's a sage of wisdom there. Let me ask you this Mitch, any final words for the Awesomers out there listening that you care to leave them with?

55:55 (Mitch’s final words of wisdom.)

Mitch: Yes, there's something I want to share that's very important. As entrepreneurs as you said earlier Steve, we're going at this alone which means that our emotions can swing all over the place. There could be days when we're super pumped, in other days when we just don't feel like doing a thing. And and I truly believe that taking care of your mindset first is probably the best thing you could ever do. And if you don't have a mindset program for yourself it's something that I highly recommend now anybody who works with me gets a mindset coach along with me. Because when I work with somebody individually, I want them to succeed and I found that the only way to do that is to get their mindset first. There's some great books out there. I mean you could go back into the 30s, 40s and 50s and pick up all of the Earl Nightingale books and Think and Grow Rich. These are the books that really help you set your mindset and I highly recommend going back to basics and starting there. Then you'll have much more control over how your emotions work.

Steve: Well I think that's really good advice. And it is I don't know, it's amazing to me but it's completely true. And I referred to Napoleon Hill and the gang regularly and this idea including Carnegie by the way.

Mitch: Sure.

Steve: Where we talk about all these basic premises of mindset and this idea of kind of getting your house in order mentally, is a prerequisite for kind of setting yourself up to accelerate and launch. And I love the fact that it's not the newest thing, it's not how to get a thousand Twitter followers in the next ten minutes. It's 50, 60, 80 years ago. This basic truth about humanity and about how our brains work those things still exist today. And they're so important. And I'm glad you mention them. I do some of the book of the week episodes from time to time and these are some of the books that will be on our list. And I just can't stress enough that this idea that it doesn't have to be the latest Instagram post of the best travel spot in over the last 15 minutes. Things that are decades old or even you no longer are still important today. So very good advice. Thank you for that Mitch.

Mitch: Of course.

Steve: Alright Awesomers we're going to come back right after this. And but before we go, we want to thank Mitch so much for joining us today. Appreciate your time Mitch. And great help for us.

Mitch: My pleasure Steve, thank you for having me.

Steve: Certainly mine and Awesomers we'll be right back after this.


Catalyst88 was developed to help entrepreneurs achieve their short and long term goals in E-commerce markets by utilizing the power of shared entrepreneurial wisdom. Entrepreneurship is nothing if not lessons to be learned; learn from others, learn from us. I guarantee that we will learn from you. Visit catalyst88.com because your success is our success. Hey Gideon. You're listening to the Awesomers podcast.

Steve: Well I have to tell you I am so intrigued by this idea of accountability matchmaking, what a great concept right. We know the technology exists, it's just a great adaptation and this is a pretty classic Awesomer move if you find something that has a need right. And the need, of course, being accountability and you find some sort of technology that already exists like the matchmaking concept. And then you do the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, smash it together with chocolate and peanut butter and pretty soon you got a cool idea. Mitch has done a lot and has been through a lot and it's really fun that he's able to share his experience with us. I'm actually excited to try out this matchmaking concept and maybe we'll try that in the mast reminders or somewhere else. But it's a really fun and exciting concept to be able to drive further engage. But I'm just I'm into it. So once again this is episode number 49 of the Awesomers.com podcast series. Just go to Awesomers.com/49 to find all of the show notes and details and links to all the great things that we've talked about on today's show.

Well, we've done it again everybody. We have another episode of the Awesomers podcast ready for the world. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now is a good time to take a moment to subscribe, like and share this podcast. Heck, you can even leave a review if you wanted. Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me, Steve Simonson, our guest, team and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.