Marquel Russell is the founder and CEO of Client Attraction University. He was Coaching Sales' very first client back when we launched in 2018. And he still works with us to this day. All of CAU's sales reps were recruited by us.
Mike Mark and Alvin Rai talk to Marquel about the journey to $1m/month and all the challenges he had to overcome while scaling his business.
✅ What was the main bottleneck you had to overcome once you got to $30-40k/month? [00:27]
✅ Besides doubling your business, what other effects besides revenue growth did you see after bringing on your first closer? [03:30]
✅ What was the bottleneck that kept you stuck at $80k/month for a year and a half, and how did you overcome it? [06:45]
✅ How much of the bottleneck was emotional–something to do with you personally–versus technical–something to do with the business? [08:24]
✅ How long do emotional bottlenecks take to solve? [11:37]
✅ Marquel's monthly revenue in June 2020, two and a half years after we started working together, and how his business operates today. [13:42]
✅ Marquel's monthly revenue in October 2021, three and a half years after we started working together, and what his sales team looks like today. [15:06]
✅ Marquel's one message to entrepreneurs on the journey to seven-figure run rates. [17:03]
[00:00:00] Mike Mark:
What were some of the places whereas you started to grow, you got stuck, you stayed at maybe longer than you should have, some of the big lessons that you learned, which are like only from, you know, getting punched in the mouth real good a couple of times, you know, like, so on that journey, cause right now you're at multiple seven figures with your current run rate and everything. So like, what were some of your sticking points? What were some of the more difficult places that you hit as you were scaling?
[00:00:27] Marquel Russell:
One of the biggest sticking points I would say we had was on the sales side because I early on, like I was doing all the sales calls, right.
So me being done at three o'clock was just wasn't happening. I was kind of like doing calls, early in the morning. And sometimes I didn't even get to go to the gym because I need to get as many calls in as possible, to get my numbers, right? So I'm doing calls all day. And then we would, was capped at that, that particular area. So I think we probably got to about, 30, 40 grand a month, something like that. Some months of course worse, but I'm doing all the calls and I'm taking all the calls. I'm talking to like, you know, seven or eight people a day. Of course, you're dealing with the no-shows and so forth.
And that really capped us. Now, as I said, you know what? I need to hire some salespeople to get me off the phone or at least duplicate. So of course I did the typical way, sending out an email, posting on Facebook, hired a few people that I knew. Now I'm trying to train them and still do calls. I'm trying to listen to their calls and I'm like oh my God. I would, I would've made that sale. Oh my God!
[00:01:29] Mike Mark:
That was a deal aww!!!
[00:01:30] Marquel Russell:
Yeah, that was a deal. I find myself reaching back out to some of those people like, hey, I saw that you spoke to such and such earlier, I wanted to see if you wanted to jump on a quick call, just so I can make sure you're good to go. So now I caught myself going behind them playing cleanup.
So I'm doing two things. Obviously, I have no expertise. I can sell but have no expertise in training salespeople. Cause I always tell people just because you can do a thing doesn't necessarily mean you can teach it, right? You can develop into that, but that's a whole skillset in itself.
[00:02:00] Mike Mark:
[00:02:00] Marquel Russell:
I'm doing that. So I went through a few salespeople. It didn't work out. And then I was like, alright, that's when we actually connected. And he was like, dude, I can just take the whole thing, you know, off your plate. And I'm like, perfect. And then once we were able to do it for that, now I was able to step back from, I'm not trying to sales, hire sales.
Because one time I did something crazy. I brought on like three salespeople at one time, all people who I brought on and like, I'm the type of person, I got very, I don't want to say low patience with selling, but I'm the type of person where I'm like highly risk-averse. So I'm like, all right, if you guys understand the basics of this thing, I'm gonna go ahead get y'all on the phone so we can start taking some calls. I mean, just kind of see what happens.
So now I've got a ramp-up in ad spend. I got two or three guys I need, you know, sales coming from. And obviously, that bombed, right? So now, yeah, so I would say that was the biggest first I'm trying to, so me trying to figure it out stuff out. And, I would say that was the biggest place we stayed at too long because I think if I would have known what we knew now, we could have easily blown past that and I could've just stayed focused on what I should be focused on versus trying to hire versus trying to recruit versus all this different stuff to make sure that sales side is on point.
[00:03:10] Mike Mark:
I remember when we first started working together, like, this is a cool note for anyone who is, watching this, Marquell is actually the, one of the first people that, he is the first person that worked with us after once I kind of really went out on my own.
The thing that I'm really honored by is that you're still here and still working with us after all that time. So we got you a sales rep, who is actually Moose at the time. And Moose came out, and Moose, like, killed it. But the issue was your payment plans were all jacked up. And a lot of it had to do with the fact that Moose could sell like anything to anyone and like, yeah, he was able to give like everybody was applying for credit. Everybody was giving him a credit card. So we knew that we didn't have a sales problem.
We knew that there was a problem with the people that we were attracting because their credit apps kept bouncing. And then their credit cards only had like a hundred dollars to charge on them. And, it was interesting because like when it was just you at the time, I think the volume was low enough where you could sell enough of the people.
And then, when, when you got off the phone or you're able to like max out Moose, it was kinda like, that was when you really noticed that holy crap, even this messaging path isn't working at the level I want it to, and then you kind of took it and went back to the drawing board and came back with the current form, which is, is what you're describing now, which is like, hey, you, you have an expertise, but you want to scale it as opposed to like package your expertise.
[00:04:37] Marquel Russell:
Yeah, it's, it's, it's a total, it's a total game-changer. And like, and I would say it this, cause I don't know if anybody's struggling with this. I know for me, I think the biggest thing for me was I think I had a mental bottleneck that they kept me stuck there for a minute as well because I knew I was good at what I do.
However, I was like, huh, am I ready to serve at a high level? Like, am I ready to really step in? and I think it was mental. So I always use it. The example I use is like, I felt like Jay Z, right? So Jay Z, he was like, alright, Jay Z, do you keep dropping bars at the level that, you know, you can drop bars, or do you dumb down the lyrics just to cater to people who feel like you should dumb down the lyrics?
And I felt like me, I was dumbing down my lyrics to work with the masses versus stepping up and saying, okay, I know I can serve at a high level. Let me step up and step into my greatness and really share what I can share.
And then that allowed me to start attracting a different caliber of people. Cause my conversation changed versus like the typical, you know, start a business and blah, blah, blah. It was just a different level of conversation, which of course attract a different type of person.
[00:05:45] Mike Mark:
You said you were at 30 grand a month when you were kind of doing everything yourself, 30, 40 grand a month on a good month. And then post-sales rep, what was like the before and after, when, once you brought on sales reps?
[00:06:00] Marquel Russell:
So I initially was taking a few calls, then Moose was taking some calls and then I was slowly able to take fewer calls and Moose was able to take on more calls. So was able to double essentially and get it to like the 70 to 80 grand a month or so without me doing calls so I can focus on other areas. And that was, that was pretty quick before things kinda plateaued a little bit.
[00:06:21] Mike Mark:
And then you got stuck for a while at that, like 80 grand a month. And I think you were there for like a year and a half, right? And then, which is a terrible place to be at 80 grand a month, or like, you know, you got sales reps and it just sucks, dude. But so you're there for a while. What was the bottleneck there? And then what was the epiphany that kind of helped you then unlock that bottleneck?
[00:06:45] Marquel Russell:
So I think, I think right there at that point, it was, I was the bottleneck. So it was kind of like I was doing, I was still like, everything was kind of still directly tied to me.
So one of the biggest things that we talked about before is like, a lot of stuff in our system, it was more about Marquel, Marquel, Marquel, Marquel. So now we made it, I started to just pull myself out and made it less about being Marquel. People want to work with Marquel. People want to work with Marquel. But now people want the CAU system, you know what I'm saying? What they really want is the system. So now when it comes to fulfillment, it doesn't matter if I'm there to fulfill. It doesn't matter if I'm on the call, people aren't necessarily coming to the call, looking to speak to me. They're not necessarily showing up, you know, looking for me to always fulfill.
They understand it's the whole team. Because before that it was all Marquel, Marquel, marquelrussell.com, it was my logo, the branding, and all that. Now we removed all that. Now it's more about the company. Now it's more about the system and now I'm empowering other people to be in position. So now the business still runs like a machine regardless if I'm doing calls, regardless if I'm on the ads, regardless if I'm on a coaching call in the, in the group, or whatever, it still runs. So I think I was the biggest bottleneck because I had a lot of the knowledge locked in my head but never really took the time to really like unpack it and really started giving it off to other people on the teams. I think that was the biggest piece at that point.
[00:08:09] Mike Mark:
So one thing I'm curious about in your experience of that, like how much of it was just almost like the emotional component of that versus the actual technical, like documenting your knowledge and shifting the stuff like how much of it was emotional?
[00:08:24] Marquel Russell:
Dude. All of it was emotional. Cause, cause it, cause in your mind you're like, alright, dang, are they still gonna, well like, it's, because first off it's like, I think it's a lot of egos, number one. Because you're thinking, a lot of times you're thinking nobody can fulfill as good as you will, or nobody can sell as good as you will or all the different types of stuff.
So there's a lot of ego there, which, you know, leads to the emotional stuff. So it's all of that. So I never really took the time to really unpack it because if I was, I feel like I'm in control. If I released too much control, now, you know, number one, what do I do? Number two, can I trust other people to still fulfill? Number three, the clients aren't going to respond or it's not going to convert as well if I'm not totally hands-on, which was all total BS.
[00:09:10] Mike Mark:
A huge part of your identity gets tied to your business and then your identity is all wrapped up in it. Like what you're saying with the ego part of it. And then your significance is also like there's an element of significance of everybody saying how smart you are and how great you are and how will you change their lives and how, how thank God they met you.
And like all that ego really, like, it makes you feel significant. And then when you leave that, it's like, ah, like what can fill that void? Because I think that, you know, for almost anyone I talked to that has this type of business, that like what you're doing and what we're doing, and like anyone scaling these types of businesses with clients, like everyone says, like the money is the best thing.
Only second to the moment when the people get results, right? And like, when you see how the actual product is impacting your client's lives, that is really the best part of it, right? Like that's the sort of stuff that really like gets super addicting. And then when you start to pull out your significance, there's that sense where you get kind of like, scared in a way. And then the other thing is that you also have the fears of like, well, what if the person takes my stuff? What if the clients like that person more than they like me? Like stupid little ideas, right? Like, but what if their loyalty then now is to that person and not to me.
And then like, I think all those things get wrapped up in it. But I do think that also like to touch on what you're saying like it's total BS that the results drop. But I think that they do in most situations, we see they temporarily drop, right? And I think that in that gap of when you decide, like, okay, I'm going to move all attention to the system, as opposed to me as a human, that there is a subtle dip in conversions for a period of time and it is real.
But then at the end of the day, now you're on the other side of it, where your business is way more attractive to any buyer. If you ever wanted to sell it, not saying that you did, but like you don't want to have a business that dies with you when you die. Do you know what I mean? You want to build a business that can sell when, if you ever wanted to, for whatever reason.
And so like the business is far more attractive to a buyer. You're going to get a higher multiple if you were to ever offer it to a buyer and it's easier to operate and more fun to operate now.
[00:11:23] Marquel Russell:
[00:11:25] Mike Mark:
How long did it take you to solve that specific bottleneck?
[00:11:29] Marquel Russell:
I would say it probably took me, after I realized it?
[00:11:35] Mike Mark:
How long did it take you to realize it is the real question then?
[00:11:37] Marquel Russell:
Oh, my God probably took me honestly man, how long it took me to realize it? Probably maybe three or four years, man.
[00:11:45] Mike Mark:
[00:11:46] Marquel Russell:
Yeah. I would say easily, probably about three or four, because I was just, wasn't even conscious of it, right? Yeah, cause I was like in this personal brand thing, personal brand, personal brand, personal brand. So I wasn't really even conscious of it until we start growing. And I was like, all right, we're capped at right here. And then it's basically what you got a team when they're like, want to take stuff off your plate and they want to do things, but I'm kind of like, I'm still holding it closely guarded to me because I won't take the time to like, break it out even when I brought on my first assistant.
Cause I think we probably got to like 30-40k or whatever before I even brought an assistant on. And even being when I was hiring her and trying her, like me unpacking again, everything that I was doing on a day-to-day basis, I was like, this is crazy. I do a lot of stuff that I don't even really realize that I'm doing.
So now, we start breaking it all out, putting it in project management software, and now everything is systemized, but I wasn't even conscious of it before then it was just like hustle, grind. I'm just getting it done. yeah, I'm just going to get it all done no matter what. So yeah, that's, that was huge.
[00:12:48] Mike Mark:
Yeah. I remember too. So one of my favorite moments was when we first started working together and a year like, yo, I got this trip to Vegas and the Grand Canyon coming up with the family. And then you went and like you were at the Grand Canyon showing your kids one of the natural wonders of the world. And then you made like a pay-in-full that day. I was like, this is Epic. That was so cool.
[00:13:11] Marquel Russell:
And the cool thing was, what's cool is that we were in Vegas and then Moose was actually in Florida on the beach or something like that closing deal. So it was, it was dope.
[00:13:19] Mike Mark:
So, and then, I mean, I think like what's been cool to see as well as like, even since, well, really since like October to now, the growth has been insane. And even like, like a lot of the work had been set up and then now you're starting to hit where it's like, what are you on track to do this month?
[00:13:42] Marquel Russell:
So we'll probably do like, so we're projecting like 350 this month.
[00:13:46] Mike Mark:
Dude, that's sick.
[00:13:47] Marquel Russell:
[00:13:48] Mike Mark:
And that's not like big backends sales or anything like that, that's just core products from your evergreen systems, which is like, yeah, that's no launch. That's no nothing. That's just basically two reps. And then how, how many setters do you have right now?
[00:14:02] Marquel Russell:
So we have two reps and we have four setters now. So we got three new we're onboarding, but we had one, we've got three with like getting started taking calls this week so it'd be four.
[00:14:12] Mike Mark:
So really two reps, one setter, and then three in trial.
[00:14:15] Marquel Russell:
[00:14:16] Mike Mark:
Yeah. Okay. Crazy. Two reps and one setter and then you're on track pacing 350 and then you're doing it where you're out at 3:00 PM most days, like, you know…
[00:14:29] Marquel Russell:
I just work Monday through Thursday. So it was like Friday, Saturday, Sunday, I don't really do anything other than the huddle on Friday, but that's it.
[00:14:36] Mike Mark:
That's crazy. That's crazy like you know, on the outside, I'm sure you've been like you at 30 grand a month couldn't imagine this, you know what I mean? Doing like 10 times the production with a fraction of the input is pretty crazy.
[00:14:51] Marquel Russell:
Yeah, bro. It's insane.
[00:14:52] Mike Mark:
Yeah, and you're doing the stuff too with the live events and the big backends and you tied all that stuff in as well. And like it's, I'm really excited to see how that hits. And when you do stack this on that, like.
[00:15:04] Marquel Russell:
Yeah, it's gonna get crazy.
[00:15:06] Alvin Rai:
I believe I'm on the call with an extra calculator to help you gentlemen count up all that revenue you got going on. Right? Okay, so you crack, you cracked a Millie?
[00:15:19] Marquel Russell:
We cracked a millie man. We did a little over, a million and some change.
[00:15:23] Alvin Rai:
[00:15:23] Marquel Russell:
We projected, though, we said it early in the year.
[00:15:26] Alvin Rai:
Yeah. That's why I was, no, it was no, no beef. That's why I figured you guys were so busy with the events and stuff. I was like, all no worries, man. No worries. So what's the scoop? How's it been shaking?
[00:15:37] Marquel Russell:
So it's been good, man. We also had another great start to the month. We're about to bring on three, three new, I think we brought on three new salespeople. Cause we let, cause JJ left last month brought on three new, a guy named Joshua Kumon from the UK.
You probably know him. Yeah. He's supposed to be decent, but we'll see, younger guy, we'll see what happens. You never know. I just, we just taken this approach because we were like, we're very, cult… our culture is like super, family. Yeah. We just look a little more okay, let's just see what happens before we get too attached.
So we've got three new salespeople. Rochelle is interviewing I think, five others today that we're just re restocking for the, so to speak. Yes, we got two super solid specialists that work with Rochelle. And then we're interviewing a lot of other ones go that we have. We got five more she's interviewing today.
So we'll see how that goes. Three salespeople were onboarded this week, I'm not sure if they're ready for calls yet or not. So we're doing that. And yeah man, we're ready to ramp things up again. And we got out, we got our next three day is November, and then we're going to test we've got a big event in December and we were about to test this challenge model.
Like a five-day challenge going into, going right into our backend. So yeah, we’re testing that out. So yeah, man, a lot of cool stuff.
[00:16:55] Mike Mark:
So, do you have any final words that you want to leave them with as they're kind of thinking about their journey to scale to seven figures?
[00:17:03] Marquel Russell:
I would say, I would say the biggest thing is simplicity, right? It's really, simplifying. So like scaling this thing up to seven figures and beyond it's like, it's like, it seems like this big monster, right? But for me, I'm like, all right, how do you like simplify? So obviously you got the marketing side you want to dial in with that includes the messaging and ads and all that.
Then you got the sales side and then once you got the sales, you got, you know, the fulfillment and then, operations and things of that nature, but you break it down and you're like, all right. It's not this massive thing. It's like dialing in a few pillars and you said, okay, for the next 90 days, we're going to focus on dialing this in, for example, the 30 day, 60 days or whatever the next 90 days after that, we're going to doubt this. Then next time out there that we're going to dial this, we're going to make sure all this is on point. So what I tell my clients, when they, when they start trying to complicate it even more, when they were like, well, this and this and this, I'm like, look, now that you got your machine going, the only focus every day is leads, apps, sales, and service.
So it's like getting more leads, converting those leads and the scheduled calls, enrolling them, and then serving these clients at a really high level. And when you start at a really high level, that's going to create more client success stories, now they're out raving about you sending you more people.
And it just feeds back into those four things. And if you just focus on those four things, every day, that's, it's really that simple, to be honest with you, I know there's like an overseeing like an oversimplification, but those are the four things that we focus on. That's pretty much it.