She’s built ten successful companies starting out at age 19. Her clients include household names like Ben & Jerry’s, Supercuts, and Allstate.
She has shared the stage with Les Brown, Peter Diamandis, Richard Branson, JJ Virgin to emceeing the largest marketing event in North America. Allison’s also been featured in Success, Inc. Fortune, Fast Company, and Forbes Magazines, is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine and a featured expert on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox across the US.
Mindie Kniss: On today’s program, we have our dear friend, Allison Maslan. Sean and I are delighted to have her with us and we’re excited for you, the listener, to get to know her. She is filled with amazing business wisdom advice. Allison, welcome to the program.
Allison Maslan: Thanks for having me. I’m really excited that you invited me here today.
Mindie Kniss: We are too. I’m hoping that some of your humor will come out because Sean and Allison have a very special relationship.
Sean Stephenson: Well, Allison has a very dirty mind and I’m always blushing when she’s around because she’s just cracking inappropriate jokes nonstop and I’m just like, wow. No wonder her husband is so reserved.
Mindie Kniss: I don’t think that’s what it is. I really don’t.
Allison Maslan: [Laughing] Well, we can let him believe that, but yeah, I just can’t help myself, Sean. It’s a problem. I need to come to you for some work on that.
Sean Stephenson: I know… Yep.
Mindie Kniss: You are so much nicer than me. I’m like, yeah, no.
Sean Stephenson: Allison, let’s just jump into the business side here. Can you walk us through your entrepreneurial evolution? Where did you start and where are you now?
Allison Maslan: So I feel like I came out of the womb as a business owner, or at least into the entrepreneurial life. My family had their own business. My dad built a big women’s clothing chain. And so I grew up just kinda running from store to store with him, wishing that I could fit into these beautiful women’s clothes when I was little. And he would just stop for ice cream, tell people what to do. And I thought, Oh, well this is easy. I can do that. And so at 19, I started my first business, it was actually personalized poetry when I was in college and I thought, Oh man, this is it. I am going to make it big as a poet. And my dad said, well, you know, Allison, poets really don’t become known until they’re dead.
And so that was a huge buzzkill for me. And so I moved on from the poetry thing and, and expanded it to a full-service advertising and PR firm. And we had big clients like Ben and Jerry’s and Supercuts and Allstate and Charlotte Rousse. And so that was my first taste of success and the business grew really fast and then kind of imploded. And I can share that story a little bit more with you later. We all have our implosions, right? Which are big lessons. And then from there, I went on and I built nine more companies since then. I finally got it right. And now, my 10th business is Pinnacle Global Network. And you, Sean, have spoken at some of our events and so we mentor business owners around the world and I just absolutely love it.
Sean Stephenson: Allison, in your evolution, what could you have done to not implode?
Allison Maslan: Well, I think that I’m actually grateful for the implosion. I’m glad I didn’t die because I ended up having a terrible car accident. I actually ran over myself back then because I was so out of my mind because I was so stressed out.
Mindie Kniss: Wait, wait, wait. We need more of that story. What?!
Sean Stephenson: I’ve heard this one. It’s good!
Allison Maslan: [Laughing] Yeah, well, it kinda goes along with the theme of your show. I was so focused on making money that I had become very out of alignment with what made me happy, with what I was passionate about. And I really back then thought that’s what business was all about and I was making money and I was miserable. And I felt like I was as good as my last campaign. I didn’t feel like I was having those deeper relationships with people and I just was empty and stressed to the max.
I didn’t really know how to scale. I didn’t know how to delegate even though I had some employees, I was a control freak. And one particular day, I was just exhausted. I’d been up all night writing a campaign for a big client, forgot to pick up my daughter from daycare. So racked with guilt and ridiculously late, you know, hauling butt to get there and pulled up and the car started rolling down the daycare driveway and I jumped in to try to stop it. Yeah. Never do that. Never do that. So it just dragged me under, the car swung back, knocked my legs out from underneath me, pulled me underneath the car, dragged me out into the middle of the street, and rolled over my legs. And it literally stopped like an inch before I would have been a goner. So would I wish that upon me again? Absolutely not. However, I needed that kind of a wake-up call to wake me up. And I do feel that sometimes we need that polarity to know the difference. So I’m grateful that it happened all those years ago because I walked away from that saying, I have to do things differently. I do like business. I do see that people have very successful companies and have a life. I need to figure this out.
Mindie Kniss: That’s a wild story. I hadn’t heard that before. So if in the past that was your version of business, that’s how you thought of business. I want to ask you fast forward to today. What is your definition of wealth now?
Allison Maslan: Well, I mean, wealth is feeling healthy. Freedom of choice, abundance, and, of course, having freedom of choice on the financial end too. I like to be able to say, yes, I want to do that. I’d like to take this trip. If there’s something I really want to buy, I like to be able to do that. I like to take great care of my employees. In fact, we’re planning to take our employees to Mexico next year. We were just talking about that. So it does give you this sense of freedom, but if I’m making the money and I don’t feel that wealth of happiness and feel fit in my body, that I can move and do the things that I want, I don’t feel like that’s a sign of wealth.
Mindie Kniss: Yeah, it’s so interesting with our various guests, there are many common themes when we ask that question. It’s talking a lot about health and freedom. Those words probably come up more than any recently especially with different guests. And what I love about that so much is not one single person has said, Oh yeah, it’s X amount of dollars, you know? Or it’s about the money. Yeah, that’s part of it. But it’s so much bigger than that. So flipping over to the other side on happiness, how do you know when you’re happy?
Allison Maslan: For me, it’s an energy that comes from within. In homeopathy, that was one of my businesses I ran for 20 years was a homeopathic practice. So it was very focused on health. We call it the vital force. It’s kind of like Chi and there is this sense of upliftedness in your cells, in your soul, and you also have an excitement of what is to come in your life and always having the opportunity to take things to the next level. That’s super important to me. It’s really more about a sense of accomplishment than how many more zeros can I add to the bottom line?
Sean Stephenson: In your business, what causes the most stress?
Allison Maslan: That’s a really good question. I think what causes the most stress for me personally is that I’m very driven as you both know. But I like that feeling of being driven and I had one time an employee say to me, Allison, you’re like a red Ferrari and we are running so fast to keep up with you. And my first thought was, well then run faster, what’s your problem? So I think for me, there’s so many things that I want to do in this lifetime and there’s so many things that I’m excited about and even for this year to come, I have all these new objectives. So I think what’s hard for me is that I have to put some things aside, I have to get myself to just slow down a little bit and really stay focused on that one track for awhile. That’s hard for me to do.
Sean Stephenson: Sure. So what do you do to de-stress when you find that you are stressed?
Allison Maslan: Well, my favorite thing to do is to fly on the flying trapeze.
Mindie Kniss: [Laughing] Let’s talk about that a little bit. I think that’s the best answer we’ve ever gotten to that.
Sean Stephenson: Honestly, Allison, who doesn’t?
Allison Maslan: I know. We’ve got to get you both up there for sure. Yeah. So I was a gymnast growing up and I went to Club Med later in life. I had just gotten dumped by a then ex-boyfriend. And so what’s the next rational thing you do? You go to Club Med. And so I went and I’m walking around the grounds, I look up and there’s this massive piece of metal and there’s these people up there flying. And I was like, Oh my God, you actually can do that and you don’t have to be in the circus? And so I fell in love with the art of trapeze. So that was over 20 years ago.
I’ve been training with one of the top trapeze of five generation circus families for the past two decades. And then two years ago, I fulfilled a dream of having a full-size trapeze rig built in my backyard.
Mindie Kniss: This is what I love about you Allison. You’re not just like, Oh, I’m really into trapeze. No, you go to the top person for the last 20 years and then you create one in your yard. That is amazing.
Allison Maslan: I know, it’s so trippy. And even when I decided to do it, I said to myself, this is really ridiculously crazy. I was having a conversation with myself, like this is ludicrous, but you know, I share this stuff because I think most people have things they really want to do in their life that would make them really happy, but there’s this voice that says, I can’t, I don’t deserve this. You know, why should I do this? People are gonna think I’m nuts.
Mindie Kniss: It sounds like the entrepreneurial journey though, it’s so synonymous where people are like this is crazy. You know? It’s crazy to expect that people will pay us for certain things and want to do things with us. It’s crazy.
Allison Maslan: It is crazy. So I mean, you know, we are trailblazers I guess, and we do want to create our own path. But hey, if you get to the end of your life and you look back and you say I went the route that everybody else wanted and I didn’t follow my heart and my true gifts. To me, that would be really sad.
Sean Stephenson: So you are a curious person and we want to know what are some of the things that you are curious about? What do you like studying and what do you never grow tired of learning about?
Allison Maslan: I love business. I do. I really feel that business is the best way to share your gifts with the world and really make an impact and change lives. I mean, if you think of some of the most innovative and transformative technologies and inventions that are saving lives these days that are hopefully going to help us with what is going on with the environment and so forth. These are from inventors, entrepreneurs. And so to me when I’m learning something new in the business realm and I’m able to then share that with our clients, that makes me feel alive and it makes me feel like my brain is expanding. Cause you know we only use a tiny, tiny bit of our brain, which blows me away. It challenged me to say how much more can I learn? We mentor business owners in all different industries, all different business models. So I’m always learning about a new industry, a new way for a business owner to scale their business. It becomes a challenge and that excites me.
Mindie Kniss: I love that. I wanted to ask you about scaling. You’ve written a whole book about it. One time a few years ago we were meeting with one of our business mentors and I was asking him about scaling and I was saying, you know, here’s what I’m thinking… This is going to be what I do. And I said but how would you scale that? And he said, Mindie, go get that problem first. First, go do the thing. Then once you are maxed, then worry scaling. And I wanted to ask you your opinion on that. Do you agree with that? Do you disagree with that? Do you need to think so far in advance for how to scale things or should you go get that problem first?
Allison Maslan: You know, it depends on what your goal is. I would say scaling is not for everyone. I mean, a lot of people want to be a solopreneur and provide that service and work part-time and they’re really good with that. And I think that’s fantastic. But if you know that you really want to grow a larger enterprise, you still can… I take a week off every month now, which is so much fun. And I have a whole team of CEOs that are doing our mentoring, so I have replicated myself. But I think if you know you want to do that, then plan the model from the beginning.
Don’t wait till you run over yourself like I did, you know? But at first, there are the phases that you take your growth through. In the beginning, it’s just getting your product or service out there, figuring out your target market, getting them results, before you really start scaling. So I would say I agree with him to that point, but if you do know that you want that bigger enterprise, if you can plan for that in the beginning, you’re going to save yourself years and years of headache and heartache and just get to it much faster.
Sean Stephenson: Allison, I want to know… What are some of your career accomplishments that when you look back on them, you feel really good about them?
Allison Maslan: Career accomplishments… I would say, I’m going to go back to some earlier ones. Like when I had my ad agency before I imploded, Charlotte Rousse was one of my clients and I really helped them scale. I mean they had over 250 stores before the original owners sold their company and I was a big part of that growth. They had one store in Carlsbad and grew it up to 250 stores. So that was quite a journey and a lot of fun. As a homeopathic physician, I helped pass a bill called SB 577, which is the California Health Freedom Act. This was in ’99. And so that the consumer could choose who they wanted to go to in the state of California and not be dictated if they wanted to go to a naturopath or an acupuncturist or a homeopath, as long as those practitioners were forthcoming on their education and their credentials and so forth, so that was a huge win.
Mindie Kniss: That’s awesome.
Allison Maslan: Yeah. I don’t know. I think now, I would just say for me, really just seeing the business owners thrive, seeing them come in, they have their roadblocks that they’ve carried with them for years and years. Like it’s their story of why they haven’t been able to grow and to see them, to break through that. I mean talk about abundance and wealth and freedom, when you can get out of your own way. So that’s, I’d say, one of the biggest accomplishments.
Mindie Kniss: That’s probably our favorite part as well is just watching them rise. It’s so great. So we have an acronym that we ask every one of our guests about. The acronym is H E R B. And I’m going to walk you through each letter and ask you a question about each one. So H stands for habits. What are your personal habits that have contributed to the success that you currently have, to your health and wellbeing, and across the board? What habits do you take on on a daily or maybe weekly / monthly basis?
Allison Maslan: Well, for me, physical fitness, and I know both of you are very involved in it and I’ve had the same fitness trainer for 22 years and he is an ex-Marine and he kills me. I saw him today. He’s the longest male relationship I have ever had except for my cat, Mico. Mike’s (Allison’s husband) in third place. So I would say, physical fitness, it has gotten me through, raising a difficult, not difficult, high maintenance, let’s say this teenage daughter and so many other challenges in my life. So that gives me energy, clears my head, and helps me to be resilient. The other thing that I do, and I’ve been doing this pretty consistently the last couple of years and that is that I have two hours a week that I do thinking time.
I look forward to this and for somebody who is really ADD like most of us, right? And can barely sit still. For me, I love that because it’s just a real creative time. I’m not great at meditation. I tried it for so many years and I just couldn’t sit there and clear my thoughts. But when I have a focus on really being allowed to let my mind expand I create some of the best ideas that I’ve had for my business. And that’s just like play to me. So that’s a habit that I have. And I also am a late night… I’m a night owl.
Mindie Kniss: Yeah, me too.
Allison Maslan: Are you? I fought it for years. You know, all the books…
Mindie Kniss: Yeah, get up at 5am!
Allison Maslan: I’m supposed to get up at 5am. It’s not going to happen. My whole family is, we were texting at 12:30 the other night. My mom, my brother, my sister.
Mindie Kniss: Now, is Mike also a night owl?
Allison Maslan: No, he is gone. 10 o’clock, I mean I just see him fading, but he is up and ready to go, six in the morning and I’m like, see ya.
Mindie Kniss: That’s exactly us.
Sean Stephenson: Mine’s worse.
Mindie Kniss: Sean is asleep by 10 and he’s out by 5:00 AM. And I’m like, it’s just not going to happen for me. I’m right there with you. I tried. It’s just not how I’m wired. So let’s move on to E. E stands for environment and that can be either your physical space, your mental space, you know, all of the above. What do you allow in or not allow into your environment or what do you like to surround yourself with?
Allison Maslan: So I am very affected by my environment. I think that I’m really sensitive to energy around me. So number one, I do not tolerate any negativity, gossip, you know, victim mentality. Look, I was a single mom. I had nobody give me a dime. I’ve had the same struggles as many other people. I believe that we create our own happiness. And so it’s not that I don’t have compassion for people that are struggling and things like that. It’s just they need to take responsibility and do something about it because I get very drained when I’m around that Eeyore sort of energy. And I’ve actually had to distance myself in the past from certain relationships because of that. And that was difficult. But also, I feel like that that was a big part of my growth. As far as my living environment, I’m a real believer in the power of intention and law of attraction. Mike and I lived in a house in Cardiff and, you know, nice house. It was very small. And I do a lot of writing and creating and so I kept visualizing for the longest time of a house that had all of this greenery around and windows everywhere. And I literally would visualize this all of the time, like when I’m doing my thinking time and it took us quite a while and a lot of hard work of course, but you know, that’s what we’ve created here. And our house is kind of like a retreat center. And so I think that you have to be able to see the possibilities, believe that it can happen, and you can create any environment that you want.
Mindie Kniss: Totally. I love that. And for those of you listening that can’t see what we’re seeing right now, that was the first thing I commented on. I said, your windows and your trees are gorgeous. She’s surrounded by green. It’s awesome. So moving on to the R, the R stands for resources and Sean and I love to geek out on books, programs, mentors, whatever it might be. So what resources have really helped you develop into who you are, both as a business person and also personal life?
Allison Maslan: Well, I’m a huge believer in having a mentor and I can’t sit here and be a proponent of coaching if I don’t do it myself. So I always invest in that. It’s so funny you’re saying herb. Well Herb, that was my dad’s name. So he was my first mentor. And, but I have, you know, here I go and hire the top trapeze family. I have over 20 years for my fitness trainer. I have several business mentors that I’ve worked with over the years. I’m in two masterminds and so I just, you know, when people feel like, Oh, I should figure this out on my own, I really feel like they’re shooting themselves in the foot. If you want to figure something out, find someone that’s already done it. Why do you have to recreate the wheel? And then make it your own.
Mindie Kniss: Yeah. I wish that you could have told me that 12 years ago because I was that person, trying to do everything on my own. So that’s super important for all of us to realize that nobody creates any of the things that we’ve created by ourselves. What about books or programs or other types of resources? What are some of your favorites?
Allison Maslan: Let’s see… The Big Leap is one of my favorite books by Gay Hendricks. Have you read that book?
Mindie Kniss: Yeah. Gay Hendricks is awesome.
Allison Maslan: Yeah, I love that book on the mindset about stepping into your genius. I think a lot of people are, as he says, in your zone of excellence and you know, we’re good at something. So that’s what we do. But that’s not really what creates, like what you’re talking about is the wealth, when we are, you know, really in our zone of genius, what lights us up that one thing that people come to you and say, Oh my God, Sean, you are amazing at that and you just light up when you do that. That’s when you’re in your zone of genius. I absolutely love that book. I read a lot of actually fiction and poetry. Henry David Thoreau is my favorite poet and Walden. And that actually helps me to get creative. And one of his quotes is “All good things are wild and free.” Yeah. And I read any new business book that comes out. I mean, I have like stacks and stacks of books and I’m constantly consuming.
Mindie Kniss: That’s how we are too. And I wondered about you as a poet, who were some of your inspirations? I’m all about those Transcendentalists with Walt Whitman. He was my favorite, Thoreau, all those.
Allison Maslan: Oh, love Walt Whitman. Yeah.
Mindie Kniss: Yes, right there with you. I love that. Rounding out this HERB, or Herb for your dad, the B stands for beliefs. What are some of your core beliefs that have contributed to who you’ve become today?
Allison Maslan: Yeah, I love that. Because I believe… I believe the beliefs are the core of who you are and what really drives you, your values. And I believe it’s so crucial that we live a congruent life. The way we think and the way we feel is also expressed in our actions and our behaviors. And so that everything is in alignment. I think what creates so much unhappiness is when people are incongruent with what they feel and what they hope and they dream is the complete opposite of what they’re living in their life. And so there’s this constant battle. So be who you are. And I also, as trite as this may be, is I just believe that absolutely anything is possible and you just need to keep walking towards your dream every single day. And don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done. That is what I believe.
Sean Stephenson: When you are dealing with travel, do you travel a lot in your business or are you mostly a homebody?
Allison Maslan: I do travel a lot and there was a while there, Sean, that I was traveling like 15 cities back to back speaking. And I remember having a moment, I was in the Phoenix airport and I was like, if I never get on another airplane… I’m so done. And so I stopped doing that for like the last probably three, four years. But now I’m kind of fired up. So I have some speaking engagements that I’m going to be doing overseas and all of that. I just have to really make sure that I leave ample time before the trip and after to get… If you land and then you’re running onto something else, that’s the thing that’s going to just run me into the ground. So really making sure that you have that, I mean, somewhat of a balance as much as you can have.
Sean Stephenson: Allison, I’ll ask you this last question from my side. When it comes to money, do you believe that all money is created equal or do you believe that some money is bad and some money is good?
Allison Maslan: I think money is energy and you know, it’s currency, right? And if you think of a current, it’s just like electrical energy that’s moving back and forth. So could there be bad energy? I suppose so. I mean, I guess if money is the product of something that you’re harming somebody else, yeah, I guess that would be definitely negative. But I think that there’s so much good that can be… Money is just a form of exchange, really is all that it is. And so if it’s in exchange for something that is good and you’re making a difference and you’re helping people, whether you’re selling tires or beauty products, it doesn’t really matter and you’re doing it in a way that is in alignment with who you are. I think money is wonderful.
I mean, the more the better and the more impact that you can create. So I think people have a lot of mixed up ideas because of their childhood. You know, money is evil. Who do you think you are? Money doesn’t grow on trees. So I think sometimes people make a lot of money and are ashamed of it or don’t want people to know because they feel like they need to play it down so that others don’t think negative of them. But I think the more money the better, the more you can give. The more I can do for my employees and their families. The more I can give to charities and things that I’m involved with. Like Just Like My Child, I’ve been really involved with them for the last 10 years. And you know what? I work hard, so I deserve it as far as I’m concerned. And so that’s how I tell my clients, you work really hard and you need to be rewarded for that. It’s a good thing.
Mindie Kniss: It totally is a good thing. I love that. It’s like, yeah, you do deserve that. And being so open and just a shining light example of that. I love that about you. I wanted to ask you this to end our conversation. There will be people that are listening to this right now that are really struggling. They may be struggling because they are not yet making the dollars that they’re wanting to live the lifestyle that they would like. Or maybe they’re struggling because they have the money and they’re like, Oh, the rest of my life is totally broken. So struggle is happening. If you were to drop down into your heart and speak directly to that listener, what would you have to say to that person?
Allison Maslan: Well, I’d say first of all, I get it. I have been there and I really feel for what you’re going through. I mean, I literally did not have a dime. I didn’t even have enough to buy coffee. I was at a point going through my divorce where I was like, okay, get food stamps or figure this out. I didn’t have anybody helping me financially. So when you hear me talk about having money and wealth and all of that, I’ve been through both sides of it and I will say I’m actually really grateful for that time because I think sometimes you can get to a point where your desire for change becomes stronger than your fear. The thing is that for those of you listening, you’re already wealthy. You have everything you need inside of you right now. And if you can just believe that or allow somebody else to be a mirror for you to help you see that in you.
And then you just keep walking towards that dream every single day. There are going to be people telling you that you’re crazy. They’re going to be people that are telling you that you don’t deserve it. It’s not going to happen. You’ve got to run as far as you can from those people and just find others and surround yourself with people that really do believe in you. And it may not happen tomorrow or the next day or the next day or even the next month or the next year. But you keep taking that step forward and it is absolutely going to happen. I truly, truly believe in you and you deserve to be happy, deserve to be wealthy inside and out.
Mindie Kniss: Coudn’t have stated that better.
Sean Stephenson: Allison, if people want to know more about what you’re doing with your company and just want to interact with you and learn from you, where you want to send them?
Allison Maslan: So they can go directly to our website which is AllisonMaslan.com and if they want to email directly, just go to [email protected] and if it’s anything directed at me, I will absolutely see that and respond and you can also go to ScaleOrFail.com and you can get my book there and all kinds of great bonuses.
Sean Stephenson: Awesome.
Mindie Kniss: Awesome. We highly recommend you do all those things. Follow Allison, she’s got so many cool things going on. She really is an inspiration because I love going… Sean, as we already said, has spoken at her events and seeing her audience and just, one, the number of people and two, their enthusiasm, their testimonials, like it’s just awesome. So please check out everything Allison Maslan is doing. She’s fantastic. Allison, thank you. This has been a great conversation and we’re so just delighted by your friendship, by your wisdom, by having you as an example to look up to. So thank you for all of that.
Allison Maslan: Well, I love you both dearly, so I’m just honored to be here and excited about all the things that you both are up to. You inspire me, so thank you.
Sean Stephenson: Thank you, Allison.
Mindie Kniss: We’ll see you next time on The Lucrative Society.