Allison Maslan is the CEO of Allison Maslan International, a global business mentoring company. She was recently named one of the Top Business Entrepreneurs Who Inspire by Self Made Magazine. The number one best-selling author of the book Blast Off! The Surefire Success Plan to Launch Your Dreams Into Reality, Allison has built ten successful companies from the ground up, starting out as a single mom on her own. Allison has guided thousands of individuals to create inner and outer wealth by helping them grow a prosperous business and a passionate life.
As a world-known homeopath for the past sixteen years, Allison’s work embodies a partnership of holistic balance, a zest for success, and the most innovative business strategies you’ll find anywhere. She is the Executive Producer and Host of her own weekly online TV show, Allie and You: The Business Success & Lifestyle Show. She also has been an expert guest on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX stations across the U.S. The following is her interview with Insights Magazine:
I: I always enjoy talking with you because your entrepreneurial spirit is just so amazingly strong. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
AM: I really feel that I came out of the womb as an entrepreneur, and I mean that seriously. I come from a very strong entrepreneurial family. My father was really my biggest inspiration. He had the largest chain of women's clothing stores in the United States in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s, and he had such a passion for his business. He lived and breathed it. I used to follow him from store to store and I so admired his passion, and I really believe that infused into me. I started my first business when I was 19.
I: That’s really incredible; so you're really genetically, as well as environmentally predisposed to entrepreneurship.
AM: I think so; in fact, the longest job that I’ve held was two weeks, and I joke about that. I’m not very good with people telling me what to do, although I’m very much of a team player. I thought, If I don’t make this business work, then I’m in big trouble.
I: Allison, it’s interesting, and I’m so glad you brought that up, because I find with so many entrepreneurs they get bored really easily or they’re so creative, they see so many opportunities—how do you know when you’re on the right path with an opportunity?
AM: I think that’s a great point. I call it EADD—Entrepreneurial ADD—the shiny object syndrome. I definitely have that. I have lots of ideas coming out of my head, and one of my gifts is helping my clients come up with some very prosperous ideas for their business.
I think you don’t always know. You just have to take the steps and go for it. I think so many people, especially women, are such perfectionists, but that doesn’t get us anywhere. I always say, “Pick a path, walk towards it, and if it’s not the right path, it’s going to lead you to what is.” Otherwise, you’re going to be stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’ and not get anywhere. I think you have to ‘step into action’. You can think about it and think about it, but it’s all fantasy when it’s in your head; it’s not real until you put it into action.
I: You have developed so many wonderful companies and entrepreneurial endeavors— what do you love most about running your company?
AM: I love the creativity. I love coming up with an idea and seeing it come to fruition, almost more than selling it. I just have so much fun in realizing that the abundance we have, it’s all inside of us. We all have that same capacity to create an idea. It doesn’t cost anything to do that. To me, it’s mind-blowing to think that we’re such creative beings, we’re born with these gifts, and all we need to do is put it out into the world. That’s really my favorite thing about being an entrepreneur.
AM: I think there are a few reasons. One is that business owners get very mired in the day-to-day, and they don’t create what I call a ‘big picture vision’ for their business—a bigger direction of where they would like to take it. They end up doing the same thing over and over and over and they get in a rut. It’s just like any aspect of your life. You’ve got to change it up.
It’s having that perfect balance, and sometimes it is a juggle. You’ve got to always be creating a long-term vision, your long-term goals, where you would like to see the company grow, and keep taking steps toward raising it on a higher trajectory, but at the same time take care of your day-to-day.
It’s always a balance of the short-term and the long-term. Entrepreneurs usually either get stuck in one or the other. They’re either just stuck in the short-term, so the business isn’t growing, or they’re focused on the long-term and they’re not taking care of the day-to-day or having enough cash flow to run their business and pay their bills. It’s definitely about learning to juggle those two things.
I: It’s important really to have both the strategic planning as well as the tactical implementation in place and doing that together.
I: What are the most important steps that we could take to move forward immediately in our businesses?
AM: You have to look at where you want to be.I think you have to step back from your business to move forward with it. That’s why I feel that mentoring is so important because it gives you an opportunity to step back, work with someone that has wisdom and can give you a bird’s eye view of your business.
You have to look at what's working—where do you shine? Do more of that and do more of what’s related to those things, and let go of what’s not working. That was great advice that I got from my father. My father is 82 years old, and he still makes cold calls! He’s a businessman through and through. He taught me, “Do what works and let go of what doesn’t.” That sounds simple, but not always so. I think as human beings we have a very hard time letting go of things, but I think having someone who can help you create that strategic plan, and then as I said before, you’ve just got to start taking baby steps and put them into action.
I: Allison, you have mentored so many entrepreneurs to success—you have such an incredible track record. What do you like most about mentoring?
AM: I love mentoring because when Is it with someone I am able to see their potential; I’m able to see beyond where they’re able to see for themselves. I see a whole path ahead of them. To be able to be a catalyst to help them to see this path, to open that door and to see them where they are now and
the transformation that happens when they really go after their dreams is so beautiful to me. It changes their lives. It’s a ripple effect. It changes their family’s lives, their friends, and all of the clients and customers they have, and on and on and on. I feel totally blessed to be a dream maker, basically, and to be part of the journey with them.
I: In getting back to the idea that now it’s so prevalent in the press and with people, in general, to feel that they’re somewhat limited in their options, do you feel it’s possible to create a limitless life in business?
AM: I absolutely do, because the truth is, we are the only ones
that create our limits. It’s really an illusion and we all have it. We
all go through that, whether we make $5,000 a year or 5 million dollars a year, we all have that feeling of fear that we have to break through. Once we realize that we are in charge of that, that we’ve put the lid on, we will also have the power to release it. This is so empowering and so freeing.
People always say, “Half of all businesses fail,” and I say it’s because entrepreneurs quit. They hit a wall and they feel like there are no other options. I say failure is not an option; you just take it off the table completely. It’s not even an option so that when you do hit a wall, you always look for the passage through. You may have to brainstorm again, come up with new ideas, new strategies, a new product, or reach out to a different market—whatever it is, there is always an answer. If you understand that there may be challenges, but always look for the solution rather than seeing it as a roadblock, then life can be absolutely limitless.
I: When you’re speaking of solutions, you’ve created so many amazing tools to support entrepreneurs. Can you tell us a little bit about some of those tools, about your book, Blast Off!, and your software?
AM: Sure. One of my earlier businesses was an advertising and public relations firm, and I had national clients like Supercuts, Ben & Jerry’s, and I was running all over the place. I had no real blueprint to follow. I ran myself down, and I burned myself out completely. I ended up having a car accident from the stress and realized I was completely empty inside. I had become this workaholic. I walked away from it all. I walked away from that business, walked away from a difficult marriage, and I said, “From here on out, I am going to follow my passion. I’m going to live a full life on my terms, or forget it.”
I went on to create all these other businesses that I’ve had a blast with. I said, “I’ve got to do this more strategically. I can't just do it by flying by the seat of my pants.”
I’ve created some blueprints to follow, and that’s what I use in my mentoring. One of them is the Interactive Life Coach software that I invented, and because we as entrepreneurs are a bit ADD, we need some structure. We need a place to put our dreams and a path to follow.
The Interactive Life Coach software is a web-based program. You just sign-on, and it helps you get complete clarity on your dreams and your goals for your business and every aspect of your life. It helps you break it down into small steps so it doesn't feel overwhelming, and it’s very easy to implement into your life, even if you’ve got many other responsibilities going on.
There are so many other aspects to it. It helps you to get clear on your financial goals and what you need to do to reach them. It even helps you break through the fear, turn around the mind muck that’s going on in your head, and take care of your health—all of those things.
I put in there what I felt I needed to create success. People are using this software all over the world, and many, many coaches use the Interactive Life Coach software as a tool for their clients to keep them motivated, inspired, and on track with their goals. It’s a lot of fun.
I: What a fantastic contribution you’ve made with these wonderful tools. You are definitely a lady on the move. Tell me, what separates major movers and shakers from those that struggle along?
AM: Just like what we were talking about earlier, I think people are afraid to make mistakes, they’re afraid of what people will think, and they feel that it has to be perfect. I think the difference between someone that’s making millions of dollars with their idea and those that aren’t is that they’re actually taking action. They are not afraid to fall.
If you look at successful people through history—Walt Disney, Henry Ford, the founder of Honda, the founder of Sony—they’ve all fallen many times. Some of them even had a bankruptcy, but they refused to stop. They looked at it like, “Okay, that didn’t work— what did I get from that? What did I learn from that? What did work? Let’s apply that.”
That’s really what it takes. It takes that determination, that heart, and that persistence that, no matter what, I’m just going to put my head towards that dream, I’m going to walk towards it every single day, and I’m not going to let anyone tell me that it can't be done. That’s what it takes.
I: It is that determination and also the concept that it is part of the journey to excellence, really. That’s what your words are conveying to me, that it’s part of that journey to excellence as opposed to looking at it as a failure. It's a whole different perception.
AM: It’s a way of life. For me, it’s not that I’m saying, “Okay, I’m going to make this amount of money and then I’m done.” To me, being on this planet is about evolving and growing every single day. How can I be the best that I can be? How can I claim every ounce of passion and life out of every day? That’s about putting your creativity out into the world. Being an entrepreneur, you really face your stuff and you grow as a human being.
I: Yes, and as you have, you make this enormous contribution to the world while you're doing that, growing for yourself. It’s really quite incredible.
AM: Thank you. I appreciate that. It means a lot to me.
I: How can our readers blast off in their business, get out there, get known in a crowded market, and really take action in being successful?
AM: I think you first have to think about what sets you apart—what are some special gifts that you have? Everybody has them. I know people say, “Well, I don't really have anything.” I promise you, you're an expert at something. What is it that you have been really involved in; what have you been passionate about?
Then, you’ve got to package it so that people can really understand what it is that you do and who you are. You’ve got to be kind of shameless, really. You’ve got to get out there and just share your passion, and people will be drawn to you. I know there are all kinds of sales strategies and they are important, but for me, it's always been about coming from my heart and sharing that passion, what you truly believe in, and people are just drawn to it.
I think that’s where you just have to get in touch with what your gifts are. That’s why working with a mentor is so wonderful because they can help pull that out of you, help you create this beautiful business, and guide you through the entire process to make sure that it’s a success.
I: The word that rings out to me when you're saying that is ‘authenticity’—really bringing your true, unique gifts and who you are, and naturally attracting those who will be drawn to you because of those unique gifts. That’s really quite beautiful, Allison.
AM: Thank you.I think so many people are chasing after the money, and obviously the money is really important but if you aren’t passionate about it, if it doesn't have meaning to you on a deeper level, it’s going to fizzle out. Then, when you hit a wall, you’re not going to have that heart and determination to follow it through to be able to make the financial goals that you want to reach. I do feel that you have to have that authenticity. It has to be an extension of your truth and who you are.
I: As a fellow entrepreneur, I could not agree with you more. Allison, you have inspired so many people—how do you hope that all of this great work that you've done will continue to go on and inspire others?
AM: People often ask me,“Where do you want to see yourself in the next five years? ”I would say I’d like to see myself doing exactly what I am doing right now. I feel like in this way I can make the biggest impact. I still love creating new businesses for myself. I just created my tenth business, AllieLor Collections, which is an online jewelry and accessories store, and we just came out with our own line of beautiful briefcases for women.
I think that I am the best that I can be when I help people see that beauty, talent, and bravery within themselves. I feel like that’s my purpose here on earth.
I: That is so beautiful. Since you’ve inspired so many others, tell me, what really inspires you, Allison?
AM: What inspires me are those stories. In fact, I have a weekly online TV show called Allie and You: The Business Success and Lifestyle Show, and we highlight successful entrepreneurs, talents, and artists who have refused to back down, even when times were tough. That’s what really inspires me—those stories from people who didn’t have it so easy.
I started out as a single mom. I had no money. Everyone around me was saying I was going to fail, to just get a job, and that just gave me more resolve. “Okay, I’ll show you!” Those stories really move and inspire me, because it does take incredible courage, but we all have that. We all have the capacity for that amazing strength and resilience. When I see somebody facing that and jumping in with both feet, that inspires me more than anything.
I: You’re such a big proponent of action—I was wondering, do you have anything that you do for yourself or you share with your clients who you mentor about how to move into action right away? Something simple that we could apply right away?
AM: Sure. Just to add to that, my passion outside of business is the flying trapeze. I don’t know if you knew that, but I am a trapeze artist. I take a lot of clients up on the flying trapeze, believe it or not, because it’s such a metaphor for business. You’ve got to climb the ladder and you’ve got to jump in with both feet. You’ve got to stay completely focused on the goal, give it everything that you’ve got, and then you have to let go and allow things to transpire.
Since not everybody has an opportunity to get on the trapeze, what can you do for yourself? I’d say take some time, really get clear on what your big picture goals are, and then break them down into baby steps that you could spend 10 minutes on; do three of those small steps a day. I call them mini-feats. We feel like we have to spend hours on a project, and nobody has that kind of time.
Break it into very small steps, do three a day, and you’re going to be 21 steps closer to your goal in one week. You can make some incredible traction. Don’t put it off. Don’t even wait until Monday. Start today working toward your dream, and you’re going to get there faster than you could ever imagine.
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Voice for Business Success
Allison Maslan, CEO of Pinnacle Global Network, The World Leader in Scaling Businesses. She is the Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author of, Scale or Fail, which is endorsed by Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank. Allison’s built 10 successful companies starting out at age 19. Her client list has included Ben & Jerry’s, Supercuts, Charlotte Russe, and Allstate.
Now she and her team of CEO Mentors pay it forward by helping business owners scale their companies, fast-track their success and create a more meaningful life. The Pinnacle Global Network, her private mentoring and mastermind enterprise has guided thousands of business owners over the past 10 years. Allison’s been featured in Inc., Success, 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. Allison has also hosted her own podcast, The Scale or Fail Show, since 2011.