Go out there and find your future. It doesn’t matter how badly you started your life. Just pick yourself up and follow your dreams. Find what you’re passionate about and go with it, ignore the naysayers. This is what Erik Allen did. He doesn’t have the brightest of beginnings but he pulled through. Now, he is the owner of Erik Allen Media and has two podcasts, Top Rated MMA and the Erik Allen Show. Joining Jen Du Plessis, Erik talks about pursuing your dreams no matter what. Erik found his passion in listening to stories and he believes you can find yours too.
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Finding Your Passion Among All The Chaos With Erik Allen
In this episode, I have such a fun guest. His name is Erik Allen. Erik, welcome to our show.
Thank you so much. I appreciate it. It’s truly an honor to be here, Jen.
I’m happy to have you. We had the wonderful privilege of being introduced at Prosperity Camp, which is part of Secret Knock. We were in Carlsbad but we were out in California, unmasked at the time and had the great opportunity to be introduced to lots of wonderful people. You and I hit it off. I ran up to you and said, “I have to have you on my show.” I want to tell everybody a little bit about you before we get started here. One of the biggest things that I want to talk about on the show is the fact that you came from this broken home and you’ve battled addictions. You were in jail. You’ve been bankrupt.
Some people, when they come on the show, they have one of these. You have a multitude of these issues. The great thing is that you’ve emerged to be this wonderful person who is trying to make an impact in the world and help others in several ways. It’s not only with the way that you’re handling things for your own personal life, how you can share that with others who are going through very similar things, but also what you’re doing in the business world too in helping people who want to start and grow a podcast. I want to spend some time talking about your childhood. Being raised in a tumultuous childhood in a home where you beat up your boyfriend. Tell us whatever you want to tell us about. What I’m most curious about is how did you end up in jail at the age of eighteen? What was that? How did all that happen?
My parents got divorced when I was eleven. I ended up moving to Montana where my mom had a boyfriend who was very physically abusive. They had a kid, a 3 or 4-month old son and so they rented this house. There was a room for him and my sister. They said, “Erik, you need to live in the garage.” I had this plastic tarp at the end of my bed that separated from the truck that pulled in. That was my room. Luckily, I had a fireplace in my half of the garage that would keep me semi-warm during the negative degrees there in winter.
The physical abuse continued. We moved to Montana and it got to a point where I had to fight my mom’s boyfriend off of her. I hit him in the head twice with a cast iron pan. There are lots of blood. Essentially, I was kicked out of the house at that point with three months left of my freshman year of high school. That sent me on this path of destruction for the next ten years. I’m eighteen years old, a senior high school and I had a bong. I got arrested for having drug paraphernalia. I had to go to jail with a black and white Chain Gang outfit on with bright orange slippers, a 145-pound little twerp kid. I was scared to death to go to a jail cell with all these guys that were in there for much more violent crimes.
It’s very scary. It was interesting because it was in a different county. My name didn’t go in the paper where I lived. I didn’t even tell my parents for probably ten years after I had gotten out of jail that I went to jail when I was eighteen. I was kicked out two weeks after I graduated high school. I woke up to a note on my bathroom mirror from my dad that said, “You can’t comply with house rules. You have 48 hours to get out.” Between the ages of 18 and 21, I moved 21 times living on couches and second cousin’s houses for three days here and four days there. I had $100 in my pocket.
I moved to Seattle, Washington to get into the music business. I don’t know how to play anything. I just said, “I want to be in the music business.” I got up there. I was living off of credit cards. By the time I’m 21, I’m $28,000 in debt. I lived a rockstar lifestyle for a while but did battle those addictions of drugs. I had that free alcohol and lots of concerts. In that two-year span, I went to about 175 concerts. My early twenties was a pretty crazy time, for sure.
You went to jail at eighteen. How long were you in jail?
I was just there for 24 hours.
That was long enough.
It was definitely long enough. The judge said, “Why don’t you give me a reason why I shouldn’t throw you in jail for 90 days?” I was like, “What?” He goes, “89 suspended now.”
Take us back a little bit to living in the garage. I envisioned this, pulling a pickup truck in this dingy garage with this plastic. Everybody knows that big, heavy plastic stuff. Tell us a little bit about how you felt during that time. The description of being there is one thing, but how did you feel during that time?
There were times where it was freeing because I was outside of the arguing that was always happening inside the house. I could escape out to my room. I had a TV out there so I played some Nintendo. I did my homework and everything in that room. I spent as much time in that room as I could. For me, it was an escape away from that. At the time, I didn’t realize it was this abandonment or rejection that was happening. Looking back, I’m going, “That was a serious thing.” The only time that I was in the house was when I had to go and stoke the fire to get the fireplace going. After that, I was back out to my room. It was this feeling of abandonment and rejection, but it was also this time for me to escape that chaos that was going on.
I do have a similar experience. I do think to a certain extent, getting away is easier and escaping to that. When you escaped, you played Nintendo. Did you have a lot of friends? Is this when you started picking up the addictions or was that later?It's a waste of time to listen to the naysayers. Just take action. Click To Tweet
I started smoking cigarettes when I was about thirteen years old. I was introduced to cigarettes at a pretty early age. That was the time where I hung out by myself. I lived in this remote area. Stevensville, Montana’s population is 1,200 but we lived on the outskirts of town. It wasn’t like I was super close to friends. My closest friend was maybe a mile away up in the mountains there but it wasn’t easy to get to their house. I did have some friends but it wasn’t like I was spending a ton of time there. We had 5 acres that the house was on so I spent a lot of time out on the property to wander around the ponds, sitting up in the deer stands, and being in nature.
Your mentor was the nature around you. There’s always an escape to that kind of abuse. What ends up happening is you’re like, “I’m never going to be like them, never ever.” All of a sudden, you became like them. You dropped into that. What was the ultimate turning point for you where you said, “That’s it? I’m done. I’ve had enough. It’s got to change?”
I spent ten years battling addictions of drugs, alcohol, marijuana and acid mushrooms, anything you could think of that I could probably get my hands on. There was a moment when I was finally in the music business. I spent a year with Universal Records. I got laid off during the Napster days when that was around. It sent me into this depression where I was working at Starbucks at night. I’d get off from work, go get a six-pack of beer, and go to my ghetto apartment across the street from where Jimi Hendrix is buried in Renton, Washington. I would drink myself to sleep every night.
One night, this girl walked into Starbucks and she doesn’t drink coffee. She says, “We’ve got this cool college day event down at our church. Would you be interested in going?” I didn’t have any friends. I was depressed and alone. She was good-looking, “Absolutely, what time do I need to be there?” That is what’s going through my mind. I got down there. There were all these guys that I knew from the other side of the state from where I grew up, “I haven’t seen you in years.”
I felt in that moment that God was planting the seed in me to wake up. About a month later, it’s Easter 2004. I was managing a band. We played a concert the night before Easter and I woke up on Easter morning. My buddy’s basement was surrounded by probably fifteen guys. It was about 5:00 AM. I felt in that moment that God was saying, “You’re going down this path that’s going to end your life very quickly if you don’t start making some serious changes.”
I decided at that moment to give my life to Christ. Right there, in my buddy’s basement, I gave my life to Christ. I quit taking drugs, drinking cigarettes, everything at that moment. I called that girl up. I got her voicemail and I said, “Thanks for inviting me to that church event. Maybe I’ll stay at the store sometime.” A month later, we were dating and now we’ve been married for almost seventeen years.
You have children too. You’ve got how many kids?
We have two.
You got married. It’s been many years that you’ve been married. I know podcasts have not been around that long because I’m one of the veterans in it. What did you do in between and how did you then transition into podcasting?
I’ve always had this entrepreneurial spirit. I was always doing network marketing or something like that. In my early twenties, I was like, “I’ll be retired by 2028.” I did sales for a long time after I got married because I had to increase my income. Starbucks wasn’t paying the bills. In 2012, I started the Top Rated MMA company. My wife came up with the name. It was an apparel company for MMA. In 2015, I got bored with it. I put it on Craigslist and tried to sell it. Somebody offered me a few grand for it. I decided I wasn’t ready to quit so I spent the next year trying to figure out what I wanted to do with this company.
In 2017, I launched the Top Rated MMA podcast. The idea was I want to talk with MMA fighters, “Why do you want to get in a cage and get punched in the face?” That was the main question I wanted to ask these guys. I’ve heard everything from, “I did wrestling or karate and transitioned to MMA,” to guys who were like, “I have federal offenses and I can’t get a real job, but I could put food on the table if I go in this cage and I fight somebody.” I love that story of why they want to get in there. They keep going with perseverance and things like that.
I had no idea what I was doing when I started podcasting. I had a bad camera, bad lighting and a bad microphone. I was in a walk-in closet for almost my first 100 episodes. I didn’t even look into the camera. I was down here looking at the screen and all over the place. It’s been a fun journey. It’s humbly considered as the number one MMA podcast out here in the Northwest. It has released over 240 episodes since 2017 of that show. It’s a passion of mine to talk with people. I’m fascinated with people’s stories.
Were you an MMA fighter? Did you do martial arts?
I did a little bit of karate as a kid and boxing in high school but I never competed or anything like that. I got pulled into it because, at an early age, my dad would rent these movies that didn’t have any English. It was all ninja movies. All these movies of ninja fighting and things like Bruce Lee. My dad would get Mike Tyson pay-per-views and he would take me to the old school WWF when it was called that with Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and all those guys. I’ve always been a fan of combat sports and things like that. It transitioned to MMA as that sport continued to grow. In first grade, my cousin and I in Prosser, Washington, a small town would be walking a mile into town to get a VHS of UFC 1 and 2 and watch that as a kid.
That’s what you do with the MMA fighters. You also have another podcast.
It’s The Erik Allen Show. That show was inspired by my virtual mentor guy who changed my life. I came across him in 2018. I was like, “Who is this guy? This guy is speaking directly to me. Everything he’s saying is hitting home for me.” I went out and bought his book. It’s called #MAXOUT. It’s the greatest book ever. I’ve read it multiple times. It’s 95 pages or something like that.
Around 2018 or early 2019, he issued this thing on Instagram to his one million followers. He said, “Tell me why you want to be successful. What drives you to be successful? What’s your passion? Submit that through a one-minute story on Instagram.” I did that. He kept posting all these things like, “This is a top leader.” A month and a half later, I’m announced as the #MAXOUT challenge winner along with Camp Agape.
I got a phone call from Ed Mylett. It was life-changing. It’s supposed to be twenty minutes but it ended up being 30 minutes. He was so zoned out of everything else and very focused on me. It was a genuine call. It inspired me to start that other podcast. I’ve been blessed to speak with guys like Sean Whalen, Ed Mylett, Tim Storey, Brad Lea, Bedros Keuilian, Dan Caldwell, the Founder of Tapout, Jim “The Rookie” Morris and Greg Reid. The list has been going on. We’re about 115 episodes in on that show. Both shows come out weekly. I’m truly blessed to be able to speak to many amazing people.
What is that show about?
I took the same concept. I want to talk with entrepreneurs, world changers, and success-minded people. I want to ask them that same question, “Why do you want to get punched in the face?” Hopefully, not physically.
“Why do you want to stick your neck out as an entrepreneur?”
“Why do we go through the rejections, the failures and then we keep going?” That same concept draws into that same page but it’s more entrepreneurial-focused.
Congratulations on that. That’s wonderful that you have that. I want to transition into talking a little bit about podcasting. A lot of people are out there saying, “Maybe I want to have a podcast. Everybody is podcasting. Should I? Is it too late?” You and I have both been podcasting for a while. I’ll be in it for the long haul because I’m already in it. What are some thoughts that you might have for someone who’s just starting out and thinking those things that I mentioned, the naysayers, the “tell me I can’t” people as they’re approaching podcasting?
They need to do two things. One is to mentally go, “Other people’s opinions, I’m going to pass out to find my future so I could start at any point,” whether that’s podcasting or whatever that you’re passionate about. If you can find that out, let that get out of there. If you’re passionate about podcasting, if you want to talk about whatever it is that you’re passionate about and share it with the world, you can do solo shows or guest shows, whatever it is. Just do it.
There are many resources and so much availability to launch a podcast for free from your phone if you wanted to. Put out shows and record what you’re passionate about. You’re going to suck at first. If I look back at my early shows, probably the first 20 or even 50, I would not watch those shows because I’m like, “That’s crazy.” There’s so much good stuff though to get out your passion and talk with people. I started podcasting because I selfishly wanted to talk to amazing people and then I was like, “I shouldn’t be sharing this out with the world.”
That’s why I started like, “I need to push this out.” If you want to start a podcast, do it. You can reach out to me, Jen or find stuff online. You can start a podcast within the next ten minutes for free if you wanted to. Don’t listen to the naysayers who say, “Don’t do that. It’s a waste of time. You’re not going to make any money or anything like that.” You can do it. You just have to take action.
That was going to be my next question too. Share with everyone how do you make money. If someone wants to make money in a podcast, how do they make money? What are some ways that you found? I know you have a coaching program that you’re going to give as a gift to all of us. For a way for someone to get some ideas on how to get started. How should someone make money in podcasting?
There are a couple of different ways. One, you can get sponsors. You can get big sponsors, full episode sponsors, advertisements or commercials that are in your show. A website that I use is called Podcorn.com. It’s companies that are looking to advertise on podcasts. If you got a podcast that fits what they’re promoting, you can submit your proposal to them, and then you can get them advertising on your website. It’s a quick way to generate money.
You could generate money through partnerships. If you connect with a local company or a national brand, you’re not going to jump out and get Audible sign-in, paying you six figures to get a podcast going. It’s so tough. You got to get your name out there though. The more work that you do, the more consistent that you’re putting out shows, that’s what’s going to excite companies to want to work with you. You can contact people and say, “Would you be interested in a conversation about maybe sponsoring my show,” and then put in the sales, but at least try to get your name out there that way. Podcorn.com is a great resource for getting that start-up monetization to your podcast.
Have you tried Podbean?You need to stack wins early on because that's what helps set the tone for the day. Click To Tweet
I’ve not. My show is on there but I don’t know that I’ve spent too much time there.
They do a little bit of that as well. I’m fortunate that in one of the shows, I have Quicken as my sponsor. It’s cool that you’re involved. That’s exciting too. Have you ever ask people for appearance fees?
I do. How I make some money is I’ve got this wishlist of guests that I reach out to. I go through that on a daily basis going, “Do I need to reach out to them? I don’t want to reach out to them quite yet.” My show is booked out until probably mid-November 2021 with releases. If people reach out to me and say, “Can I come on your show?” I offer them, “You can if it’s a good fit but I’m going to be out until November,” but if they want to jump the line and get on now, I charge a $300 fee for them. I’ve done that quite a few times. People want to get on the show, which is great. It’s funny to me. I’m like, “I don’t think that people would pay me to come on my show but I’m going to throw it out there and see what happens.”
If there’s good value, they will. There is no question about it.
Another way that I generate income is I do charge a fee if people want to come on my show if it’s inbound requests. If I’m reaching out to folks to come on the show, I don’t charge anything. If people are trying to get marketing, I’m going to charge them for that.
We get lots and lots of emails every day, “I was listening to your podcast,” your one episode so that I could call you and say, “I listen to the one episode.” I hear that a lot. When I first started, I had hired a company that would go out and finds people because I was brand new in it. First of all, when I started podcasting, we didn’t have video. There wasn’t video yet. I laughed when you said about being in a closet because I recorded all of mine standing in my closet with my phone and my earphones, and did the audio. Then my dog would scratch at the door and I’d have to start over.
Now, when I’m hearing doors in the background, I don’t care anymore because nobody cares. I remember when I first started out I had paid this company to do that. I was editing myself at that time or using Fiverr or something, but it’s costing me money to do that. I’m paying for that. I found it’s more organic, which is how you and I met. There were 60, 70 people at this event. I can approach all of them just because, but I only approached four people to come on the show. That organic connection for me is much more important than bringing everybody onto the show. I’m very careful about who shows up, just to share that part as well.
I want to leave with something. You’ve helped people work out some type of a morning routine to help them get started to win the day. This is important for everyone, whether you’re in business or reading this show because you want to know great stories. Consistency is the key to everything, whether you’re going to do podcasts, trying to repair your life, come out of shame, dig yourself out of some hole, win in business or whatever it may be. Consistency is the key. What are some of the things that you do in the morning that get you a checkup from the neck up every morning, which is what I call it? It’s so funny because I mean that in the kindest way. That checkup from the neck up means to get out of my head and get into my heart. Share with us what your recommendations are to have that win-win-win day.
You got to stack those wins early on. That’s what helps set the tone for the day. For me, when I wake up, if I open my eyes, there’s win number one. I jumped out of bed and make my bed. There are two wins in fifteen seconds. It’s going to be an awesome day. If I have that mentality every single day, every day is going to be awesome. I then get upstairs to my office. I created a vision wall. My vision is too big for a board so I converted an entire wall of my office to my vision wall. I’ve got pictures of my family, quotes, my future property, goals, everything on there. I out loud speak and say those quotes. I say “I am” statements. I talked to my family through those pictures. I read through my affirmations.
The whole time for me, I have worship music playing. I’m getting present with the pictures. I’m putting people on there that I plan to meet like Ed Mylett, Tony Robbins and Les Brown. Those guys are the big inspirations for me. I read through that and then go sit in my chair. I have a time of prayer. For me, that’s drawing close to God and saying, “I’m so thankful for this life. Thank you.” It’s going through everything that I’m grateful for.
I read some words out of the Bible and that helps me set that tone for the day. I do that every day. I wake up at 4:00 AM, six days a week. It doesn’t matter what time I go to bed, I’m getting up at 4:00 AM because if I don’t, that throws me off of my chain of consistency. I’ve been waking up at 4:00 AM for years. That time in that morning for me is so important because my family is still asleep. I’m not interrupting family time. It’s also a time for me to be alone and draw close to God, and to my personal development. It’s so important. It’s non-negotiable for me. Even when I travel, I have photos of my vision wall. I’m looking at my phone doing the same routine every single day. That helps set the tone for everything.
Do you subscribe to The Miracle Morning? Is that where it started?
I do not. I should though.
Hal has been on this show. He’s an incredible story of someone who was very calm. He had cancer and was very close to death. They had less than a 1% chance of him surviving the kind of cancer that he had. He drew in The Miracle Morning even more to himself. He’s come out with a new book as well called The Miracle Equation. It’s that consistency, positive outlook and resetting. I do it with my coach every day. We have it for twenty minutes every single day at 11:40 Eastern Time, 8:40 their time, so I have to interrupt my day.
We do soul intuition. We all talk about what we’re grateful for. We do breathing. We have that quick twenty minutes. For me, it’s good because I already did my morning work but it’s halfway through the day to be able to get another booster shot every single day. Your positive energy is coming through. I wish you the best in everything that you’re trying to achieve in your life. You’ve got a gift for us. Explain to us a little bit about the free Foundations Course.
My coach created this course called The Foundations Course. It’s deep diving into that mindset of folks of building the foundation mentally so that you can attack your business and your day to not allow those distractions. It’s such a great course. I learned a ton out of it. It probably took about four hours to go through it. There’s even a 2X speed if you wanted to go through it. It was so amazing for me to go through that course. I’d been working with my coach, Mike, The Makeover Master, for a long time prior to him releasing this. I learned so much just out of this one course. It’s an amazing course. It helps you get that right mindset and the importance of building those foundations mentally before you go attack your business, your personal life, networking or anything like that.
Mindset plus mechanics is where the magic happens, but it doesn’t say mechanics plus mindset. We start with the mindset first, and that helps us through the rest of the day. We’re in the midst of getting out COVID, the pandemic, a little back and forth that we’re all experiencing. We all need some positivity in our lives. What would you like to leave us with?
I’m a big fan of loving people where they’re at. It’s not my job to judge anybody. If the world will just take to loving people where they’re at, it doesn’t matter what their preference is, on a mask, no mask or vax or political preference. If we love people where they’re at, the world would be such a better place.
I have to remember that for my husband. Thank you so much. I’ve learned a lot. That’s awesome. Thank you again, Erik, for being with us. We appreciate it. I want to say to everyone, thank you so much for spending time with us and part of your day. If you’re brand new with us, welcome to the community. If you’ve been with us for a while, as always, I’m so grateful for your constant reading and feedback. I get feedback all the time. Continue the feedback and don’t forget to scroll down on your phone, give us a great five-star rating and write a review. It’s so important that we have reviews written all the time. Thank you so much. Go out and make it a blessed day. Thank you, Erik.
- Secret Knock
- Top Rated MMA
- The Erik Allen Show
- The Miracle Morning
- Hal Elrod – Previous episode
- The Miracle Equation
- The Foundations Course
About Erik Allen
Erik is truly a man of integrity, work ethic and an overcomer. Growing up with a complicated childhood and broken home, to raising himself from the age of 14. Unfortunately finding trouble along the way desperately trying to fill the gaping voids in his life. As a young man, Erik found himself empty and tired of settling for less. After the feverish pursuit of the Holy Spirit, Erik decided to surrender and trust the one that would never let him down.
Once Erik gave his life to Christ, his life completely turned around. He met a beautiful woman and a new chapter was written.
Now, Erik and his wife of 16+ years and their two children live in Northern Idaho and live a humble and blessed life. Together they are breaking the cycles handed down to them of addictions, depression, abuse, and lies. They are leaving a new legacy for their next generation built on a biblical foundation.
Along with being the sole provider for his family, Erik is an entrepreneur and avid MMA fan. Which he has created the best MMA podcast of the northwest. He believes in giving back and honoring those that have served our country. With his companies Top Rated MMA and The Erik Allen Show, he is able to do just that. By lifting others up and giving back to the community and veterans through great organizations like Hire Heroes USA.
Another one of the ways Erik is able to give back is by sharing his story and encouraging others, no matter what path they are on to find hope and purpose. Erik’s natural approachability and heart for people make him a great speaker for different events and podcasts. He knows that sometimes having the opportunity to meet someone and hear their story and how they’ve overcome is the courage someone might need to find new strength in their own battle.
Erik might have been dealt a rough hand, but with the help of his Heavenly Father and a humble heart, Erik is taking each day as it comes and making it count.
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