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EP 46 | Dan Allison on 18 Years of Public Speaking and Consultancy Success

05.19.21 | 0 Market Scale

As a response to the gap in referrals he saw financial advisors experience across the industry, Dan Allison created a powerful but easy-to-implement method that turns clients into advocates for their advisors. That was the origin of Feedback Marketing Group, through which Dan has been sharing his method and helping advisors gain more referrals while executing effective insurance planning over the last 18 years. As one of the foremost public speakers in the industry, Dan has worked with many prominent financial services firms, including TD Ameritrade and Northwestern Mutual. Today, Feedback Marketing is part of Model FA. In addition to the work he does with Model FA, Dan also serves as President and Managing Partner for Brokers Clearing House, an organization that supports clients in insurance and risk management planning.

Dan joins me today to share his background and experiences as a public speaker and to discuss how he began his career as a consultant for financial advisors. He describes what it’s like to be an introverted extrovert and highlights why public speakers need to do marketing for themselves. Dan also describes how he developed his affinity for grit, hard work, and entrepreneurship through the influence of his parents, who were entrepreneurs themselves, and explains what inspired him to start Feedback Marketing.

“If you can be a good public speaker, you’re a rare animal. It’s not an easy way to make a good living, but once you get credibility, you can be a business.” - Dan Allison

This week on The Model FA Podcast:

  • Dan’s background and how he learned entrepreneurship from his parents
  • Why Dan hesitated to sell his first company and what made him eventually decide to sell it 
  • What prompted Dan to create Feedback Marketing
  • How Dan was introduced to the financial services industry
  • The biggest corporate client Dan served through Feedback Marketing
  • Dan’s career as a speaker and the amount of talks he has done in a typical year
  • What it’s like to be an introverted extrovert
  • My first keynote gig and how Dan and I met each other
  • Missed opportunities in Dan’s public speaker career and three things every public speaker should do
  • Dan’s experiences with the impostor syndrome
  • How to deal with the impostor syndrome using a “praise folder”

Resources Mentioned:

Our Favorite Quotes:

  • “A lot of advisors focus on getting referrals, but there is more value in the feedback clients give you.” - David DeCelle
  • “Every time you give a speech to 500 people, your next speech is in that audience.” - Dan Allison
  • “The more you focus on the law of large numbers and averages, the more likely you are to get business.” - David DeCelle

Connect with Dan Allison:

 

About the Model FA Podcast

The Model FA podcast is a show for fiduciary financial advisors. In each episode, our host David DeCelle sits down with industry experts, strategic thinkers, and advisors to explore what it takes  to build a successful practice — and have an abundant life in the process. We believe in continuous learning, tactical advice, and strategies that work — no “gotchas” or BS. Join us to hear stories from successful financial advisors, get actionable ideas from experts, and re-discover your drive to build the practice of your dreams. 

Did you like this conversation? Then leave us a rating and a review in whatever podcast player you use. We would love your feedback, and your ratings help us reach more advisors with ideas for growing their practices, attracting great clients, and achieving a better quality of life. While you are there, feel free to share your ideas about future podcast guests or topics you’d love to see covered. 

Our Team:

President of Model FA, David DeCelle

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

Dan Allison  00:07

I've always found public speaking, what I think's interesting, is 98% of people are terrified of it. It's the number one fear, more than death, is public speaking; which is crazy to me. I get being scared of it; number one fear. So you think, 98% of people are scared to do it. Even if you look at the 2% that aren't scared, a lot of them suck at it. So if you can be good at public speaking, you're a rare animal.

 

David DeCelle  00:35

Welcome Model FAs. I am very excited for our guest today, who has been on a couple other podcasts, and he works with us as well. He has an insurance company also. So I'll go through his bio here in a second. But for those of you in the industry, specifically in the independent space, you've probably come across Dan Allison, in some way, shape, or form over the last 18 years as he's been speaking throughout the world, specifically on a comfortable approach to getting referrals. So I'll read the bio that Dan had submitted and sent to me, and then I'll give him his actual introduction. So the one that he submitted is, Dan Allison is a mentor to David DeCelle and silent leader of the free world. So Dan, welcome to the show.

 

Dan Allison  01:25

I guess I’m not silent anymore, man. The whole definition of being a silent leader is nobody knows.

 

David DeCelle  01:30

There you go. On a real note, Dan is a managing partner over at Brokers Clearing House, which is an insurance company that supports advisors and their clients’ needs specifically as it relates to insurance and risk management planning, making sure that a client's plan is properly insulated and protected against some unforeseen circumstances. He's also a managing partner here at Model FA, so good to have one of our own here on the podcast. And really today, what we're going to be focusing on is, I feel like a lot of the great conversations that I've had with Dan have been impromptu phone calls or over drinks in person and really getting a sense of his background and his story and his journey. So we’re going to do our best to try and capture that today and learn about where he started, through growing up all the way through his mental health company that he sold for quite a bit and then getting into the consulting space for advisors. And we're gonna have fun, we're gonna bust each other's chops along the way, and hopefully we keep this within you know, a four-hour episode.

 

Dan Allison  02:37

Thanks man. I just want to tell you the beard looks fantastic.

 

David DeCelle  02:40

Thanks. We were saying before we hit record, Dan always busts my chops because I get my hair cut every other week, and I'm going on my third week now, but ironically, my haircut is immediately after this podcast. So for those of you who are watching this on YouTube, you can see it. If you're listening to it, don't worry, it still looks good. Awesome. So I guess Dan, why don't we start off at the beginning. So where'd you grow up? What's your family life like: brothers, sisters, things like that? Bring us all the way back.

 

Dan Allison  03:13

Yeah, so I grew up in a small town called Norfolk, Nebraska. Population, probably 20,000 people. I've got an older brother, who's six years older, older sister, three years older. Mom and Dad. Neither one graduated high school. Mom ran away when she was 14. Dad got kicked out of Catholic school because he got a mohawk; wanted to impress my mom.

 

David DeCelle  03:36

Is that where your Mohawk comes from, Dan?

 

Dan Allison  03:37

Now it’s a faux hawk. You wouldn't get kicked out of school now. Now it's cool. So neither one of them graduated high school. Dad ended up, when he was 14, starting a rock and roll kind of country band. One night he was playing in a bar when he was 18 years old, and George Jones, who's like the grandfather of country music, heard him play and he happened to bring Johnny Cash that night who did a show in Omaha and my dad had the guts to ask Johnny Cash, could he get on stage and sing a song? And Johnny led him and Dad got five standing ovations in a row. He did five songs on Johnny's set and they ended up taking him out to Nashville, and he did the first ever tour with the Grand Ole Opry with Johnny Cash, George Jones, Buddy Holly. All those guys — so he was kind of an early country music legend.

 

David DeCelle  04:26

This is news to me. That's pretty cool.

 

Dan Allison  04:28

Yeah, yeah, unfortunately just passed away on Christmas Eve, and he left all his rock and roll memorabilia to me so I've got like two of Johnny Cash’s guitars. I've got all my dad's guitars from the 50s. I got a speaker that Buddy Holly kicked a hole in. Now it's all the artwork in my house.

 

David DeCelle  04:48

So did all the coolness stop there, or did your siblings get any?

 

Dan Allison  04:54

No, they wanted things like cars and everything. I'm like, shit, I'll take all the country stuff.

 

David DeCelle  04:58

Oh, no, I just meant like, cool as a person.

 

Dan Allison 

I got it all. I got all the swag.

 

David DeCelle  05:03

What did you do immediately after college?

 

Dan Allison  05:08

After college. Well during college, I started a mental health company.

 

David DeCelle

Oh, that was during college?

 

Dan Allison

Yeah, I started that when I was 22 years old. So I'll take you a little bit back there. So my mom and dad — dad retired from music, and when I was probably seven or eight years old, they bought a daycare center. And when I say daycare, it was like, 40 or 50 kids they grew to like 120. Then they opened another one. So these people who had no high school education, I watched them become entrepreneurs, put three kids through college, and we lived a really good life. But what I loved about mom and dad is the day I was old enough, which was 12, to go to work, they dropped me off at the Walmart parking lot at like 4:30 in the morning for the bus to come pick me up into Tassel. And ever since that day, I have never not worked full time somewhere. When I was 14, I could finally stock shelves at the grocery store. So when I came to college, I had work ethic that I think was pretty substantial. But this gives you an idea of what kind of parents, and I think it's all relative. When I look back on what made me so independent, and I guess fearless when it comes to taking risk and things like that. I graduated high school when I was 17. My mom and dad gave me a gift, and it was a card that said “Welcome to financial independence.” And then they gave me a one-way bus ticket to Seattle. My sister, who was three years older, ran off with a Navy man who was stationed outside of Seattle. So they gave me a one-way bus ticket and told me don't come home until you have your sister with you. I rode 38 hours on a bus, no cell phone back then —

 

David DeCelle

How old were you?

 

Dan Allison

I was 17. No cell phone back then; cell phones weren't invented yet at that point. It was like 1993, maybe 92. I rode 38 hours and found my sister and she said no, we're in love, I'm not going anywhere. So I went and got a job doing construction, lied about my age, and pretty much worked construction for a couple of months until they broke up. And then I drove her back just in time to go to college. So that's kind of parents I had.

 

David DeCelle  07:14

How did you find her with like, no…

 

Dan Allison  07:17

I had one of the old tool maps, like that people that drive around in campers used to have. I don't remember any of how I found her. I don't know; at 17, I'd never been out of Nebraska. I'd never been on an airplane, anything. And I had to drive her car back from Seattle to Nebraska. I don't know how I did that. But I got her back safe and sound and then went off to college. But by then, I'd been working since I was 12. I watched entrepreneurial parents, what it was like to be an entrepreneur and not have a boss. That always appealed to me. So, when I got to school, I thought I wanted to be a special ed teacher, and so I majored in special ed and psychology; and started working at night in group homes, where these kids with mental health issues would live, and just absolutely fell in love with that business model of taking care of these kids that couldn't live at home for whatever reason. Normally behavior, they were dangerous, they had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder. I just fell in love with the idea that you could shape their life, not just in the school system, but outside the school system.

 

David DeCelle  08:22

So what was the triggering moment that got you into the mental health field specifically with your business?

 

Dan Allison  08:30

When I got interviewed for that job, there was a CEO, and his name was Scott LeFever. It was a nonprofit, and they had like 30 or 40 employees at that time. And he said, where do you see yourself in five years. And I said, ideally, I see myself sitting in your chair with your title. Nobody ever said that to him. We became immediate, fast friends, and in that company, I worked my way up to become Chief of Operations underneath him. We grew the company from 30 or 40 staff, I think we ended up at about 150 employees, a lot of different locations. And what we realized is we were killing it, we were working so hard, making a big difference in the people's lives; and every month, we were running a very efficient business. So 100 grand would drop to the bottom line each month, but we couldn't take it. It was a nonprofit. So every year you just reinvest that money. We sat down one night; we had a business model that we thought was unique that we could bring to the marketplace. But he said, why don't we go at it for profit. There's nobody telling you, you can't make a big difference in people's lives and make money doing it. So we pitched the business model to the governor of Nebraska at that time, and after a long laborious process, they approved it. I think I was 22 at that time and we opened our first location for a company called Active Community Treatments, which was for profit, really providing housing and care for some of the most dangerous kids that there were. To give you an idea, David, in Nebraska, where we were, there were three very large state hospitals. So they would take these kids previously, and just throw them in the hospital, load them up with medicine and say, hey, we're treating those kids. So our goal was, what if we could take them out of a hospital setting into the community and keep the community safe, but give them a much better quality of life, and at the same time, save the taxpayers a lot of money. So fast forward five years, we had 70 locations, hundreds of employees. And we were successful in shutting down two or three of those hospitals, which is probably the biggest accomplishment I'll ever achieve.

David DeCelle  10:36

How many kids would you say you served over that five-year period?

 

Dan Allison  10:39

Oh, hundreds and hundreds. I mean, we had some facilities where they lived there, and they’ll live there their whole life. Then we had shelters for pregnant teens who just needed care for a short term period of time, and they would get adopted. So we had a revolving door in some of our facilities, and some were very long term.

 

David DeCelle  10:59

Cool. Now, I remember this conversation, I think was actually over drinks in Miami, at that roof deck pool at my buddy's place. So hopefully, I can get you to share it.

 

Dan Allison  11:10

This might mean I don't remember that conversation.

 

David DeCelle  11:13

That's why I'm saying hopefully, I can get you to share it now that you're sober. Of course, assuming that you're sober. Yeah, you're drinking water. So if I'm not mistaken, there was either many different times, or I think it was one particular person who had constantly come to you offering to buy the business, and you kept putting them off, kept putting them off, kept putting them off. And then there was something that happened that you then said, alright, I'm out, and you decided to sell. So my question is two part. One is, why did you not want to sell when you were given that opportunity at 27 years old? And then ultimately, what was the moment in time where you decided to sell?

 

Dan Allison  11:55

We had a valuable company; we didn't know how valuable. Like a lot of business owners, we were making really good money, growing like crazy, kind of a hockey stick type scenario. And we were approached for the first time about selling from a competitor. And when they talked about the value of the company, we were surprised to find we didn't appreciate the asset part of what we had. These were families and kids we cared about and all that kind of thing. So initially, it was like, nah, it's too early, we’re growing like crazy and we're pretty young. I was 25 I think the first time somebody offered and that scared me — the idea, okay, our rides over three years into it. But also you got to understand, David, that what we did for a living, these kids — schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe autism — 24 hours a day. Once we got up to 30 facilities and 40 facilities, they were 24 hours a day, and multiple staff per facility, and I would get paged. We had pagers back then. I don’t know if you know what they are, but they were little, you put them on your hip.

 

David DeCelle  12:55

Our contacts, everyone, for the Zoom call today, Dan wrote down the Zoom link and all the codes in his paper calendar, and then he had to type it in to be able to join.

 

Dan Allison  13:07

Original gangster, man, that's me. I'd get paged all the time. Two in the morning, three in the morning; hey, Jimmy lit facility on fire and a wing of it burnt down. We had three times I think, when we owned that place, you frequently had to restrain these kids because they became a danger to themselves and others. So we were trained with the same techniques the police were for how to restrain people, and we had three different kids at different times pass away while being restrained. You can imagine what happens after that. I mean, the media is all over it, the investigators. One specific Christmas, I was called home by the Chief of Police, because one of our kids died while being restrained. I showed up to my parking lot, and the media is everywhere. I’ve got to get in my conference room and meet with all of the extended family, aunts, uncles. It was a lot of stress for somebody who was so young; I had to grow up pretty quickly. So it became less and less fun. We had more serious incidents that would happen. And as the company got big, the feel-good part of it kind of went away because now I was dealing with litigation, I was dealing with 401(k) plans and business, instead of philanthropy almost. So we had one night that one of our former kids who lived with us actually went out and shot up a shopping mall. I think he killed nine people and injured like 16 people and then killed himself. There was no joy in it anymore. I kept seeing terrible things. So we finally structured a deal to sell it. We sold it to an amazing firm that has taken that company now, and they’re at least four or five times the size that we were. A lot of times you sell a company and then the people you sell it to kind of make it go backwards or don't deliver what you thought you did. And these guys have crushed it, so very happy, good decision that we did it.

 

David DeCelle  14:56

So you're making good money as you were running the business side, I’d imagine, but then I would guess that upon sale you got a nice pop, especially for a 27 year old. What was the first thing that you did when the wire hit the account?

 

Dan Allison  15:11

Dude, I'll tell you, it was actually funny. When the deal was going through, there's all the due diligence and all the months and months of work, and you can't believe it's gonna happen. You don't think at 27 there's a way you could be a multimillionaire, it's impossible. They're going to find something and the deal is going to be off. So I'll never forget, my lawyer called me; I did a guy's trip every year to Vegas, and I was on the guy's trip. And he called, and we were like, day two, and he said, hey, man, the ink is dry. The first wire is hitting your account. It was a very sizable first wire. And I was like, dude, don't call me. Wait till I get home! So my first big purchase — I always wanted a really expensive watch for some reason. I got a watch, and then I took the boys out for a night on the town that was epic. We had a really good night on the town. And then I was conservative after that, because I calculated how quickly money really can go away if you just live like that.

 

David DeCelle  16:08

Now, how much time passed between selling the company and then getting into the financial services industry? Was that a month? Was that two years? How much I guess, quote unquote, time off in between those two gigs did you have?

 

Dan Allison  16:24

About six months. I ended up investing really in a variety of companies. So I owned a mortgage banking company, I owned a real estate company, and then I owned a finance company. They all kind of happened in that six-month period of time that people approached me to say, look, we know you're looking to invest in something. For me more importantly, be part of something, not just invest money and [David- ‘Right.’] it as well. So probably six months later; I knew I had to go to work right away. It's not healthy for me to not be busy. I'm the kind of guy that would have been dead five years later, if you didn't give me anything to do.

 

David DeCelle  16:56

So at what point in time did you start your former consulting company feedback marketing?

 

Dan Allison  17:02

What I found was financial advisors, the ones that we worked with, when we talked about business development, like how do you get new clients and all that kind of thing; referrals were a big topic for them. They wanted to get more referrals. And I really became obsessed with how could I help them do that? If that's the biggest hurdle?

 

David DeCelle  17:18

But how are you? I guess even before that, how were you introduced to that industry? What was the initial conversation or the person who was like, hey, here's what I do and here's what I'm struggling with? What was the triggering moment?

 

Dan Allison  17:33

There were two guys that I actually, one I lived with in college, they owned it at the time. And I all through college was in a band, a cover band for like five years. The other guy was —

 

David DeCelle  17:43

Were you a singer?

 

Dan Allison  17:46

I was the lead singer. We were called the Murphy's.

 

David DeCelle  17:47

Do you have any records? Because you have not shared those with me.

 

Dan Allison  17:50

Yeah, I don't know that that's probably…

 

David DeCelle  17:52

Yeah, definitely. Okay, so if I can get my hands on this, we're gonna have one of Dan's songs, close out the show.

 

Dan Allison  17:59

Yeah, it's gonna be hard for you to find. The other dude with the drummer from that band, but both of them had become very successful financial advisors for Mutual of Omaha. And then they decided to go independent, and when they did, many people followed them. So they created this insurance wholesale operation for those guys to run their insurance through. And they came to me and said, look, you don't understand the industry, but if you did, you can be an asset. So they took me on as an investor, and really showed me the projections of if you can grow a company like this, what it could do. So I wrote a check, and I was partner, a third/a third/a third with them. If I knew then what I know now, it would have been golden, but I was clueless; I thought because I everything I touched just turned to gold. So I was pretty stupid about that with a few companies.

 

David DeCelle  18:45

So with feedback marketing, specifically, your Kano, which is a comfortable approach to getting referrals from clients. Tell me a little bit about the work that had to be put in to actually come up with that methodology. So from my understanding, you've interviewed a plethora of advisors, as well as their clients, via focus groups and things like that. So tell me a little bit more about that upfront work that was needed for you to arrive at what you've been speaking about now for 18 years.

 

Dan Allison  19:15

It was completely accidental, really. I was trying to go out and be helpful to the advisors who use that company that I bought. So I offered to pay their best clients to come into focus groups to try to teach me, how do these guys get more referrals out of you? How do they talk about it? What does it take service wise? What are you looking for? I was trying to study psychology of referring I guess, and so I’d interviewed a few 100 people at this point. So I put together just a presentation to teach our advisors, hey, when I'm talking to your clients, here's what I'm learning. Just so you can better understand their psychology. And one day a guy in the back of the room, I'll never forget he was wearing jeans and cowboy boots, his name was Pat Clarke. I believe you had Eric Clarke.

 

David DeCelle  19:59

He’s on the calendar coming up for our podcast.

 

Dan Allison  20:00

It’s his dad, who unfortunately passed away in an airplane accident. But he was the founder of what became CLS, Orion, everything. He always wore jeans and cowboy boots, and he came up to me and he said, hey, what do you charge to give a speech? And the real answer was, I don't have a clue. I've never charged anybody to give a speech. And I said, 1500 bucks. He laughed at me and he said, you’re hired. We put on this event downtown, and we bring in our 75 top producing advisors from around the country. I gave a speech to that group; I couldn't believe I made 1500 bucks for an hour of talking. Then somebody in that audience said, hey, what do you charge give a speech, and I was like, 2500 bucks. So at some point, a buddy of mine said, you've got to put a company around this. You can't just be a speaker with no company. And so, Feedback Marketing Group was created really to make us look like a real company back then, when people were just asking, what do you charge to give a speech? I didn't it would evolve into what it did.

 

David DeCelle  20:59

You mentioned to me before that your next gig is always sitting in your current gig. So just to go through a little bit of your resume or some of the clients and companies that you've served, and I know there’s been a number of them ranging from massive firms to individual practices and whatnot. But what are some of the most notable companies that you've done work with?

 

Dan Allison  21:26

Oh, man, that list is really long. I mean, I think the biggest corporate client that I've served is a firm called Dimensional Funds, DFA. I've been to almost every continent but Africa, I believe with them.

 

David DeCelle

Let's go!

 

Dan Allison

I'm trying to bro. I want to climb Kilimanjaro, that's where I'm trying to get. But I've done hundreds of events for them. I've done TD Ameritrade’s big events. Most of the broker dealers: LPL, Securities America. I've done most of the career companies: Mass Mutual, Guardian. I've done Million Dollar Round Table, Top of the Table, a lot of different firms. The beauty of that was in 18 years, I've never spent $1 marketing. I've never marketed ever, because like you said, every time you give a speech to 500 people, your next speech is in that audience. There's somebody who puts on events every year; there's a big carrier in the back of the room that's got a big checkbook that they do events every year. So it just kind of kept snowballing.

 

David DeCelle

What's the most amount of talks that you've done in the year? Roughly.

 

Dan Allison

I looked one year, it was about seven years ago I think, I flew 254 individual flights. In that year, I think I keynoted about 120 probably, 140.

 

David DeCelle  22:37

Dam, that must be tiring.

 

Dan Allison  22:38

It was exhausting. It was pretty much fly out early Monday morning and get back at midnight on Friday. City to city to city to city, so it was weird because I'd seen the world but I hadn't enjoyed any of it. Because I had no time in any city.

 

David DeCelle

Well, it's interesting. I remember us talking where we agreed that we’re similar in that I consider us like introverted extroverts. So people assume that when we're on stage, that we're extroverted, because we're speaking in front of a number of folks. But then let me know that a lot of times, when they have the dinners or the breakfasts or whatever and you're invited, you're like, nah, I just need to recharge in my hotel room.

 

Dan Allison  23:18

I cannot tell you how many times, number one, I'll make up excuses. But number two, when I made commitments, I would walk into the room and see 100 people socializing, and I'm not lying, every single time I turn back immediately and go back up to my hotel room. I don't know what it is about a group of people that all seem to know each other and me trying to figure out, how do I get into the group and start? I'm horrible at it. I'm fine if I'm with a group that knows me. I am atrocious at that stuff, but you put me on a stage, I love it. But I think a lot of entertainers are like that also. You hear about a lot of people that are fine on stage, but really awkward socially.

 

David DeCelle  23:59

I remember a couple key shout outs that were the folks who brought us together. So I went out and did a keynote, actually in Nebraska with my buddy Pete Neil. He's a wholesaler over at John Hancock, and so he brought me out there. And I remember it was like my first legit keynote that wasn't in front of five people. I think there was like 70 people or something like that, and they're all the top advisors in Nebraska. So I fly out. It was early on in my consulting career, once I left being an advisor; I was like, oh, I'm gonna get so many clients. So, I flew out there, it was actually free. I didn't charge anything. I actually paid a videographer. I think it was 2500 bucks or something like that to follow me around and capture the events and come up with some good content; did the talk and got really good feedback, but no direct business from that. So I was super bummed out. Then you fast forward to the end of the event and there was a guy in the crowd, Landon. Landon came up to me, and we had connected because we both had worked at the previous firm together, just in different locations. We were just kind of chatting and catching up and just connected really well. And we maintain that connection, on social media and some phone calls here and there. We kind of took a liking to one another to where we started having some coaching calls and whatnot; not really charging or anything like that, just trying to put some goodwill out there. And then he was like, do you know, Dan Allison? No, I don't know Dan Allison, because I was more so in that broker dealer space. And even though you've spoke to a lot of those companies, I'd say you're primarily in the independent space, right?

 

Dan Allison

Yeah.

 

David DeCelle

So I hadn't come across you. He’s like, dude, you got to meet him. So, he put us in an email or a text or whatever, and I vividly remember the conversation. Where I was, where I was walking in my house — I remember it. And I remember saying something to the effect of, one of the things that I'm really looking to get better at — because we we're talking about potentially working together and things like that — and I was like, well, maybe we could barter? Because you need help with your branding and your social media presence and content delivery and things like that. And I was like, maybe we could barter because I need to learn how to deliver a speech effectively. I remember you just laughing and you're like, I can't help you with that. I'm like, what are you talking about? I'm thinking, Landon's put you up on this pedestal of this speaker. I remember, leading up to that phone call, I was like, alright David, you have a legit person here. Don't mess this up. Come to find out like, you're totally normal like I am. So, why am I psyching myself out? I'm like, I need help with speaking. And you're like, I can't help you with that. I'm like, what are you talking about? You're like, dude, I go up on stage, I blackout, and I wake back up when everyone starts clapping. I have no idea how to teach someone else how to do that. And I'm like, shit, well. Well, what do I do now? So that's just a little story, for everyone listening, how Dan and I came together.

 

Dan Allison  27:14

I was saying to somebody yesterday, I could never write a how-to build a public speaking business. Because I didn't mean to. I never did Toastmasters, that idea terrified me. I've never been part of speakers’ bureaus really ever.

 

David DeCelle

Until recently.

 

Dan Allison

Yeah, recently worked with a couple. I've always found public speaking, what I think's interesting, is 98% of people are terrified of it, right? It's the number one fear, more than death, is public speaking; which is crazy to me. I get being scared of it; number one fear. So you think, 98% of people are scared to do it. Even if you look at the 2% that aren't scared, a lot of them suck at it. So if you can be good at public speaking, you're a rare animal. And if you think about every single day, well before the pandemic type stuff, how many thousands of conventions are occurring everywhere in the world? Those event planners got to do a day, two days, three days of good speakers. It's not an easy way to make a living, because you got to get traction and things like that. But once you get that credibility, and people say, dude, this guy will never let you down. When you hire him, he shows up, he crushes — you can be as busy as you want to be. And you can charge a lot of money, assuming you're delivering things that are valuable to the audience, obviously.

 

David DeCelle  28:28

What do you think, looking back over the that 18 year period since you've started speaking, what do you think was your biggest missed opportunity over that time period?

 

Dan Allison  28:41

I think there are two, 100%, I would tell you. Number one is I said that I was able to build it and I never did any marketing. I should have been marketing at the same time, because I think I could have ramped my fees up more quickly. I think I could have been more choosy about the events that I spoke at. Because early on, it's a grind. I mean, you're flying all over to these weird places, and they're not five star hotels, and the audience is probably not who you always would want to speak to. But hey, it's a speaking gig. You get your name out there. So had I done marketing, that would be definitely one. Actually, there's three. Number two is, you think about 18 years, I've spoken in front of hundreds of thousands of people, and every time the host would send you a contact list of everybody in the audience. And I deleted them every single time, because what the hell am I going to do with everybody's phone number and email? I'm going to call these people? Why would I do that? So literally zero database. And the third thing which probably has to do with the second thing is I really never had something to sell. I only did keynote speaking, or if you had enough money to hire me to come personally coach you, I would do that. But there was no product really that for 99 bucks a month or 50 bucks a month... I could have made millions if I would have understood how to build a good product because I already had the stage. I had the audience. I'll never forget, it was funny, MDRT hired me to speak and it's like 13,000 or 15,000 people. And these are the top 1% in the world at what they do. So when I showed up, I think the first time it was in Vancouver, and they're like, okay, we'll walk you down to the power center and show you where your table is. We got you a great booth and table. I’m like, what's that for? They're like, well, you can put all your stuff out and sell it, because these people buy. If you're on stage, they'll come buy all your stuff. And I'm like, don’t got any stuff, and there's this big empty table that I stood at, if people wanted to meet me. It was the most awkward thing on Earth.

 

David DeCelle  30:34

Do you want me to sign your suit?

 

Dan Allison  30:37

They had books set up and CDs and all that kind of crap. And I had nothing. So that was a huge missed opportunity.

 

Patrick Brewer  30:42

Hey Model FAs. I know you're enjoying this conversation, but I wanted to take a quick break to talk to you about the Model FA Accelerator. This is a unique collaboration between us and you, where we help you build a financial advising practice that you can be proud of. We focus on the foundational concepts around how to pick a niche or a specialization, how to price your services, how to construct an offer that people are going to buy, and then how to market it and sell it in a way that'll get people to sign on the dotted line and become clients of your firm; all while giving you the information to scale, and set up workflows and operational processes that will allow you to reclaim your time and build a practice that doesn't run you. So if you'd like to hear more about that, go to www.ModelFA.com/accelerator or www.ModelFA.com. Hover over Work With Us and click on Accelerator. Hope to see in the program.

 

David DeCelle  31:32

Now, what was it? Were you making enough money to where you didn't find the need to do that? Was it just a total oversight? Lack of skill set? What was it that do you think caused that missed opportunity?

 

Dan Allison  31:47

I think there's a couple of things. Lack of skill set, yes. As you know, I'm one of the least tech savvy type people on the planet. So skill set, but also, I've had my whole life — which kind of like you said, when you speak on stage, people assume you're super extroverted and very, you're really confident. But I've actually struggled my entire life with really horrible insecurity, to the point where, still to this day, when I give a speech and it's three hours long, I get horrible anxiety thinking, what the hell am I going to talk about for three hours, even though I've done it 1000s of times, I still don't believe that I can fill three hours. And then I think if I do film three hours, there can't be value there. And then at the end, when people were like, dude, I've been in the industry 28 years, and that was the best I've ever heard, or three hours flew by like it was 20 minutes — immediately in my head, my thought is really, are they being facetious with me? It's weird. So that horrible insecurity led me to lack in the content creation area. I should have had nine different speeches and the confidence to deliver them; I should have had products everywhere. But I think I lacked that self-confidence to believe people want to hear what I have to say, which was stupid, because I was getting hired constantly because people wanted to pay to hear what I had to say. But it was probably that.

 

David DeCelle

Kind of a different take on maybe like imposter syndrome almost? One thing, I don't know if you do this, I actually just recently started doing this, a friend of mine had suggested it. Basically, it's like a praise folder. I have a section on my phone to where photos that I take or screenshots I take or whatever, I can put them in a particular folder. And similar to you, I remember a friend of mine when I first started in consulting a few years ago, and I was working with some pretty affluent people, advisors who are making a million or two a year. I was just at the time 27-year-old kid that was only in the industry as an advisor for seven years and made great money and did well but not the seven-figure range. And he's like, hey, no offense, but what value can you add to someone who's more successful than you? And it was like, oh, leave me alone. Because I never really thought about that. But what I had done was like with some of those folks, unintentionally, I started off by just basically saying, for lack of a better way to put it for this podcast, hey, give me a chance, and wasn't charging them. And then started to hear a lot of really good feedback, and it really felt good in the moment. Since that started, I get really good feedback all the time, but it wasn't until recently that I started capturing that feedback. So a lot of times that feedback would come in the form of a Zoom call like this towards the end of a coaching session, or via text or email or things like that. So a suggestion from a friend that maybe it would be helpful for you too is just, when those come in, screenshot them immediately, and then go and toss them in your praise folder. Then anytime, at least what I've been doing, anytime I feel down or have that sense of imposter syndrome creep in, I just scroll through my praise folder and look at all the nice stuff that people have said and it just immediately rebuilds my confidence and my self-worth, as opposed to just sitting there moping around or questioning if what I'm doing is valuable. I just go and read what other people have said. But it's just easy to find in that way. So maybe something that could be helpful.

 

Dan Allison  35:10

That's a good idea. I was looking through old marketing content. And it was funny in marketing, just being like, well, you got to have a brochure, you got to have a website, right? I looked, back then it was probably 15 years ago that I started, there's probably 100 testimonials already from people that had heard me speak and I read them all. I was like, oh, my god, that was back then. But the imposter syndrome is something I struggle with in every industry I've been in, which is this overwhelming feeling that what if everybody finds out that I don't know what the hell I'm doing? You know what I mean? And I think that's probably healthy. Because I think there's a fine line between, a little bit of confidence, and then the cockiness and arrogance, that's what I do. I get so uncomfortable when people say, welcome to the stage, internationally known speaker and all that just makes me feel very weird when I hear that kind of stuff. And that's probably what I need to do is get that going.

 

David DeCelle  36:07

Imagine if their intro was, hey, we weren’t able to find anyone else so we found this guy, Dan.

 

Dan Allison 36:11

We went with who was available.

 

David DeCelle  36:13

Dan always says yes when we reach out to him because he’s got nothing else to do.

 

Dan Allison  36:18

That's great.

 

David DeCelle  36:19

So you've spoken a lot. You've been on stage a lot. And I'm sure that your audience size has ranged over that 18-year period from tens to thousands. Actually, what was your biggest audience size?

 

Dan Allison  36:35

I think it was MDRT? Probably 13,000?

 

David DeCelle  36:38

Cool. I definitely blackout if I was on stage in front of 13,000.

 

Dan Allison  36:45

Those are weird, because the lights are so overwhelming, you can't see anybody.

 

David DeCelle  36:50

Interesting. So you have, as you put it over the years, hundreds of thousands of people that you've had the opportunity to have an impact on or at least hopefully have an impact on. What's your biggest frustration of audience members as a speaker over the last 18 years?

 

Dan Allison  37:07

In the sense that whether they implement the content, or literally while you're on stage observing them?

 

David DeCelle  37:14

I guess, both because I want to know the second one.

 

Dan Allison  37:16

I'll never forget, I had an audience of like, maybe 1000 people. And there was this dude up front, you could tell it was a father and a son, and the son was like, 26 years old. They're in the front row; it was a big conference. I spoke for like, 90 minutes, and the entire time this kid was looking at me. Do you remember fidget spinners? Like a propeller that you spin… he did it the entire time. It's like, dude, drop the freakin’ fidget spinner.

 

David DeCelle  37:45

You should have just put an Adderall in his mouth.

 

Dan Allison  37:51

I wanted to go knock that thing out of his hands and tell his dad, you should be ashamed of this kid. Anyway. But in general, when somebody is up speaking, just the lack of respect, I think with people texting and all that kind of thing. Why would you fly in? Now I know, a lot of people could say, well, it's on you to keep their attention. I think I'm keeping a lot of people's attention. But they are just so addicted to those devices, that they just can't help it, and they'll hide it under the table. It's like, dude, I know what you're doing. I can see what you’re doing.

 

David DeCelle  38:22

And I feel like people will attend conferences too, a lot of people, just to feel like they're doing something.

 

Dan Allison  38:29

Completely. They it's like, why would you pay to fly here and be here for three days, and not absorb it all, and not just absorb it all. Which goes to my second frustration is how many people intend to go implement good ideas, but then a day later, they check their voicemail, their email, they go right back to their habits. So it's like, I flew myself, spent thousands of dollars to go to a weight loss thing, and they told me exactly what to go do. They even gave me the plan and the bit, and then I went home and didn't lose any weight. It's like why? There's just a lot of people that just aren't motivated enough to make modest change to get the end result. And that's frustrating.

 

David DeCelle  39:07

Yeah. And even with some of our clients, because, obviously, over the last year or so we've integrated your stuff into our digital program, and people will go through it and talk about like how amazing it is. Then they'll either — I don't think it's hard to do an interactive client survey a week when you have over 100 clients. I just don't get it. Yeah, it's crazy. So I find myself getting frustrated too, because either they won't implement it at a level to then actually get results. They'll do like three of them and they're like, man, I didn't get referrals yet. First of all, you may not get referrals immediately. But the constant reminder of your other services, and the constant reminder that you're growing, you will get referrals. And if you focus on the law of large numbers and averages, the more you do, the more likely you are to get more business. Not for nothing, but I feel like a lot of people view it as a way to get referrals, but there's almost even more value in the feedback that they give you. And then circling back around and saying, hey, thanks so much for [insert constructive criticism here]. I spoke with my team and we're actually in the midst of improving that. And I quite frankly think that was a blind spot of ours, and if it wasn't for you saying something, other people probably would have felt the same way and may not have brought it up. So for that, I'm thankful and on behalf of the other clients we serve, thank you as well. Talk about turning them into a gold mine, or a raving fan, whatever you want to call them. And the other thing that's frustrating too, is people will take bits and pieces of the process that they like, and do it differently. And, yes, of course, I think you should be shifting the language in such a way to where it sounds like you, as opposed to sounding robotic, but when they're taking a piece here and a piece here; and just a lot of people will just have it as an oh, by the way, at the end of an existing meeting. It’s like, you’re not gonna get any quality responses because they're already burnt out from the first 60 minutes of financial planning, and then you're making it seem like it's not that big of a deal. So why do you think you're not getting results?

 

Dan Allison  41:16

I get people all the time, I'll be at a conference and a guy will say, hey, I heard you two years ago, and I took your stuff and I implemented it. And man, it works! I'm like, really? Oh, God, thank God, I know works, I’ve been working on this crap for 18 years. But I also get the guys that come up and say, hey, I heard you speak at a thing. I went back and I've tried it a few times and it backfired. And I'll say, tell me more about that. And they say, well, when I talked about referrals, the client was like, oh, that's what this is about. And I said, okay, well, let me hear you right now and say exactly what you said to that client. And they butcher my language. That’s not even close to what I told you to say. Go back and read this stuff, spend some time with it, make it your own; but don't lose the intent of what I spent 18 years learning exactly what you need to go do. Just go do it. It’s amazing to me, it always will be. That’s the number one frustrating thing, how many people will pay you to not go implement what they teach you to do.

 

David DeCelle  42:11

So interesting. So as I've been asking all of our other guests, Dan, because I find advisors, for this topic anyways, they fit one of three categories as it relates to continuous learning in the industry. I want to promote reading and learning, and I feel like they fit one of three categories, primarily two. One is they're either complacent; and I believe in the saying, you're either green and growing or ripe and rotting. So if you think you've got it all figured out, I think you're just going to go backwards over time, or not live up to your potential, which I think is the saddest things. Two, if they are learning, they tend to learn within the confines of our industry, which I think is important, of course, but I think there's so many other good nuggets outside of our industry if people are continuous learners. So the third category of people who are actually doing that, but I think it's a small percentage, and hopefully of those who are listening, hopefully, that's not you. And then there's also a fourth category of people who will go out and learn but not actually do anything. And the fifth category will be the ones that actually do something with it. So your favorite book that you submitted, and if you're watching this episode instead of just listening to it, I'm a big smile across my face, because it's not a real book. But Dan and I have had a lot of laughs over this. So Dan's favorite book, apparently, is written by me, which is not written by me and it's not even in existence. Not yet. How to Be an Alpha Beast 10X.

 

Dan Allison  43:40

That definitely sounds like a book title that should be out there!

 

David DeCelle  43:43

It definitely should, but I'm curious, for the audience, why is that a title that you want to be in existence one day?

 

Dan Allison  43:51

Well, because I know you read a lot of books on alpha male. I think Grant Cardone is one of the most prominent alpha male dudes out there, and he 10Xs everything. I think it's perfect. It's a combination of what Dave DeCelle someday wants to be: an Alpha Male. And what Grant Cardone already is.

 

David DeCelle  44:09

On a real note, what would you say is the most impactful book that you've read, either recently or ever?

 

Dan Allison  44:17

I've got a few that I think are really impactful. Simon Sinek’s Start with Why; people who have not read that, absolutely read that. I love The E Myth, which if you haven't read the The E Myth, it is about the myth of entrepreneurialism. Because a lot of people… it talks about that there are three categories of people. There are technicians, managers, and entrepreneurs. Technicians, he gives the example, they may be great at assembling the apple pie. But then they think, well, I'm just going to start my own apple pie store; then they fail. And it's because entrepreneurialism is, to be an entrepreneur, that's totally different skill set. They reference that 90% of what it takes to be a great entrepreneur is consistent across industries, the other 10% is product knowledge. So people look at, I owned a mental health company that we built into a multimillion-dollar company, and that was awesome. Then I bought an insurance company, and we've grown 450% in the last three years; and I don't have an insurance license, I don't know anything about the product. How is that possible? It's the same skill set. So that book was really helpful for me in identifying where are my strengths and to get out of any kind of technician behavior, because that's where I lose interest in everything is the detail and all that stuff. So I love that one. And then I love a book called Power of Simplicity. I think the finance industry is a very complicated industry, but the consumer of the industry typically understands that it at like a sixth-grade level. So you've got to learn to simplify all these complex things. So that whole book is about that. How do you keep things simple, and maintain your level of professionalism and intelligence, so people know that you know what you're doing, but you communicate and convey in a way that's understood by other people? Those three have been really good books for me.

 

David DeCelle  46:05

Awesome. I haven't come across The E Myth. So I just want on Audible and scooped that so I’ll let you know how it is.

 

Dan Allison

I love that you do that.

 

David DeCelle

Just immediately. But that's the thing. I can't talk about what I just said about people learning stuff, and then not implementing it. I just learned of a new resource so get it right away.

 

Dan Allison  46:25

You go through more books than any human I've ever seen.

 

David DeCelle  46:29

I never read books. In high school and college, I would just find a cute girl that thought I was cute, that could summarize it for me. And I'd be the first one to raise my hand to share my thought about the book so I was free for the rest of the class. Last year, I listened to 170 books, and this year I have a goal of 200 of them. So far, I'm at 31 plus 8, so 39 plus 3… I’m a 42 books so far this year.

 

Dan Allison  46:54

That's awesome. You're gonna end up hitting the bottom of the barrel where you're doing like children's books.

 

David DeCelle  46:59

Well, one of our guests earlier today, which is ironic, just based on the craziness that's going on right now, but he said his favorite book was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Awesome. Well, Dan, for anyone who wants to connect with you, what are the best ways to do so? Is it social? Is it email? What are good places for them to interact with you?

 

Dan Allison  47:24

Yeah, whether it's social like Instagram, LinkedIn, all that stuff. It's just always @DanielCraig is my handle for anything. Email is [email protected] is a good place. And then checking out Model FA, if they haven't already; there's a lot of good content on there of ours. Different videos and resources — I’d checked that out.

 

David DeCelle  47:46

Awesome. Well, for those of you who are listening, really appreciate your time, up to this point, and we will be heading into the after-hours here in a second. But as always, two quick asks that we have for every episode. Number one is that I think there are a lot of really good nuggets throughout this entire episode. I also think for those of you who know Dan, you got to see, or got to hear I should say, a side of his journey that you probably didn't have the opportunity to get to learn yet, because usually he's on stage and then on to the next one. So if you know anyone else who has had Dan come and speak and do some workshops and things like that, feel free to share this episode with them so they can get to know him on a deeper level; and share with anyone else that you'd like where you think they would find it to be helpful as well. The second ask that we have is one thing that would be super helpful for us is, the more reviews that we get, the more visibility that we'll get as well. And therefore the more impact that will have on the advisor community. So if you go ahead and write us a review, and simply screenshot that and shoot me a text at 978-228-2338, again, it's 978-228-2338, you'll get an automated reply right away. That will then give you a link for you to just fill out your first and last name, that way it saves into my phone automatically. Then if you send that screenshot of the review, as well as just the name Dan Allison, so I know which episode you're referencing, you'll go into a drawing to be able to get access to the accelerator program that we offer, which is the digital component of our coaching arrangements. So as a thank you, you'll have a chance to get access to that, and we appreciate that in advance for sharing and writing reviews. So thank you. If you want to get in touch with me, Instagram is probably the platform that I'm most active on and we get to know each other a little bit more than just our LinkedIn versus Instagram lives. And maybe one day we'll be Snapchat friends as well, but that's for my inner circle. But just simply google David DeCelle, D-E-C-E-L-L-E, and all my social links and everything will be on that first page. So pretty easy to find. But Dan, we’re gonna head into the after-hours, but for now, thanks for joining. Awesome.

 

 

After Hours

 

David DeCelle

That was cool. I never knew about like the Johnny Cash and your dad's story; that was pretty wild.

 

Dan Allison  50:23

Yeah, it was cool. So that night he approached him in Omaha where my dad did a lot of shows. And Johnny, he bugged him enough that he let him on for that one song. And my dad as a singer is absolutely incredible. Fantastic. And then he got standing ovation, and Johnny was on side of the stage and kind of went like, no, keep going. And five later, finally, Johnny yanked him, but then Johnny and his wife took my dad out that night for steak and wine, and talked about the music scene that was going on out in Nashville. Then next thing you knew, my dad was out there recording his first album and stuff like that. Yeah, it was cool, man. Like all the memorabilia I got is sick, like so much stuff. I've got a bag with probably 100 cassette tapes, that are demos that his writer had sent to him from other writers for him to record and but they're all ones he turned down. And like the second one I played was a number one hit for Conway Twitty. So it's like, I'm gonna find all these big songs that my dad was dumb enough to turn down.

 

David DeCelle  51:26

I remember that video you sent me of your spot in Nebraska, it ties into the industrial theme that you have going on there with all the memorabilia is pretty cool.

 

Dan Allison  51:37

Yeah, you can see if you saw that video, the big gray speaker. That hole is the one that Buddy Holly kicked in the speaker. There's a lot of stories he gave me to each piece in there.

 

David DeCelle  51:49

That’s pretty cool. So I got a handful of questions for you. I was nice on these questions, Dan, just so you know, I could have been a —

 

Dan Allison  51:58

You’re not nice when we’re not on camera. So that's good. This will make up for it.

 

David DeCelle  52:00

I know, we got to put on a little bit of a facade. But once the recording is done, I'll bust your chops again. So first question, if you were to hold a world record, or maybe you do, I don't even know. But if you were to hold the world record, what would it likely be for?

 

Dan Allison  52:16

Oh, my God. Like legitimately, what would it be for?

 

David DeCelle  52:20

Or what you would want it to be for? I don't care how you answer it.

 

Dan Allison  52:23

I would say I'd want to be proven, like academically, like member of Mensa level, I'd like to have the highest IQ ever recorded in the world. Because the utility of that skill set I think would apply to a lot of stuff.

 

David DeCelle  52:37

Well don’t get your hopes up, Dan. That was a layup, c’mon.

 

Dan Allison  52:42

I thought we were pretending. Isn’t that what we were doing? You're a hell of a coach. Way to motivate, dude.

 

David DeCelle  52:51

Not motivating, but I lead you in a particular direction that I could slam dunk.

 

Dan Allison  52:55

This is why I didn't hire you back a second year. Here’s what I want to accomplish — yeah, that’s not gonna happen, Dan.

 

David DeCelle  53:02

Yeah, that's why you decided to just hang out with us more instead. If you could go back to school for one year, which grade would you choose?

 

Dan Allison  53:14

Including college, I would choose, 100%, my junior year, without a doubt.

 

David DeCelle  53:19

Isn’t college awesome?

 

Dan Allison

Dude, I took one of the big boxes that my mom and dad had saved, that I didn't have, with all my pictures from my fraternity in college. Which was also the time that I was my third year being in that rock band, and we were starting to be really popular and we were playing three nights a week at all the big clubs. It was the funnest time I've ever had.

 

David DeCelle

In high school I had like a three six GPA or whatever; pretty much a straight A student with the occasional B. In college, I graduated with a two seven. It was just basically like a really expensive daycare for four years.

 

Dan Allison  53:55

Funny quick story from college. So I was all through high school straight A's. I was one of those kids that just retain things. Never had to study, went to college got straight A's, but mainly because my degree was education and basic psychology. So not like it was theoretical science or something like that. Except one teacher gave me a D on a final and it was my senior year, I was so pissed off, and in philosophy class. And the instructor — we studied all kinds of different stuff that we had to write papers on. And for the final you had to write a 10-page paper on any topic that you wanted to write a paper on. So my paper who was on how hypocritical it is to grade a philosophy paper. And so I went down the rabbit hole of you've got a PhD, which is literally a doctorate in opinion, and why should your opinion qualify you to grade my opinion, and he gave me a D. I wasn't very nice in the paper about his profession, and so it probably hurt his feelings, but I got it overturned by the Dean of the College.

 

David DeCelle  54:58

There you go. I have a little bit of an Opposite story where the teacher hooked it up. I went to Bryant University in Rhode Island, which is a business school. And I went there for finance and minored in psychology, actually. And we were required to take certain classes. So, I had to take a geology class, I'm like, why the hell do I have to take, like, I don't care about the rocks, right? And the teacher knew that no one cared about the rocks. So on the first day of class, he's like, hey, guys, here's a syllabus, here are your assignments, here's what days the tests are on, and all of the notes are posted online. If you want to come to class, you're more than welcome to. And if you don't want to come to class, that's totally fine. So that was the last class that I went to, up until I had to sit down for the tests and turn in the paper or whatever. I think I went to like five or six total classes all semester, and there's a picture of me, I’ve got to find it and send it to you, where I got my sunglasses on, I'm on the phone outside of Chili's of all places. So I stepped outside to take the call. One of my friends was like, hey, are you not taking the geology final? I'm like, what are you talking about? It's tomorrow. And they're like, no, we just left it was today. And I'm like, oh, shit. So mind you, the teacher barely knows me because I never went to class. So I, hit him up and I was just honest; I was like, dude, I totally forgot about this. What can we do about this? He was like, oh, just come and take it tomorrow. And I was like, okay, cool. Mind you, I didn't study at all cuz I never went to class, and it was my second semester of senior year. And so I failed the final, and he ended up giving me a C on the final even though I failed. That way I wouldn't fail the class and still graduated. Oh, man, again, it was like all my finance classes I did great. In my psychology class, I did great. And then all the required ones that had nothing to do with what I was going to be doing moving forward, I was like, I don't want to do this.

 

Dan Allison  56:54

That's a guy who understands reality. Nobody cares about this.

 

David DeCelle  56:59

Try selling that sense of reality to my parents. And they're like, how come you got the grade like this? And like, because it doesn't matter. And they're like, you’re in school.

 

Dan Allison  57:06

We had required the history of American jazz.

 

David DeCelle  57:13

So thinking about your entire speaking career so far, because you have many years to go with the trio that we have lined up with you, Pat, and myself, I'm really excited to travel all across the world with you guys. What's the most embarrassing moment in your speaking career?

 

Dan Allison  57:31

Unequivocally, there's one moment that absolutely made me want to quit entirely. I was speaking at AIG conference, there's maybe 800 people in the audience, one of my first big events that I did so the stage was huge. It was set up in this weird way where it's a big stage, but then there was like a catwalk where you can walk out, kind of be in the audience type of thing. It was a big conference so the first audience member was probably 15 feet from the stage. So I'm speaking and this and that, I'm looking at this catwalk; I'm a little bit nervous, because my legs get shaky, and I decided, you know, screw it, I'm gonna go walk this catwalk. It’s kind of cool. And as I walk, I had to look back to reference my PowerPoint, and I stepped off the stage. It was probably, maybe seven feet in the air, and I fell completely on my knees first, and then on my chest. I had a lavalier mic, so my chest slammed into the ground. All the speakers went boom! And the audience collectively all at once, went *gasp*. I will never forget, dude, there's certain things you'll never forget. I will never forget lying face down on that floor.

 

David DeCelle  58:47

Did you get a round of applause when you got back up?

 

Dan Allison  58:50

I was thinking, if I lay here long enough, maybe this isn't real. It'll all go away. I just stood up and I was beat red. And I said, and that's why everybody's scared of public speaking. They clap for me because they felt bad for me, but it was so freaking embarrassing.

 

David DeCelle  59:09

I love that. That's speaking. What about in general?

 

Dan Allison  59:13

The most embarrassing moment of my life?

 

David DeCelle  59:16

Yeah. You're filtering through a bunch, I know, but pick one.

 

Dan Allison  59:21

Oh, God. Actually, I handle being embarrassed pretty well. I can tell you I had an embarrassing moment a week ago. I was doing a Zoom training for a pretty large group of people, and on the top I had a button up because they're a pretty stuffy bunch. They’re all wearing sport coats and shit.

 

David DeCelle  59:39

If you're listening to this right now, Dan and I both have Lululemon shirts on right now.

 

Dan Allison  59:43

If you remember like the first four video calls we ever did, we were wearing the same outfit.

 

David DeCelle  59:50

Yeah. That's when you decided to hire me. You're like all right.

 

Dan Allison  59:53

The guy’s got great style. Or we both have shitty style, I don't know. So anyways, I put a tie on for the first time in quite a long time, and I decided mid-deal they were kind of interacting with each other so I wasn't going to talk for a couple of minutes. I want to go get some water so I muted the video, stood up, went out my kitchen, came back and when I looked I was like, why am I on the camera? I muted the audio and not the camera and I was wearing boxers. So I had a shirt and tie on the top and boxers on the bottom. That was pretty hard to come back from.

 

David DeCelle  1:00:29

I love that. Not even shorts, just boxers.

 

Dan Allison  1:00:33

Boxer briefs. It was humiliating.

 

David DeCelle  1:00:35

Well, it could have been worse; at least it wasn't whitey tighties. Imagine they're like, oh yeah, Dan’s so cool. And then you get up —

 

Dan Allison  1:00:48

That was so embarrassing. You can tell most of the group didn't want to acknowledge they saw it, but then the one jackass had to say something. Love the pants! They look great with that shirt.

 

David DeCelle  1:01:00

Two more questions. One, I'm putting you on the spot here. What's something that you've never told anyone?

 

Dan Allison  1:01:08

Something that I never told anyone? That when I was in student council in grade school, we did candy sales every Tuesday night where they would give us giant boxes of snicker bars and like cinnamon bears, and all that stuff.

 

David DeCelle  1:01:23

Cinnamon bears? Is that like a boomer snack?

 

Dan Allison  1:01:27

Oh my god, yes. They’re amazing. We would sell them, and at that age, I was a little bit advanced in kind of logic and things; and I realized that they had no way of tracking the actual sales. So I would stuff my bag, and I would steal. We would sell them for like a quarter, I would steal a bunch and then I would sell them for like 75 cents to kids the next day at school. I had a whole like enterprise going.

 

David DeCelle  1:01:51

The black market candy bar.

 

Dan Allison  1:01:52

I did get caught by the principle, but I've never told anybody that story because it makes me out to be a thief, which I definitely was.

 

David DeCelle  1:02:01

That's awesome. So finally, you've had a lot of success in your life. I'm sure just like any other human, there's been some turmoil at various points in your life. As we sit here today, and this is a genuine question from me to you, and we happen to have 10,000 people also listening to this. But this is an intimate moment. Are you happy?

 

Dan Allison  1:02:22

No.

 

David DeCelle  1:02:24

Tell me more.

 

Dan Allison  1:02:26

I'll tell you why. It's probably a longer explanation. But for a long time, when you hit the level of success I did early and now, not like these young like tech studs that become billionaires. But for a blue-collar kid that worked his ass off to achieve what I did at 27, I had a lot of failure after that — things that didn't work as well as I'd want them to monetarily and things like that. And I feel at 45, I've got successful businesses, I'm making a really good living, and I have assets. So on the surface, people might look at me and say, that guy's got it figured it out, he's got a lot of money, and he can afford whatever you want. I realized that once I bought all the stuff, I mean, there was a point that I had a couple of Maseratis, a Range Rover, a couple million-dollar house — which in Nebraska, that's huge. When I realized that stuff didn't make me happy, in fact, it started to make me depressed, I got really terrified. Like, what the hell am I trying to accomplish? What am I working for? And I feel like that caused currently, and it's probably a year or two, where I don't think I'm utilizing my talents to the highest and best use of my talent. I've allowed complacency. When you can be complacent, but still look and your money keeps growing. It's like I'm trying to find that next thing that I can't sleep about. You know what I mean? When I built my mental health company, I would work 18-hour days, not to brag that I'm killing it working, but because I couldn't not do it. I loved it. So I'm trying to find what is that thing? So that makes me struggle to be what I would say is happy.

 

David DeCelle  1:04:06

Are you trying to find something that you can tie happiness to in the form of particular results? And the reason why I ask is because similar to what you just said, there was a period of my life like seven years when I was advisor where on the surface I was happy but I'd be happy for a second when I hit my goal. And then I’d feel empty, and I feel like over the last few years what I've done really well at is, number one focusing on myself first and foremost. That’s why I get up so early and eat healthy and workout and listen to books and just secure my mask before helping others; but then like genuinely just being in love with the day-to-day process of building something special. So do you think that you're too focused on the result than the process? Or do you feel like you don't have a process to be excited about right now?

 

Dan Allison  1:05:00

I think there's two things. Number one, I feel like I have a couple of things I'm really excited about. What we're doing together, I'm very excited about and I can see the potential there. I can see what's going to happen. I can see the marketplace we're going to serve.

 

David DeCelle  1:05:13

It’s also tough because a lot of it, the top end of the funnel so to speak is speaking and there's no conferences going on right now until probably the fall so there's a little bit of like a bull scrape in there. You know, hoof — bulls have hooves, right? Or is that horse? It sounds good.

 

Dan Allison  1:05:31

Is that a Nebraska joke? I don't know, I didn't grow up —

 

David DeCelle  1:05:33

No, I'm saying a bull’s just like waiting to go but can't go yet. You know, I see that. But I cut you off, keep going.

 

Dan Allison  1:05:40

That’s been really tough for me, by the way also. I laughed a few months ago, but then I told my business partner a couple days ago, I think there is some depression short-term happening with me that you can't go from flying 100 and plus times every single year, for 15 years to [halting sound]. And also the audiences you get to entertain and that feeling and the love you get back from them and the positive praise. If that goes away for a long period of time, that can take a big toll on you. But on a bigger scale, the happiness is kind of like I learned that no matter what we do in the public speaking world or consulting world or Brokers Clearing House. We build it and we sell it for $100 million. That money's not going to represent happiness to me anymore. But then what I started to do is volunteer time, and started to mentor a couple of young guys that want to be entrepreneurs. And I don't do it for money, and it feels incredible. I mean, the way I feel when I'm done, I think what will make me happy is when I find a good balance of doing something I'm passionate about that makes me money, but then utilizing my time equally to give to other people. It's like altruism, I've always said altruism is the ultimate selfishness. Because like when I serve people at the City Mission downtown, homeless people, I get way more out of it than they do. I'm giving them a meal. The feeling I walk out with, that's not altruism. So I want to find a balance and more of that, I think, and then knowing financially I’m secure, I think is where my happy is gonna be. And I'm too lopsided where business has been everything. So I need to get more balanced.

 

David DeCelle  1:07:15

I think as a kickstart to your happiness, because I know you mentioned that it's tough to go from traveling all the time to not traveling all the time. So to kickstart your happiness, you're welcome to join Pat and I in Medellin, Colombia, next week. So I think you should start looking at flights and I think all of our listeners thinks you should, too.

 

Dan Allison  1:07:35

I’m not sure. Isn’t that in the drug capital in the world?

 

David DeCelle  1:07:43

We’re doing touristy stuff; we're gonna go on day tours. I mean, we're gonna go out to the club and drink and have fun and whatnot. But I think the three of us would have fun. I'm just going to apply pressure between now and the next four days to where it's the most likely that you'll say yes, because as we get closer and closer and closer, it's just not going to happen.

 

Dan Allison  1:08:05

Let me know how your first few days goes, and then I'm pretty spontaneous. We'll see where it goes.

 

David DeCelle  1:08:09

Cool. I'm pretty convincing.

 

Dan Allison  1:08:11

I'm not sure my 45-year-old body could keep up with what you got going on, brother.

 

David DeCelle  1:08:16

You can for two nights.

 

Dan Allison

Maybe Columbia, Missouri. I can.

 

David DeCelle

Awesome. Well, for everyone who stuck around to the office hours. Thank you so much. Dan, as always, appreciate your time. All right. Take care.