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$10M and Happiness: A Mentor Story

$10M and Happiness: A Mentor Story

Image of someone pulling a climber up to the top of a hill | Text: $10M and Happiness: A Mentor Story“What we think about, we bring about.”  Aaron Ellis shares the story of two amazing mentors in his life and what it took for him to be ready for the right teacher to come along.

A Visionary, Dad-preneur, Singer-songwriter, Author and Inspirational Speaker, Aaron’s journey has been one of overcoming adversity, and using his life lessons and wisdom to benefit those around him. A musician since an early age, Aaron grew up in New Castle, WA, and eventually moved to California to explore sharing his Vision of Internal Freedom with the world.

Website: https://www.reverbnation.com/aaronellis (hear his music!)

Purpose: https://riseanimalrefuge.org/

LinkedIn: Aaron Ellis

Listen to the podcast here:

Read Along as Karla and Aaron Discuss the Power of Mentors and More

Kalra Nelson:  And welcome to the People Catalystx podcast, Aaron Ellis.

Aaron Ellis:  Thanks for having me, Karla. I’m excited to chat.

Kalra Nelson:  Yeah, it’s always fun chatting with you. We have loved hearing your background and your stories in our Clubhouse event. That’s every Thursday at noon Pacific Standard Time.

But, you know, share with us and everyone listening or viewing kind of your entrepreneurial background because you got kind of a mixture of things going on there in regards to, you know, being a previous rock star. But then also, you know, working in real estate and all sorts of other things you got going on.

Aaron Ellis:  Yeah. So I was thinking about this for another interview I did in the last year. Like, when did it actually all start? And I think my entrepreneurial journey started prior to music because my first memory which what I’m going to share, maybe I wouldn’t do in this day and age, you know, but we all do things that are a little bit crazy. But what I’m going to say is not really that crazy. I actually took my parents a cocktail swords to school in kindergarten and sold them for a quarter each. So obviously I took the product, but you know, I wouldn’t necessarily do that in this day and age, but that’s my first memory of anything entrepreneurial. And then through elementary school and even into middle school, I was selling, you know, Gob Stoppers and stuff for a quarter each, or I ended up doing people’s math homework and all that kind of stuff.

Then, though about six years old, I really got into music and that started to become more of a dominant role in everything I was doing to the point where by eleven I was playing professionally, meaning getting paid. Basically start getting paid at eleven and signed my first deal when I was 15 years old, so I literally much to my parents dismay. Originally, obviously, they were both educators, was living my dream out of the gate. So that’s been kind of interesting for me to go in retrospect and learn how to coach people and guide people and inspire people. When I never had the experience of “I wish I could one day if only,” I was actually doing it right.

And so from there, I toured extensively for, for many, many years. A couple of decades at least, I wrote with several different musicians co-writing a bunch songs in the industry and whatnot from multiple genres. And then I had this battle within thinking I couldn’t have a relationship and music

So constantly, of course, what we think about we bring about and I kept on having broken relationships, right? So I actually stepped out of music for a while to pursue a relationship, and I got into the health and fitness industry, which I started kind of. I started out working out on tour, a band called Doc and was tour. It was basically towing a a gym in a trailer behind the bus and the growers who put it out the parking lot. We’d all work out.

So that was in the nineties and I got in really good shape, so I segwayed into fitness modeling. Was it super good shape, and through that, I end up in the health and fitness industry, consulting gyms and then ultimately opening my own gyms and creating a transformation program that’s now global right now.

And also met my wife in that period of time. And I also learned that I could have both. And I’m to the point where I’m full circle, where I never really stepped completely out of music. But I did stop touring extensively for a handful of years there to really cultivate my relationship and dive into other entrepreneurial things.

Yet, as we were sharing on the clubhouse the other day around 2015, things kind of crashed again and I was working too much again and I’ve constantly sought balance, which I think all entrepreneurs do right. And

It’s so hard because the word balance itself is so weird. When you want it, you’re you love it all, you write, so you’re pursuing the relationship, but then you’re also you end up having kids or, you know, you’re trying to develop yourself. And what happens is like, you love it all.

Kalra Nelson:  And I think that’s the hard word when it comes to balance, when it has to do with, you know, your relationships, entrepreneurship and, you know, because do you really call it balance when it’s something that you love and you love to do?

You just like music, right? I mean, you could probably say, Oh yeah, I’m too obsessed with it. At the same time, it’s kind of like, but you love it. So

Aaron Ellis:  Yeah. You know, one of my biggest strengths, which a lot of times our strengths, are also our weaknesses is I’m an all or nothing person. So I go 100% into something which often makes the pendulum swing way over, right? And I’m working on keeping it in line whatnot. But around then we were working 16-, 18-hour days. We had our kids with us at the gym with a nanny, and it seemed beautiful. It seemed wonderful. People would come into the gym and say, Oh my gosh, it’s so amazing, you get to be with your kids every day. And I kind of nod, Yeah, and some of those days I’d go to my office and cry because I was still living with look at what Berlin did today and looking at pictures

and videos of our kids, even though they’re in the same building as us, right? So in the fall of 2016, we just stepped out of the gym businesses altogether. I spent about eight months, nine months, just playing with the kids, just going to the beach every single day well at least five days a week for five or six hours a day, had an awesome tan. And you know what? I just figured awesome dad and just cultivated those relationships again. And in the process, committed to myself that I would only do things that allowed me to remain a full time dad.

And so from there, I stepped into crypto. I stepped into online business building and coaching people in online, an online business building which has led me back to where I am today, kind of a miss mat or a mesh of all those things, meaning I have music again.

I’m getting ready to release a new album. I’ll be performing again. I’m speaking on stages again, I’m working on a book. I’m also in international land development, business development. I also still coach and mentor people, primarily entrepreneurs, as well as like musicians, actors and athletes.

Because I found out sports is also the entertainment industry that I’m mentoring all those people to transition basically into the second phase or third phase of their life, where I understand what it means to give everything to something right.

Music was everything to me. My mom will tell you I was singing full songs before I was a year old, before I could speak and articulate sentences, right? And I’ve had four record deals in an industry that 1% of 1% get one, which that’s just context, not a break.

It’s just context, right? But I’ve also been able to transition into a very successful life outside of music, outside of something else where my heart and soul into,

Kalra Nelson:  You know, and that’s something interesting, you know, in that transition period. Was there anybody you know that you connected with? That was helpful? I think that’s a big conversation. Regardless of what you’re transitioning into, you just go, “Wow, you know,” it’s almost like well “I did that then” and then, you know, “Now I’m going to do this,” how did those transitions come about for you?

Aaron Ellis:  So that is such a good question, Karla. And it’s something that I love to share because I think if people would be open to their impulses or their intuition, I guess I would more call it some people say I’m impulsive or spontaneous.

I say I’m intuitive and I follow it. They would probably be led to these type of people too. So, in in that period of time where I was trying to figure out what I was going to do, my whole identity and music was somewhat breaking down because I had my business manager who embezzled money from me and all this stuff. So I was kind of forced to push and pause on music, and I was just frustrated and literally two in the morning. one day I said, I’m going to Maui and I booked a ticket and three hours later I was on a plane.  OK, so the beauty of

Kalra Nelson:  That is I just the reason why I enjoy so much.

Aaron Ellis:  The beauty of that was I had thought that for like three weeks, just go somewhere, go get away, go clear your head. And finally, it was almost like it built up so much. “I got to go.” So I went there. I woke up the next morning and I found this local paper that was like one of the local papers in Maui. And it said there was this store that was like a spiritual store with crystals and meditation stuff, which I was into.

So I went there and I went in a sensory deprivation tank, right, which they closed off the whole world. So you can’t hear anything, you’re floating. It’s really cool. As I’m walking out, I see another paper that says Ram Dass, who’s an author from the seventies.

It was a book called “Be Here Now,” it was my favorite or his most famous. He was speaking at this unity church the next day. So I decided to go to this unity church the next day, and all the while I’ve been reading books from this author over the last couple of years that I really, really loved and was really resonating with what he was teaching. It was really helping me heal and grow and understand who I was. And I’m sitting there basically waiting for Ram Dass to come on stage and a gentleman sits down beside me and I’m like, “that’s Wayne Dyer,” who is the one I don’t know,

Kalra Nelson:  Oh my gosh, I love him.

Aaron Ellis:  So I’ve been reading his books for years and

Kalra Nelson:  He loved Hawaii. He would always say,

Aaron Ellis:  Yeah, so afterwards I waited aside because everybody wanted to talk to him. I waited to sign and kept looking over at me, kept looking over me, knowing I was waiting, and he was like, How are you doing? He shook my hand and said, Hey, I just I’m wondering if I could get some time from you. A few minutes just to chat or whatnot. I’m staying at the Westin and Kaanapali. He’s like,

Kalra Nelson:  Oh my, oh my gosh, that’s my favorite Black Rock. It’s the best place to go scuba diving.

Aaron Ellis:  It’s amazing. So he had to come to Kaanapali, which was right next door to the West.

So he’s like, “Yo, I’m right next doors, what are you doing now?”

I said, “I’m like nothing,”

So, “come to lunch with us.” So I went to lunch with him and with Rob Dawson, another guy who was a speaker. I don’t remember who he was. He was just getting started in the industry. And from there on, I became friends with this guy, and he basically mentored me for a few years and we stayed in contact till he passed away.

But that was my first mentorship, and I bring that up and love to tell that story because for three weeks I was frustrated. I should have like I wanted to go away. So when I first got there, I’m like, “Man, if I would have only gone three weeks earlier when I would have felt better.”

But then the next day I wake up and it was perfectly timed synchronistic for me to go to that store. See that article go to the event where Ram Dass was speaking of Wayne Dyer. Sit down right next to me staying in a condo right next to me like it.

Just it was all completely divine and synchronistic. If I would have left three weeks earlier, who’s to say, you know what I mean? So that was one of my biggest mentors, one of the two people that I really trust in the world.

And the second one came later on in 2017. Gentleman by the name Paul Allen, which I know we’ve talked about before. And the funny thing about Paul Allen is I had no idea who he was. Other than this guy who was a guitar player had a really cool house in Seattle. And see, I didn’t know he was a guitar player. Oh yeah.

Kalra Nelson:  I don’t know Paul was a guitar player. I only knew him on the business side, right co-founders,

Aaron Ellis:  I had no idea. He had a really cool house that he invited all the Seattle musicians over to for Christmas.

Kalra Nelson:  He did have a really cool house.

Aaron Ellis:  So, since I was really young, I was going like a few of the years in between the stuff I’d gone to his house for Christmas and stuff for these parties and stuff, and he had a stage when I’ll get up and jam and then. And the cool thing was, is about 11:00. I wasn’t a drinker I like. Even though I was in the music industry, I had everything at my disposal at a buffet backstage and he could pick up. I never really got into that.

I loved life. I loved what I was doing. I didn’t really want to numb it. And so about eleven, 12:00 at night at those parties, I was in the kitchen. People were out drunk. I was in the kitchen sitting in this room with what I come to find out were billionaires and millionaires that were talking.

And here’s me with long hair and leather on and stuff, right? And I actually learned a lot that I didn’t know I’d learned. You know, it was kind of peripheral happening, but later on in life, I had these thoughts and these things arise in me during times where I was struggling and I could directly connect them to those times I sat in the kitchen listening to these people. Right? Yeah. So, he came back into my life when I was up for Thanksgiving, my family still in Seattle, so I went up for Thanksgiving. I had a lunch with him, and he I had gone through a very tough period.

I’d lost a significant amount of money. This was right out of that gym period where I’d spent eight months living off my savings and basically getting to know my kids and stuff again spent pretty much all the liquid funds I had.

And then came to him and he had been trying to get me to learn about investing for years. And I always would say this is a really impactful part that I want people to listen to because a lot of people think their limitations are negative, OK?

I would always say when you would try to get me to save money, “I’d rather have experience than money in the bank and I can always make more money.” Now that took me to 50 plus countries, right? And I was always able to make more money.

So, they were true and they were very empowering and I lived a very extraordinary life. I have lived a very extraordinary life because of those two mantras I had. But when he started mentoring me, he’s like “Aaron, you have two limitations,” and I said, “What are those?”

Those were the two limitations he brought up. Wow. Oh my God. So, he mentored me that next year, which ended up, I guess, I don’t know what the percentages, but I low six figures to low. seven figures I lost low six ended up making low seven in the next 14 months from when I started working with him. So, he was another mentor that’s been with me today. And then today I have multiple mentors, a couple who are very, very I’ve learned to cultivate those relationships. I’ve learned the difference between like riches and wealth and wealth is really about relationships like people’s catalysts talks about, like you talk about like a clubhouse is about and it’s, you know, I’ve learned to cultivate those relationships and even people like I coach and mentor, I tell them, like, don’t worry about meeting a lot of people, just meet the right people and really get to know them like a handful or two a people that you would vacation with. And a year ago, I moved my entire family across the country from California to Florida. I now live in the neighborhood of one of my mentors and business partners and work out with him every day, and it’s become just one of my best friends.

So, mentorship, coaching is very key. But when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, and I’ve definitely been ready, and I’ve definitely not been ready at some points.

Kalra Nelson:  Mm-Hmm. So it hasn’t been more kind of like a happenstance or, you know, just know a knowing like you were talking about or have you also kind of sought out who your mentor would be or who you want to reach? I mean, because Paul Allen is a pretty darn impressive mentor, right? But was it just, oh wow, I’m performing in somebody’s house? Or was it like, what was that? The spark that says, Hey, I need to listen to this individual or, you know, you know, gain some knowing from their experience?

Aaron Ellis:  Well, so I had experience with him, like I said in the music related, I didn’t know who he was.

Kalra Nelson:  That’s just hilarious. You’re just like, “Hey Paul, what’s up?” It’s like, you know, just the little co-founder of Microsoft.

Aaron Ellis:  Yeah, I knew he created the music museum in Seattle, which is what used to be a music experience. I knew that my father knows his sister well. My dad was the first retailer of Apple computers in Washington state, so there was the I had known him peripherally for years. But what really hit me was he was trying to get me to invest for years. So, when we sat down at that, when we had lunch and that November, he asked me how much money I had left from my advance from Warner Brothers. No, I got 1.75 million from Warner Brothers. And he asked, and that was in 2005. Right. So, ten eleven years previous, how much money that I had left? Well, what was my answer?

A big fat zero. Right. And he had talked to me around that time. I actually took some of my money and I built a recording studio that he funded and artists record in in Beverly Hills. So I’d seen him back then, too, and he tried to get me to invest then.

And he’s like, “Let me show you something.” And he quickly on a on a napkin showed me if I would have taken 100 grand back then and invested the way he said I should have. I would’ve had $10 million that day.

Wow. And so that made me say, “Oh, really?” Now remember, I also had a family at this point, you know what I mean? I had a young daughter and a son and whatnot, so I couldn’t think 20 years down the road yet.

I couldn’t do it, couldn’t even really think five years down the road. So when he was saying, “How about a year? Will you listen to me for a year?” I said, “Yes, I’ll do it for a year,” which I got to tell you was not an easy year.

I threw tantrums.

Kalra Nelson:  Haven’t we all? You know, it’s so interesting to me is, you know, even somebody who co-founded Microsoft, really, you don’t if you’re just like you said, if the student is ready, the teacher will appear. They want to give back. And these great individuals that have built some amazing, you know, enterprises really, truly want to give back. And I think the thing is that just being open to actually receive what it is that, you know, they’d like to give.

Aaron Ellis:  Well, like I said, he had he had tried to get me to listen to him for over a decade when I had over $1,000,000 in my bank and he tried to get me to invest. Again, “I’d rather have experience than money in the bank. I can always make more money.” You know, those were true. Those were empowering statements. But even back then, he knew, and then he showed me if I would have listened what I would have equated to. I’m like, OK, I don’t really know what you just wrote down here, but I know what that number is, and I know what this number is. So what I

Kalra Nelson:  You can do, the math on that one, really easily.

Aaron Ellis:  Exactly

Kalra Nelson:  Well, share with us, what you’ve got going on here recently in regards to animals and rescuing animals. And I know you got an event coming up here. Well, in the near future, I don’t know if you have a specific date at this point, but

Aaron Ellis:  So, my wife and I have always been a huge animal lovers back when I was, even when I was a kid and like elementary school, junior high and stuff, I would go volunteer at the animal rescues. And I really love to work with the animals that were unadoptable. Like I remember sitting in front of like a kennel and opening the door for weeks on end before an animal would come out and greet me. I would just sit there and just sit there and sit there with them, right?

And sometimes I bring my guitar and start my guitar and stuff. And then she also started basically rescuing animals, meaning bringing them home and hiding them from her parents when she was six with her siblings. So over our relationship, she always wants to rescue every animal we come across, which I do too.

But our home ends up being kind of a zoo.

You can only fit so many of them in there, right?

Yeah. So I want to say spring of

Kalra Nelson:  say goodbye to them. That’s the hardest thing about the whole adoption thing. Well, just taking care of them for a time and then like giving them to somebody else.

Aaron Ellis:  It’s it’s tough. It’s tough. It is when spring 2020. one of my business partners who lives in I live in the neighborhood now. His his wife is really passionate about animals too. It’s like if you ever move out this way, we’ll do it for the wives. So we did move out this way and. We basically are now doing that, we’re building rise animal refuge and we’re starting with dogs first because in the area we are in, we’re in the panhandle of Florida and all the rescues that are here are primarily foster rescues, meaning they don’t have land, they don’t have kennels.

And there’s anywhere from two to ten dogs in people’s homes fostering these dogs because they’re pulling from Louisiana and Alabama and Georgia and Mississippi constantly. All the death row animals are going up and getting 3040 to 30 to 40 of these dogs a week and bringing them down a day or two before they’re going to be euthanized. So we’re like the infrastructure here cannot handle the influx of animals coming in, so it’s kind of perfect to do it right here. And again, like I said, we’re starting with dogs and we’re starting with cats. We’ve been doing it as foster since we’ve been here.

But now we’re getting ready to build on the land and everything. And like you mentioned, we have an event coming up, a fundraising event coming up, which is actually near and dear to my heart because I, one of the of my other passions and desires is to do my music in a way that just gives back meaning I don’t really care if I make money with my music anymore. I want to do it only like not only. But for charitable organizations and for nonprofits and stuff. So, with that, we are putting on a concert.

You know, we’re doing a two-day concert. There’s going to be a dinner like a semi-formal dinner because I won’t wear a tie. So, we’re calling it semi-formal. And I have a group of songwriters and myself from Nashville.

We’re going to get up and we’re going to acoustically perform the songs we’ve written and co-written and tell the actual stories on how they came about. For all these famous, you know, there’s famous artists that have recorded those songs and gone on to play them, but tell the real stories and perform them the way they were originally written. And then Saturday is a full rock concert where I have my band is basically coined a superstar band because it’s got players everywhere that played with the Rolling Stones to U2 to Ratt Skid Row, all the eighties bands.

I’m bringing players from all those bands to back me, and I’ll be playing songs from my new album, as well as songs from my 30 years of songwriting and performing with a lot of those bands, as well as we have a band called Great White coming out of Premiere, the band Great White from the Eighties, and we’re making it an eighties party. So Friday will be something they would mess up here and the best hair. You got to pull your leg warmers down when we get to the show, so we haven’t set the exact date yet, but we’re we’re shooting for before the Super Bowl, which is the second weekend of February.

So, it’s going be somewhere late January, early February. But as soon as we know it, they can. Anybody can find out at RiseAnimalRefuge.org so it’s ReseAnimalRefuge.org.

Kalra Nelson:  We’ll make sure that that gets in the notes for the podcast as well, Aaron. Never a dull moment with you, my friends. Love your entrepreneurial journey. I love the fact that you can talk about, you know, what didn’t work, what did work, and always being open. So, appreciate it. And so, all our watchers and listeners, you can get in contact with Aaron in regards to the animal refuge event.

We will make sure the URL is in the notes, and I’m going to be pretty sure I’ll see you there.

Aaron Ellis:  Awesome. I’m counting on you being there. So it’s not a party without Karla.

Kalra Nelson:  Well, I love what you’re doing. I love what you’re up to, and I love the fact that you’re always willing to reach out and help others. So, Aaron, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Aaron Ellis:  It’s been an honor. Thank you, Karla.


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