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From College Student, to Chief Consultant of a PR Firm, an Interview with Eric Chow

5 min read

Eric Chow is a businessman, podcast host, and personal branding consultant. He is the Chief Consultant at the public relations firm Mashman Ventures specializing in building personal brands for those who want to be followed, in-demand, and respected. He hosts The Eric Chow Empowers Podcast, with over 50 episodes that have been listened to in 50+ countries around the world with no paid PR.

Thank you for doing this Eric! Let’s start by helping our readers get to know you better. What’s your backstory and can you tell us about your upbringing?

Thank you for the opportunity! I really do appreciate it.

Hi everybody, my name is Eric Chow. I’m born and raised in Silicon Valley in California, which is where I continue to reside. I come from a middle-class family. My parents are wonderful human beings, both your average working-class employees. Growing up, they were quite good with their money which allowed us to go on a few international vacations that gave me a love for travel, but I recognized that we were cutting corners to experience such luxuries. I know that in the first few years of my life, they were both unemployed, having lost their jobs due to the economy so I feel very fortunate that my parents worked as hard as they have to give me a glimpse of what is possible in life.

I was always encouraged to get a solid career path with great pay and a good future, which to most people meant becoming a doctor, lawyer, or programmer. I was vehemently opposed to the first two. They just didn’t appeal to me. Programming, I didn’t really like that either, but it was better than the other two. While I believe in learning to enjoy what you do, I also knew life would change, and I wouldn’t want to stay in a career for the rest of my life. I felt limited and I didn’t like the idea of settling for less.

As I started to get into podcasting and entrepreneurship, I met a lot of people from all kinds of backgrounds in various different professions, and I realized that if I could pursue podcasting and later on, business, I would be able to create my future instead of crossing my fingers with it. I realized I didn’t have to settle.

I definitely have an internal drive for more, starting with self-development. I am always in the pursuit of a better me, which started in my early teen years. Whether it’s developing soft skills like becoming a better communicator, or hard skills like being a better salesman and business owner, I enjoy the process of becoming. I figured that if I grow myself, then that version of me will get very different results.

How did you get into self-development and what impact has that made in your life getting up to this point?

I’ll answer the second part first: what impact has it made? It’s absolutely everything. Who we are impacts everything we do, and self-development is simply about becoming a better us. If I improve who I am, I improve how I do everything.

How I got started–I did martial arts for almost six years. I have black belts in Taekwondo and Shugyo Aikido, and I’ve attended dozens of seminars for other styles as well. If you’re training at a good dojo with good masters, character is extremely important. At my dojo, my Sensei told us that he doesn’t let someone get past the white belt, regardless of how good they are at techniques if they aren’t respectful. Nobody reached the brown belt without humility either.

That emphasis on character made a big impression on teenage Eric. After I stopped training, I decided to dive more into self-development, so I started reading, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos that helped grow my communication skills, my productivity, my attitude, my optimism, my faith, etc. I’ve continued that for the many years since.

From there, how did you end up starting your podcast? Where did the idea come from?

As I was walking into my first year of university, I wanted a place where I could express myself. I was learning and growing, and I wanted to share what I was thinking, but I felt that social media had too much noise, and it also didn’t belong to me. I had tried making videos, writing articles, and other forms of content. Basically, I was experimenting when I thought of podcasting. It just happens to be the one that stuck. Of course, the show has since evolved, but it started as an experiment in self-expression, mostly for what I was learning through self-development, sharing stories, etc.

What is your podcast all about now?

The Eric Chow Empowers Podcast is about empowering each other. When I invite a guest to my show, I’m empowering them to share their story with a new audience. By sharing our conversation, we both have an opportunity to empower each other and listeners by something we say. I like to think that it also gives us an opportunity to inspire someone to empower themselves which I think is even more beautiful.

I believe that life is exciting and that the best is yet to come. I want all of us to be empowered so that we can take full advantage of what life has to offer. I don’t want to be limited. I don’t want to think the same as I always have. To be empowered is to be in a position to improve. I like to grow, so our conversations on the show are genuine and authentic. They touch on human connection, overcoming life’s challenges, self-love, passion and purpose, and so much more. It’s all about making the most of life and becoming better versions of us.

Going from podcasting, how did that transition into business?

Partially because of the podcast, I started to meet and interact with business owners. Sometimes it was messaging we exchanged on social media, guests on my show, people who invited me as a guest on their show, and other times it had nothing to do with the podcast. I believe that after you talk to so many people and you hear their stories, that you learn a thing or two about life. Of course, we’re all interacting with people, but I felt that I was doing it with more purpose than most. It wasn’t just small talk, I was really getting to people’s hearts. I like to think that’s why I was able to get myself around other business people and realize that we were like-minded.

For example, one of those people was Isaac Mashman. I found him on Twitter. He was one of the first guests on my show, and today I’m the Chief Consultant at his public relations and personal branding firm, Mashman Ventures. I doubt either of us would’ve ever expected that result when we first met more than 2 years ago. Of course, he’s the person who connected us to do this interview.

Amazing. Let’s wrap up with some rapid fire questions. What’s on your heart to share with people?

If you don’t take a step, you’ll never move forward in life. Life is complicated enough. Keep it simple in your mind and it will open up. I can’t emphasize that enough. It’s one of the best lessons I can teach.

Best way to change your mindset and attitude, to become more optimistic.

Surround yourself with more optimistic influences–friends, books, audios, podcasts, creators, etc. Find people who think like you want to think, do what you want to do, have what you want to have, and get around them. Find people who are going in the same direction as you and encourage each other forward.

Advice for people who feel like achieving their dreams is impossible.

When you were 6 months old, could you imagine yourself where you are now? You can’t see the future. (If you can, please dm me.) So don’t go telling the universe you can’t do something, the universe is far more powerful than you and I. It can do whatever it wants. Just start. Take the first step, have faith, keep going, adapt and make changes, and enjoy the journey.

Beautiful. Thank you Eric for allowing this interview. Where can people find more of you?

Thank you for the opportunity! This was awesome. People can listen to The Eric Chow Empowers Podcast on Spotify, Apple, or wherever they listen to podcasts. They can follow me on social media @ericchowreal. Take care, everyone! Everything is on http://ericchowreal.com

Editorial Desk Editorial team Account! Bringing you entrepreneurial stories. Flourishive views the world through the eyes of entrepreneurship—ambition, ​empathy, the ​grind. Be inspired by articles curated by Flourishive Contributors.