We start off this recap with Gary Keller on stage with Empire Builders Seychelle Van Poole, Wendy Papasan, Sarah Reynolds, and Vija Williams.
This is the first ever all-female panel of rain makers with a combined income of $144 million. Gary Keller interviews all four Empire Builders about how they have found balance in personal life and business success.
Seychelle starts off by explaining that as a woman, she has built her successful career while juggling a marriage and raising a child. Women run multiple empires — both business empires and family empires. She stresses that we need to strive to be unapologetic for having both. Seychelle points out that women have to live with a different societal pressure. Empire Builders created a tribe to empower women to be unapologetic in having deep relationships with their families while building wealthy careers. Essentially the goal is simple: to live the way you want to live.
“All of us up here look up so much to Moe Anderson and the example that she set for female strong leadership and I’ve learned so much from her and your (Gary’s) belief in her.”
Gary reflects on when he brought Althea Osborn to the company. Gary didn’t know at that moment he was hiring someone that would almost become a second mom to him, helping raise him to be a better business person.
Wendy addresses how Empire Building can be lonely. This is where she found herself really seeking community. She paid $7,000 to join an organization in Austin for people making over a million dollars in their business. As soon as she saw that only 11 out of the 150 members were women, she didn’t feel like this was really her tribe. She continued to look around and eventually created her own tribe in Empire Builders.
Vija shares with us how she didn’t start working on her career building until she was 42. She explains that she started later because we all have different cycles and different timing. Having children can certainly complicate the process. Vija explains how men can get back to work quickly but biologically, women have to take time off. While there are differences in that specific instance, she recognizes that we all have challenges that we have to balance. She explains,
“I don’t ever want Empire Building to be just about women. This is about Empire Building. What I think is different about what we’re going to do and what we talk about is we are going to emphasize the bigger lives part. Big business, yes, and bigger lives.”
Gary asks, “So how do you do it? How to you juggle all of that?”
Seychelle shares that she had to learn how to understand Gary Keller’s phrase, “counter balance.” She recalls when she attended a mastermind group at the age of 25. Gary and Seychelle talked about everything she had on her plate at the time. Seychelle and her husband were newly married, no kids at the time but they still hadn’t taken their honeymoon due to business going so well. After listening, Gary told Seychelle, “no job is too small for you and no job is too big for me. If you don’t plan on where your time is going to go, it’s going to go on it’s own without you.”
Empire Builders need to be aware this part of the journey. Gary’s statement taught Seychelle how to be very purposeful with her time. You have to plan time for the important things first. Seychelle feels planning is even more important when you have a family. She had to re-learn this principle when her daughter was born. She made the decision to maximize and plan the 15-18 summers she has with her daughter. Plan your time with purpose.
Gary Keller says his first introduction to this challenge was in his 20’s. His #1 sales person, who just had an incredible year, came into his office and had a breakdown in front of him. Being in his 20’s, this was a bit terrifying to Gary, but he asked what was going on. She explained how she was jeopardizing the deal she made with her family. The deal between her and her family was that, “she can have the career as long as they still received 3 square meals and all the things she was doing to run the family. If she did all those things, then she could work on the side, but she would now you have to do both.” This was a breakdown from not having home support. Gary Keller left that meeting knowing, “your environment has to support your goal.”
Gary: “Sarah, how do you do it?”
Sarah shares that she had to become a master at attracting leaders and succeeding through others by leading. Her team knows that they are all amazingly talented individuals that could lead their own teams, but instead, they have come together to accomplish more. This has allowed Sarah to be a business leader but at the same time be at home. Sarah’s also acknowledges that the women around her have encouraged her to make sure family is also her priority. “Learn your leverage and to lean into leverage.” Sarah recalls how she used to compare herself to everyone too much very early on. “Comparison is the theft of joy,” she says. It is a mistake to compare your life to another’s. She encourages men and women to make sure you have a life worth living and know what it means to YOU to have a big life.
Sarah includes that, “your kids don’t remember who made the dinner, they remember if you ate it with them.” You can leverage personal things if you don’t want to leverage business.
Sarah shares with us how hard she has worked to get input from her family. Entering the workforce from being a stay-at-home mom requires more absence within the home. Sarah’s business minded 16-year-old son has been to Keller William events with her. This helped create a clear understanding that when she leaves, she pushing toward their family wealth goal. Her children understand the family vision. Sarah reminds everyone to help your spouse and your kids understand the vision just as you would your team. Don’t forget to be a leader at home.
Gary: “Wendy, you came into real estate on your own terms — do you mind sharing?”
Wendy starts off explaining the privilege and honor she had of having a husband who was mentored by one of the greatest champions of work-life balance. Before Wendy started her real estate business, she was already hearing about how to have a big business. Wendy’s first year goal was to make at least $15,000 but not sacrifice her life. Being at home was her first priority because she was a stay at home mom for 5 years before. When Wendy started she had a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. Wendy’s availability was limited when it came to real estate hours. She ended up hiring a housekeeper, a nanny for the afternoon, a personal assistant, and a bookkeeper for their rental properties. This created more time for real estate.
Vija tells us a little bit about the amazing couples retreat her and her husband have coordinated for over 15 years. They believe in taking a trip away to get on the same page about where they want their family and their business to go. If you have personal goals that you would like to meet, this may require you combining daily activities with those goals. If your goal is to walk and get in 10,000 steps a day, you may have to tell people, “Yes, you can come by for an hour but we’re gonna walk and talk.” Find ways to combine activities.
Gary: “What is your advice to us and the audience about building a big business?”
Seychelle lets us know her 3 largest key components to building a big business are: the right opportunity, the right time, and the right person. If you don’t have all 3 and they aren’t working in sync with each other, it doesn’t work. We build a real estate business with the right people. You have to look at business in terms of, “how can one piece help feed an ecosystem to bring value,” but it comes down to right opportunity, right person, right time.
Sarah’s one piece of advice is to follow the “Millionaire Real Estate Agent.” She built a $10.1 million business last year from following the models. It’s been her roadmap for success. This model has helped her make a million, and now much more. She recommends that you should not just read it once — read it over and over again to learn how to build a multi-million dollar company.
Wendy’s piece of advice is success is, “sequential and not simultaneous.” We are mostly do-ers who want it all and want it now. A big business is a result of not quitting and creating success. Wendy recalls last year being one of the hardest years of her life, and she recalls telling her husband, “I don’t want a big life. I want a tiny, little life.” The choice then is either quit or go back to work the next day and keep working at your big business. You can’t build it in 2 years — it takes time.
We finish off with Vija’s deeply held belief, “You need to choose what your process and actives are”. We know what our top 20% is when we follow a model and framework. We have put the pressure, energy, and focus on the activities and the outcome follows. “You have to choose and decide what your leading indicator activities are and what is going to move the needle forward,” she says. This is where you see energy, focus and drive. You cannot focus on the outcome. “We know the model because Gary Keller has told us all in The Millionaire Real Estate Agent!”
To hear more from these talented Empire Builders, download the Empire Building podcast today through your podcast app or by visiting https://go.kw.com/empire-building.