FYE 39 Elena Cardone | Build Your Empire


How do you build your empire? How do you keep yourself on target and ready to achieve your goals? Michelle Seiler Tucker sits down to talk with entrepreneur and empire-builder Elena Cardone. Elena takes a look back on how she and her husband built their little business empire and the lessons learned along the way. Full of lessons for entrepreneurs, this one is a must-listen.

Watch the episode here:

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A Guide On How To Build Your Empire With Elena Cardone

You are in for quite the treat because we had the one and only Elena Cardone. She started her career in Hollywood and soon became a very successful model and actress in TV and film. She is a lifelong competitive sports shooter and now a wife, mother, author, businesswoman, empire builder, event producer, mentor, public speaker and visionary.

She is the author of the best-selling book Build an Empire: How to Have it All. She is the executive producer of the massively successful events that include 10X Ladies, Operation 10X Badass, Build an Empire Mastermind and her own show, Women of Power. Additionally, she mentors hundreds of women but personal one-on-one coaching sessions.

Elena’s most recent endeavor has been a partner-up with eXp Realty. I’m a partner with eXp. She plans on building the largest real estate team across the globe. She has been halfway married to Grant Cardone since 2004. They have two beautiful daughters, Sabrina and Scarlette, along with their two cats, Cash and Flow. Together, Elena and Grant Cardone have created a real estate portfolio of $4.8 billion.

Elena, welcome to the show. I’m excited to have you on.

I’m so excited, Michelle, my little New Orleans girl. I’m happy to be here. Thank you.

We have to get together in New Orleans when you come back. You lived in California, I’m from Long Beach, California. You are a very successful actress and model in TV and film.

I moved out there when I was seventeen years old. I left New Orleans. I didn’t move to Miami years ago. I was out there for many years.

As an entrepreneur, it’s sometimes hard to see when you’re winning or hitting targets. You have to set up sub-targets to hit along the way to give yourself a sense of a win.

I started to look at all the TV shows, movies and everything you started. You are quite successful. How did you go from acting to entrepreneurship?

That was the only thing I knew and it was my ticket out of New Orleans, as much as I love New Orleans. It was not a place for me to be at 17, 16, 15, 14 and those years were not productive for me. It is seventeen, I’m not being great at school. That was my ticket to LA. I was like, “Can I do this actor, model thing?” I was. I had the years of being successful, working a lot, not working but mostly working, sustaining myself. As a working actress, that is not an easy task in Los Angeles.

Most never make it. Most people do not.

When I met my husband and married him when I was 30, we had our first child when I was 36 and the second one when I was 38. When I was about to have my first child, I had her in 2009 but got pregnant in 2008, the economy collapsed. There are no acting jobs. They were already tapering down because I was in my 30s. Now I’m pregnant, they were zero.

My income had drastically dropped off. Now I’m pregnant. Grant’s businesses, he knew it, were decimated. We were under a lawsuit at the time. It was the first time I ever understood that their real con artist tripped us. It was a devastating and difficult time. That is what made me confront the whole acting career.

I was like, “Do I still want to try to go pursue this, which is not likely going to be an overnight sensation here? Do I want to trade in the acting career, which served its purpose? It got me out of New Orleans. It got me all the work that I did, all the experience, all the life lessons but is that what I wanted to do? Would I be willing to trade that in order to trade up to this potential empire thing that I could possibly create by being a support system to my husband, help him build the empire and all of the businesses that we have?”

I made that decision in 2008. It was not an easy decision for me to make. I had all the voices in my head, “How stupid that was to go support a man.” I did it and it panned out. In the book, I said, “Find the one you trust and build an empire.” I trust him. He has never let me down and we built an empire. I’m not saying it is perfect. I do not want to paint that picture but we have more right than wrong. I’m extremely proud of what we have created and built together. It is incredible.

FYE 39 Elena Cardone | Build Your Empire

Build Your Empire: At 17, we went to Los Angeles and continued training. We were in acting classes, voice classes, dance classes, all the stuff that you’re supposed to do to better yourself as an actress.


When you went into acting, did you have any acting school? Did you have any actors or actresses in your family? What made you relate to be on acting?

My father was not an actor but he always wanted to be a radio performer. He was a product of the great depression. It was the radio era but he never did it but he always had that. He was always acting out different characters and had that personality. When I was in high school, I went to a very challenging, difficult high school and you might know it. It is probably a lot better nowadays but back when I was there in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, they did not even have air conditioning.

I went to McMain right next to Rebeca. She was at Ursuline but I went to McMain and after freshman year, I thought, “How do I get out of high school?” I do not like school and I really do not love this school. I found NOCA, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. If you could go for writing and dancing, that was out. If you could go for singing, that was completely out. If you could go acting, I was like, “Maybe I have a shot.”

I auditioned and made it in. What happened for the last three years of high school is I would go to McMain for the first four classes, those electives that you had to have. At lunch, I would drive my car over to NOCA and I would continue the day at an art school, learning drama and taking theater. I learned a lot there. At seventeen, I went to Los Angeles and continued the training. I was in acting classes, voice classes and dance classes. All the stuff that you are supposed to do to better yourself as an actress, I did it.

Did you have to waitress too? Did you have to do a side job like that?

I did but I did not become a waitress until several years down the line. I did that because I wanted extra income. I had a hot rod collection at that time. I had a bunch of hot rods that I was rebuilding every weekend. This was a lot of money to me at that time but every weekend, I was dishing out $1,000 for new upholstery, which I installed myself with the help of my guy friends or I was purchasing a high-performance cam, new breaks or new distributor, whatever it was. I’m spending $1,000 a week on my car habits. I did not want to use my acting money or my modeling money for that. That is when I decided, “Go get it a server, a waitress job.” There I could fund my hot rod collection so I did that.

There are not too many women that collect cars. Rebeca was telling me she could fix a new car.

Sixties hot rods. Now I have these new cars, I lift up the hood and I’m like, “Where is everything? I do not even know what I’m looking at. It is beyond me.”

You can do more. You can live up to your potential. You can be better in life. You can be better in your relationships.

How did you learn how to fix cars? I guess that comes from the family too.

I learned that in California. California was big in the hot rod scene in the ‘90s with the ‘60s cars and they were everywhere. I had this guy I was dating and he was from Michigan. He knew everything about ‘60s hot rods. He knew a lot more about other genres too but focused on and honed in on those ‘60s hot rods. He was an amazing mechanic and attention to detail. All the people in the shop that worked with him and under him all showed that I was interested, eager to be there, learn and do a good job. They took me in as one of their own and taught me.

You are quite fascinating. You think about it. You are into cars and also quite a shooting enthusiast. You had a career there too.

Back in the time of the hot rod era, I was also shooting shotguns. I used to do a sport, what is called Sporting Clay. It is not skeet, although everyone calls it that. I used to do sporting clay and trap. The only thing I did not do well was skeet. With sporting clay and trap, I did well and competed. I was ranked tenth out of the females in California back in those days. It is a perishable sport and it is embarrassing to watch me shoot now because people are like, “It is embarrassing.”

I do not do sporting clay anymore but since then, I have taken up what is called 3-gun and I compete at 3-gun. It is a competition where there are multiple stages set up to where you are either shooting a pistol, a handgun or a tactical shotgun, which is different than what I used to shoot and a rifle. You can only shoot certain targets with certain guns. You have to run the stages and get all the targets down. It is an incredibly fun but challenging mental game. It involves a strategy. I do that and I love that.

That was entrepreneurship. That takes a certain strategy.

It does take a certain strategy. The thing that I love about the gun shooting is, as an entrepreneur, sometimes it is hard to engage when you are winning or hitting targets. Sometimes it takes a long time to hit a target. You have to set up sub-targets to hit along the way to give yourself a sense of a win. When I shoot guns, it is instantaneous to me.

FYE 39 Elena Cardone | Build Your Empire

Build Your Empire: It’s incredible to go through life with someone and hit targets together at the same time. It’s very challenging.


I know when I hit, if it is metal, it is ding and if I do not hit, it is not a hit. That is exciting for me because I can get instantaneous gratification for hitting targets and knowing how to make an adjustment if I’m off, high, low or would I need to implement to make myself course correct for the next stage. I see a lot of similarities in 3-gun and entrepreneurialism.

You go from acting, car enthusiasts, guns to entrepreneurship and build this huge $4.8 billion portfolio of real estate business conglomerate that you and Grant Cardone did together. I heard him speak for the very first time at eXp and I’m like, “He is funny.”

He was channeling his inner Kevin Hart in that interview. I was like, “You took that to a whole other level.”

What I loved that he kept saying was he talked about how you all met and he was hunting you. You were the hunt. He was going to get you, no matter what I mean. I loved all that. You are his rock. He always says, “Behind every good man is a better woman.” You are his foundation. I love how you tell a story about what you said earlier, how you guys almost lost everything and talked about the lawsuit and stuff but you guys built this massive empire. How is it to work together?

It is challenging, rewarding and very fun. It is incredible to go through life with someone, hit targets and win together. At the same time, it is challenging. We have a lot of pieces, parts, people, stress, pressure, which is fine. I’m not complaining about it. I know pressure makes diamonds. I need that to keep me focused. When I have too little going on is when I get into trouble because I get bored.

I’m not complaining. I’m being truthful of my truthful. Authenticity could be very challenging at times, with two strong-minded individuals who have their ideas about the way things are supposed to be and top that with all this other stuff. There could be moments where it is not always easy but it is rewarding and we figured out how to make it work.

I’m in charge of my roles. He is in charge of his roles. We try our best to stay out of each other’s business and not bypass each other on our roles so that we can execute our roles successfully and trust the other one to do the same. We are not trying to fight each other and buy overpower or position. It is already delegated and mapped out based on strengths and weaknesses.

How often does he pass over to your lane?

You really have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I do not want to out him but he is very respectful. He is also used to running a business. We have 180 staff off under this ceiling here, 800 total. It is hard for him to turn off being the boss and coming home where now we are on equal footing. If anything, I’m the boss at home. Now he was my junior. When I’m at work, I’m his junior, he is the boss because he is the boss of the business. I’m not going to claim I’m more than him in business. It can be difficult sometimes for him to make a change but he does it well. He has an effort into making it work for both of us, not it being the him show.

You can tell that he has the greatest respect for you. Everything on stage was talking about.

He flows a lot of power to me. I acknowledge and credit him for that. He is wonderful with sharing the spotlight and giving me the acknowledgment. It sets a good example for other men to do the same for the women who are helping them and contributing to their lives as well. He sets a good example for that.

It is hard to work together. My husband and I have guidelines and boundaries when we are together. We have for several years. You want to have boundaries and you have to set guidelines. When he and I go home, we are like, “Do not talk about business.” I have those guidelines and boundaries. That is the only way that you can have peace and work together.

Tell me about some of your masterminds because apart from sharing, “All my masterminds are so good.” I have heard that from Rebeca and you guys have so many different masterminds. You have the 10x, Badass Mastermind and a women’s show. Tell our readers about some of your different events in the mastermind.

The last one I had was Build an Empire Mastermind. That was on mindset. It was incredibly successful. It goes over how to even think in terms of empire, how to take it from conception to layout the target so people understand the path that they are aiming to shoot at. Some people do not know. Understanding what is an empire?

How do I get one? What is the purpose commitment level? What are the actions I need to take? How do I then expand it? How do I get other people in the full because you can’t do it alone? How do I protect it? Who is in the circle, inner circle and not? Why are they in? Why are they out? What are the red flags? What do I need to sacrifice in order to get where I want to be?

FYE 39 Elena Cardone | Build Your Empire

Build Your Empire: Some entrepreneurs don’t want to give up the branding or the ownership of their business. It really becomes their baby.


That mastermind leads with the blueprint of exactly knowing the exact strategy on how to hit the bullseye of the life that you created. That happened in the last mastermind. In the next one that is coming up in May 2022, this mastermind is going to be on lifestyle. We are going to cover health, wellness, branding, speaking, those that want to speak stages and confidence. We are going to cover all that in the next Build an Empire Lifestyle Workshop.

The one after that is going to be Build an Empire for the Relationships and the final one at the end of 2022 is going to be Build an Empire for Business and Finance. The reason I have four of those a year is that I want to put events into place in the future so that when you come to an event like this, you go back and apply it to your life.

They are three months apart. You apply it. You got that data then you have a place to come back to your successful action. The thing that got you winning and producing from the last three months, you come back to the successful action that helps you. You gain a little bit more but more so, you are around other like-minded individuals who are on the same team as you, wanting you to reach a heightened level of success, who do not think enough is enough, who don’t think when is enough. When are you going to stop or quit? Do you work all the time? These people are like, “You can do more. You can live up to your potential. You can be better in life and in your relationships.”

We come together to support each other, to get the next little grouping. You go back out into your life and apply the data. It is got to be applicable data. This isn’t motivational feel-good. I put these events in the future so that we have a stable event to look forward to not only self enhance but also getting that breather of being around like-minded individuals who want you to succeed. You go out into the normal world.

It gets a little threatened the more that you do because people see you change and better. They recognize what they are not doing or are not willing to do threatens them. They try to hold you down and say you look to hired or you work too much, whatever it is that they want you to do to stop so that they can be okay with not doing enough. Over time, that can bash you in a little bit. It can introvert you. It can make you think, “Am I doing something wrong? Maybe I need this whole thing called work-life balance. My life looks a little crazy. I should stop a little and be a little balanced.” Do you know what I’m saying?

I have been an entrepreneur my entire life and I have heard it all. I always say, “The more that you grow, the more you start to change your network because your networks go in that world and who you hang out with as well or who you become. When I look at who I used to hang out with and associate with when I was first getting into entrepreneurship is so much different now.

That is one of the things. Who or what are you willing to sacrifice in order to get where you want to be? Sometimes it means spending less time with friends. If the friends are not going to help you to create and build an empire then they are helping you to destroy an empire. They are either an asset or a liability. There is no in-between.

At some point, you have to be willing to look at that and say, “Why is this person in my life? Are they in my life because they have been entitled to be in my life?” At what point are you like, “That no longer cuts it. We are going here. Are you helping me get there? Am I helping you or are you helping me? If not like I do not have time for loft time and do nothing time. That is exhausting to me.”

We always think and plan on the exit strategy for all of the endeavors that we partake in the real estate.

I will tell you on Monday, I’m going slow in the office. I’m like, “I can’t stand against it. I’m afraid to a bunch of stuff because I can’t handle being slow. I partner with business owners. I buy businesses. I sell and we specialize in buying, selling and growing. I always say, “You will never grow a business beyond what you can the owner.

I always tell my clients and partners, “You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” The reason why they hang out with their friends with the same network that they have been hanging out with is because that is their comfort level. They know that is what they are used to. Is Grant part of those masterminds?

No. He came in on the last one as a special guest. I did a mindset on money. He came in, surprised us and delivered about 45 minutes of knockout material that blew us all away. It was amazing. He makes guest appearances. We are all grateful, happy and excited when he shows up. For the most part, he is not promoted on the material as this.

It sounds like you created a movement. I like the sound of it. It sounds like a support system. They are reaching out to and supporting each other.

Lifelong friendships are formed. If any of I is interested, they can go to 10XLadies.com/Mastermind. If you want to be a part of this group, this community and get some good data to get you 10X in all areas, building, supporting and protecting your empire.

Is that the event where Sharon was speaking up?

Sharon spoke at the 10X Ladies event. I hope the 10X Ladies event is separate than a mastermind. Mastermind is strictly speaking solely of me. 10X Ladies is an annual event. I do it once a year where I bring in powerhouse speakers like Sharon Lechter to speak on various topics but they all have to go either in one of these five categories which is the mindset, business, finance, relationships or the health and wellness lifestyle. Whatever the speaker talks about is the content for that keynote speech.

FYE 39 Elena Cardone | Build Your Empire

Build Your Empire: The problem with the school system is they’re trying to make cookie-cutter kids who are quiet, who don’t bother the teacher. Not every child is going to be along that line.


I help people exit rich and you and Grant are helping business owners and entrepreneurs build an empire to become extremely wealthy. Have you ever planned exits or helped business owners exit? What do you think is the biggest strategy or some of the most important things when you go to exit a business? I’m curious about your thoughts.

We have done all of that. We have a lot of businesses. We have a business called Cardone Ventures, where we partner with Brandon Dawson. We joint venture with a business for a piece of the upside. When we come into that, we are strategizing on what is the exit plan, if there is one. For our real estate, we have 12,000 apartment units.

We have thought about the exit strategy on that. Are we going to get weed it out? Are we going to Wall Street? Are we going to go smash blackstone and make a bunch of our investors happy? We always think and plan on the exit strategy for all of the endeavors that we partake in. We say that and then I do not know because part of me never wants to let go of that real estate portfolio.

A big thing with most business owners is they do not think about their exit. They wake up one day and say, “I need to sell. I want to sell for these reasons.” Most entrepreneurs have not gone a business. It is sellable for the price tag they need.

They do not want to give up the branding or the ownership. It becomes about their baby. I hear people talk about that a lot too.

It is the reason why Steve Forbes says. “Eighty percent of business will never exit and never sell.” It is important to think about that because businesses are not passed on from generation to generation anymore like those days. Your daughters might be interested in taking on your empire one day.

I’m asking them about that.

Are you going them up in the business?

As long as our children are productive, contributing members of society, then we are doing a good job as parents.

Sabrina is more interested now. She comes and works around the office. She tags along with Papa, listens and makes phone calls. She is showing a little bit more interest in being able to know this business. Scarlette is not as interested. She is more interested in her gymnastics, theatrics and stuff, more like me. The artistry type but we will see.

I have a daughter, Arabella. She is in gymnastics, horseback riding and tennis. She is starting to get interested in business.

I figure, let them do their kid thing for as long as they want. Enjoy that and her dance and acting classes. If they come around, they come around. I’m not going to force anything on them. As long as they are productive, contributing members to society, I feel like I did a good job as a mother.

I feel the same but we should have an Exit Rich 10X Mastermind together. Tell us about the book that you wrote. I did buy it and started reading it.

I wrote this book a couple of years ago. It was a little challenging for me to write. I did not think I was a writer by any means and did not want to sit still and do it but I’m glad I did because it has been successful. It was therapeutic for me personally. When I looked at this book, it rehabilitated my school years where I thought, “I’m not smart in this. I’m not a writer. That is for smart people.” Now I have a book. I’m like, “I can’t use that as an excuse anymore. I’m one of them. I’m in the smart people club now.”

Elena, were you telling yourself that or were other people telling you that?

It is a belief that I had growing up as a kid when I had difficulties in school and had a hard time paying attention and focusing because I was not interested in the material. I was forced to study, put in the lower reading group. I could not read well and read out loud. I would stumble over words. It was a tremendous amount of anxiety for me for a long time, especially being an actress having to do table reads. I would have to read the script ahead of time and try to memorize my section because I was that nervous. I could not pick something up and read it whole as I can now. I did not know that all I had to do was look up the words I did not understand and then everything would make sense.

FYE 39 Elena Cardone | Build Your Empire

Build an Empire How to Have it All

I spent years self-educating myself. I certainly do not think that now but it is something that I thought back then. My sister is amentia. She does super well in tests, SATs and all that stuff. I have always had extreme anxiety over that stuff. That is not my deal. I thought I was not one of those people but now I realize I am one of those people. I’m incredibly intelligent. I did not need a college degree for that.

I wrote this book because I realized that I have information from the experiences that I have had and been through. Based on the statistics that Grant and I have now amassed together, I have a blueprint here that can help other people who are interested in working, that don’t think work is a bad thing, that wants to build an empire. I reveal everything.

I’m very transparent about how we did it and what are the steps that we took real things that we to achieve this. The whole purpose is to fast-track anyone else’s way to success. When I was going through it and trying to figure it out, there were no social media and there was not anyone coming out saying, “This is what you do. This is who you avoid. You have to sacrifice to get where you want to go. These are the red flags and protect yourself in this way.” There was nobody. It took me a lot longer. I feel like if I had had this data, maybe I could have done it in half of the time.

The name of the book is?

It is called Build an Empire: How to Have it All.

How to have it all? You talk about having it all. You talk about family, your mom, you have two children and this huge empire. How do people say you have it all.

You can have it all but there will be a sacrifice.

The reason why I asked you earlier about, it was that you were telling yourself out or was that other people around you? I interviewed Les Brown. The teachers tell him that he was regarded and it was horrible. I myself have twelve businesses. We have done over 1,000 transactions. I was not the best in math but I am now. It is all this negative feedback and negative things we tell ourselves and people tell us. I was curious about how you were able to overcome that. Les Brown and I dug deep in that. If he believed what those teachers told him, you would never hear about Les Brown now.

You can have it all and still experience the ups and downs of life.

They love to evaluate and invalidate. To me, the problem with the school system is they are trying to make cookie-cutter kids who are quiet, who do not bother the teacher and not every child is going to be along that line. Other children are going to be like me, you and Grant. I’m terrible at Math. I need to count on my fingers to 21. I’m counting on my fingers at the blackjack table. He was like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “I’m counting.” He was like, “You never do that again.” He was mortified but it is what it is.

I put my daughter out of a private school in New Orleans because they want to put you in a box. They want every kid to learn the same. They wanted to put you in a box. The school came and said, “Your daughter is doing great. She needs everybody from one station to the next station.” I said, “That is great.” They go, “She is not enjoying herself. You think she might have ADD because she moves up the way I go.” I go, “That sounds like a great entrepreneur to me. I don’t know what the problem is.”

They want to drug kids now. They want to drug them into zombie-like, be nothing, say nothing, be seen and not heard. Certainly, do not be and do not have the enthusiasm and the energy of a child who has not been beaten down. You are too excited. Let me beat you down and label you. They were labeling you with a disease.

To have a disease, there has to be a disease of an actual organ. That is what a disease is. They are saying you have a disease, a disease of what? You are labeling symptoms of a disease. There is nothing wrong with your kid. Maybe you have given them too much sugar. If you are giving them sodas, caffeine and they are bouncing off on the walls, that is one thing. Kids naturally have energy. They have a zest and a hunger for life. You can’t expect the kid to sit for an hour and want to learn about who the heck is that.

Greek mythology is what they are teaching.

It is boring and what is the purpose? Why is that applicable? It is absolute torture. When the kid gets bored, jittering is sick because it is boring and no one’s told them the purpose of what they are studying. They want to label and drug them. It is disgusting what they are doing.

I always say, “Let’s not ask how smart our kids are but how are our kids smart?” We all have our different talents. We all have different surprises. Schools need to take the time to get to know better.

FYE 39 Elena Cardone | Build Your Empire

Build Your Empire: Having it all doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect.


I do not mean this about all teachers but I will say some are lazy and they do not want to figure out how to deal with kids. They want them to be drugged into zombie land.

Back to your book is it possible, Elena, to have it all?

It is possible.

You are the walking model. You are having it all.

I have a financial legacy, children, husband but I have it all but it comes with a sacrifice. There are things that I do not do in order to have it all and having it all does not mean it is going to be perfect in a fairytale picture that they are supposed to have at all times. It does not mean that. I live on planet Earth. There are challenges on planet Earth. There are things to deal with.

Even if I have it all, I still have up days, down days, fights with my husband and my children. I still have disagreements with colleagues that I have to work out. I still have somebody that told me no or does not want to join my team. I still have life. You can have it all and still experience the ups and downs of life. It does not mean that all of a sudden because there was a problem, a situation, you are sad, you are unhappy one day or things aren’t perfect that somehow discredits you from having it all.

I have a great marriage, a beautiful child and have multiple companies. Let’s talk about balance because I have been to different speaking events where women have said, “There has no such thing as balance. You can’t balance.” Do you agree?

I do not believe there has a balance. There are probably balanced people out there. I don’t know them and I do not follow them because I’m not looking for balance. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. If somebody feels like they need to get through this life being balanced, my idea of balance is everything works out perfectly and we are all in harmony. I have the perfect amount of time with my children, husband, business and everything works hand-in-hand.

We have to make sacrifices along the way if we want to have it all. There is no real balance.

If you find that person and that is what you want, study and follow everything that they do if that is what you want. That is not my life. I do not know how to have that. I do not even know that I want that. When I have too much calm and everything, I get nervous. I’m like, “I need action. I will start picking fights with somebody because I do not have enough action.

Believe it or not. You are not alone because I do the exact same thing.

I want to bring in this phase. At Cirque du Soleil, I’m the master juggler. I got the chainsaw, with the ping pong, with the skip ball and with the tennis ball. I deal with whichever one is dropping in my at the time is the one that gets that attention.

Having it all, there are sacrifices we have to make along the way. There is no real balance. For me, I try to have quality time, not quantity but quality time. I have time with my daughter. I unplug, I make sure that time is just her. I make that with her is 1,000% focused on her.

I do quality over quantity. I do not think the kids need to be with you for several hours of the day. I think that if you do fun, creative time with them, hugs and kisses whether you are cooking something in the kitchen together or hanging out, whatever, it is enough. We have a trampoline. I go jump on the trampoline with them. It is time. It does not have to be hours. It can be 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

What inspired you when you joined eXp and made this your mission to turn it into the largest real estate group in the world?

I joined eXp because of Glenn Sanford, the Founder of eXp and Grant, we are going to do a deal to have Grants training on the platform, which now is there. Glenn said, “I do not know how this is going to work because you are not a licensed realtor. I raised my hand and thought, “I will get the real estate license. Do you want me to get a real estate license?” Glenn was over the moon because 63% of women at the time were in the real estate industry.

FYE 39 Elena Cardone | Build Your Empire

Build Your Empire: Can you build the largest, most successful real estate team or the fastest growing real estate brokerage in the world? Why not give it a go? What’s the worst thing that can happen?


I was like, “This is another thing I’m going to do behind the scenes that I do not get credit for. This is going to help them facilitate the team but it is a good deal. I want them to do it. I will take one for the team.” While I started studying the course, I learned about the model. I love the commission-based, how that works and how you go to 100% after you cap.

What I loved and what struck me is very interesting is that you get equity ownership in a publicly-traded company. As you know, ownership in a company is a very big deal. This other area was the leveraged share. If you bring in people who are producing, you get bonused on them when they produce and they transact. Not just on that person but if they bring in someone, seven people deep. You can create a business within a business in this model. I felt like they pay you a check every single month for that. It is a leveraged income model where a normal traditional agent can have a feast while there might be famine in between the actual selling of a home commission to commission, which does not happen all the time. It happens several months apart in many cases.

I love the model. I thought, “This is my opportunity now to be the woman behind the thousands with this model because I can go in and offer mindset, infrastructure and support. As well as a whole global network of people in my organization to help these empire builders build this financial. Equity ownership this leveraged income are both willable. They can create not only financial stability but financial freedom and financial legacy in terms of how big you build it and what you will do to whomever your children are next to kin. That is why I decided to do it.

Through 10X passion, I decided to throw a little spice in there, give myself a challenge and say, “Can you build Elena from New Orleans, who never went to college not to about being a realtor? Can you build the largest, most successful real estate team on the fastest growing real estate brokerage in the world? Why not give it a go? What is the worst thing that can happen? You can look ridiculous and have egg on your face and fail but who cares? Why not go for it? It is a fun game.” That is what I’m doing.

The best thing that can happen far outweighs the negative.

I have 50,000 people in my downline rather than 100,000, which is the ultimate goal for several years

Three great tips to having it all, this are Elena’s tips. This is what she believes in. This is her foundation to having it.

One, know that with every decision that you make, you are either creating or destroying your empire. Whether you are aware that there is even an empire to have or not have is irrelevant. I’m telling you that you are creating or destroying every decision that you make. That should torture you about every decision whether it is as little as eating a pastry to working out to who you want to do business with.

Stop playing small. Play big, get known and help as many people as you can because we need you. This world needs you.

Are they credible? Do they have your core values? Number two is what is your purpose? Hone in on your purpose. It does not have to be the permanent one. It can change over time but it is crucial to have a purpose and why you are doing this because that is what is going to keep you going when you start getting punched around by life.

It should be something bigger than yourself that pulls you forward so you won’t quit on it even if you were tempted to quit on yourself. Purpose and the core values go along with that. Meaning, what are your core values? What do you stand for? What do you tolerate in other people? What do you expect out of other people?

Number three, find the one you trust and build an empire. That means everyone. It does not mean your bedmate but it should start there. You need people in an empire. It takes people for an empire. No one has done it alone. The solopreneur may start in the basement. They do not end in the basement. There has no such thing as an empire aloneness. You have to find out how to have people in the empire. Find the ones you trust and build your empire.

I always say, “You do not build a business. You build people and people build the business.” Sometimes the hardest thing is finding the people you can trust. What is Elena’s why? What is Elena’s purpose?

In 2008, when we were on the verge of losing it all, my only purpose was to survive and not lose it all. I did not care about anyone on the opposite end of this show or whatever this interview was called because I could not. I could only take care of myself and not lose it all. That was the only purpose. This is why I’m saying, “It does not have to be the permanent one.” That got me out of that condition by having that purpose. I did not stop because I did not want to lose at all. I wanted to survive.

Now I’m at a different place. I’m at financial freedom or financial stability and now my purpose is different. My purpose is I want to bring financial literacy, stability and help people. Grant gets his products and services into people. I want to restore the family dynamic and the value of women to society.

I’m on this real big women empowerment movement right now. They can own their power, change the world and make a difference. With eXp, I want to be the woman behind helping thousands of people to financial freedom. These are my purposes right now that keep me going when times get tough because I can’t quit. I would never quit on myself but for sure, I can’t quit on everybody else.

I talk to Rebeca before this interview. She said, “Michelle, she is so smart. She reads everything. She always improves her IQ every day.” You are fascinating.

FYE 39 Elena Cardone | Build Your Empire

Build Your Empire: You are a gift. Everyone is a gift. Don’t diminish that.


I do not do a whole lot of reading. I should do more but I look up words all the time. I love words. Looking up words has made me intelligent. Learning the definition and the meaning of words is such a beautiful gift.

Any thoughts you would like to leave with our readers?

I’m going to steal this phrase from Grant, “Be great. Nothing else pays.” By that, I mean you are a gift. Everyone is a gift. Do not diminish that in you. Own who you are. You were given your own set of experiences for a reason, good or bad. Please do not withhold yourself, products and services from me. Share them with the world because you can help me but you not making yourself known for sure does not help me. It does not give me the opportunity to be helped by you.

If there is anybody out there that is in their head about, “Little old me, I’m too scared to talk about this or that.” Get over your own little self insecurities because they are insignificant. The big picture is you have the potential to affect and change a life, your mind being one of them. Please do not make that transgression against yourself by playing small. Play big, get known and help as many people as you can because we need you. This world needs you.

Elena, how can people find you?

They can find me on all socials, @ElenaCardone, or you can go to my website ElenaCardone.com.

How do they get the book?

This book is free. You just pay shipping. You go to ElenaCardone.com/Empire. Anyone who bought the book funded me now being able to give the book away. Once I paid that expense back to the company and they were not like, “Elena is a freeloader. She takes from the company. We are down $50,000 for printing her book.” You made it possible for me to pay that debt back to Cardone Enterprises. Now I can give my book away.

Elena, thank you so much for being an amazing guest on our show. I love having you on and I love your words of wisdom. Thanks to all of our readers. Make sure you share this episode with all of your friends, family and your network because there are golden nuggets here and leave a review.

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About Elena Cardone

FYE 39 Elena Cardone | Build Your EmpireElena Cardone started her career in Hollywood and soon became a successful model and actress of TV and film. A lifelong competitive sport shooter, and now wife, mother, author, businesswoman, empire builder, event producer, mentor, public speaker, and visionary.
She is the author of the best-selling book “Build an Empire: How to Have it All.” She is the executive producer of the massively successful events that include 10X Ladies, Operation 10X Badass, Build an Empire Mastermind and her own show Women of Power.
Additionally, she mentors hundreds of women with personal, one-on-one coaching sessions.
Elena’s most recent endeavor has been to partner up with EXP Realty. She plans on building the largest real estate team across the globe!
Elena has been happily married to Grant since 2004, they have two beautiful daughters, Sabrina and Scarlett, along with their two cats, Cash & Flow Together they have created a real estate portfolio of $4.8 Billion.