March 25, 2019

Elena Cardone's book Build an Empire, How to Have it All, takes life coaching to the next level and she has plenty of advice for women to lift their fortunes from the ordinary to the extraordinary. It's based on the life lessons learned while building a business empire with her husband.

Elena and her husband Grant, both entrepreneurs, took a significant hit in the financial collapse of 2008. In the ensuing ten years, while building their business empire from the ground up, Elena discovered insights into what it takes to create a life built on integrity, while at the same time tending to your spiritual and physical health, and finally amassing a small fortune.

The podcast is a casual chat with Elena covering the early years, her relationship with Grant and her family, the successful business startup with Grant, and finally achieving a work/life balance. Elena's personal experience helps listeners avoid business and relationship mistakes while working on their empires.

How it All Started

Elena moved to LA from New Orleans after a humble upbringing to pursue her dream of becoming an actor. She worked for years as a model and took on acting gigs as they came along. During this time she met Grant Cardone, impressing her with his determination and work ethic. She decided, "you know, this is the guy for me", he always has my back, and he is an energetic businessman who is loyal to the core.

After marriage and a baby on the way, the bottom dropped out for them financially in the economic collapse of 2008. They looked at each other and decided we can do this; we can build an empire and be successful. They relied on each other as allies and played to each other's strengths to grow their brand and their products. The tactics Elena uses to foster success include:

  • Working with an abundance of love and commitment
  • Achieving the end goal of a self-sustaining product
  • Striving to become the ultimate version of yourself
  • Always having each other's back
  • Working to establish an empire big enough to survive financial ups and downs 

These same principles, Elena stresses, work well for all couples struggling to keep family life healthy while growing a profitable business. 

Work With Clearly Defined Roles

Elena and Grant figured out early on that working together with clearly defined roles and deciding who does what and sticking to it, made everything run more smoothly. They had conversations about the direction they wanted to go and how they would get there. Elena describes their full commitment to constantly challenging themselves, but still maintaining a work/life balance. How do Elena and Grant achieve this balance? Elena focuses on these five ways:

  • Being present, in the moment in all situations
  • Giving up trying to be a superhero, outsourcing what you can't do
  • Enduring sacrifices in the early years, and still persevering
  • Working with honesty and integrity
  • Not worrying about appearing super successful, stay the course working towards success!

Elena wants listeners to understand that clearly defining roles and sticking to them is a great strategy for all business partners, especially married couples, juggling work and home life and trying to stay sane.

Develop a Thick Skin

As Elena's empire grew, problems surfaced as they do in all businesses and she had to learn to roll with the punches. She describes all the common problems businesses face and how she developed a thicker skin to survive in the world of business. Elena discusses the challenges she faced with Grant, that all business partners must eventually contend with:

  • Employee problems
  • Copyright problems
  • Litigation threats
  • Facing the fact that you DO need a lawyer

With young children to consider, Elena and Grant try to shield them from adult problems, but they still include them in the business and brace them for the spotlight. "We had to tighten our inner circle," Elena explains, the bigger the empire became, the more critical loyal insiders became. 

You hear the pain in Elena's voice, discussing some of their struggles, but as she advises listeners, you can withstand the onslaught, work through the difficult issues together and become a stronger team.

The Book Was Grant's Idea

Grant suggested Elena write the book, chronicling how they overcame the odds and succeeded, and at the same time advising other women on the rewards and pitfalls they will encounter while striving for success. Elena agreed it was a great idea. She doesn't want to be alone at the top; she wants to lift other women with her. She believes one degree of difference in the world can make a significant change, by encouraging others to think big as she does, why not improve the world?

The key takeaway from this podcast is that Elena Cardone wants other women, future Empire Builders, to achieve their true potential and if she can help people in their relationships along the way, it's a fabulous bonus!