Set a Course for Success: Apply a CEO’s Mindset to Your Real Estate Business

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Contacting leads. Showing houses. Writing contracts. Working with lenders and appraisers. Dealing with title and escrow. There’s plenty of work to keep any top-producing real estate agent busy. And it’s easy to get stuck in the “engine room” of your business — the day-to-day grind of making sure your transactions close and clients are happy.

This week on The Walkthrough, Racole Jackson says it’s time to get out of the engine room and get on the main deck of your business. It’s time to start thinking like a CEO while you act like an agent. Listen in as she shares six aspects of the CEO mindset and how they can change the course of your business.

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Links and Show Notes

Full Transcript

(SPEAKER: Matt McGee, Host)

[sound: ship’s engine room at sea]

The engine room is the heart of a ship. All the machinery that allows a ship to go forward, the engines, electrical generators, gearboxes, oil tanks, they’re all part of the engine room. The people who make sure the engine is operating at peak performance do their work in the engine room. The ship can’t go anywhere without those people or without all the machinery that turns the propeller.

[sound: ship’s horn]

But the person in charge of the ship doesn’t work in the engine room. The captain always knows what’s going on in the engine room but he or she is up on the main deck with a full view of where the ship is going. The captain sets the course. The captain is the CEO of that ship.

There’s an analogy in real estate, the closing table is the engine room of your business. Leads and clients are the fuel that powers your engine. Transactions are the propeller that keeps your business moving. But you, you’re the person who sets the course. If you spend too much time in the engine room, how can you see where your business is going? Or how can you see where the industry is going?

My guest today says it’s time to spend more time on the main deck of your business without ignoring the engine room. Racole Jackson wants you to act like an agent, think like a CEO. She says making that mindset change from agent to CEO is the key to long-term success in real estate. But how do you actually do it? What does it take to think like a CEO? That’s what we’ll uncover today.

This is “The Walkthrough.”


Hi, there. I’m Matt McGee, editor of HomeLight’s agent resource center. Welcome to our little show called “The Walkthrough.” This is a weekly podcast. We have new episodes that come out every Monday. This is the show where you’ll learn what’s working right now from the best real estate agents and industry experts in the country.

At HomeLight, we believe in real estate agents. We’re on a journey to find out how great agents grow their business, stand out from the crowd, and become irreplaceable. If you wanna get involved in the show or contact me in any way, a couple of different ways you can do that. Find me in our Facebook listener community, go to Facebook, do a search for HomeLight Walkthrough. The group should come right up. You can leave a voicemail or send me a text. The number for that is (415) 322-3328. Or you can just send an email. It’s walkthrough [at]

About a month ago, I was in a clubhouse room when a new agent started talking. This guy is in his second year in the business and he had a fantastic first year. Almost seventy transactions. He won rookie of the year awards. He was one of the top five agents at his brokerage across the entire state where he works. Most amazingly, he did all this by himself. No help at all. No admin, no transaction coordinator, nothing. When the veteran agents in the room heard this, they congratulated him, but they also shared a very stern warning, “You can’t keep doing it that way. You’re going to kill yourself.”

My guest today was in that room too. Her name is Racole Jackson and her message to this second agent was similar, perhaps a bit more encouraging. She talked about a model for long-term success. She talked about creating leverage. She told this agent to ask himself, “As a rainmaker, what is the best and highest use of my time?”

Racole is a licensed real estate agent in the West Palm Beach, Florida area. She also has her own title company and her own transaction management company. She is also a real estate attorney with multiple law degrees. And Racole is the founder of a mentoring and coaching program that she calls the Agent CEO Club.

On today’s show, Racole is going to share the ideas that she uses to help real estate professionals like you act like an agent, think like a CEO. You’ll hear her talk about six aspects of the CEO mindset from coachability, to problem-solving, and many more. And we’re also going to get into some specifics on how you can get out of the sale-to-sale grind and spend more time on your long-term vision, out of the engine room, as it were, and onto the main deck. That’s all straight ahead. Coming up at the very, very end of the show, I’ll have a One More Minute segment to share with you, so do stay tuned for that.

For now, let’s learn how to act like an agent and think like a CEO. Here’s my conversation with Racole Jackson.


Matt: Let’s talk about that phrase, think like a CEO, right? It’s all about mindset. How would you describe…what is the CEO mindset?

Racole: Well, the CEO mindset, things from, again, operation of a business from a macro level, right? Not trying to be all things to all people and not thinking of sales because sales are not the only function of a business, right? Again, you have intake, you have outtake, you have client management, you have billing, etc, and people. People is one of the most difficult areas of a business to perfect across the board in different practice areas. And so if you can wrap your mind around the fact that…if you can perfect that, how to find, acquire, and manage talent to be successful, you crack the code.

The characteristics of a CEO, CEO mindset is … CEOs are always learning, always because they realize that they don’t know everything. CEOs, generally, they have a different work ethic. Everyone gets into real estate because you have this freedom of schedule. And I always say the very thing that draws a lot of people to real estate is the very thing that kills them. Right? And so they’re all, “I can make my own schedule.” Exactly. You can make your own schedule. You’re gonna live and die by that schedule that you set. So most CEOs, they’re up early. They’re up before the sun comes up. Think like a CEO. They’re learning. They’re understanding that, you know, they have to work with people. They’re understanding that a business is a set of systems that are duplicatable in different areas with different people, etc, right? It’s not just these onesie, twosies. They’re thinking from scale. And so when you remove yourself from thinking from a sales perspective, “How do I just get this one listing?” versus, “Okay, how do I create a system to get multiple listings, service multiple listings?” Now you’re thinking like a CEO.

Matt: In real estate, it’s so easy to get, you know, bogged down in the day-to-day, the transaction to transaction things. How does an agent, you know, make the time, especially a successful agent, Racole, make the time to step back and think about that vision, where am I gonna be a year from now, five years from now?

Racole: So they have to be purposeful and in being purposeful, what I’m finding to be most effective in that, and this is a framework that’s been around for a long time, but I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the space now I see it more, but coaching. Coaching is not anything that’s unfamiliar. We go to the fitness coaches, we go to therapists, we go to health coaches, we go to voice coaches. We go to all these different coaches. And so coaching not only gives you exposure and education, it also gives you motivation and it gives you accountability. So many of us struggle with those different areas.

And so to answer your question, how does one get there? You get there by a coach, a coach is going to cut down your learning curve. That’s specifically what they focus in, they specifically focus in whatever area that you’re struggling. They focus in that area in order to cut down your learning curve and bring you resources. Because, again, like you said, you can get busy in all the things. Like I’m busy. I’m busy trying to get the next listing, etc. And so the coach, you know, say, it’s a systems or operations coach, there they’re on your side saying, “Okay, let me go ahead and help you layer in or insert some systems and some structure as you’re working through sales.” Again, most agents might start off with a productivity coach or mentor. A lot of offices, that’s where they start off at. But your top producers, they definitely have a coach.

Matt: You’ve mentioned being apt to learning, you’ve mentioned being coachable. We’ve talked about having a vision. It’s probably got to be like really important also just to be self-aware of what your strengths and weaknesses are, right? Your personality type, and maybe look to fill your weaknesses. Is that part of being the CEO mindset as well?

Racole: Absolutely. So there’s a couple that I hear talked about a lot. The most common one I hear is the DISC assessment, D-I-S-C, DISC assessment. And then there’s also the Enneagram. There’s a book called “The Wisdom of the Enneagram.” But the DISC assessment is the one that’s most commonly used, not just in real estate, but in most business settings across, you know, the professions. And to your point, the suggestion is that you hire what you are not, right? And so if you’re a DI, then you wanna hire an SC. A D is a driver. They call them a driver. They’re very task-driven. I is influential. They like people. S is steady. They’re not crazy about change. They’re gonna pick a lane and stay in it. And a C is very compliant. They check the box. They’re very process-driven.

And so if you, for example, are a leader, most leaders are Ds and Is. They’re very visionary. They’re influencers, but they’re not good about sticking to processes and procedures or developing them. Like that drives them bonkers. Right? And so that’s generally going to be their next hire. Their next hire has to be very accommodating. And the reason why I say accommodating is because the D and the I, or D specifically, they have a very strong personality. So the next hire, the admin, the TC, the operations manager has to understand, you know, that you have to kind of accommodate and appease that personality. So absolute, to answer your question, most of them are gonna be a D or I, so they need to be looking for S or C. Someone told me that that one person is a C. I haven’t seen him myself. It’s like the Loch Ness monster. Most top producers I’ve seen are D and an I.

Matt: So rainmakers, top producers, as we’re talking about, they are great at sales and leadership, but not great at, you know, the operations side, the details, the systems, and the processes?

Racole: No. It drives them crazy. It drives them crazy. They’ll run out, hair on fire like, “Please don’t talk to me about this.”

Matt: So if you’re talking to a rainmaker who is trying to do all this sort of stuff, what is the answer to, in terms of creating leverage? Is it just adding people to fill in those areas where they’re not strong?

Racole: Right. Their next key hire is their assistant. Their next key hire is their C. And the ideal situation is that their S or C will level up to say, for example, an operations manager. It doesn’t always happen, but it happens pretty often that they will level up. And, again, as it relates to that, there’s oftentimes…there’s even coaching for that. Like how do you hire your first admin and assistance with interviewing that first admin? Because that’s a very critical hire. That is a very critical hire because what I’ve found is when a agent makes a misstep on their first hire, the admin oftentimes they’re discouraged, they don’t wanna go at it again, “I’ll just do it myself.” But you can’t do that. You cannot be all things to all people forever. And so the CEO mindset accepts that. And so I’m always, you know, encouraging agents that, “Hey, say, listen, you’re not gonna get it perfect every time.” That’s just what it is, right? So you have to give yourself grace to interview someone, take a shot on them, hire them and if it doesn’t work out, then you adjust accordingly. But you cannot absolutely just foreclose out the idea of hiring. That’s an impossible situation. It’s never gonna work.

Matt: Is that an area that a lot of agents struggle with just in terms of accepting that there are going to be mistakes and we need to fix the mistakes as soon as possible?

Racole: Yeah. For sure. They struggle with it. Everyone’s struggling. It’s not just an agent. Everyone. I have some attorney colleagues, “I’m never hiring an admin.” Well, listen, you’re never gonna grow. You just have to do it. But that’s something that they struggle with. But what I find, unfortunately, is that the struggle becomes more so that the agent might’ve assumed that the admin was gonna come in and just fix it all, make it all go away. But they also need direction, right? And so it’s almost like you have to…they have to get their process out of their head and on paper. And that’s very painful, to get their process out of their head and on paper, because an admin is gonna come in, they’re gonna defer to you and they’re gonna say, “Okay. So what do we do now?” But the agent is like, “Just figure it out.” And that’s a recipe for disaster. So that’s what’s important. Even if you find the best person, they still need some direction.

Matt: When you are working with top producers and rainmakers and helping them create leverage, how big a problem is the delegation issue, right? I feel like a lot of agents are probably like, “My clients wanna work with me. They don’t wanna talk to, you know, the new agents on my team, the buyer’s agents, the show,” whatever it might be.

Racole: So it’s 50-50. You’d be surprised. Some were exhausted and they’re like, “Here, take it. Just get away from me.” And others, they do think that way, but it’s actually the opposite effect. The clients have a better experience when you put another team member in place where you create another touchpoint, right? You create leverage. So let’s say, for example, you put an assistant in place to handle, you know, all the non-sales-related things and now the agent has more time to communicate more with the client, right? That’s all leverage does. Leverage creates more time in the overall process for someone. It’s freeing someone up. The agents, it’s their mindset that the client only wants to deal with them. And that’s not the case. The clients want the experience. They want the result that they get when they work with you. So if you can document your process, manage it such that your client gets that result whether they work with you or your new agent that you’ve hired, I think your client will be okay with that.

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Matt: Racole and I were just talking about delegating work to others. You can’t be everywhere. You can’t be all things to all clients. So part of thinking like a CEO is leveraging your buyers and/or your listing agents. As Racole and I were talking, I asked her about a related topic, how does time management fit into this idea of thinking like a CEO?

Racole: The CEO is always thinking, “What is my highest and best use?” They’re always looking at their highest and best use and looking at creating leverage. Your highest and best use is not sending the information sheet, or the escrow letter, or the, you know, those types of minute details back and forth to the title agent. Put a TC there, right? All of a sudden, in general, I would say, easily, a TC will free up on average about 15 to 20 hours of manpower per transaction and then look about…consider the experience now that your client is getting because you’re using a TC. Most TCs are also sending status updates each week. They’re sending additional resources. If you have the listing side or the seller side, they’re sending, “All right, we’re almost close to closing. Have you confirmed that your mail is forwarded, that your utilities are forwarded?” etc. On the buy-side, same thing, you got your boxes in place. And so that’s one of the first places that they get more time. And usually, usually when a Realtor who has not had a TC before, when they first get a TC, they’re like, “Oh, this is great. Like, what else do we do? Give me more.” And so from there, they’re trying to find their full-time admin. So I’ll say that it’s not usually very difficult to show an agent how getting leverage and help. Really, they find more time when they bring in help.

Matt: Do you encounter agents that are resistant to the idea of bringing in help, they just want to be a one-man band?

Racole: I honestly don’t see that very often. At a minimum, most agents want help. They just don’t know how to go about it. Not to say that that they don’t exist. Some are okay with it. They’re like, “Oh, I’ve been doing this myself for 30 years.” That’s fine if that’s where you wanna be. But those are few and far between. Most people don’t like the fact that, you know, it’s all me, it all falls on me. If I have to take a vacation, if…you know, I have to take a call, there’s no one else to call but me. And so I very rarely see agents that just want to be a truly pure solo agent. You have… Now, you even have some agents that are…they’re the only agent on their team, but they still have a team because they’re in such high production themselves. They have transaction coordinators, they have admins, etc, that are facilitating all the non-sales-related functions although they’re the only licensed real estate agent in their group.

Matt: Yeah. I’ve encountered just a bunch of agents over time that, they start out as themselves. They bring on a TC, they might hire, you know, a marketing person, whatever it might be. They still get to a point where they are maxing out though, right? Just as themselves being the only person that is interacting with buyers and sellers.

Racole: Correct. And that’s what it’s all about. You know, again, thinking like a CEO does exactly that. They realize that at a certain point, I’ve maxed out my ratios. I cannot be in five places at one time. Right? And so a CEO knows their numbers, they know where they max out, they know, “Okay, I can only work with, you know, let’s say 10 or 15 buyers. This is too much,” right? “Until I need to bring on another showing assistant or something along those lines.” And so just really being in tune with your model so that you can duplicate them is how a CEO thinks.

Matt: Racole, we’ve been talking about things like the learning part of the mindset, being coachable, being apt to learning. What else makes up the CEO mindset? Is there anything that we haven’t touched on?

Racole: Yes. Two more things come to mind that are part of the CEO mindset. One is being in tune with your industry so that you are being proactive and not necessarily reactive to changes in the market. If you are deeply in tune with the market and the service that you provide, generally you should be able to see trends that will lend you to some expected results. What do I mean by that? So let’s say, for example, I mean, something as small as, okay, well, they’re not allowing us to meet in person anymore. How do we resolve that? Oh, you know, for people let’s say, for example, “We do homebuyer workshops.” If you saw that coming down the pike and you know that that’s an essential element of your business, be proactive about how you’re going to address that. CEOs are in the market and your most profound, your most prolific CEOs are market-makers. They get ahead of it and they are the visionaries and they’re the voice for change.

Secondly, they are solution-based. They do not react to a change and just fold. They say, “Okay, well, how do I address this? How does this affect my business and how do we react to that?” Right now in the market, there’s been a huge uproar about the use of portals in the marketing and sale of real estate. So I’ve been saying for a while, “Hey, listen, Amazon sells groceries now, right? They now are partners or owners of Whole Foods. Publix didn’t shut down. Walmart didn’t shut down. Whoever the stores are in your area, they did not shut down. There’s gonna be a market for you. How do you respond to that?” Right? CEOs find differentiators and so the response for Realtors and CEO-minded Realtor’s to the market, the portals is, “Okay, what’s my differentiator?” Everybody’s not gonna wanna buy or sell online. CEOs, they get ahead of things. They get ahead of things in their own offices and their businesses. They also get ahead of things in the industry. So the encouragement is to when you think like a CEO, the CEO is the head, the CEO is the leader. And so the agents are being encouraged to think like leaders in the industry.

Matt: I love that too because what you just said there about having that vision and looking ahead and being able to steer the ship, in order to do that, you have to transition to the CEO. You have to be able to step back from your business and not worry about the minute details, all the paperwork, everything that’s involved in every single transaction. In order to be able to do that, you need to create leverage, you need to have systems, and processes, and a staff in place.

Racole: It goes back to the very common adage, working on your business, not in your business. Right? And I like how you said it. If you’re at the helm of something and you said a ship, right? What do they call the person that drives the ships? They’re at the front, right? And they’re looking out, pointing the direction. So the CEO has to be that person that’s up ahead, up top, looking out, pointing the direction for the ship. CEOs are entrepreneurs, they’re visionaries. They create what was not there. They see the unseen and they manifest it. They create something, it becomes a physical thing based on their vision. And so they can continue to say, “Hey, there’s always a resolve. There’s always a possibility.” Again, Realtors aren’t going anywhere. I’m just telling you, like people are not gonna say…they’re not gonna throw their house. One hundred percent of the houses are not gonna go online for sale. It’s just not gonna happen. So what we have to do as real estate professionals is find our niche and get rich, as they say.

(Speaker: Matt McGee, Host)

Thanks so much, Racole Jackson. Great, great conversation. Listeners, if you’re a top producer, it is all about spending less time in the engine room, more time on the main deck of your business.

If you’d like to connect with Racole, look her up by name. It’s Racole Jackson. That’s spelled R-A-C-O-L-E, Jackson. She’s on all the social networks, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Clubhouse. She also invited me to give out her email address. So if you wanna send her an email, it’s ceo [at] And if you want to learn more about The Agent CEO Club, the mentoring and training program she runs the website is That’s all together. No hyphens, I will link to that in today’s show notes so it’s easier to find.

Reminder, coming up at the very end of the show is a One More Minute segment, so stay tuned for that. Right now, let’s do our takeaways segment. This is what stood out to me from today’s conversation.

We covered six aspects of the CEO mindset. Number one, CEOs are apt to learning and must be coachable. Racole suggests you get a coach if you don’t already have one. Top producers have coaches. She said, “Don’t dismiss it just as something for new or struggling agents.”

Number two, CEOs create leverage. You can’t be all things to all people. If you try to do that, you’re gonna burn out in a hurry.

Takeaway number three, CEOs understand that business is a set of systems that can be duplicated. They think in terms of scale. It’s not just about getting the next listing, but how do I create systems to get a constant stream of listings?

Takeaway four, CEOs are always thinking, “What is my highest and best use?” And when it comes time to expand, to grow their team, they hire people to take care of all of the other stuff.

Takeaway number five, CEO’s are in tune with the market. The CEO is the visionary, the voice for change. They’re proactive, not reactive.

And then number six, CEOs are solution-based. They don’t fold in the face of change. They have solutions for thriving when things change.

All right. If you have questions or feedback, you can send a voicemail or text. It’s (415) 322-3328. You can email me. It’s walkthrough [at] or just find me in our Facebook listener community, go to Facebook, do a search for HomeLight Walkthrough, the group will come right up. If you’re listening to this right now, you should be in that group.

That is all for this week. Thanks to Racole Jackson for joining me, and thank you for listening. Hey, if you have a moment, quick favor to ask, if I may. Please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen, I’d really appreciate that. And be sure to hit that subscribe button so that you get all of our future shows automatically.

My name is Matt McGee. You’ve been listening to “The Walkthrough.” At HomeLight, we believe in real agents. We’re on a journey to find out how great agents grow their business, stand out from the crowd, and become irreplaceable. Go out and safely sell some homes. I’ll talk to you again next week. Bye-Bye.


(Speaker: Matt McGee, Host)

Welcome back and welcome to another edition of One More Minute.

Today I wanna talk about consistency. I think consistency is super underrated. Social media teaches us to try to go viral, right? To hit home runs like that famous Oreo tweet from the 2013 Super Bowl or the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge a few years ago.

But I think being consistent is a more certain path to success, especially in real estate. If you’re making videos, you need to do it consistently. If you’re posting great articles on your blog, you need to do it consistently. If you’re staying in touch with your database, you need to do it consistently. You can’t do this stuff only when you feel like it and expect to succeed.

Your lack of consistency creates their lack of interest. Let me say that again. Your lack of consistency creates their lack of interest.

That’s One More Minute. I’m Matt McGee. Thanks for listening. I’ll see you next week with another Walkthrough.

Header Image Source: (Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay)