Elena Cardone is a woman in control. She is one half of The G&E Show, a weekly podcast show with her husband, Grant Cardone, a New York Times bestselling author, international speaker, and business innovator. And she knows exactly how to build an empire.
In The G&E Show, the power couple tells us how it is when it comes to the “business of marriage.”
“We’re not perfect, but we’re figuring it out. We have a very good thing, and we’ve been very successful. If I can fast-track somebody else’s success or help another couple get on the same page, then it’s worth it,” says Elena. “I want other people to experience victories — real victories.”
For her, balancing love and business comes easy when you are part of a dependable team. After more than a decade of being married, Elena and Grant have learned to validate each other and review their goals together; they always want to make sure they’re in alignment. According to them, success in this arena is about showing up for your partner.
“It’s holding myself to a higher standard, actively assuming a more responsible role, and holding myself accountable — not just in my marriage, but for others,” she says. “It means showing up 100% in my marriage.”
Early on in their relationship, Elena was responsible for pushing her husband to become a billionaire. She maintained that it was an attainable target and a goal she pushed him to achieve. “Everything should be about chasing down the money. Where’s it coming from? Go get it. Don’t waste any time. Bank it once you have enough of it. Put it into a real estate investment, because it’s a real hard asset that’s not like a 401k,” she says.
As you can tell, Elena Cardone is chock-full of advice on everything you need to know to up-level your business and your life. Don’t believe me? Read on for her key insights.
Just be ready to take notes, because you’re going to want to remember this.
1. ELENA CARDONE ON HOW TO BUILD AN EMPIRE
Cardone is also a businesswoman in her own right. Born in Madrid, Spain and raised in New Orleans, she started modeling when she moved to Los Angeles at 17. She appeared in numerous high fashion print editorials and national commercials. The former actress also starred on the NBC series USA High, and appeared on guest starring roles on C.S.I., George Lopez, N.C.I.S., LAS VEGAS and Two and a Half Men. Now, Elena plans to add another title to her resume: Author.
She is currently working on the release of her new book, Build an Empire – How to Have It All, where she plans to inspire and equip others find the path of success in their careers and their relationships. “I’ll just tell you exactly what you need, just as if you started at ground zero,” she says. “You need a purpose.”
In the book, she plans to discuss what you need to know, and who you need to become — but the focus won’t be on money or marketing.
“You’re either building an empire, or you’re destroying one. If you are trying to build an empire, every single decision you make and every action you take should be from that viewpoint,” she explains. Using this strategy, “you will start to eliminate wasteful, even harmful, actions — and increase positive, beneficial moves that actually will advance you down the playing field.”
She adds another essentially Cardone tip: Don’t try to build your empire alone. Surround yourself with a team of like-minded people who will support your success. Find your tribe, and never stop learning.
“When you rise to the top, you need to take certain responsibilities and sacrifices and wear your hat as that role,” she says. “Knowing your roles is also very valuable in the empire.”
To achieve success, Cardone believes you have to stay close to the people who have your best interests at heart, and distance yourself from those who don’t. Stay away from anyone trying to hold you down.
“You MUST eliminate the people in your life who are liabilities. Liabilities are people who are determined to keep you the same. They don’t want to see you change or better yourself, so they will let you off the hook, give you sympathy (different from compassion), or worse, try to convince you to party instead of focusing on work.”
2. ON WORKING AS A TEAM
The G&E Show, available on iTunes at the Cardone Zone, gives the Florida-based couple a chance to collaborate and spend time working on a project they are both passionate about.
“In our relationship, we don’t bring 50/50. I bring 100; he brings 100, and we freaking rock it. We’re 200%,” says Elena. Topics range from “Be the Solution, Not the Problem,” to “Surviving the Slump,” and are chosen to spark conversations among their listeners.
“We’re always looking for new challenges and new friends. She’s always pushing me to do more, to be more, and I do the same for her,” Grant, named one of Forbes’ 25 Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2017, tells HER Magazine. “She’s grown in her ability to communicate effectively, and she’s grown in her financial awareness!”
By working to solve problems together, the couple knows they won’t take each other for granted. The Cardones work together to reach their goals — a trait both her and Grant believe is essential in making every relationship succeed.
“We know what our purpose is as individuals and as a team — always,” she says. “When you fight wars and battle side by side, no matter the outcome, it builds not only the love but the trust in each other as partners.”
There is never a moment when they don’t support each other, which they credit as key to making their relationship work. A good tip: Before you can get on the same page as your partner, you need to figure out what you want to accomplish first — today, tomorrow, and every day. Write down goals and understand the importance of why you are doing it.
“As a mother, she runs our house great. As a wife, I couldn’t ask for a better spouse. She lets me be me and doesn’t step on my toes when it comes to letting me run my five businesses. She runs the house, I run the companies — and it works! We aren’t doing a marriage or a job, we’re just doing our lives,” says Grant.
“I am genuinely his biggest fan, so I do whatever it takes to get him and our brand known,” she says. “I love when I see an idea that we thought of manifest in the real world and turn out to be a successful venture. It makes all the blood, sweat and tears moments worth it. It makes us more fortified as a couple when we celebrate real accomplishments and have victories.”
Although she has a great system with her husband, she holds value in finding time for personal development. “You’ve got to do your own thing,” she says. “Learn something new that challenges you.”
3. ON LIFE (& MONEY) LESSONS LEARNED
Cardone explains that focusing on being ethical, and surrounding herself with moral people, has been a key part of her growth.
“Work on bettering yourself,” she says. “Become an asset to yourself and others. All your spare time should go into self- improvement or training that will help you be more knowledgeable and prepared in your business and life.”
Her husband emphasizes that this woman is about integrity. “Ethical people — like Elena — achieve the results they desire and create success for themselves and their family,” he says. “She does what she has told others she would do.”
It’s a lesson that Cardone learned the hard way. Everything is always evident in hindsight, and she believes partying in her past was a major setback to her real potential.
Drugs and excessive drinking “had horrible side effects of depression, insecurities, self-doubt, lack of motivation and such an overall sense of self-invalidation,” she says, “that caused further bad decisions and prevented me from actually pouncing on a good opportunity when it was in front of my face. I never confronted that these effects were real, and even justified using drugs as a means to enhance my ‘creativity,’ when truthfully it did the opposite.”
A lot of lessons and tools she credits as invaluable to her success came later in her career, delayed because of her party lifestyle. Basic things she regards as essential now took a while to become a part of her strategy. For example, she wishes she would have known earlier how important it is to multiply your money; i.e., find a way to have your money working and earning income. She also used to believe that buying a home was a good investment, a common idea she now discredits heartily.
“That is a lie and a rare exception. Homes are liabilities that don’t pay you every month. In fact, they are pigs that need constant money thrown at them to maintain and keep up. I wish I would have known to invest in multi-family real estate assets, where you get paid every month from tenants,” she explains.
“Being a woman in power is not as easy as it might seem,” says Alla Mazurenko, one of Elena’s closest friends. Alla was a fan of Grant, and a friendship flourished after she became inspired by Elena’s determination.
“Elena gives the first impression of being unstoppable, that she will break all the barriers toward her goal — but behind that army-strong determination lies a wise weighing of priorities. Every person has her vision and wants to fulfill her potential. Elena has taught me to wisely evaluate the benefit of any action.”
4. ON THE DAILY HUSTLE
To manage all her roles as a mother, wife, host, and author, Elena doesn’t have time to make excuses for not getting things done.
“Cut out all the loaf time that doesn’t contribute to the forward motion,” she says. “As your empire grows and you become busier and busier, you will eventually have to hire people. This is a good thing. You will need people to do the things that you don’t HAVE to do. I utilize the valued people of my empire to get things done while I spend time with family — but this develops as you expand.”
In an average day for Elena Cardone, she’ll take her children to school, work out with a trainer, and then have another training session with a martial arts instructor. In the afternoons, she works on her book and brainstorms topics for the podcast, before picking up her kids from school, helping them with homework and making dinner.
“I usually read a bedtime story, and then I’m back with Grant catching up on social media, watching a movie, or plotting futures,” she explains of her routine.
5. ON FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE
Elena is in the final stages of writing her book, which will be available for sale at grantcardone.com — and she promises to include the necessary items for creating an empire-building toolbox. She’s also heading on a global world tour to expand her brand, all while striving to be an incredible mother who uplifts and inspires her two young daughters on their path to adulthood. “I am excited about our real estate portfolio and the opportunity we are providing for others to be a partner with us on that,” she says.
Although she maintains a lot on her plate, she always has something to look forward to. Her strategy is to focus on the future, and keep her attention on one simple thing: that which can you win together, with your partner — and with yourself.
“Learn how to be your own best friend,” she says. “Push yourself, be honest, forgive yourself and encourage yourself to gut up and do what’s right!”
Photos by Lyman Winn