Ep #54: Building a Team and Business You Love with Brooke Keeling

by | Podcast


Being a business owner basically guarantees that you have to grow. You'll have to push your own limits, learn countless new things, and figure out how to lead yourself and others effectively. As I grow my team here at the Thought Leadership School, this last task is especially resonant for me right now. That's why I'm so excited to share my conversation with today's guest, Brooke Keeling, about leadership, building a business, and loving your living.


Brooke Keeling is a 7-figure business owner, podcaster, and business coach on a mission to help women build true wealth, so they can create an outrageously successful life and business. She opened her own real estate practice about eight years ago, and since then has learned countless lessons about hiring, work-life balance, and leadership.


Brooke and I discuss many aspects of business-building this episode, including goal-setting, how to deal with rapid business growth, and how to hire an incredible, supportive team. Of course, we also talk about her central message and how she settled on it after a particularly difficult period in her life & business. And Brooke shares the hardships and questions that helped her realize the structure of her coaching business, Love Your Living, and her mission to help women create beautiful and fulfilling businesses and lives.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:


  • Why Brooke started her brick-and-mortar real estate business eight years ago.
  • How having a baby helped her realize that she needed to set clearer boundaries in and around her business.
  • Why achieving her business goals early on made Brooke feel alone, overwhelmed, and in need of support.
  • Some of the key lessons about leadership that she's learned from hiring and ultimately building a fantastic, talented team.
  • How Brooke's message has evolved as her coaching practice has grown from a business targeted at improving one's home into a vehicle for helping women build incredible online businesses.


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Full Episode Transcript:



Welcome to The Thought Leadership School Podcast. If you're on a mission to make a difference in the world with your message, you are in the right place. I'm Michelle Barry Franco and I'm thrilled that you're here. Hello, hello. My thought leadership friends, I know that I'm the luckiest person on this planet that I get to have the kind of conversations I get to have and I especially love it when I get to share them with you so I can't wait to share with you this conversation I had with my awesome friend and colleague Brooke Keeling. 

I met Brooke in a mastermind a few years ago and was immediately taken by her mix of power and strength. Yet she has this way of living an amazing gratitude and contribution like she wants to do really big things in the world. She is doing really big things in the world and she wants that effort to make a real difference for real people herself, her family and beyond.
When I know I need to think bigger, I looked to Brooke for Inspiration for sure. She just believes that what you want is not only possible, but it's meant for you. So Brooks has seven figure business owner or a podcaster and a business coach and she's on a mission to help women build true wealth so they can create an outrageously successful life and business. In this conversation, brick and I dive deep on all kinds of things. Thought leadership, especially around the business and team building side of things because the truth is if you want to do really big things in the world, you're not going to do it alone. It just doesn't work that way. At some point, you're going to invite people in to help you make that bigger difference. I'm learning this as my business grows and I'm needing to step into leadership at a new level and team leadership and thought leadership.

They have a lot in common. Yet there are some elements of team leadership that I am still way early in the learning phases of Brooke has some amazing brilliance in that domain. Of course, we also talk about the evolution of her own message and how she uses that message to serve. In many ways like speaking and video. She's so fun to watch on video, so inspiring and she just hops on to video and shares her brilliance and then her presence on social media. Overall, I think you're gonna really enjoy this conversation. So let's dive in. Brooke, I am so thrilled to talk with you today and extra excited that I get to share your brilliance with The Thought Leadership School Podcast community. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for having me. I'm super excited to be here, so thank you. Yeah, so I love your story. I love the evolution of your message and I think it's such a great just example and kind of identification opportunity for so many of us who are in the thought leadership world, especially on behalf of a mission. So I would just love for you to tell your story like back to starting Your Business and how your brick and mortar real estate business and then how that evolved to what you're doing now. If we could start there.
Yeah, so I have been in my real estate business for about eight years now. I think it's eight years this summer and I started solo. I started in a market that I was not from. Everybody thought I was crazy. I started at a down market where everybody's like, you're nuts going into full commission and the real estate market, and I dove in any ways and you know, I had really big goals and my goals and thinking and going into real estate as I'll have more flexibility, right? Entrepreneurship, I have more flexibility. That was a huge eyeopener for me because I think that anybody that is in the entrepreneurship world, especially in the beginning, it's a lot of time and work and effort and I learned a lot. So I set some big goals. I think my first goal, huge goal was like I wanted to make $50,000 and that was like I would be happy for the rest of my life if I made this every year and then was like my stretch goal of if it ever happened.
I wanted to make six figures and I did that within the first year and a half and I was blown away for the next five years. I worked my butt off. I just increased my goals. I wanted to be a top producer in my market, learned a ton professionally and personally and I had hit those goals. I was at the top of my market. I was writing a ton of business. I was making more money than I thought I ever would make and all of the side and what I thought would be this dream life and all of this happiness started to kind of eat away at me. And I almost felt like I like lost a piece of myself. Like I didn't know what to do with myself. I didn't know how to take free time out of work. I had to kind of learn how to rediscover myself and I was kind of miserable.
I was making all this money but I wasn't happy. So that was the next journey that I went on. I hired a life coach and I started working on the other aspect of coaching and still continue to build my business. Went through, you know, building up the team who now I have the most incredible team that's like my family. Literally. I feel so grateful every single day for the squad that I have by my side. But it took me three years to get there. It took me a lot of bad hires, a lot of bad learning lessons, a lot of fires, understanding leadership, doing coaching on leadership, studying leadership. I fumbled, I found my way and I'm really grateful for where I'm at in that business right now we have one of the top producing firms and our market place and that business is a seven figure business, so it's more than what I could have dreamed of and through that, so I have a two year old daughter now, two and a half when I had her, when I was pregnant with her, I had what I called at the, the Motley Crue as my team in real estate.
And I was like hanging on for dear life because I was miserable. I was pregnant, I was trying to plan to take maternity leave and have this baby. And I was like, what am I doing? Like I can't take this much time out of my business. Like should I have had children? All of these crazy thoughts. And once I had her, she's one of the biggest blessings in my life because she made me feel things and figure things out on a level that I never probably would have without her. And I realized after I had her that, you know, it wasn't only my time that I was giving up anymore, it was her time and I wasn't willing to do it. So it allowed me to put very strong boundaries in my business and really get clear on what I wanted my business to look like and team members and all of that.
Also through that whole period that, you know, still at that time I was kind of thinking like, do I want to be at a real estate forever? Like does this make me happy? And that's where love you're living kind of opened up in my world. I thought, you know, what makes you happy? I had to discover that for my own self and kind of started sharing that journey with the world and now we have an online business and I really got into growth and personal development and all of the tools that I was learning in business. I really saw the power of them in my life as well. And knowing that it's not just business that you need to grow and focus on, it's also the personal side of it as well and so love you're living. It was kind of born out of a struggle in my life and it's evolved just like real estate has evolved. We've seen ups and downs and turns and what I started out wanting it to be, which was like a more home poem inspired and you know, creating beauty in your home and your life and all of that and now it's kind of morphed into helping other women find their way through this cloud of darkness that I have found my way through to build a business. So it's very similar to the brick and mortar side of my real estate business. Just teaching it and online capacity and working with incredible women.
It's so fascinating to just as I listened to you describe the details or at least some of the details of your own path. I just think about how many people are listening right now for whom this is their path to right? Trade out the details, but it's like, oh, I'm going to be an entrepreneur. I'm going to start this mission. I'm going to finally step into my call and I'm going to work hard, but it's going to feel amazing. Definitely more amazing than all the other crappy things I've had to do, you know, working in other people's businesses, and not to say that it doesn't went out. It's still winning out for me and it does for most of us. Right? But it's still that process. You know, you talked about losing a piece of yourself and needing to rediscover, and I'd love to just go back there to that time in your brick and mortar and kind of dig in there a little bit because I do feel like this is a bit of the dark night of the soul that many of us go through as entrepreneurs. Do you think it was reaching your goals that made sort of like, oh, what actually makes me happy because I realize that didn't make me happy? Or was it more like the overworking and you're like, wait, I didn't realize it would take all this in order to be successful or something else?
It's a combination of a lot of things and oftentimes like I'm known for setting really big goals in trying to achieve them in a very short period of time. And I think some of that is like a super power for me because I set my mind to something and I set strategies and I put goals in place and I usually achieve them. And sometimes it's within that timeframe and sometimes it's not. But it's, I've come a long way from having my daughter that it's not just like an all or nothing kind of thing, but I still see those common patterns. And what I try to remind myself now, and one of the biggest lessons that I've learned as being an entrepreneur on this journey is that oftentimes you have this vision and when you feel like things are falling apart, so many times they're not falling apart.
You know, I listened to so many people's stories where they say, just go, you don't need to know all the answers. And where you start is likely not where you go in the end to just be open to that. And it's really hard when it's hard, you know, it's really hard when shit sucks and you're just kind of like in the darkness and you feel alone and overwhelmed and am I going to make it? But there's always light and there's so many learning lessons from those points and when we can look back at them and see them as like, wow, that really did happen for a reason. Because if that didn't happen, I wouldn't be where I'm at today. Like if I wouldn't have had the drive. So I mean, in going back to your question, going back to the darkness and real estate, I was so consumed, I didn't grow up with money.
I grew up with such an incredible family. I had a ton of love. I had so much support. I don't have a, you know, Mba, any, any of that. It ate away at me for a long time. I didn't feel significant. I didn't feel like I was worthy. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something bigger for myself. And so that bigger was me making a certain amount of money. Like I made it. If I made six figures, it was like kind of like, ah Ha, like screw all of you that didn't believe in me kind of thing. Like I'm going to have a better life. And so I set out to do that and I did that and I got kind of addicted to that. I could continue to do more. I loved the growth. I loved the competition and I loved seeing the reward for my hard work, but it consumed me.
It just got to a point where, you know, in the beginning saying yes to so much saying yes to yes to every opportunity. Yes to every client. Yes. To every demand, need, whatever that may be. And I became resentful. I became resentful of clients. I didn't have weekends off, I didn't have nights off. I worked seven days a week. That's all I was doing. And so although I was achieving what I wanted to achieve, I was really burnt out. And we're all humans. Like we can't do that forever. We can't, you know, you can't go on that way. And so there's many, I love Tony Robbins. Some of you may or may not like Kim that's listening, but he says like, the ultimate failure is success without fulfillment. And so you have all of the success in this money, but if you don't have the fulfillment that you want in your life, you're not going to be happy at, no matter how much money you make.
Yeah. It's so true. And I love how you talked about, you know, so you'd bring on these team members and there was of course learning how to higher learning, how to fire, but also this, and this just reflected so much of my own experience as I grow my small but growing team that I always thought that I would be this great leader and that I would be able to provide an experience for other people that would also help me make the bigger impact I wanted to make. And I'm realizing so much like at every level that there's so much to learn about leadership. All right about how to really serve in that way too from message and also just like in service of what they want for their life as well. It's a part of business and mission that I hadn't really, I didn't have a full picture of, it's not what most people expect and anticipate and I see it all the time. I have a lot of real estate agents that reach out to me because I have an incredible team. So people reach out to me all the time and they ask me, you know, how I structured my team and, and you know, all of that. And one thing is it is like anything else, it's a learning lesson. And when I first started on that journey of hiring people, I was desperate. I just wanted help. I just wanted someone to help me. Like I was, I felt like I was drowning. I was like, who can I help? And you know, I could profile people out, but the profile wasn't enough and I didn't know my culture. I didn't know personalities that I wanted. I didn't truly know what my values were in terms of what I wanted my company to look like.
It's almost like running a family. And so until I got really, really clear on that, that's when I could start. I really do believe in profiling. It helps me tremendously figure out what's going to be the best fit for people. It's not the only tool that I use, but understanding culture is everything when it comes to building a team is literally everything. And so being able to know what your culture wants to look like and then build off of that build off of your core values versus just trying to hire someone of desperation and then keep them happy. I think too many people do that and then this constant battle of like, I want to keep you, I need, I need you to keep you happy. I don't want to go through this again and we're not leading from our place of strength.
So tell me what does profiling mean, I don't know, maybe others are wondering that I don't know. Well
I use a series of profiling, a assessment. It's personality assessment where you can, if I'm hiring an admin or someone that's going to support my businesses from the standpoint of like operations or being really detailed or helping me like project management or client care, I want a high fact finder follow through versus if I'm hiring a salesperson there's a quick start. The quick starts are usually like go get it, but they don't have as much organization skills behind them. And then there's also an implementer. I think that is more like hands on project wise. I don't see that as much in my world and it was, it was fascinating with my marriage as well. Oh really? Yeah, it's incredible because it shows like how your partners in your spouse's, like I, I've been with my husband for fifth 18 I think 18 years now. Not 15 which is crazy.
Yeah. But you know some of the same things that keep coming up that you get furious about. Like I remember a few years ago my husband took on painting the fence and he only painted the side that you could see and I was like, dude, like what's wrong with you? Like you need to keep going finish the project. But it's just one of those things that it's like he doesn't see the certain things that I do and it just kind of open it up to like how you communicate, which communication again is huge. One of the other profiles that I do as a disc profile and there's a couple of other like areas that you can see like where people really thrive. Like are they really economically driven? Are they politically driven? Do they have a power element? And then the disk also the disc change, which is slightly different than the Colby, but it just kinda shows me like where people are at and like what I'm going to see from them longterm.
Because oftentimes I think when people want a job there sir, and characteristics and traits that come out that you know, if you can dive deeper into longterm for me, like I don't want to hire someone. It's a lot, you know, for anybody that's listening that's hired someone, it is a lot of money. It is a lot of time and has a lot of effort to hire people. So trying to do whatever we can up front to make sure that it's a good fit. It's kind of what I do, which has been kind of fun and fascinating to study profiles and learn that aspect of it.
Yeah, that's really interesting. I would like to talk about your message and the evolution was something you said earlier was so intriguing to me and, and I know this from getting to be a part of your world from, you know, over the last span, I don't know how long it's been year and a half or something like that. Yeah. And it's fun to see what, how flexible love your living is and you even, you sort of spoke to this a little bit earlier in your description. Like at first you saw love, you're living as this, you know, beautiful home, I focus on home and now it's about helping women build their businesses. So can you just talk to me about when you first came into that message alive you're living and then how that evolved to where it is now?
Yeah, so it kind of started as a passion project. So it really was kind of my outlet from real estate. I wanted to be able to do something that created happiness in my life again. So kind of like my phrase was find your happy cause that's what I was doing is finding my happy and home has always been such a huge element for me. Like I survive in spaces that you know are set up to create beauty in my life. Like I, I really feel like your surroundings really do make such a massive impact in your success in your life and who you are. So that's kind of like how it started is I was like, you know, I really liked the home side of things, but I also want to like help people in terms of like creating more happiness in their life. And you know what's interesting because you've been down this journey with me is that if I had to tell myself something every single day, like sometimes I ask myself, what would you tell the younger version of you?
And I think it would be the same all the time, is just allow things to fall into place the way that they need to. Because so many of the times like I want things to be done. Like, I want it to be done and I want it to be right and I want it now. And so it's learning to have patience and this endeavor has made me have a lot of patients because what it started out as is not what it is today. And it has had to evolve. I've, I've had to fail, I've had to flounder and find my way and the whole like world of Niching, like Oh my God, if you asked me if you then said that word last fall, I was like sitting in a corner, like rocking myself with my knees. Like do I need to change my name?
Like what is my message? What am I doing? Like I think that's so many people have this issue when you're starting a business from ground up, you know, real estate was not that. For me, real estate was like much more like I had a structure around it. This was love you living is whatever I wanted to make it. Yeah. But I wanted the answers and I wanted them now. And that's just not how the world works. That's not how business works. And so being able to just say, go before you're ready, 


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