Podcast

Episode 73 - GRIT - The Real Estate Growth Mindset with Hedda Parashos and Raquel Rivas

Brian Charlesworth
June 30, 2021

Hedda Parashos has been a real estate agent since 2006. Eight years ago, she started Palisades Realty with 14 agents. For the longest time, Hedda didn't want to grow her business mainly because she was afraid of growth.  Eventually, a third of her staff left the company and in her mind, she felt stagnant.


That’s when she decided to change and do an overhaul of not just her mindset but of the entire brokerage as well.  That’s when Raquel Rivas came into the picture. An in 2019, their brokerage experienced a tremendous amount of growth.


Today, Hedda Parashos is the owner and Raquel Rivas is the COO of Palisades Realty. From selling 136 units in 2019, they’ve projected to hit 250 units in 2020. 


In this episode, we talked about Hedda and Raquel’s journey on how they took their business to the next level and how SISU has been an instrumental part of that. 


Top Takeaways:


02:29 How to move on from your fear of growth to the next level

07:19 When did Hedda realize what her true problem was

11:48 What is Palisades Realty’s vision for 2021?

13:15 How Palisades Realty attract agents because of SISU

21:03 How to make agents love attending weekly meetings

25:32 How the competitive spirit of their brokerage has driven them to success

28:17 How competitiveness leads to lifting others up

28:56 The value of feedback




Episode Transcript:



Brian Charlesworth  0:16  

Hello, ladies. 


Hedda Parashos  0:40  

Thanks for having us. 


Raquel Rivas  0:41  

Yes, thank you so much for having us are excited to be here.


Brian Charlesworth  0:45  

Yeah, our pleasure. So it's always fun when we have power women just dominating. And so and I'm glad I get to spend time with you, too. So before we get started, maybe you could just tell us a little bit about your business head and Raquel, I've known them now for maybe six months. And anyway, tell us a little bit about your business, you guys have a little bit of a unique business and what you're doing, and maybe you can just share that to get started. So everyone's kind of on the same page here?


Raquel Rivas  1:13  

Well, we're we are a brokerage that had us the owner, I'm her COO. This year, we have experienced a tremendous amount of growth. But with the growth, we didn't know exactly where to get started, which is where Sisu came in.


Hedda Parashos  1:33  

So yeah, so we are in San Diego County. And we basically have been, I've been a realtor for 14 years. And I've owned Palisade Realty, just about eight years. And for so long, we didn't want to grow, it was mainly me. And you know, I was afraid of growth. And so that whole thing change last year, actually, it was kind of like an overhaul of not just my mindset, but also overhauling the entire brokerage. And you know, taking a look at it again, and that's when Raquel came in.


Brian Charlesworth  2:15  

Let's stop there for a minute. Because I think I don't want to just blow over that that is so important to really talk about you admit, and thank you for admitting that you were afraid of growth, right? I think more of us than we know are afraid of growth. So we do things to hinder that growth because our subconscious mind is telling us that. So I want to take a second to just explore and discover with you how you got to that next level.


Raquel Rivas  2:45  

Well, you know that saying that three years, five or seven year Itch with agents. And so I thought, like, at the time, Raquel wasn't in the picture, and it was kind of a blessing in disguise, that all of these things were happening to me because it really did force me to take a look at everything else that was happening. We were about 14 people, including staff, and you know, I lost a third of my crew. And I think it was I don't know, maybe things were getting a little stagnant. And in my mind, it was, you know, in my mind, I thought things were fine. And it wasn't. And it showed by from people that left me. So either, you know, and I was, yeah, I remember sitting here and I'm like, Oh my gosh, I need to like make some major changes. And then it didn't, even though people left me, the business didn't change, you know, there was a lot of business that was coming in. And it was a lot harder to contain growth than obviously trying to make that, you know, that major change, like, hey, I need options. So really, at that point, I ended up having to work twice as much or actually at that point, maybe three times as much. Because I was providing leads to my agents and business didn't stop even though people left. And everyone was just overwhelmed. And I including myself. And so I had to make that quick decision of I need to either how I can't turn off the business. Obviously, at this point, I have to get going. And so I had I made the decision of hiring people I hired, you know, it wasn't as intentional it was more about like filling in, you know, just having a warm body. Like, hey, please help me does anyone it was more to a point where I was begging just about anyone to come on board at that point. And then luckily, the people that I don't know they just sort of happened and everyone just out of the blue random people or agents just came to me like, even though


Brian Charlesworth  5:06  

It's amazing how sometimes. Sometimes the challenges, the things we think are going to destroy us actually make us stronger and get us there faster. 


Hedda Parashos  5:17  

Right. 


Brian Charlesworth  5:17  

I think that's, that's what I see happened to you here. And, you know, I don't think it's a coincidence that these people came to you because I think you were in this mindset with the blinders on for so long. And it made you open up to being open to anybody, you know, I'm here, let's make this happen. And they started coming. So


Hedda Parashos  5:41  

They started coming, this is not a joke. Like, I would get a text, I felt like, there was an AI listening and watching everything I did out there in the universe. And you know, bringing in


Brian Charlesworth  5:55  

They may have been


Raquel Rivas  5:58  

Yeah. And people were texting me emailing me, like, all of a sudden, I had this incredible group of people joining me, and it wasn't just anyone, they were experienced agents. And for years, I couldn't attract experienced agents. And they all had the same common goals, they all wanted to grow. And I had to look up myself and say, you know, I need to take this to the next level. And then we started becoming more intentional, and then Britney's not here. But anyway, it was the staff was down to myself and Brittany at this point, and here, you know, telling her like, Oh, my gosh, what are we gonna do, and all of a sudden, all these people are coming in, we have to be smart, and you know, they're coming in. Now, they're coming to us for leadership, I was about to hire somebody else. And then Britney looked at me and said, there you go, again, you're just hiring just about anyone because you're desperate. And then so anyway, long story short, that's when Raquel came into the picture, I became very selective. She was actually one of the three people that I interviewed for a COO, will at the time, I didn't know what I was interviewing for. And then ultimately, I realized that my problem was, I didn't know how to implement things, I was really good at having this massive vision. And then work really hard to keep that vision small. And then I think it was really important to understand for any team leaders or brokerage owner to understand what type of person they are, are you a visionary? Or do you know how to implement and integrate things? And in our situation, you know, I, I'm the opposite of Raquel. I, I come, I come to the office day in and day out, and I have these big ideas. And Raquel’s job is really like sifting through those ideas and telling me like yes, no, yes, no.


Brian Charlesworth  8:03  

She is the operator.


Raquel Rivas  8:05  

Right? She basically puts them together. And she keeps him in line, and so does Brittany. So. So then I went on, and then I had to change the back end today. Okay, well, this is just like a year ago, everything I decided, whatever I wanted to do, it was a decision that I always made on my own. And I'd get everyone's feedback after the fact. So this time, I said, well, I've been doing X, Y, and Z, and it hasn't really quite work. So I need to start asking other people's feedback, include, you know, so and Raquel Brittany, everyone, I make everyone involved in the company with the decision. So before the interview process was me, and then hire, and then I tell them what needs to be done. And now it's like, it's a four process four part process now. So there's Brittany Raquel, and then my husband is our broker, Tom. And so they get to tell me yes or no. And so I think having more, you know, people helping us and they said, that's really important. So I think the mindset has to start. And one thing I've learned all throughout this process is you should really look forward to growing your goal should I mean, speaking from experience, okay. You really should look forward to growing and should plan on growing, because there's freedom there's if one word can describe what growth means. It means freedom, and freedom for yourself, freedom for everybody. And yeah, I think that's what it is like allowing other people to stay in their own lane.


Brian Charlesworth  9:53  

How long ago was that that it was down to just the two of you


Raquel Rivas  10:00  

Now would have been probably, I would say, May, May, June of last year


Brian Charlesworth  10:08  

of 2019 or 2020. Last year.


Raquel Rivas  10:12  

Yeah. And it was just and then we were down to 10. Agents. So then agents and then Rep. Brittany and myself and my husband, who is our, you know, who is our broker. And the other agents at the time, they were all part time.


Brian Charlesworth  10:34  

Okay, so how many agents do you have today? 


Hedda Parashos  10:37  

Were 30? 32?. Yeah. 


Brian Charlesworth  10:43  

So congratulations. 


Hedda Parashos  10:45  

Thank you, and we're gonna grow into, we're probably hoping by the end of this year to 50. It's an intentional growth, Brian, it's not something it's not it's, we're very selective. Now. And then it's very intentional. We don't just open up our brokerage to just anybody. We're looking for the right fit to our culture. Yes, we have established what that culture is. 


Brian Charlesworth  11:16  

Yes, very exciting. So congratulations, by the way that that's tremendous. So let's talk about what you guys expect to achieve this year 2020. And what your vision is next year.


Raquel Rivas  11:32  

So this year, as I mentioned, you know, the goal is to go to 50 agents. The reason for that is because the amount of business as we grow as are, the amount of business is coming into our brokerage. So we don't just grow because we just need agents, you know, we've had other teams that have approached to join us. In fact, we have told them no because they didn't, it seemed to be the right fit for us and also growing into different markets. The goal is to go into other markets where right now we're already in Riverside, like Temecula area. And the goal is to go up north, also. So that's we're thinking of going to Orange County.


Brian Charlesworth  12:21  

So your growth is going to be opening a new brokerage in Orange County, as well as Riverside. And recruiting more agents 


Hedda Parashos  12:31  

here locally. Yes. 


Brian Charlesworth  12:33  

How many transactions will you guys do this year?


Hedda Parashos  12:35  

Okay, so this is really I have to tell you guys so I'm this is really applied for Sisu. Because I love love, we love Sisu, we had no idea that you guys even existed. First of all, you know, I want to give credit to the person that suggested you guys to us, which is Audrey Lee, of Zillow, and 


Brian Charlesworth  12:57  

Thank you, Audrey. 


Hedda Parashos  13:00  

Because that you are the last component to all of the processes, the systems and the tools that we have spaghetti together in the brokerage, you know, and you are one of the biggest reasons why we're attracting agents. 


Brian Charlesworth  13:16  

So your attracting agents, because of Sisu?


Hedda Parashos  13:20  

Yeah. 


Brian Charlesworth  13:21  

Explain that. 


Hedda Parashos  13:22  

Explain that. Because back in the day, when an agent comes into our brokerage, and they asked me, well, how many houses have you sold? How hot? What are you looking to sell? And what did you sell from the prior year? Like? I would be like, oh, Bret, can you pull that up? It's like, what is your like, that's the one thing like we're so tech savvy in our brokerage. But this is the one thing that we didn't really paid that much attention to, because we did have to, it was, at least in my mind, because we were so small. And as we scale, we had to have, you know, you can just write everything in a notepad or what people 


Raquel Rivas  14:10  

It's very nice to be able to have that visual of not just growth you're doing now. But where you've been. And so it's really keeping track of all those numbers for you and just giving you a really nice visual of where you are, where you'll be by the end of the year, where your agents are and it also builds this component of not just collaboration, but this competitiveness, right, a brokerage which, you know, as salespeople as sales representatives, that's what our agents kind of beat off of, you know, you want to not just crush the year crush your numbers but also see where you were in the years past and where are you compared to other agents. So it's really nice Nice to have all of those components, right on a dashboard and be able to, as Hedda was saying, as she interviews, new agents to be able to show them that data and really show that we're not just saying we're growing, but also show the numbers. 


Yeah, there's, I mean, there's proof like, I can whip out my Sisu. I'm like, God, I feel so like fancy right now, like, you know, without my Sisu dashboard, and I said, Look at all these trajectory and look at this, this graph, we're like, wow, I mean, we're speaking math, like we're talking numbers, we speak the language, you know, and that only we're saying it, we're showing it, and the agents that we interview, or even our agents in house, you know, they can see that we went from here to here, and then all of a sudden into here, like just giving you an idea in 2018, we only sold $56,000, and then our $56 million, sorry, $56 million. And that's what part time agents and about 14. And then in 2010, or 19, we ended up with still like, you know, we didn't really hire the agents, more of the agents towards October and November. And you know, some were trickling in, but maybe would go from 10 to 15. At that point, our growth didn't really happen towards the very end. So we didn't really have a whole lot of, you know, enough time to like, do the sales. But I would say last year, we did almost $90 million with 10 people. And then you know, that's including commercial, obviously. And then residentials, we did I think 70 something this year before. So this year, when everyone started onboarding, I think we hit we hit 100. So we last year, we sold 136. And then before June 30th, yeah, units, sorry, 136 units. And then this year before June ended 2020. We already sold more than 136 houses.


And we've already sold over $100 million. How do I know because I just looked at my cseh this morning. And then I think we are we probably have assuming that all of our agents have updated everything we already hit over. I think we have 107 or $110 million. That's already close so far this year. And then we have another I don't know 15 $20 million. That's in escrow right now. And we have closed 191 and 192 units so far. And I don't know like the goal, we're probably gonna hit maybe 250 had we not have a lack of inventory in San Diego would probably be close to 300. There's just no inventory. But


Brian Charlesworth  18:15  

So you've taken your business in 2019, you were at 130. you're connected to hit 250. You're over 100 million already. And it sounds like you're going to be close to probably 180-200 million somewhere in there. 


Hedda Parashos  18:32  

Yeah, I think so. 


Brian Charlesworth  18:34  

Yeah. That's phenomenal. It's super exciting to see that. in recruiting agents, you said you're super intentional about that. What do you do? How do you recruit agents? 


Hedda Parashos  18:47  

You want to start Raquel? And then 


Raquel Rivas  18:49  

Well, we it feels kind of like the law of attraction, right? A lot of the agents that we do recruit are through personal referrals or, or business referrals. But we do have a process typically had a will meet them first, if she feels that they might be the right fit, then Brittany and I are basically the second part of the interview, then we asked certain questions. And then because we like I said, we are very tech savvy here. And we not only want the person to be the right fit, because we do have certain certain criteria that we look for in a person, because we do want to make sure that the data is being input by the agent. And so we need to make sure that they are willing to learn, learn and grow with the brokerage as we move forward. And so that's part of what we look for. I feel like it's it's also we've built a really nice culture here where everyone that's here wants to be here. everyone that's here wants to tune in to our weekly or bi, we actually have to two meetings a week. And they want to be there. And that's what's so nice about it that, that we have this of agents that are so collaborative.


Brian Charlesworth  20:13  

So I love hearing this, I want to know, what do you guys discuss in those two meetings? Why do your agents want to be there? 


Hedda Parashos  20:19  

Okay, no its not and I'm like, oh my gosh. Okay, so anyone that's listening, okay, we went from having one meeting a month, okay, one meeting a month, and to like having two meetings a week. And sometimes there's even other meetings thrown in the week. And I can't tell you the attendance is remarkable. And I thought we're like, we're pushing them to do something, you know, agents wants to be part of something, you know, I was a solo agent at one time, they want to be in, you know, they want to be in an environment where they learn from one another, where no one's judging them, where everyone's encouraging them. So that's really what we do. So first of all, the agent that we're looking for has to be I'm looking for somebody who has close, at least three deals to five deals, we do not hire agents off the street, or off real estate school just yet, but we will work on that. because everything's moving so fast, an agent that comes to our brokerage are either looking to become a team leader, and that's where we teach them and make them into a team leader, with the business that we will give them so they can feed their entire team. So an individual agent who wants to grow and become a team leader, or the agent that just wants to be part of what policies we thought he has to offer. And then number three is an agent who is so ready, who's done enough education, but no one has ever given them the chance to just, you know, no one has given them a lead or a business a, here you go, Raquel, here's 20 deals, go do something with it. So what we promise our agents is we will give you 50% of what it takes to succeed. That's including the business itself, the training, what to say what to do, we will even create your listing presentation, your packet presentation, we will do all of your marketing, we will include that in your we will do a video, I mean anything and everything. Okay, we will create your flyers, you know, and then the other 50% Yeah, it has to come from them. And yeah, and we have, I mean, we have now a database manager, who is sitting there and analyzing the data for the agents, and he reaches out to them, ask them for help. So what we've done is, you know, like, I just kind of reverted back to when I was just a solo agent. And what was it that I needed at the time in order to succeed. So now I'm giving them the business, and we're giving them the tools, the trainings and everything else. The support is really what we're trying to expand on, you know, and our agents, I think they love that. I mean, if an agent doesn't know how to input one person to follow up boss into why Lobo and then now from why Lobo they become a real transaction, how to go into Sisu. We literally sit there with them. And like, okay, go click here and go do go from point A to point B, we have people to help them do that now. And then we do we have scripting classes, scripting, really I know, it sounds horrible to say scripting, but it's really just talking points. It's giving our agents, you know, talking points I have personally process in my days, a minimum of 50 online leads a week, that's 50 leads a week. And that's kind of a lot. So I talked to a lot of people in my days, and I'm still in production right now. And really, the goal is to ultimately, you know, just help out everybody else and be out of production.


Brian Charlesworth  24:24  

Yeah, it sounds like you're doing an amazing job of that. You guys talked about the competitive spirit of your brokerage, which is really your culture. That's what you've driven. Let's, let's share a little bit more about that. We only have three minutes left, but I'd love to hear a little bit more about that. And then I know you guys have really shifted to this culture of positive accountability as well. So maybe we could hit on that.


Hedda Parashos  24:50  

I didn't think that people wanted to be accountable. And you know, I think I literally took the ward independent contractor literally They don't independent contractor that's just in writing. But in essence, agents do not want to be really doing everything by themselves. So when we say accountable, it's like, Hey, you know what, showing up for yourself, you owe it to yourself, you owe it to your family, to show up, meaning like, if you're going to spend time and taking time out of your life, make it meaningful. You know, don't just do things half assed, excuse me, but that's what a lot of people do. And, you know, I made a make a commitment, you have to do this job full time, if you want it to give it a full time result. And that's what we do with our agents. We tell we ask them, if you have too much going on, if life is happening to you, personally, let me know. So let's put you on pause. So you don't have to get overwhelmed with so much business. Or if you have too much going on, we step in, we ask what can we do to make your life easier? What are you struggling with? You know, is it the system? Do you have too many tasks? Why don't you call Michael and talk to Michael and have him help you with your task? So Michael also helped them calling their leads? And so really, it's a competitive side? Yeah, I think Sisu has put a little spin on it. So you know, like, when they see their leaderboard, like, hey, so and so is number one. I mean, they're like, Oh, I'm gonna be there tomorrow to or I'm gonna be there next month. I think that's really,


Raquel Rivas  26:39  

It gives them a different drive, I feel, alright. It's, it's given them a little bit more of not just what's in front of them, but actually reaching for their goals. It's, it's, it's giving them their numbers and really allowing them to, to set their, their own bar and try to reach it,


Hedda Parashos  26:59  

Right. And it's also like, when I say competitive, it's being competitive within themselves. And also like, at the same time lifting others up. If somebody is struggling, I mean, like, Oh, my gosh, Brian, I wish you can be in our Facebook group or in our chat, because our agents are like, Hey, this is what I do. This is what you can do. Hey, do you want me to let me teach you on how to say it this way? And do it that way? Do you know how many 100 racers we have? When it comes to like, Hey, I'll do the zoom meeting. I was like, Wow, that's really I mean, it's remarkable. They're so excited, and they want to be part of it. And I think what we do is we ask our agents, what can we do to make it better for you? How I mean, asking for feedback really has what change all of these because you can't tell people what to do. You can there's no way on earth that you can you can have somebody like, what's the right word that I'm thinking of more, but you can't force somebody? Yeah, exactly. And but I think when you ask them, what is it that they want to do? And then help them from there? I think that's really, that's really the key. Yeah, you can't motive. That's the reward. You can't motivate people to do what you want them to do. They have to be motivated by their own at their own will. And


Brian Charlesworth  28:26  

Absolutely, yeah, you guys, I just want to congratulate again, both of you, your, from where you were in 2019, and now 2020, and where you're heading in 2021. just remarkable job. Anyone approaching 200 million in their business deserves a big round of applause. that's a that's a big, huge milestone. So we're thrilled to have you guys as customers. We love being a part of your business. And thank you for joining us today. 


Hedda Parashos  28:53  

Thank you for having us. 


Brian Charlesworth  28:55  

Yeah, thanks. We'll talk to you soon. 


Hedda Parashos  28:57  

Okay, bye.



About the Author

Brian Charlesworth
Chairman and CEO

Brian is an entrepreneur and business builder. He has built and sold companies in the software, telecommunications, and franchise space. He’s passionate about technology and focused on changing lives through driving technology forward.