Five Choices to Leverage Your Business

In the industry-leading book The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan outline seven ways real estate agents can leverage their way to success in what they have defined as the Organizational Model. In short, the model says: When you focus on leads and seller listings have created more business than you can handle alone, it’s time to hire. However, for some agents, the idea of hiring on agents is not something they prefer. 

At Family Reunion 2021, Papasan and Keller offered a different perspective on the model, exploring leverage choices available to real estate while also taking into consideration professional preference and lifestyle. 

“The Millionaire Real Estate Agent is a big model created so you don’t have to reinvent along the way. But it doesn’t mean that you have to go all the way to the end of that chain, it just means that you never have to reinvent yourself on the journey,” shared Papasan.

“There’s no question that the biggest income is always going to come from the biggest organization, but in any of these instances you can succeed,” added Keller. “But don’t feel compelled to make additional choices if you don’t want to.” 

As you read through the options below, keep in mind the leverage you’re comfortable bringing into your business and ambitions you’d like to achieve. And remember, there are no wrong choices; each is available to you if it’s something you would like.

Your 5 Leverage Options


When choosing to operate as a solo agent, you’re acknowledging that you’re good at everything that’s required of you as an agent, and you enjoy doing it. If this is your choice, don’t get hung up on the money. You’re someone who is comfortable with your income being dependent on what you do, not what other people do. You’re also likely someone who values simplicity, autonomy, and freedom in your day-to-day business. 

I think there’s never been a bigger time or a better time for opportunity as well,” shared Papasan, pointing to the technology and vendor relationships available to agents. “Whether that be a contract closed or not you’re not responsible for your employee, yet they can take work off your plate; you can scale a pretty big business and be a solo partner.”

Solo with Admin Only


With this choice, you still value your clients and love sales and working with buyers and sellers; however, you don’t love processes and paperwork. 

“My first year in real estate, I realized I don’t like the paperwork or process and hired a part-time college student whose job was to put together my call list,” shared Keller. “I would leave her a folder with everything I’d done and she’d come in to process everything, take care of paperwork, marketing and prepare my call list, making my job really easy. My job was to work for the things she told me to do,” shared Keller. 

The solo with admin option will likely be enticing for you if you’ve recognized you’d like to achieve a higher level of income but simply need a little help to get there. 

Additionally, in this option: 

  • You’re still comfortable with being the sole provider and salesperson. 
  • You’re comfortable being financially responsible for someone else. Working with one hire isn’t too complex, but you should also be fully committed and prepared by educating yourself on what that entails. 

Small Team

With a small team, you’ve decided that you want to choose which clients you work with and are willing to train others. Also, as a small team, you have the benefit of operating a little informally as a sales team, but also formally within administrative operations.

Furthermore, you’re willing to invest money to buy time to do more of what you want to do. This decision also leads to another choice of whether you want to stay a small team or eventually grow into a big team.

Resource: Command for Teams 

But, before you select the small team option, Keller reminds: You’ve got to have enough leads. That’s a big issue, not a little issue – to support another person with the leads that they need to make the income they need to make.” 

If you think you can’t accomplish much with a small team, think again. 

You can think big without having a big team,” shared Papasan. “We’re not saying ‘think small.’ We’re saying be purposeful about choosing the kind of business you want to run and own, the job you want to have every day, and you can still think big in that system and have an amazing career opportunity.”

Big Team

If you want almost all of your income to come from the efforts of other people, then a big team is the right organizational choice for you.

Yet to have the luxury of this choice: 

  • You need to consistently work your database and have a well-functioning lead generation machine. You have to have the opportunity to support your additional sales agents and staff and have a passion about it.

“When you get into real estate sales, recognize that lead generation gives you choice,” said Keller. “Now, it doesn’t mean you have to go and choose to be bigger or have more people; it just gives you choice. Without enough leads, you don’t have a choice. So lead generation sits at the front of everything you do.” 

  • You embrace models and systems to ensure repeatable success, especially on the sales side. 

“When we interview people, this is what we tend to see, that they have regular sales meetings and they do scripts and role-play; it’s not entrepreneurial, it’s a system. People know that they’re showing up and what their roles and jobs are.” 

Learn how Keller Williams’ number one team achieves more through accountability, here.


The final choice is expansion, or expanding to another location. Like a big team, with expansion, you’re choosing for all of your income to be dependent on the efforts of other people and thoroughly enjoy working with salespeople. You’re saying you want to create opportunities for others at scale, and you’re energized by the idea of adding a layer of complexity that can lead to financial rewards. 

Models and systems are a part of your operations and “you’re curious to see how big your life can be noticed,” shared Keller. “Notice, I didn’t say money. Here, you’re actually just curious to see how far you can take this.” 

How many lives can I impact with this business? It’s a question you regularly ask, and at this stage, your impact is large, noted Papasan.  

“And it doesn’t make you better than someone else,” reminded Keller. “You just wake up wanting to do that. You enjoy training, developing leaders, and managing leaders; it’s something that gives you great joy.”