Rachel Luna of Houston’s Patriot Title — dubbed the “Texas Title Queen” by her peers and clients — is modernizing the title industry as a Latina female and key player in one of the biggest title markets in the country.
With 11k+ followers on Instagram, Rachel has amassed a following with her dynamic personality and fabulous Texas Title Queen brand. Rachel is one of just two women who own a medium-sized title business in Texas, and as a powerful female entrepreneur, Rachel distinguishes herself outside the norm of title insurance by modernizing how the industry is portrayed and sharing her climb to the top from humble beginnings.
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Thank you for accepting my interview invitation! I’d love to know how you ended up becoming an entrepreneur? Tell me your story.
Rachel Luna: I was always a person driven and passionate about being successful. Coming from a family from an impoverished background, I wanted to change my circumstances. My parents were very poor, yet my grandparents lived in a house on a hill, and growing up I saw the difference between the two worlds and decided I did not want to live like my parents. I wanted to live where my grandparents were, and I knew the only way to do that was becoming a business person, becoming an entrepreneur, for me to be able to capture the success that I was striving to have.
With that came a lot of challenges and obstacles, but there was no other way for me to be able to achieve the things that I wanted to live without going the entrepreneur route. I saw what it took for my grandparent to have what they had. It took a lot of hard work, and a lot of sacrifice. But if I wanted to live that life then I was going to have to work hard for it. I decided early on that I didn’t mind working hard to have to be successful. Along my journey, I was able to meet a lot of business owners, thank God for that, and see their life, learn from them, and be able to model that during my journey.
I worked for both small businesses and big ones, and as I grew and learned from all these experiences I decided that I wanted to be a business owner myself. And that I was capable of doing it, so all my efforts were leading me to that, and here we are today.
Tell our readers what your company does differently than your peers and why that difference is so important to your audience?
Rachel Luna: So we do title insurance which is an antiquated industry, but when people buy their homes they have to have title and escrow. We facilitate the insurance to protect the buyers, but we are also the conservator of all the money. So when people put their earnest money down and take that money, we transact millions upon millions of dollars every single day through our company to pay off mortgage lien holders, to pay off sellers, to pay off all the parties to a transaction. We are, in a sense, accountants and on the other end like paralegal. We’re putting deeds in people’s names. We’re paying up debt. We’re working with lenders, and attorneys to join all the dots.
We really facilitate one of the biggest purchases in people’s lives. There’s three things most people strive for: to have marriage, a home, and a family. And we are part of one of those three big pillars. With that being said, what we do differently is we definitely treat each purchase and sell like it’s our first that we’ve ever closed because it’s usually their first sale or purchase. It’s an amazing moment for them, but we can often get desensitized by closing so many deals in this business. We can close 100 homes in a day, and yet that person who’s buying their first home or selling their first home, their experience needs to feel just as special and not like just another closing or another signing.
Something my team does really, really well is being empathetic and having an understanding that the person across the table is having a very special moment in their life. This might be the only home to ever buy, or maybe one of the only homes they ever sell in their life. Most people will maybe buy or sell once or twice their lifetime so that is very important to keep in mind.
Also, what we’ve done is really utilize social media as a big platform for our exposure and as part of our public relations piece. Many title companies do not use Instagram, or social media. They do not take advantage of these platforms. You don’t see a lot of accounting firms going out there on TikTok, and you don’t see many trial attorneys out there because, like the title business, it’s just a very serious business.
But it’s also very fun business that we do. So what we’ve done is we shine some light on our company using the whole social media world. exposing We made our industry cool and trendy, in a sense, of how we reach new customers and create awareness of what we do and who we are. If people don’t know who you are or what you do, it can make it more challenging to acquire new clients and grow your business, so I believe this is something we do differently than other title companies.
Running a business, your’s or on behalf of someone requires great leadership skills. What are some of the biggest challenges you faced as you took on a leader’s role and what did you learn?
Rachel Luna: Some of the biggest challenges are the people, right? Everybody’s different. Learning your team, learning your business, learning your staff, and understanding what motivates one might not motivate the other. I didn’t know the importance of culture when I first started out in a leadership role. Company culture is really important. People want to feel they’re working for something they believe in. So deciding what our culture was number one. Secondly, leading those by example. You go, “Do as I say and not as I do,” in a leadership role.
You have a huge responsibility to yourself, to the organization and to the others that are your leading. I think that that was something very, very challenging when I first started. So putting policies that I’m actually going to follow myself and actually leading by example is something that many leaders don’t do. They put these policies for the company, and yet they themselves don’t follow them. The teams that you’re leading are watching you, and they’re following you so you must always be leading with the highest integrity. As simple as it might be.
For example, we put this rule that no one could wear jeans on Fridays in our company because we have the biggest closes on Fridays, and there was this big fiasco when I actually walked in with a pair of jeans and a blazer. And everybody was talking about how, “Oh, she doesn’t want everyone to wear jeans, but she’s wearing jeans on Friday.” This was really, really, really early on. And I thought to myself, “You know what? That not right. Shame on me. Shame on me for telling everyone they can’t wear jeans, and I’m wearing jeans.”
Also learning how people are motivated. That was something I had to learn because everyone is different. Some people are motivated by praise. Some people are motivated by accolades. Some people want to be acknowledged by the masses, like, look, she made all her goals. You’re not going to have a team of productive people if you don’t know what motivates them. I wish someone would have told me that when you get into a leadership role, you better know what motivates your team. You need to know their business, motivation language, so you can interact with them most efficiently and, most importantly, keep them happy. Lack of motivation is lack of productivity.
Success is not an accident. What are some routines and habits you learned to master that contributed to your current success?
Rachel Luna: Being disciplined and diligent, every single day. Every single day, there might be something that changes and shifts the way I had my day planned, but being able to adhere to your to my daily things that need to get done. Having the disciple to accomplish those, and not let the day get derailed. Persistence is key to creating these success habit, along with time management. Managing your time efficiently, as well as valuing your time.
Ultimately, I think success is sacrifice, and being able to believe in what you’re doing and disciplined enough to get it done, regardless of how uncomfortable it is. Being able to make those hard decisions when they need to be made is what needs to be done to be successful at the end of the day. Success is a discipline, which you can learn and train yourself in. I would say the most discipline people are going to be the most successful in any area they choose to go after.
Can you share with us defining moments in your journey, please give us details and stories to illustrate?
Rachel Luna: I would say that one of the most defining moments is when I was working for a company, and I asked them, can I have some shareholder profits of my production. I no longer wanted to be salary. I wanted to get large commissions off of my productivity because I knew how much business I was bringing to the organization, and the gentleman in charge told me, “Rachel, you’re young. You’re making great money. We’re going to increase your commissions, but we’re not ruining the salary. And there’s not a shareholder opportunity at this time with us.”
And then he goes, “And quite frankly, Honey, I’ve been working in this business for 20 years, you’re not going to make more money than me. You should be glad where you’re at in your life.” When he told me that, that was the defining moment to say to myself there’s no growth here for me. I’m going to learn as much as I can the rest of my tenure here, and then I’m going to open my own company. He just lit a fire under my ass, and I knew I was going to do it.
That’s what I did. I guess he realized that this young lady would be making far more than him and he thought, yeah, no, that’s not happening. And she’s only 20 something years old? Goodbye. So, I walked out, and said I was not gonna settle for that. I studied how to open my own title company, and the best way to do it. There was a faster route and a longer route. I took the longer route to learn the business from the operational perspective. I came from the sales and the actual frontline operation, but I didn’t didn’t have a deep understanding of the back end. I learned everything for those seven years of running a franchise operation. Once I knew everything on that end, I opened my own agency.
What are the five things you wish someone had told you before you became an entrepreneur?
Rachel Luna: You have to you have to be able to have the right people, and keep your business as accessible as the people that are with you. I didn’t understand that. For me, it was like the bottom line was making money, making money, but I can have all this business and without the right team to service, you’re actually losing and missing out on a lot of business. I wish someone would have told me that. To really look at who is on your frontline without getting sidetracked by the bottom line of making money. A successful business comes from the people in it.
Second one would be that success is sacrifice. And this is a cliché, but it is absolutely true. I didn’t know how much sacrifice I was actually going to have to make to get my business to where it is today. I wish would have someone would have told me you’re really sacrificing your life. This is your life now. This is how you’re gonna eat. It’s going to work every single day, and coming home. I wish someone would have really said, “Rachel, you’re opening a business. You have to live your life as your business. There’s no life anymore, no more drinks and having weekends. No, it’s every Saturday at the office, every Sunday at the office, and you’re going to have to sacrifice a lot of your time.”
Third piece of advice would be to have patience with yourself and with your business. It takes time for things to grow. I think it’s really important to understand the patience it takes while your on your journey of entrepreneurship because everyone notices once you’ve made it, but they don’t see all the days it took to get you there.
Fourth thing I wish someone had told me is how to manage by time better to create a healthy work-life balance. You need figure find a way to manage your time, and have a balance for yourself as well as your business. If someone would have given me the tool to help manage my time early on, I think it would have would have been a lot, a lot easier for me. It would have been a little bit less sacrifice, you know, because I felt like I missed things simply because I didn’t have know how to manage my time properly in the beginning.
And lastly, enjoy the journey. Be present. Be mindful. Enjoy the journey for what it is, where you’re going, both the good and the bad. Enjoy it and receive it. I think that I’ve not enjoyed a lot of the journey because I’m just working, working, working, working, working, working. And then I look up like, “Oh, wow.” But I wasn’t able to enjoy those moments of opening a new branch looking over it now, or enjoying what city we were in and really think this is great because I was so busy looking over today’s checklist. So truly be present in the now, in today, and enjoy the moment for what it is without worrying about what happened yesterday, or worrying too far into the future.
Oftentimes we hear: “Your network is your net worth”, please share your thoughts on that adage and illustrate your experience.
Rachel Luna: 100%. Your net worth is your network. The more people you know, the more opportunity comes your way. Your network creates and streamlines opportunities that would not have otherwise be presented to you. I believe that what we’ve been able to do with our company and grow from all the opportunities that have come to us because of the fact that we have such a large network of people, we’re even able to expand our reach to other cities outside of Houston, and it’s been able to increase our profits and net worth, meaning recruiting a team who heard about our company here in Houston that wants to come to come over and join one of our offices because they heard from someone they know like, “You need to go work for that company.
They’re trailblazers. They’re great marketing. They got a great brand, go work for them.” We’ve been able to recruit people through word of mouth referrals, or, vice versa, opportunities can also come from lenders, but if no one knows you, then there’s no opportunities, right?
What are some professional or even personal goals you plan on tackling during the 2022 year? Share the battles you expect to face.
Rachel Luna: I want to expand my company to three more offices this year. We are looking to expand into Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio which is going to be amazing, but the challenges will be going into another market, the marketing, traveling, and managing teams from abroad, creating a structure and replicating what we do here in Houston in those cities. Those are definitely gonna be obstacles because I feel like our our energy needs to be given to them aggressively, and I feel that those are always our challenges being able to manage those teams with the same presence as we do here in Houston. Every market is different. The people that work in those markets are different, and the way business is conducted in those markets are different so being able to adapt it make our organization a competitive player with all the other businesses that do what we do in that market.
There’s a lot of title companies opening in Texas now with the increase in real estate because of how hot real estate is here in Texas. There’s a ton of companies opening around every corner. So I believe that’s going to be one battle, staying relevant with all the new kids on the block. We’re no longer the new kid on the block. We’re like the teenage brother, so staying relevant is going to be important. I definitely feel like our competition is steep this year.
Another personal goal for me this year is to write a book and share my experience with other female business women and entrepreneurs. For them to be able to learn something from my successes and my sacrifices so they can be empowered in their own journeys, and hopefully not have to go through some of the things I did.
With all the social media platforms available, it’s increasingly difficult to be present everywhere. Which ones do you favor for your company and why?
Rachel Luna: I would say LinkedIn is wonderful for the professional side of things. It’s great for connecting with other industry professionals, and networking in your field. And then Instagram. I love the way you’re able to curate your business look and feel on there, and it allows you to expand your reach to people you may have not otherwise connected with on LinkedIn or other platforms. I think it’s so important to have your company branding and culture represented on these social media platforms to be able to continue growing your presence and network.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Rachel Luna for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Rachel Luna or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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