Jesse Itzler on urgency, discipline, and remembering tomorrow

In today’s segment of the Small Business Show, Jim Fitzpatrick speaks to Jesse Itzler who was the keynote speaker at the Gwinett Small Business Summit hosted by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. Jesse co-founded Marquis Jet, one of the largest private jet card companies in the world, and ZICO Coconut Water, which he sold to Coca-Cola in the late 2000s. Jesse discusses the importance of having urgency, discipline, and gratitude when you are an entrepreneur.


Jim Fitzpatrick: We’re so excited to be joined by Jesse Itzler, who’s right here at the Small Business Summit for Gwinnett County. Welcome to ASBN.

Jesse Itzler: Oh, glad to be here.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Great, man, we were just amazed with your performance today, and watching you as a keynote speaker of this phenomenal event. For the people that weren’t able to make it out, can you kind of summarize it, and hit on some of the points that you touched on, because I was taking notes, and there’s way too many here to ask you about the entire program.

Jesse Itzler: Well, I love talking to entrepreneurs.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Jesse Itzler: Especially small business owners.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Jesse Itzler: Because I’ve been in that seat. I still operate from that mentality.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jesse Itzler: Of bootstrapping, and just the mindset of being a small entrepreneur, and small company, and that’s always been my mentality.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Jesse Itzler: So I love talking to the group.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Jesse Itzler: I just wanted to share my journey. I had an unconventional journey.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Jesse Itzler: I’ve been through ups and downs, just like everybody else.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure, sure.

Jesse Itzler: And I just wanted to be able to share a little bit of what I’ve been through, and give some nuggets to the audience here in Atlanta.

Jim Fitzpatrick: With all the successes that you’ve had, with all of the companies that you’ve created, and then spun off, or sold, or exited, you still have a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm for the next greatest thing, talk to us about that.

Jesse Itzler: Yeah, I mean, I don’t really live in the past. So I believe in checking the box, and that if I’d never talk about this stuff, Marquis Jet in the past.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Jesse Itzler: I had to today.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Jesse Itzler: But it’s, what’s next? What’s next? I always want to kind of build on my resume. And build on my life resume, build on my business resume.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Jesse Itzler: I’m very aware of the one shot I have at life.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Jesse Itzler: And I don’t want to look back and be like, I didn’t maximize it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. You talk about urgency, and discipline, and remember tomorrow. Touch on that a little bit.

Jesse Itzler: I think that a lot of times one of the things that block entrepreneurs and business owners is feeling the feeling of not having enough experience, or not being the right time.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, right.

Jesse Itzler: And I feel like very often it’s never the right time.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Jesse Itzler: And you might not always feel like you have enough experience. So I just like to get my foot in the door, and figure it out as I go, and start the process.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Jesse Itzler: So I think time kills a lot of deals and a lot of momentum.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Jesse Itzler: So I was trying to emphasize today the importance of, it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers figured out.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Jesse Itzler: You’ll figure it out. Or you have your whole org chart mapped out. Go.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Jesse Itzler: Before someone else goes.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right. 19 couches, you talk about. From your rise up, to probably your first big deal. You had to sleep on 19 couches along the way, right? Friends and family, and such.

Jesse Itzler: Yeah. And I’m very grateful for all my friends opening up the door to help me.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. Sure.

Jesse Itzler: Yeah. I mean, again, when I look back on it, I thought about it the other day. I was talking to my wife, and we were just talking about … Because I just turned 50, so I was reflecting.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure, sure.

Jesse Itzler: At the time, it wasn’t even a big deal. It’s like, okay, thank you so much. I don’t want to wear out my stay, who else has a couch I can sleep on next week.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, sure.

Jesse Itzler: But it builds so much grit, and so much resilience.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Jesse Itzler: When I look back on it now, it just makes everything so much sweeter.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right. And the 19 couches also I think represents, what I heard listening was that there were 19 people willing to help you in your endeavor, right?

Jesse Itzler: Absolutely.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So the people that are watching now, there’s people willing to help them, and I don’t think we take enough advantage of that, in people’s generosity to say, yeah, we see the vision with you, and how can we help? Right?

Jesse Itzler: Yeah. It was a different world then. So now there’s-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Jesse Itzler: But yeah, I’m so grateful for it. And I actually wrote all 19 of them a letter, and thanked them recently.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow, that’s pretty cool. That’s pretty cool. Talk to us about the program that you’re talking to here, that you’ve got your booth set up.

Jesse Itzler: Yeah, we have a program called Build Your Life Resume.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Jesse Itzler: It’s a life coaching program. It’s eight weeks.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Jesse Itzler: It’s a series of lectures, Q and A sessions. It’s one to many group coaching.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Jesse Itzler: I bring in a couple of guest experts. My wife is one included.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh, very cool.

Jesse Itzler: And we cover everything, really. I mean, it’s like what have I done in 50 years that I could basically package in an eight week program?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Jesse Itzler: But it’s focused around business, wellness, and personal development, really.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Very cool.

Jesse Itzler: Yeah, it’s great. I’m super proud of it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And that’ll be available here in Atlanta, or online?

Jesse Itzler: It’s online.

Jim Fitzpatrick: It’s online. Wow, that’s very cool. Very cool.

Jesse Itzler: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Well, Jesse, I want to thank you so much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule. I say that often, but four kids.

Jesse Itzler: Thank you. Four kids.

Jim Fitzpatrick: But that’s a phenomenal deal. Again, thank you so much.

Jesse Itzler: Thank you. Appreciate it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: All right.