Jesse Itzler is a man of many hats. He's the co-owner of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, partner in ZICO Coconut Water, founder of Marquis Jet, has a 'Living With' book series that is amazing, is the 100 Mile Man, and recently launched 29zero29 because he wasn't doing enough. He's also married to Spanx founder Sara Blakely, which immediately brings the term powerhouse couple to the forefront of my mind.
Before I spoke to Jesse, I spent a bit of time researching all of his endeavors, and it was an impressive list. That is why he is the focus of this article on what it takes to be a successful (and happy) serial entrepreneur.
Starting Life With An Inventor Dad & A Kickass (or: Very Wise) Mom
Jesse's childhood was unique because he grew up with a father for an inventor and a mother who could give solid advice on how to succeed. His father's definition of success, as an inventor, was based on whether or not the end result solved a problem, not whether or not the end result made millions of dollars. His passion, effort, and ability to fail and keep pushing forward shaped him. His mother reinforced that he should experience and experiment. She flat out told him, "try everything, go to every class, listen to every lecture, play every sport, do everything."
Truth Bombs On Success
What Jesse's parents instilled in him is a massive truth bomb many miss altogether, and it's that real success is based in effort. If you get out there, and step outside your comfort zone, every single day, and do your best, you will, without a doubt, see success. If you repeat this, you'll see success more than once.
Real pioneers can check the box, celebrate for a day, and move on. Building a life resume requires this approach so that once you achieve, you don't get stuck holding that trophy for 20-years, and you can reach out and grab what's next.
5 Serial Success Principles
Jesse built his future and his achievements around these five success principles, and they apply to everything.
Intuition - "Usually when a product or venture fails, somewhere deep inside, I knew it was going to fail and I just didn't listen." I agree with this statement so much. As an entrepreneur, no matter how much you do, there is never going to be a blog or a testing process, that has the ability to sense and see as much as you. Trusting yourself eliminates unnecessary risk.
Speed - When you rush into a market, you fail to do the proper research necessary for success. Jesse says when he is on something new, he makes a genuine effort to slow down in the beginning, gather speed, and accelerate when the growth starts to happen. Slow, then fast, is how you use momentum in your favor. Going too fast too soon is death in business and going too slow too late is the same. When Jesse sat down with the higher-ups at Coca Cola to partner over his ZICO Coconut Water, they told him it would take eight years to build a business in this country and this resonated. Knowing when to stop and go is the difference between failure and success.
Change Shoes - When you are pacing, in the beginning, part of this process is doing a shoe change. Jumping into the shoes of the buyer, envisioning their connection or thoughts on what you're offering will let you know real quick where you stand. If you can't do this, you don't know your market well enough.
Energy - If you wake up and find yourself gripped with fear and in a cold sweat, you have to trust that energy. If you wake up excited, and pumped up, ready to do work, you know you are heading in the right direction. Tesla warned us that everything was energy and who are we to argue?
Build Relationships - I don't care who you are, a portion of your success will always have to do with who you know and with technology, the limitations are quickly diminishing. Put yourself out there, network, build relationships, invest in people, share your genuine self with them. Building essential relationships is a huge piece of the repeat success puzzle.
Bonus: Be ready to fail and be okay with it. If you take it personally, or view failure as a stop point, you will have a hard time succeeding because failure is actually an important part of the process.