Franchise Success Call

9 Lessons from a Serial Entrepreneur, a Rapper, and an Ultraman Racer

inspiration leadership Apr 20, 2022
Multi-Unit Franchising Conference Part 2

(Part 2 of the 2022 Multi-Unit Franchising Conference)

Perhaps the name Jesse Itzler doesn’t ring any bells for you. I admit that before hearing him at the 2022 Multi-Unit Franchising Conference I only knew he was the husband of Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. But I’m very glad I attended his keynote so I can share the following takeaways on leadership and inspiration.

Jesse is a serial entrepreneur. He co-founded Marquis Jet, one of the largest private jet companies in the United States, as well as Zico Coconut Water, that after growing into a tremendous organization, was sold to Coca-Cola. 

He's also the owner of the NBA Atlanta Hawks, a rapper, and an Ultraman racer, which is a three-day, 320 miles, multisport race. What can we learn from him and his diverse and wide experience? These are the key insights and actions he shared that’ll inspire you to achieve your dreams.

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1. Have a point of differentiation

Jesse talked about how having a point of differentiation was very important for the success of Marquis Jet. Although in the franchise world this is the franchisor's responsibility, there’s also room for differentiation. Who your company is, who your team is, and how they deliver the brand to the consumer is under your control.

Let’s take the example of Chick-fil-A, a company with a very clear point of differentiation not based on its product, but on its customer service. This quality is what makes them such a competitive company in the country. Everybody wants to have a Chick-fil-A franchise and everybody wants to buy their product and experience what they sell.

Lesson: As the leader of your organization, you have the empowerment to cause or create a driven culture in your business

2. Attract luck

Something else that Jesse shared is how we put ourselves in the position to attract luck. I related to this because to me, luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Many people can encounter opportunities, but when someone is prepared to take on them is when they become lucky.

For example, if the real estate values go down, you’ll have a chance to invest in a house. But, if you don't have the money saved up, you can’t take advantage of that and get lucky finding the house of your dreams.

Lesson: You have to put yourself in a position to attract luck. How? By doing whatever you have to do to be prepared to take those opportunities when they happen.

3. Find your purpose

Jesse explained how everything he has done, he has had a lot of passion for it. The reason he got into Zico Coconut water, for example, is because he got really interested in living a healthier life, and he discovered that coconut water was one of the best things that humans can drink to improve their health.

To find your purpose, you have to start by doing something that you love and that you are committed to. It also has to be something that you're good at. The next step is making sure this helps others because otherwise, nobody's going to want to buy it. 

Lesson: If you do something that you love, you're good at it, it helps other people and therefore they want it, that’s where the magic happens! 

On a very personal note, find out here what is my purpose and the motivation behind The American Franchise Academy.

4. Mind what people buy into

Another insight that Jesse shared was how people buy into three things:

  • Other people. Customers need to feel that they can trust you and count on you.
  • Stories. Tell your customers what you want to accomplish, where you come from and where you are going, and what will you do with whatever it is that you ask for, whether capital, opportunity, or access.
  • Momentum. You can create momentum by accomplishing things over and over, getting yourself out there so people are aware of you.

Lesson: Work on being a person that people can buy into and share your story to make a difference in people's minds and decisions. Let people see that your company is a worthwhile investment.

5. Don’t negotiate your goals

Jesse believes that everyone is one idea, one introduction, or one decision away from changing the trajectory of their lives. That’s why having a true focus and never giving up on your goals is key to becoming successful.

This means that once you have set up an objective in your life, you don't let go of it just because it's hard or you stop believing that it’s possible. Don’t negotiate your goals; you never know when that introduction, idea, or connection that changes everything is going to happen.

Give up fear because it is the #1 enemy of success. If you let fear stop you from doing the actions, decisions, or activities that’ll get you closer to your goal, then you're not going to achieve your dreams.

Lesson: Stay at your goals like a lion until you make them happen. And, if you do decide to change your plans, make sure you're doing it because you want to and not because things are getting too hard.

6. Choose the right routines

Certain routines can move you forward in your life, your goals, and your objectives but others can hurt you. These last ones are the ones that you do every day without really knowing why you do them and that get you in a rut. 

The worst part is that you're unwilling to move away from that bad routine, but if you did, you would be able to accomplish your goals. For example, if you are in a routine of not exercising every day, then you won’t be able to be healthier if you want. 

Lesson: Choose routines that are empowering and that will allow you to achieve the goals that you desire.

7. Stop imposing limitations on yourself

At some point in time, Jesse asked a navy seal he knew to live with him and his family for 30 days. He did that because he wanted to add an extra level of discipline, activity, and focus to his life. He also wanted to learn from this navy lifestyle and improve himself as part of his Ultraman training.

One of the biggest things he learned is that all the limitations that we set for ourselves are self-imposed. For example, this navy seal told him that he needed to do 100 pull-ups. When he first tried, he struggled and couldn't make it so he stopped. But the navy seal pushed him to do them again, and again, and again until he eventually was able to accomplish the goal.

Lesson: When your brain says that you're done, you are barely at 40% of your physical human capability. But if you push through that thought, you’ll realize that you can keep going. Those that accomplish more things than others can mentally and physically push through those limitations.

8. Work on your grit 

The grit you have is the #1 indicator of your future success. What is grit? It refers to “a positive, non-cognitive trait, based on an individual's perseverance of effort, combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state”. So grit is what you are willing to do and how much effort you're willing to put in to accomplish your dreams. 

Lesson: It’s not just about having goals. It’s also having the grit to push you through it over and over. Even when you're down, your grit is what gets you back up to keep going, unless you consciously choose not to do so.

Learn here how being grateful will help you attract success.

9. Always think of tomorrow

In closing, Jesse invited us to “remember tomorrow”. That means that if have to make a decision today, either if you are negotiating your goal down or pushing on a limitation, you always have to consider how are you going to feel about that decision tomorrow. 

Are you going to regret that decision or are you going to be happy you made it? Would you wish you went a little further? Will you regret that you didn't do what you said you were going to do? 

Lesson: By always having “tomorrow” in mind, you’ll be able to make a better decision today. 


As you can see, this session was very inspiring. I hope these takeaways give you a push to get going, as they did for me. 

The key message that I took is that no matter what has happened to us in the past, and what we've gone through, today we have to decide on how we're going to live the rest of our lives.

There's nothing we can do to change the past but we can control what happens in the future. And we better make sure that we make the most of our lives and choose goals that excite us and we feel passionate about.

At the end of the day, life is like a bus ride, as Jesse called it. It is best that, at the end of the road, we can look back and think “That was a life well-lived. Some goals I accomplished, some I didn’t. But hey, I have fun along the way because I did not give up.”

Don’t miss the rest of the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference video series on our YouTube Channel and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to get valuable information on how to become a successful business owner.



  • What is the point of differentiation of your organization, aside from the one of your brand?
  • Are you good at what you do? Do you love it? Does it help others?
  • How committed are you to achieving your dreams and goals?
  • What bad routines do you have to change to improve yourself and your business?