Why Patience is Key in Entrepreneurship with Jesse Itzler


How many of you reading this when you were little wanted to be an actor, doctor, or astronaut? That dream career that we thought we all wanted to do at one point in our lives. You can think of it kind of like a pipe dream.

Pipedreams do exist and many people have gone onto live the life they always dreamed of while also doing what they love. All with their own twist and turns though and lots of determination. To get a better idea about this whole concept I decided to sit down with one of the most inspirational and fittest leaders I’ve ever met, part owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Jesse Itzler.

Itzler is someone that does not need much of an introduction at all but I’ll give you a little insight into what this business leader has accomplished in his career, but also shed some light on what ultimately got him to where he is today.

The Beginnings of Jesse Itzler

As I mentioned earlier, life takes us through many twists and turns, both good and bad. Something that I truly believe and something that Itzler echoed in our interview was that whatever happens to us, happens for a reason.

Itzler was a kid who grew up in Long Island and moved out to New York to pursue his music career. He was a talented artist that got signed to a record deal. One day he thought he would be a chart-topping musician and then the next he got dropped from his label, now what?

He moved back to New York and built a business around producing sports team themed songs. Funny enough, his first client happened to be the New York Knicks. Itzler’s work consisted of producing a Knicks theme song that he created for $4800 and sold to the Knicks for $4000. Ultimately losing $800 in the process.

The loss of $800 didn’t stop him though, he took this product and built it for other NBA teams, which led him to build this idea of his into a successful business. Later opting to sell the business. Itzler then ventured into co-founding a private aviation company called Marquis Jet which later got acquired by the famous billionaire Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway.

Itzler then went on to help Zico Coconut Water sell their company to Coca Cola, marry SPANX founder Sara Blakely, have 4 kids, and go onto letting a Navy Seal live with his family for a month. Oh and then he wrote a book about the process that would become a #1 New York Times Bestseller titled “Living with a Seal.”

You’re probably thinking that Itzler has accomplished so much already that he now just sits back and relaxes every day. This couldn’t be farther from the truth because one thing that really resonated with me when I chatted with Itzler was this,

“I’m someone that focuses every day on the future. I don’t really think about my past successes that much because I’m always focused on what’s ahead rather than what already happened.” Jesse Itzler

Inspirational Takeaways to Take With You

You are now well aware of Itzler and his sensational business and personal background. A man who thought he would be a musician one day now finds himself being a dad and husband to his wife and four children, but also finding time to give back through philanthropy and advising other entrepreneurs and businesses.

I gained so much wisdom and insight in my talk with Itzler that I felt it was important to give you some more fuel for that entrepreneurial flame inside you, so here are a few more tips I picked up from Itzler.

Get Uncomfortable 

Itzler is not a huge fan of routines. Routines end up putting you in a state of flux and relaxation which can make you complacent and lazy. When he invited Navy SEAL David Goggins to live with him and his family for a month, this experience put him in a lot of uncomfortable situations. It opened his eyes to see how powerful the human body can be and how we can all be pushed more.

The 40% Rule

When your mind says you are done, you actually still have 40% left in the tank.

Itzler talks more about this in his book, “Living with a Seal”


Something you need to get out of your head is picturing overnight success. It rarely ever happens, and instead, you need to be able to accept and handle the process of entrepreneurship. It’s going to take trial and error to get things right. In Itzler’s eyes, too many entrepreneurs are trying to rush things and go too fast. Slow down and remain committed to the process.

To leave you with some inspiring words I wanted to share something that Itzler learned from his wife Sara Blakely.

Start Small. Think Big. Scale Fast

-Sara Blakely, Founder, SPANX-

If you like learning from and connecting with people like this and enjoy a challenge then you should check out the event Itzler is putting on in Atlanta here.

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