Lessons from Jesse Itzler

  • When people invest in a company, it’s typically because they believe in the founder and the story. “You are the business plan”.
  • Decision makers have “banner blindness” when it comes to powerpoint presentations. To get their attention, you need to have an element that is unexpected and that breaks their pattern. To pitch his idea for Marquis Jet, Jesse invited a “focus group” to the meeting. Everyone explained who they are and why they’d buy Jesse’s offer.
  • People buy into people stories and momentum.
  • Social proof is everything when getting a new business off the ground. His jingle business was struggling until he did a jingle for the New York Knicks. Then everyone wanted to work with him. The meeting pitching his coconut water company idea went bad until he casually mentioned he could get Matt Damon involved.
  • Do whatever you can to get into the room. To get a meeting with a decision maker at Net Jets he secured a gig for his daughter that made her a star at her school. To get Marquis Jet off the ground he went to the town where the TED conference was held, bought all the muffins in the nearby coffee shop, and then used them as a conversation starter. “Sorry we’re out of muffins.” “Oh I have one extra. What are you doing here?” “I’m here for the TED conference.” “Oh I’m here for the TED conference too. What do you do?”. Signed his first customer this way.
  • Sign one client and then service the hell out of them. Do whatever you can to make their life better even if it’s unrelated to your service. They will give you referrals and this is how you start a flywheel.
  • Compliment, Congratulate, and Console. Take three minutes every day to reach out to people and do one of these three things. Every time you do this you plant a seed.
  • Masterplanning is overrated. Jesse fings success by trying a lot of random things while always keeping his eyes open for opportunities. For example, he had zero experience in the aviation industry before he started Marquis Jet. He just saw an opportunity when invited to a private jet for the first time and went for it.
  • If you’re not intentional time will slip away. You can squeeze a lot more out of life by planning mini adventures (things you’ve never tried before) several times per year and at least one big adventure per year.
Written on October 13, 2023

PS: If you're interested in following my journey, sign up below: