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Entrepreneur & Best-Selling Author Jesse Itzler Shares Top Success Tips with Hughes Marino

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By Shay Hughes

A few years ago to celebrate Hughes Marino’s anniversary, we invited best-selling author and business mogul Jesse Itzler to speak to our team at our headquarters and were blown away by his energy and inspirational direction. As a special treat to sign off 2021 and kick-start the new year, we invited our clients and friends to join us for a memorable webinar with Jesse, and his positivity and insight to start the year on the right foot were tremendous!

Jesse Itzler speaking to the Hughes Marino team at an anniversary event at our headquarters in 2019.

Jesse’s excitement and passion for the entrepreneurial spirit really inspired and invigorated everyone on the call, and it was a great way to supercharge our mindsets in 2022. During his time with us, he walked us through his journey as an entrepreneur—from his rapping days, to co-founding Marquis Jet, to partnering with ZICO Coconut Water in its early stages and taking the product to an explosive new level, to marrying his successful wife Sara Blakely (founder of Spanx and one of my personal business idols!), to writing the New York Times best-selling book Living with a SEAL, and his most recent book, Living with the Monks.

Jesse is energetic, thoughtful, inspirational, and gifted us with insightful ideas to reflect on, both personally and professionally. Here are six of his business takeaways that Jesse shared from chapters in his new book that we really enjoyed. We hope they inspire you, too!

1. Embrace every opportunity to build relationships.

Jesse shared the story of how he spent his early jingle company’s modest marketing budget on a rare opportunity to purchase Yankee’s tickets in an on-the-field section of seats that were up for sale. After some negotiating with this business partner, the two agreed to the hefty purchase, as Jesse knew somehow this rare find would pay off in the end. In a turn of fate, Jesse had a chance encounter with Jay-Z, and invited him (a perfect stranger!) to split the once-in-a-lifetime seats for the next ten years, which sparked a friendship that would have never evolved if it weren’t for those seats! For the decade Jesse had the tickets, they proved to be a useful tool in business and networking, allowing for the unique moments to meet people he would never have the opportunity or access to do so. In another twist of business fate, that trusted relationship years later would result in Jay-Z contracting with Marquis Jet as the travel charter for his world tour.

This intrigued Jason Hughes and I, as we have met people in this industry over the years that we may never have met, had it not been for the opportunities we said ‘yes’ to—so when you have a moment to do something new, go someplace new, experience life, say “yes!”

Hughes Marino teammates making memories and having fun during a broker retreat.

The story Jesse shared also reinforced the meaning of relationships being the key to success in all things of life, be it personal or professional, and creating ones that are built on trust, sustaining, and unique, which can happen at any time. Perhaps that conference you attended, or your friend’s neighbor, the mentor you’ve had for decades—put yourself in situations where you will meet people and create unique long-term relationships. Jason and I have emphasized this very practice into our Core Value #5—Build lasting relationships based on trust.

2. It’s okay to deviate from your original business plan.

Jesse shared the story of how he pitched Coca-Cola to be an investor of his ZICO Coconut Water company. What drove him each step of the way was the unwavering determination of “going to get there!” It took a witty approach to a simple solution of having accessible coconut water for the masses through a quick-thinking Jesse to connect with his friend Matt Damon (yes, the actor!) to climb Matt’s coconut tree in the backyard, cut it open and drink the juice—all while filming on his phone to text over to Jesse to showcase to Coca-Cola that there had to be a more sophisticated and better way to drink coconut water. Needless to say, Coca-Cola was onboard, and the rest is history! Jesse emphasized as an entrepreneur it’s okay to deviate from your original business plan, as long as you have a vision of how you will get there. This spoke to one of our HM-isms, “Relentless Offensive Attack” which at its heart is our message of ‘don’t let up. We don’t stand by the sidelines. We’re out there every day, earning our success and outrunning the competition. Be relentless, and never take a win for granted.’

3. Mindset is everything!

Mindset is everything, and the words we speak to ourselves are powerful. As Jesse was training for a grueling race, he called in a Navy Seal for coaching who advised, “Never give pain a voice. Never say it out loud.” Doing so will give them power, so your only response needs to be ‘I feel outstanding.’ This can be applied both personally and professionally, from our daily self-talk to taking care of our health, to proactively working on a project or communicating with team members, we must always think in terms of being mindful that words are powerful forces.

Jason with Marc & Mike, the winners of the HM Pickle Ball Tournament.

Another major point Jesse brought up was to always, always take time to reflect on what we’re grateful for. Being grateful for what we have—food, a roof over our heads, our career, family and so much more—impacts our mindset on a daily basis. At Hughes Marino, we embody this with our Core Value #10 – Be authentic, grateful and humble. One fun way we practice gratitude within Hughes Marino? Jason often kicks off an internal “grateful chain” to end our days on a high-note, and the gratitude spilling from our teammates emails is absolutely uplifting and infectious! Everything from family, to work, dogs and furry family members to an upcoming vacation, it really puts it into perspective that we all have so much to be grateful for!

4. Challenges spur great opportunities for growth.

As a business owner, one never wants to be in the position of having to not take care of a client or provide the best service possible. When these challenges do arise, the way you handle them could present some of the greatest opportunities for growth. Jesse shared a challenge of his own with one of the Marqui jets having mechanical issues and not being able to accommodate a new client traveling and causing a 9-hour delay, thus potentially blowing an important initial opportunity. What was the solution? Jesse didn’t hide behind an email. Instead, he got in front of the problem, acted with urgency, and called the client to apologize explaining he would never put anyone in an unsafe situation and credited the client for a future trip—he took care of his client. This spoke true to what Jason and I have implemented within Hughes Marino, as we always strive to help our clients feel informed, confident and appreciated. This concept is also embedded in our Core Value #9—Proactively Communicate with Everyone.

5. Maintain your relationships with your health, money and time.

The most important relationship we will ever have is with ourselves. The relationship and connection we have with our health, money and time is a direct correlation to our life. We must take care of our health, remove the unhealthy relationships and be mindful of the “inputs” to ourselves—be it the words you speak, the music and podcasts you consume, mentors, and food; we need to care for ourselves.

The career we have provides us access to money, it’s a tool to make life easier. Jesse encourages us to ask ourselves, what do you want to do with that money? Think of how it can help people, make life better, do more of what you love with the people you love. The relationship we have with money and time, is the most important, meaning don’t give up what you have—your limited time—for what you might want later. By emphasizing our Core Value #6 with our team—Nurture your personal and professional life, we always try to encourage work hard and play hard, and make time for family and self-development.

6. Plan out your year in advance.

While everyone leads extremely busy lives, it’s important to carve out time daily to do things that make you happy and recharge your batteries! Jesse encourages to plan our life first and then fill it in with the other details, reinforcing that living life to the fullest is the highest priority. There are 52 weekends a year, which seems like a lot, but we all know the year flies by faster than we like! Create experiences. Plan that family vacation or friend-getaway, schedule your consistent workouts and what you do for your wellness, including your regular and yearly doctor visits.

Andrew enjoying the journey on a hike in his HM gear!

Jesse dedicates time at the end of each year to plan for the next, and talked about the importance of learning how to say “no” to things that don’t move your life or career forward and focus on the winning habits and new experiences that will make your life more meaningful. This really resonated with us, because while we work extremely hard, Jason and I try our very best to ensure our team members have plenty of time to take care of themselves and enjoy time with family and friends. At Hughes Marino, we provide our team with extra time off over the holidays and long weekends throughout the year, so everyone has plenty of opportunities to recharge, nurture their personal lives and take time to pursue things that are important to them too!

After listening to Jesse’s incredibly inspiring stories and ideas, we left feeling pumped and ready to take on any challenge that 2022 will bring, and we look forward to bringing Jesse back for another webinar this spring! Looking back, it was a perfect message to share with our clients, friends, and team, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And remember, to always, enjoy the journey!


Jesse Itzler–Entrepreneur. Author. Keynote Speaker. To learn more, please visit Jesseitzler.com or connect with him on Instagram at @jesseitzler.

Shay Hughes is president & COO of Hughes Marino, a global corporate real estate advisory firm that specializes in representing tenants and buyers. Shay writes about business leadership and company culture on her blog, Lead from Within. Contact Shay at 1-844-662-6635 or shay.hughes@hughesmarino.com to learn more.

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