If you’ve never been to an Inc Magazine event, it’s a must attend. Growco, specifically, is a great way to grow your business by networking and by executing the plethora of knowledge given by an entrepreneurial, expert panel. This years panel, held in New Orleans, included the likes of John Mackey- Co-Founder/Co-CEO of Whole Foods, Johnny Earle-Founder/Head Chef of the quirky, not-a-bakery Johnny Cupcakes stores, Alexa Von Tobel-Founder/CEO of Learnvest.com, Norm Brodsky-Founder Citistorage, Baratunde Thurston-Author on “How To Be Black”, along with many others.
However, the most significant speaker and “THE” Entrepreneur to see was Richard Branson. As he did an interview-style session with Eric Shurenberg Editor-In-Chief Inc., we were enthralled, intrigued, and motivated by his words of wisdom on his beginnings, his failures, his philosophy of his own businesses, and giving back. Sir Richard shared that you do not have to have any money to start a business, the biggest asset of any business is the people, and his philosophy is to have FUN!!!!!! The most anticipated part was the Q & A and the thought of being able to have a conversation with the coolest guy on the planet. Well, I wanted more than a conversation, I wanted a photo. I was the second person chosen to ask a question and when my turn came, I confidently spoke believing I would get my wish. I kept thinking of one of Sir Richard’s sayings, “Screw it, Just do it” (which I am glad I did and didn’t listen to staff that said I probably wouldn’t get what I was going to ask for, I mean who knows when I would have another opportunity and it was staring me in the face) and I proceeded to ask my question; “Hi, my name is Michelle Esposito and I live in South Florida. My best friend does the PR for the British Virgin Islands. She has met you several times and has a photo with you. My question is ‘Can I get MY photo with you?’” To my avail, he smiled and waved me forward so I went running and smiling, while everyone watched in amazement. As I stepped on stage, we posed for the camera and the next thing I knew I was surprisingly in Richard Branson’s arms. According to Steve Nudelberg, he had picked me up and posed for the room like I was the prize!
Good thing I listened to my gut and followed my passion,which are two of the most important characteristics of a successful entrepreneur.