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If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 19 years since starting my first company, it’s that entrepreneurship and small business ownership is not for the faint-hearted. Why? Because it is almost never an overnight whirlwind of success – it’s a marathon that requires continuous concentration and energy, fueled by a fierce and unwavering passion.

But what motivates entrepreneurs to break from the status quo, open their own businesses and challenge the landscape? Everyone has their own secret ingredient – for me, it is creativity. It’s what inspired me to leave my career as a lawyer and start my own creative marketing and public relations agency at the age of 23.

Creativity has been the key ingredient, the so-called “secret sauce,” to my success. It has enabled me to raise money, give speeches and work with small local startups and large global corporations alike.

Every entrepreneur and small business owner has a “secret sauce” that gives him or her a unique edge. The small business experts at Capital One Spark Business have long recognized these unique traits and the needs of small business owners, which is why they’re heading to SXSW, one of the premier destinations for aspiring and establishing entrepreneurs alike.

At the festival, they’ll create an epicenter of all things small business at the Capital One Spark Small Business House in the heart of Austin with a series of inspirational, educational and engaging events that will be open to all small business owners, with or without an official SXSW badge. As both a nod to Austin and its world famous cuisine, and a celebration of the unique attributes that make small business owners successful, all of Capital One Spark Business’ activities will be aimed at celebrating, magnifying and exploring these “secret sauces.”

From Friday, March 11 through Monday, March 14, the Spark Small Business House on E 6th Street will feature a series of “Hot Talks” with successful entrepreneurs from companies like Chubbies and Knot Standard, who will reveal and discuss what ingredients have propelled their businesses forward. Spark Business will also host a keynote and fireside chat with highly acclaimed chef, author and entrepreneur Anthony Bourdain, in which he’ll discuss the role that passion plays in business.

Throughout the week, small business owners will also have the chance to experience several one-of-a-kind interactive stations, including the opportunity to create their own “secret sauce” and meet with entrepreneurial-minded experts for mentoring sessions. And the brand will be demoing several of its digital offerings, including digital checking and savings and merchant services tools like Spark Pay.

Knowing how important my own special ingredient – creativity – has been to my success, I will definitely be heading to the Spark Small Business House for their activities this coming weekend, and if you’ll be in Austin, I’d highly encourage you to do the same.

For the complete schedule of Hot Talks and to learn more check out: http://2016.do512.com/capitalonespark. Please note that capacity is limited and RSVPs are required.

Thank you Capital One Spark Business for sponsoring this post.