Lindsay Mullen is co-founder and CEO of Prosper Strategies, a public relations and marketing firm headquartered in Chicago. She works with high growth companies to help them increase exposure, gain traction among key stakeholders and drive bottom line results. Mullen has had the great fortune of working with some of the most prominent brands in the world to build their marketing initiatives and navigate communication challenges. She’s been a part of launching companies and careers, creating local and national thought leadership campaigns and taking brands to the next level. Follow her at @lindsmmullen.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
I can’t choose just one. Both of my parents are my heroes. My dad is the most passionate and driven entrepreneur I know. Nothing can stop him. He’s a total dreamer with big ambitions and the ability to execute. But nothing would be possible without my mom, who is his top advisor. She’s not an entrepreneur, but she’s entrepreneurial. She’s smart and grounded, but she also has the ability to be flexible for whatever’s up next. They’re a perfect pair.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
As someone who is constantly self-reflecting, I seek out advice from family, mentors, articles, books and blogs. Early on in my career, someone told me to build relationships with successful people my own age. You’ll grow together in business and in life. It couldn’t be more true. In large part, my business has been successful thanks to the many friends I have made throughout the years who are also my best references.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
I didn’t close a deal when I should have. In the beginning, I didn’t realize that everyone goes through the same thought process when making a purchasing decision, even for a highly consultative service like marketing and PR. They ask themselves: Does this have value? Am I making the right choice? Can I commit the resources on my end to make this successful? If you’re giving them the right information to answer those three questions, then ask for the deal.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
My business partner and I are the first ones in the office, so it’s quiet. I use the time to knock out two or three things so I start the day off with some accomplishment.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Operate lean until you build up your cash reserves. Even then, operate lean.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Let your mind wander.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I love the blog Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. I once heard her on NPR saying that a good day is when you wake up happy and you go to bed happy. That’s the definition of success. For the most part, I do. Now the question is whether I can maintain it as we scale the business.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.