When we last spoke with David Mullings—a mere three years ago—he ran just one business and had published his first book, Social Media for Entrepreneurs.
Considering all that's happened since then, we knew it was time to catch up and pick his brain again. His new book, Things #Entrepreneurs Say, is bound to contain bits of wisdom that speak to any entrepreneur.
The last three years have seen social media marketing become mainstream, but the growth of photo sharing and hashtags has been massive
Mullings now operates several successful businesses, including RealVibez Group "a multinational brand that unites music, technology and everyday island life." This entrepreneur's entrepreneur also runs a film company, an energy company and an investment firm.
The Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship—Caribbean invited him to be one of two external judges for its Pitch Day. If that's not enough, this young father of two small children also met with President Barack Obama.
If we seem impressed with Mullings, it's because we are. More relevant, though, is that he's generous in sharing his wisdom.
Here, Mullings discusses what he's learned about effectively using social media in the last few years, how he manages all that he does on these sites, who his own inspirations are and why he considers himself a "parallel entrepreneur" instead of a "serial entrepreneur."
In Part 2 of our interview with him, he'll share a lot more advice for entrepreneurs and tell us all about his surprising meeting with President Obama.
Hashtags are important
Schepp: Your first book, Social Media for Entrepreneurs, came out three years ago. While the idea of using social media as part of a marketing strategy isn't new anymore, there's still a lot people can learn about doing it effectively. What have you learned over the last three years?
Mullings: The last three years have seen social media marketing become mainstream, but the growth of photo sharing and hashtags has been massive. This influenced my decision to name my second book Things #Entrepreneurs Say because people would share quotes with an #entrepreneur hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That has taught me the new importance of tagging and the importance of consistent branding.
I get access to events that most of my followers will never get to attend, so I like being a resource for them
It has also taught me that just because your Facebook page can link to your Twitter account, does not mean you should have posts automatically go between them. Each medium is different and you should use them that way. Not everyone is on all social media platforms, so you need to ensure your resources are targeting your best potential audience. If you have lots of money then you can be everywhere; otherwise, you need to focus.
Schepp: How do you manage to do all you do on social media (e.g., you've sent out more than 25,000 tweets)? Do you have assistants, great software that you use, family members?
Mullings: Ha ha! I get asked that quite a bit, but I find it easy. I took a year off from Twitter because I didn’t get it. When I came back, I tried software to automate tweets, but found that the interaction and retweeting of other people was more important, so I stopped using it.
I tweet mainly from my iPhone and use Flipboard on my iPad to share articles I read. It's very easy to tweet that way because it's as simple as clicking a little button, and I read so much each day. I also tweet whenever I am at events, so I can share what I learn with my followers.
I get access to events that most of my followers will never get to attend, so I like being a resource for them. No one else manages any of my social media outposts, which cover Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn. I want it to be authentically me. I also manage the accounts for RealVibez on Twitter and Facebook, but every now and then someone else helps.
'Interesting mix' inspires expert
Schepp: Who inspires you? For example, whom do you follow on Twitter?
By promoting parallel entrepreneurship, I think that I will get more people to realize that you can build multiple companies based on systems and good people without having to wait until you sell one
Mullings: I have an interesting mix of inspirations. Steve Jobs and Richard Branson top the list, and then everyone else is pretty much tied: Warren Buffett, Michael Lee-Chin, Will Smith, Russell Simmons, P. Diddy, Walt Disney, Tony Hsieh, Jackie Chan, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.
Some of those people are still alive and on Twitter, thankfully. I tend to follow entrepreneurs and business owners so I can read what they read, and find worthy of sharing. Russell Simmons is definitely one of my favorites because of his holistic approach to life. Balance is becoming much more important to me because I now have two boys, Luke is 2 and Liam is 9 months old.
'Parallel entrepreneur' explained
Schepp: You have written that you're a "parallel entrepreneur," and you have also culled together some great advice for your new book Things #Entrepreneurs Say. First off, what's a parallel entrepreneur, and, now that you've done the research for your book, what are some of your favorite quotes for entrepreneurs?
Mullings: I got tired of being introduced as a serial entrepreneur because I haven't stopped any business I've started. My guides were always Virgin Group, Disney and Berkshire Hathaway, so the goal was to build a portfolio of companies that could leverage each other, and benefit from a very public founder who built his own brand and opened doors for those ventures.
"Parallel" means that you do more than one thing at the same time, like a parallel circuit. "Series" means one at a time, and, in school, I was taught that a series circuit was not as good as a parallel circuit because if one node fails, the whole thing fails. By promoting parallel entrepreneurship, I think that I will get more people to realize that you can do what Richard Branson and Walt Disney managed to do: Build multiple companies based on systems and good people without having to wait until you sell one.
Quotes that inspire
While it is hard to pick a favorite quote, I do have a couple, and they all come from Steve Jobs and Richard Branson.
I especially like Steve Jobs' quote about courage and intuition: "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice, and, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice, and have the courage to follow your heart and intuition
Some of the lesser-known entrepreneurs contributed some amazing ones, too, and a few especially stood out for me personally:
"If you believe life is about money, then you're lost. It's about creating good, healthy results so you are happy when you look back."—Kareem Shehadeh Rifai
"Vision can never guarantee your business' success. But one thing is guaranteed: Your business has no chance at success without vision." —Ron Holt
"Never let your age hold you back from something you want to accomplish, because the earlier you start, the more time you have to reach your goals."—Brandon Michaels
Schepp: Thanks, David!