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Home  > Insider profile
Sam Mullaly
Executive

"At first I was worried about finding the 'right' job for me, which was really difficult to figure out since I had no idea what that 'right' job was."

As children, we're all asked the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" How did you answer?

At first, I thought I wanted to be an archaeologist. It's because of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I thought Indiana Jones was the coolest guy and I wanted to be like that. I had an internship where I went on a real dig. It turned out to be nothing like I thought it would be and after sifting through a small square foot of dirt at a time, in the hot blazing sun, with mosquitos feeding off of me, I realized archaelogy was not my life's calling. Raiders of the Lost Ark is still one of my favorite movies though.

What have been the most defining moments along your career path?

After graduating college, I started off in sales. I had a successful career in traditional sales and sales management for about 5 years. Then through a weird series of events, I became a VP of Internet Marketing for a venture capital company. After they were investigated by the FBI and the Feds came knocking at my door at 7AM to call me as a major witness and confiscated my records (still don't know for sure what the company did wrong) I decided to start my own company. The Feds knocking on my door was a huge defining moment. I realized I need to depend on myself rather than put my trust in an employer.

How did you get your big breaks?

After college, I moved to California. I was tired of the cold and snowy winters in New England. I got an apartment near Silicon Valley with a couple of friends who already had jobs. I was new in town with no real contacts and no idea how to put my degree in History to use. I had no direction so I just went out for every job I could. My job blitz worked. On the 7th interview I landed the job in sales and I just took it from there.

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

At first I was worried about finding the 'right' job for me, which was really difficult to figure out since I had no idea what that 'right' job was. It was overwhelming. A friend suggested I forget about finding the right job and focus on just getting my foot in the door somewhere. It turned out to be excellent advice because it really doesn't matter where you 'break in'- only that you do. Once I gave up looking for the 'right' job, I felt free to interview everywhere I could, just to get my foot in the door. As college grads, we don't have much real experience. Employers seem more interested in whether you have some brains, some drive, are willing to work hard, and if you fit in with their corporate culture. If you meet those basic requirements, you're pretty much in there.

What have you learned from your experience?

The best way to learn this business is to just do it and TALK to other people who ARE successfully doing it. I have hundreds of marketing books and you know what...they're all collecting dust. Some were good reads but most were just regurgitated material from another marketer. The key to marketing and sales is to just pay attention and use common sense. Find someone who is successful in the field and model their approach. Keep your eyes open and be bold. That's what sales and marketing is all about- being bold.

What most excites you about your job right now?

We're growing! I never thought I'd be in this place when I started out on my own. I had no idea I'd still be in business (never mind doing well) 5 years out. It's just a marvel to me. I love that our premier clients are returning time and time again for our services. They see my agency as a key factor in their success. I'm so very proud of that.

What would you like to have achieved by the last day of your career?

I'd like to be considered one of the best boutique firms out there.

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Learn what it's like working in this industry from an Experience Insider.


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