Live and work with a grateful heart.
Lauren Mieli is a marketing executive with over 20 years of experience working for various Fortune 50 brands. She has combined her talent for business development and love of cats into a number of successful businesses. The Catnip Times is an award-winning cat blog with more than 1 million followers on social media. Meow MeetUp, the Midwest’s largest cat conference, was started in 2018. You can find out more about Lauren and her cat-themed endeavors at https://www.thecatniptimes.com/.
Where did the idea for Meow Meet Up come from?
The idea for Meow MeetUp stemmed from my blog, The Catnip Times, which has a 7 figure following. The Catnip Times blends useful information for cat owners with a lot of humor and fun… We decided to take the blog offline, IRL and “in purrson,” and that’s how Meow MeetUp Chicago was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
In fact, no two days are ever the same. I wear a lot of hats which means I have to be really flexible, but also focused. Each day usually includes some administrative work, some prospecting for opportunities and then creating engaging content for my audience.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ask my husband and he’ll tell you I’m an idea machine. I think the key to bringing an idea to life is to be courageous enough to take the first step towards that idea… and then the next step and then the next. I once saw a video by Mel Robbins about her 5 second rule that really resonated with me. To sum it up, it prevents you from talking yourself out of action. You count down from five to one and then get started. No excuses. When an idea really nags at me, I use her rule and just go!
What’s one trend that excites you?
The pet technology market is really exciting to me. I love how technology is being harnessed to
make our pet’s lives so much better and in so many incredibly imaginative ways. When we get
our pets connected; it helps bond them to their humans even more deeply. Fido and Fluffy
aren’t just pets anymore – they’re family members that we very deeply care for.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Because I’m an “idea person” it’s easy for me to get distracted by so many cool things that are happening, so to find focus is my Achilles’ heel. To ensure I’m set up with the right mindset every day, I take a few minutes in the morning to write out my top 3-5 things that absolutely must be achieved that day and e-mail is never on that list.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would give my younger self a lot of advice (and even my middle-aged self as well). For one, don’t try to please everyone, it’s impossible. I’d also tell my younger self to listen to your inner voice. It is very quiet, but it’s worth listening to.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I am actually an introvert which means I derive my energy from being alone and “inside my world.” Many people don’t understand the true meaning of introvert and extrovert and think that being introverted equates to being shy. Most people who know me would tell you I’m an extrovert (one who gains energy by being around others) because I’m personable. I’m definitely an introvert.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I’m a big believer in networking, meeting new people and forming genuine relationships. I enjoy hearing people’s stories and their journeys because each is so unique. When you open yourself up to listening and learning about others, you often find ways to help each other.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One of my strategies is to focus on my brand, The Catnip Times, to deliver on the brand promise in everything I do. Whenever a new opportunity presents itself, I always ask “Is this inline with my brand? Is this something that will delight my customers or community and what they’ve come to expect?” If the answer is yes, then I’ll pursue. If the answer is no, I let it be.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had a lot of failures. The thing that usually made me fail was my own lack of focus and follow-through due to a fear of failure. In time, I have realized that a fear of failure and lack of courage to move forward is a guaranteed recipe for failure. Today, I am focused on a few things and I don’t half-ass any of them. I go “all-in” or I don’t do it at all. Ask any successful entrepreneur and the majority will tell you of the monumental failures they’ve had prior to their success. Failure should be viewed as a battle scar and a badge of honor that shows you went out there and gave it your all. There’s no shame in trying and putting something new into the world.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve had a million ideas over the years and it’s funny – I’ve seen many of them come to fruition and I’ve always had regrets. “Why didn’t I follow through on that?” often crosses my mind. One idea I’ve had for at least 20 years that still gnaws at me is separating fragrance from hair care products like shampoo and conditioner and selling it separately. Oftentimes I have loved a shampoo’s fragrance, but hated the product. It would be so great to get a scent-free product and be able to add a scent to it. And of course, said products should be cruelty-free.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a faith-based bracelet on Etsy recently. I’m not one to wear religious jewelry and it’s the first piece of its kind that I own. It reminds me of so many good things: to always be humble, to always be kind and most importantly to be of a grateful heart and thank God for His blessings in my life. I love having that daily reminder around my wrist.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use a ton of software, but I love the suite of Google products like Google Sheets because I love spreadsheets and being able to share and collaborate with others is fantastic.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I haven’t done a ton of business reading lately but a few books come to mind including Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point” and “Blink,” because they really get to the heart and psyche of consumer behavior. They’re oldies but goodies.
What is your favorite quote?
“The space for what you want is already filled with what you’ve settled for instead.” I have no idea who authored that quote but I learned of it about 25 years ago in college and it has stuck with me ever since.
● Fearing failure is a sure-fire way to achieve failure.
● Everyone will give you their opinions, but it’s the tiny little voice within that should receive priority over all others.
● Live and work with a grateful heart.