I use my Mac mini headless as a server. However, you have to have a keyboard and mouse / trackpad to set it up (preferably wired). Once it is set up, you can use your MacBook Pro / iPad or iPhone to remote into the mini, for the times you need to do some maintenance or retrieve a file etc.
I setup my Mac mini for server use back in 2005 without having a monitor. Command-F5 to turn voiceover on, then it was quite doable. Eventually I enabled screen sharing and could control the server over the net using a virtual Remote Desktop.