She’s a Celebrated Jazz Artist With Seven Records Released on Her Own Label. An Exclusive Interview With Entire Productions Founder & Chief Experience Designer, Natasha Miller
Q: After high school, where did you feel your career path would take you?
NM: I went to college on a full-ride classical violin performance scholarship and thought I'd be a performing artist. Both on violin and as a vocalist. I imagined being on tour and in recording studios mostly. And I did just that for a good part of post-college as I worked a "day job" in advertising and media buying.
Q: How do you think female entrepreneurship has evolved over time? Where is it today?
NM: Women are starting businesses more and more it seems. We're incredibly strong leaders and natural multi-taskers (even though that's not supposed to exist) I think there will be a big push in the next 10 years for women and other diverse entrepreneurs to enter the marketplace.
Q: Explain the importance of community with entrepreneurship? What resources do you value and recommend for other business leaders?
NM: I think finding a community of like-minded people with businesses of a similar size is so important. I spent most of my time in my business without something like that and I found that I really didn't have anyone to talk to about the highs and lows of the business. Family, friends, and co-workers aren't always the right ones to confide in or bounce ideas off.
Q: You're in the SF Chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) -- explain how being a member has helped your career. How has it helped catapult you to where you are today?
NM: I have met the most incredible people in EO. There are 14,000 members from around the world so if I need ANYTHING, I can reach out to a member with that expertise and they always take EO member calls. There's a lot of support from members and also incredible learning opportunities. So far I've done the Entrepreneur Master's Program at MIT, a certificate program at Harvard, and just recently the Global Speaker Academy which exceeded my expectations. The organization, even locally, continues to grow as each chapter seeks new members so the networking seems endless!
Q: How has COVID affected entrepreneurship? How did it affect you? Any challenges and advice you have from your experience?
NM: I am my best self and thrive in times of challenge and I don't think that's unusual for entrepreneurs. We need to think fast, pivot on the micro and sometimes the macro level and feed off opportunity, and creativity. For me, at first I was devastated and scared. My multi-million dollar company had $0 revenue as of March 17th. But that didn't last long, and I was more creative and energetic in my business than I had ever been before. It was a surge of activity and I "saved" the company, ending the year with a bit of profit, even! From my experience, I'd say entrepreneurs can be dreamers but have to have a healthy dose of realism in them. Expect to have to change in slight ways all of the time and be mentally and fiscally prepared for the need for a major change for when things like stock market crashes and pandemics arise. Never rest on your laurels. And always embrace change.
Q: Being a female entrepreneur, what's one piece of advice you'd give another aspiring female who is seeking a career path in entrepreneurship?
NM: First and foremost, surround yourself with people that have more experience than you have and are smarter than you. Look for mentors and advisors, study people's businesses that you admire. Take courses and get educated on the fundamentals so you're not spinning your wheels or stuck unnecessarily. Make sure you have a thick skin and aren't averse to failing. It's going to happen and its simply part of the journey.
Q: What is it about your job that most excites you?
NM: I love the beautiful, creative, and energetic events we get to design for our clients. To see mouths wide open and hear the oohs and aahs as people engage with various design and performance elements of events is such a good feeling. To have our clients praised by their guests and their bosses feels really good too. I also love change... so new ideas, strategies, and approaches really invigorate my mind.
Q: What is most important to you and why at this point in your life?
NM: Leaving a meaningful legacy is important to me. Of my life's work in all facets including the business but also the kind of sister, daughter, and mother that I am to my family. I am proud of what I've achieved and how I've contributed in my life and want that to continue that into the future.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
NM: My own (and Nike’s) ... "Just Do It!" I don't mind starting "ugly" and refining from there. I'm not one to overthink things. There's incredible power in starting.
Q: What’s one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make and how did it impact your life?
NM: I had a very tough time making the decision and laying off some employees due to the pandemic. It felt so bad and made be very anxious to the point I couldn't sleep. I knew it had to be done for the business, but it was not fun, at all.
Five Things About Natasha Miller
1. What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?
He's not a household name, but I'd LOVE to hang out with Jesse Itzler for a while. He's got incredible energy and great ideas. I've reached out to him to be on my podcast, Fascinating Entrepreneurs, and hasn't said "No"... instead he said, "Not right now". His wife, Sara Blakeley of Spanx was an EO member and of course I'd love to chat with her as well.
2. Favorite dessert?
Something with a bit of milk chocolate and a bit of crunch... malted milk balls are good!
3. What would you sing at Karaoke night?
As a recording artist, I could easily sing any of the 70+ songs I've recorded but my go-to song is, "I Can't Make you Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt.
4. What is your favorite childhood memory?
Roller skating and the Moonlight skates which are the last song of the night. They play a ballad and turn down the lights and you get to hold hands with someone... if all goes well.
5. What are some of your favorite interests and hobbies that you enjoy?
I love walking on Chrissy Field by the beach on the weekends. It's a must-do for my mental health. I read or listen to books on Audible a lot and have started listening to podcasts lately as well