In today's episode we speak with CEO, entrepreneur, musician, speaker, podcast host and author - Natasha Miller.
Some things we talked about:
• Pulling yourself back up again when life smacks you in the face
• Pivoting - what do you do when your business goes to zero overnight
• How to talk to yourself when shit gets hard
• Advice to struggling musicians trying to make ends meet
Entire Productions: https://www.entireproductions.com/
Fascinating Entrepreneurs Podcast: https://www.fascinatingentrepreneurs.com/
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program at Babson College
Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
Be sure to support her upcoming memoir, tentatively called "Relentless Tenacity: My Journey from a Homeless Shelter to the Inc 5000"
That was in case I didn't make enough money, right. So that I could live easily without the stress. Not a lot of people are really willing to give up some of their creature comforts to follow their dreams.
And so, it took our clients a little while to get on the bandwagon because I think they were still thinking, Oh, we'll start doing events, you know, in a couple of months when things get better. And then they realized, Oh, we have to figure out the virtual solution.
I had the absolute pleasure of talking to Natasha Miller of Entire Productions. Natasha's story is incredible. In our conversation. She tells us how she managed to go from literally homeless to founding a multimillion dollar events agency that she's been running for decades.
Now, she also shares how her company almost went broke overnight because of COVID and what she did to successfully pivot. This episode is intense you guys and packed with actionable insights. So here's for you, Natasha Miller.
Natasha Miller. Thank you so much for coming on. My pleasure, so nice to meet you for sure.
Um, yeah, I, I spot it. You on the trends group and I was just mind blown by your story because you are such an inspiration to people and I'm actually a very good friend of mine is a professional musician himself. He got decimated by COVID. Everything he was doing, uh, was in person events. Obviously he's a professional pianist and, um, well, real talk he's on benefits right now.
Um, and um, I think it will be great to really, you know, take us all the way back from, you know, you maybe. Probably in your early twenties as a musician, um, this whole take us through that journey and how it evolved into you eventually being this bad-ass businesswoman. Well, I never thought in a million years I would have what I have today, which is a profitable multi-million dollar business.
And the reason I say it that way is, um, To just put my stake in the ground. And also a lot of people don't talk about their success in that way, especially women. And, um, only 2% of female entrepreneurs make it past a million dollars in revenue. So I like to just throw my stake in the ground, but yes, in my early twenties, um, I really wanted to be a professional.
Musician. And I actually was, so I was a classically trained violinist and I was making a pretty good living, playing the violin with a string quartet at social and corporate events at that time was mostly social. And what that means is weddings. So I was a wedding violinist and a wedding singer. I was also a singer songwriter.
I played the guitar and the piano, but I usually use those instruments to write songs, but not to perform. So I had a band that was much better at those instruments than I was. So my first record came out when I was, let's see, in 2001, and that just was such an, it was the fire ignited. I loved creating. I loved arranging.
And if I wasn't doing the arranging of the songs, I didn't mind somebody else doing it. Yeah. But, um, I was able to put my heart and soul my music out there in a way that was so consumable. And then of course I was performing. I really, I just thought I would be a performing artist as it turns out. When you're booked on a Friday or Saturday night, you can't multiply yourself.
So when people started asking me to perform on nights, I was already booked. Instead of turning them down, I would say to them, you know what? I am not personally available. I have another gig, but I can bring in a group that's as good as I am. Probably better and manage them for you. And people said yes, because they really didn't know where to turn.
Uh, they still don't and that's why my business, um, I formally created my business, formally created it, uh, in about 2001 about the same time I started that, uh, recording, but I'd been doing it. Um, and let's see an officially meaning without a business license, since I was about 15. So I ended up, um, bringing in other groups of others, genres that were separate from jazz and classical dance bands, um, DJs, aerialists, and it just started compounding and snowballing.
And, you know, it did take a while I was a solo preneur and basically a lifestyle entrepreneur for quite some time, because. Really my focus was on becoming a performing artist. My focus wasn't on building an empire. So. As my daughter got older and in high school, she didn't need me around as much and didn't want me around as much.
So that's when in 2009, I kind of rebranded and relaunched entire productions, which is my core business and things just started picking up. And then in 2015, I did a course at, through Goldman Sachs called the 10 K SB at Babson college in Boston. And that just catapulted me and. I just learned so much. I was doing it by myself.
I wasn't reading a lot of business books. I wasn't really taking people's advice. I wasn't asking for it either, but once I learned how to do things, instead of trying to figure it out myself, my business grew by 65% that next year, and then another 65% the following year. And then we were just unstoppable until.
Dot.dot March 16th of last year. Yeah. Yeah. And we can, um, talk about what happened then obviously, cause you, uh, you've successfully pivoted as they say how yup. The big P we did. I mean, we were gearing up to have our best year ever, of course, because we were still growing and. Things were crazy. Like in 2018, we did 777 events.
In 2019, we did 650 and we backed off, um, the volume on purpose. So we we're trying to do higher end bigger budget events and less of them because it was making everyone crazy. Well, we got our wish in 2020, um, everything stopped on March 16th. Then we went from multimillion dollar projections based on past performance to zero.
And I didn't know, no one knew no one knew anything. They didn't know when things would come back immediately. We thought, Oh, it'll be a few weeks, maybe a couple of months that did not happen. So I, I quickly realized that. I had to do some layoffs and I had to do some furloughing and that made me sick to my stomach.
It was horrible. But as an owner of a company, you have to make those decisions. They're, they're not fun. And, uh, it really set me back emotionally and mentally, but not for long because I had a business to save and I had my own, you know, I had my own investments to save. So I ended up basically having. So cutting in half my expenses by the layoffs and the furloughs, but also getting rid of the office and, you know, lots of subscriptions to step that we didn't need as badly as we needed them before.
And I came up with a solution. For our corporate clients and we mostly cater to corporate events, um, which are now our clients are Salesforce and Google and Apple and LinkedIn, and we're in San Francisco. So it's pretty obvious that, you know, of course those are going to be, you know, big players in the, in the industry.
So I created what we call an entire variety show. Type of format for people to do virtual events. We knew that people were getting sick of sitting on zoom. There were sick of the happy hours of the silly hat, happy hours. So by the 1st of April, I had already come up with this idea. I had created a deck. I had started pitching.
We hadn't even done it yet, but I told my team, I'm like, okay, we're going to do the show for ourselves. For our clients. So we're going to produce the show to show our clients what they can do. And the first show was an interview with an incredible entrepreneur, Daniel of Snibbes and hatch, which are Snibbes as a shoe company.
Hat is a yakitori restaurant in LA and we had a performance. I think we had two performances. So with musicians and a mentalist, and that was the start of what saved my company. And so it took our clients a little while to get on the bandwagon wagon because I think they were still thinking, Oh, we'll start doing events, you know, in a couple of months when things get better.
And then they realized, Oh, we have to figure out the virtual solution. We ended last year doing over 200 events, virtual events of every size, shape, and reason using that short segmented, faster paced variety show kind of skin. And we're still doing that today. And I think we're going to be doing it for a long time.
Uh, the first thing to come back in person will be social events. So that's weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, uh, gender reveal. Although people need to stop doing things that are like killing people. Do you know what a gender reveal is? Uh, not really. I'm going to tell you just because it'll be fun.
So I think it's mostly in America, but when you get pregnant and have, you know, you're going to have a baby and you're showing usually you're showing. Well, you have to show because by 18 weeks you can find out the gender of the baby and to reveal it to either each other or your friends and family or social media, we plan these ridiculous things where.
You, um, some here's an easy one. A balloon is full of either blue confetti or pink confetti, and you either have your kid or your dog or your husband pop it, and all this confetti comes out and then you reveal the gender. Well, people in America are starting to use fireworks and explosives to make a big bang out of it.
And people are hurting themselves and dying. So there's a little news flash for you. Anyway, we have never produced or brought entertainment to ND any gender reveal parties yet. However, um, corporate is still going to keep to themselves and doing virtual, I think for awhile, maybe they'll start doing things in fourth quarter.
Or a little bit more in first, but I think we have second or third quarter of 2022 before we're in. And I won't say full swing, but more of a swing of people getting together and doing corporate events. But I believe that hybrid events will take over. So a little bit of a virtual component with the in-person and why not?
I've seen a lot of people. Building it and expanding their audience and their reach and their business and their revenue by doing this virtual thing, it opens it up to so many more people. Um, the Inc 5,000 conference last year was done digitally. And in person they usually have about 5,000 attendees that 20,000 people register for their conference.
No brainer. And can you talk about, um, cause I am fascinated with virtual events. Can you talk about this some more? I saw on your Instagram page, um, there's like, you know, like a two or three minute clip of like this, uh, Beverly Hills virtual, uh, event thing. And I was just, wow. Cause, cause I did not expect it to be as cool as it is.
So I'm not sure which event you're referring to. And I'll have to say that. Thankfully, after I dug my company out of. You know, nothing and started to build it up. I actually am able to work on my business now rather than in it day to day. So I'm not sure what you're referring to, but I can tell you about some of the virtual events that I've personally been involved with.
Um, some of them we've had headline entertainment. Like we had trained performing the band train, um, virtually live. So instead of recording it and then just playing the recording on the. Uh, event, they're actually interfacing with guests and talking, and then playing and you get this inside scoop on who they are as people, because you get to see them this close, and then you get to see the personality.
You get to see their backgrounds, their, what, their living room or their kitchen set up wherever they're set up. Um, And we're doing events that are sort of low budget, meaning not broadcast quality. So that would be a zoom platform all the way up to Broadway broadcast quality, which is a whole nother level.
It's kind of like watching a television show where like the lower third graphic swoops in and then disappears. And, you know, you can stack a two box next to like, you know, a, uh, a video and there they're all these technical things that can happen, but it takes a whole nother team to, to make those happen.
We are big proponents of two way interactive events. And one way broadcasts are not terribly. They're not terribly intriguing for the end user. So we really try to have some sort of at the very least a chat box, but in my, in a perfect world, it would be video to video. Yeah. Yeah. Let make sense. Um, going back to when you were transitioning, um, maybe inadvertently, even from a full-time musician to a business woman, um, maybe talk to us about some of the struggles, some of the difficulties, um, back then, starting out.
Because, um, you know, I'm, you know, I grew up with a single mom as an only child. My mom was working, uh, all the time. Um, I know what it's like. Um, and, um, cause I don't want people to think. Yeah. You know, she was this musician then, you know, there was more and more demand for services that up and now, you know, she's the successful, uh, you know, agency.
Oh no, there were definitely moments of. Um, so I mean to back it up even further, um, and I'm just starting to talk about this now, uh, later in life and I'm releasing a memoir, uh, soon this year and the tentative title is called relentless tenacity, my journey from a homeless shelter to the Inc 5,000. So I've been on my own completely since I was 16.
So what that actually means without drudging up the whole story, which hopefully everyone will want to learn about in the book. Um, I really thrive in challenging times. That's when I, my absolute best that may be the same for a lot of people that didn't have to live on their own when they were 16. But for me, it is a skill that I honed very early.
So, you know, with I've always had either a day job. So I worked in advertising. I was a media buyer, um, and did my performing. So there was always those two things. And then at one point I decided I don't want to work in advertising. I want to throw my whole life into the performing arts and booking other musicians.
So what I did instead of having. No money, no food, no life. I changed my circumstances. I moved out of a nicer home that I was sharing with me, my daughter and my brother into it, had a backyard and a garage. And it was, you know, it was in a lovely neighborhood into a one bedroom apartment, my daughter and I, we put her bunk bed over my queen bed and that was in case I didn't make enough money.
Right so that I could live easily without the stress. Not a lot of people are really willing to give up some of their creature comforts to follow their dreams, and I would highly suggest it. So anyway, that first year of being, not in a full-time job, I made as much money as I did the last year. But do you know what I did?
I stayed in that apartment. I loved it. There was no need for a nicer home with the yards in a nicer neighborhood. By the way, I wasn't in a bad neighborhood. I was just in a very small place. I like to call it a garden apartment. My daughter likes to call it the basement apartment. So I still live quite frugally.
Like I was just doing my expenses. To see how much money I would need to keep in my bank account to live on for nine to six months or nine to 12 months, and then put the rest in investments. And the number was pretty surprising. Hmm. And I don't know if I should say it out loud on, on a podcast, but I think I might, I can live on, I mean, it's all relative.
I live in San Francisco. It's one of the most expensive cities in the world. Right? So this number is going to seem ridiculous for people in the Midwest or, you know, other countries, but I can live on about four, four to $5,000 a month. And you know, I'm 50 years old and. I, I just keep everything pretty tight.
So, um, I would say most of my contemporaries have a budget of 10 to $20,000 a month of living expenses. So people that own multi-million dollar companies. That said, I think I mentioned to you earlier, I had a million dollar payroll before COVID hit, so I guess I spend my money on my business, but yeah, there's always hardships.
There's, you know, I bootstrapped I did not take loans out. I didn't look for capital angel investors. And so I was always taking what I was getting in and putting back into the business and that worked for me. It worked for my situation. I was a single mom, but my daughter's dad lived about eight blocks away from us at any given time.
And he was fully present. So really no hardships there. Um, you just have to be willing to give up and, and feel good about giving up certain things in order to chase your dreams in my opinion. Yeah, for sure. And do you, um, Knowing what you know now, um, do you have any advice to sort of like your 20 or 25 year old self?
Yes. So I was spunky. I was creative. I had a lot of energy and I liked doing things on my own, my own way against the grain. And there's some of that that was perfectly fine. Had I invested in real mentorship advisors? Coaches, um, education formal, more formal education about entrepreneurship and business.
I would have gotten further, faster. Now looking back, I'm very happy with what I learned and how I learned it. But once I started indulging in those opportunities of learning, I started really scaling and growing. And maybe I didn't want to scale and grow that fast or that much back in the day that could have been it.
But that's what I say is find mentors, find advisors, listen to them. You don't have to take everything that you hear and execute on it. Some of their advice or their experience shares may not be relevant, may not work for you. So don't take it verbatim, but definitely if it makes sense to you and it lights you up, give it a try.
And if it works, keep going. Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. And because I know so much is about mindset and I have to, uh, constantly remind myself of like, what's possible. And like, you know, with, you know, reaching out to podcast guests, for instance, I'm always like, who am I to talk to those people? And, but, you know, that's how we connected for instance.
So it totally works. Absolutely. Yeah, I would say this. If you were to ask me when I was in high school, did I think that I would be able to record and produce seven CDs and perform at the various venues that I did? I probably would have had an inkling that that was possible. But had you have said to me, do you think you're going to own and run a very successful multi-million dollar company and have employees.
The answer would have been, no, that is not for me then 15 years ago, if you would have said, would you, do you think you could whatever, have a $5 million business? And I would be like, no way. Well, today I do. And now I know for sure that I can have, and I'm quite capable of having a billion dollar company.
That is not outside of the possibility, but I don't want that if I did the want it. I know that I could, I could get there. Absolutely. For sure. So that's both a mindset thing, but it's also watching other people do what they're doing. So I know a lot of people with, well, that's not true. I know quite a few people with billion dollar companies and they're not.
You know, necessarily Harvard MBA graduates. They're not from a wealthy family. Right. They're usually scrappy entrepreneurs that maybe didn't have a formal education, but somewhere along the line, you can't have a billion dollar company without great advisors, without a great board of advisors, a board of directors without education.
And then finally, without having people that are experts in these different things that you are not an expert in, you need a CFO, you need a COO, you need to, you need. Great sales team. You need great marketing. You need great customer service and you can't do all those things. It's physically impossible.
Mike drop. Uh, um, so going back to the 20, 25 year old self. So if we have someone, you know, whatever in, you know, in Ohio, somewhere in the Midwest, listening to this and. They, you know, they want to go after their dreams, but you know, maybe they're feeling a little shy. Yeah. Okay. I got to find my mentors, you know, my personal board of advisors.
Um, how do they, how do they start? What do they do? I think finding somebody that you're really fascinated by her intrigued, or really look up to someone that you think. Might not be approachable. I would test yourself and just make the ask. You'd be very surprised at the reaction that you would get from these kinds of people.
Now, if they're too busy and maybe they're mentoring too many people, the answer may be no or not right now, but it also could be. I don't have time for that right now. Call me next quarter or. I know somebody else that you might be able to talk to. So it's about networking and building relationships. And I think, you know, we're all human beings.
We all have something to offer each other, whether you're just starting out, somebody that's just starting out can be a great asset to somebody who has a lot of success in ways that you don't even know about yet. So. If you're feeling like you shouldn't or you couldn't, or you can't just do it and find out the worst thing that they can say is no.
Yeah, totally, totally. Um, let's see. Um, I also saw your, um, charitable work. You have a lot of, um, charities that you're involved with. I think you even have your own charity, if I'm not mistaken that you set up. I have. Yes. So when my daughter was in elementary school, um, in Alameda, California, which is a little Island in between Oakland and San Francisco, there wasn't music for there wasn't music in the schools.
There was no budget for it, which was horrific. I came from Des Moines, Iowa, where everyone could learn an instrument for free, and there was an orchestra and a band in every school. It was an, it was just as important as gym or math. So I started with a very famous opera singer. Her name is Frederick data.
Uh, people that know her call her Flicka. We started the Flicka and Natasha fund, and I was producing concerts every month. It was called first Saturdays and Alameda, and a part of the proceeds would go into the schools, the Alameda unified. School district to plump up there. Um, it's basically volunteer music programs and I would come in with my guitar and my violin and sing and play for the kids.
And then most importantly, I let them come up to me and I would hand them my violin and let them try it because that tactal actual playing of it. Instead of seeing it. Really could have moved the needle for a lot of them to say, Oh, wait, I want to play the guitar. Or I want to play the violin. In fact, I played one when I was in kindergarten or first grade and it felt so amazing.
So hopefully we, we did some good there. Oh, yeah, this is how I started out, um, playing the saxophone because I played the saxophone. Um, they, there was like this, they called it a, like a, um, like a musical circus or like a circus of music. Um, And it was like full-time musicians. They would come, um, into our schools with intro school, with like all kinds of, uh, instruments and they, you know, pass the instruments, um, around and, um, yeah, so you're totally right.
Like, it makes all the difference. Cause, cause how else would I have known. Right. And that's how I started. I had, I was in the school assembly in fourth grade and a man named Mr. Carlson came and stood down at the, at the floor and play the violin and said, does anyone want to try it? And I was like, I do, I do.
I do. And I walked down and I put the violin to my chin and I pulled the bow across the strings. I'm sure it did not sound good, but do you know what he said to me? You're a natural. I believed him. And so I started playing the violin and the rest is history. I mean, I got a full ride scholarship to college for it.
I play it on almost all my records. I'm not a professional violinist right now, but wow. That's amazing, right? Yeah. Yeah. And, and talk about that, you know, how much it, how much it does to you just to one key person, you know, believing in you growing up. Right. But it does too to your mindset, uh, definitely a confidence builder.
For sure. For sure. And, and the thing that strikes me with unit Tasha is your energy, your enthusiasm. Like I'm just sitting here smiling the entire time, you know, because you have this infectious, enthusiasm and energy where I can totally get why, you know, big companies want to work with you. Cause you just come in there and you, you know, you just give everyone.
Can you put a smile on everyone's face. Thank you. Thank you so much. I mean, I, I love what I do, so it's kind of hard not to be, you know, excited and enthusiastic. And then really right now, my team at entire productions, they are killing it. They are making it so easy for. Me to have this business, but for us to do the business that we're doing, they wake up every morning and they all report in on Slack about what they're doing today.
What, what they're focusing on, what challenges they might have. And then everyone participates in greeting each other and helping each other. And then at the end of the day, they all report in on what they accomplished and what they might be still waiting for and such. And there are two things that I kind of.
Loosely follow one is scaling up and one is EOS traction. We're more on the EOS traction and they really suggest doing a morning huddle a morning meeting for my team, asking them to get on a zoom call or get on together, live to do that recap of what's going on. Wouldn't work for us. I don't think they would like it.
And, but that, they're fine with doing that. Check-in on the Slack and we do have our all hands meeting where everyone attends on Monday mornings and they're really, self-fulfilling, they're there. They're turning their own wheels. I don't have to like, get them revved up. They're getting themselves revved up and that I'm very proud of.
And, and very relieved about, I guess then the followup question would be, how do you find those people, how you find great. So that's is the mystery very hard? Um, to have two of my best gals, one was referred to me by a professor at Babson college. Actually he referred her to me. She's amazing. Her name is Ana Luisa.
One applied for a job that we didn't think she'd be a right fit for, but I knew she would definitely be a powerful entity. I wasn't sure at what quite yet. And her name is Madeline and she is amazing. She's doing our communications, our SEO, our social media, uh, working publicity. She's a communications person.
And then Megan and Katie are both incredible salespeople that sort of, they make an ache, their own work. So they get the inquiry. They have to come up with the creative, they sell it to the client and then they produce it. And then Kate, is this, this such a creative, really strong, um, Both in sales and executing events, but also she has a leadership quality.
And so I just have. I'm in love with my team. And that's all there is right now is the six of us. Now, as things get back to, you know, going in person more and you know, we're busier and busier, I'll have to add to the team. So Katie and Megan came to me through what we call an America head Hunter, which is a horrible name, a recruiter.
So I paid a recruiter to find these people for me, and it was worth every penny. They're amazing. It's a lot of hit and miss. I mean, I think one out of three employees are going to leave. You're going to fire them or they're just not going to work out and you're going to just be miserable. That's kind of the number.
That's a, that's a pretty big number. Yeah. So, you know, learning how to interview, um, learning how to interview against your core values, um, and their capacity and their ability to sort of the right person in the right seat with the capacity. Um, I do follow the who method of, um, hiring, which is, um, a book, uh, that Jeffrey smart, uh, wrote.
So it's who, who, if you want to look it up, I don't think that I'm an expert though at hiring, I could make a bad hire the next time I hire. But each time I do, I'm getting a little bit better at making those decisions. And how much, uh, how much time do you, do you like mentally give each person to, to ramp up?
Is it, is it weeks? Is it months? How are you? Yeah, if they're really good, they're going to ramp up faster than I expected. And that's what I've seen in all those, um, employees that I just mentioned. I was going to give them mentally six to a three to six months to ramp up. And before three months is up.
They're so well saturated and so on the go, and I guess that's one of the benchmarks, right? I can point to, if you are not hitting it at full speed at three months, you might not be the right fit for this organization. At, at one point, I would have thought, well, that's not enough time to get people's feet wet and trained, but the people that I have on this team did just that.
So. Okay. That could be my benchmark, but it could be different. It depends on what kind of business and what kind of skills people have. And, and what's your take on, uh, starting out, um, with, uh, with a contractor and then transitioning them into full-time good or bad. I have done that. I have done that. It has.
Let me think. Has it worked? Has any of. That worked. Madeline was Madeline was one of those people, but I quickly brought her on. I was like, well, you don't have to wait these three months. You're in. Um, it has worked. And sometimes it works just to hire right off. I mean, if somebody is leaving a job, it's hard to get to work on contract.
Right. But in California we have what's called at-will employment, which means the employee. Can leave at any time for any reason. And the employer can let them go at any time for any reason, it doesn't have to be for cause although there are some legal implications that you have to kind of worry about, but, you know, I don't, I don't like to put forth something that is sort of a bait and switch, like, okay, Gabriel, come and work for me.
Full-time benefits everything. And then at three months ago, you know what. You know, we don't, we didn't really need you. That feels horrible. Yeah. Yeah. Hmm. The reason why I'm asking is cause I, um, I have, uh, a part-time editor, um, who's taking care of all the podcast stuff. And she's been such a great help.
I love her so much. She is just awesome. She's just an angel. Um, and, uh, she's currently a contractor, so, um, it really worked out well, do you need, do you need her full time? Right now I don't have enough work for her to, to make her, you know, for, for other gigs too, right? Yes, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. I mean, maybe she doesn't want a full-time job.
And I outsource the editing, um, of my podcast to, uh, to an amazing person who lives in Turkey. He doesn't want to be my full-time employee. Right. Um, so for those kinds of jobs, unless you're ha. Unless a hundred percent of your business is podcasting. I don't know that you need to hire someone full-time but it's up to you.
Of course. Yeah. Yeah. Um, yeah, I feel, I feel really good. I feel really good about our conversation. Ah, I really do. Um, maybe, maybe I have one more question. Um, the, the, nitty-gritty sort of like day-to-day in the beginning when you were starting out building your business, I'm sure it was a lot of, um, you know, cold calls, cold emails, just maybe even visiting people in person.
When was like, um, when was it? It wasn't actually that I ever, ever, I never did that. Tell me. So I started, when I started my business before it was. Official. I had been putting ads in magazines and back then the internet wasn't fully taking off. Right. And they really worked. So it was kind of a direct response in my target.
Demographic were brides people that were getting married and I would have three to five gigs per night on Friday and Saturdays come through that magazine advertising. So one of the challenges entire productions has, which is actually a good thing is that 95% of our businesses, inbound they're coming to us, they're coming to us because they saw somewhere on social media, they were referred or the repeat customers.
And we're so busy fielding those calls that we don't have enough time to go out and do outreach. Word, outbound marketing. We don't have time to do. And we would never, at this point do cold calls. We would do warm and hot calls right. Of warming up people. But I didn't, I don't know if I had the personality for that, especially when I started, I have a little bit more as I've grown older and wiser, but, um, but continue your question.
I don't know if it's going to change. Um, Uh, uh, yeah, so, um, the question is like, d'you have somewhat of a, of a, of a home run, some sort of moment when, you know, you'd really picked up speed, really like momentum where you're feeling like, okay, I'm no longer pushing, you know, the Boulder up Hill. Was there ever such a moment?
Well, I think my first big client was in 2001 and it was. A real estate property that had a stage in the middle of a, um, outdoor pavilion. And there were restaurants around it and they owned five large business buildings. And at noon, everyone would empty out onto this pavilion and they wanted to keep them in this area and eat at the restaurants.
So they had a marketing fund and they had a band onstage every Wednesday. So I landed that contract 20 years ago and I still have them today. That was, I think at the time it was a hundred thousand dollars contract, which was a huge amount of money for me alone to be programming all of that. And I didn't have employees at that time, but that's every Wednesday at noon for a year.
So it's manageable. So that was a huge boon, right? That was easy for me too. Mark as you know, I made it and there are inflection points throughout my entire career like that, but that was the first big one. And how proud am I that I still have that account to today. It just speaks volume to you as a person and the, and the customer service.
Cause you must've been doing a superb job over, you know, over decades. We have done a really good job. There've been maybe two or three times where we've screwed up and what we do to fix it is fix it either. You know, we give more than that. It is expected if something goes wrong. Yeah. Uh, maybe one last question.
Um, if you were in a bind right now, maybe again, maybe you're a musician and you have no income because of COVID. Um, and you need to make a, you need to make ends meet somehow. You need to, you know, make a living somehow. What would you suggest people do if you're a musician? This is, I mean, I know if you're a musician and a fare professional musician, and you're really good at what you do, right?
Not a hobbyist, even hobbyists can be very good, but right. You have to have a skill and talent. You can be performing on virtual events. You can be teaching on virtual calls. You can be doing studio sessions, uh, with the recording equipment that we have at home. And there's probably other skills that you have in addition to being a musician.
So. At the time the COVID hit in my mind. If you can remember, I've been on my own since I was 16. The sheer terror washed over me. And I forgot for those moments that have all these skills that I could make a great living at doing other things that I'm good at. It doesn't have to be just entire productions.
So I think people need to think outside of what they have been relying on and really develop their own skills to diversify in case something like this or something different happens. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. And it's this, um, this mentality also of, you know, just picking yourself up by the bootstraps that is like this, you know, uh, Uber American thing, you know that no one's going to help you here.
No one is going to help you in America. You are on your own, but in America you can do whatever you want to do. You can go to the top of the mountain. You just have to figure out how to do it mostly by yourself. Exactly. But people are, you know, nice and willing to help along the way. You know, it's like ask and you shall receive, you know?
Yeah. You said this in the Bible already. Um, you know, I want to be cognizant of your time to Tasha. This has been so great. I am so happy. We got to connect. Um, yes. Thank you. Where can people find you online? So two places, entire production stock com is the big company, my core business. But if you want to know more about me, my podcast, which is called fascinating entrepreneurs, um, I'm creating an entrepreneurial masters course that will be released this year.
And my memoir, you can go to Natasha miller.co. Beautiful. And we'll link it all below in the show notes. Of course, Natasha, thank you so much for coming on. This has been an absolute delight and, uh, wishing you all the best for you know, your success. Thank you so much. Bye. Thanks so much for listening. If you like the podcast, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes or Spotify.
And share the episode with someone, you know, it really helped me out a ton new podcasts coming out every Monday. See you next week.