Nathan Miller is a communications strategist sought out by executives at the highest levels of business, government, and the non-profit world, who has helped hundreds of organizations tell their stories better – and navigate complex issues and crises spanning the globe.
Before founding Miller Ink in 2013, Nathan was the Director of Speechwriting for Israel’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, serving as a senior communications adviser and the chief speechwriter for Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor. Nathan also served as the policy director of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and as a Goldman Fellow at the Transatlantic Institute, a think tank in Brussels, Belgium.
Nathan has been recognized by Israeli newspaper Maariv as one of “Ten young Jews who will change the world” and by OC Metro as one of Southern California’s “40 most inspiring entrepreneurs under 40.”
How did you get started in this business?
I had an entrepreneurial mindset from a fairly young age. In 9th grade, I launched my first venture into business when I put on a Battle of the Bands competition. I remember how amazed I was at the end of the night when I looked into my pocket and had earned $700. In college, I continued to make money through music by playing in and booking wedding bands.
I founded Miller Ink in 2013 in my late 20s. I had previously worked at a public relations agency and had just come off a three-year stint of serving as the Director of Speechwriting for Israel’s Permanent Mission to the U.N. These experiences led me to believe there was an opportunity for a different type of PR company – which integrated earned, owned, and paid media into one cohesive strategy and married high-level media strategy with dynamic and compelling content. 10 years later, I think I was on to something.
How do you make money?
Miller Ink’s clients – spanning finance, technology, public affairs, non-profits, and real estate – pay us to provide strategic guidance and implement and execute strategies to help them reach target audiences and achieve their goals.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Miller Ink has been profitable since year one, primarily because I had very low overhead costs. Over the years, I have grown the business steadily and strategically, but we have always been profitable.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
In the first couple of years, I was acutely aware that Miller Ink was a small, unproven business, and that we needed to seize every single opportunity that came our way. It took a lot of hustle, but I always maintained a deep belief in our value proposition.
How did you get your first customer?
When I started Miller Ink in 2013, I had three committed clients – all of whom flaked in the first month. But I had built a large network from my past roles and sourced Miller Ink’s first clients from this network.
One of the first projects I had the opportunity to work on was a video on solar energy policy in LA for the Los Angeles Business Council. The video featured LA’s former mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, and former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
During the first five or six years of operating Miller Ink, all of our business came through word of mouth. Over the past few years, we have grown our marketing efforts considerably. One thing that has been particularly effective is a webinar series that we launched featuring friends, colleagues, and experts in different – but related – fields. This has proven to be an effective way to get our name out there and get in front of potential clients.
So far, the webinars have touched on topics such as corporate social responsibility and annual reporting, and the state of real estate in Los Angeles. I also have upcoming webinars on crisis management as it relates to tech security and tips and tricks for individuals looking to scale their businesses internationally.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Hiring decisions are always so important and I weigh them very carefully. We have built a very specific process that I think helps to weed out the very best folks who will be a fit for our firm, but you have to consider every hire with great care. I’m proud of my track record in this regard – our team is truly our superpower.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I have been successful thus far because I am deeply passionate about my work. There is nothing like delivering a big win for a client or the sense of accomplishment you feel from building a team and track record over the course. I feel very lucky to do what I do.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
It is hard to pick one moment. Almost every day there are moments that make me really proud.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I am hyper-focused on building the most effective, dynamic, and impactful boutique PR agency on the face of the planet. Miller Ink specializes in crisis communications, innovation, public affairs, and nonprofits, but we are continuing to grow in a way that is smart and strategic and allows us to continue to provide quality service and work product for our clients.
What business books have inspired you?
While not a business book per se, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman provides important information about thinking clearly and developing creative and innovative ideas. I have used this book as a resource to help me improve the way I think about my work.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Trust your instincts and believe in your ability to be successful. Over the years, I have learned to trust myself, the company, the team, and the value proposition that we provide in the market. Since I started Miller Ink, I have seen consistent growth year to year – despite ups and downs in the economy. This gives me great confidence that the company’s growth and success will continue.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Yes, I serve as a mentor to many former and current Miller Ink employees. Watching these individuals learn and grow brings me great joy and pride. I can be reached via LinkedIn.