Skiing the Slopes of Childhood Dreams
PROVO, Utah – Aug 04, 2021 – While entrepreneurship has been a lifelong goal for Nathan Miller, he did not fully commit to his dreams until listening to a guest speaker in one of his classes at the BYU Marriott School of Business. The speaker motivated Miller, who is now a senior, to overcome self-doubt and start a business that combines his education with his passion for the outdoors, resulting in winter apparel with a unique mission.
Miller arrived at BYU from his hometown of Kaysville, Utah, with hopes of gaining an education that he could use to fulfill his childhood entrepreneurial goals. He originally studied chemical engineering with a plan to gain engineering experience and then run a startup in that field. However, after serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tahiti, he felt prompted to apply to BYU Marriott and change his major to entrepreneurship in order to be better prepared for running his own company. Miller believes his decision to switch majors has already paid off and that the entrepreneurship program prepares him to succeed. “I have some of the best tools in the world, and I feel comfortable with the theory behind starting a business,” he says.
As he learned more about entrepreneurship in his classes, Miller realized he did not need to wait until he graduated to start working on his dream. The experiential approach to learning at BYU Marriott also prompted him to think more about having a startup while still in school. “To make the most of my experience in the entrepreneurship major, I wanted to apply what I was learning because so much of the program is real-world based,” Miller explains. “I figured that if I didn’t have my own businesses to work with, a lot of my knowledge would feel useless and eventually fade away.”
Despite his desire to start a business and the realization that doing so would be beneficial as a student, Miller still needed the courage to finally commit. “The first thing that is necessary for entrepreneurship is the motivation and confidence to go and start. Without that, you are not going anywhere,” he says.
Miller’s courage came through a guest speaker in Entrepreneurship 101: Intro to Entrepreneurship, who shared several inspiring stories about successful entrepreneurs, including the founders of video game company Nintendo. The speaker mentioned that young entrepreneurs should focus on creating a company out of any possible idea that feels comfortable just to begin somewhere. Practicing in this way allows students to understand the business world and be better prepared for when grander ideas come.
The lecture inspired Miller to create a business so he began thinking about his hobbies and how he could turn them into a startup. He settled on snow sports, as he is an avid outdoorsman and frequent skier. Miller and a friend founded PowderOut, a snow glove company designed to prevent snow from entering inside the glove. Miller says creating a business out of a passion made starting his company easier and coupling his hobby with his entrepreneurial dreams created a recipe for success. “I had to want to succeed, but once I did, everything fell into place,” he adds.
After starting PowderOut, Miller acknowledges maintaining momentum with a startup has been difficult. Once again, his entrepreneurship major played an important role, as Miller’s professors motivated him to not give up on himself. “The entrepreneurship program has amazing professors who made me feel motivated and empowered to create a company,” he says.
Miller says PowderOut has been successful so far, selling nearly four hundred units in its first winter season. In light of the company’s success, Miller tries to stay humble and find ways to help those who do not have as many opportunities as him. To that end, 10 percent of the proceeds from PowderOut are donated as microloans in Africa, South America, and Polynesia in order to fund social innovators in those regions. Miller explains that helping others incentivizes him to succeed. “Creating positive social impact motivates, fuels, and drives me. I believe companies have a responsibility to give back, and helping those in need is one of our core goals at PowderOut,” he says.
As he runs PowderOut while attending classes at BYU Marriott, Miller is living out the entrepreneurship dream he was always looking for. He hopes that PowderOut is just the beginning and propels him into bigger business ideas in the future. No matter what his next company is, he feels excited to pursue his childhood dreams, even when success is not easy. “I now know I have to be willing to take risks and be uncomfortable for prolonged periods of time, but I’ve learned that I have the courage inside me to do that,” he says.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Miller