Tell us who you are and what you do!
Yo. This is actually one of the hardest questions to answer (believe it or not), but I’ll do my best. I’m Brandon Miller and I am an IT Consultant, Graphic Designer, Serial Entrepreneur, Business Strategist, Chipotle Eater, 5K Runner, Blogger, and so much more. But, let me rewind and try this introduction thing again.
I grew up in Aurora, Colorado (right outside of Denver), and received my B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at The Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, where I also received a minor in Technology & Management. Currently, I reside in Dallas, Texas as an implementation and operations IT consultant. Outside of the full time job I manage the three companies that I’ve founded.
I’m the head designer and owner of That Guy’s Graphics, LLC, a graphic design and brand strategy firm; I’m a co-founder and president of The Black Burdell, Inc., a nonprofit focused on promoting, supporting, and cultivating African American entrepreneurs; and I’m a co-founder of The Scheme Team, LLC, a lifestyle website focused on highlighting millennial passion pursuers and encouraging our generation to make their dreams a reality as efficiently as possible.
Boiled down as simply as I can put it, I’m passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, and diversity.
What is the inspiration for your work?
I’d argue that if your inspiration doesn’t evolve, your work won’t either. I’m inspired by so many different things that it’s difficult to eloquently express them. At the moment I’d say I have two main pillars of inspiration.
First and foremost, my family is my biggest piece of inspiration. My extended family is extremely close and it’s full of literally every demographic you can think of and that in itself is truly special. Everyone is excelling in some form or fashion, and it’s made me realize the importance of being you, embracing who you are, as well as pursuing your passion.
My dad is hands-down, the smartest, most business-savvy person I know. I’ve gained a lot of my business acumen, especially the soft skills, from him. My mother went to school for computer engineering so she’s pretty technical but unlike most engineers I know she’s exceedingly creative and pretty fearless when it comes to tackling new entrepreneurial endeavors. I’d like to argue that I received the best worlds (ha!), so they force me to keep grinding.
My second piece of inspiration, which is more recent, would definitely be circumstance. Following numerous occurrences of police brutality, mass and biased incarceration, and especially the 2016 presidential election – racial tensions have been high in this country. This topic could easily turn into a justified rant for me, but I’ll save that for another discussion. I will say through all of the negativity, I’ve found an inherent joy, solace, and pride in owning my own businesses. It is something to grow, own, and smile about on a daily basis and I want to ensure that everyone that has the slightest aspiration of having this feeling, gets it.
What would you say to prevent an upcoming artist from making the same mistakes you have made?
I’d say, “Ask questions and ask for help.”
I used to try and figure everything out on my own. I would spend hours trying to figure out how to solve a problem rather than reaching out and asking for help when I truly needed it.
One of the biggest issues with our generation is that we are afraid to be vulnerable. Knowing what you don’t know is equally as important as knowing what you do know. When you think about it, every single person walking on this planet knows something that you don’t and has an experience that can benefit you. Asking questions, getting help when you need it, and learning from others’ mistakes is how you reach successes quicker and more efficiently.
I hate thinking about how far ahead I’d be if I would have collaborated more often and learned from others.
What obstacles have you faced as a Black Artist/Business Owner?
To be a “successful” business owner it is almost imperative that you are optimistic, if you have a naturally negative mindset you’ll drive your business into the ground way before any external obstacles or circumstances do. I personally look at obstacles as opportunities; and there have been plenty. Though, I think the biggest obstacle (remember, “Opportunity”) is a lack of time. I balance three businesses alongside my full time job as a consultant, I’m an advisor for some businesses, and sit on the board of directors for a number of other businesses, not to mention I throw in time for myself, my family, working out, and all of the other fun stuff – time is practically nonexistent.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that lack of time is not a problem, and it shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. Lack of time is an opportunity to utilize the time you do have more efficiently. How can you optimize your day to be more productive? How can you prioritize the time that you currently binge watch shows on Netflix, to get closer to your goals? Again, turn the obstacle to an opportunity.