How Virtual Events Helped Grow Revenue To $1M in 2020

Published: April 1st, 2021
Natasha Miller
Entire Productions
from San Francisco, California, USA
started January 2001
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
210 days
growth channels
Word of mouth
business model
best tools
Salesforce, Twitter, Slack
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
39 Pros & Cons
8 Tips
Discover what tools Natasha recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hello, my name is Natasha Miller. I own Entire Productions, a profitable event production company headquartered in San Francisco. Many of my clients are Fortune 500s and our bread and butter are providing world-class entertainment of every discipline for their special events.

20 years ago I stepped out of the spotlight as a professionally trained violinist and jazz singer to grow and scale my budding talent programming business. At the time, I was only 19 years old and had no intentions of becoming an entrepreneur. With my own recording label, seven of my own albums under my belt, and a lifelong passion for learning, I took my business to the next level, and with the addition of our event production division, in 2018 my team and I produced 777 events. We were poised to makeover (expected revenue) in 2020, but the pandemic had other plans for Entire Productions. I’ll get more into how we did it later, but we ended 2020 with 200 virtual events and $1M in revenue, which is a miracle number given the circumstances.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Those first months were the most difficult. Our annual event, which accounts for a majority of the involved vendors’ income for the year, with over 800 attendees registered, was canceled the day shelter in place took effect. My profitable multi-million dollar business now had zero in the pipeline with no relief in sight. A devastating blow, followed by the anxiety-inducing decision to lay off six of my own employees. After the very real panic attacks subsided, it was time to go into full-blown ideation mode.

Faced with the reality that I could lose my business, my creativity went into overdrive, which is when I had the “Aha!” moment that would gain the momentum to recover Entire Productions. “Zoom Gloom” was sweeping the nation almost as quickly as the virus and our clients were having a huge problem keeping their attendees engaged.

We were the first to market with our EntireVariety format for virtual and hybrid events. It helps companies divide meetings with faster-paced segments that include content and messaging along with world-class entertainment, thoughtful giveaways, and tools to keep audiences engaged and entertained. Our first episode aired on April 18 over Zoom, exactly one month after we canceled our annual event. The internal show airs once a month and features aerialists, mentalists, thought leaders, business owners, and just about anything fun and fascinating. This was also an incredible marketing tactic, for little to no cost we could showcase some of our best talents and have a proof of concept for our clients.

We produced three virtual concerts internally with local audiovisual vendors who transitioned their spaces into broadcast and streaming studios. These concerts included lighting design, professional robotic cameras, top-of-the-line audio, and lower thirds graphics. We developed a large non-profit fundraising event in one of these studios and raised $1.3M.

Our seamless transition to virtual was enough to survive the pandemic which left 80% of event professionals out of work. To really thrive, we started our premium gifting arm, Entire Productions Marketing, and made $1.2k in the first month with no start-up funding. The piece de resistance to virtual and hybrid events is thoughtful giveaways. Without in-person elements, attendees are often left feeling more disconnected, alone, and underappreciated. With thoughtful gifts, your attendees feel seen, and your event is immediately elevated. Pull everything together by incorporating a custom engraved cutting board to your charcuterie building class, send branded Oculus headsets to immerse your audience, or curate your experience with any of the thousands of premium products our team member, Kate Strayer, has hand-selected.

We typically post our events on Eventbrite to access registration information such as names and email addresses, then alert our audience via email blasts, social media posts, and individual outreach. So really, marketing your event hasn’t changed much.

Since March, our journey has been mentioned in Authority Magazine, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and we made the Inc. 5000 list for the third year in a row.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

My best piece of advice for anyone trying something new is to just do it. Do it and fail. Do it again and learn from your mistakes. Our first episodes of EntireVariety were not without mistakes, but we were very intentional with everything we did and that helped us grow exponentially.

Keep it up-it's a journey and a process, and NEVER a race. You’re cheating yourself out of the full range of success if you try to fast-track it too much.

Thanks to what I've learned through Entrepreneur’s Organization, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, and the Harvard Business School and MIT, leading my team of well-oiled professionals has become so much more clear. Ensuring everyone on my team knows what their responsibilities are, wants to do the work they’re doing, and has the capacity for it has allowed me to pursue my big, audacious goals.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

Entire Productions is planning virtual and hybrid events for the foreseeable future. We’re really excited to be premier partners and produce events in AllSeated’s new virtual event platform, ExVo. I feel so confident in Entire Productions that I'm finalizing my first business memoir, Relentless Tenacity: My Journey from a Homeless Shelter to the Inc. 5000 in tandem with an online entrepreneurship course. I recently launched a podcast called Fascinating Entrepreneurs in which I empathize with fascinating but unsupported entrepreneurs and speak candidly, giving real-life strategies to grow their companies, contribute to the economy, create jobs, and then pay it forward. The first episodes include Josh Kopel, Lauren Messiah, and Ami Kassar.

I’m on a mission to reach one million entrepreneurs. You’re probably wondering why one million? Why not?! Inc. reports that 85% of MBA students are considering entrepreneurship after graduation. We are about to witness an onslaught of entrepreneurs due to the innovative solutions for our modern-day problems. These individuals must be supported and have the resources they need to succeed.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

I just read Anna David’s Make your Mess your Memoir which was a fun read (actually, listen as I was on Audible). It’s part memoir then at the end is a really cool business how-to.

I’ve been listening to Josh Kopel’s Full Comp podcast and also his new podcast with Eric Siu on marketing. Even though his target audience is restaurateurs, I still learn a lot.

For fiction I loved Where the Crawdads Sing and was taken away into the story. This was read in the thick of the pandemic and a great escape.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

I will always rely on education. Educate yourself. Read, study, find mentors and advisors and take classes on your interests and pain points. Keep it up-it's a journey and a process, and NEVER a race. You’re cheating yourself out of the full range of success if you try to fast-track it too much.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I am putting together a release team for my book.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

Want to start a virtual events business? Learn more ➜