As he was growing up in North Carolina, to say Paul Miller was devoted to athletics is an understatement. In high school, he led his school to state championships in football, basketball and baseball, and has been named as one of the top 100 high school athletes in North Carolina history.
Paul continued his athletic career at the University of North Carolina, including an ACC championship in football and selection as All-ACC Quarterback; participation in the Coaches’ All-American Game; and being chosen as the ACC’s first recipient of the Brian Piccolo Award. After being selected to the All-ACC Academic Team, Paul enrolled in a joint Law/MBA program at UNC, intending to pursue a legal career.
Leslie Miller had studied computer science in college, planning to climb the corporate ladder into a traditional business career. But she always had a nagging feeling that she would rather go into business for herself rather than work for someone else.
Twice while in law school, Paul considered opportunities to learn about owning his own business, but his sights were firmly set on becoming an attorney. After joining a law firm, Paul was again asked to attend a formal business presentation, but he was still quite skeptical. “Looking back,” Paul remembers, “that was a real benefit, to be able to build my business at my own pace. As my own boss, there was no one giving me quotas to fill or deadlines to meet.”
Still, the first years of the business were difficult. “It was one struggle after another,” Paul adds. By remaining upbeat, staying steady, and not giving up, Paul was able to leave the legal profession in 1978, and now he and Leslie have been able to devote their full-time efforts to their own business for over 30 years. Living in Raleigh, North Carolina, they love being able to schedule their time so that their family remains their top priority. Leslie adds, “We would have missed so much of our children’s lives growing up, if we were working 9-to-5 jobs. Now we have time devoted to our business, and time devoted to children and grandchildren. It’s the best of both worlds.”
They are also proud to be able to devote their time and resources to worthwhile charitable causes. They are especially active supporting Easter Seals and the U.S. Dream Academy, due to the programs these organizations have developed to meet the needs of children and returning veterans.
Paul’s athletic career had been guided by outstanding coaches, and their business has been no different. “Whenever there were questions or challenges, we had business mentors right there to give advice, based on their own experience. That kind of experience is invaluable, and now, in turn, we are able to advise people who are just getting their own businesses started. Anyone, with hard work, willing to learn, can make their business work.”