Christopher D. Miller, CEO of Freedom Warranty Profile

Christopher D. Miller
Freedom Warranty

Christopher D. Miller, CEO of Freedom Warranty Certificate


Entreprenurial to Corporate How One Executive Made the Transition

The journey from entrepreneur to Chief Executive Officer is one of the biggest challenges for management.

Unlike making the climb up the cor- porate ladder, where you learn as you rise, growing a small business into a multi-million-dollar enterprise requires big changes in management style and a willingness to adapt.

The journey from the first start- up to building a national business includes a steep learning curve.

Real World Business School

Early on, Christopher D. Miller was attracted to entrepreneur- ship. He made lists of products to invent and businesses he might start. He discovered that partnerships required all parties to be equally enthusiastic and engaged. So, most of his ventures were solo.

"I can't count the number of ventures going at once, but there were many," Miller remembers. "At age 9, I built a lemonade stand in the front yard of our rural home. It may have been the December launch date that upset our success. After the first day, my mom suggested hot chocolate might be a better choice. We switched up the product mix. The next year, we reopened the juice stand in June. Lesson learned."

In high school, Miller struggled to graduate. Outside of wrestling, nothing held his attention inside the classroom. We'll call that his innate competitive drive. The library was a different matter.

"I found a book in the stacks on how to patent an invention. What I learned on those pages eventually helped me file a patent on my first invention, a dog collar with a self- contained lead that would extend and retract automatically," said Miller.

"The Wonder Collar was also my first big disappointment. As it turns out, there was a safety flaw in the design. Let's call that an advanced course in product research." Miller realized that to dream of success needed to be paired with doing, and failure, although painful, is as instructive as success.

Work Ethic and Connections

Following graduation, Miller began an apprenticeship with a plumbing company in his hometown. “Hardest work I have ever done," said Miller, "and best experience developing a strong work ethic," said Miller. "A successful plumbing job means hav- ing a plan, knowing the basics, using the right tools, and making the right connections. That's something you can apply to every project."

While on the job site, he worked hard to learn the trade and looked for ways to get things done better and faster. His supervisors were impressed with how quickly he devel- oped his skills. Their support and encouragement built his confidence.

Finding an Unexpected Career Path

A longtime friend invited Miller to leave the plumbing business to put on a coat and tie. It's not the life he envi- sioned. In elementary school, he dreamed of becoming a forest ranger, an environment well suited to his love of the outdoors. But the opportunity to try something new put him on the next path.

"I had no idea what I was getting into or that it would be a major influence on how I thought about business and why customer service is both a brand- builder and critical to growing a prof- itable and sustainable enterprise in a competitive market," Miller recalls.His new job would be in Florida, working at a call center that sold car warranties. It was going to be an in- tense course in balancing salesman- ship and ethics.

When he arrived that first day at his new job, the vehicle service contract industry was young and a little like the Wild West, but from day one, he saw potential. "I spent long days and nights in a cramped, dark, noisy call center in a suburban strip mall, pitching products I knew little about." It didn't take long to see an op- portunity in the business.

"The products we were selling-ex- tended mechanical protection for older cars, was a real value for cus- tomers who needed to keep their cars on the road to make a living. I could have used one for the beater I was driving to work." But he didn't like the way the products were sold.

"Some of the sales pitches just didn't feel right to me. They were too high pressure and not real clear on details." He decided to go "off-script" and develop his own selling style- helping prospects understand the coverage's value and limitations. "Talking about limitations and conditions wasn't something my boss encouraged. But I became the top salesperson."

What he did like was the energy in the room and being a "trusted advi- sor" to people he didn't know but who needed what was being offered. "We just needed to match the quality of our selling style to the value of what we were offering. The product was good, just not how it was offered and delivered."

The Entrepreneurial Moment

An entrepreneur, by nature, is a risk-taker. It's not that you can't see the pitfalls ahead; it's just that you are willing to take the risk for an envisioned reward.

"You see an opportunity to do it a different way. And if you can improve how a product is sold and delivered, you have a competitive edge," said Miller.

He approached his supervisor and pitched an idea."I told him, 'What if we set up our own shop?' I was convinced we could make a living do- ing it the right way instead of going home every night questioning what we were doing."

They agreed it was an idea worth try- ing. "We raised money from friends and family, then spent the next six months eating Ramen, working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, research- ing the industry, and planning our new company.

A Software Solution

As an apprentice plumber back in the day, Chris Miller could visualize the flow of a system. "I envisioned how software could manage everything from CRM, to contract administra- tion, and eventually, faster claims ap- provals using artificial intelligence."

"It was a steep learning curve, but working with a seasoned developer and having a clear vision of what I needed helped move the project from an idea to an industry-leading software suite."

A Vision of the Future

Freedom Warranty's revenues have continued to grow as new products and improved systems have been developed and implemented. This year, the company will expand its reach nationwide, doubling the size of its team of authorized agents and doubling the number of back-office staff.

"There are lots of entrepreneurs without formal education or special skills. I'm one of them," said Miller, "we are visionaries-we have a clear- perhaps obsessive picture-of what we want at the end of the path.

"That focus sometimes makes your management team crazy, but it is also the engine that drives innovation, growth, and revenue. Someone needs to see the destination of all this orga- nization and effort. That's my most important role as the Chief Executive Officer."


Freedom Warranty


Christopher D. Miller
Freedom Warranty


Freedom Warranty is on a mission. We are revolutionizing the Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) industry, one satisfied customer, at a time. Freedom Warranty offers experience and reputation, backed by strong resources.

Inspiring Leaders Magazine 2023