How Becoming a Dad Has Made Me a Better Entrepreneur

By IPR graduate Louis Byrd

(This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.)

This year marks four years of the entrepreneurial life. I have learned so much, had many ups and many more downs that served as excellent learning lessons.

I watched my personal bank account balloon and then slowly taper away during the times when business was slow. I have met great people who believed in me and my vision and they motivate me to continue. I have the support of a lovely woman who is tolerant of the late nights, long days, instability, and never has she once wavered in believing in me, even during the times when I didn’t believe in myself.

She has also blessed me with the greatest gift, the perfect motivation to want more and to push myself harder. She has given me my son.

In exactly five weeks there will be a little man who will be looking at me from here on out for guidance, protection, leadership, transparency, authenticity and, most importantly, love.

It’s been about seven and a half months since I found out that I was going to be a father. Initially I was in shock and in a hysteric surprise. My smile, which is already Cheshire Cat like, felt as though it grew even larger as I sat there that Tuesday morning, grinning from ear to ear. I knew that things were going to be different.

As my emotional high made room for the day to day reality I was living in, I realized how much more important it was for me to succeed in my business.

As excited as I was about fatherhood, there still resided deep down inside this dull and numbing fear. It was no longer going to be me fending for myself and my lady; we now have to ensure the safety and well-being of this little person who cannot care for himself. Immediately I hopped out of bed, hit LinkedIn and started applying for jobs! That’s right… working for someone else.

I updated my resume, created unique cover letters in the form of cinematic videos showing my creative prowess, I applied for top-tier positions at major companies, knowing I could do well at the work if given the opportunity. I even upgraded to the LinkedIn Premium and leveraged the InMails and statistics to help me find the perfect position. I notified my team and told them that I may have to dissolve the company back down to more of a freelance endeavor.

In about two weeks I landed a round of interviews with a major company for a decent role, and I knew I had the job. I was more than qualified, had the experience they were looking for and some, and also had a great interview day. But they didn’t hire me. All the jobs I applied for over the course of that first month after hearing the news and LinkedIn InMail messages I sent remained void of a response.

To be honest, I was crushed. I wasn’t sure if I had the stability to take care of a child… I mean, you hear all the stories about how expensive kids can be.

I started a journal for my son. I write to him my thoughts. When the time is right and he is old enough to comprehend and appreciate them, I will give it to him. My first entry to him was to embrace fear.

The two lessons I will teach my son are to always look for his purpose and to embrace fear and let those things motivate him to pursue his dreams.

After I finished that journal entry, my phone rang and it was from the major company I interviewed with. They didn’t offer me the job. Not because of my lack of qualifications, but because they felt that I was too good for that particular role and I would be stifled and miserable doing it. They wanted to extend the opportunity to start a contract with my company and bring me and my team on for some branded video work they need. Shortly thereafter, we closed a deal with a major pharmaceutical tech company that led to us becoming a new agency of choice for them because we did a great job on the small project they contracted us for.

Since finding out about becoming a father, I have had great opportunities come along that have been complete business changers. I have shaken hands and impressed top-tier people and companies in my local market that want to partner with my boutique four-person team.

My foresight has increased in this short time and I am truly looking at how I can grow my company for the future, and not only continue to produce stellar work, but more importantly build a legacy that my son would be proud of. My leadership skills have improved tenfold. My vision for Mellie Blue has evolved into something that I believe will be great. My business acumen has risen to an all-time high. In the past six months I feel as though I am finally finding my way as an entrepreneur and no longer traveling the path blindly.

My son has not only motivated me to want more for his sake, he has reignited the fire I have for being the master of my own fate. The crazy part is I haven’t even shaken his hand yet to tell him thank you. That will have to wait until February.


Louis Byrd is the Founder & Creative Director of Mellie Blue Branding.