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Start a biz on paternity leave?

Start a biz on paternity leave?

Yes, I started Paddle North during my two-week paternity leave. My wife, Bridget, was supportive of the idea (looking back -  that’s a miracle in itself).

I remember asking her right before bed one night, “Should I make a few paddle boards, maybe see if I can turn it into a business?”

Without hesitation, she looked at me and said, “That sounds fun, go for it.”

The brevity in her response might have been the pure exhaustion of being new parents, but I accepted the green light. I started designing what is now the Loon. I made a visual identity and the Loon symbol was born. A few months later things started to click...

I reconnected with Matt (my now business partner), who brought much needed technical experience to get lifted off the ground. He had space in a warehouse, trucks and experience running a small business. He quickly bought into the vision & Paddle North was officially born.

Today, we’re a team of 20+ spread throughout the Midwest.

Watching the business advance at a similar pace as my son has been fun. From bottles, to spoon feeding, to crawling, walking, and eventually running. It’s true what they say with the first four to six months is the hardest.

I don’t believe there was anything supernatural about two of the biggest life-changing events occurring at the same time. But I do believe they are linked.

Being a Dad requires a huge amount of patience, perseverance and nurturing. The growth that occurred as becoming a Dad, naturally started to spill into me as an entrepreneur.

So here’s the real takeaway

Don’t feel like you need to have it all together before starting something. I didn’t make a full fledged business plan or run the idea by dozens of people. There wasn’t a 10 year forecast or even a 1 year forecast. I just wanted to see if some people wanted to buy a cool board. Of course starting a business at the same time as having kids made it harder. Balancing responsibilities, a full time job and learning how to keep a human alive was a lot. But sometimes having kids unlocks exactly what you need. 


Follow Pete on Twitter  → @peteyboardman


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