My company, Juno, was officially established in June 2019. My son George was born two months later in August, so I became a new dad and new business owner at roughly the same time.

I wouldn’t recommend pairing those two firsts so closely together, in part because they require the same kind of emotional resources and time. Both of which are in short supply during the early years.

There are actually a lot of interesting parallels between new fatherhood and first-time entrepreneurship.

Despite my best effort to research and educate myself, it turned out I was dramatically underprepared for the curveballs that both would be throwing at me.

Both require an ocean of support from friends and family, especially my partner Catherine.

Both have given me highs and lows like I’ve never imagined experiencing.

And both have taught me the payoff that stems from having patience and being persistent.

An example of this has been George’s recent enrollment in new swimming lessons a few months ago. This is the first time there are no parents in the pool.

It did not go well at the beginning.

He’s a very independently minded kid and had no interest in following the safety rules for the water. As a result, he spent the entirety of the first three lessons sitting outside of the pool pouting that he wasn’t allowed to participate until he listened to the instructor.

Catherine and I were very frustrated and ready to throw in the towel.

We stuck with it though. I had a near drowning experience as a young man and as a result, I firmly believe that becoming a strong swimmer is one of the most important skills that George can learn.

And then something magical happened one week. George happily hopped into the pool and participated fully, following every one of the safety rules.

We were elated.

Patience also showed its value for the entrepreneurial side of my life recently as well.

I’m far from a natural born salesperson, but I force myself to focus on finding new customers at least one full day per week.

I had been dropping off samples with one particular chef for nearly three years and hadn’t quite managed to make it on to any of his menus. But this is someone who I admire for both his cooking talent and food values, so I persisted.

I popped by once again in May with a box full of sausage and burgers, thinking he may have a small brunch we could partner on.

One week later, he sent in an order to serve four thousand people.

I was elated.

Of course there are a plethora of ways that being a founder and parent are different.

I rarely lose sleep over Juno, but George woke me up four times last night.

My network of people to share war stories of parenthood is 100 times larger than the one for business.

And I’m ok with the idea of eventually selling Juno, in whole or in part. I’m a lot less enthusiastic about that idea with George.

The most important thing I’ve gained from tackling these two life challenges together is the perspective they give me.

As the founder of Juno, I’m driven to create food more sustainably. That's important.

As a dad, I’m driven to make sure George is loved and cared for. That’s more important.

Happy Father’s Day everyone.

father and preschool age son

- James

Written by James Battershill

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