Did you know, most million-dollar ideas are need based? Now imagine stumbling upon a million-dollar idea, just trying to get your picky toddler to eat. This is where we meet Sharif Rasheed. Sharif is a chef, entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Power Bites, and father to his four-year-old son, Malcolm.
A few years ago, while trying to get his son to eat, he threw some ingredients together and made a granola bar that was tasty and nutritional, which gave birth to his company, Power Bites! But let this Dadpreneur tell it, he never thought he even wanted kids. He took me back to when his son Malcolm was really young and he owned and operated a Juice Store. Since he had invested all this time and money in the Juice Store and it was not doing as well as he hoped, it caused him to become emotionally unavailable as a father of a young son.
“I wasn’t even concerned about being a good dad. I was thinking, I gotta make this thing work because I was robbing Peter to pay Paul trying to keep the shop open.”
It was really a double-edged sword. In his mind, he had to be successful for his son to experience the things he didn’t have growing up, but in the same vein, putting all that time and energy into his shop and taking his frustrations out on his son, he still was not giving him the most important thing he did not have from his father growing up, which was his time and patience.
When it came to his childhood, Sharif said he never really had a close relationship with his father. He said his mom would always say to him, “You knew from a young age your father was full of shit and you never really bought into it.” He mentioned his father was never really around that much due to him being in the streets and hustling. However, his relationship with his father did not play a role in how he wanted to father. He said, “I wanted to be a good dad because I held my son for the first time and knew I just wanted to be a good dad, not because of what my father wasn’t.”
Though Sharif never really wanted kids, he joked that if he ever did have them, he’d want to be a stay at home father. Well, eventually, he was no longer able to keep his Juice Shop open and with all of his money depleted, his dream of becoming a stay at home father became a reality. But he loved it and thrived in it. He was able to grow that emotional connection with Malcolm that lacked while he was so consumed in his business.
“The best thing that ever happened to me as a father was the shop closing, because now I’m like… this is what it’s like being a father.”
As he’s working on being a present father, remember those granola bars he made for his son? Well he used to sell them in his Juice Shop and they were a big hit. His mentor told him to send a batch to a certain address. Well it was an up and coming vegan influencer at the time (did I mention the bites were vegan?). Maybe you have heard of her. Tabitha Brown. She loved them and said how good they were on her platform. Mind you, Sharif didn’t have any type of e-commerce set up, but interest in them began to quickly grow as Tabitha’s post went viral. That’s when he and his mentor/business partner realized they had something. They repackaged the product and began to pitch them to local health shops as well as the online orders.
I asked Sharif how he was able to balance this business with fatherhood as compared to his last business. “I created an opportunity this time around,” he said. “With the Juice Shop, I created a job for myself. I had to be there all day by myself, doing everything. Now I have more freedom. I can make a batch and then play with my son and then go back to make another batch.” He emphasized to me, that it’s called Dadpreneur, meaning he is a Dad first. He said it can be a lot sometimes, but with the freedom he has, he’s able to find “balance in the chaos.”
The business is really starting to scale up and creating even more opportunities, but will also take more of his time. Sharif is starting to have to travel more for the business, which he says is giving him “parental paranoia” having to leave Malcolm. He’s gotten so used to his role as a stay at home dad that the thought of leaving him is giving him anxiety. But he realizes that the bond they’ve built cannot be broken by a few days of traveling. And even though Malcolm does not quite understand it yet, he’ll soon realize the benefits of all of dad’s hard work.
As Sharif’s business continues to grow, he’s excited that he’s in the position to give Malcolm a head start. He’s working on building generational wealth, so Malcolm does not have to start in the same place he did.
“He’s already learning the value of hard work by seeing me work every day!”
And it’s not about the money, Sharif says. It’s more about the opportunities that his son will have, like traveling the world at a young age or being able to pursue different interests without questioning if he can afford to. That’s what it’s all about to Sharif! And that to me is dope!
I asked Sharif for his Dear Father letter. It was raw and real. He revised it a few times as we were talking, so I figured, I’d just let him say it.
Sharif has an awesome story! One that shows resilience and redemption. It shows growth and how living in your passion can play towards your success. Since May is Mental Health Awareness month, I want to mention that he said he got therapy for his relationship with his father and encourages anyone who grew up without a parent to get therapy before becoming a parent, so you can get it all worked out!
Please check out his company at EatPowerBites.com. I have had them and can attest to how good they taste. Again, they are Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free, and Dairy free. And see what the company is doing in terms of #Snacktivism. Keep up with Sharif and his company on IG.
Keep up with Sharif and his company on IG.