Be Inspired | Do Good
Mark Bradford is a Roanoke native who has created a business out of chasing his dreams. While his degree is in respiratory therapy, Mark has always had a deep passion for the arts. Over the years, he’s taught drum lessons and written music; he currently plays bass in a jazz trio. When he became a father, Mark says that’s when everything changed.
Mark was born and raised here in the Valley; he’s a graduate of Patrick Henry High School, and he gained his respiratory therapy degree from Jefferson College of Health Sciences. He met his would-be wife while taking classes, and the two wed soon after. They moved to Richmond for a short period while his wife took classes to become a pharmacist. Then, they moved home to Roanoke.
When Mark’s company switched him to working PRN, which is the medical world’s word for “as needed”, his transition to becoming a stay-at-home dad began. With a new freedom and flexibility, Mark found the time to do something that had been on his bucket list: write a children’s book.
As for being a stay-at-home dad, Mark says it’s demanding, but he loves the ability to work with his son, Sam, beside him. He also enjoys taking Sam to see his mom at work, and Mark absolutely loves the time he gets to spend with his wife, son, and their golden retriever, Willow.
Creating a business wasn’t exactly what Mark had in mind when he wrote “Moon, Gorgeous Moon.” In fact, Mark says he didn’t really have any expectations. It was a dream that he followed, and he encourages everyone to follow their dreams or risk missing out on something amazing. Now, the book has garnered an outpouring of local support that includes its first retail appearance at Upcycled Gifts in Towers Shopping Center. He’s been asked to conduct a book signing at the Virginia Transportation Museum, and Growing Up in the Valley magazine intends to do a feature on Mark in an upcoming issue.
Like so many entrepreneurs, once Mark saw that he needed to establish a business structure, he turned to the internet. He says that identifying the right business entity for his company was his biggest challenge. For instance, researching the internet yields numerous references, but they aren’t all offering the best or most easy to follow advice. For that reason, Mark says the help of knowledgeable people around him has helped the most. For instance, he’s consulted with friends and a CPA to help ensure that his business is staying on track.
With his newfound career, Mark enjoys the ability to write and publish anything he wants from the comfort of home. While he’s not able to release specific details, Mark does have another book in the work – this time, he’ll be honing in on music and/or the arts to inspire the minds of children everywhere. “Going back to being a musician, I’m gearing this book more toward music and the arts,” Mark said.
As a family man, Mark has balanced working from home, having a career, and being there for the ones he loves. Some of the highlights of the day are playing fetch with Willow, playing on the floor with Sam, and binge watching Stranger Things with his wife.
On the business end of things, Mark is focused on growing his brand, and one way he’d like to do this is by getting more reviews. Whether positive or negative, Mark looks forward to feedback from anyone who reads his book, “Moon, Gorgeous Moon.” If you are currently weighing the pros and cons of following your dreams, Mark offers you this quote from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: “It does not to do dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
According to Mark, the quote offers a perspective that he encourages others to see. “Don’t be the person who wished they would have done it but didn’t.”
“Completely tackle what you’re going for,” said Mark. “Don’t hesitate.”
Listen to the full interview to hear Mark share about his children’s book first-hand.
Written by: Heather Hawkins