So often in life, we as Black people are told what we can’t accomplish, especially after making any mistakes. In honor of Father’s Day, one Black father is sharing his story about how he and his wife turned their lives around after both being released from prison, and the lessons he learned from his father which has made him the man he is today.

David and Jessica Martin  are new and very unlikely members of “The Millionaires Club,” beating very slim odds by becoming self-made moguls after incarceration.  Realizing that there weren’t many lucrative, legitimate second-chance opportunities for themselves after serving their prison sentences, the married couple found ways to take their lives back.  

In one year, the pair generated $1 Million in revenue, using multiple streams of income to live out their second chance at the American Dream.  The ex-offenders turned business experts serve as inspiration to underdogs.  Bayou Beat News talked to David Martin on how they achieved second-chance success.

Bayou Beat: You had a unique, underdog journey to success.  Tell us about how you became a self-made boss and mogul.

Martin: I grew up in the tough streets of Chicago, Illinois where I learned focus and determination could help me achieve all of the things God had set aside for me.

Bayou Beat: You’ve become successful through multiple streams of income.  What businesses do you and your wife share?

Martin: That same focus and determination that helped me beat the streets of Chicago, I applied to my business.  I started my company with one, small Dually truck that I drove all over the country until I saved up enough money to get a semi-truck.  Now, D.R. Martin Trucking has six semis and a successful trucking company.  Between my wife and I, we also have real estate and Airbnb properties, credit repair company and coaching services (including webinars and courses) for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to create their own empires.  

Bayou Beat: Growing up, what examples of Black fatherhood did you witness?  How have you created your own version of Black fatherhood?  

Martin: My father was my hero. I grew up in a household with six other siblings and I watched him go to work every single day to make sure we didn’t need or want for anything.  We were all athletes, and he never missed a single event.  He was the strongest man I knew.  I have created my own version of manhood by emulating the same things my father showed me and adopting my own practice of hard work and lots of love.

Bayou Beat: What are some pitfalls that young Black men face when becoming entrepreneurs, and what inspired you to rise above adversity?

Martin: Some pitfalls young Black males face when becoming entrepreneurs is just getting out of the mindset that you can’t improve your situation.  A lot of us start off at the bottom of the economic ladder and feel like we can’t make that climb up.  What inspires me?  My family, knowing I have to provide for them makes me work hard day in and day out.  I don’t want them to ever want or need for anything.

Bayou Beat: How difficult is it to become successful with a criminal record?

Martin: It’s very hard to become successful with a criminal record.  People go to jail to rehabilitate, but when they get out, the rest of the world forgets that.  It’s near impossible for a former felon to get a good job.  That has to change.  

Bayou Beat: What advice would you give to other Black men looking to ‘boss up’ for their own families? 

Martin: Stay grounded, focused, determined and goal-driven.  Be consistent and continue to set new goals.  Believe in yourself.

Bayou Beat: How are you dedicated to helping others?  Why is it so important for you to provide second-chance opportunities throughout your businesses?

Martin: I’m extremely dedicated to helping others.  It’s important to create second chance opportunities because, without a second chance, there is no hope.  Who hasn’t faltered at least once in their lives?  That doesn’t mean you should be punished forever.  If someone wants to change, they should be given the opportunity.  

Bayou Beat: How does being a successful Black father impact your family legacy?

Martin: Being successful impacts my legacy tremendously.  Just like my father showed me what hard work and love does, I’m setting a standard for my children to pass down from generation to generation.