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🧙‍♂️ Vin Thomas. Creativity and teaching children entrepreneurship from young age.

Rad Dad, hosted by Kirill Zubovsky podcast.

April 17

Vin is a entrepreneur and a family man. We talk about kids, marriage, divorce, time management and setting client expectations, mental and physical health, depression, counseling, diet and exercise and more.

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Hello and welcome to the ride that show. This is the host Carol's Lebowski today. My guest on the show is Van Thomas, then is a creative entrepreneur from Salem, Oregon. Wait, he's running his own design company. He's raising his two girls, and he's also demands fashion expert. Today, then is a great shape, and he looks like he just came from a photo shoot for a fashion. But it has not always been this way. He joins us on the podcast to talk about family life. Divorce mantle. Hell's physical Hell's how to be a great dad, how to run your own company and to find time for your kids. So without further ado, then welcome to the show. Tell us a little bit of


my name's been Thomas. I run a small Web design and branding company called Pixel. We just had our eighth year, and so we are specializing in marketing sites, for a lot of startups are our biggest client. Then we also work with new local businesses as well branding logo design development. Yeah, and I mean, that's a little bit about what ideo, but


yeah, and that's how we met Thio. You were one of the early designers that I was working with him. You know, I had a question. We're sitting here in Salem, Oregon. I don't know. A lot of people know about Salem wasn't like here.


Salem's awesome. So I moved here in 2000 for Andi. Uh, I moved up here to go to school. I was born and raised in Canada, but a small little town. You know, there's about 150,000 people who live here, but I've really grown to love it. Rains may be a little more, and I'd like, but you're probably used to that in Seattle. But, you know, as far as raising a family is a great place to be, lots of parks, lots of activities,

lots of things to do. And then we have, you know, the things that you need, you know, malls and Costco's and all that kind of stuff. So it's It's a really great size town, great place to raise a family, great place to do business. In fact, business in Salem is growing exponentially. Is one of the top places, top fastest growing places for business in the country right now. So it's a great place to be.


It's a really nice little town. And it it took us about an hour to get here from Portland. And sometimes it takes me an hour to get to Seattle from these sites. It's pretty convenient.


Yeah, it's super convenient. Thio. Like he said, you know, less than an hour away from Portland, less than an hour away from the beach, less than an hour away from the mountains. And so it's a really great place, you know? Like I said, lots of stuff to dio Central location. Perfect size Town is not too big. It's too expensive to live here. But


yeah, really, really great place to be. And you said your kids there eight and 10 years old. You was here eight years ago.


Queen said No, no, no, no. I moved here in 2004 s o a little. A little bit more so, Yeah. I moved here in 2000 for was married in 2006. I started having kids right away on DSO. I have a 10 year old daughter named Cohen and eight year old daughter Ah, Island.


Fancy names. How did you guys come over that?


Honestly, I don't even remember. But I remember when we came up with the name Cohen, I don't even remember where we heard of it or thought of it. But way got a lot of people said, Oh, don't name your kid going like that. Such a weird name for a girl that But we loved it so much and it suits her perfectly. And so can you tell a funny story? Sure. Okay, so the other day, Cohen came up to me. She's like, Dad, why did you name me? Cohen.

There's no other girls named Cohen because we've met a couple other boys named Colin and Cohen's a popular last name. But I said, Oh, honey, that's not true. I said, You know, there, there, there. I'm sure boys and girls named Colon and she kind of got emotional. She's 10 years old, you know, getting emotional, whatever. And so I said,

Well, here, let's look and see if we can find. So I didn't know Facebook search, you know, women named Cohen. Zero results. I mean, tons of people with last name Colon, but no one with the first name Colon. And so I'm like, Okay, well, I found this site that would, like, graph out like men and women by name and how popular they were a year by year.

And so they tracked back to 1980. And I could see, you know, my full name is Kevin. And I could see that there's been several women you know, named Kevin. In fact, there was a famous model named Kevin Thomas. When I was a kid, she was like, gorgeous And, you know, I thought it was so weird because she had my exact same name. But so I went in and I typed in Cohen and it came up. There's, like 11,000 something,

you know, boys named Cohen and zero a girl's named Cohen. And she just started bawling your eyes out, but it was kind of funny. She'll look back on it and think it's funny, but, you know, that's what you think. Yeah, I think I think it's such a beautiful name. Cohen. No. Well, so beautiful.


Yeah, sounds great, but maybe there's a listening They're staying with us. I mean, our kids that when we're naming them grand parents and also, you know, I'm originally Russian and my wife is Tiffany's and way. Give him French names and grandparents were like, No, no, what do you do? Give him, you know, Russian names or the Asian savior in France? One Asian, but like I just want to give a beautiful names. So kids living in Salem, Oregon, you said they're very entrepreneurial.


Yeah, you have both my kids all the time. They're always want. Dad, let's go sell lemonade or let me make popcorn and go knock on the doors neighbors and see if we can sell that. And in fact, that my one daughter, my oldest daughter a few years ago she had designed these little Christmas cards on the iPad. And I said, You know, we could probably like print those. And so we went down to the copy center, printed a bunch of and she made, like, 100 $50.3 days just selling these cards that she had she printed. It was kind of cool because, you know,

I loaned her the money to get him printed and stuff. I said, Okay, well, whatever you sell them for, you have to pay me back. And then after that, everything is problem, right? And so, like, she kind of got to learn a little bit about, you know, profit and, you know, supply and demand.

Like how many of these do you want? A print. In fact, I think we still have a few of them left over in my closet right now, but it was kind of cool, Like both. My kids are always trying to think of ways to make money and start a business. The current thing right now is slime. They wanna fly slime. Yeah, kids are obsessed with slime right now, just just like they'll make slime like I don't like glue and borax and stuff like that in food coloring and sparkles and Alec and stuff and they just play with it. It's a huge thing. You've got to look it up on YouTube or Instagram. It's all over the place, but so they have,

ah, new business that they just started called super duper slime time, and they've got, like, a little like jingle for it and putting together a logo and talking about their slime kids. My oldest our show when I'm like Google slides and like, put together like a presentation of like Here's like your slime and you know, here's the add ons you can get, like had, like a essential oil, sent or like sparkles or flown beads and eso like you can kind of order the kit from them and they're still working on it. But they're definitely always thinking about ways toe make money.


Is this something about the small town that's actually encouraging your kids to do this? Because I think it's awesome, right? But in the big city, at least I don't hear about a lot of people sending their kids to go. So slime. Most people go to an after school activity and then an after school activity and then a math club


and the chess club stuff. Yeah, so the kids, you know, neither of them have really been involved in a ton of after school activities a little bit, but we just, you know, like a try to encourage them to do the things that they're excited. You know, whether it's ukulele and guitar or singing or art or horseback riding or whatever it is and so like, you know, and they don't stick with everything but try to encourage that. You know, I think myself, Ian, you know, really entrepreneurial myself.

I remember as a kid like you doing magic aces of illusion magic and I go like, down to the market like make balloon animals and do magic tricks. And and And I think they definitely get that, you know, creative, you know, desire for, you know, entrepreneurial business, making music. So it's really cool. I don't know if that has anything to do with Salem, but


what about their friends? Are they same kind of spirit or you girls, You know, they just started, started club in their school and get it funded.


There you go. Well, there's actually, you know, Salem does have a couple of really cool things. Have you heard of Lemonade Day? So lemonade days, something that Google was actually involved in that is basically trains. Young kids Thio be entrepreneurial. So there's, like, you know, some classes and stuff that the kids can go through this kind of teaching them, like, you know, differentiating your lemonade stand from everyone else's. And then,

you know, supply and demand and cost of goods and all that kind of stuff. And then one day a year in Salem here, we've done it. I think three years in a row. You know, the kids will go out and do a lemonade stand and and they'll be able to kind of report back on how much money they made. And you know what? What features? You know, the customers liked what they did it and all that stuff. And so, uh, you know, that's just run locally here by no, Google is involved in it, which I think is really cool.


That is pretty cool. And it's something to look forward to. This just reminds me we were at the Mumsy in Portland and I bought my kid it toward She just turned three, but I bought her an eight year old toy. Yeah, because I figured, you know why. Why should we wait so long? We'll see. We'll play with that wand, but this is something differently until look forward to when they grow older. But that's great right there, eight and 10. But now they can do business on their own, and they don't be 15 14 till college or whatever.


I mean, especially with, you know, online stuff like I mean, they're already thinking about you want to start YouTube channels and also I mean, it's just like, you know, with the kids growing up nowadays. I mean, they're they're they're opportunity Thio, actually, you know, do something is nothing like it was when we were kids, right? I mean, we were kids. We were going out and doing magic on the street corner.

I don't know whatever you were doing, but I'm reading it. But you know, there's so many cool things, like, you know, I've put together a little website for my daughter. Just put a WordPress builder on it and just let her have her own way. And she's doing this cool things, parallax effects and background images, you know, like animation. And she's just figuring it out. And she'll ask me, Well, that how did I do this?

And I'll say, Well, you try to figure it out for 10 minutes, and if you can't figure it out, then I'll show you. But it's really cool, and she she loves it.


This is actually a great example, Thio, another podcast that I've done with every cost, or I don't know if you heard it yet, but he's a professor at Georgetown for teaching entrepreneurship, and he basically said that in the future, kids are gonna learned how kids are gonna get jobs but basically showing what they can do and which school they came from, which family taken from him so forth. So, you know, your kids are just gonna compile this resume by the time they need to go in college. Then I'm going to write a message. They're just gonna send over a website. Here's everything we've done over the last 10 years in every college in the country is gonna wanna get the men over highest eighties or whatever, because now you have actually kids who show enthusiasm about where they work.

Should kids go to college?

If there is something you need to do that is technical and you can learn it in college, then by all means you should if you want, but you do not have to. Vin learned a lot of his skills on the job and because he was passionate about it, he did well. So much learning content is available online, you can learn anything. Clients do not care where you got your education, as long as you can get the work done.

It was funny, is a little bit unorthodox, but I always tell my kids like You don't have to go to college like if there's If there's something you need to do, is like, technical, like, you know, biology or, you know, Dr Law or something like that, then, yeah, by all means. I'll encourage you to go to school, but I don't feel like you have to go to school to succeed. In fact, you know,

I went toe, you know, several years of college and several years of even graduate school and ended up leaving a few months before my graduation on by school actually was sold. And so it was like it was weird transition. But I ended up starting my business at that point. And, you know, it was just something I was passionate about. I said, I'm gonna teach myself design I went on lynda dot com went on Well, it's not. It's what used to be a PSD. Okay, it's Votto now that's like, you know, And I just did all these tutorials and I taught myself designed,

taught myself, you know, CSS html and branding and, you know, reading blog's. And it wasn't any degree that I've earned. And you wanna ask how many clients have asked me which school? I went to our ask to see my degree because I wouldn't be able to produce it. Yet we've been able to work with some really good clients because they care about results much more than they would care about what school you went to. In fact, I know some people who have gone to school got the degree and they're so ill prepared to enter the workforce is like, you know, you have to learn by doing it sometimes


and just for the folks for listening to the voice of this and that. The video, right? We in your office and on the wall. It's not the college degree. It's a poster it says do great work and a guitar and that really kind of sets, you know, the division for how you doing? Your company, I guess, right? Just just do it for sure. Do great work and you


can keep doing always evolved Thio. You know, that's one of things, like just always learning, always growing, making sure that, like, you know, even in those times when you're not super passionate about it, because that definitely ebbs and flows. But like, make sure, like, you know, you're putting in the work and and sometimes you don't always love it. But, you know, you put in the work and, you know, that kind of comes around.


How does that translate into teaching your kids, setting them up for success? How does what work? Well, like the way you work, right? I mean, we know the entrepreneurial and you're encouraging that. What else do you guys do you like when you come home and you get your kids look


like So, um I, uh I'm divorced. I've been separated from my wife for about four years now. So, um, we, uh I have the girls half the time. So they're with me Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and every other Saturday on DSO there with me half the time. And one of the things that I've had to kind of adjust since going through a divorce was just really how to structure my time with my kids because it really, you know, affected the amount of time that I get to spend with my kids. Obviously, they're not with me half the time.

So for me, just in on the days that there with me, you know, I wake up, get them ready for school, drop him off at school and go work a short day, and then at three o'clock, go pick him up. And I basically am done working for the day. A TTE that point. So we spent a lot of time together on the days that there with me, and I'm making sure you know where playing games or were doing homework or going for bike rides and stuff like that. And then the days that they're not with me. I'm ableto work a little, you know, longer, hours, longer days I just to make sure you know, my work isn't suffering


as well. I love this because I see a sharp contrast, I guess, for parents. But in this case specifically, dads between, say, people working in really stressful environments in San Francisco, Yeah, versus people working in for themselves, controlling the destiny elsewhere. Right? So sure you you can actually focus on your kids full time when they're there with you, which is awesome, because it gives them all of the daddy time. You know, it gives you a break,

and then you can go in, like if tonight you don't have your kids. If you want to stay here until two o'clock in the morning and work, you can do that exactly. But for a lot of people, they have to, you know, they drop off their kids at school, and then they don't see them till dinner. Sure, and they see them for 20 minutes 40 minutes before bedtime in that hole. And I love, I think, highlighting this perspective that you can do it in many different ways and If you're comfortable with the way you are, it's fine. But if you're not, then you know there are a lot of people making living and making their lives in very different ways than maybe people around you.


Yeah, he was one of things like for me. Like I've always valued my time a a lot more than you know, just strictly a paycheck you like or some, you know, position, you know, And don't get me wrong. I you know, I feel like I get paid really well. We have great clients, Andi. I put in hard work but also really value the time that I have with the kids. And so making sure that, you know, when we're together, like they have my focused attention,

there's there's a podcast I listen to and and one of things he always says, You spell love T I m e right like it. And I think you know. And he talks about that in reference to his wife and his kids and, like, you know, just kind of thinking about like family. You know, it's not enough for me. Just go make a pay check and make sure that like they're they're, you know, provided for they need my focus Attention. They need my time. They need to feel empowered and nurtured and loved and cared for. And so I really, you know, obviously not perfect at it all the time. But like I really do make it a point. Be ableto have that time with them. Make sure they


have my attention. Do you remember the name of this podcast? Is the Brian Feeney podcast? Yeah, electors. Yeah, people as well. We briefly touched on this. Do you think that? Well, now that you're divorced, you're kind of forced into this with schedule? Do you think it would have helped you as a married person? If you found a better time management between you and kids and your wife where everybody gotta break everybody get this time for work. And I'm also asking them they're kind of looking at the wear of society is scheduled very often. It's presumed that moms will stay home with kids and dads would go to work, which I know in case of saying my family and a lot of people I know it actually drives moms, just isn't saying his dad's not be able to work.


Yeah, You know, I think you know, earlier on in my career, so my ex, she stayed home with the kids, and it made sense at that point, you know, for me to be out working with the kids were particularly, you know, young. But I do think that, you know, it did end up having an effect, you know, like leaving the house before anyone was awake, you know,

in coming back, you know, at six o'clock at night, like you said for dinner and, you know, see the kids for a bit and have to go to bed early again because you're gonna wake up, do it again. And so I feel like maybe in some ways, you know, it has been good, you know, kind of made sure that, like, I'm really valuing that time. But, you know,

it's something that I've always valued, like, you know, talk both my girls to read, made sure to always put them to bed every night. And, you know, I spent time with them, but I think yeah, definitely being divorced is definitely a change in in routine. I mean, you have to make those changes and, like you said you almost, like, forced into it. And, you know, maybe not all of those air for the worst.


Soon hindsight would say, the top couple of changes to your life that you should have done while married that could have affected your life.


Yeah. You know, I think scheduling is so I think, you know, going through the divorce or a couple things that I would take away from that that I want to bring into any new relationship. And that's just make sure that you know those those relationships that are important to you that you're just valuing that time and being able to, you know, give those relationships the time and attention they deserve. It is really not even just time. Sometimes it's attention. You know, sometimes you're a home, but you're on your phone, you're answering emails or you're working or whatever, but actually just being present, making sure, you know,

there's that focus attention. And I think a lot of people would relate, you know, time quality time as being like a love language like that time quality, time spent together. And, you know, I think you know, my kids are definitely that way and so just making sure that they always feel they are not, you know, second two to a career. But, you know, obviously that's important, but they always have my time and attention if they need


it. How do you present that to your clients? Do they do they know that family is important to you? And there's just gonna be time when you're not available


or yeah, I mean, like a lot of my clients, you know, I've been working with for years. And so there they know about, like, I was on a call yesterday and I said that, Hey, you know, we're heading up to the mountain right now, so I was gonna go play in the snow for the afternoon. Oh, yeah, I have a great time, you know, and you and,

you know, all dropping email, and we'll talk about it later. And so a lot of my clients, you know, really respect that some clients have not respected that, you know, in some clients, we've even had toe part ways. Just because I think not even anything wrong with that, just like you know how start up culture could be like, where it's very very demanding everything as you know ASAP. And so a lot of our clients are, you know, family friendly. And they have families their own.

And so they understand. But so another thing that I'll do is just really make sure that, you know, I've set boundaries with clients. And so, like, almost none of my clients have my phone number. You know, they can reach out through base camp or through email, but I really, you know, don't don't We don't publish our phone number anywhere on the Web site. And so it's e think if you kind of put those boundaries in from the get go, this is like a you know, like if this needs to be done like, hey, feel Frieda posted base camp gave me a deadline or whatever and we can approach it there. But making sure that I'm separating my business and my personal life is pretty important,


huh? All right, so your kids are eight and 10 and you're way ahead of me and raising your kids. So what I want to know is what happens? What happens between their toddlers? They just started some kind of school do now, you know, selling lemonade and basically making more money per hour than their dad one


of these days. I mean, like, my oldest is getting ready to start middle school here this next year. And so they're in fifth and third grade right now on Dhe. I genuinely loved every single age, like from being a little tiny baby, the toddler phases, you know, learning the talk and walking on it. It's like I literally loved every phase of their development. I think one of the things that's really starting to show more now is their independence. Both of them are so different. I mean, there's similarities of Corsino being sisters or whatever. But, you know,

my oldest is very entrepreneurial, loves learning. She would literally read National Geographic for fun, her favorite shows, brain games and you know, Mythbusters. And where's my younger daughter? She's the one who's way more obsessed with slime, and she she loves playing roadblocks and, you know, being being more artsy, creative. And so they're a CZ. They're getting older, you know, just their individual like personalities.

They're really starting to show so But I mean, there's there's nothing. Nothing I can teach a man. It just, you know, I think kids are so different. I mean, they just kind of come along and some somewhere along the way, like they cling onto, you know, some something that sets their soul and firing just kind of have to nourish that. So


how do you spot that and really drive?


You know, I think, you know, with with both my kids. I mean, it's just so obvious. I don't think anyone would have to spot it even from the time you know, my oldest from women. The time she was really, really young. She wanted to memorize the states she wanted. Toa memorized. The president's like she just like it was weird. It's like, you know, it was unusual for a kid to like desire to do that. And so,

you know, I think that was not anything you know, I had to force her to do. I mean, she just wanted to do that. And so, whereas you know my younger, you know, she she wants toe put on dress up, and she wants to start a YouTube channel so badly. In fact, she records them all the time on her on her iPod and show like recorded. Hi guys. It's Isla here and use like, you know, starting my you know you'll do a whole video and then we'll just live on her and she'll even say,

like, make sure to subscribe below and like and comment. But it never goes on YouTube. She just does it for fun. I don't know, but when I put it on YouTube, you know, they've been asking me about getting started on a YouTube channel. I think I think it's something that you know, Uh, I'll do eventually. Just I mean, they're pretty young yet on Still, just think if I do, it's something that I definitely make sure I'm walking them through that making sure I mean, YouTube's no big scary place,

but it's not a big, scary place, but it's definitely you'd wantto have a little bit of guidance supervision if they were gonna have a YouTube channel. But, you know, I think that's something that they could totally do. I think they really enjoy it. In fact, I don't know if you've read Gary Boner, Chuck's newest book, Crushing It, So Crush It. I read back in 2009 when it first came out was starting my business and I was so excited, really felt, you know, that message was something I really took the heart.

I mean, we met through social media. I made a ton of connections through social media, all of my employees. I met through social media on DSO. It was really interesting to read, crushing it now kind of talking about the stories of people who who made it through social media. And can I read you this quote? Is that Okay, so this is from crushing it. Gary being a Truck's new book says parents are trying to get their Children off. Pokemon go when augmented reality reality gaming is going to be huge For generations, they think their daughters should be making less slime and doom or algebra slime. Maybe a fad slime could also become the conduit through What Your Girl learns that dynamic of supply and demand on Instagram and builds a $1,000,000 personal Brandon company. The crazy thing is, she wouldn't be the first.

Karina Garcia did it. Who my kids love, by the way, she used to be a waitress. Now she's a successful YouTube star famous for making you guessed it slime. How successful was sick? Six figure earnings. Every month she was able to retire her parents. In August 2017 she took a seven week, 14 city tour to meet her fans. People paid $40 to 99 99 for V I P passes, right? And so that's just kind of one of those things. Like, I don't think that we should just let our Children go wild and especially at that age, is they are now.

But maybe mentor them through that. And I could think about how to do that in a way that is really kind of facilitating their learning in creativity and, you know, just allow them tow experience that, you know, in has their dad kind of walked them through howto utilize those tools for their good, but do it in a way that is, you know, making sure they're safe.


I think that's that's great point, and it's really hard balance because, like you just read right there. People were making millions of dollars just by making use of videos, and sometimes I know I've been on YouTube seeing it's hard balance because it feels like parents exploiting their kids because when it's really young kids, right, they like. There's some channels on YouTube where young kids open presents every day. They just open a present, too, and you can buy the number of using on YouTube. You can estimate how much money they're making it. It's a lot. And I guess it's great because you know, the family can just live in travel on that. On the other hand, there's just your two year old just ripping through boxes of presence.

The value of it, especially for the two year old, is not awesome. But so I appreciate the idea is that you're actually keeping your girls off. Social media for now is partially thistle, where podcast is actually really good because it's, well, you get his voice right. If you skip video together or you get his voice, we can still deliver content and value to people thinking maybe they can try. Yeah, and now that would scare his book. He's got Noah. What's it called? He's got no reason not to come on the podcast and talk about his kids, of course, and then we should get his kids in the podcast to see how how often they see Dad?


Yeah, he talks about, you know, like in his books. And he watches videos that, you know, that's something that's, Ah, a constant struggle for him. You know, someone who's entrepreneurial and like, has that drive to succeed and make an impact? And how does that affect being a dad? Cause I mean, it's definitely, I mean, were there,

man. It is definitely a struggle, especially when you are entrepreneur, he running your own business, and, you know, you can always just


walk away from it. But well, that's why I think if you want to be able to do that, then the setup you've got is actually really great because it's hard to imagine that a client would have such a pressing need that you won't be able to just leave right now and go to girls if you have to go for a lot of people, that is actually a challenge, right? They can't just walk away from


their work. Yeah, I mean, every now and again, like you know, our site is down and you know, I'll have to say, Hey, girls like I need to go take care of this right now. But I mean, this maybe happens. I don't want to say like our sights go down all the time, But, you know, there may be a pressing issue that that happens maybe a couple times a year. That's not something that would happen regularly. But,

you know, make sure for me like I have a lot of friends in the design community, it's almost like a badge of honor is like Oh, pulling the late nighter and you know they're up 234 in the morning with kids is like man like and I'm not even seeing that's bad on and maybe they just work better at night or whatever, but I almost feel like there's for so long. Been with his idea of liking this badge of honor just like work yourself, You know, these 16 hour days, and for me, I just I'd rather have more balance in my


life. What can you design for 16 hours a day?


Take more clients, I guess.


You know, there's this company called rescue Time and they did some. They basically track what you work on, and they did some analytics and some point in the past. And this wasn't designers that developers. But I heard that the best developers like the top percentile work for tops four hours a day, because the rest of the time you may still need to do work. But you're not actually engaged in whatever you're doing. You're reading. You're talking to people, you strategizing whatever it is, right, working difference. So when people say that they work for 16 hours a day, I've done it for like, a year in college when I overloaded myself with courses and I remembered super exciting because you're always busy. But at the same time,

at the end of the year, you just want a full flat on your face and take a week long nap. So probably probably not great if you have kids. Yeah, sure. Well, here's another question. So when your kid's a young at least for me and a lot of people that I speak with, you get really worried about everything I know one of the guys in this podcast was saying that when his newborn was born, he wasn't even sure if you could take the highway. All right, so it's a new thing. You get really worried, and this kid's girl do you kind of relax a little and learn that you do what you can in your control. So your kids are a little bit older now, Did you see that change every time? And what would you think is? How do you keep yourself saying while still maintaining their safety and health?


Yeah. Ah, you know, I still feel like I'm pretty protective about that kind of thing. Like, for example, like my kids don't do playdates at people's houses. If I don't know the parents very well. Like even if I know the parent but don't really, like, know them very well. My kids aren't going over to their house, you know. We don't do sleepovers, you know? I mean, we've had a couple.

I think we did a birthday slumber party. But, I mean, we don't do sleepovers and other other people's houses. In fact, my daughter has a playdate this weekend with a kid kid from school. I don't know the data at all, and so we're meeting at the Trampoline Park, you know, so they can play is just so I think you know, you gotta look out for your kids. I mean, like, I don't think you have to be like, you know, obsessive about it like,

Oh, you can't climb a tree or you can't, you know, ever be unsupervised or anything like that. But, you know, I think making sure that you're being wise about kind of the situations that your Children are exposed to, like I don't know how your childhood was, But like when I got in trouble as a kid, it was when I was over. You know, friends, houses when When you know my appearance, you know, didn't know what I was doing or who I was with. And and,

you know, I think some of that was good fun. But some of it, you know, I really I wish never happened. And I hope to save my kids from from ever experiencing anything that would, you know, that they would regret later on in life. So


that's solid advice. How do you because you're divorced? How can you control what happens when there with your wife? Or do you get to an agreement like doing


Do not I mean, I think as far as parenting, I mean way, see pretty eye to eye on that kind of thing s o way we communicate, you know about about parenting and men, you know, talk about school. We talked about pickup times. You know, we're both pretty flexible with our schedule when we can be. So when it comes to that thing, I think we we are able to co parent well, and, like, you know, both of us. You know, I love the kids a lot and and trying to make sure that we're putting them first when it comes to anything that involves them,


What do you think is the most rewarding aspect of being a dad


man? The most rewarding? I mean, I think it's just, you know, incredible t realize. Like, you know, you have these two little Children to two people that literally did not exist before on dhe, then see, like pieces of yourself in them. But then also being able to, like, encourage the pieces that are 100% uniquely them. And I think just I don't think there's, like, one specific thing,

but just just like enjoying them as human beings, right? Like, you know, I don't know. A lot of people will say, you know, like, oh, your your parents parent, not their friend. You know, it's like but I think that is true and I compare it my Children. But I really enjoy my kids like the other day like we might. My daughter came in. She goes,

Dad, going to your room and don't come out until I tell you. And so I went in the room and I was reading, reading a book. And then about half an hour later, she calls me out and she had all the blankets out on the living room floor and all the furniture pushed aside. And she had shark tank on the TV, a big bowl of popcorn and exploding kittens, thegame and so like. We sat and for about two hours probably played 10 games of exploding kittens. We were just laughing, and we were watching Shark Tank, which, you know they love. And it was just like this fun, you know,

amazing time, where I'm literally enjoying my time with them as my kids, but also, like actually like people I enjoy hanging out with, and so it is really cool, you know, like I just love being a dad and watching them, you know, grow and thrive and, you know, learned to be who they're created to be.


So doesn't mean that as they were growing up, even though you were pretty protective of them, you're giving them a lot of opportunity to be themselves. And because I'm asking this because if you go and say, read it or you can see that very clearly I think that their appearance here's divide, right. Some say, Well, I'm gonna I'm going to treat my kids as grown adults with constraints, and I'm gonna help them understand their constraints. I'm gonna help them develop and their parents. We just say, No, I'm the parent. You the kid. You do what I say and there is no choice. Where do you fall in between the two?


Uh, well, kind of neither, Really. I don't think I'm gonna treat them as an adult because they're not adults. I mean, you have to have that empathy for them as being Children and not being fully you know, you know where they're gonna be, is an adult, but in lead and guide their decisions, but also giving them some level of autonomy and a little bit of responsibility where it's appropriate. You might my daughters 11. A cook? Now she shows that Dad, can I cook dinner? Okay, fine.

Cook dinner. And the funny thing is, now that I'm allowing her to cook dinner, she's making healthier eating choices for herself. Then she was making when it was like Dad, just making Mac and cheese Or, you know, Dad, just make me a grilled cheese or whatever is like in So now you know she'll be making meatloaf or she'll make vegetables, which I mean, it was almost unheard of before this scene as I can, so giving them a little bit of responsibility where you know they're able to do that. They earned allowance now through through helping on DSO, watching them figure out where they want to spend their money where they want to save their money. You know, all that kind of stuff,

you know, like I think you can't just treat them as an adult because they're just not there. But at the same time, you don't want to be a dictator in their life either. I don't think that that would. I don't think that that would instill trust. I don't think that that would instill a sense of identity on. So for me, I want them to feel confident. I want them to feel empowered. I want them to feel like they could come to me even if they screwed up. And if you know and and me realized that, Hey, I still love you Still care for you, Like, you know,

I don't expect you to be perfect. But at the same time, you know, like I do. You have expectations of them, of course, you know, But I just understanding that they're Children and they're on a journey as well.


What do you think is the most challenging right now? At this age,


I think at the most challenging thing recently has just been stubbornness, you know? I mean, my my oldest, she's 10 almost 11 actually. Should be 11 in a month and 1/2 in. She thinks she's got it all together, like she knows all the answers. And she knows what's best for her and on. And, you know, sometimes we'll have to have discussions about that. Sometimes that will have to say no, like, this is this is the way it's gonna be like, but, um,

but, you know, just stubborn. You know, they get that for me, probably. But But there's they're stubborn sometimes, but I mean, they're good, they're good girls, they get along for the most part, and, you know, there pretty, pretty, well adjusted, but definitely as they're growing older, My oldest especially. She's very stubborn.


So is that. I guess that's mostly challenging for you, not for them right there. They're just being stubborn. You have Thio. What do you do? Dio find enough patients to perceive your their slipperiness and eventually get your point across and you put your foot down. Sometimes you said you say, you know,


but yeah, well, so I mean, there's certain times where you know, like, you know, that they'll want to do something or, you know I won't allow something. Your dad. Why can't we go out for dinner? Why can't we have this for dinner tonight or I don't want to have that, And sometimes it is just like, Hey, no, that's what's for dinner. If you want to eat tonight, that's what's for dinner.

And sometimes you know there is a level of putting the foot down, but you know, for the most part, like I try to at least, like, make sure I'm being reasonable. A swell, which sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I am. You know, sometimes they understand, sometimes they don't, But, uh,


there's no syllable. There's no silver bullet. Man, you brought up a great topic Dad's health. And we just Do you want to share that? I will see it. But it's you who doesn't actually look like you.


Yes. Oh, this this is me about nine years ago. So I think somebody £80 heavier. Yeah, I was about to 50. A little more into 50 at that point, so Yeah. Hefty.


Dude. Yes. Were you having before you your kids, or did you gain weight with


kids? Eh? So I kind of got heavy, like as a younger kid, Like, you know, I was never like, huge, but definitely like a little overweight. And then when I, uh, you know, I grew older, I went off to college in Texas, and, you know, everything's bigger in Texas.

And you know, all that Tex Mex food was delicious to eat, but not so great on my body. And so I moved up here to Salem. You know, I was kind of at my heaviest. I was like I said, like in the two fifties. And


are we talking heavy because you just ate a lot or having because depression,


Because s O so I would say probably both, to be honest yet, like so I just, you know, I was I was eating a lot of food, just enjoy food. Didn't really have that discipline. You know, I was not raised with most amazing eating habits. And so my dad would come home with, you know, literally 30 or 40 doughnuts on. He'd put them in the freezer, and, like, when he'd want one, he looks like,

take it out and let it sit on the calendar for, like, a few minutes and then, like, you know, And of course, we did that, too. And bags of chips and bottles, you know, two liter bottles of coke and stuff, you know, like, and


it was your family also overweight at the time?


No. I mean, like I said, I'm not not super overweight. Maybe a little bit, but it was just really bad eating habits, you know, Not not exercising, not athletic. And my dad was 43 when he had me and arthritis and osteoporosis. And a second. So I was not the kid. It was like doing sports. And I said I was playing chess and playing guitar and doing magic tricks, and and so, yeah, I just I just don't think I was really raised to be super health conscious And that really kind of came to bear,

you know, when I was in school down in Texas and then when I moved here to Salem, though I was actually moved up here to go to seminary, was gonna be a pastor and and I all all the other students who I was here with I was in my early twenties and all the other students were like in there, you know, forties and fifties. And they're already working at churches and, you know, have their families and everything. They're just trying to get their degree on DSO. I was very lonely and just didn't have, you know, I didn't really have, like, any kind of support. Had no family here,

no friends here. And so I just ate and watch TV and studied and, you know, that was just kind of my life. And so you know I ended up being pretty pretty large, you know, like especially for you know, I'm not super big frame, you know, Like I should be probably about what I am now, you know, when 1 65 £70 on DSO Yeah, I got I got so big And then I started having kids. When you have kids, you kind of game that pregnancy. Wait,

wait. Parents do? Yeah, And so I remember it was like literally right when that photo was taken on and my daughter, who at that point was maybe one year old and she was running up just one flight of stairs and I was running up after her on I was running up and I was one flight of stairs exhausted like heavy breathing at the top of the And I just remember that moment so vividly and just said no, like, that's not gonna be how I live my life. You know, that's not I'm not going to be this way. I'm too young. I mean, 25 26 years old, you know, like, I'm not gonna be this way. And so I just decided that and maybe from the get go wasn't like that.

The healthiest like way. Like, you know, I tried like napkins. I tried Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers. I tried like all the different stuff, But eventually I just said, Look, I need toe cut out sugar. I need to cut out refined carbohydrates. It was like, you know, pastas and breads and Candies and doughnuts and popping all the kind of things I was talking about just second ago Cut that stuff out of my life on dhe within a year dropped about £60 on dso. That was a big change. Not only affected me physically,

though, but just my self confidence. I mean, I think that happened. Probably like right before we met


to clarify there was no actual died. There was no particular extra exercise. You did it just kind of food basically kept doing.


It was 100% nutrition that I lost the weight on dso. I wasn't literally working out at all like maybe I go play racquetball or Frisbee or something. But I wasn't doing any working out. It was 100% through nutrition that I lost the weight. And so But yeah, it was It was through cutting out really sugar and process carbs. And you're making sure I'm eating more whole foods. Like, if I am gonna eat carbs like it's gonna be like, you know, like, whole grain oats, you know, like oatmeal. Or, you know,


you probably treat them as something really enjoyable, like, yeah, you'll actually get good carbs as opposed to just be yourself.


Yeah, like I'm eating. Eating a salad is full of carbs, but it's also full of fiber. Like that's gonna be healthy for you to eat and so just making better choices. And then about two years ago, I started doing CrossFit. So really, it wasn't until just a couple of years ago that I started. I said, OK, well, I've had this weight off for the last 67 years. Like now let's kind of tie in that nutrition nursery, that fitness element of it as well, because I feel like, you know,

I did lose the weight, but I also wanted Toa have that, you know, increased flexibility, increased mobility, increased strength And so I'm not concerned with, you know, having six pack abs or being the shredders guy in the room. But like for me, I just think longevity like when I'm, you know, 65 or whatever. I still want to be going on hikes with my grandkids are my wife or, you know, or I still want to be able Thio, go visit,

travel abroad and and be active and not feel like, you know, like my dad. Waas Like who, by the time he was in his mid forties was couldn't do anything. So


So I guess. Did you improve your other wait, Is your health improving? Now that you're doing crossfit looking at you, you are definitely not like trying to be a rip. But you, same time in the good shape, right? Like And it's also awesome to hear that you could do kind of strange activity but still look normal. I have a guy on the show who lost, I think probably about as much weight as you did by doing a long distance running, which personally, women vice safe. You're really heavy, but it's definitely really good for you mentally. And speaking of mental, you said it was probably partially eating a lot of the partially that you probably weren't in the best like mental shape,

right? And I think this'll is really important to talk about because people hear about postpartum depression moms. It's not a huge stopping, but moms know about it. I think barely anyone ever talks about depression for dad's. Yeah, but the fact that your life just changes out right when you have kids, do you remember that


time? I remember that time, and I do remember being just, you know, really depressed. And it wasn't it wasn't anything to do with being a dad. It at that point in my life, you know, I was like I said, You know, my school had shut down. Just shy of me getting my degree. I I was working a job, you know, as a phone rapid of pharmacy service. Is company making 12 bucks an hour? I was overweight.

I didn't care about my appearance or, you know, really, you know, taking care of myself the way I should. I wasn't working out. It was like I just feel like my mind was not a good place at that at that point. But it's funny, though, because when I did end up losing, the weight did start. Maybe taking more care of my you know, physical appearance, just like I'm not the most fashion guy in the world. But, like,

you know, just tryto buy clothes that, you know, suits me. Well, start writing in my journal. Start reading, listening the podcast, You know, just just really kind of deciding, like, in my mind, like, this is not the direction like, I want my life to go. And what started with me like saying,

No, I'm gonna lose some weight, like, you know, teaching myself designed, Like, if I look at myself from 10 years ago, which really this photos, you know, probably not even 10 years old, where I am today, like completely different people on dhe. You know, I imagine in 10 years from now we'll look back on my life now and, you know, hopefully have evolved even further,

but I definitely went through a period of just just kind of feeling a little lost a little hopeless, a little bit, you know, like depressed, you know, And, uh, I need to do that work like, within myself toe change. And literally, when I started making those better choices for myself, it really did change my mind set in my whole outlook and my whole vision of a future for myself.


I was listening to podcasts the other day about a thief in San Francisco a couple of decades ago. Think at this point. But they called him Spider Man because within similar, like, 60 days, he's still from over 60 different locations and he'd always drop down from the ceiling. And when they eventually caught him, they were talking to the guy and his friends, and no one knew he was a thief, and he just got out of that pattern. But it also got really exciting that he could do that. So he kept doing more and more of it every night. But he was basically the best dressed person in the room all the time, you know, volunteering his church, that kind of thing. And no one ever would have suspected him to be a spider man.

I just find it really interesting because when they talked to him this hey said, you know, the reason he was always so well put together is because he knew that the part of him was kind of stuff like he didn't actually want to keep seeming, but it was really exciting So So he really put himself in quite literally, you know, great shoes that nobody with a suspect. Now that I'm saying that you're stealing from buildings at night. But I think what I'm trying thio say that it does help people to actually go get that a close. Go get in shape, get a haircut that can't stuff right. And just you may think that's a trivial things, but just taking care of yourself. Camera Just taking care of yourself puts you in a position where, um you can do you can make better decisions and the healthier Yeah, you


know, I don't think, you know, just by doing these external things you're gonna fix, you know, like those deep parts of you that may be needed me deeper work. But another thing I did was started going to counseling. I went to counseling for years. In fact, I'm still see a counselor now from time to time, and you know, just just being willing to do the hard work, whether that's physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, I mean,

there's so much to just being like a holistically healthy person. I don't think just solving those like external things that are gonna solve everything in your life. But for me, when I did lose the weight, when I did start carrying a little bit more about my appearance, you know, doing my hair, buying some clothes that fit me properly. And, you know, I was able to notice a boost in self confidence. I was able to, you know, just like, you know, aa happier, more excited person, you know, felt better about myself, which I think really makes a difference.


I know you don't want to pitch it, but can we talk for a minute about your closing


brand? Yeah, So Better Fellow is a men's fashion brand that I started a few years ago and make like ties and tie clips, lapel pins, shirts and a few other things. But that's a brand that we started and, you know, put a lot of effort into especially growing social media presence. And it's been a little bit on the back burner for the last year or so, but we've actually been talking about revitalizing it a little bit, making it almost more like what we were just talking about more about that holistic men's health. But you know, like like like really just a log for men. Thio, you know, learn how to become better fellow better fellows,


do you think Did it come out out of your need, Thio To create that kind of this for yourself


s o I mean, like, I've always, you know, since I've really started toe care more about it like I've really liked enjoyed your throne and tie on. In fact, I was wearing a tie yesterday to come yesterday and people ask me, Why are you wearing a tie? Like, you know, what kind of job do you have? Like, my job does not require that I wear a tie like


I literally don't interact with anyone, not wear pants if you want Thio.


But, you know, I just I just enjoy dressing up in a little less for coat on, you know, wearing ties and stuff. And so I was able to use my experience in design and branding to build this brand. We partner with some really cool manufacturers that would help us tow, you know, develop these products were able to design and manufacture our own products. We did a couple lines of ties on DSO scarves. We did you know all these cool things that were able to do and, you know, take, you know, the skills and experience I had from running a design business and kind of reaps, um, personal benefit out of that myself. So


are we talking local designers and manufacturers?


So there's a couple that were so it all depends on the products. We have a couple manufacturers that we work with that are in America. We did like our shirts in America, but most of our, like, you know, apparel like way did ties and tie clips on DDE Ah, lapel pins and scarves we did overseas. And so we're working just over. Skype is kind of cool. Like, you know, I opening toe let go through that process because someone who's basically only worked with digital products to actually move into physical products a little bit was pretty interesting and something that, you know, I hope to keep experimenting, experimenting with


future. How did you get it going? I just want to know about the business side, right? Parenting inside, but like, how do you even go and started tie manufacturing sales company? What's difficult about it? And you mentioned Gary B a lot, you know, social serious. That's a big So yeah,


I mean that that was huge for us. So, like for me, I created you know, the logo actually had my brand designer who works for fixed on my design company had him hired him toe design a logo for better Fellow got on instagram because that's where kind of fashion influences are and stuff got it going on instagram. I started liking and posting and, you know, forming relationships with some of the style influences. So the first like year of our existence, we were literally just interacting with other people, whether that was re posting or whether that was, you know, taking our own photos, but not of our own product, just like pumping other people's products. We got reached out to buy brands said, Hey,

will you wear our brand like we'll send you free product if you will take photos stuff. So we did that for a while, actually, until we were ready to sell product, and once we actually had our product that way had created, we said OK, we've probably stop taking photos with other people's


stuff. Oh, but it's great for a year you didn't have a product of your own. You basically created a brand with other people's products, and they were happy to pick, like send it to you just for them to get some attention.


A lot of people, like, literally have that, you know, as their business model like I mean, they don't have a product of their own. They're literally just style influencers. And so we were able to do that for a little while. But as we were developing our products and so what we did is we reached out to a few different manufacturers. I told them what we wanted sent them the specifications had them create the product. So our first product was a set of tie clips on dhe. They all three of these manufacturers would create it and then send it to us, and we'll be able to, like, inspect the box and, like, you know,

and how the tie clips fit in there and like whether the logo was, like, you know, engraved properly and just feel the metal quality, all that kind of stuff, and make sure that, you know, there is one that we're like this clearly is not gonna work. There was the other two kind of came down to price and way. We're able to do some quantity discounts by ordering larger quantity. And so we place a big order, you know, several $1000 which I mean, when you're just starting up is a lot of money. But I was really cool. I mean,

like, you know, and then from there, we actually worked with a different manufacturer to make our ties because we need to partner with a textile company rather than, you know, a metal company, you know? So, yeah, I mean, it was just forming relationships, getting referrals. A lot of the manufacturers we work with work with each other, and so we were able to get, like, our boxes from here and then the tie clips from here,

Or are labels from here. And, you know, the bags from here, Whatever. And so, yeah, I mean, definitely a learning process. I don't I don't think I'm master that yet. And part of it was just the fact that I was running my design studio the whole time. We were doing better fellow. And so, like I said, the last year it's kind of been on the backburner, but something that long term, I'd love Thio, you know, put more time and attention and effort into


Yes, it's great. And you can, you know, if you can do this for a time. With two kids and a design agency anyone can do. It isn't so many people. I want to start things, but they never do, because there's always this other reason not to do it. But for you, it's important. So you did it and it's working and it makes money and like I thinkit's just fascinating, you know, and with all of that, you're not in the office 24 7 sleeping under your desk and the life goes on and the life is good and I think it's great. I think it's important for people to hear that just kind of maybe complain a little less and do a little more.

But just know that everything is possible. Yeah, yeah, yeah. If you were to give one piece of advice to somebody who's about to have Children, I know it's a heavy one. We talked about mental health. I think it's important, right? Whichever way you find whether it's exercise or just taking care of yourself or going to counseling. Got to do that. Talk about how you can kind of give you kids freedom, but at the same time, remind them that you're a parent and moved to a little town called Salem. Oregon can find them. Theo just used to that. But what do you think? People who are freaking out about their relatives have a kid. What do they need to know?


Well, uh, I do not feel like I was well equipped to be a dad. You know, our our first child was not planned, But I don't think anyone can ever just like, you know, have have it all together and be like, Yes. Okay, I'm ready now. And so, like, for me, like, I mean, if you're gonna be a dad or you're,

you know, a new dad. Just enjoy the every stage of life that you have because, you know, I think back to when my kids were your age, right? Our kids are kind of similar ages apart, you know, but and like, it just really flies. Like my my girls, like 10 and eight now is like in it just feels like yesterday like they were in diapers and like, and so just to, like, really appreciate every phase that they're in. Give them a little grace because,

you know, as you have a three year old, right, there's maybe a little bit more grace that's needed then, you know, But I don't know. I mean, just just enjoy being a dad. Take care of yourself. Take care of your family. Make sure you're giving them that, uh, not quality time and attention that they need Doesn't mean that you have to spend every waking moment with them or you, you know, you sacrifice you know your well being. But when you are with your Children, give them that quality attention in time.


Perfect. Thank you. Right, Dad? Yeah. Thanks for coming out. Well, folks, you've heard it here first. And as always, if you like this episode,

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