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Not Sacrificing Your Kids For Your Job | Shawn Leslie | Episode 12

Not Sacrificing Your Kids For Your Job | Shawn Leslie | Episode 12
November 17, 2014

Small Actions Towards Reinventing One's Self!

Not Sacrificing Your Kids For Your Job | Shawn Leslie | Episode 12

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Going from a job I didn’t really like and shifting over to my hobby full-time — it’s a bit of shift that took some adjusting, but it’s been a great move and I am super glad I did it.Shawn Leslie
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Small Actions Towards Reinventing One's Self!

Small Actions Towards Reinventing One’s Self!


The Startup Dad Journey of Shawn Leslie


Shawn is 33 years old, raised in southern California. Shawn was always drawing growing up, but didn’t pursue any creative arts professionally. *** That tie bit of information is going to be key as we discuss Shawn’s journey. *** So Shawn went to college for Finance and worked in the Brokerage industry for nearly 7 years as a stockbroker, then Branch Manager for the online trading company, Scott-trade. In 2007 after reading the Four Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferries he decided to start learning HTML/CSS and he was convinced he could make enough money drop-shipping fancy Rabbit wine openers when the wine bar craze was taking off. That didn’t pan out, but he kept learning HTML/CSS and took his first freelance client in late 2007 (6 months from the point of starting).

Shawn continued working on websites on the side and started spending most of his free time working on design and development.

So at this point Shawn had a good, respectable, well paying job in finance and was steadily climbing his way up the corporate ladder but that didn’t interest him any longer and he was craving something more enjoyable, more meaningful. With a wife and a 3 month old baby girl he decided to take the leap¦

Shawn shares with us what that leap looked like, the personal sacrifices he had to make and the financial challenges this presented.


Its easy to fall into routines, but make sure you’re investing in your kids first. Shawn Leslie
Family First:
  • Family Fun Photo: Husband, Father of 2
  • What does fatherhood mean to you: I want to flourish, I want to prosper, and I want the freedom to travel and have nice things, but I don’t need any of that to be a good dad.
  • Balancing family and business by: My wife and two daughters keep my pretty busy and this job keeps me busy as well, so I struggle with finding that balance between the two. But, I do try to make sure I don’t take any time away from the kids. We stick to a routine, and every night there are certain things I always do, so they can have something to look forward to just with me. My wife is also a great support system.
Along This Journey We Discuss:
  • I grew up drawing and I was really creative and enjoyed it, but I never really thought about making a career out of it.
  • Instead I went into finance working for an online broker. In 2007 it was recommended to me to read The Four Hour Work Week.
  • After reading the book, I began to think of what could I sell on the web to make me the money I needed to sustain my lifestyle. So, I had a product and built a website. While creating the website, I realized I enjoyed that more than the thought of selling the product.
  • I began to spend more time on the web and using the creative side of me. I started getting really good at it and several months later I landed a freelance gig. I was getting paid decent money.
  • The catalyst that inspired his leap About 3-4 months after my daughter was born, I kind of hit a point of no return. I either need to stay on the Finance thing and just keep doing that or pursue my passion and take a pretty big pay cut.
  • I was enjoying my hobby a lot more than I was enjoying my career. So, I left my finance position and moved into a gig where I could get my feet wet and learn. Essentially it’s a Start Up within a Start Up.
  • I spent the first two years designing and doing freelance work on the side. Earlier this year I was able to move into a Lead Product Designer role. Which gives me the opportunity to design and market a product.
I want to be inspired by what I do, and I want my kids to be inspiredShawn Leslie
 Click to Tweet The Above Quote
Real Dads, Real Talk:


  • Failure, Doubt or Fear: This industry is very trend based, its a young man’s game; what’s cool this month may not be cool next month. So, it got me thinking about my career growth as I get older. But, the one thing this career choice has given me is a new lens on how to solve problems on and off the web, so its comforting to know that I have this skill that I can now fall back on.
  • Hardest personal sacrifice: Homeownership- San Diego is one of the most expensive areas in the country. Making the jump to this new industry has caused us to put buying a house on hold.
The HandyMan Segment: Tips | Tactics | Tools


  • Book every Startup Dad should read: medium.com; Strong Father’s-Strong Daughters
Resources & References Mentioned
Quotables by Shawn Leslie
  • Being a success at home, lends more to being a success at work.


The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu

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I hope you enjoyed, was able to connect and found value in Shawn’s inspiring journey. If so please let us know by clicking on the link to share on twitter:

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I’m not only the founder of Startup Dad Headquarters. I’m also a client – Follow along my journey as I progress and improve my skills both in interviewing: asking the right questions, extracting the tips, tactics and tools used by successful entrepreneur dads and in video production. This one is a little painful to watch but full of massive value 😉

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