seanwes podcast

seanwes podcast

Tangible insights on creativity and business every Wednesday.

Want to make a living with your passion? From products and marketing to professionalism and clients, you'll get answers to the hard-hitting questions.

Join entrepreneurs Sean McCabe and Ben Toalson as they let you inside their discussions on the many facets of making a living online. You'll come away from every episode with something of value that you can apply to your business.

How to Create an Interesting Story That Gets People Addicted to Tuning in to Your Content

270: How to Create an Interesting Story That Gets People Addicted to Tuning in to Your Content

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 – 1 hour, 12 minutes

If you don’t have an interesting challenge, you can’t create an interesting story.

People enjoy stories where someone faces, and ultimately overcomes, a big challenge.

Think of any TV show you’re watching to right now. In any given episode, someone wants something, they can’t get it because of some obstacle, and they spend the course of the show doing what it takes to try to get it.

Every compelling story is comprised of several common elements and you can use these elements intentionally to craft a compelling story.

Aaron Dowd joins me to talk about creating your interesting story to get people addicted to tuning in to your content.

How to Have Six Months of Income Saved in the Bank

269: How to Have Six Months of Income Saved in the Bank

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 – 1 hour, 18 minutes

70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.

It shouldn’t be like this.

You’ve got to get ahead. In your personal life and with your business, you need to get ahead of barely making it month to month. You’re living in stress and you’re stuck in Scarcity Mindset.

You need money in the bank. At least six months of income. You need enough cash in the bank to cover all of your expenses for six months if nothing was coming in.

I call this figure “The New Zero”. To calculate it for yourself, take your monthly expenses and multiply them by six. If monthly expenses for you and your family are $5,000, you need $30,000 in the bank (six months). That means if you have less than $30,000, you need to see that as being in the hole. If you have $24,000, think of that as having -$6,000. You are below the minimum threshold.

This is not a luxury. This is a necessity. Living paycheck to paycheck in scarcity should not be a reality you accept. It should not be something you get complacent about. It needs to be something you work to get ahead of.

When you’re in scarcity mindet, you can’t make objective, long-term decisions about your future. You can’t have the life you want to have. You end up overworking. You don’t have the freedom to delegate or hire new people.

In this episode, we talk about the practical aspects of getting that money in the bank, two kinds of hustle, when to invest, and getting rid of debt.

How to Take Off a Week Every Seven Weeks Even if You Can’t Afford To

268: How to Take Off a Week Every Seven Weeks Even if You Can’t Afford To

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 – 1 hour, 23 minutes

I take a week off every seventh week. I also pay my employees to take off every seventh week.

I call this Small Scale Sabbaticals.

I was working 18-hour days, seven days a week with no end in sight, and I was heading towards burn out. I knew some people took off a year every seven years as a “sabbatical” and I knew we took off a day every seven days each week, but why was there nothing in between?

I decided to try it and I decided to prioritize it with my team. I started doing it in 2014 and haven’t look back. It’s been incredible. We feel healthier every time, we feel rested, we’re excited to get back to work, and I truly believe we are more productive as a whole. I certainly know we all do better work.

I’ve been sharing my journey of taking Small Scale Sabbaticals for some time now. You may be wondering how you could possibly do this yourself. Maybe you’re thinking, “How could I possibly take off even a day—much less a whole week?!”

How can you take a sabbatical when you can’t afford to?

The answer is: you’ll never be able to afford to. That’s right. You will never reach a moment in your life where you look at your schedule and the next week is just completely blank.

It won’t happen because we fill time automatically by habit. The only way is to drive a wedge into your schedule and carve out the time.

In this episode, we talk about the money, the how, the scheduling, the potential guilt, and the practicalities of actually being able to take off time with something like a sabbatical.

Future Vision for seanwes and Why the Podcast Is Switching to Once-a-Week Output

267: Future Vision for seanwes and Why the Podcast Is Switching to Once-a-Week Output

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 – 16 minutes

The seanwes podcast is now going to have only one new episode a week instead of two.

In 2013, I started the seanwes podcast with a commitment to produce two episodes a week. For nearly three years now, we’ve done that.

However, some big changes are on the horizon for seanwes. I’m here to tell you about a few of those changes today.

I took a step back. Actually, I took many steps back. Then I asked myself, “What is our mission? What is my vision for seanwes?” When I had that answer, I asked a second question:

“Is everything I’m doing right now serving that goal?”

The answer was no.

Many of the things I was doing on a regular basis were not helping me fulfill that vision. They were not getting me closer to the goal. I was just doing them because I’d fallen into a routine of fulfilling commitments I’d made long ago when my goals were different.

Things had to change. There are big changes coming to seanwes. I’m going to share a few of them with you today.

Value-Based Pricing (Part 3 of 3): Price With Confidence, Increase Value, & Increase Profits

266: Value-Based Pricing (Part 3 of 3): Price With Confidence, Increase Value, & Increase Profits

Friday, April 29, 2016 – 35 minutes

Most people do not feel confident about their pricing.

They are not 100% certain that the price they put on their proposal is completely fair to the client and completely fair to them.

A common misconception about Value-Based Pricing is that you will charge some companies more just because they’re bigger. That is not at all the case. In fact, two companies of vastly different sizes will always receive a quote of the same price if the value they get in return is the same.

Value-Based Pricing is the fairest pricing model in existence because it ensures a client never pays more than a fraction of the value they’re getting.

Of course, discovering and uncovering that value in an accurate fashion is the key. You then have to take that quantified value and calculate a value-based price that also accounts for the time it takes to realize that value.

That’s what we teach inside the Value-Based Pricing course, and that’s what the tools we’ve developed will help you accomplish.

Value-Based Pricing (Part 2 of 3): Find Clients That Pay What You’re Worth

265: Value-Based Pricing (Part 2 of 3): Find Clients That Pay What You’re Worth

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 – 1 hour, 8 minutes

How do you find clients that pay well?

First, stop saying yes to all the wrong clients. You will never convert the wrong client into a great client.

The only way to get great clients is to attract them. You have to be the kind of person they want to work with. You can’t chase them, you must attract them.

Chasing clients starts the relationship off on the wrong foot and leads to problems. This fights the Rule of Reciprocity. There’s only one way to get on peoples’ radar without chasing them (we talk about it in the episode).

But attracting clients means attracting all kinds of clients—including ones you don’t want to work with. That means you have to filter people out. You do this by asking questions. Yes, there are bad questions to ask. We share one question you should never ask in this episode.

To get great clients, you need hyper-selectivity. You must say no to all other potential clients. Even the good ones. If the client is not a great client, you say no.

This advice is counter to what most other people will tell you. They will say, “Take on whatever work you can get in the beginning. You have no other choice. You live in the real world where there are bills to pay, you have to make money. You can’t afford to wait around for great clients.” Their advice is rooted in Scarcity Mindset.

Justin joins me for part two of our Value-Based Pricing series. We talk about avoiding Scarcity Mindset when it comes to clients, positioning yourself as an investment instead of an expense, and what to do about your existing clients when switching to Value-Based Pricing.

Value-Based Pricing (Part 1 of 3): Make More Money While Doing Your Best Work

264: Value-Based Pricing (Part 1 of 3): Make More Money While Doing Your Best Work

Friday, April 22, 2016 – 55 minutes

You want to do good work. You want to be paid well. You want to work with great clients.

There’s only one thing stopping you: your broken pricing model.

The way you’re pricing right now is holding you back. Everything is based on arbitrary numbers. Hourly rates and flat rates both have the same issue: they have to be based on arbitrary numbers at some level.

What’s wrong with that? The problem is that your goal and your client’s goal are not aligned.

With hourly, you’re trying to work as much as possible so you get paid more. Your client wants you to work as quickly as possible so they can pay you less.

With flat rates, you’re trying to get the job done as quickly as possible because there’s no other way to increase your earnings. But where does that flat rate come from? It can only be arbitrary.

When your pricing is based on arbitrary numbers, you can never be certain if your price is fair. It could be unfair to the client (you may be overcharging), or it could be unfair to you (and you should have been compensated more).

Enter Value-Based Pricing.

For two years now, Justin Michael and I have been working on a course called Value-Based Pricing. This curriculum teaches you how to price on value. It is the only method of pricing that is not based on arbitrary numbers. It is the only method of pricing that aligns your goals and your client’s goals.

With Value-Based Pricing, you are incentivized to make the client more successful, because this directly affects your compensation. In fact, the value the client receives is the only thing that affects your compensation. This is why Value-Based Pricing is win-win for everybody.

Today’s episode is the first of a new 3-part series on Value-Based Pricing. Justin and I have spent the past half year teaching this curriculum to a Pilot Program. In this episode, we give you the background story and overview of Value-Based Pricing, as well as talk about how to fix your broken pricing model.

How and Why to Host a Workshop Before You Create an Online Course

263: How and Why to Host a Workshop Before You Create an Online Course

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 – 1 hour, 17 minutes

Maybe you’re thinking about creating an online course.

A lot of people want to start creating their own online courses and it makes sense: you record your curriculum, lessons, or videos once and then it’s an asset for you. It continues to serve you, teach other people, and bring in revenue automated on a consistent basis. Who wouldn’t want this?

However, I actually recommend that you host an in-person workshop before you create an online course.

That seems really strange because a workshop requires you to be there in person. You have to teach people, you have to be present at the workshop, and you only make money at that one event.

Once a workshop is over, you don’t make any more money. If you want to make more money, you have to do another event.

Why in the world would I recommend doing a workshop first instead of creating an online course from the start?

In a word: validation.

How to Get Your Spouse On Board 100% Even if They're Scared

262: How to Get Your Spouse On Board 100% Even if They’re Scared

Friday, April 15, 2016 – 1 hour, 20 minutes

I know you have big goals. I know you have ambitions and things you want to accomplish.

This episode is for you if you have a significant other or someday plan to.

Successful people know what they want, they know what they’re going for, and they invest all of their energy in getting there. You need clarity and you need concentrated efforts.

If your spouse is not on board, you will not be successful.

Read that sentence again. I’m serious. You cannot make progress when the very person who is your other half is not on board. If someone is not helping you get closer to your goal, they are taking you away from it.

You must get your spouse on board with your vision. You have to be completely on the same page.

It’s going to take time. It’s going to take a tremendous amount of time and investment, but you absolutely have to do it. It means spending time with them, it means having conversations with them, it means doing the things they enjoy, it means making sacrifices.

You have no business spending a single second pursuing your dream if your spouse is not on board. It’s wasted time. If they’re not on board, you need to make it your full-time effort to invest in them. Your full-time job is now to invest in your spouse and make sure you are both on the same page.

I’m starting to write a book instead of an excerpt, so just do yourself a favor and listen to this episode if you have big aspirations and a significant other (or plan to one day)!

Using Clarity in Your Message So People Take Action and Don't Miss Your Point

261: Using Clarity in Your Message So People Take Action and Don’t Miss Your Point

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 – 31 minutes

Most people are not taking action on your content.

There’s always something you’re wanting people to do. Maybe you want someone to reply, buy, share, or subscribe. For instance, today, I want you to listen to this podcast episode.

The problem is you’re giving people too many calls to action (CTA). If you want people to do something, tell them to do less!

The hardest thing is getting people to take any action at all. When you’re so busy setting out an array of options for people, you’re not addressing the primary reasons most of your audience isn’t taking any action at all.

Today, we talk about moving people from inaction to action by focusing your message.

"Old" is a Mindset: How to Avoid Getting Left Behind

260: “Old” is a Mindset: How to Avoid Getting Left Behind

Friday, April 8, 2016 – 55 minutes

Being old is not an age thing. It’s a mindset thing.

You know what I’m talking about. You know people who, despite their age, seem just as youthful as ever. It’s as if they missed the memo on how you’re supposed to act once you reach a certain age.

I think you can be 50 and be young. I think you can be 70 and be young. I think you can be 105 and be young. Old is when you lose your plasticity and willingness to adapt or change.

There is only one thing that is constant: change. It’s all you can count on. You can be sure that change will continue to happen and you can be sure that change will continue to be uncomfortable.

New technologies come that seem strange. Suddenly everyone is talking about a new device or new app. What’s with all the emojis everywhere? Why are the photos disappearing? How are these people spending hours by themselves with virtual reality gear on their head?

Our initial reaction will be to reject these things. These things are foreign. They’re unfamiliar. We resist because it’s different or we don’t understand the appeal.

But if you want to win in business, you have to learn to adapt. You have to learn to go where the attention is. The traditional media industry quickly learned this with the onset of the internet (some not quick enough to survive).

The only way to avoid getting left behind is to embrace change and discomfort. That’s what we talk about today.

The One Rule You Must Remember to Get High-Value Clients Who Pay You More to Work Less

259: The One Rule You Must Remember to Get High-Value Clients Who Pay You More to Work Less

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 – 15 minutes

If someone has money to spend, they’re doing something right.

If you want to get hired by high-value clients, you need to remember that they don’t have time to waste.

Unlike bottom-of-the-barrel clients that treat you like a commodity, micromanage, and demand revision after revision after revision, high-value clients value their time. They will actually pay more to get results in less time.

You have to act like the opposite of a commodity. A commoditized technician is someone who performs tasks and gets paid by the hour. They’re incentivized to make a job take longer, because they’ll get paid more. Of course, this also means that the kind of clients they attract want to pay them as little as possible.

High-value clients will pay more to get results in a shorter amount of time. That means if you have the experience to produce great results in a short amount of time, you actually get paid more to work less!

But to attract these clients, you must operate differently. You need to stop making them do work. What does that mean? That means stop providing OPTIONS. Start providing SOLUTIONS.

Cheap clients demand many options. They have all the time in the world to waste on picking between many options. High-value clients demand solutions. They want you to do the work and apply your expertise towards picking the best concept and presenting only that solution. They don’t want you to waste their time.

That’s exactly what you’re doing when you provide multiple options instead of one solution: you are wasting the client’s time and you are making them do your job.

Only amateurs make the client do their job.

5 Tips for Writing an Effective About Page When You Don't Like Talking About Yourself

258: 5 Tips for Writing an Effective About Page When You Don’t Like Talking About Yourself

Friday, April 1, 2016 – 14 minutes

Talking about yourself is difficult.

Most of us don’t like doing it and it feels awkward. That’s why writing your About page can be so difficult.

But here’s the secret: your About page isn’t really about you. Ok, it is about you, but it’s not for you. The purpose is to provide value. The reason you’re writing it is for your reader. This actually changes the way you approach it. It changes the way you structure it.

People are looking for a story on your About page. They’re looking for a story they can see themselves in and they’re also looking for an outcome. This is an opportunity.

Learn to write an About page even if you hate talking about yourself!

Planning Your Day for Maximum Efficiency

257: Planning Your Day for Maximum Efficiency in Under 5 Minutes and Still Accounting for Unplanned Events

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 – 1 hour, 18 minutes

I have a special guest today.

Aaron Dowd joins me to talk about his really interesting method of planning a successful day in advance.

Aaron works at seanwes full time as podcast editor for the seanwes network. He also has his own show on the network, The Podcast Dude.

Aaron regularly wakes up as early as 4 AM and even 3 AM! He creates a hand-written schedule every single day in a basic journal. He writes, he edits shows, he rides his bike, he’s working on a book and a course called Successful Podcasting, he works out almost every day, and plays in a band.

Tune in to hear Aaron share how he plans his day for success.

How to Defeat Scarcity Mindset

256: How to Defeat Scarcity Mindset

Friday, March 25, 2016 – 1 hour, 18 minutes

I get very real in this episode. I share some information about my situation that I wasn’t planning on sharing.

We talk about how prevalent scarcity mindset is and how it affects your mindset and performance in all areas of life. This is a very real thing that many people deal with and have trouble getting ahead of.

Getting enough resources is also not a cure for scarcity mindset. This has to be dealt with at every level and it must be consistently fought off.

But understand that scarcity mindset is a way you choose to operate. It’s a mindset that you feed. Your circumstances do not determine it. You do.

I share in today’s episode how I’m able to keep my mindset in a place of abundance regardless of the external circumstances.

You Can't Afford to Sell Things for Cheap

255: You Can’t Afford to Sell Things for Cheap

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 – 1 hour, 11 minutes

A recent conversation in the Community chat inspired today’s episode. Someone mentioned that there were a lot of people who couldn’t afford a certain product in their market and they saw that as an opportunity for them to enter the market with something cheap to sell at scale.

But when you sell a cheap product, your margins aren’t going to be very good. That means for it to be sustainable, you have to mass produce. To mass produce, you need a ton of up-front capital!

So first, you need a lot of resources to sell cheap in a sustainable way, but second, you’re limiting your potential. Selling cheap affects your brand. When you have a cheap brand, you can’t very easily sell higher-ticket products. When you start with premium or high quality, you always have the option of coming down, but when you start cheap, it’s an uphill battle to do anything else.

How do you resist the temptation to price match with others in your market? How do you find the confidence to charge more? Primarily, it’s positioning and selectivity. If you want to charge more, you can’t target everyone. You must narrow your focus and come up with a different value proposition. That’s what we get into with today’s episode.

Oh, and we talk about the even higher end market you’re missing out on by making assumptions.

Sean McCabe
Sean McCabe
Ben Toalson
Ben Toalson


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