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seanwes podcast

seanwes podcast

Tangible insights on creativity and business every single Wednesday and Friday.

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.


209: Unsolicited Advice – Recap of A Mastermind Retreat

Friday, October 2, 2015 – 21 minutes

What if you talked about a friend as if they weren’t in the room…

…but they were?

It’s a cool, fall evening in McCall, Idaho. Seven of us are seated on a seven-person L-couch in the living room of a house we rented for four days. Seven people are here, but only six are talking. They’re all talking about me as if I’m not here.

They’re talking about me and they’re talking about my business and I’m not saying a word. In fact, I can’t. Not for 10 minutes anyway. Those are the rules.

This is the idea behind Unsolicited Advice.

Elevator Pitch

208: Mastering the Effective Elevator Pitch

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 – 1 hour, 11 minutes

One of the hardest things to do when you work for yourself is explain what you do to others. You likely wear a lot of hats and your income probably comes from numerous sources.

When someone asks what you do, where do you even begin?

In the episode, we help you find your “hook” or unique selling proposition. It’s not enough to give someone the WHAT and the WHO. You’ve also got to explain the WHY in a way that makes you memorable.

We walk you through developing your pitch and beyond. After all, a pitch is not meant to close the deal, it’s meant to start the conversation. We talk about how to do it and provide real examples of what that looks like.

Feet On the Floor

207: #6amclub – Revolutionize Your Day by Changing Your Routine

Friday, September 25, 2015 – 1 hour, 2 minutes

Waking up early is hard. It’s even harder when you’re not a morning person.

If you’re like me, you’re a night owl. You get in the zone at night and that’s where you do your best work. You hate waking up early and it totally doesn’t feel like you.

I hear you. That was me. I’m a night owl at heart and I always did my best work at night, but that’s because I never truly gave mornings a chance.

I decided to compare my output when working early vs. working late. I was blown away by the results. On days that I woke up early, I accomplished twice as much. It was insane.

I don’t wake up early because I enjoy it. I do it because I like who I am when I do. I’m an objective person and I could not argue with the results. Could I be successful as a night owl? Yes. But could I be MORE successful as an early bird? Without a doubt.

In this episode, we’ll give you some practical tips for making the transition to waking up early and why it will completely revolutionize your day.

Scale Your Business

206: Level Up Your Business (Part 4 of 4): Optimize

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 – minutes

The holy grail of business: automation. How great would it be to have your business run on its own without you?

Everybody wants this. But not everybody is willing to lose the romanticism that is keeping you from being able to attain it.

We talk about automating and scaling your business with replicable systems that you can reuse and repurpose. Take something that works and make carbon copies of it. This is how you build an empire.

We get very specific about establishing your process, teaching and training people, systems vs. employees, and when to invest in new systems vs. when to do the best you can with what you have right now.

Maximize Profits

205: Level Up Your Business (Part 3 of 4): Maximize

Friday, September 18, 2015 – 46 minutes

If you’ve been in business for awhile and showing up every day, at some point, you found something that was working well for you.

Then a funny thing happened.

You moved on. It’s the strangest thing. We tend to find something that works well and then we move on to something else. It’s just in our nature.

But if you want to maximize your profits and level up, you need to do more of that thing! Go back and squeeze every last drop out of it!

If you’re asking yourself at this point, “How do I determine if something worked well in the past?” I’m not here to give you a litmus test. I’m talking to the people who know EXACTLY what I’m talking about and who can imagine a very specific thing they abandoned.

If you’re still trying to figure out what works, keep going! Keep doing, keep trying. In this episode we look at how to maximize the things that were working and get a whole lot more mileage out of them.


204: Level Up Your Business (Part 2 of 4): Overlap

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 – 58 minutes

The Overlap Technique is the concept I’m writing my book on. It’s where you establish a solid foundation to cover either your bills or your business expenses.

It’s crucial that your foundation cover 100% of your bills. If you’re in a day job and you want to overlap to your passion, the day job must cover 100% of the bills if you want to prevent scarcity mindset.

Scarcity mindset comes from compromise. When you aren’t covering 100% of your bills with a day job (or some sort of baseline recurring revenue) you will find yourself getting desperate.

When in desperation, you are more prone to making compromises on quality of life, your professionalism, your rate, and the clients you work with.

In this episode, we discuss the establishing of your foundation so that you can level up to where you want to be. This also applies even if you have an existing business. I have been working for myself for 10 years and I’m constantly in a stage of overlapping.

Level Up Your Business (Part 1 of 4): Focus

203: Level Up Your Business (Part 1 of 4): Focus

Friday, September 11, 2015 – 56 minutes

Coming back from sabbatical and starting the next hundred episodes of the seanwes podcast, we decided to kick things off with a 4-part series on leveling up your business.

Whether you’re just starting out or you have an established business, the concepts in next 4 episodes will give you the clarity to make sure you’re prioritizing the right things and doing work that will make a difference.

To kick off the series, we start with the most important thing: focus. Chances are, the majority of your effort is being spent doing things that are not making a real difference in your business. Whether you’re taking your freelance full time, hiring your first (or 10th) employee, focus is crucial.

Getting focus starts with defining your goals. We talk about finding the most important thing to be focusing on, and what things to say no to in order to maximize your focus so you can grow sustainable assets that will bring continual returns.


202: Show Up Every Day

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 – 4 minutes

Do you want to win?

Show up every day.

“I know, I know, Sean. You say it all the time. I’ve heard you.”

Well hear me again. Hear it a 7th time. Hear it a 700th time. Show up every day.

Show up when it hurts. Show up when you’re tired. Show up when when you’re not feeling it. Show up when it’s early. Show up when it’s late. Show up when everyone else is giving up. Show up when it’s the first day. Show up when it’s 731st day. Show up every day for two years and don’t expect any results in that time.

Any results you get in the first two years of showing up are a bonus. This is only the beginning.


201: Feel Guilty When You’re Not Creating?

Friday, September 4, 2015 – 8 minutes

Do you feel guilty when you’re not creating? I know I do. I have a hard time not making things.

I had a weekend recently and it was the first true weekend I had in months. I didn’t have anything planned. It was incredible. I caught up on my reading list, I watched some videos, conference talks, a documentary even(!), and learned a ton. It was very relaxing.

But it also felt very weird. I usually don’t go that long with making something. I still felt that itch—that drive to create.

I see the chronic creator situation as a plus. Sure, it can be considered a curse, but look at the alternative: chronic consumer. Most people consume. Few people produce (which is why you’re not a small fish in a big pond).

This is Only the Beginning

200: This is Only the Beginning

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 – 1 hour, 21 minutes

After two years of podcasting twice a week, we are excited to share our 200th episode with you.

Special guests Aaron Dowd and Matt Lopez join Ben and myself in person for this magical event. We talk about my “Show Up Every Day” mantra and our collective focus on the Long Game Mindset.

With hundreds of episodes under our belt, we still feel as though this truly is the very beginning and look forward to many more hundreds in the future.

We take a reflective look at how doing this show has changed our lives and what’s in store for the future.

This episode broadcasted publicly to a total of 1,058 live viewers who enjoyed full access to the Community chat during the event. We gave away over $2,000 in prizes to the group who attended live.

Last but not least, what really set apart this magical evening was the live jam session we put on. We transformed the room into a studio right before the eyes of the viewers and put on an unscripted show.

While the full live jam session was enjoyed exclusively by those who joined us live, I decided to include a single song at the end of the recorded podcast.


199: Behind the Scenes of a $177,803 Hand Lettering Course Launch That Made the First Six Figures in 26 Hours

Friday, August 28, 2015 – 1 hour, 26 minutes

This is the big one.

Last month I launched my course, Learn Lettering 2.0. In this exhaustive, 8,000-word case study, I pull back the curtain and show you literally every step that went into it.

From the production to promotion to marketing, pricing, and real revenue numbers, you get uninhibited access to it all.

I’ve learned a lot from people sharing their marketing and launch insights with me over the years. Now, I’m paying it forward. I want to help you and hopefully inspire you.

I hope you find this valuable and learn a lot from it.

Keeping an Open Mind

198: Keeping an Open Mind

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 – 1 hour, 16 minutes

It’s easy to dismiss someone entirely just because you don’t agree with one thing they believe.

I know I’ve been guilty of throwing the baby out with the bath water before. Someone has a belief that differs from you and you discredit them as a whole.

For instance, maybe it’s a marketer who uses a tactic you find spammy, or a business leader who curses when you don’t, or simply someone who has a different point of view of theology or politics.

Ben and I talk today about maturity and being open minded and why it’s actually good for the beliefs we already hold. The alternative is constructing an echo chamber around yourself where you only ever follow or listen to people who confirm beliefs you already have.

We talk about how allowing yourself to entertain ideas objectively and even let them challenge your beliefs is healthy and can strengthen your existing beliefs.

We also discuss how to distinguish between someone who simply has an opposing view, and may be worth hearing out, and someone who is simply spewing pollution.

It’s a very real and raw discussion!

Being Your Own Client

197: Being Your Own Client

Friday, August 21, 2015 – 1 hour, 20 minutes

Ever had a personal project you never finished? Do you find it difficult to be your own client or design things for yourself?

Last episode, we talked about being your own boss. This time, we’re breaking down what it looks like to be your own client.

Personal projects can be frustrating because we don’t treat them as objectively as client projects. But it’s absolutely crucial to separate your two selves to ensure the work gets done and the result is not compromised.

I make some bold statements in this episode: “If you’re not able to remove your own subjective preference and compromise from a personal project, what makes you think you have business taking on clients?” We talk about professional responsibility and how to ensure projects where you are your own client are successfully completed.

Don't Be Your Own Worst Boss

196: Don’t Be Your Own Worst Boss

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 – 1 hour, 10 minutes

It’s pretty easy to recognize a bad boss when you’re an employee. But when you work for yourself, you are your own boss. It’s a little more difficult to distance yourself from the situation to look at it objectively.

In this episode, we collectively team up to define what a good boss looks like, and then dive in and analyze the most common ways in which those of us who are self employed tend to be bad bosses of ourselves.

We talk about distinguishing between your two selves (your boss self and your employee self) to become more self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses. We discuss how personality types play in, and how being aware of your tendency to overwork or be over-lenient is something you have to compensate for.

I also share my vision for Small Scale Sabbaticals and why I pay all of my employees to take a week off every 7th week and how it has affected our company.

The Customer Experience

195: The Customer Experience

Friday, August 14, 2015 – 1 hour, 24 minutes

This is an incredibly insightful episode that will cause you to rethink the customer experience from both the customer and business perspectives.

So many businesses optimize for the first sale with no consideration for investing in an experience that will result in creating extremely loyal customers that will continue to buy from you again and again.

This episode includes some incredible customer experience stories that Community members shared in the live chat as well as from our own encounters. In one story, a business that previously used to get people who constantly asked for discounts made a simple change that revolutionized how their customers saw their products and services. Not a single one of the new customers ever asked for a discount.

We talk about how you can use customer support to turn unfortunate circumstances into a unique opportunity to craft an incredible story that will turn your customer into an ambassador.

It’s also full of discussion around promotion, discounts, popups, and other things that may appear to deliver tantalizing initial returns but are, in reality, affecting your long-term brand perception and success. This was one of the most enjoyable and eye-opening episodes in recent memory.

Doing Too Many Things at Once? Here's What to Do Instead

194: Doing Too Many Things at Once? Here’s What to Do Instead

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 – 1 hour, 22 minutes

Constant switching, always juggling, so many things on your plate and so many responsibilities. Sound familiar?

It’s hard giving up things you want to do. It’s difficult delegating things you’re good at. It scary to say no to offering more services because you’re afraid that narrowing your focus will turn more people off.

In the beginning, you do have to wear a lot of hats. You do have to handle a lot of things in your business. This is a natural part of growth, but the risk is getting so accustomed to switching hats that you’re essentially a Professional Hat-Switcher.

In this episode we talk about learning to delegate and learning to focus. We also discuss when to hire and what kinds of things you should be giving up.

I remember enjoying all of the different things I used to do, but I knew they weren’t things that I should be doing. I knew I should be focusing on the things that only I can do. Now that I’ve delegated, the focus I have has been game-changing.

You may enjoy all of the things you’re doing, but what if it’s simply because you’ve never experienced the freedom and clarity of focusing on fewer things?

Sean McCabe
Sean McCabe
Ben Toalson
Ben Toalson


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