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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.


145: Getting Started With Value-Based Pricing

Friday, January 30, 2015 – 1 hour, 22 minutes

It’s time to stop trading time for money.

Over the course of the next three episodes, I’m going to teach you how to do Value-Based Pricing.

For this series, I have a special guest, Justin Michael, with me on the show. In this episode, we break down 5 steps to getting started with Value-Based Pricing. We take you behind the scenes on huge project we just finished.

Justin is a developer. We’ve been working together for half a year on different apps and features for the Community. Most recently, we completed seanwes talk: a completely custom chat system that’s a hybrid between real-time chat and long-time archivable content.

When I first approached Justin with this project, I didn’t know how much this would cost. I initially had a figure of $20,000 in mind. When Justin came back with a quote for nearly $50,000, I was a bit surprised—that is, until he explained.

Once I understood, I happily wired him the initial payment even though the quote was more than twice what I was anticipating.

What was it that made me spend $30,000 more than what I expected? That’s the power of Value-Based Pricing.

In the next three episodes, I’m going to break down this process for you. If you’ll lend me your ear and attention, it’ll be more valuable than any college course you ever took.


144: The Case for Professionalism

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 – 1 hour, 24 minutes

120 episodes ago, we had what we call the Golden Episode: e024 Finding Clients While Maintaining Professionalism. It’s time to revisit the topic of professionalism and lay a solid foundation.

You may have heard me talk about my upcoming course at Up next on the podcast, I’ll also be doing a multi-part Value-Based Pricing series where I teach you how to price on value.

However, you can’t just start pricing on value immediately. You need to lay the groundwork of professionalism first. You’ve heard me touch on professionalism a lot in the podcast, but this will be an exhaustive breakdown on how to set yourself apart by working like a pro.

You’ll hear how to attract clients instead of chasing them, establishing your process, filtering with your questionnaire, setting expectations, invoicing, presentation, and a lot more.


143: Fear of Success

Friday, January 23, 2015 – 1 hour, 31 minutes

Fear of failure isn’t the only thing we have to worry about. Fear of success can keep us just as paralyzed!

The very possibility of success can be incapacitating. Say you attain success… then what?

How will you evolve?
What if you make enemies?
What if you’re forced to continue a path because you succeeded?
What if it means more responsibility?
What if it means more vulnerability?
What if it changes you—and not for the better?

I never considered myself someone who feared success—neither did Ben or Cory. Maybe you don’t either. But after this episode, we all realized there were deeper fears beneath the surface that we didn’t even recognize until we did this show.

We help you identify and overcome some limiting beliefs you may not even realize you have right not.


142: Taking Action

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 – 1 hour, 11 minutes

There’s a lot of really awesome content and advice out there. Consuming it can almost be a hobby in and of itself!

It feels good to listen to helpful information, new ideas, or tips and tricks that can improve your workflow or your life.

You can read tutorials all day, but you’ll only improve by doing. You might feel like you’re getting better by consuming, but you have to put things into practice!

You have to take action.

Why is taking action so hard? Why is that first step such a doozy? Can hustle be taught? What if you don’t have the time or money? What if you don’t do a good job? What if nobody cares?

You came to the right episode.


141: Optimizing Your Lifestyle for Better Productivity

Friday, January 16, 2015 – 1 hour, 22 minutes

We tackle tons of questions about productivity and workflow in an episode that is guaranteed to give you a ton of ideas for optimizing your life.

It’s easy to compare yourself to someone else with greater output, but we talk about why that’s a bad idea. Everyone has different circumstances and you’re not always going to have the same opportunities. If you look for excuses, you’ll always find them, so we look at what to do instead.

How many hours is enough? Can you batch process too much? Does exercise help? When in your day should you exercise? What music do you listen to for different tasks? Can getting more sleep really make you tired?

I’ll go ahead and answer that last one: sometimes. But only if you wake in the middle of a sleep cycle—you want to avoid that! Let’s talk about this.


140: Supercharge Your No With a Reason for Saying Yes

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 – 1 hour, 3 minutes

It’s hard to say no. We often feel a sense of obligation and don’t want to offend anyone, or maybe we just feel bad.

We don’t want to disappoint people.

While no can be a hard word to say, it’s the only tool we have for creating more time. Yes fills time. No makes time.

But it’s not enough just to say no for the sake of saying no. In this episode, we look at the deeper reasons for saying yes. When we say no to one thing, we essentially give ourselves the credits to say yes to another.

What do you want to say yes to that you’re not able to say yes to right now? What is it worth saying no to?

We discuss why we’re afraid to say no, how to say no, when to say no, and what your yes is.


139: It All Starts With Writing (Again)

Friday, January 9, 2015 – 1 hour, 15 minutes

I used to think writing was boring. I thought writing was only something writers did.

So why did I write over half a million words in 2014?

I realized that everything I did started with writing. Blog posts, videos, courses, speaking engagements, podcasts—all the best pieces of content began with writing.

If it all starts with writing, why not begin my day with writing? 100 episodes ago, I talked about starting what I call Early Wake Daily Write.

This habit of daily writing a couple thousand words a day has drastically changed my life. Everything I’ve accomplished in the past year I owe to writing.

In this episode, I talk about why you need to write, why you don’t write, how to start writing, what to write about, where to use what you’ve written, and getting better at writing on purpose.


138: Reflecting on a Big Year That Will Soon Be Dwarfed

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 – 1 hour, 21 minutes

Isn’t it crazy how one conversation can change the course of your life? If I had written a “Best of 2014” list on December 27th it would already be wrong.

Normally, I do mini sabbatical episodes. Normally, they are short. Normally, they are solo shows. Normally, they have me playing kalimba in the background. Normally, they’re pre-recorded.

Nothing about what you’re going to hear in this episode is normal.

2014 was an amazing year. More than a quarter of a million dollars from one product. Two new full-time employees. Over 100 podcast episodes. A daily video show. Redesigning my entire website. Live streaming a fully-produced, multi-DSLR video show multiple times a week. Starting Small Scale Sabbaticals. Launching and growing the Community to 3-figure membership and beyond.

But I haven’t even told you the crazy part yet.

That’s because the crazy part was one conversation over coffee just 2 days ago that changed the course of everything. You’re about to hear a recap of this past year, but what the seanwes brand is, what it means, and what it will become in 2015…

…will all change.


137: The Overlap Technique: A Crash Course

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 – 1 hour, 26 minutes

I want to help you make a living with your passion. This is why I started working on a book in early 2014 called The Overlap Technique: it’s a down-to-earth, practical guide to becoming an expert and making more money than your day job before you even quit.

I got about 20,000 words into it, and then had to put it on the back-burner. I continued teaching a lot of the principles in the podcast, but I put the writing on hold to work on my website and building the Community.

During the time that elapsed between starting the book and returning to it later in the year, I’d received hundreds of emails from people telling me their biggest struggles with pursuing their passions.

I decided to throw out the first 20,000 words and start from scratch.

The book will launch next year, but in the mean time, the tremendous feedback I’ve received has really shaped the book into being a direct answer to your most pressing questions. Giving the material some breathing room has really allowed me to refine the message.

It’s been more than 80 episodes since I’ve last dedicated an episode to talking about The Overlap Technique and making the difficult transition from soul-sucking day job to doing what you love and sustaining yourself. In this episode, I give you a crash course on the refined concepts and the four core pillars of being able to keep your passion and have it sustain you long term.

It’s the perfect episode for a first-time listener!


136: How to Set Goals When Long-Term Thinking is Difficult

Friday, December 19, 2014 – 1 hour, 23 minutes

It’s about that time where we start reminiscing over the year that’s taken place and begin thinking about the new year to come.

We talk about setting goals when it’s hard to think long term. How far in advance should you set goals? Should your goals have a time frame? How do you account for changing factors?

I talk about the difference between timelines and time frames and how using the right words can help us when it comes to goals.

What if you set a time frame for a goal and realize you’re not going to make it? What’s the best way to approach that situation? Should you have short term goals? How far in the future should we plan specific actions?

We answer these and many other questions on goals, including whether or not they can serve as a tool to kickstart long-term thinking when it’s difficult.


135: Home Working: How Do You Get Work Done and Keep Things Separated?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 – 1 hour, 25 minutes

As a followup to our recent episode on remote working, we discuss the challenges and benefits of working from home.

We talk about identifying workspace problems, creating focus time, eliminating distractions, why you need silence, and how interruptions are kryptonite. It’s better to have 90 minutes of focus time than it is to have 4 hours of potential interruption time.

Though you work from home, how you dress actually has an impact on your productivity. You’ll hear us share a tip that sounds harsh on the surface but actually enables you to be intentional with your family time.

We dive into the benefits of coworking and how it might be more of an option than you think. Not only does it require less commitment than you might imagine, but there are also digital opportunities to connect with people that are a great option for super-remote home workers or introverts.


134: Paying My Haters

Friday, December 12, 2014 – 1 hour, 3 minutes

Earlier this week, I shared a new video called Lambo Goal. I talk about my big dreams, my friend Matt and I share some huge aspirations, and we inspire you to set bigger goals than you’ve ever dared.

But that’s not the crazy part. I setup a website called and shared the video saying, “If you’re not inspired by this video, I’ll send you $5.” I’m dead serious.

There’s no joke about it. I honestly believe so strongly that this video will be life-changing, that I’m willing to pay real money to anyone who doesn’t believe in me.

It sounds crazy (probably because it is), but in this podcast episode I take you behind the scenes on why I’m doing it. I explain the 3 reasons I’m doing it from a marketing perspective as well as answer a bunch of questions about the Lambo Goal.


133: Working Remotely: Does Location Matter in a World of Independent Entrepreneurship?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 – 1 hour, 12 minutes

A lot of jobs want you to move to work there. They want you in the office. There are certainly a lot of benefits to being in person, but there are a lot of things you give up.

Technologically, we’re trending in a direction of remote working, but a lot of companies are still resistant to it. Can you really get work done when working remotely?

We have a special guest today who’s living proof that you can. Our very own Aaron Dowd joins us—The Podcast Dude! He edits the seanwes podcast as well as many other popular shows. He does all of his work from a laptop wherever he happens to be.

He, Ben, and I talk about the beauty of flexibility when it comes to work. Whether it’s the ability for Aaron to tour with his band, or the opportunity for Ben to spend time with his growing kids, or the chance for me to work from my home office and travel when I want to, having that freedom is something you just can’t put a price on.

People stereotype homeworkers: they say they sleep in, they don’t wear pants, they never get work done, or they’re unsocialized individuals who for some crazy reason are opposed to spending 2 hours of their lives commuting each day. It’s certainly not all fun and games, but we think it’s a very viable option and we discuss some of the challenges in this episode.


132: Screw Being “Rational”

Friday, December 5, 2014 – 50 minutes

When you have a supportive family, it’s hard to imagine things any other way. If your family supports you in what you do, consider yourself blessed. I know I do.

I get a lot of emails from people asking how to pursue their passion or do the things they love to do when their family or parents don’t believe in them. They say they’re not “rational” or they’re being unwise simply because they’re not choosing the common path of the 9-to-5.

On the surface, it’s heartbreaking. You’d think your family would be the most supportive of everyone! While initially it seems disconcerting, we dig into the deeper meanings of why they might be offering contrary advice (hint: it often stems out of caring).

Regardless, sometimes you need to just say, “You know what? Screw being rational!” Rational is what is proven. Rational is mediocrity. If you want to be average, be rational. I’m not satisfied with rational and I don’t think you are either.

In this episode, we talk about taking risks. We talk about the facade of safety and how tenacity is the only kind of job security you’ll ever have. If you’re struggling with people believing in you and you’re feeling the pull to follow the status quo and you’re wanting to break free: this is for you.


131: Living in the Now

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 – 13 minutes

The dying never wish they lived for more tomorrows. They never wish they obsessed more over unimportant things or cared more about what other people thought of them.

Eventually you run out of tomorrows to live for and that’s when you realize all you had was now.

Eventually you spend all of your time catering to other people’s fleeting thoughts about you, only to realize you never actually thought about what you wanted to be.

Are you living for the next thing?


130: Financial Q&A

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 – 57 minutes

Is debt ever a good idea? What about credit cards if you pay them off quickly? Should you save for retirement? What’s the difference between saving for retirement and investing? How do you differentiate between personal spending and business spending?

Ben and I share our thoughts on these and other questions and I talk about whether $4 coffees or a Netflix subscriptions are a bad thing when it comes to keeping expenses down.

Sean McCabe
Sean McCabe
Ben Toalson
Ben Toalson


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You've helped me increase my success at gaining and maintaining freelance work. So much so I'm now overwhelmed at the moment.

Mark R.

Thanks so much for your time putting this show together. The "tangible insights" part of the show description is my favorite because it couldn't be more accurate.

Jake R.

Thank you for being so honest, for sharing your passion with everyone, for building up this community of designers, and for emphasizing the importance of professionalism within this field.

Miranda M.

I just wanted you to know that you are changing lives here. [...] I feel that I'm on the right path again.

Agata K.

I feel as though I am getting special insight and advice I would expect getting while working in a upper level agency.

Jeff M.

You truly are changing the "design way of thinking" with your podcast and articles. Thank you so much.

Dina R.

Thanks again for always providing such rich and well-thought out content.

Hallie T.

After every new episode it leaves me feeling so motivated and inspired to do things differently. You guys put a lot of effort into crafting such good content, it really shows.

Daniel C.

One of the most intelligent business minds I've heard talk in forever.

Jennifer S.