Skip to Content

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.


172: When Is It Okay to Take a Break From Routine?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 – 1 hour, 19 minutes

I have to take off a week from podcasting.

The Community is set to finally re-open on Monday, May 18th, with a very big launch after being closed for developments for over a month.

However, there’s an incredible amount of work left to do. Recording 3 or 4 podcasts a week and shipping them with featured images and shownotes is more than a full-time job. There simply was not going to be enough time to re-launch the Community if I continued my normal podcasting schedule.

This is where I had to face a reality: I’m going to have to break my routine.

You’ll hear me face this reality and talk through the impact breaking a routine has on an audience. While I initially felt like I was doing my audience a disservice, I came to realize that it would be an even bigger disservice to neglect taking care of the very things that allowed us to continue providing value.

This episode also takes an interesting turn. I talk about prolific film-maker Casey Neistat who’s been doing insanely epic, daily vlogs for nearly 50 days in a row now.

We talk about overcommitting and what happens when an audience comes to expect an unrealistic output resulting from overcommitment.


171: 6 Tips for Dealing With Confrontation

Friday, May 8, 2015 – 1 hour, 15 minutes

Confrontation isn’t pleasant. It’s typically associated with arguments and hostility.

Whether it’s a client, your spouse, family, or friends, there’s nothing pleasant about confronting someone. Out of self-preservation, we often expect the worst based on past situations that went bad.

Ben mentions in this episode that you generally have two types of confronters: doormats and bulldozers. Both of them stem from fear.

We share several anecdotes and lessons learned from past encounters along with some healthy ways to approach confrontation—everything from asking your boss for a raise to talking with the neighbor who plays his music too loud.


170: Can Your Business Be on Too Many Social Platforms?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 – 1 hour, 13 minutes

You may have heard me talk about the importance of building your own platform, but social media is also a great way to engage with people.

Your audience is already using social media, so meeting them where they’re at can work to indirectly bring them back to your site.

It seems like you’d want to engage on a bunch of platforms and share your work in as many places as possible, but today we tackle an interesting question:

Is there such a thing as being too many places?

At what point is someone’s first experience with your brand potentially a negative one because you’re on a platform where you’re not really engaged?

I don’t think the answer is as simple as a number. There’s a fine balance to strike between maximizing what’s working right now and being an early mover on the next big thing. We talk about that in this episode.


169: How to Prepare for Public Speaking & Tips to Overcome Fear

Friday, May 1, 2015 – 1 hour, 6 minutes

They say public speaking is the number one fear—even above death. But do you know where that supposed “fact” comes from?

It turns out it was popularized by a book written in 1977 citing a very unscientific research study.

While we debunk the number-one-fear myth in this episode, it doesn’t detract from the fact that public speaking can still be scary.

This episode is for you if you identify with any of the following:

1. You’ve never spoken before but want to know what to expect for the future when you speak someday.
2. You’ve been invited to speak and have a gig coming up soon.
3. You’ve spoken in the past and want some refreshers on how to prepare, overcoming common issues, and how to get more requests to speak.

You’ll hear some very practical techniques for minimizing fear and hear me share absolutely everything I’ve learned about speaking.

I focus on preparing for your speech, how to practice, delivery, slides, how much time to allocate to your introduction vs. your message, what to do if you freeze, and how to prevent freeze ups from happening in the first place.


168: Let’s Talk About Some Practical Ways to Reduce Stress

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 – 1 hour, 5 minutes

Let’s face it: life can be stressful at times. It’s frustrating enough thinking about the things that are stressing you out, but you know what’s the worst?

A lot of times, you don’t even know where the stress and anxiety are coming from.

Many of us live with a base level of stress. The first step to getting out is acknowledging stress that’s already there.

In this episode, we talk about some extremely practical tips for reducing stress. These are very specific, actionable things you can do to help discover, acknowledge, and decrease stress in your life.


167: Tips for Making Next Tax Season Less Stressful

Friday, April 24, 2015 – 1 hour, 3 minutes

Wait a minute… didn’t tax season just end? Well yes, it did, but this is actually the best time to start preparing for next year!

A lot of people start off by saying, “Now, I know this is a boring topic…” If there were any topic to do that with, it would be taxes.

But I don’t want to do that. Remember, people feed off of your energy! They’re looking to you for how to feel.

That’s why I’m going to make this fun. This is going to be an exciting episode about taxes that will help you feel a lot more prepared for next year.

This is an ideal episode for freelancers, small business owners, and any kind of entrepreneur.

If you’re looking to understand taxes better, feel a little more prepared, learn to categorize expenses easily, reduce self employment tax, and get a handle on things, this episode is for you.


166: 4 Reasons You Don’t Need to Be Afraid to Niche Down

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 – 1 hour, 5 minutes

Choosing a niche can be scary. Narrowing your focus can be overwhelming.

I’ve talked a lot about how people will put you in a box and that you want to define the box they’re going to put you in. A lot of people have been saying they want to curate what they share and niche down, but they are afraid.

It seems like you’re saying no to so much. What if you’re too specific? What if the industry changes or your niche is no longer valuable?

What balance should you strike between entering a validated market and distinguishing yourself by offering something different?

Ultimately, it comes down to people. When you’re focused on understanding and serving peoples’ needs, you’re always going to be tuned in to what’s relevant and valuable.

We talk about all this and a lot more in this episode.


165: The Community Episode

Friday, April 17, 2015 – 1 hour, 12 minutes

We just returned from a conference and we’re feeling that conference high. You know, where you’re super inspired and fired up from spending time with incredible people and you feel like you’re ready to take on the world.

I remember I used to feel this feeling once or twice a year when returning from a conference. But then it would slowly dissipate. The coals of my inspirational fire would cool and I yearned once again for the engaging discussions with likeminded people.

The Community is like the conference experience you love, but it’s with you every day and right in your pocket.

Cory Miller joined the Community on May 8th, 2014. Over the course of a year, I got to know Cory really well. He completely turned his life around. He went from gaming every single day to growing his own apparel brand.

I loved what he was doing so much that I ended up hiring him to become the full time Product Director at seanwes. I got to hang out with Cory at the conference and he also drove down to the studio to join us for this episode while he was in Texas.

This past week, we were fortunate enough to hang out with 19 of our Community members who attended the conference. What incredibly genuine people they were! It was remarkably un-weird how normal it felt to meet them in person.

While I was there, Colin (pictured bottom left) told me he wished I’d done an episode of the podcast dedicated exclusively to the Community. He just joined a few weeks ago and he said he’s kicking himself for not joining sooner. He faults me for not pushing him over the edge and I accept the blame—so now we dedicated an entire episode to the Community.

We take you behind the scenes of the Community and show you what goes on inside and what it’s like. Other members also share their experience and what kind of a positive impact it’s had on their lives.


164: Full Price or Free

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – 1 hour, 2 minutes

There are only two prices where a product or service is acknowledged for its full value: full price or free.

For full price it’s obvious: when someone purchases at the full amount, they value for the full amount.

When a buyer purchases a discounted product, they don’t see the original price as the value—they value it at the discounted amount.

The only way to win by discounting is to become a discount brand. Discounts are always a devaluation.

Giving someone a gift or doing work pro-bono is giving them something of full value at no cost. Unlike with discounts, the recipient of the gift values it at the full amount.

In this episode, you’ll hear why I never ask clients for a budget and why discounting not only sacrifices your long-term profitability and brand perception, but it’s a big middle finger to your past customers. I talk about you what to do instead to create urgency and sell.


163: Why I Don’t Allow Comments on My Website

Friday, April 3, 2015 – 58 minutes

Just about everywhere you go, you see comments. All social media has commenting ability and everyone has a chance to voice their opinion.

This makes sense for social media. After all, the people are what make the platform. But what about for your own domain? Should people be able to comment on your website?

The immediate answer seems to be “yes,” but remember: your website is your platform and letting people comment is giving them some of your platform.

You are offering them an opportunity to be seen by your readers and that’s a very big responsibility.

Comments can be useful, and you’ll hear me acknowledge some of the upsides, but I’m also going to make some compelling arguments for disabling comments on your website entirely—as well as showing you what to do instead to maximize engagement.


162: They’re Going to Put You in a Box

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 – 1 hour, 28 minutes

We all want to be known for something, we all want to make a name for ourselves, but there’s a harsh reality we’re up against:

The reality is people put other people in boxes.

We are cognitively limited to maintaining 150 close relationships.

What does this mean? It’s means people are forced to categorize. They’re going to put you in a box. There’s nothing you can do about that—it’s going to happen.

What you can do is define the box they put you in. Embrace the fact that you will be put in a box and define what that box is.

You have an opportunity to shape the box others put you in. How do you shape it? You curate what you share.


161: 6 Ways to Develop Self-Discipline

Friday, March 27, 2015 – 1 hour, 5 minutes

I have some good news: self-discipline is not an innate trait. It’s not something you have or you don’t; it’s a skill you develop.

Tell me if this happens to you a lot: you want to do something but you just don’t feel like doing it a lot of the time.

The people who are disciplined have learned one thing that others haven’t: don’t wait until you “feel like it.”

A common misconception is that disciplined people must somehow feel like doing things more than others do. This simply isn’t the case.

To help you develop the skill of discipline, we share 6 tips in this episode that will help you take the next step—whether it’s eating healthy, staying fit, waking up early, or showing up consistently.


160: Nailing Your Product Launch the First Time

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 – 1 hour, 18 minutes

I launched Learn Lettering one year ago yesterday. It was my very first product launch and it grossed six figures in the first three days of launching.

How was I able to do this? Well, I have an exhaustive case study in e060 with all of the details, but essentially I owe it to a year of immersion in the world of marketing!

I learned everything I could. I studied countless examples from other people. I searched the web and read articles, listened to podcasts, watched videos and gleaned whatever wisdom I could from those who had been there before me.

I learned two things:

1. How to make sure you’re building what other people want (and will pay for) and not just what you want.
2. The absolute, undeniable power of email.

In the last episode, we looked at Getting Started With Email Marketing. Today, we’re taking things to the next level and I show you how I use email marketing to launch a product.

I share things I learned, what worked, what didn’t work, and everything from validation, to lead magnets, to what to put in your emails, to evergreen launches so that you too can nail your very first product launch.


159: Getting Started With Email Marketing

Friday, March 20, 2015 – 1 hour, 29 minutes

You’ve been hearing that you should be using email to build your brand and market your products, but how exactly do you do that? Where should you get started? How do you even start an email list? How do you take the one you have and supercharge the growth?

In this jam-packed episode, I give you a crash course on email marketing. You’ll learn how to get people to sign up, what to send, when to send, and why using email gets you more than 10x the engagement Twitter does.

We talk about effective ways to incentivize signups without adding spammy popups to your site and whether it matters what type of lead magnet you use.

We answer a ton of questions from the chat, so you’re bound to hear something that resonates with you whether you’re just thinking about using email or if you’ve been marketing for a long time.


158: How to Get the Most Out of Conferences

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 – 1 hour, 16 minutes

I say this with the utmost sincerity as an introvert: conferences are one of the best values you’ll ever get.

I’ve had some of the best conversations and experiences in my life over meals, coffee, or park benches at conferences.

If you’re going to a conference in the near future (or even thinking about it), this episode will give you the rundown on preparing for your next conference, how to engage with people, what to bring, and how to stand out.

You’ll learn what conferences are NOT for, why a cheap business card is worse than no business card, and why you shouldn’t worry about acceptance from your heroes—even if you get to meet them.


157: Should Artists Work for Free Just Because a Business Gives to Charity?

Friday, March 13, 2015 – 57 minutes

I’m a big believer in charitable giving. I think it’s fantastic to give to good causes. I’d highly encourage going out of your way to donate to organizations you believe in.

Where things get a little fuzzy is when someone asks you to work for free “because charity.” Sometimes it’s a non-profit, other times it’s a for-profit business masquerading as a non-profit. While they’re making money and paying their staff, they hope you’ll work for free because they say they give “proceeds” to charity.

Why is it that their accountants, organizers, and managers get paid even when good causes are involved, but art is treated as a hobby? Why are you expected to work for free?

Artists are often exploited because they enjoy what they do. Businesses or organizations often try to “pay” you in exposure and many creative people end up working for free when they should be compensated.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly times where it is appropriate and right to work for free. I think it’s fantastic to donate your services and your skills!

It sounds stingy to even talk about not doing free work when charities benefit, but the situation isn’t always so clear and people are often taken advantage of.

We navigate this sensitive issue and discuss when to be altruistic and when to be wary. We answer the question: Should you always work for free if a good cause benefits?

Sean McCabe
Sean McCabe
Ben Toalson
Ben Toalson


Freelancer or Entrepreneur?
Join the Community

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.