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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.


154: Perseverance and Sticking With Commitments

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 – 1 hour, 10 minutes

Sticking with something is hard. When you make a commitment to do something consistently (like blog or podcast), I’ve found that there’s a mental block that comes around episode 20.

You’re going to feel like you want to throw in the towel. You’re going to wonder why you ever started this thing. What’s the point? Is it even worth doing anymore?

A lot of people quit here. They lose sight of their WHY and the reason they go into it in the first place. You’ve got to grab hold of your WHY before you go in.

Knowing this mental block is coming is half the battle. In this episode, we talk about preparing for the “Episode 20” hurdle, share some tips for sticking with commitments, and why I don’t plan for failure.


153: The Magic of 7

Friday, February 27, 2015 – 1 hour, 7 minutes

Do you ever feel like what you have to say has already been said? What’s the point of putting your work out there? Why does your voice matter when everyone else is saying the same thing?

If people have written entire books on a subject, who are you to blog about it? Should you even try?

Yes. Emphatically yes!

We’ve all heard that there’s nothing new under the sun but it also takes hearing new information 7 times before it’s retained.

So even if someone else is saying the same thing and even if they’re doing it better, your voice can still be the one to resonate with people. Because of the Magic of 7, your delivery of a message might be someone’s 7th time hearing it.

When you are someone’s 7th time, they actually attribute the value of that thing to you—even if someone before you might have said it better already.

It’s the same with your clients and customers. Competition is a good sign and not anything to be afraid of. They’re actually priming people who are even more ready for you to close the deal.

We’re going to talk about how the Magic of 7 applies to competition, repurposing content, growing an audience, getting clients and selling to customers.


152: Take Advantage of What Works

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 – 6 minutes

At some point, no matter how successful you are or have been, something has worked. Something was working well for you. What was that thing? What was that thing that has worked well for you? What worked in the past that you stopped doing for one reason or another?

Maybe you stopped because you got distracted. Maybe it was shiny object syndrome. Maybe you got bored of it. Maybe you simply didn’t recognize it was successful at the time.

When you look back, you’re going to see things that went well and things that didn’t go so well. Identify what worked and do more of it.


151: The Most Important Thing

Friday, February 20, 2015 – 5 minutes

There’s a lot of things.

So many ideas and projects and things you could do. Some need to be done, some should be done, some would be nice to have done.

Even of the things that truly need to be done, there are simply so many that if an entire weekend opened up for you tomorrow, you’d still have more than you could possibly accomplish in that time.

I know because it’s what happens to me on my sabbatical. I take every 7th week off, like I’m doing right now. That’s where I have these mini sabbatical episodes. For an entire week, I’m free from my normal obligations.

There are so many things I can do during this time! It’s not just a weekend but an entire week! Surely I could get caught up on everything.


150: 8 Ways to Be Constantly Improving

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 – 1 hour, 28 minutes

When you’re not actively working to better yourself, it seems like the worst case is simply that you will stay in the same place.

But our skills are entropic in nature. They stagnate, deteriorate, and get worse over time. It’s like going to the gym and working out. You can’t just get fit once and ride on that for the rest of your life. You will slowly lose what you don’t maintain.

This also applies to our skills and what we do. You’ll go through seasons where you’re focused on one thing, but what’s happening to the other skills you aren’t focusing on? There’s no guarantee you can go back, pick up where you left off, and be just as fresh on things.

I’ve put together 8 ways to be constantly improving and keep those skills fresh and relevant.


149: 6 Ways to Stay Motivated (and How to Find Drive in the First Place)

Friday, February 13, 2015 – 1 hour, 17 minutes

Ever feel like it’s hard to get motivated? You’re not alone. I recently received this message:

“The hardest thing that’s keeping me from pursuing my passion is being able to sustain my enthusiasm and drive. When I hit an obstacle, I simply lose heart and shelf my ideas. I often feel my ideas and projects are beyond my ability to accomplish. I hope you write about ways to stay motivated and to persevere until you make it.”

I think a lot of people can relate to this. We get short bursts of inspiration here and there but often nothing that’s sustainable.

In this episode, we dive into finding drive in the first place, then six ways to stay motivated.


148: Taking Donations vs. Taking Investments

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 – 1 hour, 17 minutes

One of my values is only buying things I can afford. I have a very strict no-debt mentality and have always purposed to live within my means.

When it comes to business, I’ve always been bootstrapped. I don’t like the idea of selling equity or ownership. By taking on an investment, I would have a sense of obligation to an investor because they are expecting a return.

I’ve already decided not to take on investors. That’s all well and good. But what if someone wanted to donate money no strings attached? Here’s where it gets interesting: someone has expressed such an interest.

Nothing’s official and no actual offer has been made. I haven’t accepted or received anything. But the possibility of it brought up a very interesting discussion. What is the different between an investment and a donation? Should I accept a donation? How would a donation change things? Should it change things? What if it was anonymous?

One of the things I came to realize is that when you follow The Overlap Technique and Relationship Marketing, you are putting value out into the world. It’s easy to get so caught up in the giving that you don’t know how to receive. The conversation in this episode was insightful to say the least.

nuts-and-bolts-value-based-pricing copy

147: The Nuts and Bolts of Value-Based Pricing

Friday, February 6, 2015 – 1 hour, 55 minutes

There’s a reason more people don’t quote projects using Value-Based Pricing: it’s hard. It’s really, really hard. Value doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are a lot of factors to consider.

There’s your time, project costs, duration of the project, value relative to market averages, project risk, expected time to realize value… in total, we cover 9 factors that affect a value-based price.

This is complicated stuff. Justin is helping me develop a tool for Value-Based Pricing to be included with our course at that will help you with all of the percentages and the math. Of course, a tool by itself can’t do everything for you. That’s why in this final installment of our Value-Based Pricing series, we take you step by step through every factor that you need to understand.

There was so much in this episode, that we went well beyond an hour and started pushing an hour and a half. I was about to cut it off because we’d been going for so long, but there were so many questions in the chat, I decided we would stick around and answer as many as we could. It ended up being 2 hours of solid gold.

I know there are many of you who are not Community members and don’t get to listen to the live stream, so I thought you’d appreciate that we took extra time to answer nearly a dozen questions from people wondering how to do Value-Based Pricing and included this extra segment in this episode for free.


146: Attracting Clients and Positioning the Conversation Around Value

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 – 1 hour, 28 minutes

We’re back for part two of an epic three-part series on Value-Based Pricing. In part one, we went over five steps to getting started with Value-Based Pricing.

In this episode, you get unprecedented access to the exact messages exchanged between the professional and the client—read word for word.

You’ve wanted to learn how to position yourself as an investment rather than an expense to your clients—that’s what this episode focuses on. You’ll hear exact phrases used that sold a very valuable, high-dollar solution to the client.

I don’t think you can find another episode like this on the internet when it comes to Value-Based Pricing. You’re able to listen to a podcast where someone who is executing Value-Based Pricing talks about it with the person they did it with and you get to hear inside the client’s mind—who also happens to be a professional.

We’re reading real messages exchanged that resulted in a difference of tens of thousands of dollars in the project’s pricing. This is highly-useful information applicable to anyone in client services who wants to learn to price on value.


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.

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.