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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.


105: What if I’m Jack of All Trades and Master of None?

Friday, August 29, 2014 – 59 minutes

Eagerness to do a lot of things at once. It’s an ambition many of us struggle with: being good at many things but not perceived as an expert with any one of them. You feel like you’re never really able to get traction.

Do you often pick up something to learn and end up gaining just enough knowledge to be dangerous?

I believe there are two kinds of Jack of All Trades: a permanent Jack of All Trades (you don’t want this one!), and an intermittent Jack of All Trades. The latter is a result of the journey to becoming a master—a good thing.

I want to talk about how to know the difference so you can determine which one you are. You’ll find out if you’re on your way to mastery or simply floundering about in the novice world of mediocre proficiency.


104: Become An Expert, Have a Happy Family & Get Your Focus Back

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 – 1 hour, 18 minutes

You have ideas. Great ideas. They come at you all day long but you aren’t able to pursue them. You have a task at hand that needs to be done. Maybe it’s your day job. Maybe it’s a project you’re busy working on.

You can’t engage these ideas because you’re supposed to be working, but they keep distracting you! A concept for your painting, a solution to your engineering problem, a way to relate to your students—they’re all begging for your attention.

We’re going to unpack all of this in a DYNAMITE episode. I’m going to tell you the way to get your focus back, show you how to apply that focus to becoming an expert, and explain how to do all of this while having a happy family.

A tall order? You bet. Let’s dive in.


103: You Are an Independent Marketing Firm

Friday, August 22, 2014 – 1 hour, 1 minute

The playing field has now been leveled. The middlemen are slowly fading away and you no longer have to play by the rules of the gatekeepers in order to reach your audience.

However, with the disappearance of the middleman comes many equivalent software replacements. Many platforms are seeking content creators and teachers like yourself to create, sell and teach on their platforms.

They bring the appeal of “wider reach” and “large audiences” that you will gain access to. But in exchange for this exposure, there is a very significant downside: lack of control.

When you build your own platform, you are the master. You own the domain and you set the rules. This means you can control the pricing, you can control whether or not your products are discounted, and you can design the entire experience.

Yes, building your own platform is a lot more difficult, but what does the alternative look like? Is the incentive of exposure enough for you to compromise your control and potentially devalue your products?

With the middleman gone it also places a lot of responsibility on you. The brunt of the marketing and distribution work is now yours to deal with. This can sound scary but it’s also extremely empowering.

I want to empower you: You are an independent marketing firm. Let me tell you why that should excite you.


102: Why It May Be the Wrong Time to Pursue Your Passion

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 – 52 minutes

Last episode, we talked about How to Find Your Passion. This was a very real topic for Ben as he was struggling firsthand with a lot of the things we were discussing.

In the days following the recording, Ben reflected on what we talked about and ended up writing an article on his own blog about setting his passion free. He realized that he was trying to solve the wrong problem. He thought the problem was finding his passion. What he ended up concluding was that he had no business trying to find his passion because he did not yet have a stable day job covering his bills.

His passion pursuits could not be free because he was using them as a tool to fill in the gaps of his monetary needs. What he needs is a day job that covers 100% of his bills first before he pursues the passion and he only has 50% covered.

We talk about the day job a lot in passing, but its importance is often missed. In this episode we talk about the crucial role of a day job as a foundation and define the right kind of day job needed to fully support the pursuit of your passion. An insufficient day job makes you vulnerable to Scarcity Mindset which leads to compromising your professionalism to pay the bills.

As fun as it is to talk about doing what you love, you have to go about it in the right way or you’ll kill the passion. Do you love this thing enough to not do it right now? It would be a disservice to say “Drop everything and pursue your passion!” without first defining the necessary foundation required. This is the purpose of The Overlap Technique. Let’s talk about it.


101: How to Find Your Passion

Friday, August 15, 2014 – 1 hour, 12 minutes

Finding your passion is no trivial matter. The problem seems to split everyone into two groups: Either you have no idea what you’re passionate about, or you have so many things you love you’re overwhelmed with possible options!

The difficulty comes down to thinking we might be passionate about something when really we just like the IDEA of something. When it comes to the act of DOING it, we often find that we don’t enjoy the process.

Because passion is found in the doing, exploration is required for discovery. But exploration takes effort and time. Where can you afford to invest time when you don’t know if things will pan out?

That’s what this episode is about: discovering the intersection of your categorical interests. I’m going to throw out a number of questions to help you uncover this and my hope hope is that one or two of them combined may unlock something for you.


100: The $1,000 Giveaway

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 – 1 hour, 9 minutes

Today is a very big day. After 1 year of publishing two podcasts a week, we’ve made it to the 100th episode of the seanwes podcast.

To celebrate, I’ll be giving away over $1,000 worth of seanwes products. The giveaway is exclusive to newsletter subscribers.

While the giveaway is pretty epic, it’s actually only half the surprise. I normally write exhaustive show notes for each episode, but if I did that now, it would spoil 2 other special surprises that happen during the podcast, so you’ll have to tune in to find out.

I wish I could tell you more about the topic without spoiling the surprises, but I will say this much: the conversation in this particular show is 100% on par with the quality you’ve come to expect from this podcast. The discussion was very enriching. We touched on a lot of real issues surrounding work, defining overworking, the importance of relationships, and why it’s not selfish to put yourself first when it comes to your own happiness and well-being.

I guarantee you’ll come away with a lot to think about and process in regards to the things that really matter in life.


099: How to Read Minds

Friday, August 8, 2014 – 55 minutes

If I could tell you exactly what you were thinking right now, would I have your attention? Whether it’s business or personal relationships, we all want to be heard. We want people to hear what we have to say. We want people’s attention.

Here’s the terrible truth: people only listen to what they want to hear. It’s true. Attention spans are short. We’re bombarded with ads, we scroll through infinite feeds, we are masters at tuning out. If we don’t want to hear something, we don’t listen to it—it’s that simple.

In order to be heard by people, you have to convince them that you’re reading their mind. “I was just wondering that. That’s exactly what I was thinking! How did you know what I needed?”

The answer is super simple: No, you’re not actually reading their mind, you’re doing the one thing almost nobody does—listening.

What are you listening for? That’s exactly what we talk about in this episode. We go into what to listen for, and how to deliver what you have to say in a the package of what somebody already wants to hear. You’ll have people swearing you read their minds.


098: What Happened When I Consolidated 20,000 Email Subscribers

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 – 1 hour, 12 minutes

Not long ago, I had numerous, separate emails lists for various things like newsletters, podcasts, and my courses. Things were very fragmented and confusing. Many people who wanted to receive updates of my new posts weren’t getting everything because they weren’t on all of the right lists—my fault.

I realized this fragmentation wasn’t helping anybody. I was thinking of things very literally: there’s “podcasts” and there’s “newsletters.” But when I took a step back, I realized that everything I’m about is helping you make a living with your passion.

Whether it’s newsletters, blog posts, podcasts, or videos, that’s what I want to help you with. It doesn’t make much sense to have individual lists for each medium. While I’m using different mediums to share new facets of the same message, it’s all fresh, relevant content.

If you’re thinking of combining multiple email lists, running several lists of your own, or you’re just plain curious, this episode provides an intriguing breakdown of the response I got.


097: Spouse Episode: The No-Debt Mentality

Friday, August 1, 2014 – 58 minutes

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a big on having no debt, but I haven’t yet explored the topic exclusively. This episode is dedicated to defining The No-Debt Mentality.

I was planning to record a solo-show, but while talking about it to my wife, Laci, she actually volunteered to join me! So instead of just a personal overview, it’s more of a behind-the-scenes look at how a married couple handles real life without ever going into debt for anything (that includes a house).

I know many of those who are younger are regularly shown the lifestyle of debt as being a given. It’s simply presented as something you do (and as something everyone does). But debt is always a choice. It’s a choice you make—and often justify. I want to show you one example of a couple who chose not to use debt as a tool.

You’re either the master or the slave. You own your life or you owe your life.

I’m hoping to especially be a voice for those who are younger to give a tangible account of what life looks like without debt. It’s definitely not easy, but it is 100% possible and very rewarding.

096: Boosting Creativity by Reducing Choice

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 – 1 hour, 12 minutes

Everyone is always looking for a way to conjure the ever-elusive creative muse. Can you evoke creativity on a whim? Is it possible to turn on creativity like a faucet?

Maybe not quite. But creativity is something we can facilitate. Creativity comes when there is an environment that can foster it. We must encourage creativity by setting up the right context.

You might initially think that creativity comes from freedom. But when there is an abundance of possibility and a wealth of options, creativity is decreased. What we need is restriction to challenge our brains. It’s constraint that breeds creativity—not freedom.

In my last newsletter, I broached the notion of limiting choice. In this podcast episode, we dive even deeper into exploring the how and why of reducing choice for the purpose of boosting creativity.

We look at the places where we are most creative, how those contexts look, and how we can create similar environments in the future.

Some of my thoughts on haters

095: Overcoming the Fear of What Other People Think and Doing Your Best Work Anyway

Friday, July 25, 2014 – 1 hour, 23 minutes

My wife is an aspiring writer but has been held back from really pursuing it by the fear of what other people think. The other night, she shared numerous personal fears related to putting her writing out there. With her permission, we’re dedicating this entire episode to tackling all of those tough questions.

How do you respond to hate? Should you respond at all? What’s the difference between hate and legitimate criticism? Can you still take away something positive from negative feedback?

We’re going to get into all of this and show you why the only thing you have to fear is having no haters at all.


094: Goals & 5-Year Plans

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – 47 minutes

Some people dislike the notion of a 5-year plan. Others swear by it. The primary concern is “planning” yourself into a corner. We talk about ways to still set longer term plans while enabling spontaneity. Having a longer-term vision is important, but equally so is planning for margin so you have the freedom to pivot.

This episode is a followup from e068: You Have One Life – Set Bigger Goals.

093: Lessons Learned From Running Businesses in 3 Different Industries

Friday, July 18, 2014 – 1 hour, 14 minutes

My story begins with a computer repair business. I was in high school, and it was my very first business. I knew next to nothing about legalities, accounting, and taxes, but it was the perfect way to learn: diving right in.

The things I learned from this business carried me through the next several businesses. I’ve told my personal story in bits and pieces throughout the podcast, but I wanted to have a canonical episode the really focuses on the transitions between each business.

I zoom in on the reasons for going from one business to the next and review the lessons learned at each of them.

You’ll hear how I went from one to the next, and the takeaways that continued to serve me in all of my future pursuits. It goes to show that even if what you’re doing isn’t that thing you’ll do for the rest of your life, you have no idea how the things you learn will help what you do in the future.

092: 4 Keys to Growing an Audience When You Feel Like You’re Not Getting Recognition

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – 1 hour, 10 minutes

You’re working hard, you feel like you’re doing a good job with your work, but you just don’t seem to be getting any traction. No matter what, your audience isn’t growing at the rate you want it to.

Why is it that some people seems to be getting recognition and you’re not? Do they know something you don’t?

It turns out they do.

Growing an audience is not a result of magic and it’s not a result of luck: growth comes when you consistently serve great content to that audience.

It’s not just any kind of content, and you can’t just do it whenever you feel like it. There are 4 very crucial keys to growing an audience, and you don’t just need one—you need all 4 of them.

091: How I Prevent Unwanted Spending Even Though I’ve Never Had A Budget

Friday, July 11, 2014 – 50 minutes

I mentioned in passing to Ben that I’ve never had a budget. Even when I was living month-to-month, I didn’t have a budget. Ben said he was taken by surprise because, “If anyone were to have a budget,” he certainly imagined that I would be one of those people.

Oddly enough though, I never have. We talk about how my no-debt mentality plays into this, as well as how I’m able to prevent unwanted spending and still maintain proper allocation of funds and expenses without using a budget.

It’s an exploratory episode wherein Ben and I discuss the different methodologies, habits, and mindsets around handling finances and ultimately arrive at deeper issue of your core values and how they define the way you approach money.

090: Taking Vacations When You Love Your Work

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 – 53 minutes

Matt announces that he’s finally quitting his day job and going full time with his businesses and self employment. We start out talking about finances, paying yourself, spousal support, and investing in your business.

We get to the difficulties of taking vacations when you love what you do. How do you remove yourself and take a break? We discuss the challenges of systematizing in the context of Physical businesses vs. Digital businesses, and defining the difference between finding fulfillment in your work and just plain workaholism.

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.

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