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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.


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.


129: Do You Even Have What It Takes? I’m Being Serious.

Friday, November 21, 2014 – 47 minutes

Tenacity. Are you born with it? If you don’t have it, is it a learnable skill?

Could you handle 800 rejections in a row? What if they all took place in the same year?

I think a lot of people are living vicariously. They consume so much of what others in the entrepreneurial space are producing that they trick themselves into thinking they’ve done anything at all—that they’ve actually tried and failed.

I think a lot of people fail once and they call it quits. Forget 800 times, they throw in the towel at the first resistance. They take it as a “sign” that it “wasn’t meant to be.”

We talk about whether passion only comes from things that work, the hand-written letter that changed the life of one artist who makes a comic strip you know and love, and why you should keep showing up even if no one is listening.


127: Become a Better Podcaster and Speaker by Thinking Like a Singer

Friday, November 14, 2014 – 12 minutes

How can you amplify your message in a way that sounds enthusiastic rather than angry?

Most people think of speaking as talking. But according to vocal master Roger Love who has coached stars from John Mayor to Kiera Knightly and the entire cast of Glee, we should really think of it more as singing.

Your speaking has an inherent melody to it. If you’re not conscious of this when you’re speaking, you will have a very flat melody. Just like in music, you need an audibly intriguing melody to not only bring people in, but also to keep their interest.

In this mini sabbatical episode, I share notes I took from Roger’s advice broken down into 3 sections for improvement: Melody, Volume, and Continuity.

You’ll learn to be aware of the “squeaky hinge” you didn’t know you had, the power of intentional silence, and where to begin improving your voice if you’re just getting started with speaking or podcasting.


126: Icebergs and Buoys – The Deeper Reasons for Doing What You Do

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 – 53 minutes

Kevin writes in to inquire about the deeper motivations for doing what you do beyond just monetary. He asked me to share stories and anecdotes from people who have been impacted by my work and efforts.

This led to a discussion on intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation. If we’re only motivated by external validation, what happens when there are no accolades for fuel?

On a whim, Ben conjures a beautiful analogy featuring an iceberg and a buoy that really ties everything together. This is definitely an inspirational episodes that will not only motivate you but get you thinking on deeper issues of purpose.


125: Your Two Audiences

Friday, November 7, 2014 – 1 hour, 4 minutes

As a content creator, you simultaneously face two challenges: providing relevant content for your existing audience and coming up with something intriguing enough to also attract new people.

There’s a tricky balance between delivering the depth your long-time followers crave while creating entrance points and handles for first-timers to grab onto.

As if this wasn’t challenging enough, you then end up dealing with yet another party: the hecklers (aka the “Trolls”). These people aren’t within your existing audience, but can be easily mistaken for people in your potential audience.

How do you recognize the person who is never going to be in your audience? How do you avoid catering to their criticisms out of hope that they turn into a loyal fan when really they were never interested in anything other than heckling?

We talk about finding your message, going deep with the audience you have, growing your audience, and navigating the confusing nuances between legitimate criticism and full-on trolling.


124: How to Market Your Products or Services Without Feeling Awkward

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 – 59 minutes

Look, I get it. You’ve worked hard to build up your expertise. You’ve put a lot of effort into making your product. You know it’s good! You know you can help people! Can’t they just pay and see for themselves? Must you really go through the awkwardness of selling? It seems so… dirty.

The trouble is, you do have to sell. It’s a noisy world and selling is the cost of entry if you want to do business. You have to promote. You have to market. But you can do it in a way that doesn’t make you feel gross.

In this episode, I tell you how to market your products and services without feeling like a slimy salesman. You’ll hear a trick for how to market every day without feeling like you’re selling every day.

I give you a way to keep from feeling spammy when you promote, two ways to prevent over-spamming (and how I plan to do the second one), as well as the reason I only ever make a single promotional post on social media for any one given thing.

Lastly, we talk about why you feel bad selling, I share my “don’t be afraid to sell” email, and explain why it’s not self-promotion unless you’re selfish.


123: Personal Name vs Business Name: Branding Pros and Cons

Friday, October 31, 2014 – 1 hour, 12 minutes

What’s in a name? Well when it comes to your business, a whole lot!

It may seem inconsequential, but your name bears with it a lot of implications. A personal name implies personal involvement. The nice thing is you have a great deal of flexibility, but it requires long-term participation. A business name may have less flexibility, but it can get you traction sooner and is much easier to sell later on if that’s what you’re planning.

Which is better? Which should you start with for your first business? What about your second business? Third?

I break this into two parts:
Part 1: Should I brand myself with my name or as a business?
Part 2: Should new projects be under a separate brand name?

I talk about transparency, your brand umbrella, and why you need to know your long term plan to make effective brand decisions right now.


122: 10 Mistakes You’re Making With Clients That Cost You

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 – 1 hour, 8 minutes

I’ve got a MASSIVE episode on client relations for you here today. I’m going to share the top 10 mistakes you’re making with clients that cost you.

These mistakes are costing you in a number of ways: They’re causing you to lose time, to lose money, to miss great opportunities, to miss out on working with the right type of people, to devalue your work, to get paid slower, to be seen as a novice, and to lose the respect of your client.

It’s been awhile since I talked specifically about the nitty-gritty details of client work, so I have an overwhelming amount to share on the subject and I don’t hold back.


121: Seriously, Am I Screwed if I Have Multiple Passions?

Friday, October 24, 2014 – 1 hour, 11 minutes

Hey, you’re good at a bunch of things. There are a number of pursuits you enjoy and really like doing. There are even more things you would love to do if you could.

Does pursuing just one of those passions give you a lingering feeling of dissatisfaction? Do you feel like no matter which passion you’re feeding, the others get jealous?

If you’re good at multiple things, not doing one almost feels like a waste of talent. You feel like you owe it to yourself to pursue them all.

In this episode, we talk about whether it’s possible to have multiple passions (spoiler: it is, and you’re normal for having them), the way you know if you truly are passionate about one of them, and whether or not you should be diversifying your time investment.

Each fire pit represents one of your passions. It’s tempting to rush from pit to pit to stoke the embers. But this multitasking and split focus ensures you’ll never build up any one of the fires to a roaring blaze that can be seen for miles around.

We talk about why it’s better not to stoke all the embers now so they have the opportunity to become bon fires later.


120: You Have 90 Days to Build Sustainable Income – What Do You Do?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 – 53 minutes

You’ve stumbled across 90 completely free days. You’ve got three whole months where you’re able to work on any project without worrying about money. Your bills are covered for these 90 days.

The question: can you build sustainable income in this amount of time? Can you use these three months to build something that generates revenue and supports you?

No question, you can make some money, but I’m talking about building something that will support you. I’m talking about something that consistently makes money so that you don’t have to worry about paying bills anymore.

Is it even possible? Yes, but it requires 3 things. The 3rd is the only one that can be done in 90 days. If you already have the first 2, it just might work. I tell you what those 3 things are in this episode.

I also explain the reason you should do client work in the beginning whether you like it or not and why client work is the key to products.

Depending on where you are right now, you may or may not be able to build sustainable income in such a short amount of time. But I will tell you the best thing you can do in 90 days regardless.


119: How to Get an Extra Day a Week

Friday, October 17, 2014 – 1 hour, 14 minutes

Is it actually possible to get an extra day a week? What would that even look like? Imagine going through your entire week, doing all of your work, and having a whole day left over.

Think of all the things you could do. You could relax, you could kick back, spend some time with your family, maybe do some cleaning around the house… Heck, maybe you’re hustling right now and thinking of how much more you could accomplish if you had another day just to work on your side project!


“What are you talking about, Sean?”


“Ok, now I’m totally confused.”

Those are the two things that most people lack. They don’t have focused work time and they don’t carve out silence and prevent interruptions.

If you’re allowing interruptions, you might as well be throwing money out the window. I’m going to tell you the difference between productive people and super productive people. We’re going to look at the way to create focused work time and how to get an extra day a week.


118: The Fear of Losing Everything: Dealing With Stress and Catastrophic Failure

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 – 1 hour, 10 minutes

My website crashed. It crashed hard. Nothing was loading. I had no dashboard access. It gets worse: I should’ve had daily backups, but something was improperly configured and the most recent backup was nearly 3 months ago.

I feared the worst.

Everything was down. I was getting complaints. My host tried reverting the database only to cause even more problems: orders from the database were getting repeated. Customers were getting charged multiple times. Overdrafts were happening as a result.

It wasn’t pretty.

In this episode, I tell the story of how I (nearly) lost everything, how I got it back, and what I learned from an experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.


117: 62 Topic Ideas So You Never Run Out of Things to Write About

Friday, October 10, 2014 – 1 hour, 13 minutes

Uh oh. Your scheduled blog post is due tomorrow and you have no idea what to write about! It’s come down to the wire and you thought your trusty, old procrastination would create the time constraint you needed to crank out something golden in the last minute. It almost always works, but this time it’s not working.

This time, you feel stuck. It’s time to podcast and you have no idea what to talk about. But you’re not going to do a disservice to your audience and just turn on the mic and ramble. You’re determined to provide value. You just need a topic!

In this episode, I share 62 topics you can write about (or use as fuel for your podcast, videos, etc.). There’s so much to talk about, it’s just hard to remember when you’ve hit a block. We’ll help you get unstuck.


116: How to Find Your Own Unique Voice and Style

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 – 1 hour, 4 minutes

How do you produce work that looks authentic? How do you find a voice that feels like your own? How do you say or create something original without feeling like you copied or ripped off someone else?

I break down it down into 3 parts: your actual voice, what you talk about, and how you say it. I talk about finding your unique voice in a written or spoken sense, but then also apply what we uncover to discovering your own artistic style.

I conclude with how to be inspired without copying and why you aren’t the one who determines your own style.


115: How to Overcome Self-Doubt, Get Rid of Anxiety, and Stay Focused

Friday, October 3, 2014 – 1 hour, 4 minutes

Self-doubt is paralyzing. “Do I have what it takes?” “What if my best isn’t good enough?” “What if I fail?”

It’s not just if you’re a beginner either. Even people who are successful struggle with self-doubt regularly.

But they have learned how to consistently resolve the feelings of self-doubt or impostor syndrome.

We talk about how to overcome feelings of paralysis, what to do to keep self-doubt minimized and less likely to resurface, as well as why the phrase “could be” is keeping you from ever accomplishing anything.

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.