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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.


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.


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.

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.