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After two years of podcasting twice a week, we are excited to share our 200th episode with you.
Special guests Aaron Dowd and Matt Lopez join Ben and myself in person for this magical event. We talk about my “Show Up Every Day” mantra and our collective focus on the Long Game Mindset.
With hundreds of episodes under our belt, we still feel as though this truly is the very beginning and look forward to many more hundreds in the future.
We take a reflective look at how doing this show has changed our lives and what’s in store for the future.
This episode broadcasted publicly to a total of 1,058 live viewers who enjoyed full access to the Community chat during the event. We gave away over $2,000 in prizes to the group who attended live.
Last but not least, what really set apart this magical evening was the live jam session we put on. We transformed the room into a studio right before the eyes of the viewers and put on an unscripted show.
While the full live jam session was enjoyed exclusively by those who joined us live, I decided to include a single song at the end of the recorded podcast.
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
- It’s not about the results you’re getting, it’s about showing up every day—eventually the results will come.
- Start with a commitment.
- What will get us to the next milestone? The same thing that got us here: serving an audience.
- Good things will come from hiring good people—don’t just fill positions.
- Small Scale Sabbaticals not only allow you to rest, but they allow you to pursue secondary passions.
- Don’t wait until you can afford to take a sabbatical. You can’t afford not to.
- 08:56 Sean: We just hit 200 episodes, and that’s a feat. Having podcasts twice a week, three times if you include Lambo Goal, is intense. It’s a lot, and we’re jam-packing it with value. We’re trying to be relevant, listening to people, engaging with our listeners, providing relevant value, and answering their questions. It’s hard work. We’re showing up a lot. I discovered this one podcast about business with 100 episodes, and I thought, “100 episodes! There’s so much value in this backlog. I can’t wait to go listen through,” and I did. I started at the beginning and listened through. It took me months, but I finally caught up, and in the very next episode the host said, “I’ve decided to step down and move on to something else.”
- 09:53 I was ready to join their thing. It wasn’t a Community like we have, streaming live where everyone can interact 24/7 with a mobile app, but maybe they had forums and trainings or something. This was some years ago. I was so ready to join, just like a lot of people here are on the edge about joining the Community and are trying to figure out if it’s something they want to do. I caught up and the host was done. A lot people get to this point, or maybe they’re at this point right now, where they’ve been showing up and working hard, putting in the work, but it’s not paying off. By now, they would have hoped to have had more followers, subscribers, downloads, or views, but it’s just not there.
Don’t Be Discouraged By Numbers
- 10:49 They look up to these people who have so much more exposure and feel like they’re delivering on this, but they’re just undiscovered. Nobody cares. They only have a dozen reviews on their podcast or 20 subscribers. Throughout the 200 episodes of this podcast, I’ve tried to press on the fact that those are real people—those aren’t just numbers. It’s not just 420 robots or computers watching us live in the chat system on seanwes.com, it’s actual real people. If you have ten subscribers, those are real people. If you think of it in terms of ten being a lame number because you want 100, or 1,000 is lame because you want 10,000, you’re going to miss out, because right now you have a unique opportunity to engage with those people.
- 11:41 I would love to respond to every single person in here and have a conversation with them. If you come to a conference I’m at—like Circles Conference that’s in a couple of weeks—I really try to engage with people. Maybe you have 20 people who want to talk with you, but instead of just going surface level with someone and moving on to the next, go until that person is done. Maybe that means you only get to meet one person at the conference, but it’s about that depth and that engagement with the people you are connecting with. At some point, you reach a level where you can’t connect on an individual basis with every single person, and it’s a little bit disappointing.
- 12:21 There’s hundreds of emails right now in my inbox that I can’t even get to. We’re doing this event, I’m preparing future podcast episodes that go out while I’m on sabbatical the next week, and I’m practicing a conference talk that I’m leaving in two days for. There’s so many things that I can’t engage with everyone personally, but you have an opportunity right now while you have ten subscribers to connect with them and reach out to them.
It’s not about the results you’re getting, it’s about showing up every day.
Eventually, the results will come.
- 13:03 Eventually, the results will present themselves. If you get 100 episodes into your podcast and you don’t have as many downloads as you’d like, don’t give up. That’s where I come at this with my, “Show up every day for two years,” mantra. We’ve even got a Show Up Every Day poster. It’s a reminder that it’s not about the results that you see. You can check the box: yes, I showed up today. I tried hard today. I did my best today. It’s funny, because we have shown up every day, and here we are two years later and 200 podcast episodes into this. Honestly, I feel like this is just the beginning. We put our dues in, and now we’re just getting started. This isn’t the end. We just did it.
It Takes Time
- 13:59 Ben: Sean’s been doing this for two years, as he said, and if you just started following Sean and you know about some of the infrastructure he has in place, you know that he has Aaron editing the podcast and someone doing shownotes now. He’s hustling in a lot of different ways. You might think to yourself, “I can’t put out the amount of stuff that he’s doing because I don’t have that infrastructure.” Even before he had all that stuff in place, he was doing his own shownotes and his own editing, and he was still reaching out to the people who would get in touch with him.
- 14:41 When he first started the Community, which wasn’t very long into the podcast history, he was connecting with those folks and building this thing. I don’t say that to make you feel what you’re doing an uphill battle for you or isn’t something that you’re capable of. I want to challenge you and say that it is something you’re capable of, but it is a lot of hard work. I think about it like running. When I first start running in the morning between 5am and 5:15am, first of all, I’m a little bit older, so my muscles take a little longer to warm up than they used to. I get out there and I run, and probably for the first half mile, my body is like, “What are you doing to me?”
- 15:35 I’m huffing and puffing and pushing, and then I start to get into this rhythm. My body’s working with me, my breathe is going, and I hit this stride. If I want to, I can take that extra energy I have now and I can put that forward even more and I can keep pushing. I want to encourage you, because in the beginning, you’re going to feel like you’re running uphill and you can’t get any momentum, but eventually you’ll get to that place where you hit a stride and feel that rhythm. It’s like we’ve just gotten out of that first half mile of this show.
- 16:19 Sean: You know, to so many people, two years is a lifetime to them. Two years seems so long to make videos every week, write a blog, send out a newsletter, post your work on Instagram, or share your photography. That’s so long! But, Matt, it’s like the way we talk about money. You have to change the way you think about money. You have to change your mindset about money. I always say, “If you think a million dollars is a lot of money, you may get $100,000. If you think $100,000 is a lot of money, you might get $10,000.”
You have to have the mindset that showing up for two years is nothing—it’s only the beginning.
- 17:04 Matt: You have to make that choice. Something we always say at the end of the show is, “Are we doing this?” That’s not something we say for the heck of it. It’s a real thing. Are we doing this? It’s not something easy where you just wake up and go to work. Sean has so many different things he has to run and my setup is insane. If I had known what I’m doing right now back then, I probably wouldn’t have done it. You just do it piece by piece. You don’t look at the entire list and get overwhelmed. Take it piece by piece, one stride at a time, and once you do get that rhythm, it becomes easy, or at least a lot easier. It’s not something where you wake up and magic happens. You keep on rolling, and eventually something will hit and you’ll start getting the profits from it.
Taking a Step Back
- 18:04 Sean: As a kid, I would save up. I wouldn’t spend my money on frivolous things, but I would save up and make really big purchases. Of course, that scaled as I got older, but in the early days, my brother and I bought our own computer. We built it ourselves. That was a big purchase as a preteen or a teenager. Then it was buying an electric guitar, buying my first car with cash, and waiting until I was 19 to buy it. I was working a job and getting my parents to drop me off because I wanted to buy it in cash and own it. I save up.
- 18:52 When I show up every week to do this show, that’s just what I do. There are so many times when I’m exhausted. I don’t know if I have it in me, but I find it in me, because I started with the commitment. I don’t wait for the motivation to come. I don’t say, “Am I motivated? Do I want to do a podcast today? Do I want to do a video today?” I start with the commitment, so there’s no question of doing it or not. This is a thing that I do, just like you wake up and brush your teeth. It’s a part of your routine. That’s what podcasting, making videos, and blogging have become. It’s become a thing I show up to do.
- 19:33 I guess I get caught up in that, and for the most part, I don’t usually take a step back, except at these really big milestones. In more recent years, I’ve tried to do a better job of celebrating. We had a little party to celebrate the Learn Lettering 2.0 launch a few weeks ago because I tend to just keep going. The reason I’m happy is because this is the time I allow myself to take a step back and say, “Look what we’ve done. This is cool.” Really nice note here from Mike, “I was about to say that I’ve been listening since nearly the beginning, and your transformation has been insane over these past two years. You have so much farther to go, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.” Thank you, Mike.
The Long-Game Mindset
- 21:17 Aaron: Some days it feels like yesterday that we met in Austin and started this show. Back then, I thought you were kind of crazy for wanting to do two hour-long shows every week. I thought, “There’s no way this guy’s going to keep that up. That’s impossible.” But Sean did, and seeing him make that commitment has been really inspiring for me. It is possible to put out a ton of content every week and do this stuff. Like Ben was saying earlier, when Sean started, he was doing most of the work. He was writing the outlines, coming up with topics, editing the show, and writing shownotes. I know how much work that is now that I’ve started my own show.
- 22:09 For anyone out there who hasn’t put out a lot of content yet but is thinking about it, it is going to be a lot of work and it’s going to be really challenging at first. If you stick with it, it just becomes something that you do, and it starts to feel good instead of terrible, like running. I started running now, so I know that first fifteen minutes is just pain. But, after that, it starts to feel good. Even if you spend a lot of time on this stuff every week, you have something to show for it. Now, Sean has 200 episodes in an archive full of amazing things people are going to be able to learn from.
- 22:51 Sean: That’s a super cool thought. It’s weird that it’s going to be archived. For all we know, people 50 years from now could be watching this. That’s pretty crazy.
Hopes For the Next 100 Episodes
- 24:08 Before we started the podcast, I was asking people in the Community chat, specifically the members, if they had one question that they wanted to ask all of us. I only took a few, because I wanted it to be good, and if we’re all going to answer it then I want it to be selective. Maybe this is more for me and Ben, but I’d still be interested in Matt and Aaron’s thoughts. Cory Miller asks, “What’s something you want to see happen to the podcast before e300? There’s been a huge amount of change and increase of value over the last 100 episodes, and I’d love to know what your collective dreams are for the future of the podcast.”
- 24:46 I’m going to expand this a little bit more, because Matt and Aaron sometimes come on the show, Matt and I have a separate show together, Lambo Goal, but they also have their own individual shows, so I’m going to expand that a little bit as needed. In our case, Ben, we can talk specifically, but what do you think? It really does in some ways feel like we were here yesterday for episode 100, and it’s kind of gone by really fast.
- 25:13 Ben: There’s the issue of how to come up with 100 topics, but Sean and I are learners and students. That’s how we approach life, and we continue learning from the things we’re doing. We share what we learn through this podcast. I think that’s just going to continue. I don’t see us slowing down at all when it comes to providing value, helping answer people’s questions, and helping provide real solutions for people who are trying to balance creativity with business. Beyond that, Sean’s really become more and more of a storyteller, and I’m a natural storyteller.
- 26:08 Not at the expense of the value, of course, but in support of the value, I see Sean bringing storytelling into the podcast, creating story arcs that last over several episodes and make people even more a part of our lives and the things we’re doing. That’s what I see. I think bringing those stories is going to be a powerful hook for some people. Over the next 100 episodes, I hope to see:
Instead of our listeners just being in love with the content and the value we’re sharing, their connection with us is going to deepen.
- 27:02 Sean: Ben brought up the struggle of coming up with another 100 episodes. What’s the difference between episode 300 and episode 200? 100 episodes. That’s a lot of work and a lot of topics. I think people just starting out their podcasts have a 20 episode hurdle. So many people starting their podcasts get to episode 20 and they’re done. They quit because they can’t handle it.
- 27:20 It’s so fun in the beginning, but then they realize, “Oh, I have to keep showing up, figuring out topics, and doing this show?” They stop doing it—I don’t know what it is. You start a podcast, a video series, or blog and you’ve got 20 topics. You start a thing, and it’s fun right now. Then it’s like, “Oh wow, I have to come up with stuff. It’s kind of scary, and I don’t know that I can start a podcast, Sean, because I don’t have 200 topics in me.” I didn’t start this with 200 topics. I started with a handful of topics.
The same thing that got us here is what’s going to get us to the next milestone, which is tapping into our audience.
- 28:00 Care about the people. If you’re showing up and you don’t know what to write about or what your topic should be, you’re doing it wrong. You should know, because you should be engaging with people and having conversations. What are you struggling with? This is why I say that before you teach a course, you should teach a workshop in person, even if you do it for free.
- 28:40 Help real people get hands-on feedback, and then make something out of that. Help people with real struggles. Instead of saying, “I think people probably want to hear about this,” or, “I feel like talking about that,” that’s not how we do any of these shows. All of it is based on feedback. It’s either people writing us, they can contact us, or it’s Community members. That’s what I’m tapped into, and that’s what I’m going to continue to tap into. As long as this show is serving people and we’re not just talking into a microphone, I think we’ll be fine.
- 29:11 Ben: When Rachel and I were starting the In the Boat With Ben podcast, we sat down and came up with about 70 different topic ideas. I almost got this deer in the headlights feeling when we started actually recording. I was looking at the topics, and I didn’t feel like any of them were as on-point as I wanted to be. It was amazing, the people who listened to the show and the people in the Community came to our rescue in a way. They were asking us questions and giving us ideas for topics. We still have plenty of our own stuff to talk about, but we make the stuff we get from actual people the priority. That’s what people really want to hear.
Plans for the Future
- 30:08 Sean: Aaron, it was the end of 2014 that you and I had an epic conversation over coffee, and the next thing you know, we’ve got the seanwes network. That wasn’t that long ago; a lot can happen. One of the big things we’re planning is to do seanwes Conference, and I’m really excited about that. We’ve gotten to meet with Community members at other conferences and we’ve had as many as 20 of us together. We have a meet-up coming up in September after Circles Conference that we’re going to be telling you more about. I can’t even imagine having that many like-minded people together. It’s going to be explosive.
- 30:57 We’ve never cared about just numbers here; it’s all about depth. You’ll never see a free trial on the Community or a $1 trial. I’m not competing with the other online business places because I don’t care what they do. We’re about depth here. We’re about quality here. We’re about serious people. We don’t care about numbers. I don’t want to have a conference with hundreds and thousands of people; I want to have a conference with epic people, people who really care and want to have quality conversation, who aren’t just there to promote their stuff but who want to connect with you. That’s why seanwes Conference is going to be exclusive to Community members.
- 31:38 We’ve got hundreds of people inside the Community, and by 2016 we’ll pass the 1,000 threshold. The Community is definitely growing, and a big focus is going to be amping up the experience for people inside the Community. I think that’s what’s going to explode in the next year, the next 100 episodes. And I’m not just talking about the membership site where you get to tune in and watch this live every day, I’m talking about the community of people, the people who will make connections even on this live stream, who will make connections inside the Community during a live broadcast. “Hey, I didn’t even know you were also in Boston”—We’ve seen that exact thing happen all the time, and then those people get together and meet.
- 32:29 What if in the chat right now you have made one of your best friends or a lifelong friend because of the Community? It is incredible, so I’m excited for that to explode in the next year. I’m really excited to have Aaron on the team; for people who don’t know him, he works at seanwes full time now. He’s the podcast editor, the Director of Audio and Podcasting. I’m excited to have him. We have seven full time people at seanwes now, and that was not the case at the end of last year. Once again, it’s not about numbers, so it’s not that I hope to have way more employees next year. It’s that I care about people.
- 33:50 I really care about hiring people. I don’t wait until we hurt and need a person to fill a certain position where we have to scour the job boards and pick the best person to fit that need asap. We hire proactively, before we have that pain and we look for good people. I used to hear people say, “We’re always hiring for the right person,” and that didn’t make sense to me. How did they just have money sitting around to hire people? Why wouldn’t you wait until you need someone? Then I started to get it, because when you focus on the people and you get the right people together, pairing strengths with passions, it’s incredible. It’s amazing. I’ve started to understand that. I learned to hire proactively, before my business is hurting, the hard way. With my first business, I just killed it; it could have grown and been an asset to me, but I took that lesson and now I’m applying it to this business.
I’m hiring before I need to because I’m hiring the right people.
- 34:53 I could have kept Aaron as a contractor, but I believe in Aaron. I like Aaron as a person. I know that he has great things in him, so I want to empower him and give him resources. It’s not that I have numbers in mind for employees next year, it’s that if I continue this mindset of hiring people, and there are a few people I want to hire who are in the chat right now, I want to make sure I’m taking care of my people. That was the reason for the focus on Learn Lettering; I wanted to get six months of payroll in the bank. Matt and I planned this. What should I be focusing on? I have to take care of my employees, and sometimes that means hustling.
- 35:57 I want to make sure I have everyone taken care of. We’re 100% transparent here at seanwes. We share real numbers when it’s good and when it’s bad, when it’s scary and when it’s awesome. You hear it all, and so do Cory McCabe, Cory Miller, Laci, Justin, Kristiana—all of the employees hear it. They hear when it’s scary and I’m sharing real numbers with you guys, and they’re still on board because they know that I prioritize taking care of them. Maybe I’m making some aggressive investments, but it’s because I believe there’s going to be a return. And, of course, they get a paid sabbatical every seven weeks.
- 36:47 Aaron: I’ve never had a job experience like this one, working with Sean. We get together and magic happens, and every day is fun and jokes, but we still get a lot of work done. I’m excited for the future, and I’ve never been excited for the future at any other job I’ve ever had.
- 37:14 Matt: I think it’s important to keep an open mind when you come across a person you think is going to fill some position you don’t even have ready or open right now. Bring them in, even if money is kind of tight. Obviously, you don’t want to overspend, but if you find somebody that is looking in the same direction you are, you have to hire them. Hustle, get a course out there, complete a project to get an extra bulk of money so you can have that runway to hire that person. If you can find people like that, you’re just going to grow and grow and grow.
- 37:56 Sean: I’ll be honest, I know who the next person is that I want to hire. They know who they are. They also know that I’m trying to be smart about this; I want to take care of them. They’re willing to start working here. They’re ready and excited about it. I also know that they were considering doing different things, but this could be an option. Maybe they want to do something else. Maybe they want to go start their own business. By saying, “I’d like to have you on the team, but not right now,” by not being foolish and too aggressive, I risk them doing something else. I told this person that. I laid it all out there. They could have said, “I’m looking for something guaranteed and it looks like this isn’t it, so I’m going to move on.” I had resigned to that, so I let it go.
- 38:50 Then I got one of the best responses back, and I’ve shared it with you guys. It made me really excited. This person basically came back and said, “I believe so much in what you’re doing, I know this is where I’m going to be. I’m going to do everything it takes to get to this point. I already know this is going to be the reality, so I’m just waiting for it.” Like Matt and I say, waiting for reality to align with our mindset. As soon as I heard that, I felt like I had let it go and it came back to me. Now, I’m super excited, because it confirms that this is the right person even more, and I’m making it my sole goal to hire this person. I don’t just want to hire this person to make more revenue, but I just want to hire them.
It’s not naiveté or foolishness; I know good things are going to come from a good hire.
Hustle & Rest
- 39:46 Aaron: This is why it’s important to get around the right kind of people—that energy, that synergy. I believe that you have good energy with this person and we have good energy, not just our one-on-one interactions, but there’s something about the whole team together. It’s a party in a good way; we get things done.
- 40:23 Ben: There’s something about Sean as a leader; he has the ability to call drive and hustle out of his employees. That’s not to say that it wasn’t there before, but because of the way he inspires and how hard he works, it makes everyone want to work that hard. The employees don’t know if they can work that hard, but they find that they can. They get to take part in that rhythm and see the amazing things that happen when they take part at that level. That’s been one of things that’s been really cool to see as someone who isn’t on staff but gets a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on.
- 41:15 Sean: I had a baseball coach in high school who was a military guy. I was very disciplined, and I had never had any experience like that—he pushed you. I played basketball and soccer and had a bunch of different coaches, but this baseball coach, actually both coaches on that team, treated it like boot camp. Are we runners or are we baseball players? Run, run, run, high knees, wall sits, you name it, for hours and hours. You go and go until you can’t go anymore, and then they say, “Alright, do it again.” You’re thinking, “What in the world? I don’t think you understand what I’m going through right now.” Somehow, we found something within us that we never knew was there. We dipped the bucket back down, and somehow, the bucket was full.
- 42:18 We realized, “Wow, we really do have more in us than maybe we care to admit or care to dig down and find.” I do embody that hustle work ethic. By the time this episode goes out, we will have our Hustle t-shirts. When this goes out, I will be on sabbatical in San Diego on the beach. It’s going to be nice man. We’ve been working hard. I started doing this thing called Small Scale Sabbaticals. You’ve heard of taking every seventh year off for teachers and things like that. For the most part, we take a day off a the end of the week. We take a break during the day, but there’s this big gap between those time frames.
Most people get two weeks of vacation a year; that’s nothing, and it’s not healthy.
- 43:24 For as hard as we work, it’s not enough. We work hard here, and I realized that I was heading toward burnout. I said, “What if, instead of taking time off every seventh year, I had a Small Scale Sabbatical, where every seventh week I take off the whole week?” It was just me at the time and I didn’t have employees, so it was a self-preservation thing. I felt like I had to keep working, and as every small business owner knows, there’s always work to be done, but I needed this for my own health and sanity. I can’t be putting in 110% all the time and never take a break. I realized that I’m an all-on or all-off kind of guy. I’m either going to do something to the fullest of my abilities or not at all.
- 44:23 If I’m going to do a break, I’m going to go all in on the break. I decided that every seventh week I would just rest, relax, and pursue secondary passions. You guys hear me talk about focus and curation on this show. What are you focusing on? What are you saying no to? I’m saying no to a lot of things. For the live listeners here, we’re going to do a jam session and play some music and have fun. We don’t get to do that very often because we’re working hard, but music is a passion for all of us and we love doing that. I encourage people to embrace things like seasons. Just because you’re saying no to something now doesn’t mean you’re saying no to it forever.
Small Scale Sabbaticals not only allow you to rest, but they allow you to pursue secondary passions.
- 45:12 I can make music during that down time. I decided to do this for me, just for me, and then I started hiring people. What are they going to do when I’m gone? Do I believe in this concept or do I not? Do I believe in the sabbatical or don’t I? We’re all doing it. I hear a lot of people saying, “That must be nice, I wish I could afford to go on a sabbatical.” Here’s what I say: can you imagine a week where it’s Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday? That’s it, forever. Non-stop. You’re thinking, “No light at the end of the tunnel? No end in sight?”
- 45:57 How could you survive? That’s how we feel now. Now that we take Small Scale Sabbaticals every seventh week, we wonder how we ever worked hard with no kind of end in sight. I believe that sabbaticals make us more effective. They don’t just let us break even, but the work we do in those six weeks is even more effective. We’re better people, we do better work, we feel better and we’re more healthy. Aaron uses sabbaticals to learn a lot.
- 46:34 Aaron: I think there’s only been one sabbatical since I got hired on full time. A lot of what I did last time was learning. I was reading a lot and I was winding down some client work, but what I really enjoy is that it gives me a break from my normal work load and gives me time to think about everything. Everyone has so many things going on and so many plans. If you’re like me, you have a lot of plans. You’ve got all these ideas spinning around in your head, “I could be doing this or that, I’ve got to do this or that.” The sabbatical is time to sit down on your couch and think about stuff. Is this the direction I want to be going in? Am I doing the work I want to be doing? Am I spending my time in the right way? I love it; it’s a game changer.
- 47:40 Ben: It’s something I haven’t quite worked in yet. The realization that I came to is that I’ve been hesitant because it’s something I feel like I can’t afford to do yet, or that I have to work up to, but really it’s the other way around. If I want to do my best work and work at the kind of level that would afford me a sabbatical week, I need to take that sabbatical week. I need to schedule it and make a plan to have that in place, because once I see that light at the end of the tunnel, my mindset is going to change. Once I experience that sabbatical and come back to my work refreshed, I’m going to feel the difference and see different results. That’s what I believe.
- 48:27 Sean: Sometimes you have to take that step first. Before you can afford to take a sabbatical, start taking them, and maybe you’ll realize that you should have been taking them all along and your work wasn’t really as effective as it could have been. Maybe you’re running yourself into the ground and not getting all you could out of yourself. On the new site we’re working on, I want to make a sabbatical page. It will explain what it’s about, but it’s also a projects page. We’ve said that our sabbaticals are about pursuing secondary passions, so if Aaron writes a book on his sabbatical or if Cory records and album or makes a video, this is a place and a home for people’s projects to live. One of you guys was saying today that Google dropped it’s “20% time” of giving everyone a free day. That’s where Gmail came from, from that free time when employees were allowed to work on whatever they felt like working on. Productive things come from that.
- 49:57 Aaron: Something I’ve noticed in the entire time that I’ve known Sean is that it’s not just that he inspires us to hustle more, but really, without being mean about it, he helps us become our better selves and reign in the less desirable qualities that we have.
How Has Being a Part of This Show Helped You?
- 50:29 Sean: Aaron asked the question, “How has being a part of the podcast helped you?” We hear that from listeners a lot, but it’s an interesting question to ask ourselves.
- 50:44 Aaron: For one, I was only a part of the first 20 episodes of the seanwes podcast, so that was great in itself because it cemented our friendship. Even though we took a break for a while, I needed some time to think about stuff, I learned a ton from you in that period and it really changed the trajectory of my life and opened my eyes to a different way of doing things. As many people as there are online talking and making noise, there aren’t that many people that have as refined of a message as you did back then but even more so now. You’ve really refined it over the course of 200 episodes, and it’s such a good way to think about stuff, both from a design perspective and in general for life.
- 51:59 That’s been really helpful. It’s given me a lot of confidence in what I do, my value as a person, and what I can contribute. It means a lot to me that Sean would hire me and want me as an employee because I see all the incredible work he’s done, all his writing and stuff, and him wanting me on his team makes me think, “Wow! That guy wants me on his team! Does he know me?” I used to struggle with self doubt a lot. I used to worry about my worth, the skills I had and what I had to offer. Being a part of this and getting to know everyone in the Community and the network has been life changing. We say that all the time, but it’s true. My life is on a completely different path now than where it was two and a half years ago.
- 53:01 Sean: I know we’re doing this podcast to help people, but I’ve learned a lot. We really do just iterate in public. This is us figuring things out and sharing what we learn as we go. I’ve come to find that people know me as a letterer, but for me, lettering was discovering that I could do work that I enjoyed and I didn’t have to start with doing what’s going to make money, hating my job but having a “that’s why we call it work” mindset. I can actually start with passion, and it can turn into something that sustains me. I can get clients that respect me and pay me what I’m worth. I can sell my own products. I can teach people. It’s so cool, discovering all this, but also taking that and helping other people do the same thing, empowering them, giving them the power and responsibility. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with this.
- 54:05 Being a professional isn’t all fun and games. Whenever there are problems, it’s your fault as the professional. You’re responsible. That’s not an easy pill to swallow. There are a lot of things we bring to this show, and some of the topics we discuss aren’t easy topics. Some people know about “harsh Sean;” I just say it like it is, blunt. You don’t like it? Get out of the industry. I’m not afraid to tell you that. Take some responsibility. I want to empower you, so you don’t get excuses—nobody does. We all wake up with the same 24 hours in a day. You’re doing something with your time and I’m doing something with my time. There’s no excuses. I don’t look for excuses. I want to empower people and sometimes that comes across as harsh, but more and more we’re getting feedback from people saying that this stuff is resonating.
- 55:15 They’re saying, “This is changing my life. This has changed my career.” “I’ve moved across the globe.” “I’ve changed my focus.” “I stopped gaming every day and started my own apparel line.” This is amazing stuff, and I’ve discovered that empowering people to do this and sharing everything I know without adds or sponsors is about giving value. I just want to help you. Go help someone else. Spread the word. If you want to pay me back, you’ll pay me back. Because of the Rule of Reciprocity, I’m not worried. It’s going to come back around.
I’m thankful for this show because I’m thankful for the listener.
- 56:02 I’m thankful for all of you giving us, myself and Ben, your attention every week, spreading the word, and responding to us with encouragement. A lot of people do, I’m sure, take this show for granted. It shows up like clockwork because we work extremely hard, but some of you know that there’s real people behind this. We’re staying up late hours while you’re watching Netflix to make sure that this gets out to you, and you write us with kind words and emails. That means the world to us. The show has changed my life, and I’m very grateful for all of the listeners. I feel like it’s just the beginning.
- 56:51 Ben: There are a couple things that have happened for me, and one of them is that, because of the things we’ve talked about, the way we talk about values, and the approach we take to work, I feel a much greater focus and endurance for doing my own artistic work. I will take on things I might not have attempted before because I know myself. I know I can spend eight to ten hours working on the same project doing the tedious stuff, because I know the beauty that lies on the other side of that. Some of the stuff we’ve talked about on this show really drew that out of me. I really appreciate that I have the endurance for that kind of work now.
- 57:45 Because of the people we hang around or our upbringing, we tend to have this default set of values that we live from. I love being a part of this show and coming twice a week with real questions to answer. One of the things I loved before I was part of the show was getting together with Sean and talking about stuff, and when those questions or topics come up, I get a chance to think out loud about things. It helps me realize what I believe about this.
Being part of this show has been belief and value-shaping.
- 58:41 Maybe I had this set of values and it was my default, but now, because I’ve had to articulate and defend some of it, I really have a firm grasp on what my values are, and I’m able to live from those intentionally. More indirectly, the Community has been incredible for me.
- 59:04 Sean: That’s the coolest part. The reason I didn’t say that as my answer is because I simply can’t imagine my life without the Community. It’s such an integral part of who I am and my day to day life. I get so much value from that. I am there to help people, but everyone is there to help people. It’s this infinite multiplication. You take for grated that, at any minute of the day, you can go in and get help from people who care about the long-game, quality, and not compromising your professionalism. They get that. You can get feedback like that all the time. You can chat with people, bounce off ideas, and that’s got to be the best thing. It doesn’t even matter if we have this podcast anymore; the fact that we have those people together is nothing short of incredible.
- 1:00:03 Ben: There are people who I’ve become very good friends with that I get to see every day in the chat room and who hold me accountable. The reason I’m getting up at 5am three days a week and running is because there are people in the Community, who would ask me about it if they didn’t hear from me that I was doing that. That’s not the only reason, but it helps so much to have people around you who are supportive and challenge you to be your better self. I really appreciate that. Before we were getting reviews or the Community was here, I loved being in this room and talking with Sean about stuff.
- 1:00:51 Sean: Remember when we used to just podcast, and this was it? There was no chat going on, we weren’t live streaming, it was just you and me having a little meeting. People don’t know that us meeting pre-dates this podcast. The reason Ben’s doing the podcast is because he listened to it before he was even on it, and he and I would meet every Monday or every other Monday. It was like the Community before the Community, just us wanting to connect with like-minded people and go deep on topics. It led to Ben being on the show.
- 1:01:37 Ben: That was enough in and of itself. I enjoyed my conversations with Sean greatly, and now we get to share that experience. We get people writing in and sharing how the show has helped them and how it has changed their lives, the impact we’re having. I feel very humbled by that. Because I show up here and have the opportunity to have a microphone in front of me while having these conversations with Sean, other people’s lives are better. It means the world to me to be able to hear about that from people and know that’s happening. Even though it would be enough if it was just the two of us alone in this room, I’m so grateful that I get to share this experience.
- 1:02:33 Aaron: Even if we only make a very small difference in one person’s life, that still has huge ramifications. It’s even more than that, and that’s what’s incredible. Anybody can find this if they’re looking for help.
- 1:02:49 Matt: That’s the incredible thing about the seanwes network. I’m sure it has impacted plenty of people, because I know it impacted me in my everyday life. The way these guys were talking, I realized I needed to change my mindset. I wasn’t doing things right and my standard was too low. It really has impacted and helped people. It’s a great show.
- 1:03:54 Sean: Dane asks, “According to your advice you say to show up everyday for two years and not expect any results. Now that you guys have reached that milestone, how do you feel about the growth response the podcast has received over the past couple of years?” To me, and you have to take this the right way, it’s nothing compared to what it will be. I really mean that. That’s why we titled this, This is Only the Beginning. As crazy as it is, having over a million downloads, having hundreds of people watch live, and having hundreds of people in the Community is awesome, but it’s only the beginning. The fact that we got any kind of response, Ben, and that anybody downloaded or cared that you and I were in a room recording a podcast was a fluke. I still stand by the “show up every day for two years” motto, but it’s just a positive side effect if you happen to get any results in that time. Just keep going. The fact that we’ve gotten any kind of results in under two years means that I can’t wait for five years from now.
- 1:05:17 Ben: I don’t know how many of you are runners and can relate to this, but there’s this thing that happens when you’re approaching the finish line or nearing the end of your run. It’s like a mental switch goes off, and you think, “Okay, we’re almost done,” and your body starts to relax a little bit and you start to slow down. As far back as I can remember, any time I’ve competed in something, when there was a finish line, I always told myself, “No, pretend like this is the start of the race. Run as hard as you would when you’re getting off of the starting line.” Even now, for the last quarter mile of my run, I’ll get up to a sprint. I want to maintain a mindset that I’m not running as if this is the end of the race. I’m running as if this is the beginning.
- 1:06:24 For this podcast, we’re not approaching a finish line or anything like that, but sometimes, you get to this point where you feel like you’ve been running for a long time and it might be time to relax. I like to bring myself back to the mindset of this only being the beginning of the race to give it that kind of push, energy, enthusiasm, and hustle. I find every time that I go running that I think, “There’s no way I have it in myself to sprint right now,” but then I push myself and I find that I do. That’s what we’re experiencing right now, this energy, new life, and hustle that’s coming to this show and to the seanwes brand and the network. There are a lot of amazing, exciting things happening.
My one regret is that I didn’t start episode 001 with more leading zeros.
- 1:07:28 Sean: I started this podcast with episode 001 from the very beginning. When I see the list there, it’s going to be this nice straight block of numbers for forever, that’s what I thought. Now I think, “We should have had more zeros! What are we going to do when we hit 1,000?”