Download: MP3 (20.9 MB)

Today, I take you behind the scenes.

Inside seanwes membership, Aaron Dowd and I host a weekly, members-only show called Fired Up Mondays.

Our latest episode was so good, I decided to bring this exclusive clip to the seanwes podcast.

I’m even more raw and real on Fired Up Mondays because I let the members in on the insider stuff and my plans for the future. Today’s episode is no exception.

You’ll hear me lay out my plans to go all in on CommunityTalk.com—that’s the SaaS company we’re working on. We’ve built the best community messaging system in the world (we’ve been using it internally for years), and now we want to make it available to other community organizers.

I also talk about my plans to build out a media agency by hiring members from our Community (the talent pool here is absolutely insane).

Get Updates on CommunityTalk

We've built the best community messaging system in the world and after using it ourselves internally for several years, we're excited to finally make it available to you as well.

If you'd like to hear when we launch CommunityTalk (and who knows, since you're early, you just might get into the beta!) just enter your email below and I'll keep you posted.

Show Notes
  • 00:00 Sean: I’ve got something pretty special for you today. Behind the scenes, Aaron Dowd and I do a show called Fired Up Mondays. It’s a show we do every Monday exclusively for the Community. It’s normally just for members and we usually don’t ever share this. It’s a little more raw, direct, and behind the scenes. I give the members insider stuff—my thought process, my vision for the future, etc.
  • 00:30 This episode in particular was a very good episode. I had just gotten back from Digital Commerce Summit and I was recapping some of the things I learned there. I spent a lot of time writing on the plane, thinking things out, and thinking about the future. In this episode, you’ll hear me talk about subsidiaries—property of seanwes and my future vision for seanwes. I talk about my vision for seanwes media, which is an agency I want to put together.
  • 01:12 Of course, whenever I want to hire, I want to hire straight from the Community because we just have the best people here with a good mindset and the talent pool is insane. I’m realizing we have all the processes—I teach people how to do client work, how to price on value. We have all the processes down and we also have the incredible talent pool of fantastic people inside the Community.
  • 01:39 I’ve been thinking through this for the past year that I want to put together an agency and hire those people. It would almost be like a paid internship. If you don’t want to work at seanwes media forever, you would certainly learn more than you would ever learn getting a college degree. Of course, we would give people paid sabbaticals, every seventh week off, because that’s how we do it here. If you did want to stay forever, we’re going to make it great for you.
  • 02:10 That’s probably a few years out, but I also talk about the very next thing I want to focus on. I’m still going to run seanwes. I’ll still have seanwes membership and the Community, but I want to focus exclusively on Community Talk, which I was previously putting off until 2019. Some of you know I’ve been talking about this SaaS app. It’s the community messaging system that we’ve been building for several years now. Justin has been helping me build this since I hired him as a contractor several years ago.
  • 02:52 Eventually, he joined the team full time. We have built the best community system in the world, called CommunityTalk. You can find more about it at CommunityTalk.com. It’s not yet available publicly. We’ll probably make it available on an exclusive beta-level access sometime in the future, but I want to exclusively focus on this focus on building this software company.
  • 03:21 The show will continue to cover the journey. I’m going to be sharing what I learn, but this is the next stage for me—focusing on Community talk. The conversation I had with Aaron on Fired Up Monday was just so good, I had to share this treat with you.

CommunityTalk

  • 04:13 Sean: I want to go all in on Community Talk. It’s not going to be super different for you. It’s my focus behind the scenes. It’s not like I’m going to be gone or anything. I’m going to continue to share the journey. It’s just an evolution of the journey. Now, you’re going to hear me talk about building a software company and everything that goes into that. There are some extremely good connections that I’ve made and relationships that I’ve built. The people at Rainmaker are interested in Community Talk.
  • 04:49 They have thousands of customers. I don’t know what this looks like, exactly. I’m sure there is a lot that goes into it. Imagine licensing the system that we’ve built to a very large platform with thousands of customers.
  • 05:05 Aaron: That could be huge.
  • 05:13 Sean: That’s the value of conferences. To quickly go through the other things I got out of this, I got a ton of ideas for content. Tons of ideas. This was right up my alley. At most conferences I go to, 40% of the talks are good, at best. That’s actually fine. That’s standard for the conferences I’ve been to. The real value is the people that you meet.
  • At this conference, every single talk was stellar—maybe one was good, and not stellar.

  • 05:43 There were something like 16 talks. It was as if it was tailored for me. You’ll see the notes from that, so I think you’ll get a lot out of it as well. It got me thinking about my own copyrighting. This conference got me thinking through my courses and, in the future, advertising strategies. I haven’t messed with advertising very much. As we perfect our funnels, onboarding, automated systems, and sequences, I would like to explore doing some paid promotion stuff. I’ve had a lot of people say, “I wish I knew about what you do at seanwes years ago.”
  • 06:23 Content marketing is great and word of mouth is great, but it’s a little bit slower. If we can accelerate that, that would be in everyone’s best interest. I learned a lot about advertising strategies. I teach a lot, too. Even though you learn while you teach, it’s not quite the same as when you’re a student who’s listening. When I go to conferences, it forces me to be in that listening mode, that receiving mode. The benefits are incredible. I got clarity and space from my own situation, not unlike what I get on sabbatical.
  • 07:01 I’m traveling. Plane rides and airport terminals are great places to work. I’ve had very productive, very focused times. I don’t know if you’ve experienced the same, Aaron.
  • 07:12 Aaron: I haven’t taken a ton of trips, but the couple I have in the past few years have been good. You can do nothing in a plane except work, really.
  • 07:21 Sean: I’ve been tempted to buy wifi on a flight, but I never do, because that constraint, that restriction, is so powerful. I’ve been able to get such focused writing done. In fact, on the plane, I wrote down several processes. If your process isn’t written down, you don’t have a process. I wrote a process for conducting podcast interviews. I wrote a process for writing and sending podcast newsletters. I wrote a process for capturing and making available interesting articles that I come across. I would really like to put out a curated newsletter.
  • 07:58 I don’t know if it would be for members only. I’m always hesitant to tell people what I’m checking out and looking at, because they’ll see it as an endorsement. Actually, I want to take the time to go through something fully so I can endorse it and recommend it.
  • I don’t know if it would be a weekly newsletter, but I want to share some kind of curated list of the things I’m consuming and that I think are good.

  • 08:28 I wrote down a process for that.
  • 08:30 Aaron: Scott wants to know if you have a process for writing processes.
  • 08:36 Sean: I want to say that I do, but I haven’t written that down yet, so I have to say no. I need to write that down.
  • 08:42 Aaron: I want to see all of these processes.

seanwes Future Vision

  • 08:48 Sean: Another thing I wrote on the plane was my future vision for seanwes. Some subsidiaries:
    1. seanwes publishing
    2. seanwes media
    3. seanwes conference
    4. seanwes podcast
    5. seanwes tv
    6. seanwes music
    7. seanwes airlines
  • 08:58 seanwes media is a big one. It’s huge. I’m just going to explain what it is. Do you know what VaynerMedia is? Most of you guys know Gary Vaynerchuck. He has an agency called VaynerMedia. It’s a 700 person agency. They work with big brands. They do different campaigns for them, all the creative stuff. It’s a $100 million a year business. I’ve been thinking. When I think about Community Talk, I’m going to spin up this subsidiary company. It’s not separate. Cory Miller and I were talking about this. It will be under seanwes, the umbrella.
  • 09:56 I’m going to need engineers. I’m going to need busdev people. I’m going to need customer support. seanwes is still going to continue to grow. We’re going to need people to help with content creation and the Community as things get bigger. All I’m ever interested in hiring from is the Community. I have no interest in going anywhere else to hire people. You think I’m not paying attention, but I have the chat open on my second monitor. When you see Sean as “idle,” I’m watching.
  • 10:40 I’m always watching! I pay attention to the people that are participating. Why do you think I hired Cory Miller? Why do you think I hired Kyle? I’m paying attention. You’re thinking, “I get my value out of the Community. I listen. I watch the stuff. I don’t participate. I’ll hang out during the live shows, but I don’t say anything in the chat, because everyone else has already said what I want to say.”
  • When you don’t participate in the Community, you’re missing out in more ways than we can count in this entire 30 minute show.

  • 11:15 I’m paying attention to the people who participate, who engage, who answer questions. When I’m thinking about hiring, those people come to mind. You don’t even have to want to work at seanwes forever. For instance, I know Kyle doesn’t want to. Kyle wants to build his own platform and his own empire, and I’m enabling that. I pay him to take sabbaticals every seven weeks, and he does whatever he wants. He builds whatever he wants. It doesn’t even have to say, “I wouldn’t want to work at seanwes forever.”
  • I’m here to help enable your dreams, your passions, and your future.

  • 11:10 If seanwes is a day job for you for a little while, I’m okay with that. That’s something for me to figure out, “Is it okay for someone to work at seanwes, and that’s their day job?” I realized, yes, it is. Not everyone’s dream is to work for another company, but some people do need a day job. I know we’re running out of time, so I want to quickly get to the point here. Obviously, I want to hire people for seanwes and for Community Talk. I need to figure out the legal arrangement there. If I hire new people, are they hired under Community Talk, or are they seanwes employees who work on Community Talk as a project? I don’t know.
  • 12:37 While I want to hire for those things, here’s the other one. seanwes media is going to be an agency. This is going to be consulting, creative work, working on campaigns, building websites, doing video, animation, illustration, copyrighting—it will be an agency. Think about it, Aaron! We have the best talent pool here. We have the best people. They’re super talented. We’re trying to help them work with clients, work on their pricing, get their copyrighting right, build an audience, work on their email marketing, professionalism, and all of that, but we have our own proprietary systems for training people.
  • 13:20 We have Value-Based Pricing, for instance. You want to work with clients and do it professionally? You want to enjoy your work and not have clients that walk all over you, but pay you well and then recommend you to someone else and give you great material to write a case study? That’s what we teach you. Imagine hiring people and giving them all free access to the Value-Based Pricing system.
  • 13:42 Even if you don’t want to work at the agency forever, it’s like a paid internship where you learn more than you would possibly learn anywhere else on client professionalism. Meanwhile, we actually work with clients. I don’t know if we can get to the nine figure a year business that VaynerMedia is, but even if it’s an eight figure a year agency, not only can we pay people great salaries, but of course I would do sabbaticals. Does anyone want to get paid to take a week off every seven weeks?
  • 14:20 Aaron: Of course they do!
  • 14:22 Sean: Everyone would get a paid sabbatical. How can I do that? I schedule it. Go in your Google Calendar, make an event, and say “repeat” every seven weeks.
  • 14:39 Aaron: It’s super easy! And then it just shows up, and then you’re like, “Oh, that’s nice. I don’t have to think about it.” My calendar knows when the next sabbatical is.
  • 14:49 Sean: The client goes, “How long is the project going to take?” Instead of nine weeks, you say ten weeks. It’s that simple. We get the ten weeks worth of work done in nine weeks. Meanwhile, we make enough to not only pay people a great salary and give them sabbaticals, it will increase the brand equity of seanwes.
  • seanwes media will make enough money so we can deploy it’s resources against other seanwes subsidiaries.

  • 15:24 Aaron: There’s one thing you forgot to mention with the seanwes media agency, and that’s the support system of the Community. I think that’s unparalleled. If you’re listening right now, how many times have you been at a job, you run into a problem, and you don’t know who to talk to? You think, “If I talk to my boss, he’s just going to tell me to figure it out or he’s going to be angry. These people over here will think I’m incompetent.” There’s none of that in the Community. You can jump in and say, “Hey, I’m struggling with this,” and people are all over it.
  • 16:03 They’ll jump in and help you brainstorm, give you answers if they can, and point you in the right direction. That’s an incredible resource to have. We all grow so much faster than we would by ourselves because of the Community.
  • 16:18 Sean: Not to mention, Aaron, you’re thinking, “How do I know I’ll get along with the culture?” Are you in the Community? Done. Nobody else does this. If you look at it objectively, it sounds like I’m making people pay to become candidates for working at the agency. In fact, we are. You’re investing in yourself to be a member. What kind of people do I want? I want people who invest in themselves. If you do get brought onto the team, you get free membership.
  • 16:55 Who better to have on the team? That’s only one thing. That would allow us to get the funds to deploy against other things, like seanwes conference. That wouldn’t just be in Austin, Texas, but global. seanwes conference Europe! Imagine it. seanwes podcast, which is a network. seanwes tv, which will no longer be a single show with me on it. Again, that would be a network. seanwes music is one I thought Aaron would be excited about.
  • 17:33 Aaron: I’m super excited about this! I will run the studio.
  • 17:38 Sean: Just for fun, because I wanted to 10X my 10X, I put seanwes airlines. We can get creative there.

Things We Have to Work On

  • 17:53 Sean: Process, process, process. We have to work on systematization, exhaustive and thorough training, and we have to eventually look into Human Resources. That’s not really something that we have right now. We have to really refine and hone our values, mission, and culture. We’re in a good place, but we need to really, really define those things. Those will permeate everything. Then there are sabbaticals. At first, I thought, “Could we do sabbaticals with the agency? That’s a lot of people and a lot of money.”
  • 18:42 I said, “Nope,” to my thought process. I was trying to see if we could justify it, but it’s not about justifying it. It’s about believing in the reason that we do it, believing that good things come from it and trusting the process. I decided that whatever I do, whatever subsidiaries we have, I don’t know how we’re going to do it, but we’re going to do sabbaticals. We’re going to figure out how to make it work.
  • 19:13 Was that worth taking a trip and being away for a few days? I think it was pretty good. This might be the best show. Short term is Community Talk. I have a meeting with Justin. We can’t exactly talk about it, because he’s super busy right now, working on getting this new chat update to you. It’s been delayed, I know, but it’s going to be so worth it. You’re going to love this. He and I still need to meet more and talk more about this, but that’s the next thing I want to focus on. I don’t just want to help provide the software for people to build communities, but our strong suit is education.
  • 20:17 We crank out courses. We’re very good teachers. We have super high quality production. With Community Talk, I want to have another department where we help people build communities and everything that goes into that—all the content marketing, building an audience, selling, marketing, pricing… All of that stuff. It’s about building community. The seanwes Community is our case study, but all of you are community builders. You’re building communities around your thing. You’re attracting people. You’re building an audience. It doesn’t just have to be people on your newsletter.
  • 21:04 It doesn’t just have to be people buying your products. You’re building community. You’re bringing like-minded people together. I want to help people facilitate that more intentionally, both in philosophy and by giving them the software to do that. I’m very excited about the future.