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We’re doing something a little different for this episode. In the seanwes Community, we do a special live show every Monday morning called Fired Up Mondays. This is our community office hours where members can get live answers to their questions right there on the show. This is just one of the many benefits of seanwes membership; to find out more, go to

Fired Up Mondays is members-only, but since Ben and I weren’t able to record over the holidays, we’re sharing this episode with you. It’s a little different in format than the regular seanwes podcast, but I think you’ll still find it full of value. Ben and I will be back next week with a great episode called “Setting Your 2020 Goals”.

In the meantime, enjoy this look inside Fired Up Mondays! 🔥

It’s the last Fired Up Mondays of 2019!

We have a big show today, starting with a question about staying sane during the period where you can’t afford to do your passion. It’s frustrating to feel like you aren’t making progress, but the key is to realize that you are: you’re laying a strong foundation for pursuing your passion wholeheartedly in the years to come.

Next we have a question about giving value to your newsletter subscribers. If you can no longer produce exclusive content for them, how do you reward their loyalty? We’ve got a great episode from the seanwes podcast archives that lays out the plan for you.

Finally, there’s a question about understanding the pain points of your podcast audience to come up with topics. You can only figure out so much about your audience before you drum up an audience, so your best bet is to just start with the topics you care about, and, once people respond, ask them what they’re struggling with!

Finally-finally, Dan talks a bit about how much he (hasn’t) changed in the last seven years, and why, just maybe, that’s okay.

See you in 2020!

Questions Answered
  • 2:04 – I’m struggling with feeling like I will be behind in my side hustle by setting it aside to go to school for the next two years to better improve my day job earning potential. I can't help feeling a little trapped that all my time and resources for the next two years will be funnelled away from my passion so that I can better protect it later. How do I stay sane in this process?
  • 6:09 – One of my 2020 goals is to launch a podcast. Currently I’m creating a newsletter-only “Precast” each week to help me get used to the process and it’s been going great. Once I launch the podcast though I won’t be able to keep creating a private precast also. So how can I reward loyalty to my newsletter subscribers when the podcast goes live?
  • 13:15 – I am struggling with the customer avatar for my podcast. Some podcasts are purely psychography driven (e.g. a podcast for anyone who is sick of shady marketing), while some focus on demographics. (e.g. a podcast for Email Marketers). My podcast is more psychography driven, but that does not give me a clear idea about my audience pain points and hence I struggle to come up with topics
Links and Resources Mentioned
Episode Transcript

Note: This transcript of the episode was machine-generated by Descript and has not been edited for correctness. It’s provided for your convenience when searching. Please excuse any errors.

Dan: Hey, Dan, here, we’re doing something a little different for this episode in the Shawn West community. We do a special live show every Monday morning called fired up Mondays. This is our community office hours where members can get live answers to their questions right there on the show. This is just one of the many benefits of Shawn West membership.

[00:00:19] To find out more, go to Sean Fired up Mondays is members only, but since Ben and I weren’t able to record over the holidays, we’re sharing this episode with you. It’s a little different in format than the regular Sean West podcast, but I think you’ll still find it full of value. Ben and I will be back next week with a great episode called setting your 2020 goals.

[00:00:43] In the meantime, enjoy this look inside fired up Mondays.

[00:01:04] welcome to fire it up. Mondays it is December 30th. The second last day of 2019 and I dunno how that happened. So if anyone does you reach out. I mean know, because it has been a long, strange year and yet it’s gone by pretty quickly, pretty quickly. We’ve got a lot of people hanging out in the chat today, so shout out to Prinav Garrett, Alex, Tony, and anyone else who’s, who’s out there, let me know.

[00:01:36] Feel free to say, hi, we got a few questions to cover today and they’re going to be good. So, all right, I’m going to go straight into the questions. Tony says, I’m struggling with feeling like I will be behind in my side hustle by setting it aside to go to school for the next two years to better improve my day job earning potential.

[00:01:56] I’ll also be able to side hustle as a CPA after that. Still, I can’t help feeling a little trapped that all my time and resources for the next two years will be funneled away from my passion so that I can better protect it later. How do I stay sane in this process, Tony? I get this. You want to, you want to put time and energy into your passion, into your side hustle.

[00:02:22] Well, we talk a lot about. In the overlap book, for example, about the need to protect your passion, and that’s the way to go with this. There’s a couple of couple of ways to start thinking about this. The first is to recognize that in the grand scheme of things, two years is not that much time. Think back about 2019 and.

[00:02:47] If you’re anything like me, you might have this strange sensation where, uh, January 1st, 2019 feels like ages ago. But it also kind of feels like the year went by quickly. Like you can only really remember one or two things that happened, or maybe six or seven things. Two years just isn’t that much time.

[00:03:09] So that’s, that’s the start. But that there’s a little bit of cold comfort when you’re spending two years. Putting all your time and energy into one thing when you’d rather be putting that time and energy into something else. Here’s a bit of a reframe. Instead of funneling resources away from your passion, consider that you’re funneling resources into the foundation of your passion by not focusing on your side hustle right now.

[00:03:37] You’re guaranteeing a lot more stability for its pursuit in the future. One way to think of this is you are investing in or doing a favor for future Tony future. Tony will probably be wearing some kind of high tech silver glasses because you know it’s the future, right? But regardless of eyewear, imagine yourself in two years thanking you right now today for the commitment that you’re giving to creating a solid foundation for.

[00:04:11] Your passion. I’m hoping that this mindset helps you well, helps you stay sane because w you know, we want you to stay sane, Tony. We want you to stay sane. But I think thinking about it this way helps. It’s, it’s difficult to contemplate spending two years not working on your passion directly, but understand that you are still working in the service.

[00:04:40] Of your passion by spending two years building a foundation for it to sit on top of, you know, doesn’t, doesn’t give you the same kind of immediate gratification as working on your passion might now, but this is, yeah, I’m gonna go back to using Sean’s words. Do you care enough about this thing to not do it right now so that you can build a solid foundation for it?

[00:05:08] Similarly, if you were, if you were building a house, you need to build a solid foundation for that house. It might be very gratifying to be able to see your dream home all, you know, three stories of it with turrets and stuff. Is that just me who wants turrets on their home? I don’t know. It might be very gratifying to see it right now, but if it’s just going to collapse because you haven’t taken the time to build a strong foundation.

[00:05:35] You know, what do you actually have in the end? So, yeah, thinking, thinking about it, instead of thinking about funneling resources away from your passion, I strongly recommend you consider that you’re funneling resources into the foundation of your passion. Alex asked, one of my 2020 goals is to launch a podcast.

[00:05:56] Currently, I’m creating a newsletter only precast each week to help me get used to the process, and it’s been going great. Once I launched the podcast, though, I won’t be able to keep creating a private precast also, so how can I reward loyalty to my newsletter subscribers when the podcast goes live in the chat, Douglas says that he wants turrets with lasers.

[00:06:22] Okay, cool. Garrett says, lots of people still put turrets on their home source. I work in the industry. Garrett, how many of them do have lasers though? I says, it’s tough to get that past building codes. Okay. This, this is all good to know. This is all good to know. I’m collecting this Intel for when I eventually build my dream home and try to put lasers on it.

[00:06:43] All right. Back to Alex’s question. How do I reward loyalty to my newsletter subscribers once I’m not shipping this newsletter only precast each week? Alex, I have a podcast episode to recommend to you and if you’ve listened to it already, give it, give it another listen. Cause this is one of those podcast episodes that benefits from multiple.

[00:07:06] It’s episode four 23 turn one piece of content into six or more with this strategy. So just go to Sean two three and check it out. The summary of this podcast is you. Start by making. If you start by making your own podcast and you record on video, this show tells you how to turn it into content in a bunch of different mediums, text, audio, video, et cetera.

[00:07:39] This is super interesting and it’s super important for cutting down the amount of work. That you do. Right. Because Alex is saying, you know, once I’m doing a whole podcast, I can’t also make a second podcast. Yeah. This is problematic. Similarly, if you’re already going through the work to make a podcast episode, you’re going to have a hard time also writing articles.

[00:08:03] So instead, instead, you. Create one sort of key piece of content like your podcast, and then you use the process of creating it to generate other textual content. Alex says, I’ve listened to that so many times. I’ll do it again. It sounds, I mean, I think it contains the solution for you, Alex, so it’s worth a listen.

[00:08:23] But let me pick a couple things out for you. Uh, one thing Alex mentioned was potentially offering opportunities for his newsletter subscribers to be interviewed on the show. He didn’t sound super excited about doing that though. So I’m just gonna I’m gonna give you this perspective. Don’t do this if it isn’t actually what you want the podcast to be.

[00:08:47] Like if you just feel obligated to let newsletter subscribers be guests on your show, but you don’t actually want to have guests on your show, for example. It’s a bad idea. The other thing about this is it’s only a reward for the subset of people on your list who would actually, you know, want to be guests on a podcast, which I’m going to go ahead and guesses, not all of them, and probably isn’t most of them.

[00:09:13] The thing about, here’s the thing about an email newsletter. Your email newsletter is important, but it’s also just an email newsletter, which means most of the people that get it, they didn’t pay you for it, and they’re just expecting to get an email from you, and the email should be valuable. That’s the bar you have to hit.

[00:09:32] So, well, I wouldn’t, well, I would never encourage you to like, you know, half-ass your email newsletter. I would also say that you . Running your email newsletter is not a separate full time job. It’s just another channel. It’s another content channel in addition to whatever else you’re already doing. This is, so this is why episode four 23 is so important because it’s all about how do you hit multiple channels with the the minimum amount of effort by repurposing your content.

[00:10:06] So. To give you a while you, if you’ve already listened to the show to pull out the applicable thing from that episode. What you can do with your email newsletter is you can send the same kind of content that, for example, you’re going to post on your site in your newsletter, but you add a little bit more.

[00:10:26] You can add a little bit more of, you can even add just a couple paragraphs of extra context or extra thoughts about. Uh, about the topic that only your newsletter subscribers are seeing. That’s the bonus. The other thing about email is it’s a bit of a more intimate communication medium than a podcast. A podcast is a podcast is broadcast and everyone, everyone experiences it that way.

[00:10:53] So the Sean West podcast to the listener feels like they are listening in on a conversation between two other people. But that’s very different to feeling like they are being addressed. So a good piece of advice when it comes to addressing an email newsletter is act like you’re writing an email to one person because from their perspective, you are right.

[00:11:20] Whether you have 10 people on your list or 10,000 people, every person who receives your email is one person getting an email from you. This is why you don’t want to address your list like, Hey guys. Hey everyone. I know that a lot of you, you don’t want to do that because the person receiving your email is not thinking of themselves as part of a crowd.

[00:11:42] They’re thinking that they personally are getting an email from you personally. The fact that you’re delivering that email through mail champ is irrelevant as far as the content of the email goes. Your best bet is to address. To write the email like you’re writing to one other person. And so when it comes to the difference between what your newsletter subscribers get versus what podcast listeners get, your newsletter subscribers are already experiencing their connection with you a little differently because they’re getting an email that says, Hey, Bob, or Hey, you know, friend, or whatever.

[00:12:19] Here’s what I think about this. Now they can go and listen to what you think and perhaps a less personal. Way by listening to the show, but they can get the personal touch from your email. So when you’re composing these emails and you’re thinking about what can I give people in this email that they are not getting by just listening to my podcast episode, think personal touch.

[00:12:43] All right.  question Prinav asked, I am struggling with the customer avatar from my podcast. Some podcasts are purely psychopathy driven. For example, a podcast for anyone who’s sick of shady marketing, while some focus on demographics, for example, a podcast for email marketers. My podcast is more of the former, but then that doesn’t give me a clear idea about my audience pain points, and hence I struggle to come up with the topics.

[00:13:11] Now, I asked Prinav a little bit more about his target psychographic. I really don’t like that word, but basically it’s talking about addressing people based on what they think about as opposed to who they are. Prinav said, my podcast is about humanized marketing strategies and tactics, a podcast for marketers and entrepreneurs who are purpose-driven, who believe in solving problems, and then making money as a byproduct and not the other way around.

[00:13:44] All right. That sounds good. Prinav and I am tempted to say that you are overthinking this a little bit. Let me suggest an alternative to trying to figure out people’s pain points before you can come up with podcast topics. Given who you are and what you know about the people that you want to reach.

[00:14:08] Humanized marketing. I presume that you are addressing these people because you feel that way because you believe in solving problems and then making money as a byproduct and not the other way around. So given that, what are some topics that you want to talk about on your podcast? What are topics that you, you feel like you could do a podcast about?

[00:14:32] Like what’s the kind of topic that. If someone asked you or the topic came up, you could just talk and talk and talk and talk about it. Like what could you go on and on about? That is a good topic for a podcast. So here’s the thing, come up with a list of those. If you can only come up with one, come up with one and then.

[00:14:54] Record a podcast about it. But if you can come up with more than one, come up with a list of 10 of those topics, not topics that you’re worried that other people want to hear about, but topics that you care about and that you could talk about at length. Come up with a list of 10. Now start recording them.

[00:15:16] You know, turn on the mic, turn on the camera. However you’re producing the show. Start recording them. Do this until you’ve recorded six episodes. Six. Okay. Six episodes. Here’s the relevant Sean McCabe. Bizdom you can’t steer a parked car. This is the thing. Instead of trying to divine what people’s pain points are before you start, create something and then see how people react to it.

[00:15:45] So create these six episodes, and I’ll tell you why I’m saying six in a minute. Once you’ve created them, you put them out there and see if you can find at least one person that appreciates the episodes you created and one person who does not, and then ask yourself, who are those people? What are their psychographics?

[00:16:06] This is going to give you an idea of the people to whom the content that you want to make. Appeals. Because here’s the thing. If you found out that a bunch of people were interested in some topic, like how to, how to correctly, how to correctly address your email subscribers, Garret, some people need to hear about that, but if that’s a topic that you’re not really interested in talking about, it doesn’t matter that you’ve found people that are interested in it.

[00:16:37] You are not going to do a great job of making a podcast about it. You’re probably not going to want to do a podcast about it. The podcast topics come first from what you have a lot to say about, so I want you to start there. Here’s the reason you do six episodes, because a lot of people want to do a podcast.

[00:16:59] I’ve wanted to do a podcast in the past. I’ve recorded podcasts with a friend of mine before. You don’t see them anywhere though, do you? I don’t have domain name where my podcast is at, and the reason is we did one episode and that’s the end of the anecdote. The reason I’m saying record six episodes per novice that I know you want to do a podcast, but doing six episodes of a podcast is going to tell you whether or not you want to.

[00:17:29] Do you actually want to do a podcast. Like, and, and that’s the first step. I think the first step is doing a podcast, showing yourself, showing everyone that you can do a podcast, and later you can start to shape the podcast towards the people that are listening to it. But you’ve got to start with something.

[00:17:51] You’ve got to start by actually doing something. And then once people are listening to the thing you do, you can ask them what they’re struggling with. You can ask them what their pain points are and that will always be more effective than just trying to imagine their struggles on your own, right. Like the process of coming up with the so called customer avatar can be useful, but it is still, it is fundamentally limited by the fact that you are making up in your own head.

[00:18:21] What other people need, and I will grant you. You are trying to do that from your best understanding of those people, but that’s still pales in comparison to having a person write to you and say, I love how you talked about X on your show because I’m always struggling with a. And, B, and C. once they tell you that, then you can go do a show about a, and B, and C, and now you’re gonna have that experience of your audience feeling like you are reading their minds.

[00:18:51] So this is the thing, I’ll, by the way, I can guarantee that when you post a show, at least some of the people in the community will listen to it, share the link. They might not be your audience, but even that itself will be useful information. So Pranav just ship  says, I have already started. Okay, good. Six episodes.

[00:19:14] I mean, maybe you already have six episodes Prinav but I don’t see links to them in the chat. So until I do, that’s my advice. That’s it for the questions. So there’s kind of this tradition that Sean forced me to start and I hate him for it. I’m, I’m joking. I’m half joking. I’m not joking where he wants me to like give an update on the novel.

[00:19:38] I’m writing on the show. You know what, I still haven’t done a lot of work on it in the last week or so, had another call with my writing coach who was useful, but still still working. But here’s something, here’s kind of a Dan update that I did want to give because I think, I think that it will be useful before this show started, you know, an hour before I put out the message that, Hey, fired up Mondays, come and ask your questions.

[00:20:08] And then I’ve got an hour before the show starts. So I was looking at my journal. I use an app called day one which is on the Mac and the iPhone. It’s a, it’s a really good app and one of its features is it’ll show you posts from this date that is December 30th from previous years. So I went through him and there was a post in there from 2012 which if your accounting is seven years ago.

[00:20:37] And it punched me in the gut a little bit because here’s what it was about. It was about me not being consistent with writing and other habits and how I really wanted to do that in the new year, but I wasn’t going to set new year’s resolutions because I recognized that just flipping a switch was not going to change me.

[00:20:57] And the tough thing about reading that is I could have written pretty much the same post this morning. Which, which is a little bit scary, isn’t it? That like maybe I haven’t changed at all in the ways that I’ve wanted to in seven years. And it, it, it took me a few minutes to get some perspective on this and here’s what occurred to me.

[00:21:20] What have I done in the last seven years? I have ended and started relationships. I’ve moved across the world and back. I left my career and ended up with this bizarre and very cool job that I’m doing right at this moment. I wrote most of a first draft of a novel, nevermind that it continues to be a struggle with myself to finish it.

[00:21:42] I’ve improved my fitness, which is another thing I talked about in this journal entry. Nevermind that it’s still difficult to be consistent with working out. So if you just look at the surface, it’s easy to think, I want it to be a different person. I’m doing the Gary Vaynerchuk. Sarcastic arm thing that he does.

[00:22:00] It’s hard to describe if you’ve never seen it, but a different person, you know, I wanted it to be this, this imaginary Superman that I made up at some point that, you know is a hundred percent consistent with his writing and his working out in his whatever, and that imaginary Superman was based on my, you know, superficial perception of how other people that I admire do, do their thing.

[00:22:28] But I haven’t turned into that Superman yet, so, so what have I done? I haven’t done anything. I’m the same. It’s, ah, life is slipping through my fingers, like grains of sand. I mean, that last part is true. Here’s how I’ve decided to think about that instead. The truth is that you’re constantly changing.

[00:22:45] You’re constantly becoming a different person just by interacting with the world around you. And the reality is that you control very few of the variables involved in that change in even including the ones that are inside your own head and feel like they’re under your control. Like I have a hard time being consistent with habits, wanting to be consistent with habits for at least a decade has not resulted in my becoming a different person who is very consistent with their habits.

[00:23:18] So, so what does that tell you? Maybe I’m trying the wrong things, and out of all the books I’ve read in the courses that I’ve taken, I will eventually finally find the one book that will have the one tactic in it. I’ll read the one Instagram post that’ll finally turn me into another person. But as you can tell by my tone of voice, that’s silly.

[00:23:42] Here’s one thing that has changed about me between the ages of 30 and 37. Uh, it’s that I have a little more self acceptance. The actual things that I want from my life have not changed all that much. I still want to be a novelist. I still want to have a certain kind of relationship. I still want to be in a certain kind of physical shape.

[00:24:05] I still want to live a certain kind of lifestyle, but. I better recognize the meaning of this proverb that’s paraphrased in Steven Pressfield’s, the war of art, which you should go read right after this show. If you haven’t read it already, you have a right only to your labor, not to the fruits of your labor.

[00:24:30] I read that a long time ago. Might’ve been seven years ago. In fact, I’ve read that book a lot. I like that phrase so much. It’s also very tricky trying to figure out, okay, what exactly does that mean? What’s the distinction between your labor and the fruits of your labor as far as self-improvement goes?

[00:24:48] As far as this whole thing that probably everyone listening to me right now. Oh, see, I did it wrong. Not everyone, probably you individual who is listening to me right now. Probably you can relate to this, this desire for self-improvement, because if you, if you’re interested in this whole entrepreneurship gig, it’s pretty much guaranteed that there are things that you wish were different about you.

[00:25:14] Just a guess, but pretty much what you can do is just keep trying to move in the desired direction. The difference between the guy who wrote the angsty journal entry seven years ago and the guy who read it today is, I think I’m worrying a little less about whether I’m getting closer to the desired direction.

[00:25:37] Because here’s the thing. Worrying about whether you’re getting closer doesn’t much help you get closer. What does is just continuing to move in that direction so. The way I’m thinking right now about this idea, you have a right to your labor, not the fruits of your labor is what you should be focused on is just trying to keep doing whatever it is you want to do.

[00:26:04] Trying to keep making whatever improvements you want to make. But, and this is the tough part, of course, letting go of being hung up on whether those. Improvements are bearing fruit. There’s nuance to that. Of course, you can make a counter argument of course, but that’s exactly the kind of thing we should save for a community conversation.

[00:26:29] So I’m going to step off my soapbox. I’m going to wish you a fired up Monday. Have a great week and happy new year as well. And I’ll talk to you in 2020.