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In this mini-sabbatical episode, Sean tells the story of how he hired Dan to run seanwes in 2020. Hiring the right person is never easy, but Sean gave himself a huge advantage: he created a community of awesome people. We also discuss what it takes to get an unusual job like Dan’s. The secret isn’t in how you format your résumé, it’s about how well you communicate and connect with others.
Links and Resources Mentioned
- Podcast: 380: Recovery From Depression (Part 1)
- Podcast: 414: What I Wish I Knew Before Hiring a Team
Note: This transcript of the episode was machine-generated and has not been edited for correctness. It’s provided for your convenience when searching. Please excuse any errors.
Dan: [00:00:00] It’s the Dan West podcast. Now
Sean: [00:00:02] I hate it.
Dan: [00:00:03] I’m going to edit that out.
So the other day, I got a, got a question in the community that I’ve gotten before and have never really. Provided much of an answer to people were wondering Sean, about the story of how I got hired to work for you.
Sean: [00:00:37] You know, we, people don’t know this, but you and I had actually planned to do something like eight episodes together in the last part of 2019 and it didn’t end up happening.
Dan: [00:00:51] That’s true. That’s true.
Sean: [00:00:54] We, and we had topics lined up. was going to be great. It was like I would be kind of handing off the show and it wouldn’t be such a like, Oh, suddenly Ben and Dan took over and maybe Shawn’s tied up in the basement, you know? but it was, it was, it was a weird year. You know, a lot of auto stuff like.
Medical stuff. I mean, you, you’ve heard the stuff with, Lacey and you know, me having to take time off, like a lot of things, lot of things did not go according to plan. And one of those things, one of the casualties of such a strange year was getting to record episodes together with, with Dan. And so one of the episodes we wanted to to do was like, how, how did this all come about?
How did Dan end up. Working at Sean Wes and ultimately running the business. You know, this whole, like Sean’s taking a year off in 2020 as a sabbatical while Dan runs things. And how did, how did Sean fine Dan, why did he pick him all of that. And so, here we are, here we are having that episode and it’s, it’s not exactly when we planned to have this episode.
Like it’s a, it’s, you know, it’s now January and. I’m still, I’m still in the same place. I’m still in San Antonio. I haven’t started my travels yet, but we probably will here pretty soon. But, yeah. Other, other than a little bit of a timing difference. This was an episode we wanted to record.
Dan: [00:02:28] Yeah, and I’m, I’m glad we’re, I’m sort of glad we’re finally getting to it because there are things, a, I know as, like I said, people have asked like in the Shawn West community, and I’ve just sort of said, well, we’ll talk about that eventually. So it’s good that we’re getting around to it, but I think there are also like, there are things I haven’t myself, like haven’t even really asked you about that much because I’ve been saving them.
Sean: [00:02:52] Oh, let’s start with those.
Dan: [00:02:53] Okay. Well, no, I, I think we got to start, we might have to start by establishing a bit of the story first.
Sean: [00:03:00] Okay. You’re, you’re running the
Dan: [00:03:01] I am. Yes, that’s right. We have to remind ourselves of that. Here’s what I, here’s what I’m interested in starting. You used to have a team a few years ago and. you know, through the, the ups and downs of of business, you ended up letting them go and then the company basically contracted back to just being Sean doing, you know, doing the day to day stuff.
Now I presume the answer to how did you decide that it was time to hire a person again, was very closely related to I’m taking a sabbatical in a year. But was there more to it than that? Like how, how did you go from being in the position where you had had to shrink the team back down to go to going, okay, I can, I can start expanding it again.
Sean: [00:03:51] Yeah. so for a little bit of context, I’ve recorded a couple episodes that would give people a deeper dive into the whole, like. How do we go from a team of eight full time people down to two, down to one, and then coming back, namely episode three 80, where I talked about my recovery from depression.
I talked about, the business debt, how that happened. it involves the conference, but also some. Failed a software like revenue forecasting plugins and bad data decisions made on that data. a lot of. Pressure financially on the business that I took on myself personally. And then, you know, it ended up with, me having to let people go.
I talked a little bit more about like the lessons that I learned and what I would recommend other people do and what they avoid. And a, an episode I want to say off the top of my head, Dan, and correct me if I’m wrong, maybe you can come back and tell me four 13, what I wish I knew before I hired a team
Dan: [00:04:55] 14 I was ready. I was ready. I was just waiting. I’m like, is he going to get it? Is he going to get it for 14 you where
Sean: [00:05:02] Okay, so four yeah, four 14 what I wish I knew before I hired a team, so that’s going to give you a lot more on this, but as Dan said, had a good number of people in the business and then downsized, and then it was just a couple of us. We did a little bit of work too. well, a lot of work over the course of, of a year in 2018 to completely change the business model.
From that of selling individual courses too. a membership, like basically Netflix for business training and then a community on top of that. So that’s the current model is a membership where instead of spending thousands and thousands of dollars collectively to get access to our programs, you just pay one monthly rate or annual rate and you get some free months.
to become a Shawn West member. So we realigned everything. and then, and then that employee took another job and it was just me for some months. So it was actually part of, it was really nice with just being me because it was like, wow, you know, payroll is really, really low. And you know, my stress is like, my stress levels are also really low, which was phenomenal after like years and years of just high stress, you know, I got to come up with $15,000 every 14 days, you know?
And like I did, I did not miss that. So I was kind of enjoying just being on my own and not having to worry about money. And like I was back to creating content, which that’s something I love to do, Dan, is I love to. I love to create content. I love to help people. You know, I was just, I was writing, I was calling people randomly on Instagram video, just like helping them with their problems and recording videos.
I was, I was just having a great time, I think like a hundred days in a row or something. At the beginning of 2019 I was posting something every day and I was just having a blast. So part of me was like, well, I could just keep doing this on my own. I did know I had this sabbatical year coming up, so just for those that don’t know if anyone’s just jumping in randomly on this episode, Mmm.
2020 I’m taking off the entirety of the year as a sabbatical. This was something that I decided to do back in 2016 so I’ve had some years to prepare. I certainly knew this was coming now. I had a couple options. I could just kind of let the business go dormant, kind of hibernate for the winter, so to speak, except it would be for a whole year and take the time off and then come back and kind of rekindle it and do that whole thing.
Or rather than let it everything go cold, I could have someone continue to run things, you know? Whether that’s like taking over the podcast or you know, running the community. I w actually, now that I mentioned it, Dan, that was probably one of the main things is I, I didn’t want the community to go completely dormant from me being the only one running things.
So by having someone represent Shawn West in the community for our existing members, whether that’s like the weekly office hours or other challenges and things that we’re doing. That was definitely something at the forefront of my mind. So I decided, Hey, you know, it would be good to keep that going. And also, Mmm.
I think I’m going to want to create content on my sabbatical year and what I don’t want to do is spend my entire sabbatical, year editing and post producing and distributing. So it’d be great if I could document and record and send that stuff home, so to speak. And have someone like you post it, write, publish the post, or send out the newsletter or whatever.
so there was that and then there was finally, you know, customer support tickets and, just, just wanting to make sure everyone’s still having a good experience. I will say something that I, I really enjoyed that I missed as soon as I didn’t have anyone on the team and it was just me, is just having someone to talk to.
Like, just bounce ideas off of, Hey, this is what I’m thinking about doing for the next promotion. What do you think? You know, and certainly I have friends that would talk to me, but you don’t want to lean on that too heavily, right? Like, it was great to have someone you could talk to multiple times a week, have a conversation.
So that was, that was actually one of the other really big reasons that I wanted to hire someone is just, Mmm. So to kind of have a sounding board, you know.
Dan: [00:09:49] Yeah. And that I can attest that that was probably one of the most fun parts of it. Job has been just getting on the phone with you and you know, Tom talking about stuff about the business and about everything else for, for long periods of time. And I mean, you have a various times said and all, I think only partially kidding that like, part of what you’re paying me for is just to have someone to like tell you when you’re overthinking things and stuff like that.
Sean: [00:10:18] Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah. So I guess that, I mean, I think you’ve probably got a number of questions, Dan, so maybe I’ll let you steer this thing, but I think that kind of brings us to, how do you find that person.
Dan: [00:10:35] I that. Yeah, that’s I, that’s pretty much why I think you pretty comprehensively answered. Just to summarize, like how did you go from team to know team to wanting, you know, to, to deciding it was time to have a team. I think the, the point about not, you know, you probably could have shuttered Sean Wes for the year.
you know, figuratively speaking and come back and not been completely bankrupt, right by the, by the end of the year. But the fact that you have a community of people that you want to engage with and you wanted someone to keep engaging with them is probably, is like sort of job, you know, if, if everything else had to go, that’s probably the one thing you do, you really didn’t want to let go of.
Sean: [00:11:16] And, and for the record. I intend to lean on the community and, and utilize the community during my sabbatical year. Like, it’s not like I just want to go completely dark. Like that’s, that’s actually been a really great thing for me at various stages is like, it is lonely to run a business and it’s been nice having the community these past, what has it been five, six years or whatever.
To just have people to talk to. Right. And I love that aspect of it, but I couldn’t, you know, for, for reasons that I’ve talked about plenty of times before with the whole like not having obligations during the sabbatical. Cause I’ve found that that negates the restful properties of the sabbatical. I couldn’t have it be where like I have to check in.
So now that it’s set up to where someone else is taking care of that, I can think of it in terms of I get to check in and so maybe I end up being in there just as much as I would have, but I free myself from obligation.
Dan: [00:12:21] Right? You, you get both the best of both worlds. The community gets taken care of, but you don’t have the pressure of being the one. Who has to take care of it, so, so yeah. I mean, let’s move on to, before we get personal about me, I suppose. How, how did you go about finding, you know, how, how do you find that person?
How do you find the person who’s going to run your business while you take a year off?
Sean: [00:12:45] Yeah. I will say I, I wasn’t stressing about it and maybe, I dunno, maybe that’s not responsible. I, I just kind of felt like, Oh, I’ll find the right person. And I don’t know if I ever articulated it for myself, but I guess if I’m doing that now, something like in the second half of 2019, I would have really set out to have that be the main priority.
Like, I need to find someone. That was kind of in my mind, second half of 2019 I thought like, you know, half a year to let the person know what their responsibilities are and make sure they’re, they’re up to speed and all of that. We could do that. Right. And w w we, I don’t, I don’t know. Do you, do you want me to talk about like the timing of when you came on?
Like are you, are you good with that?
Dan: [00:13:34] yeah.
Sean: [00:13:35] Okay, so Dan at the time was not in another job. He was actually taking something akin to a sabbatical year himself. I don’t know. Maybe that’s you could, you could say if that’s too much of a stretch.
Dan: [00:13:50] no. I think to be honest, in retrospect, that’s probably the best way to describe it. And I, I quit the job that I had and I lived off savings for about a year.
Sean: [00:14:00] So he was reaching a point where, he, he had exhausted the savings and would have gone too pursue some other job. Right. And by this point, I am jumping a little bit ahead here, so we might backtrack in a moment. By this point, I knew that Dan was the guy that I wanted to hire, so we’ll come back to that.
and it was like, Ooh, but I wasn’t gonna I wasn’t gonna do this till the second half of the year. And we’re like in the first quarter or something, if I recall correctly, of the year. And it was a timing thing. So like if I waited till I had planned to hire someone, Dan would already have had a different job by then, and it would be too late.
but, but if I did it now, we really weren’t in a financial position to bring someone on in like full time capacity. But looking back, I know things take as long as the amount of time you’d give them, but I can’t imagine having any less than the amount of time we did that, I don’t know, nine or so odd months of like getting you up to speed and like showing you the ropes.
Like I feel very confident. And your abilities to run things for all of 2020 now, but had we had less time? It’s hard to imagine that being the case,
Dan: [00:15:16] I agree. Yes, it was. I mean, it was a lot like there was, we, we, we’ve done a lot in the last nine months.
Sean: [00:15:26] but I, I’m jumping around.
Dan: [00:15:29] Yeah. So in terms of timing you, you said you already knew I was the person you wanted to hire. So how did you, how did you figure that out?
Sean: [00:15:41] So something that I’ve had the, the fortune of is this incredible community that we have. You know, the Shawn West members, and if I recall correctly, maybe, except for my. Brother, almost everyone I’ve hired directly from the community. Everyone that has worked for Sean West been a part of the community, which is actually really cool.
Like it’s a very, it’s a nice advantage. having people essentially pay to be considered for a position.
Dan: [00:16:18] Beats looking at resumes. Sean.
Sean: [00:16:21] Yeah. I’ve never, I’ve never gone to a job board or ask people for recommendations. It’s just, I see it and this is the common theme. Damn, this is it. I see people in the community showing initiative. That’s it. People essentially taking on responsibility, proactively helping other people in the community.
And then I noticed that. So when I see that, it’s like, okay, that’s, that’s somebody that I want. That’s someone who’s already acting like . They’re acting like they’re, they’re paid to be here, so I’m going to pay them to be here.
Dan: [00:17:05] It’s pretty good deal.
Sean: [00:17:09] Yeah. I mean, you get free membership for life, so
Dan: [00:17:12] Yeah. I’d say that’s
Sean: [00:17:13] people, people think it’s the sabbaticals. That are like, Oh yeah, I get every seventh week off and every seventh year. Oh yeah, but you get free show membership for life. I mean, that’s the real perk.
Dan: [00:17:25] Yes, it is. It’s, it’s a pretty big perk. I mean, especially cause like, I, you know, I already know sometimes where it’s like, Hey, we’re adding this course and I’m just gonna get it for free.
Sean: [00:17:38] Okay. But obviously like the sabbatical thing is, is pretty sweet. Like, damn, that’s going to be, is it 20, 25? I think.
Dan: [00:17:48] Oh man, we’re going to do this live. It might be 2026 but that,
Sean: [00:17:52] if 2019 is your first year, and as long as you start in the first half of the year, we round up and call it a year. So your sabbatical years will be calendar
Dan: [00:18:02] So it is 25 then, cause that’ll be the seventh year.
Sean: [00:18:06] So 2025 Dan gets a paid seventh year off. That’s his job. He’s paid full salary to take a year off.
Dan: [00:18:15] I can live with that. So, so, okay. I was in the community and I, I think I joined back up full time in November of. 2018 it, although it feels, it feels like it was earlier than that, but maybe not a, because I joined up the last time you had had an annual, like the annual membership promo.
Sean: [00:18:40] I’m with you.
Dan: [00:18:41] Okay. And so, I’d been in the community before.
I’ve been following Sean Wes for a long, long time. I think I listened to the first couple episodes of the podcast around the. Era that they aired, which would have been like 20, 13, 14, something like that. and, you know, and it was kind of off and on. And I had, I had joined the community back in, I think 2015, but I wasn’t in a position to stay there financially at the time, but I really loved it.
you know, and I just loved the things you guys did in your whole attitude. You know, I love the podcast with you and Ben. I loved Lambo goal, if you remember that. That was a show you used to do once. and then, when I undertook this whole thing where I quit my job and, and without that much of a plan, at some point I was like, you know, you announced a, the client work essential course.
Which is, which was like, you know, short and sweet, but a very comprehensive, like if you want to go from nothing to landing a client and working with them, that’s what the course is for.
Sean: [00:19:48] Well, I mean, it’s like 10 hours of editing. Material, but I guess relatively.
Dan: [00:19:53] you’re right. I should, I should provide context. I’m comparing it to like value based pricing, which is immense and you know, was way beyond where I was at at that point. But you, you know, he came up with this client work essential course and it was like. Oh, this is perfect. I’m thinking about maybe doing some freelance work, so I’m going to jump on this, and I think I got the introductory price and that that might have come with a month of membership.
So now that I’m, now that I’m remembering, I think I might’ve ended up joining the community at that point when I bought the course, which was sometime mid 2018 probably. And then. and then I switched to annual membership later. But, you know, long story short, I guess what I’m saying is I think I’d been in the community for somewhere in the neighborhood of six months, when you, when you offered me the job.
Does that sound, that sounds about right to me. I think.
Sean: [00:20:46] Yeah. Something like that.
Dan: [00:20:48] But I was definitely showing up for the live. You know, I’ve, fortunately, I was fortunate enough to have a very flexible schedule, so I was showing up live to every podcast episode and contributing in the chat. And I think at some point I started trying to outdo you with like, providing links to stuff when you’d mentioned them.
Sean has this. Crazy ability, which may or may not have to do with being a cyborg. We haven’t determined to like memorize the numbers and names of podcast episodes.
Sean: [00:21:17] Well, I already messed up one of those and this, this
Dan: [00:21:20] Well, now you’re on sabbatical, so you’re just letting it, you’re letting it
Sean: [00:21:23] Oh yeah,
Dan: [00:21:23] but, but yeah, I, so I started, you know, I started, contributing in that way. And the community, you know, like you said, that the community, it’s lonely running a business and the community provided a place to go.
For me, it was similar that I was, you know, I was obviously, I still had friends and everything, but they all had normal jobs and I was off on my own trying to figure out how to do my own thing. And the community was really valuable for that, you know, as just a place to go where you knew that the other people there got it.
Like they got where you are coming from. And, I think what, what kind of led to the next step was that, you had been talking about three rings club, which is this little thing where people who have Apple watches, you know, you can share your activity and every day there’s these three rings you can close for burning calories, getting 30 minutes of exercise and standing.
every hour for a few minutes, and there’s three rings. Club was, was where, okay, you join up and you basically say, I’m going to close my rings every day, and we would all keep each other accountable for doing this. and I, I had, I had an Apple watch. In fact, I’d been gifted. One is a going away present from my previous employer, which was very nice of them.
And I said, I wanted in on this. And as a result, you know, we. We use it to start like texting each other occasionally because you know, you like text your, you’d see someone’s results would be like Sean closed all his rings and you’d like send a little Hey, way to go. You know?
Sean: [00:22:56] Did. Did joining the three rings club precede joining Sean West?
Dan: [00:23:03] no it didn’t. I, I was already in, sorry. Do you mean joining the job? Like
Sean: [00:23:08] Yeah. Sorry. The job. The job.
Dan: [00:23:10] It did, yeah. well, look, so I’ll give you the story of how I was hired and then you can give me the story of how I was hired. Maybe because the, from my perspective, like you and I, so like we got to know each other a little bit because of this like three rings club thing.
And then also, there was one point where. You were like, you were gonna like post an Instagram clip and you messaged it to me first and you’re like, should I use this one or this one? And I gave you some feedback on that. And I think that might’ve happened a couple times and I was, I think at some point I at least tried to communicate like, Hey, anytime, you know, whenever you need feedback on something, just, send it my way, I’m happy to provide that.
and, and then, at some point you were like, Hey, we should, we should just get, I, you know what, the next thing was I’d sent you an email that was kinda summarizing like I was, you know, I was giving you my appreciation for like everything I was getting from your work and just kind of putting out the idea that like, if you ever need anything, let me know.
and eventually you were like, Hey, we should get on a call sometime. And I said, yeah, that would be great. And, and to be honest, on my end, I was sitting there thinking like, how can I, like how can I demonstrate to Shawn that like I could be useful to him
and you, you preempted me because we got on a call and we talked for a bit and at some point in your life, so I’m going to throw you a bit of a curve ball.
I want you to come work for me. So clearly you and I were kind of on the same wavelength about that at that point without really talking about it.
Sean: [00:24:54] Yeah. It was definitely something that I’ve been thinking about. Like I had observed that the main thing for me actually was like. You helping people? Not just when there was a show, like sharing links when I was alive or something. But you helping people in the community just throughout the week, you know, actually trying to help answer questions, point them to existing resources that helped with whatever they were going through.
And I was like, well, that’s, that’s exactly what we need. So I, yeah, I definitely was like. You know, ha had my eye on you, and then it was just a matter of logistics. So, I mean, I’m sure there’s a lot more intangible stuff that maybe I’m, you know, I’m sure I picked up on a lot of things that I’m not able to articulate, but like I’ll say for sure a very strong, what’s the word?
Like something you had going for you is, you were a writer and you wrote. Well, I saw that you demonstrated that in the community, and I like, that’s just like a, an automatic plus for me, especially with a remote company too. But just if someone’s, someone’s a good writer, then they’re a good thinker, they’re a good communicator, and that just all bodes well.
Dan: [00:26:18] That’s good. that’s a good takeaway. Yeah. I mean, written communication is big, especially when, when we’re remote. Right.
Sean: [00:26:26] Yeah. So you’ve got like, like a few questions prepared already.
Dan: [00:26:32] I have a couple more. Yeah. I mean, the, so we, you know, it talked about like, okay, well, so how did you hire this guy? you know, the next thing I guess, then the next thing is like looking back on this past year. What are some, what are some of your reflections on, not necessarily like how to Dan do, but more just more generally like training someone to replace you in the business.
Sean: [00:26:59] Yeah. That it really, really highlights the importance, and the need for processes. And as I’ve said in various places, you don’t have a process unless it’s written down. If you think you have a process cause you have in your head some way that you do things that you imagine is consistent, you don’t have a process.
You have a process. If it’s written down and it’s, it’s just, I, I’ve known this, I’ve taught about this and like hiring bootcamp, which is also in the membership vault, processes. You know, this is not new to the Shawn West team. We’ve been doing this for awhile, but. Man, we, we certainly found the holes and the gaps and the places where we didn’t have processes, because once I was really not involved, which we spent most of 2019 imagining like, Sean’s not here.
Right. and maybe we could even talk about like various kind of like trial runs that we did where you had certain responsibilities. And I’m not yet on my sabbatical year, but Dan’s kind of acting like I am. And then we come back and we. We see how that goes. you know, we’re realizing, okay, if Sean’s not going to be here and Dan needs to be able to perform these different things, basically anything that’s not documented, anything that is not contained in the Shawn West team documentation, Wiki or whatever, let’s just assume it’s not getting done or it’s getting done incorrectly.
So we spend a lot of time. Documenting things, which let’s, let’s just get really tactical. It can be me writing something down, which I did. It can be me recording my screen, which I did. It can be Dan and I having a call, which we did. Me dictating things, Dan, writing those down, you know, it’s just getting stuff.
Down, whether it’s recorded in, you know, a screen recording or written bullet steps, you know, and, and preferably I like both. I like to have a screen recording if it’s something that needs that. And then also a written version so that the first time you can watch a screen recording and see exactly how to do it.
And then a second time, you don’t have to rewatch a long video. You can glance at the bullets. You can skim to the part. Yup. I know. That. Know that. Know that skip to the part that you forgot. Quickly referenced that. So we spend a lot of the lot of the year creating that and filling in the gaps.
Dan: [00:29:29] We did a lot, a lot, a lot. The, I really liked the dictating where it was like Shawn would describe a process and I would write it down as notes because I had to learn this stuff too. So it was this nice double efficiency where like this process is getting documented by teaching it to me. I think that actually was really effective.
Sean: [00:29:54] Yeah, that that was a nice bonus. Like anything that we didn’t have written down, then I had to teach it to Dan, but while he was learning it, he’s writing the documentation so that the next person has a process to follow.
Dan: [00:30:09] Yeah. Well because of the mistake would be like Shawn’s got everything in his head and he tells Dan and now Dan has everything in his head. And so now. You know, you’re, you’re no better off now. Now you have two people who can do the thing, but you have to do 100% of the same work over again to teach, you know, hypothetical employee number three.
And in, instead we have, you know, this is especially good for things like media production that are very technical and complicated. Like we have documents where we can sort of sit someone down and go check this out. And now you’ll be able to do this the way we do, pretty much aside from stuff that just takes practice.
Sean: [00:30:47] There was even a tertiary benefit, which we unfortunately did not get to realize. at least not yet. but that, that is for something like creating, producing video clips for social media. Where in my case, the Shawn West podcast is something that I recorded not only on audio but also video. And from that, we transcribed everything so we could more easily find.
golden nuggets, clippable moments, if you will, that could be turned into these little, like 62nd to two minute video clips that we could distribute on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn. So that whole process that, that was something I was doing on my own and it wasn’t documented. I taught Dan how to do that and documented that, recorded my screen.
He helped write down the bullet steps and we have this great process for it. That’s nice. For when Dan forgets a step or he needs to follow a process, but it’s not just that. It’s when we hire the next person who’s going to take over that, you know, that job. They have a process to follow, but it’s not even just that it gets even better because this was the main thing that we were going to provide as a service under Shawn West media.
Meaning you take a person, our ideal client would be someone who does. A weekly long form show of some kind. Say it’s an hour long podcast, and ideally they’re already recording it on video. If not, we would encourage them to turn on a camera and hit record to film themselves, recording their podcasts. But at any rate, they have this long form show.
We will take that. All you have to do is show up every week. You record your weekly long form show. You show up, you hit record, you stop recording, you’re done. We take that, we find and clip out and edit the golden moments, the little nuggets, you know, the, the stuff that works on its own without additional context and turn it into daily content for you on the big five platforms.
So daily on all of the platforms. I mean, we’re talking like. Tons, tons of content, like everywhere your daily, it’s, it’s a, it’s fit to that medium. It’s the right ratio. It has, you know, burned in captions, animated progress bar titles. Everything’s taken care of for you. So you go from just showing up to record your long form show weekly to now being omnipresent on every platform.
That was, that was going to be our service that we provide, unfortunately, because of having to take care of my wife’s health issues and stuff, we didn’t get to the point we wanted. We had this goal of, by the end of 2019. Reaching this point where we had clients under Sean was media. We had, we were going to be bringing on people, hiring people, and so it was not only like teach Dan how to do this, it was teach Dan how to do this so that.
He can teach other people how to do it. So we could onboard more video editors, take on more clients. I mean, it was going to be so great and it just didn’t end up happening before my sabbatical year. So it’ll just be something we have to revisit in 2021 but just talking about the benefits of documented processes and stuff, I mean, we were really, really close to, I mean, this would have been something that could have brought in like five figures a month additional.
Dan: [00:34:22] Yep. So I mean, if that’s, if people need like a reason to document what they do. There it is. You never, you never know. You might know, but you never know what it could turn into. It’s, it’s super
Sean: [00:34:35] Yeah. You might be able to turn what you already do for your own business into a service you get paid to perform.
Dan: [00:34:44] Yeah, that’s right. Or, or a product as well, like you get, you can turn, turn your documentation into.
Sean: [00:34:50] was the other benefit, Dan, like we, we were going to take all of that documentation and then turn it into an, I’m not saying it like we won’t ever do this. It just ended up happening on the timeline. We wanted turn that into a course. That of course is free for members, so anyone who wants to produce daily content.
Here you go. Here’s the class on it, like step-by-step in detail. So it’s just like, you know, byproducts, byproducts, byproducts.
Dan: [00:35:18] Yeah. Bye. Do you see that subliminal
there? That was, that was subtle. so that’s, you know, so that’s reflections on sort of training somebody to replace you a lot of, honestly, yeah. A lot was documentation and then sort of slowly, slowly stepping back. So, I mean, like Sean had me doing some stuff and then he would.
He would shadow it. Right. I think for a while with like, or with a podcast production, like he was still doing big parts of it, but like, I would do some of it and then eventually it’s like, okay, we’re going to do like the podcast for this week. Dan is doing it from start to finish the, the production, I mean, not hosting it.
Sean: [00:35:57] Yup. And then you’ve got, Things like email campaigns, running promotions. And fortunately since we’ve done enough of these in the past, we also have that somewhat systematized templatized where you know, you can take a previous campaign and adapt it. And so Dan, throughout the course of 2019 was involved in running different campaigns.
And so he kind of saw the ins and outs of all of that. And this kind of segues into. Like there’s like the regular things that Dan does kind of on a normal basis, like customer support tickets or, you know, the weekly podcasts. but then also we have quarterly launch campaigns for 2020, so I’m kind of like bigger macro projects that are promotions that Dan’s able to do now on his own.
By re-purposing these past campaigns that we’ve done.
Dan: [00:36:56] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s funny when you put it like that, like sitting where I am now, it feels like, yeah, I can do all this stuff, but thinking about what it took to get here is. Is interesting. I mean part, but part of it, you know, part of it just goes to that point about how a year is not that much time, like 2019 is, I’m sure it’s been a weird year for you.
It’s been a weird year for me to like, it’s, it’s just kind of flown by where.
Sean: [00:37:22] Well, it’s, it’s not every day you go from. Not working in a job to thinking you’re going to get a job and getting a different job where you learn how to take over someone else’s job.
Dan: [00:37:34] Well put, well put, if, if there’s a last thing to look at here. You know, we, we’ve sort of told the story and we’ve looked at what it means for a business owner to hire their replacement are, I mean, are there lessons here for someone who wants to get a job like mine? I, I don’t necessarily mean if you, if you want to join the Sean West team, but, but just like.
You know, I, I’ve kind of said what I was doing. And you’ve said, what appealed to you if you want to get a job? I think there might be some broad applicability here because it feels like traditional forms of getting a job, which are basically called sending resumes to companies and responding to, you know, posts on the internet, job board posts.
They’ve never struck me as terribly effective. And I realize this is only one data point, but I, I’ve actually rarely, if ever gotten any of my jobs that way. I’ve pretty much gotten all my jobs through relationships and I, I know that isn’t the case for, for everyone, but like.
Sean: [00:38:41] Do you feel like you’ve had pretty good jobs or like just pretty like. I don’t know, like, not just kind of average, like, do you feel like you’ve, you’ve gotten like, outstanding jobs or like phenomenal? yeah.
Dan: [00:38:58] I’m, I’m going to at least say. Quite good. I don’t know about outstanding or phenomenal. Of course. It depends what your, you know, it depends on your definition, but
Sean: [00:39:08] Well, where where I was going with that is like, it sounds like maybe you didn’t do the like super templatized, like basic steps for getting a job, which I would, I would argue are going to net you very. Basic average kind of cookie cutter jobs, like not necessarily the outstanding or stellar ones,
Dan: [00:39:34] I suspect that’s true. I mean, I’ve, I’ve heard anecdotally that most positions. These are filled internally. You know that that like most, or to put that slightly differently, like most really interesting jobs, don’t go to a random person who found the job posting on LinkedIn. Like Mo.
Sean: [00:39:52] if you, if you want a super. Unconventional job, like something that’s flexible and awesome and you can work remotely and no one’s breathing down your neck and then also kind of like lets you be a little bit creative and you know, EV, everything you would want, you’re probably not going to get it.
The typical way I would think. I mean, I can only speak from like the long-haired eccentric boss perspective, but you tell me if that’s the one you want.
Dan: [00:40:24] Well, we, you know, we, here’s the thing, I think if people don’t like what we have to say about getting jobs, there are other places they can go because, yeah. You and I can only speak from our own experiences, but, yeah. And observations, I guess. But, but no, I tend to agree with that idea where, and, and actually this is a, this is an upcoming podcast topic, although I, I don’t know exactly whether Ben and I have already done it when you’re listening to this show, or if we’re about to do it.
So I apologize for the temporal anomaly, but I really want to have this conversation about being unconventional because I think it’s true. It’s, it’s kind of a pithy. You know, it’s kind of a pithy saying where it’s like if you, if you want unconventional results, you have to do unconventional things. But I mean that, that also strikes me as pretty true if, if you just kind of do the same thing as everyone else, then the idea that an eccentric long haired person is going to hire you to work in their weird business is.
Is pretty much down to LA. Well, a, maybe it’s down to the lottery because if all you’re doing is sending out resumes, you only have as good a chance as the other 10,000 people that sent resumes. But it’s worse than that. If you consider what Sean was saying about like, you didn’t go looking like you didn’t even go to job boards.
You just looked at your community.
Yeah, exactly. And, and that’s not, you know, we’re not trying to do a hard sell for. Joining the Shaun was community, though. We’d love to have you, but it like if you, if you encounter some, some analogous job, it’s like, Oh, this is a really cool, strange company. I wonder how I could work there. Well, you’re probably not gonna end up working there by posting your resume on, you know, job site X.
Sean: [00:42:10] I can tell you that there’s. Well more than one person, but one person in particular who has basically done what we’re describing here, which I’ll see if I can briefly, summarize or articulate. It’s like, go, go where the people are that you want to work for. Like be, be around them, make yourself known.
And then. Provide value, be useful, and act as if you already have the job you want. So you want to write for this company, right for them. Why are you waiting for a paycheck? Like do what you want to do for them. And then they become aware of you and, and they’re, they’re not just aware of you, but what you can do, what you can do for them, you know, make that known.
And don’t just do it once. Repeat it. Do it again until, until you can’t possibly be ignored until they’re very aware that you can’t, you can’t miss that. You just keep going. And so there, there are people who have done that, and I’ll tell you in my mind, the only reason I haven’t hired them is because it’s, it’s a timing thing or a resources thing.
It’s, it’s like if I reach the point where. The timing works, it aligns with their availability and we have the resources and it all makes sense. Then it’s just a matter of time, like that’s someone that I want on the team. I’m going to hire them proactively because I know that it’s going to be a good fit.
I don’t, I don’t like to hire reactively like, Oh no, we needed this person and then let’s go to the job boards. I like to create positions. For people. And so when I see people going out of their way to provide value, you know, they’re, they’re being here, they’re being helpful. I see what they can do that I’m like, okay.
It’s just, it’s just a matter of time. Now, I don’t know if everyone thinks like that. I do know that not everyone thinks like that. I imagine there are some other people that think similarly, and if you have that hunch that. This is the type of person that’s going to respond to, you know, a little more of like an unconventional approach to the resume, so to speak.
Go for it. And then don’t, don’t give up when like the first time you didn’t get hired immediately. It could just be a timing thing and it could be, they have a lot of stuff going on. It could be their focus on other projects, you know, just keep doing it. Keep at it.
Dan: [00:44:53] They say this when you’re leaving jobs too, like don’t burn bridges because you never know. And, and it’s that kind of thing where it’s like, you might think, you know, I tried just writing for these guys for free and nothing ever came of it. But maybe that doesn’t mean that like it was a waste of time, you know?
Sean: [00:45:12] Speaking of, like relationships and stuff. Two things. One, this is all the more reason why conferences are important. I’ve talked about it a lot, but I know still plenty of people who, and I’m alluding to the second part, but plenty of people who very well could go to conferences and don’t like, I can’t be bothered.
It’s inconvenient. I’m shy, I’m introverted, whatever. I, I, I’m. Just saying, magic happens at conferences. You don’t plan like the meeting someone in a hotel room or running, running, running into them, you know, in the lobby or, at a, at a cafe or during our workshop or, you know, you know what I mean? Just like standing out in the hallway like serendipitously, these conversations happen and just.
Stuff happens when you get this high concentration of, awesome people together. And someone can recommend you, someone could know someone and put in a good word, or that they might just hire you, right? And then, or maybe you just get a little bit of FaceTime with them and then later on you end up wanting a job with them.
But now there’s someone you’ve met in person and they pick you out of a pool of candidates because they feel like they know you. So that’s the first part. The second part is. Cause I know as soon as I say that, I also know people who are like, I can’t go to conferences. I don’t live in a place where, and I would say first of all, you, you probably have more opportunity than you want to admit.
There’s certain conferences that are on the other side of the world that you think are the best and you can’t go to those. And so you just call the rest of them that are around you that you could go to not good enough. And that’s an excuse, you know, go. Make the best of the events that you have, and maybe you’re the one who has to put forth a lot of effort and it’s not someone else’s thing that you’re joining, but it’s worth it.
Like do it, make it happen. Secondly, even if you can’t go somewhere in person. Do what you can online. Make a video for them, like record yourself, send that video. If you can’t send an email, people have done that for me as well. They’ll send me a video they recorded and it stands out from all of the other written emails.
So yeah, just be creative.
Dan: [00:47:32] I, that kind of makes me want to say two things. And both of them are kind of. Fiery Dan. I know fiery Sean is your thing, Sean. But you know, if I’m going to be hosting the podcast, I need my own version of it, I guess.
Sean: [00:47:44] I love it.
Dan: [00:47:44] Okay. Well, the first, it’s kind of a jumping off both those points. The first one is with, with absolute respect to, to, you know, people that suffer from social anxiety, for example, things like, things like that.
It is very, very hard for some people to, you know, get out there and meet people, make connections. and for some people it’s, it’s cripplingly. So, but I want to say this though, you know, from everything we’re talking about, pretty much all the good things in life come through connections with other people.
And I, that’s, that’s both in a kind of esoteric sense, but it’s also in a very practical sense, like. This is what we’ve been talking about. I kind of alluded to it before, like every job I’ve ever gotten that wasn’t like, you know, like washing windows as a teenager or whatever. Actually, I think that was your life, Sean.
Not mine. I was, I was parking cars, but you know, aside from stuff like that, that just came out of the newspaper. There were newspapers when I was a kid. Every like career style job I’ve ever gotten came because I knew a person and like. Like the job I had before I came to Shawn West I had for eight years.
It was an excellent job. I really liked it. A great people that I worked with, and the way I got that job was I was moving to a new city. I was throwing resumes out there blindly and not hearing anything back. And then. Hanging out with a, with a coworker from my now PR, the job I had just left. He said, Hey, I think this guy that we both know, he, he lives out there and his company’s looking for someone.
You should get in touch with him. And the next thing you know, I had this job and I had that job because at my previous job I’d made a good impact on this guy, you know, and that job, I got that job because of a guy I went to university with. Like he, he knew I was looking for work and he’s like, Dan, you gotta send me your resume.
I found this position that’s perfect for you. Like that was all groundwork I had put in place. I didn’t do it and I didn’t do it intentionally. I, I, I didn’t make friends with this guy in university thinking to myself, yes, someday this will result in my getting a job. It was just. I, it just came out of personal relationships.
So you know, and Sean’s talking about the importance of going to conferences. If you’re a person who struggles to create connections with other people, that’s worth, that’s worth improving and you can improve it. This is the thing, like, I mean,
Sean: [00:50:18] I speak as one such person.
Dan: [00:50:20] I speak as a second. This is the thing is like you and I, you know, we had a great time at craft and commerce this past summer, but like.
Sean, you are the most introverted person I’ve ever met, but I’m also very introverted. Even if I may be, I don’t sound like it. I don’t know. Like both of us are, are like both of us would rather be in a room by ourselves playing with computers than in a conference hall with 500 other people. But nonetheless, we can, we’ve figured out how to do it and.
Sean: [00:50:52] It’s just, it’s just worth it. And, and it’s not like you’re just going to open your bedroom door and open a portal into a conference room where everyone’s looking at you, you know, you, you get to have some time to mentally prepare for this. And I need that. Like, okay, in a few months, I’m going to go to this conference in a few weeks, I’m going to go to this conference.
And a few days. I’m going to go to this conference. Okay. All right. Hold my breath. You know, store up my energy. I am going to need to recharge and get, get my introvert time after this is over, but you know what? It’s going to be okay and it’s going to be worth it.
Dan: [00:51:30] Yeah. You, you, you really can find the version of this that works for you. It, it takes some work, I think for people maybe especially younger and with less experience than us. It just, it feels like you have to do everything on other people’s terms, and that’s. Very intimidating, but you know, the, the reality is you, you can find ways to do, for example, going to conferences that, that, that work for you.
I had another fiery Dan thing though about applying for jobs. I, I’ve seen people say things like, I tried to do X and Y and it didn’t work. And again, like this. I realized this feels very uncompassionate when I say it, but there’s a certain part of me that wants to go, Oh, okay, try that 20 more times.
I have a friend who was a freelancer, and I remember him saying this, that like the way he got his first freelance clients was by cold calling 50 people a day. So a cold calling people be cold calling 50 people C a day. Like, he took a hundred swings before he got a hit. So when someone says, Oh, I tried writing a friendly email to this guy I admire and he never got back to me.
Okay, that’s I, that’s too bad, I guess. Now keep doing that though.
Sean: [00:52:52] Have you tried 50 times? No, I’m
Dan: [00:52:55] well, I have my, I sent this to you the other day cause I, I screencap this from Instagram a long time ago, but there’s this great still of Sean. making a funny face. And the caption is, you know, I tried and it didn’t work. Have you tried trying until it works?
Sean: [00:53:12] Classic Sean.
Dan: [00:53:13] is classic Sean. I mean, there, there’s a whole thing about, you know, I think people make a little too much about, certain generations are entitled or whatever, but, but, but entitlement is a dangerous thing. The. Hmm.
Sean: [00:53:29] Now it’s old man Dan.
Dan: [00:53:31] Yeah, sorry. Now it’s now it’s okay. Boomer, Dan. I mean, I was born in 82. I’m maybe right on the edge.
Sean: [00:53:37] Yeah, but people don’t know. The thing about that meme is it’s, it’s broadened in its definition like it’s now just anyone older than you. It’s not limited.
Dan: [00:53:47] no. I thought it was just anyone whose opinion you want to dismiss without considering.
Sean: [00:53:51] Also, this,
do you think we did this? Did we do justice to this topic? This, this title?
Dan: [00:54:00] We definitely did justice to the title. I think we could probably rant about people trying to get jobs.
Sean: [00:54:06] I think you could.
Dan: [00:54:07] definitely could rant more about it. I think if people want to hear that they’re just going to have to join the community. Cause I occasionally rants to the people younger than me in there about it.
They just say, okay boomer, and that’s it. But.
Sean: [00:54:20] Nice. Well, Dan, I enjoyed the conversation. Hopefully one of many more to come. We’ll see.
I’m not, I’m not, I’m not planning
Dan: [00:54:30] Nope. Not promising anything, but, but yes, I enjoyed it too. Thank you for making the time.
Sean: [00:54:35] Absolutely. Good show, sir.
Dan: [00:54:37] Good show, sir. Enjoy. Enjoy the next part of your sabbatical.
Sean: [00:54:42] Thank you.