seanwes podcast

Tangible insights on creativity and business every Wednesday.

Want to make a living with your passion? From products and marketing to professionalism and clients, you'll get answers to the hard-hitting questions.

Join entrepreneurs Sean McCabe and Ben Toalson as they let you inside their discussions on the many facets of making a living online. You'll come away from every episode with something of value that you can apply to your business.

485: Sabbatical Episode: Finding Community (Part 2 of 5): Surround Yourself With Positivity

485: Sabbatical Episode: Finding Community (Part 2 of 5): Surround Yourself With Positivity

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 – 8 minutes

On Monday we posted Part 1 of a 5-part podcast miniseries called Finding Community. Part 2 is available today!

You can’t just cut out the negative.

In Part 1, Sean talked about the necessity of cutting out the negative inputs in your life, whether that’s social media accounts or the people sitting next to you.

But you can’t just cut out negativity, that leaves a void.

You have to surround yourself with positivity.

We all know the expression “24/7”—it means “all the time”.

Sean wants you to remember a new expression: 14/7.

Why 14/7?

– You should be spending 8 hours sleeping.
– That leaves 16…
– But let’s say you have some negative people you just can’t get away from.

So you get 2 hours with which to be flexible. But the rest of the time, those 14 hours a day… you’ve got to pipe positive inputs into your ears.

You need to offset negativity with 5x as much positivity.

As much as we try to cut out negative inputs, there’s always some that will still get through.

Any negativity that you can’t cut out, you need to offset with positive inputs.

Your mindset is shaped by your inputs.

In Part 1, Sean talked about the dangers of scarcity mindset, and the need to cultivate a mindset of abundance instead—even if you’re in circumstances of real scarcity.

You can’t cultivate an abundance mindset when you’re got negativity coming in.

If you’re around negative people more than 2 hours a day… you need to change your environment.

You can’t accept an environment of negativity. Even if it’s your job. Even if they’re your friends.

You become like the people you spend time around. And negativity has gravity on its side.

It’s not always easy (or possible) to control your physical environment… but you can control your digital environment.

Create a positive digital environment.

For 14 hours of the day, focus your digital environment on postive inputs.

Yes, of course you have a job and need to get your work done.

But all that other time—when you’re on the train or the bus, in your car, walking around, working out at the gym, washing dishes… pipe positive content into your ears.

Immerse yourself in the positive.

– Listen to the seanwes podcast—it’s all about improving yourself, self-development, positivity, and motivation.
– Listen to other podcasts with positive values.
– Seek more-positive sources of news and information—they’re out there.
– Find better YouTube and Instagram accounts to follow.

Here’s a secret: you don’t have to follow your friends on social media just because you know them.

It’s true. Now that you know, try this: unfollow everyone. Every single person—all the way down to zero.

If you’re worried someone you unfollow will get mad, or unfollow you in return… that’s an indication your relationship with them is that shallow. You won’t miss it.

Now you can start building up from zero. Imagine opening an app and there’s NO content.

How do you feel? Is your life better or worse?

Start following accounts on social only if they add positive messages to your life.

Remember: you are not obligated to follow anyone. This is you and your mindset at stake… take it seriously.

Renew your physical environment with positivity.

Okay, you’ve overhauled your digital environment… but what about the physical?

What if you have friends and family dragging you down?

Seriously consider cutting off those relationships. But if you can’t, you can still:

– Limit your exposure to negative people as much as you can.
– Offset negativity by immersing yourself in 5x the amount of positivity.

What does offsetting negativity look like?

Let’s say you have to spend 2 hours with a negative family member. Can you work that down to just 1 hour?

Now you’re still experiencing an hour of negativity. So you need to pipe in 5 hours of positive input from other sources:

– Talk to positive people in your life.
– Listen to positive audiobooks, videos, and podcasts.

Limit what you can control. Offset what you can’t.

P.S. The annual investment for seanwes membership increases permanently on March 20th.

Right now, you can lock in the best rate and get access to all of our courses and training as well as the Community.

The seanwes Community is the best place to find like-minded people with a positive mindset. It’s full of creative professionals from all over the world who are:

– Taking action.
– Building a positive mindset.
– Working to help each other (and you!) succeed.

Find a business partner, an accountability partner, or even make lifelong friends in the Community. There will never be a better time to join.

Even when the price goes up in the future, you will be grandfathered in and continue to enjoy the current rate. Take a look at everything you get when you invest in seanwes membership today:

484: Validating Your Big Idea

484: Validating Your Big Idea

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 – 1 hour, 27 minutes

There’s nothing worse than launching to crickets.

That’s what we call it when you pour time and effort into designing and building a great product—a piece of art, an online course, a great app—you work on it for weeks, or months… or years.

You actually finish the product.

You put this amazing thing you made out in the world…

And no one wants it.

In response to all your hard work, you get… nothing.

Just the sound of crickets chirping. You know, figuratively (or maybe literally, depending on where you live!)

That’s just the worst: making something that you love, and then finding out nobody else is interested.

Was all that time wasted? Is there any way to salvage this product? Maybe if you used different launch strategies…

We never want you to end up asking those questions. When you make a product you want people to buy, there’s a simple rule: you have to make something people WANT to buy.

It’s not enough to make something you want. It’s not enough to make something you think other people want… you need to make something they actually want.

You need to find out if people want your product long before you make it. You need to validate your big idea before you give it your blood, sweat, and tears.

How do you do that? We’re going to tell you today.

483: Sabbatical Episode: Finding Community (Part 1 of 5): Cut Out Negativity

483: Sabbatical Episode: Finding Community (Part 1 of 5): Cut Out Negativity

Monday, March 9, 2020 – 10 minutes

Sean’s recorded a podcast mini-series called Finding Community, and the first part (of five) just published today.

Below are some highlights, takeaways and quick wins from the recording (in case you’re more into reading than listening right now):

Everyone needs a supportive community.

Why does community matter, and why do you want to focus on finding community?

A supportive community is rocket fuel for:

– Finding your people, your audience, your tribe.
– Starting or growing your own business.
– Being financially supported by your creative passions.
– Getting support when you’re stuck.

Every time Sean has leveled up in business, it was because of a relationship, not just information.

As helpful as information can be, you need context to apply it to your own situation.

That’s where community comes in.

Community can’t survive negativity.

A negative attitude destroys communities. We’re not talking about critique or constructive criticism: you know true negativity when you encounter it. Negativity pulls you down… and keeps you down.

When you have a negative voice in your life, you might want to pull that person up, help them let go of that negativity. And it’s great to want to help!

But negativity has gravity on its side.

It’s easier for a negative person to pull you down than for you to pull them up into positivity.

You have to cut negativity out of your life. We’ll talk about how to do that in a minute.

Negativity will kill your passion.

Negativity is a breeding ground for scarcity mindset. We talk about this a lot:

– When critical resources are scarce, you get desperate.
– You’ll do anything to acquire those resources (usually money).
– You take on jobs you shouldn’t.
– You work with bad clients.
– The negative people alongside you complain and enable this.
– Pretty soon, your passion, the reason you wanted to make a living this way… it’s gone.

This story is too common. You quit your job to pursue your creative passion, and pretty soon you’re mired in scarcity mindset.

The opposite of scarcity mindset is abundance mindset: choosing to see the world as full of opportunity and the resources you need to survive as being widely available.

The tricky thing is, you need to think in terms of abundance even when you’re in the middle of circumstantial scarcity.

Even when your bank account is almost empty… you have to believe you can make ends meet.

You have to defy what you see and make decisions based on a mindset of abundance. And you can’t do that when you’re surrounded by negativity.

You can’t afford to be surrounded by negative people.

You can’t afford to be around these types of people:

– People who don’t believe in you.
– People who aren’t achieving what you want to achieve.

We’ve all heard that you become the average of the people around whom you spend your time. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing depends on who you’re around!

If you’re surrounded by people who are lazy, complaining, negative, not driven… you’ll tend to be like that as well, try as you might not to be.

You need to cut the negative inputs out of your life.

But it’s not enough to just cut the negativity out of your life. There’s another step that you’ll hear about soon in Part 2 of this series.

To keep this short, here’s your homework:

– Cut negative people out of your life wherever you can.
– Cancel events where you’re hanging around negative people.
– Miss that party.
– Skip that conference.
– Ditch that happy hour where the team from work sits around complaining.
– Unfollow and unsubscribe from negativity online.
– Unsubscribe from negativity in podcasts, YouTube channels, and email newsletters.
– Unfollow negative people on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

In a couple days, you’ll hear about what to do after you’ve cut out negativity—but you have to start here.

P.S. The annual investment for seanwes membership increases permanently on March 20th.

Right now, you can lock in the best rate and get access to all of our courses and training as well as the Community.

The seanwes Community is the best place to find like-minded people with a positive mindset. It’s full of creative professionals from all over the world who are:

– Taking action
– Building a positive mindset
– Working to help each other (and you!) succeed

Find a business partners, an accountability partner, or even make lifelong friends in the Community. There will never be a better time to join.

Even when the price goes up in the future, you will be grandfathered in and continue to enjoy the current rate. Take a look at everything you get when you invest in seanwes membership today:

482: Can We Get Personal?

482: Can We Get Personal?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 – 51 minutes

We all have things in our lives that we can’t wait to share with everyone we know. There are other things we’d just as soon keep to ourselves, yet we want to make a connection with other people. We want to feel heard and understood.

On top of all that, we have a business to build, and a brand that we want to present to the world.

So when is it okay to share, and when is it not? How do we talk about those things that aren’t easy wins, that aren’t sunny days on the beach, that aren’t sipping champagne in front of our private jet? How do we share the real stuff, the hard stuff… or do we share it at all?

It’s hard to know how personal to get when we’re putting ourselves out there, especially on social media. How do we balance a desire to be real, to be authentic, with the responsibility we have to our audience, and to ourselves?

Those are the questions we’re going to answer today.

481: Sabbatical Episode: You Can Travel the World If You Really Want To (Yes, You!)

481: Sabbatical Episode: You Can Travel the World If You Really Want To (Yes, You!)

Monday, March 2, 2020 – 1 hour, 3 minutes

Do you want to travel the world—or even travel your own country—with nothing but the pack on your back? Imagine that freedom—knowing you’ve already got everything you need.

There’s that line, “The things you own… end up owning you.” Well, what if you didn’t need to own hardly anything?

Between remote jobs and AirBnb, that unfettered life has never been more accessible…

But you could never actually do it, of course! You have a job, a car, an apartment… or maybe even a house. You’ve got leases and responsibilities and you’ve got a really nice couch.

But if there’s a part of you that just wishes you could pack it all up and hit the road…

Maybe it’s time to listen to that voice.

And if the voice is too quiet to hear… Sean is here to amplify it. In this call I had with Sean, he aims to prove that you can travel the world if you really want to. Yes, even you. Despite all the reasons and excuses… if this is what you really want, you can do it. This show will give you a lot to think about… and you might need to think twice about how much you really want that couch.

Enjoy the show.

480: When You’re Tired of Adulting

480: When You’re Tired of Adulting

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 – 1 hour, 4 minutes

You should be proud of yourself: you’ve got a lot on your plate.

You might be running a business, and, as I’ve heard it said, the great thing about running your own business is you can choose whichever 16 hours a day you want to work!

Or you might have a job that takes up most of the day, and a passion that you work on in the mornings, or the evenings, or both.

On top of all that, we all have our share of adulting: you know, doing the laundry, calling the bank, making sure there’s something in the fridge when we need it.

And I haven’t even touched on all the other people you have in your life, some of whom might need you to do all of the above while carrying them around or solving their LEGO woes.

You could be excused for just wanting a breather sometimes. Or maybe just wanting to give it all up and live in a tiny cabin on a moor. Or you could join a monastery, and possess nothing but a bowl, a robe, and a spartan room.

If any of that is sounding appealing right now, you’re not alone. Feeling overwhelmed with your commitments, desires, and responsibilities is a fact of life. Taking flight for the hills with no forwarding address might be the solution… but I hope not.

We still want to see you around these parts! 🙂

Let’s talk about what it takes to keep playing the often-exhausting game of life. We have yet to find the rule book, but we can share what we’ve learned that works.

479: Is It Ethical to Sell Products to Consumers?

479: Is It Ethical to Sell Products to Consumers?

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 – 56 minutes

There are no two ways around it: selling a product does not come naturally to most of us. In fact, the very idea can feel a little slimy. Isn’t it a little weird to try to convince someone to part with their hard-earned money? Who am I to try to take it out of their pocket?

Is this even ethical?

In previous episodes we’ve discussed why you as a business owner need to learn to sell—to sell often, and with confidence. But the whole idea can still be uncomfortable.

These days, we might feel a backlash against consumerism and materialism, and, even though we practice ethical and responsible ways of creating our work, we can’t shake the feeling that we’re still contributing to a problem.

If you create a product, isn’t that just one more “thing” you expect people to burden their lives with?

If these sorts of thoughts are leaving you paralyzed, don’t miss this conversation. We’re going to discuss the difference between creating and selling things that the world could do without, and truly valuable products that enrich the lives of their customers.

Products, sales, money… these are all just tools for the movement of value between human beings. Are they good, or are they bad? It all depends on how you use them.

Sabbatical Episode: Caleb Wojcik On Getting Your First Video Client and Creating Content Without Overthinking

478: Sabbatical Episode: Caleb Wojcik On Getting Your First Video Client and Creating Content Without Overthinking

Friday, February 14, 2020 – 40 minutes

While on our first stop of the sabbatical year in San Diego, I got to visit Caleb Wojcik in his home studio.

In addition to this episode, we also recorded an episode with me on the Caleb Wojcik Show which publishes today.

Caleb is an incredible filmmaker who has worked with clients like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and ConvertKit (filming their I Am A Blogger series as well as the Craft + Commerce conference). He also filmed our own seanwes conference.

Caleb regularly teaches what he’s learned building a successful six-figure client-services business with his podcast, courses, and YouTube channel.

In today’s episode, I ask Caleb what he would do to get his first client if he was starting from scratch. If you’re looking to sell your filmmaking services, this episode is for you.

Aside from client services, Caleb is also the inventor of SwitchPod. SwitchPod is a minimal, versatile, handheld tripod for vloggers that raised over $400,000 on Kickstarter. We talk about going from client services to physical products and the future of SwitchPod.

Caleb recently set up what many would consider to be a dream home video studio in the past couple of years. But like many of us, he still struggles with overthinking content creation and production quality. We talk about some tips for overcoming overthinking and how to make videos more easily.

Sabbatical Episode: Ridding Yourself of Guilt - A Conversation With Calvin Rosser

477: Sabbatical Episode: Ridding Yourself of Guilt – A Conversation With Calvin Rosser

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 – 33 minutes

This podcast episode was not planned.

While staying in San Diego during my sabbatical, my friend Caleb Wojcik invited me to his house to record a podcast. Caleb lives in Encinitas (about a one-hour train ride from where we were staying in downtown San Diego).

Caleb and I recorded two podcasts: one for his show, and another for mine. You’ll see that interview with Caleb on the podcast feed in the next day or two.

I was getting ready to take the 3:00pm train back to the city after recording with Caleb, when I received a new message on Instagram from Calvin Rosser:

“Hey dude, think I saw you’re in San Diego. I’m in Encinitas (north of San Diego) if you want to get together. Fairly free during the evenings this week. Just working and surfing.”

I’d met Calvin once last year at Craft + Commerce conference. We got coffee together the last morning before I went to the airport.

Calvin has been a nomadic traveler for many years now. Over coffee last year in Boise, Idaho, he shared stories of his travels, and emphasized the importance of going with the flow and not having an overly rigid plan.

“You may find that you love a place and want to stay longer.”

At the time, he spoke of settling down. Several years of traveling nomadically was an incredible experience, but he was ready to slow down and stay in one place for awhile.

We both just happened to be in Encinitas at the same exact time. How perfect was it that he messaged me without knowing?

This must have been where he settled down last year.

Calvin laughed. “I actually just got here a day ago.”

“What happened to settling down?”

“I still want to. I miss having friends I see regularly and with whom I can go deep.”

We met at a coffee shop in Encinitas, but Calvin hardly sat down. Right away, he asked if we’d be willing to go somewhere else.

“I actually have a car, but I prefer to walk. There’s a place nearby that’s really nice—it’s about a 14-minute walk from here. Is that okay?”

Calvin has a thoughtful tone, as you’ll hear in the recording. He doesn’t mince words, and he doesn’t waste any time getting straight to deep and meaningful matters.

Before I know it, we walk through an iron gate into another world. I’d never been in a meditation garden, but visiting at golden hour is everything you’d imagine: fish, flowers, and colorful foliage abound as you walk through winding pathways and up stairs.

As we go up, the trees give way to a bright sky with a sun that will set within the hour. We find a bench at the top in a little clearing that reveals a stunning panorama of the Pacific Ocean. We are high up on the cliff.

“I’m trying to remove guilt when not working,” Calvin says.

“Do you mind if I record our conversation?” I ask. “We don’t have to do anything with the recording, but if we end up discussing something worth sharing, then at least we have the option of making it available as a podcast.”

Calvin doesn’t mind. He almost seems indifferent.

I hand him the lavalier microphone to clip to his shirt. He doesn’t seem phased. We don’t begin with any formal introductions. The tone of our conversation remains the same. We just continue talking.

“With my work, I feel that there’s an endless list of things to do. When I’m not working, I should be focused on that list of things to do.”

The guilt. As a recovering workaholic, I know it all too well.

There were only ever two modes:

1. Working
2. Feeling guilty about not working

I didn’t like feeling guilty.

Calvin’s the same. He’s internally driven, and unsatisfied with anything less than reaching his full potential.

That was me, and why I worked 18-hour days for a decade. Then I burned out.

“The times I feel the guilt the least, and the times I feel most alive, is when I’m connecting one-on-one with someone else,” Calvin says. “I’m  able to engage with that in a way where the other stuff sort of melts away.”

The seanwes podcast has not, historically, been an interview show. Part of the reason is I, like Calvin, am not one for small talk. I like to go straight to the deep and meaningful stuff. That’s what I like about a co-hosted show: you know me, you know my co-host. Great. Now that the introductions are out of the way, let’s get straight to the topic.

Interviews always feel like they have so much preamble. I wasn’t a fan.

But during my sabbatical year, I decided I would record and share conversations I have with people along the way. Sometimes, that’s going to be a podcast interview that’s a planned event, but I also want to experiment with recording and sharing serendipitous conversations like this one. We didn’t plan to record anything, so it feels very raw. But I like that.

I thought about recording a formal introduction to explain who Calvin is, what he does, how we met, why we were talking, and what you’ll get out of the conversation. But that’s the furthest thing from what this actually was: a completely unplanned, unscripted, spontaneous moment. I want you to experience this conversation the way it happened in real life.

So I’m trying an experiment: rather than recording an introduction, I’m letting this written description provide the context for the episode. I’m curious to hear how you receive it. Feel free to send me a message on Instagram @seanwes with your thoughts on this raw format.

You can check out Calvin’s writing and sign up for his newsletter at Do reach out and encourage him to start his own podcast if you enjoyed this conversation.

Sean McCabe
Sean McCabe
Ben Toalson
Ben Toalson


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