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.

Give Yourself Permission to Be Weird

470: Give Yourself Permission to Be Weird

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 – 1 hour, 52 minutes

“Stop being such a weirdo.”

I’m gonna make a prediction: at some point, probably while at recess, someone said this to you—or they said something very much like it.

We are trained from birth to conform with the expectations of others. We are precision-engineered to please those around us. And let’s be clear: there’s enormous value in being able to get along with our fellow human beings!

But if what you want out of life is not the same thing as your parents want, as your friends want, as what society keeps telling you you should want…

You’re going to have to walk an uncomfortable road.

You’re going to have to be… some kind of weirdo.

It’s true. If you want something different from what other people get… you have to do things that other people do not—or will not—do.

For some of us, this comes more easily than for others. But don’t kid yourself: the odds are stacked against you. Forces within and without will try to convince you to “just be normal”. Just try to fit in. Just go along with everyone else. Same clothes. Same job. Same hobbies. Same life. Why isn’t that enough for you?

If it’s not enough, don’t worry, weirdo. You’re not alone. Today we’re going to give you—no. We’re going to get YOU to give yourself permission to be as weird as you need to be.

How I Hired Someone to Run My Business While I Take a Year Off

469: Sabbatical Episode: How I Hired Someone to Run My Business While I Take a Year Off

Saturday, January 11, 2020 – 57 minutes

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.

When Will Sean Be on the Podcast in 2020?

468: Sabbatical Episode: When Will Sean Be on the Podcast in 2020?

Friday, January 10, 2020 – 25 minutes

In this mini-sabbatical episode, Dan asks a question Sean’s been getting a lot lately: “Will you still do podcasts in 2020?” While the existence of this episode makes it clear that he’s not sitting out the whole year, Sean explains that he’ll be creating content—including podcasts—when he wants to, instead of on any kind of schedule; that’s the secret to a restful sabbatical: freedom from obligation.

We also discuss seanwes as a “personality brand”, and what it means for both the podcast and the business as a whole to have Sean McCabe take a step away from center stage. How do you grow a business beyond yourself when the business is so closely associated with… you?

Sean talks about the long game mindset, and how he’s willing to accept change and disruption now to build a better and stronger business in the years to come.

The Gear Doesn’t Matter

467: Sabbatical Episode: The Gear Doesn’t Matter

Thursday, January 9, 2020 – 14 minutes

Welcome to the first behind-the-scenes look at Sean’s Sabbatical Year!

Dan quizzes Sean on his mobile recording setup: now that the seanwes podcast studio is in storage, how will Sean produce content? Does he have to give up on quality? We talk about the lessons Sean learned hauling a 4K camera across Kauai, how the camera you have in your pocket is more than enough, and how you can produce the best work possible using the tools at hand.

Look for more bonus sabbatical episodes in your podcast feed soon!

seanwes podcast: Setting Your 2020 Goals

466: Setting Your 2020 Goals

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 – 1 hour, 40 minutes

Happy New Year… and New Decade!

But, look: In terms of your goals and aspirations, January 1st is much the same as April 17th, or August 22nd. But that’s not how we tick: we put a lot of stock in the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one.

If nothing else, a “fresh start” is a useful thing. If you didn’t give yourself one a week or a month ago, you might as well do it at the new year.

With that in mind—that this is as good a time as any!—let’s talk about how to accomplish whatever it is we want to accomplish in the coming year.

The system that will take you in the right direction has three parts:

1. The Target: what we usually think of as a resolution (“I want to run 100 miles every month”).
2. The Strategy: how you’ll hit the target (“I’ll run three times a week in the morning, I’ll count my macros, I’ll change my diet in this way”).
3. The Reason: why you actually want to do all this—the change you want to see in yourself (“I want to be a healthy and athletic person”).

Fired Up Mondays

465: Building a Foundation for Your Passion, Bringing Value to a Newsletter While Doing a Podcast, and Finding the Pain Points of Your Podcast Audience

Wednesday, January 1, 2020 – 27 minutes

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!

seanwes podcast: Why Would You Even Want to Start a Business?

464: Why Would You Even Want to Start a Business?

Wednesday, December 25, 2019 – 35 minutes

*This episode of the seanwes podcast comes from a call Sean and Dan had while Sean is on his Sabbatical year. We decided this segment was interesting enough to record and edit into an episode of the podcast. Enjoy! Ben and Dan will be back with a regular episode next week.*

Sean and Dan discuss a question implicit in the topic of this podcast: Who should, in fact, start a business? And why would they want to?

Entrepreneurship gets a lot of press. Starting and running a business is portrayed as more than glamorous: it seems like the only way to escape a lifetime of unsatisfying employment and “live out our dreams”.

But what does it really take to succeed at running a business, and withstand the workload and responsibilities required? As a longtime business owner, Sean shares his opinions, and we discuss the benefits of *not* being “Number One” in an enterprise.

In the end, the person who succeeds at the challenge of building a business will need to push through resistance. They’ll need to find a passion strong enough that they don’t give up when the going gets tough… and then stays that way.

Her Eating Disorder Recovery

463: Recovering From an Eating Disorder

Thursday, December 19, 2019 – 2 hours, 14 minutes

Update: Laci is doing great! She is healthy and feeling much more like herself. Getting treatment has been fantastic. We are absolutely thrilled how well she is doing.

This episode was Laci’s idea. She wanted to share the experience from her perspective. It’s her hope that being vulnerable with her story might help someone else who is struggling.

If this is your first time hearing about her struggles with an eating disorder, here’s a bit of backstory:

My wife’s eating disorder almost killed her (as I talked about in a previous episode:

If you heard the previous episode I shared, you know how bad things had gotten. After starving herself earlier in 2019, her cognitive abilities declined so severely from malnutrition, she was unable to speak a single full sentence. We could not even communicate. I had to take off work for several months to take care of her full time.

Later in the year, she was having panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety episodes that would last 6–8 hours a day.

Treatment has literally been a life-saver.

I’m happy to say, thanks to the generous support we received from so many, we were able to pay for the intensive care Laci needs. For a little over one month, she was in 7-day-per-week partial hospitalization at a recovery center, followed by 5 days per week of outpatient treatment. She’s doing so well, this week, her team recommended she step down to 3-day-per week outpatient treatment. She continues to see multiple therapists and dietitians per week.

Her diet has been consistent, nutrition is good, and cognitive abilities have returned! She’s sharp and able to comprehend and respond quickly. Her sense of humor has also been restored.

Her friends and I feel like we have Laci back. We are so grateful for your help. Thank you.

As you’ll see in this episode, her speaking abilities have returned, and she’s able to communicate incredibly well. I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to see her look and sound more like herself.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with an eating disorder, anxiety, or depression, please see the many links and resources listed in the previous episode here:

seanwes podcast: Surviving the Holidays

462: Surviving the Holidays

Wednesday, December 18, 2019 – 57 minutes

We look forward to it every year… or do we?

The holiday season is just about on top of us, and while it can hypothetically be a time for peace, reflection, and family, those qualities are easily overwhelmed by feelings of stress, overcommitment, and inadequacy.

Today, Ben and Dan give their best tips for making it through the holidays in one (mental and emotional) piece. A lot of these are perennial seanwes topics, and now is the perfect time of year to talk about them once again. (We also include a great sidebar on holiday travel, where Ben provides his recommendations for the best suitcases to pack your six kids in.)

Between managing your commitments and protecting your time and attention, focusing on what’s meaningful and setting yourself up for a great new year, let’s go into 2020 strong.

Happy Holidays! 🥳

Sean McCabe
Sean McCabe
Ben Toalson
Ben Toalson


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