After 9,000 hours of practice, and many years spent drawing letters, I am no longer a lettering artist.
I stopped doing lettering many, many years ago. I now focus on teaching business.
If you’re interested in hearing my full backstory of how I went from window cleaner, to computer repairman, to band musician, to lettering artist, to course creator, to teacher, to community organizer, and beyond, I talk about it in the first chapter of my book, Overlap (which is free to read online).
I was making good money as an artist, charging five-figure rates, working with big name clients, selling my own physical products, and shipping out orders every day.
As well as things were going, I was ignoring the elephant in the room: the vast majority of my lettering audience didn’t want to hire me or buy my products—they wanted to learn how to make a living as a hand lettering artist like I was!
I spent half a year making a course called Learn Lettering. It made six figures in the first three days.
The next year, I did it again: Learn Lettering 2.0 also made six figures—this time in 26 hours.
This attracted a lot of attention. Soon, many people started asking me about the business side of things and how I was doing my marketing.
Unlike many hand lettering artists at the time, who hand-lettered popular quotes, I enjoyed writing my own pieces. Lettering was a form of voice for me. It’s where I discovered I had a message. It’s how I discovered I had things to say. Lettering attracted attention, and I was able to use that attention to deliver positive messages.
As I found my voice, and discovered what I had to say, I became frustrated with how inefficient hand lettering was as a medium. Because of my meticulous style, it would take me many hours to draw just 4 or 5 hours. But I had so much more to say! I could have written thousands of words, recorded multiple podcasts, or shot several videos in that time.
I started the seanwes podcast in 2013 and started teaching everything I knew. I began to hear from people all over the world. They told me what I was teaching on the podcast helped them quit their soul-sucking day job, or move across the world, or start a business. It was very rewarding.
I noticed my podcast audience was not just designers and artists. There were people doing all kinds of things. Listeners were developers, photographers, filmmakers, scientists, doctors, and more!
My principled approach to business was helping people in all industries.
The podcast has seven-figure downloads now.
People often say the seanwes podcast is “life-changing”.
Many of those life-changing conversations were happening over email. Just me and one listener. Someone would write in to thank me for the show and we’d end up having incredible conversations over email.
But no one else was able to benefit from these conversations!
I knew we needed a centralized place to share these discussions. I knew we needed to create a place where podcast listeners across the globe of like mind could come together.
Enter: the Community.
For 6 years now, I’ve focused on running a business community for creative professionals and it’s been incredibly fulfilling.
I’ve been able to help so many people—in all kinds of industries—finally get unstuck and enjoy life again. They’ve been able to do work they love and make a living at it.
As much as I loved lettering, I feel more fulfilled than ever helping creative professionals grow their business.
Obviously, since I stopped doing lettering full time 6 years ago, I no longer have a front-facing lettering portfolio (since I no longer create art). That’s a bummer for people who liked my artwork.
It’s tough because the course I made, Learn Lettering, is still super valuable and it helps a lot of people. But when it comes to my social media, you won’t see lettering because lettering is no longer what I focus on. I stopped creating lettering years ago. You can still find my old work on places like Dribbble.
I’ve been able to help tens of thousands of students with my courses on client work, pricing, marketing, and copywriting, and on a daily basis, I run an online community for creative professionals at seanwes.com.