Sean McCabe

“Show up every day for two years.”

Sean McCabe is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and designer. He helps people turn their passion into a business so that they can enjoy work and provide more value to the world.

Sean’s your mentor if…

  • You’re dissatisfied with your day-job and want something more
  • You’ve always thought about starting your own business but you have no idea where to start
  • You want to find a profitable side-hustle and turn it into a full-time business

When you want to start your own business, the first thing you’ll do is type something along the lines of “how to start a business” in Google.

And most of what you’ll find is crap.

You’ll find “gurus” whose only business is teaching people to make money by teaching other people to make money. But when you dig deeper, there isn’t much there.

Sean’s approach is entirely different. He comes from a diverse background in computer repair, web design, and hand lettering. And he’s excelled in running a business in everything he’s done.

Sean’s brand, seanwes, is wholesome. When you browse his content, you get the feeling of someone who’s genuine mission is to help you succeed.

His book, Overlap, curates everything he’s learned from starting and successfully running many types of businesses.

And without a doubt, Overlap would be the first book I would recommend if someone asked me “I want to turn my passion into a business. Where do I start?”

Overlap Summary

Here are my takeaways from Overlap: a quick summary, my favorite quote, and an action step for every chapter.


“This is the best recap I’ve seen yet.”

Part 1: Find Your Passion

Chapter 1: Get The Life You Want

  • You can’t live the life you want if you’re at a soul-sucking day job that doesn’t align with your passion.
  • Using the Overlap technique you work your day job to cover your bills and work on your side-project on the side.
  • As your side project grows and makes more money, you eventually will quit your day job. But you can grow it without worrying whether or not you can put food on the table, which is what your day job provides.
  • Everything you’ve learned from your previous jobs will help you in monetizing your passion successfully.

You may be pursuing something right now that ends up not being the thing you do forever. It can seem like you wasted your time, but nothing could be further from the truth. Everything you learn at each stage of your journey will find its way back in one way or another into a future project. Skills, insights, ideas, and perspectives you gain along the way will often resurface in useful ways later in life.

  • Action Step: Think about all of the skills you’ve learned from jobs you didn’t like. How can you make use of them to help you grow a business based on what you’re passionate about?

Chapter 2: Find Your Passion

  • When you were young, you had an imagination and dreams.
  • As you grew older, your imagination and your dreams withered away.
  • Other people helped diminish your imagination and your dreams. They don’t want to see you rise, so they bring you back down.  They don’t want you to succeed because it reminds them of their own mediocrity.
  • You have what it takes to get the life you want, but if you sit around and wait for it, it will never come.
  • You need to become determined on what you want and be willing to zero in on the actions it will take to get you there. You have to say “No” to anything that won’t help you get closer to your goal.

To get the life you want, you must pursue it with every fiber of your being and pursue nothing else. To pursue multiple things is to pursue nothing. You must first define what you want and then pursue it.

Chapter 3: Audit Your Passion

  • Your passion is what you actually love doing, not what you think you love doing.
  • Passion will carry you through the time you feel like giving up.
  • You want your passion to be fulfilling and make money so that it can create a sustainable lifestyle for you.
  • It doesn’t matter what’s your passion is right now — whatever you’re doing, if it isn’t your final “thing,” doing it is taking you closer to your final “thing.” You don’t have to do it forever.
  • Your passion isn’t going to hit you in the face. You’re going to have to keep trying different things (exploring) until you’ve discovered your passion. And that’s not a waste of time.

Give yourself permission to enter into an exploratory phase. If you haven’t spent time doing something that you think you might be passionate about, permit yourself to try it. Allocate time to the act of doing it. Thinking about it will get you nowhere. You’re not quitting your job or making any permanent commitments. You’re simply giving yourself time and permission to explore by doing.

  • Action Step: Ask your friends and family what you’re good at. They will give you a more objective idea of what you’re actually good at.

Chapter 4: Set A Big Goal

  • If you’re going to set goals, make them big goals. Small goals do nothing but limit your potential.

We underestimate what we can accomplish.

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  • Sean dreams of getting a Lamborgini. Earlier on in his career, he had the goal of buying a $5000 Mustang, and he eventually found the perfect Mustang under the exact conditions he wanted. He felt regret for lowering his goal.
  • What are you doing today? The goals you’re chasing now determine where you will be in 5 years.
  • You can accomplish far more than you can imagine in a decade.

I didn’t have it, but I believed that I had it. In my mind, it was already done. I was already there. Once I believed that I’d achieved it, it was just a matter of having reality align with my mindset.

  • Action Step: Block aside 45 minutes of your day sometime in the next week to write down every single goal you have for your life. Every. Single. One.

Chapter 5: Don’t Worry What Other People Think

  • Most of your time in your life will be spent alone.
  • It’s an incredible treasure to be alive and in control of your life.
  • This is your life, and in order to be happy and fulfilled, you have to go after what you want.
  • Normalizing what you want is a big part of you achieving it. That means you must share your goals with people every single day. You need to be used to hearing it, and everyone you’re with a lot needs to get used to hearing it.
  • When you share your big goals, some people will feel uncomfortable and dislike the way your aspirations make them feel about their mediocrity. That said, some people will feel inspired and buy into your goals, helping you get there and also feeling more motivated about their own goals. The latter are the type of people you want in their life.

If you think a million dollars is a lot of money, you might get one hundred thousand dollars. If you think one hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money, you might get ten thousand dollars. It’s about your mindset. It’s about how big you’re dreaming.

  • Action Step: Go back to your goals page, and pick one. Write down the 20 steps that will get you there.

Part 2: Protect Your Passion

Chapter 6: Don’t Quit Your Day Job

  • If you try and monetize your passion too quickly, you’ll burn out and end up hating it.
  • Your day job needs to cover 100% of your bills so that you can nurture your passion before you monetize it.
  • Your day job needs to be in a different industry than your passion, otherwise, you won’t have the energy to work on it when you’re done at your day job. If you like your day job, great. But don’t look to it for fulfillment.
  • When your passion is protected from your day job, you come home bursting with energy and ready to work on it.
  • Beware of the golden handcuffs, where your day job is so comfortable it can make it impossible to eventually leave.

Imagine your favorite cake. Can you see it? Are you picturing the icing you love? Now imagine it was baked with just a little bit of feces. Just reading the last sentences might make you dry heave. It would certainly ruin that dessert forever for you, wouldn’t it?


That’s what you’re doing when you mix your passion with a day job.

  • Action Step: If your day job doesn’t cover 100% of your expenses right now, finding a job that does must become your full-time pursuit.

Chapter 7: Defeat Scarcity Mindset

  • Scarcity mindset: You focus on whatever resource you lack. You’re obsessed about what you don’t have, and do things you shouldn’t to fill in the gaps.
  • Scarcity mindset is what poisons your passion. When you’re stressed or worried about money, you make decisions with your passion that will make you hate it, like taking on a client who disrespects you, but will pay you.
  • Negativity of any kind, including people, will drain you. They are actively taking you farther away from your goals. You can’t hang around with them if you want to be successful.

You have to change the company you keep if you want to change your frame of mind.

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  • The people you hang around with, the people you listen to, the people who’s work you’ve read, and the people you work with are the person you will become.
  • Poor people believe that people take from one another. People with an abundance mentality believe that they can create and give value through transactions.

Everything you could ever want to know about everything is in books. Books are the most valuable resources on the planet. Most people don’t ever write a book. Many authors say writing a book is the hardest thing they’ve ever done. Think about the years of experience and thousands of hours invested in writing, rewriting, editing, and condensing the information contained in a single book. Now think about the fact that you can consume all of that knowledge in a few hours.

  • Action Step: Answer this — Are you willing to put off your passion now so you can pursue it when you’re not in a scarcity mindset?

Chapter 8: Get People On Board 

  • Everyone in your life needs to know your goals. You need to communicate your goals every day, so you get your friends and family on board.
  • If people don’t know your goal, that’s your fault. It’s a failure in communication.
  • If you expect people to buy into your goals, you must invest in them. With your significant other, this is particularly important. You have to overwhelm them with your investment in love before you can expect them to do the same for you.
  • When people are on board with you, they will tell you. They will respect your focus time. Once they’re on board, they’re going to keep you accountable.

The three Ps of accountability are:


  • Public Accountability
  • Partner Accountability
  • Personal Accountability

You can use any one of these individually, but the strongest approach is to use all three. A threefold cord is not easily broken.

  • Action Step: Tell everyone today what your main goal is. Repeat it to yourself and others. Make it known where you want to be.

Chapter 9: Stay Motivated

  • Sustaining your enthusiasm and drive for your goal is key to achieving it.
  • Motivation is fleeting. Instead, show up. Just get started. Every single day. That’s what it takes.
  • Three Step, One-Step Solution for Lack of Motivation: Start with a commitment, make yourself accountable, and take the first step.
  • Keep track of your commitments every day. Mark down every day that you do them. And don’t break your chains.

“For each day I do my task of writing,” he said, “I get to put a big red X over that day. After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”

  • Action Step: Download Way of Life to start and keep track of your chains.

Part 3: Invest in Your Passion

Chapter 10: Make More Time

  • The only time you’ll ever have is now.
  • What you do is what’s important to you. You’re actions tell you what you prioritize.
  • The only way you can get more time is to create it.
  • Take note on how you spend your time. What are you doing on autopilot that you shouldn’t be?
  • The word “No” creates time for you. The word “Yes” fill your time for you. Use “No” more.
  • You need breaks (margins) for your sanity. You have to treat these like any other commitments. You have to literally schedule your margins, and respect them.

It’s obvious with money, but most people don’t treat their time with the same respect. Many of us keep recurring commitments that no longer serve us. The reason you have no time in a day is that you’ve filled it with recurring commitments. You have things you do, events you attend, people you hang out with, and you do it all on autopilot. You don’t even think about them anymore. Those are just things you do. They have become your new baseline.

  • Action Step: Create your own “No” list: a list of things you’re going to stop doing because they’re not taking you closer to your goals.

Chapter 11: Increase Your Focus 

  • Focus is your greatest asset. You will have more accomplishments and more freedom the more you focus.
  • Most people at work today are distracted. They’re distracted once every ten minutes, and it takes twenty-three minutes to get back on track.
  • You don’t need more time to be productive. You need more focus. Work on a single task at a time.
  • Every time you get a temptation to procrastinate, write down that distraction on your whiteboard. Whenever it resurfaces, tell yourself “No, it’s on the whiteboard.”
  • You need to be certain that your focus time won’t be interrupted. Go out of your way to minimize distractions and eliminate them before they even get the chance to occur.
  • It takes twenty-three minutes to get into a flow. Once you get into that flow, it’s easier to sustain. Until then, you’re seeking distractions.
  • Focus is “zoomed-in” mode. Sometimes you have to zoom out and think about what you’re focusing on fits in the bigger picture. Ask “Why” so you’re evaluating what you’re doing.

You can almost always get to the true core of an issue by asking “Why?” five times. If you’re getting a different answer every time you ask, then you need to keep asking. Keep asking until you get to the heart of the matter. Keep asking until the answer stops changing.

  • Action Step: Schedule a single 90-minute block of focus time, and list the things you’re going to do during that block.

Chapter 12: Rise and Write

  • Staying up late is an emotional decision. You have an emotional connection to your pattern of staying up late.
  • No matter what you decide to do with your business, it’s going to involve some sort of writing. So start your day with it. If you write every day, it will change your life.
  • It’s easiest to write and be creative first thing in the morning because you’re coming off a fresh sleep. And when you wake up early and get your day started, you will get far more done in your day.
  • You can’t wake up early unless you know when to go to bed, and at a reasonable hour.
  • As soon as you hear your alarm, put your feet on the floor. Alarm -> feet on the floor.
  • You must produce before you consume. Consuming sucks your energy and productivity.

If you try to define success as this big, huge thing where you go to bed early, wake up early, and have a super-successful, focused block of ninety-minutes and get everything done, you’re going to be disappointed. It will not all happen at once. You have to start small and define success by accomplishing one thing at a time. After you solidify one habit, chain other habits to it.

You don’t need more time, you need more FOCUSED time.

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  • Action Step: Do you want to be successful? Be in bed at 9 pm, sleep at 10 pm, and wake up at 6 am — and then start writing. Try it for a week, and see how much more productive you are.

Chapter 13: Practice Deliberately

  • It takes 5-7 years to achieve mastery. You need to work at your craft for years to get good at it.  And you want to strive to be the best.
  • To achieve mastery, you need deliberate practice. That means scheduling time to work on your craft, deliberately.
  • You need to look at your work and where you’re lagging so you know where you have to improve. A coach is a great resource for pointing out where you need to improve.
  • Join a community (See Sean’s community) where people have to invest before joining if you want helpful feedback on where to improve.
  • Read and take courses all you want, but the only way you will improve is by practicing deliberately.
  • If you want to win, you’ll show up every day for two years. After two years is your real start. There is no quick path to success.

Show up every day.


“I know, I know, Sean. I heard you.”


Well, hear me again. Hear it a second time. Hear it a seventh time. Hear it a seven-hundredth time: show up every day.


  • Show up when it hurts.
  • Show up when you’re tired.
  • Show up when you’re not feeling it.
  • Show up when it’s early.
  • Show up when it’s late.
  • Show up when everyone else is giving up.
  • Show up when it’s the first day.
  • Show up when it’s the 731st day.
  • Action Step: Schedule a 90-minute block of deliberate practice to work on your craft.

Chapter 14: Cure Perfection

  • Two groups of people were instructed to make clay pots. Group 1 was told that they would be judged on the quality of their pots, and group 2 the quantity. Group 2 ended up producing better pots because they produced more, which improved the quality in itself.
  • To be the best, you need to produce content every day. You have to ship.
  • Perfectionism holds you back from shipping. If you’re a perfectionist, focus on good enough — 90% perfect is all you need. Hit 90%, and then ship.
  • Perfectionism is a fatal flaw because it prevents you from putting out work and producing.
  • Every mistake you make should be your last time making that mistake. Make it your goal to only make new mistakes.
  • Never delete your old work, even if you’re embarrassed by it. There is value in the story you create while documenting your journey.

Have you ever thought about what good enough looks like? The phrase good enough sounds horrendous to a perfectionist, but good enough is, by definition, good enough! You can and should be shipping work that is good enough. It doesn’t mean you’re distributing poor-quality work; it means you’re progressing.

  • Action Step: Produce a piece of content today. Ship something.

Part 4: Monetize Your Passion

Chapter 15: Get to Your New Zero

  • The New Zero: half a year’s worth of your expenses in the bank. If you don’t have that amount saved up, think about yourself being in the negative.
  • Saving is a poor person’s way of getting rich. It’s scarcity mindset. Adopt the mindset that you need to create wealth.
  • If you want to make money, you have to solve problems. [Want to make a million dollars? Help a million people.]
  • It’s selfish to not want more money.  You were taught that wanting money makes you selfish, but having money helps you create more value and help more people. If you’re satisfied with what you have to keep yourself covered, that is selfish.
  • Don’t be emotional about money. It’s a means to an end. Money amplifies who you are now.

If you don’t have money, it’s because you haven’t created enough value for the world. Get rid of this idea that more is bad or evil. More is survival. In a business sense, any line that stays flat will fall, so if you’re not growing, you’re dying. If you’re not actively increasing, you’re actively declining.

  • Action Step: Are you emotional about money, and feel that it’s selfish to want more? Come up with a list of ways you could help your family and your community with more money. Is that selfish?

Chapter 16: Always Sell Full Price or Free

  • Never discount your products or services. Either sell full price or free.
  • Discounting = devaluing. You want to build a premium brand, not a cheap brand. We buy discount brands so we can save more money for premium brands.
  • Premium brands = investments. Cheap brands = expenses. Customers want to maximize their investments and lower their expenses. Go for premium.
  • Having a premium brand means better customers, better products, better work, and more loyalty.

Discounts are very tempting, especially when you’re in a scarcity mindset. It’s one of the most dangerous aspects of a scarcity mindset. When you devalue your services, you end up feeling under-compensated. Even though you may be doing work you otherwise enjoy, it will be in less-than-ideal circumstances. The more you compromise, the greater chance you will kill your passion. You deserve to be well-compensated for your work and the value you create.

  • Action Step: If you run a business and sell products and services, stop discounting. Start working on building a premium brand.

Chapter 17: Work the Trifecta

  • Trifecta: Client work, products, and teaching. All three are revenue generators — do all three.
  • Don’t try and build all of these streams at once. Start with one, and get it working. Then, move onto the next one.
  • With no resources, you can create a service business. Do work for clients that solves their problem. Client work is a great place to start.
  • Use your client work to fund your products business, where you sell and often ship products to your customers or clients.
  • Teaching is a great option down the line. You charge to teach people what you’ve learned.
  • Anyone with experience can become a teacher. Teacher’s don’t teach because they’re teachers, they’re teachers because they teach.

What did you have to learn the hard way when you first got started? What do you wish someone had told you before you began your journey toward learning what you know now? What would have saved you time and made the process easier? These are all things you can teach others.

  • Action Step: Write down some ideas for your Trifecta. What type of client work could you do? What could you create and sell? What could you teach others?

Chapter 18: Do Client Work

  • If you want people to pay you to do work for them, you need a portfolio. If you don’t have any client work experience yet, build personal projects and pro-bono projects.
  • Don’t just put up the project — explain your process and the story behind it. These pieces are entry points to people finding out about you.
  • Write down your process. You don’t have a process unless it’s written down.
  • When you do a pro-bono project for a client, do send them an invoice — and cross out the amount that you’d usually charge for it. This drives home the value of your work, even if you are doing it for free.
  • Don’t chase clients. Instead, attract them through your work. When you attract clients and don’t chase them, they are much more willing to follow your process.
  • Aim to be a pro, not a technician. Control and own the process, don’t be told what to do.
  • Before you take on a client, have them fill out a questionnaire that will tell you whether they would make a good client. Filter your leads. Unfiltered leads lead to bad clients, and that can mean the end of your business.
  • Price your services based on the value that you provide. This value is determined by the client. Your job is to ask the right questions to your client to help them determine the value of what you can do for them, and then you quote a fraction of that price. This way, you both win.
  • Don’t do any work without getting paid. Take at least 50% up front, and don’t submit any deliverables before you are paid.

Red flags with clients are like roaches. If you see one, there are fifty you don’t see. Don’t ignore red flags. Clients who try to change your process, talk you down on your price, ask you to work for free, or exhibit signs that they’re looking for a technician rather than a professional are all red flags. This is not a comprehensive list but should give you a good idea of what to watch out for. Again, any one red flag means you pass on the client. There are almost certainly many others you don’t see. It’s difficult to say “No” at first, but you will get better at it the more you practice.

  • Action Step: Reach out to a business or person you’d like to do a project pro-bono for.

Chapter 19: Sell Products

  • Prioritize creating an experience with your first product, not profits. There is no second sale without a great first experience.
  • Products are all about the long-term. It takes time to build a physical product brand. But if you do it right, you will build a premium brand and loyal fanbase along with it.
  • You need to make sure there is a demand for your product. So start with one. See what people are asking for. Then make it.
  • After your first product, you want to think about creating a flagship product — the cornerstone of your sales. Now that you have a process and feedback from your customers, you’re in a position to create something tremendously valuable that people want.
  • If you make a money-making product (as opposed to a nice to have product) that helps people make money (as opposed to people who don’t have money), you’ll hav a much easier time selling it.
  • Products that “put out house fires” and solve critical problems are the easiest to sell — the customer wants and needs them.

People pay for time. We all pay for time. People don’t want to wait for shipping. They don’t want to wait for a car. They don’t want to wait for coffee. They don’t want to wait for food. People will pay to get their time back. If you want to make money, find ways you can save people time.

  • Action Step: Create your own product based on what your customers want.

Chapter 20: Teach What You Know

  • Teaching can mean consulting, coaching, workshops, classes, speeches — anything. You’re teaching what you know to people who want to learn.
  • Even if you just learned something, you can, and should, teach it. You can help people just below you, and improve your own learning in the process.
  • Don’t wait until your an expert to teach. Teach, at whatever level you’re at, and you’ll become the expert.
  • When it comes to teaching, age is irrelevant. Share what you know, now.
  • Your teaching won’t be perfect at the start. That’s ok. Working through imperfection will help turn you into an expert.
  • Teach consistently enough and people will begin to perceive you as the expert.
  • Competition is a good thing — that mean’s there is a market.
  • You can make money from teaching through workshops, writing books, and launching courses.

The less you talk about the things you know, the longer it takes to convert head knowledge to experiential knowledge. When you teach, you close that gap. You will start to accelerate your understanding and internalize things to a greater extent as you teach. This is why you shouldn’t wait until you have perfect knowledge to teach. The act of teaching perfects that knowledge.

  • Action Step: Write down three things that you’ve learned and that you’d like to help others learn as well. Could you create a small course teaching this?

Part V: Market Your Passion

Chapter 21: Embrace the Box

  • To make money, you have to sell. Selling is easiest when the person knows you, likes you, and trust you.
  • People are limited to maintaining 150 close relationships. Our minds force people into “boxes” because that’s the only way we can store information about people. We can remember people for one thing at a time.
  • People are going to put you into a box for one thing. You can’t do anything about it. Instead, use that to your advantage. You can define what your box is.

Curate what you share and rise above the noise.

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  • It’s hard enough as it is to get known for anything. If you share multiple things, then you will be remembered for nothing at all. Curate and share on the one thing you want to be known for.
  • Everyone is good at multiple things. But before you’re known for multiple things, you must be known for one thing. Project one thing until you are known for it, and then you can share thing number two.

You’re already fighting the uphill battle of being unknown. No one knows you, no one knows what you do, and no one has room to process how complex you are as an individual. To break through the noise, you must project a single, focused thing. Project only one thing and nothing else. Make it abundantly clear what you’re about and what you specialize in.

  • Action Step: Determine what you want to be known for. From now on, curate and share things that project your specialization only. No politics, no gossip, no music — nothing but what you want to be known for.

Chapter 22: Choose What to Be Known For

  • Imagine that your life is broken up into seasons. Each season, you’re working on a different passion. Focus on and develop one passion per season.
  • Your next season or passion doesn’t have to be the last one. But it’s going to be a stepping stone that will take you closer to that last one.
  • Work on one passion at a time. Once you’ve gotten good at and known for one passion, you can move onto the next. But only until you’ve developed fully that first passion.
  • You have many options, but you must start with one. Pick one, and do it. You don’t need to choose the perfect thing. But you do need the momentum of making a decision.

Imagine you’re standing on the beach, squishing the sand between your toes. It’s dusk and the ocean breeze is starting to cool. Five firepits glow on the beach. Each one represents one of your passions. You run around blowing on the embers, trying to stoke the fires, but each is barely lit and close to dying. No matter how hard you work, you’re barely able to keep them all from going out. You can’t ever sit back and enjoy the warmth and light of a roaring fire because all of your energy is spent keeping each of them barely alive. But if you focused on a single fire and invested all of your time and energy into it, you could build it to a roaring bonfire. A bonfire is an asset. It continues roaring on its own and requires no maintenance from you.

  • Action Step: Go into your next “season” with intent, and pick the next thing you’re going to work on for that season.

Chapter 23: Clarify Your Elevator Pitch

  • You hate answering “What do you do?” because you’re not clear on what you do, and you haven’t practiced answering it.
  • Share your long pitch on what you do to a trusted friend. Then, ask them what you do if someone sat in there chair and asked what you were about. Write down the exact language they use — they can cut all of the clutter and emotion out of your story down to the bare essentials.
  • Prepare your six-second pitch: I help [X] do [Y] so that they can [Z]. X being who, Y being what, and Z being why.
  • Prepare your sixty-second pitch: Give your six-second pitch + the pain points of Y, and what Y wants to accomplish, and then explain why with Z. Expand on each point.
  • Prepare your 10-minute pitch: This pitch is more of a conversation. Ask the listener about themselves — their hobbies and business. Gain some context so you can talk more about what they would find interesting.
  • People are selfish. In your pitch, always think in the shoes of your listener — “What’s in it for me?”

Think about how many more opportunities in a day you’d have to share your message with someone if you developed the discipline to do it in a few seconds. If you had the ability to pitch someone in six or sixty seconds, you could talk to more people. If you talked to more people, you’d increase your chances of talking to the right person. One right connection can be all it takes to completely change your life, your business, and your career.

  • Action Step: For your next rise and write, write down your six second and sixty-second pitch. Practice them in the mirror, and then in front of your friends and family. Get feedback from them.

Chapter 24: Rule with Reciprocity

  • When you do a favor for someone, they want to do a favor for you. This is called the reciprocity loop.
  • Lead with giving. Give value, and never ask for anything in return. This is how you should approach building relationships.
  • Reciprocity is like credit — spend it wisely. It can expire. Give a ton of value, and allow the other person to understand the value of what you’re providing so that they can close the reciprocity loop with similar value.
  • When you insert or ads into your content, your audience is paying for your content with their attention. Instead, focus on relationship marketing. Don’t sell them, serve them.
  • Donations are tricky because they allow people to close the reciprocity loop with something small.

Give first, then ask. Never lead with an ask before you’ve given value. You have only one chance to make a first impression. The first impression cements your intentions. Let your first impression be an offer to help, provide value, or give. If you mess this up, you’re automatically labeled as a taker, and takers get ignored. Nobody likes takers.

  • Action Step: Do you want to meet someone? Do something awesome for them, with the expectation of getting nothing in return.

Chapter 25: Relate First, Sell Second

  • Treat your audience like people. Build and nurture relationships with them.
  • Keep on delivering value even after the sale. Continually provide them with a “wow” experience. This is how you build customer loyalty.
  • Give away your best 10%. When you give away quality material for free, this builds trust and gives people an idea of what they can expect when they actually purchase from you.
  • Freeloaders will complain when you sell. Ignore them. You’re not in business to serve people with a scarcity mindset.

When people see how great your free content is, they’ll assume that your paid content is even better, but if you give away too much, it will simply spoil people’s appetites. They will no longer be hungry for what you have in store!

  • Action Step: Add a personal touch to one of your products or services that really “wows” your customer.

Chater 26: Sell or Die

  • Even if your job isn’t sales, you sell every day.
  • If you don’t sell, you don’t make money, and you can’t continue to serve. Everyone loses.
  • You’re different than a salesman because you’re selling something you actually made.
  • If you want people to value what you have to offer, they must pay for it. If you want people to take action based on your expertise, you have to put a price tag on it.
  • You can’t give away everything for free. People who haven’t paid don’t have any skin in the game. They won’t act.
  • You have to believe what you’re selling with every fiber of your being. If you don’t believe in your product or service 100%, then you need to quit.
  • Promote the benefits of what you sell, not the features. People buy better versions of themselves.

If you’re not on board, other people will not get on board. The way you think about it translates to the way others will receive it. You set the tone. Their level of belief will be matched by your level of belief. You need to be fully convicted. It can’t be underscored enough: you need to be fully convicted and completely on board with what you’re selling. You need to believe in it with every fiber of your being.

  • Action Step: List out the features of what you sell, the benefits, and how it will make your customer a better person.


  • What you’re doing now is going to determine how your life looks in six months.

If you’re not happy with repeating the last six months of your life, something needs to change. What new action will you commit to doing? What old habit will you replace?


Here are some ideas:


  • Commit to going to bed earlier.
  • Commit to waking up early and writing.
  • Commit to getting a day job in a different industry than your passion that covers 100 percent of your bills.
  • Commit to getting six months of expenses saved in the bank.
  • Commit to investing time in your family members or spouse until they feel so appreciated they support whatever you want to do.
  • Commit to deliberate practice and honing your skills.
  • Commit to curating what you share and publishing only about one specific thing.

What commitment will you make? What do you want to change or improve? How is your life going to look different in six months?

Sean’s Tools & Resources

  • Overlap: Sean’s book, where he summarizes everything he knows about business.
  • Seanwes Community: Sean’s community, where like-minded creatives and entrepreneurs go to grow together.
  • Seanwes.com: Sean’s website, where he hosts hundreds of podcast episodes, blog posts, courses, and tutorials.


Featured image source: Millo

Comments 1

  1. Post

    Seeing someone so creative excel on the “business” side of things is really rare.

    If he can make over six-figures selling hand lettering to clients, I think that any skilled creative can run a thriving business provided that you “learn the language” of business.

    What have you learned from Sean?

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