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5 surprising insights on earning more money

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Sound familiar?

The conventional wisdom goes like this: Keep a budget, save 10% of your income, don’t spend on any extravagances (especially not lattes, the most evil of all), invest your money (where? oh, you know…just “invest it”), don’t use credit cards, and buy a house because it’s a “good investment.” And somehow, someday, you’ll be financially secure. Not rich, just okay.

Never mind that few people have the skills or discipline to save 10% of their income. Never mind that each of those recommendations depends on willpower, which lasts for a month or two, then dissipates as predictably as the effects of diets. Never mind that credit is essential and can save you over $100,000 on the purchase of an average house.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich readers know that those “tips” are filled with so many holes that it’s almost difficult to believe — chiefly human psychology. This is why you’ll have a friend whose new resolution (every month) is to stop spending money and really save! This nearly always fails — just like diets — because behavioral change is extraordinarily challenging and few people study how it actually works.

Yet “experts” continue spouting off this nonsense of saving and trying harder through sheer force alone. Why? Because it’s easy to write, inoffensive, produces pageviews, and requires very little energy from a largely apathetic and semi–financially-conscious public. Real behavioral change takes systems, not simply willpower. Real behavioral change requires conscious spending, not across-the-board cost-cutting.

For example, the ordinary wisdom of “stop wasting your money on stuff” is filled with outdated cliches like encouraging us to stop spending on lattes, eating out, and bars — all things that people in their 20s and 30s spend money on as a natural part of life. Even more importantly, we’re all embedded in a social system that reinforces this spending, making it virtually impossible to cut down discretionary expenses by willpower alone. This is like telling teens to stop having sex: You can try, and it may make you feel better to say it, but that’s not going to change the actual numbers. (Exception: My future kids, who I will lock down with one ankle chain each, like an elephant.)

Today, we’re over halfway into 2010, and I want to check in with you on where you are with your finances.

If I’d followed the advice of most “experts,” I “should” have done the following this year: Stopped eating out, cooked at home every day, never take a vacation, sit at home (no cable) and knit, reuse plastic bags 47 times, cut down on the amount of toilet paper I use, walk everywhere (no cabs or driving), and on and on. Who the hell in their 20s and 30s wants to live like that?

In fact, based on some back-of-the-reused napkin math, all I have to do is use 50 fewer squares of toilet paper each day, which will save me $2.35/month, times TWELVE MONTHS!! I WILL TEACH MYSELF TO BE RICH!!!

Instead, after automating my finances, I’ve decided to earn more. In fact, in one hour this year, I earned 10x what I recently earned in an entire year.

Many people are spending the summer being lazy, watching The Hills, and drinking themselves into a Chico State-inspired stupor.

Screw them. You’re going to crush them like a dump truck.

Let me show you what I’ve learned recently. Then I’ll tell you what’s coming your way.

The case of the confused man

Two weeks ago, I get this email from someone who’s unsubscribing from my newsletter. Now, every time someone unsubscribes, I get an email with their reason, and I usually reply to most of them just to see why they’re leaving.

This guy says he “already knows all the basic stuff” I write about. Whenever I read this, it’s usually a tipoff that you’ve got someone who’s more interested in finding newer and newer material (!!) instead of actually doing something. Anyway, I decide to ask a few more questions.

Ramit: “What kind of material would you be interested in?”
Guy: “I have done the basics. I am looking for ways to grow my money substantially, high-risk investing, take a vacation. I am looking for a stronger background in finance.”
Ramit: “Have you done [XYZ]”?
Guy: “Yes, I have done all that.”
Ramit: “Would you be interested in earning more?”
Guy: “Yes, I would but its all scam material out there. Any way to earn more would be appreciated.”

My first thought was, HOLY SHIT, I spent all of January writing all-new material on earning more. How could he not know? But in retrospect, it’s my fault: Why should I expect him to know about it? Honestly, I haven’t talked much about earning more since then, even though I announced that 2010 is the year of earning more. And then, as I searched my email and survey responses, I found more and more people asking for material on earning more and quitting their jobs to do something better.

So, oops… I can’t believe I haven’t shared what my team and I have been doing behind the scenes for the last 4 months: creating hours and hours of audio/video material, case studies, new techniques to earn more, and capturing tons of stories about people earning more.

My fault for not sharing. So I’m going to spend the next 4 weeks giving you a bunch of free stuff that you can use to take action right now to earn more — and use the money to quit your job, fly to Vegas, pay off debt, or whatever else you want to consciously do.

Why earning instead of cutting back?

I like to focus on earning more instead of cutting back for a few reasons that make a profound difference in living a rich life.

There’s a limit to how much you can cut back, but no limit to how much you can earn. In fact, as you cut back on spending, it gets increasingly harder, but as you earn more, it gets increasingly easier. For example, one of my students is earning several thousand dollars more per month. Let’s say he makes a small 10% tweak (say, a phrase he uses in his pricing negotiations, or the way he presents his guarantee, or even the customers he pursues). At his scale, that small tweak alone can be worth hundreds of dollars per month.

Cutting back on everything really sucks. Really, when you read some of these judgmental people who think it’s unconscionable to spend a little money on a nice dinner or trip or shirt…don’t you wonder, who really wants to live like that? Let’s assume you want an extra $1,000/month in your bank account. Let’s compare what you’d have to SAVE vs. what you’d have to EARN.

  • Saving: No eating out, cancel gym, cancel cable, no going out, reduce cellphone minutes…etc.
  • Earning more: Spend 4 weeks testing ideas rapidly (these could be anything you’re good at, including dog walking, organizing, writing, singing, high-school math, programming…), spend 4 more weeks developing your service offering, testing it in an iterative fashion, then identifying 50 leads, qualifying, and pitching them. If you get 1 client, you have $1,000/month. That’s about 5 hours/week. And the best part? As long as you continue doing a great job for your client, that money continues flowing in, and you can find more clients to compound your growth.

The point is, if you can earn $50, you can earn $500. And if you can earn $500, you can earn $5,000. For those people who are willing to challenge themselves beyond the simple mantra of “cut back on everything,” there is a lush and rich life waiting for you — not just financially, but also intellectually, because knowing how to earn more money is a skill that applies to so many areas of your life.

Anyone can cut back for a few days. Few can persist. And even fewer can earn money on the side, which is a GOOD thing for you. How often have you gotten gung-ho about saving money, cut back 80% on your spending, then watched it float right back to what it was before? Anyone can make a short-term resolution, but it’s extraordinarily difficult to change behavior for the long term. Since we have limited willpower, I believe we should automate as many basic decisions as possible, and concentrate our limited cognition/willpower on more things like relationships, health, and our work. Also, since we have limited willpower, if you’re going to direct it to your finances, why not pick something that will result in a BIG WIN — something like earning more money?

If you earned just $300/month for 5 years, that’s $18,000. My students know how they can easily earn that much and, since it’s such a modest number, how they can virtually automate that money.

Think bigger. If you earned $1,000/month for 5 years, that’s $60,000. That assumes you don’t increase your income and that you earn more for just for 5 years. You see? When you earn more, it’s in your control — and the numbers are staggering. How many lattes is that worth?

Who wants to wait 40 years to live life? Not me. When you see people taking trips, or maxing out their Roth IRA, or spending consciously however they want…I don’t think to myself, “Waa…I can’t afford that.” I ask myself, “How could I afford that?” That simple shift in the form of the question has a profound effect on your ability to take action.

I’ve heard a lot of people say something like, “Oh yeah, HE can earn more money on the side because [some reason], but *I* never could.” That is wrong. In fact, as you know I generally hate artists because they are the worst business people in the world. But look at this from one of my students:

“Thanks to you, I’m an artist that’s not starving. Your Earn1K course helped me successfully secure two new corporate accounts (Anthropologie and Takashimaya) in the last month.”
— Julie F.

My new motto is, if an artist can do it, so can you.

In general, people behave conservatively in times of ambiguity. So when faced with the ultra-ambigous idea of earning more, most people create barriers in their mind to justify why earning more is impossible.

  • “How does so-and-so always get to go on those weekend trips / have flexibility / work from home? She’s so lucky”
  • “But I’m a [fill in your job here]… I just CAN’T earn more on the side with my skill set.”
  • “I’m just waiting for a good idea”Now let me share some of the insights I’ve learned that might help you figure out what you could do to earn more money.

    5 surprising insights on earning more money

    Over the last 4 months, I’ve learned a huge amount from over 8,000 data points, including survey responses, individual emails, phone calls, in-person meetings, and webcasts. Here are 5 that stand out.

    1. The #1 barrier to people earning more is finding an idea. Everyone loves the thought of earning $1,000+/month. But when you ask them how they might do it, they suddenly stop, confused about which idea might work — or even guilty that their idea could never be good enough to charge people for. I’ll go into this more over the next few weeks because there is a lot of interesting psychology going on here.
    2. Next, there are several common reasons that people want to earn more. It’s not what you think, either. I initially believed it would be so people could buy a $800 coat or bottle service at a club; in other words, live a baller lifestyle. Not the case. Most people are simply unsatisfied with their job and want the option of eventually quitting and working for themselves, or simply having the option of doing SOMETHING else.Do you guys know people who are a few years out of college and feel like, “Huh…is this it?” Shouldn’t we be meeting CEOs now? Flying around to dispense our wisdom? Seeing huge growth in our salaries, exotic travel, and new ways of thinking all the time? And when you realize it’s not happening — especially in those years between now and having kids — it becomes really disconcerting. What do you do?

      I have a college friend who I went to visit a few months ago. We were catching up on his dating life and he confessed that he was still not doing very well with women. I asked if he’d considered getting some dating advice or taking a course. (I know some people think this is weird, but I think of it as pure self-development.) He thought it was weird too, and he’s actively refused to get advice from anyone more successful with women — but his lack of a dating life was really bothering him. I said ok, and we got quiet for a while. Then I asked, “So you want X but it’s not working. Have you changed anything to get it?” And he looked at me, point-blank, and said, “No, I guess I haven’t.”

      Without changing any behaviors, how can you expect your results to change?

  • Then I learned that more and more people want accountability and smart people around them. They actually openly say, “Yes, I need accountability. I start things but never finish them.” I was surprised to hear how honest people were. Another thing they point out is that often, nobody around them is really motivated to do anything, so they don’t have any support system. More key insights when it comes to earning money. If all your friends are satisfied working at the local insurance company, it becomes “weird” for you to do something different…and that simple social dynamic is enough to dissuade many people from trying something new. We tried to be very careful building in accountability and got comments like this from one of my students named Wendy L.: “This course is probably more valuable than my MBA.”
  • Most importantly, I learned that earning more is NOT about tactic after tactic. I’ve been emphasizing that lately on iwillteachyoutuberich for the readers who are constantly clamoring for more and more new material. In truth, most of them haven’t actually implemented any of the old material, so they simply want new material as a sort of novelty drug, which will give them the illusory feeling of doing something and absolve them of actually having to take action. When it comes to earning money, mindset is also paramount. For example, people HATE calling others to ask or sell something. They just hate it. So even when we showed students that calling someone to get their input on an idea (not selling) would immensely help them earn more, people were extremely hesitant. They would ask for examples, scripts, and all kinds of other things so they wouldn’t have to call. But my most successful students overcame their natural tendency to avoid the phone, stretched themselves to build this new skill, and earned a TON of money on the side.You know people like this: They have some kind of mental barrier and no matter what you suggest, they have an excuse ready to counter everything. I knew a guy in college who HATED going out. I’d say, “Well, what about this bar? What about this restaurant? Want to see a movie? What about go-kart racing dude.” And to each suggestion, he would have some kind of excuse. The problem was not the suggestion. The problem was a mental barrier. And by the way, yes, I realize it sounds like I was trying to date this guy.
  • I learned that more than ever, systems are important. I can tell people the 75 things I did to earn more money, but unless it’s in a carefully constructed system that people can go through and understand which part affects the other parts, it’s pointless. Systems matter. Here’s what one of my students said:

    “Before [you helped me earn more money], I was wasting time shotgunning résumés, writing cover letters, making shitty portfolios, making robots from scratch, unsolicited engineering design analyses—anything and everything to get a new job.
    I got zero responses. I was an aimless, desperate mess. I was so discouraged and embarrassed that I just played videogames all day.”
    –Eugene Y.

    Whether it’s earning more, automating your finances, or trying to lose weight, a system matters far more than simply trying harder.

  • The 6-month check-in

    At the beginning of this year, I told you that this was the year of earning more.

    And one of the insights I listed above was that we WANT someone to hold us accountable. It’s too easy to give up. It’s too easy to settle for doing the same old 9-5 job with a 50-year outlook on retirement. Fuck that. It never gets easier than now.

    Before you run a marathon, it seems impossible to do it. And novices fixate on tactics, like “which shoes should I wear?” But once you’ve completed a marathon, you’ve cracked the code and you realize it’s a mental game. You can do it again anytime if you want. If not, you don’t have to…but at least you know you can. Once you earn your first $500, then $1,000…you can stop there. But if you WANT to earn more…for the rest of your life, you know you can.

    So: Think back to New Year’s Day. January 1, 2010. What were your money resolutions? How much progress have you made?

    Did you want to save more? Get in control of your finances? Learn new skills so you could give yourself the option of eventually quitting your job?

    Let this be a kick in the ass. I’m going to hold you accountable because I know we all need someone to do it.

    3 stories about people who earned more

    I just want to share these short excerpts with you.

    I like this one because it’s so quantitative and funnel-based. This removes all doubt that most people have about “Should I create a Twitter account? FB page? Maybe I should go to a conference…” More on how to do this later.

    “In the first two weeks, after I pitched 229 people by email, I presented to 45 in person, booked 10 consults , took on 4 new clients (I’m 2 for 2 closing consults, 8 out of 10 are scheduled for the next two weeks and two people bought lesson packages directly w/out an additional consult) and have $679 on the books in new revenue as a result. My goal at the start of Earn1k was to get this up to a steady $2,000/mo in private lesson revenue, so with more leads in my funnel to follow up with, I’m feeling great about how this is going to grow.”
    –Dan K.

    This guy earned a $100/hour rate in 2 days. Imagine what his rate will be after he refines his pitch and customer research models.

    “I wanted to tell you this story so you can pass it to the rest of your team at Earn1K. For the past 2 days I have sought out leads on service based business’s with really crappy craigslist ads. I emailed 20 of them each day with a short sales letter I wrote that basically offer them a free 30 min marketing consultation with me and no strings attached.

    I have had 4 people schedule the calls with me via email. During the calls I give them massive value, teaching them about moving the free line, free recorded messages, and finally I provide them with 3 things they can implement right away. I make no mention of my services or cost or anything.

    Each of them has then called me back the next day to ask me to work for them implementing my suggestions… without even asking for a cost! So I threw out $100/hr and they took it!

    I love this course man, thanks to you and your team for all your hard work, I am only into the sample material and module 1 and I have already landed 4 clients and I start working for them today at $100/hour. Thanks for everything, I will have made back my investement in 5 hours of work!”

    –Jordan R.

    This guy earned $10,000:

    “I’m not sure if you’re collecting success stories yet, but I have secured, as of this morning, better than $10,000 in side income over the next two months from one mega client, with prospects to continue with similar compensation. This is up from roughly $100 per month before. I have not only met my goal for the course, but met my goal for the remainder of the year! I owe this success in no small part to the Earn1k course. I think that once I invested my own money (and more than just $50 for a book), that added enough incentive to get off my ass and make things happen. A 2000% return on investment doesn’t seem too bad to me, either, especially considering the course is only about half over.”
    –Ben D.

    When I think about these stories, I want to look at myself in the mirror and lick my own countenance. Seriously, it is awesome to see people stretching and challenging themselves to crack the code of earning more. And now they know they can use those same skills to earn money FOREVER.

    What you should do right now

    Please answer these 3 questions to help get started:

    1. What are your barriers to earning more? (Think deeply…some barriers are buried, like “Only evil people earn money” or “I don’t deserve to earn more”)
    2. Have you started to earn more in the past 6 months?
    3. If not, what’s holding you back?

    Talk to you soon.

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103 Comments on "5 surprising insights on earning more money"

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Tyler WebCPA
6 years 2 months ago

Getting back to the meat of the blog, this is good. This line is classic, I plan on quoting you on it: “Then I asked, “So you want X but it’s not working. Have you changed anything to get it?” And he looked at me, point-blank, and said, “No, I guess I haven’t.”

Without changing any behaviors, how can you expect your results to change?”

Loot Lover
6 years 2 months ago

Thanks Ramit, I think this is absolutely accurate. We are very often our own worst enemies, and we just need to understand that anything we *really* want to achieve is possible.

Looking forward to future posts.

Kevin M
Kevin M
6 years 2 months ago
My biggest barrier is finding people to pitch. Or perhaps I know where to find them but I’m afraid to come off as sounding like a used car salesman. [Ramit’s response: Good insights, Kevin. But those are two different things. Finding people to pitch depends on narrowing your market down and deeply understanding them. Where do they hang out? What do they do for fun? What are the needs in their lives? Once you really understand that, it becomes much easier to find them — and find a lot of them. The second concern you have is coming off like… Read more »
rosa
rosa
6 years 2 months ago
This post is great. I’m spanish, living in Spain and I really love how you write. I think that my barriers to earning more are that i don’t know what to do. I have very little experience in my industry (marketing and business administration) so, what could I do? This is a question that is killing me, specially If i tell you i’m without a job. By the way, with regard to your previous post I must say that ” I will teach you to be reach” has helped me with my English. It’s so interesting that makes easier for… Read more »
Q
Q
6 years 2 months ago

Hey Rosa. If you lived in the U.S. I would definitely tell you to teach Spanish. I’m trying to learn on my own but in time I am going to find/pay someone to teach me. Second languages are very appealing in the business world.

holly
holly
6 years 2 months ago

Aside from getting more money (which is sweet), I just want to say that simply knowing that you CAN earn money outside of a job is a really great feeling. I’m not freaked out about graduating and getting a job in my field like a lot of my peers are because I know I have at least some skills that will keep me from selling all of my possessions and living off ramen, like some of my friends do when they can’t find a job.

Rebecca
6 years 2 months ago
This was an amazing post. I’ve been earning $1000 more a month since May at a second job as a consultant that I do in my spare time. What’s surprised me is that it doesn’t take up more time, but has allowed me to do more overall. I’m less worried about finances and paying off the debt I have, so I actually go out and do the things that make me happy. I don’t feel as paralyzed anymore. And I’m ahead of all my financial goals. This post was a good reminder that I can make even more. I particularly… Read more »
Rebecca
6 years 2 months ago

Since April, I meant.

Ryan
Ryan
6 years 2 months ago
Ramit, I wholeheartedly agree about systems. I have implemented all of your money “systems.” Automatic savings, automatic investing, automatic bill pay, sync bill dates, etc. I never wonder how much money I have or will have at the end of the month, I know. My savings account is constantly growing (so is my checking.) My 401(k) is constantly growing. I’m never late on bills. The amount of time I spend looking at my personal finances has dropped to maybe an hour a month, as opposed to a couple hours a week. All of my financial attention is now focused on… Read more »
Suzie
6 years 2 months ago
1. What are your barriers to earning more? (Think deeply…some barriers are buried, like “Only evil people earn money” or “I don’t deserve to earn more”) Lack of time/energy. I work full-time in a field that requires a high level of attention to detail (it’s all data entry and data checking) and when I get home I’m so tired of staring at a computer screen! But my side-line skill set is all computer based, webdesign being my poison of choice. I have made money from web-design, and what got me wasn’t how hard it was to find clients, but how… Read more »
Erica Douglass
6 years 2 months ago

“how quickly my time got filled and I couldn’t handle all the incoming work.”

I had a similar experience, and solved it by doubling my rates. If your time gets filled up again, double them again. Sign short project contracts (not all-encompassing “I will do everything” contracts) so you don’t burn yourself out and so you have the flexibility to raise your rates later.

-Erica

swedsw
swedsw
1 month 10 days ago

go do it earn now earn money

Erica Douglass
6 years 2 months ago

P.S. I’m up to $500/hr and my schedule still gets filled regularly. I’ve been turning down consulting at that rate because I’m so swamped with things that earn even more.

-Erica

Kevin M
Kevin M
6 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the response Ramit. I took your Earn 1K course and am still having trouble finding “where they hang out” and “what they to for fun”. Looking forward to any additional input you have.

Re: the second point – even if you find someone that needs your service, you still have to sell them that you’re the one to provide the service, am I wrong? That’s what I was trying to say.

cc
cc
6 years 2 months ago
great post, love all the content, all great stuff. your reinforcements of earning more versus spending less are great too. i’ve had a rocky couple years, income wise, and while i’m keeping my head above water by slashing costs on everything, life just isn’t that much fun. i can’t go out with friends, buy new clothes, get video games, see shows, etc- just don’t have the money. finally i said to heck with all this and started applying for any job related to my field, instead of just cherry jobs. i already nailed a great interview yesterday and am looking… Read more »
Galephico
Galephico
6 years 2 months ago

1. I don’t have time to develop my business idea.
2. Not really
3. Time because i have an idea, the skills and an expert in the field

I really want to earn more as it is to help my parents

Mark Lawrence
6 years 2 months ago
I like this post and am excited to see the future content in the next 4 weeks! However, I disagree with the “saving is a lost cause” mantra. Saving has provided me the freedom to pursue what I enjoy without a 9 to 5 job, and focus full time on other ways to make money. It doesn’t have to be all bad. It can be kind of fun and creative. If someone doesn’t have the resolve to save, it will be harder for them to have the resolve to earn more. Having resolve to implement a good idea in order… Read more »
Scott
Scott
6 years 2 months ago
Great post, as always, Ramit! Quick follow-up: is there any way you could point the way to a system to help people like the robot-building job-seeker named Eugene whom you mentioned in the “Systems are Important” graf? I need to change jobs in the worst way, and I have suspected for a long time that there must be some sort of system out there for successful job hunting–but I can’t quite crack the code. My primary motivation happens to be personal and not financial–but it seems like a job change would be a great way for a lot of readers… Read more »
Scott
Scott
6 years 2 months ago

Bummer that we have to wait! But glad it’s on your radar screen, and excited for what’s in store!

DanP
DanP
6 years 2 months ago
My fall back is what you said the number 1 reason is….lack of an idea. I’m not sure what aspects of my skills and knowledge i could sell while still not creating a conflict of interest at work. I work at a credit union, as a personal banker…ie investments and lending. We also do all of our own underwriting. [Ramit’s response: Dan, it’s OK not to know what idea you might pursue. But what action have you taken to find a profitable idea? If the answer is that you’ve taken no real steps, then I’d argue that you need to… Read more »
DanP
DanP
6 years 2 months ago
My focus for the past couple of years has been to persue further schooling to improve my ability to earn for the job. For the past 4-5 months i’ve been looking at adding side income. You are correct in assuming that i haven’t done to proactively search for a viable idea. I’ve looked into a few things, and seen what people are charging, but again, it’s the starting point. I think im overly caught up in the thought process, and need to spend more time doing, then thinking. I”ll analyze later…once i have some funds coming in.
Ben
Ben
6 years 2 months ago
1. What are your barriers to earning more? That there’s so many fun things to do with my time, and that I have ‘enough’ money. In reality, I spend a lot of my time aimlessly reading shit on the internet, chatting with friends (phone or IM), or other not-very-satisfying ways of spending that time. And the 2nd issue, ‘enough’ money – what does that even mean? 2. Have you started to earn more in the past 6 months? Yes. I went from a $35/hour employee job to $80 an hour contract job. Now I pay my own insurance, expenses, and… Read more »
Greg S
Greg S
6 years 2 months ago

“The #1 barrier to people earning more is finding an idea.”

I am desperately eager to hear more on this. I know you just suggested to DanP that he needs to change something to fix this – but what? Other than brainstorming ideas and running them by friends, what else do you suggest? I need a way to kick start this, even if the first idea doesn’t work.

Joy
Joy
6 years 2 months ago

Thanks for all of the great advice. I’ve bought your book, enjoyed it tremendously, and passed it along to many people.

Just to let you know, I am a twenty-something that “sit[s] at home (no cable) and knit[s].” Knitting can actually be quite an expensive hobby. I’ve decided to take your advice though, and try making a profit off things I knit. We’ll see if that increases my revenue instead of cutting back on buying yarn. 🙂

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LaughingMouse
6 years 2 months ago
I had to post. I have read your RSS feed for more than 6 months. I browse though, and consider what you’re saying. A couple months ago I finally checked into the Automating My Finances thing and found that I don’t have enough cushion to do this comfortably, so instead of doing SOMETHING I put it off until i can create that cushion out of thin air. Today, i read this post and suddenly a switch flips and I realize that I have a pretty significant skill set that I could use for income on multiple levels. I pondered your… Read more »
jgonzales
jgonzales
6 years 2 months ago

My biggest barrier has been a fear that my lack of formal education and job related experience (versus hobby related experience) would stop people from wanting to hire me as a freelance writer. Four months ago I finally took the first step and now have one client. I’m still working through my fear and am working on getting a second client now. I’d like to have more clients, but still battle with the fear since I’ve been doing this professionally for less than six months and have no college background.

Maxime
Maxime
6 years 2 months ago
I hate you Ramit, you just show me that I’ve done nothing in Earn1k for almost 1 month so let’s go for the Q/R game. 1. What are your barriers to earning more? (Think deeply…some barriers are buried, like “Only evil people earn money” or “I don’t deserve to earn more”) – The one idea that I love is helping a company which is located in France to develop their business here in Belgium . But their main product is a trademarked product and I don’t know how to ask them if I can do this. – I’m a French… Read more »
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Benjamin "balupton" Lupton
6 years 2 months ago
This is one of the few posts from you I have actually read the entire thing through without skipping! Great stuff. Really great stuff! Typically I start reading and lose interest with it too quickly, but this one kept me drawn for some reason. In response to the questions: 1. What are your barriers to earning more? (Think deeply…some barriers are buried, like “Only evil people earn money” or “I don’t deserve to earn more”) > I get DISTRACTED. One week I will be working like mad on my idea, the next something will come up and my focus changes… Read more »
Christina
6 years 2 months ago
1. My biggest barrier is fear. Just plain old “what if I go out there and they don’t like me” stage fright. I’d tried to start a sideline business before– I put all this work into figuring it out, planning and setting pricing. When I finally advertised it: nothing but crickets, man. It’s kind of humiliating, to be so excited about something and find out that nobody is interested in your offer. But I’m trying to talk myself down from that. From the Earn1K course, I know what the biggest fail was: making something that *I* wanted to make, rather… Read more »
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david
david
6 years 2 months ago

http://consumerist.com/2010/07/27-of-the-sickest-things-youve-done-to-save-money.html

This is another common example of small cost-cutting wins that make life not worth living.

Erica
Erica
6 years 2 months ago
I haven’t been able to take (afford) the Earn 1K course yet so I’m looking forward to the upcoming content. 1. I have two barriers to earning more. One is that I don’t know what service or product I can provide to people–I’m not confident that I have the skill or knowledge. I’m narrowing it down but haven’t done much testing. The other is that the only support I have believes the way to earn more is by working for a big company and advancing until I’m 40 and then doing teaching or consulting. 2. I’ve started doing some 300-400… Read more »
agradstudent
agradstudent
6 years 2 months ago

Just so you know, ramit, Knitting is a surprisingly expensive hobby. Raw materials cost more than you can buy a finished product for, nevermind all the time you spend actually knitting. You can immediately write off anyone who uses knitting as an example of how to save money; they are dead wrong.

[Ramit’s reply: Thanks for the correction. I assumed you just found some yarn and copper wire in a dirty alleyway and used it to knit whatever came to mind while gently stroking a purring cat on a recliner chair. I stand corrected.]

AKF
AKF
6 years 2 months ago

I enjoyed this post but have a barrier – what if my current skill set for my Earn$1K is the same as I use for my job, and my employer would see my activity on the side as competition?

Neil
6 years 2 months ago

Hi

Absolutely love this post. I too am fed up with the advice that tells you to cancel your cable subscription or anything else that is remotely enjoyable to “become rich”. If I have to live like a monk to become rich I think I would rather stay as i am 🙂

Brian
Brian
6 years 2 months ago

Some GREAT shit here, finally! Looking forward to what’s coming up.

Two issues:
1.) I’m not understanding how, “If you earned just $300/month for 5 years, that’s $18,000/year.”
and
2.) “In fact, as you know I generally hate artists because they are the worst business people in the world.” seems a pretty stupid thing to say. I have no disagreement that artists, in general, make mediocre business people, but that’s hardly a reason to hate them.

Anyway, I’m not a tremendously loyal reader, but this overall post is exceptional, and I’ll be paying closer attention.

CJ
CJ
6 years 2 months ago
I’m excited to learn more! I recently found your site and have to say, I prefer the idea of earning more to being overly frugal (no one could ever convince me it’s fun to ration out toilet paper). I’m a little hurt that you lump all artists in as bad business people since that stereotype (supported by artists and non-artists alike) is a powerful stigma to go up against. I’m best of both worlds: a business school grad (it was the one thing I had any interest in getting a degree in) who is also an artist, and I’m trying… Read more »
MD
6 years 2 months ago
I was wondering where you were hiding. Let me give these questions a try… 1. What are your barriers to earning more? (Think deeply…some barriers are buried, like “Only evil people earn money” or “I don’t deserve to earn more”) I’m 22 so you can imagine what my barriers are: -Lack of focus. I sent off 3 texts just while writing this post. -Too much time spent on dating life. -Impatience. You know the classic saying, “God please grant me patience, but do hurry.” I’m just a really impatient dude. 2. Have you started to earn more in the past… Read more »
Shark
Shark
6 years 2 months ago

This was absolutely genius. I’m going to send this site to a thousand of my friends.

Michael
Michael
6 years 2 months ago

“If you earned just $300/month for 5 years, that’s $18,000/year” — you mean $18,000, not $18,000/year, right?

[Ramit’s response: Yes, thanks. Fixed.]

Rose M
6 years 2 months ago

I think fear of the unknown is a common barrier. Unfortunately, most people’s current financial situation is very scarey as well, so trying to improve your financial situation should be exciting not scarey. I am still a big believer in saving as you need to have some assets you can get your hands on quickly if needed.

Gal @ Equally Happy
6 years 2 months ago

Ramit, I agree with most of your stuff about earning more instead of saving more but I would like to add one note. Sometimes changing habits can save money and be fun. For example, I started walking more recently and biking to work instead of driving. It’s amazingly fun and it saves me money. The key is to find stuff you enjoy and not just do it for the 3 cents you’ll save. Other than that, yes, absolutely, focus on making more.

Klaus
6 years 2 months ago

Never mind that few people have the skills or discipline to save 10% of their income.

well, in Q1/2010 the average savings rate of households in Germany was 15.2 percent (longtime average savings rate is somewhere around 10 percent)… so apparently it’s not that hard after all, if 80 million Germans manage to do it 🙂

Christie Gahan
Christie Gahan
6 years 2 months ago
A few days back I received an email with ideas for earning the extra 1k. I really question the dog walking and babysitting ideas. How will you make 1k ? You would have to put a lot of hours in. ( Unless I just need to brain storm this idea some more)… Your success stories so far, seem to be folks that had high dollar skills that could transfer over to freelance. It just seems that you will never make $100 per hour walking dogs. How do you test your products or ideas ? Is there a post on that… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
6 years 2 months ago
You know I was just sitting here at my laptop re-doing my budget because here (in Australia) it’s the beginning of our new financial year and I’ve not done as much as I’d planned in accordance with my list of Things To Do which I wrote at the beginning of this year. I love the fact that you encourage people that the way not to go is by cutting back on lattes, gym etc. I love my gym but I don’t drink latte but I love buying books from Amazon. I run my own online business which is only small… Read more »
Fil
6 years 2 months ago

My problem is where to begin. I know that a website is one of them. While I do have one, it needs to be developed further. My other problem is that in order for my “idea” to work, I will need to begin initially with a free service. The only thing I think I could have going my way is that I may have come up with a way that my potentials customers will come to me rather than me requiring to put on a sales “hat” on and dread the elevator pitch.

Brian
Brian
6 years 2 months ago

WTF? Ya’ll are missing the $*@@&#% point. Nobody gives a damn! Quit studying it, over-thinking it, talking about it… GO DO SOMETHING!!! Otherwise it doesn’t make any difference how good your idea is, or isn’t, or might have been, or whether you have some hurdle required “in order for your idea to work”. IT’S NEVER GONNA WORK AS LONG AS YOU MAKE EXCUSES, AND DON”T GO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

trackback
6 years 2 months ago

[…] or more interesting work, why not do something about it?  Leverage your experience and skills to earn extra money on the side; negotiate a remote-work arrangement; or consciously choose between cycles of working to earn, and […]

Mneiae
Mneiae
6 years 2 months ago

1. Barriers?
I’m a teenager and I am supported by my parents. I won’t have to make money or any kind of salary until I graduate from school.

2. Increased money?
Yes, I got a job. It pays minimum wage, but I’d do it for free. Talk about passionate about work 🙂 My boss is amazing and I think that she’s optimized the workers’ experience.

Q
Q
6 years 2 months ago

I hope you are smarter than I was. Put money away to take to college with you. It will be the smartest thing you ever did. I struggled for 4 long years with work study jobs making $100/biweekly. I wish I would have been more prepared.

Rob
Rob
6 years 2 months ago
1. What are your barriers to earning more? (Think deeply…some barriers are buried, like “Only evil people earn money” or “I don’t deserve to earn more”) Ramit, I’ve been on a treadmill running at like level 2 for the last couple of years. I’ve been making about $2,000 working freelance for the last year and half working about 4-5 days a month. I bought your course learned A LOT, but did JACK SHIT and still on the tread mill. I even had a client fly me out for a workshop (paid for) to Venice, CA about how the company does… Read more »
Will
Will
6 years 2 months ago
My accountant related a story from her days working at a large firm, where the managing partner warned that, due to the loss of a few major clients, they would “either have to make some significant cuts, or figure out how to bring in more money – and bringing in more money is much more fun than making cuts.” Same general point that you are making. I try to keep my expenses low, while still spending money on the things that I enjoy – eating out a few times a week with friends, and traveling several weeks a year. While… Read more »
Quita
Quita
6 years 2 months ago
Right now I am still in my training phase so all parttime work is restricted by my department. However, once my training is done I am going to try to get a job with UOP. I hear I can make an extra $1000/mo teaching a 6-8 week course. That isn’t bad. I even have the option of taking on more parttime work for $22/hr. I have a M.A. so I am going to put it to use until I pay off my car (18900 left on my Honda) and put away enough 6 months of expenses and a downpayment on… Read more »
doctor S
6 years 2 months ago

Writing to you from my cube that frustrates the hell out of me, I am beginning to realize that I am the barrier to myself earning more. Whether it is earning more money through the corporate world or trying to earn that side income myself. The problem is me and that I do not take any action. My problem is one you depicted, I just don’t think that the ideas I have will be demanded by people. The ones that I do, I need to develop the skills much better. Gotta start somewhere. Good post.

Sam
Sam
6 years 2 months ago
I’m 20 years old and taking general ed courses in college because I don’t know what to do with my life. Yes, I’m working and have a Roth IRA and investing/saving automatically, but I feel like I do not have anything that I can offer as a service. I do have some talents, like guitar and basketball, but who would want to hire a 20 year old when there are way more qualified people out there, especially people who have more experience than I have life? I feel like my age coupled with my lack of service-offering talents is what… Read more »
Mneiae
Mneiae
6 years 2 months ago

It’s terrifying to be 18 and at that stage because you’ve already finished your Gen Ed. I also work and save automatically, and I don’t have anything that I can offer as a service. Who wants to hire some kid to do something that someone else can do much better?

Debbie
6 years 2 months ago
A few comments touched on one point that has kept me back from pursuing “selling myself/my skills as a business.” Trading time for money. It’s a trap that I can’t stay in IF I want to raise a family and NOT work full time whether it be for myself or someone else. Granted a few people mentioned that you can raise your rates and take on less clients which would free up your time without reducing income and that’s a good idea but I would rather develop a business that is on autopilot (aka passive income.) Funny thing is once… Read more »
Laurel
Laurel
6 years 2 months ago
I love these posts, loved Ramit’s book and am a firm subscriber of the updates. It amuses me tho that this is all aimed at 20-30 something folks who are just starting out. I just don’t fit in with you guys at all!! I’m a 50 year old single mom, so many of the things that Ramit teaches have to be tweaked to fit me – but I’ve tweaked them! Obviously I don’t have to worry about building business experience (been a legal assistant for nearly 30 years), so all of the info on getting good jobs outta college don’t… Read more »
Tyler
Tyler
6 years 2 months ago

I’m in my 50’s too and been a corporate drone for one entity or another my entire life. Obviously I’m worth something or they wouldn’t keep paying me.

The big question is what can I do that people will readily pay for? I got a whole lot of things – but what will pay? I’d live in a single room flat if I could be my own man. I’d… wait… the factory whistle is blowing….must go back….please send help!.

Tish
Tish
6 years 2 months ago
Great post. One thing I do find that bums me out is lack of support. None of my friends think about this stuff, or rather, maybe they think about making more money, but not in a side business kind of way. So, if I start to talk about making money using skills I have, they say “Awesome!” and then that’s it. So, the reason for my post I guess is: where to meet like-minded people? Ramit, you don’t have a message board system, do you? Anyone have a “meetup” group out there?? Of course, I don’t want to fall into… Read more »
Pop
6 years 2 months ago
I agree that the biggest impediment to earning more money is just getting off your ass and doing or changing anything, no matter what it is. So much time gets locked up in finding the perfect idea, time to start, or support group, when just throwing anything against the wall and seeing what sticks would make so much more progress. I’ve recently been thinking about taking an extreme approach to the problem by setting up a commitment contract with severe financial penalties. For example: “Make $1k on the side in six months as judged by my brother or some other… Read more »
trackback
6 years 2 months ago

[…] This post from Ramit Sethi is a fantastic summary of why people fail at managing money “by the books”. I strongly recommend you read it and consider your own psychology on money. […]

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[…] Will Teach You To Be Rich: Five surprising insights into earning more money. I couldn’t agree more with Ramit’s focus on earning more. This is good […]

Casey
6 years 2 months ago
Hi Ramit, Excellent article. I run a fitness boot camp business and we are just wrapping up a 6 Week Body Transformation contest that had over 60 applicants, from which we selected 31 participants. The contest ends Tuesday and now is the time to sign them all up for recurring monthly contracts. This post came at a crucial time, and I’m very glad I took the time to read it. I am 2 years out of college, running my own business, scared as hell and excited all at the same time. Historically I do not value my skills enough, but… Read more »
andrew
andrew
6 years 2 months ago

I enjoy reading your articles and agree with a lot of your points. I have been working outside of my “day job” as income incease here is limited to how much time I spend at work. (Time is an assest and once spent it aint coming back!! ) The team I now work with are showing me how to create residule income through a simple system, thereby creating wealth and time. One thing I have found is that systems only work if a clearly defined, passionate dream and goals are set. Keep up the great work
Thanks, Andrew

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[…] Will Teach You to Be Rich posts 5 surprising insights on earning more money . This post deals […]

Matt
6 years 2 months ago
First of all Ramit, I’m a first time commentor on your site, and from what I’ve seen so far, I love it. Your articles on earning more instead of saving more are spot on. As a naturally frugal person who only spends a lot on food (Admittedly, most of it is homemade, so even in that aspect, I’m better than most) I don’t feel like spending even less. I want MORE, and will be working on achieving those goals, and someday soon, I’ll be on a beach in Hawaii sipping down a Pina Colada and sending my thanks out to… Read more »
trackback
6 years 2 months ago

[…] week, Ramit from penned nearly 4000 words on 5 surprising insights on earning more money. When I saw that it had A) surprising insights and B) earning more money, I rushed to read the […]

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[…] few days ago over at I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Ramit talked about saving and compared it to cutting out various foods in your diet.  His attitude seems to be that […]

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[…] 5 Surprising Insights on Earning More Money from I Will Teach You to be Rich. This post made me think about several things. First, I don’t agree with his criticisms of frugality. Life doesn’t have to suck because you are frugal. And being frugal doesn’t mean you can’t work on earning more as well. If you have read “The Millionaire Next Door” then you know many millionaires are frugal as well. That being said there isn’t much more I can do on cutting back expenses and it is time to work on increasing my income. When he writes about… Read more »
Dominika Spackova
6 years 2 months ago
I completely agree with all what you said in your post. I am from czech republic and I have been a freelancer for past 7 years. I had been teaching English for first four years, and I got exhausted from that. I knew I wanted to something else. First year of my new business (teaching relaxation techniques to women) I was learning how to do it, during my second year I was barely earning for 1/5 of what I earned as an English teacher. During second year I knew there was something wrong. And I did not know what was… Read more »
Denise
6 years 2 months ago

Very interesting. We are our own greatest critic and competition! Great article. If you don’t muster the courage to think critically about your situation, you’ll end up living a life of conformity & complacency.

Louis Redemption
6 years 1 month ago

1.My biggest barrier is not knowing where to start and who my real clients are.Being in a new country has crippled my success of job employment as a result of experience level which happens to be zero.

2. I have not earned anything in the last 7months

3. I am been heard back by myself, not knowing where to start from and if my idea is good enough. fear of the unknown

Louis Redemption
6 years 1 month ago
Ramit. I am ready to forget about the past and my fears. prepared to get rejected and try. Taking the earn1k program has been on my mind. but am still waiting to here how that is going to work for me since all testimonials are from USA and i am from UK. Your book in Uk Version shaped my decisions and is playing important decision in my finance planning but would love to see your earn1k program do the same. Now is the time for you to answer that question for me. The only thing i know how to do… Read more »
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