The blockbuster 4,355-word email that I sent out yesterday — what was it?

Ramit Sethi · September 28th, 2010

Yesterday, I sent out an extremely detailed 4,355-word email to one of my email lists that has the internet buzzing.

The email took me over 6 hours to write and included:

  • Extremely specific techniques and mindsets on how to get into your dream job/organization (I described how I got into Stanford)
  • How to spread your ideas and have the voice of 10,000 (for example, how I grew my blog to 300,000+ readers/month)
  • How I got a highly paid job with 1 phone call — the back story and techniques I used to make hiring me a no-brainer (at any price)

Here were some of the reactions within about an hour of sending the email.

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@ramit not to be a suck up, but I can’t believe you just sent this past earn1k email for free. best. advice. ever. thank you.Tue Sep 28 18:10:12 via web

@ramit No bs. That was the single best email you have ever sent. Nobody can say Ramit doesn’t add value.less than a minute ago via web

@ramit that was a great and very insightful email. There was some great advice on how to get into your schools of choice and applying 4 jobsTue Sep 28 18:45:21 via Twitter for iPhone

@ramit i have to agree with @30DTFML… i was skeptical about the earn1k e-mails… but that one was very insightful and inspiring. thanks.Tue Sep 28 18:47:44 via web

Hilarious get-a-job tip from @ramit: “If you can swing it, somehow end up negotiating your salary with your friend from 7th grade.”Tue Sep 28 19:21:06 via web

@ramit – Last week’s email was one of the most useful and informational emails I’ve ever received. Had more useful info than most biz booksTue Oct 05 18:40:01 via web

So where can you get this email?

A lot of people have asked about how I’m growing my business so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share why some of my email subscribers got the email, but you didn’t see it on this blog.

I sent the above 4,355-word email to my Earn1k email list — not just my paying members, but also the free users who are just interested in learning more about my premium course on earning more money. These are people who’ve trusted me with their email address, their inbox, and in some cases a significant amount of money if they bought my course.

I spent 6 hours writing the email and it is a truly premium piece of content. You cannot find the tips in that email anywhere else.

Yet I gave it away free…to a select group: people who trust me enough to allow me in their inbox and took the initiative of signing up for my email list. Will the email end up on this blog one day? Maybe. Maybe not. For the last 6 years, I’ve been writing tons of free content — literally millions of words — all for free. I LOVE doing it. I’m going to keep doing it. But I also believe in building my business and sharing my best content with people who’ve taken some action to get it.

“Taking action” could be joining one of my premium courses. Or it could simply be trusting me with your email address. Either way, people who take action are worth more to me (in every way — not just financially) than someone who simply consumes material. I’m not in this game for people to simply read my stuff, think to themselves “That was good!!” and then go on chewing their bagel.

I want behavioral change — and people who take some kind of action are qualitatively and quantitatively more likely to take action to live a richer life.

This is different than most authors and bloggers. When some people say, “all information should be free,” I laugh. Nonsense. I feel totally comfortable sharing different material with different audiences, just like a fair give-and-take, depending on how engaged they are with me. For example, I spend $300/month for a marketing subscription I recently bought. In exchange, the guy who runs it shares insider information that the public never sees. That makes sense — I’m paying him a lot of money each month.

With my Earn1k course, I spent over $100,000 of my own money and almost a year developing it, testing it, and improving it. Of course I’m going to charge for it. (When I released it, I also wrote 21 days of never-before-seen material on earning more and released it — completely free.) But for the full course’s video lessons, scripts, case studies, and tools, I charge an absurdly high price because it’s the best, it works better than anything else out there, and I back it up with a 100% guarantee since I’m that confident (cocky?) about it.

In my business, I’ve gone the educational route by providing free material, knowing that 99% of my users will never buy — a classic freemium strategy. For people who simply sign up for my email list to learn more about my course, I send out emails every few days with content that can’t be found anywhere else (even on this blog).

A typical email might be insider techniques on identifying a profitable idea, tips on raising your rates, or maybe a case study of how a student traded out low-value clients for high-value clients who pay more. Each email takes me hours to write. I have 0 problem limiting it to people who allow me access to send them trusted emails every so often.

If they don’t like it, they can unsubscribe with a couple clicks. For those who stay on, a small percentage of these people will decide to buy something from me. And that’s how I run my business.

In other words, if you trust me and value my stuff enough to sign up for my free email list, I will reward you with incredibly good stuff that you cannot find anywhere else.

So that’s my deal. And that’s why this email isn’t on the blog.

If you’re interested in signing up for my Earn1k email list and getting emails like the one that took me 6 hours to write, you can do so (free). Will I try to sell you on my course? OF COURSE! And I’ll be happy to because it is the best course on earning money. But if you decide not to buy, you can still get content that I never release here…simply because you took action.

Here’s the link to sign up, free, to get material I never release publicly.

P.S. Anyone who signs up by this Friday will get a copy of the 4,355-word email

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  1. Yes, but who won the best back-handed compliment competition??????????

  2. Anna Manasova

    Ramit, this is genius. Well done. I love how honest this blog post was and I loved getting that last email. You lead by example when it comes to marketing your services and I like how creative you are about getting more sign-ups to your email newsletter list. To those still considering signing up: Go and do it. Ramit’s emails are great!

  3. Wow, best pitch ever. Little bit of permission marketing, a time limit, testimonial, exclusivity and a call to action.
    I see this done every day and this is the best pitch I have seen. Signed up and look forward to getting that email!

  4. That email was exceptionally good and I think it’s fair to say that it was the best ‘unsolicited’ email I’ve ever recieved in 16 years of being on the internet.

    While i’m sure you think praise is nice, I wanted to give you (free) feedback: that email AND THIS POST (explaining why you sent it) kept me from unsubscribing. I haven’t been as thrilled in the past about other earn1k emails… which is fine, it’s possible I’m not who you’re interested in.

    But even the possibility of receiving another email of similar calibur at some point in the future makes it a good idea for me to stay on the email list.

    Thank you for earning my trust on giving you my email address.

  5. Ramit,

    I’m an earn1k member and I did not receive the email!

    What gives?!?

  6. Thanks again for the email! I will be signing up for your Earn1k course soon.

  7. You have to trust a guy who would spend over 6 hrs of his time to write an information packed e-mail and give it away for free! I never ever feel like I’m being spammed by Ramit. Even if I got an e-mail everyday.

  8. Very good sales letter Ramit. You should be teaching about how to use your own voice to tie into sales copy for engaging your readers in a authentic, confident, yet persuasive manner. Is that a blog post title I just wrote? Maybe…

  9. Ramit,

    I am an email subscriber but I did not get a copy of that email. I checked my inbox, junkmail, trash, everything; but I still do not have the email. I would love to be able to read what sounds like a great read and take my next steps to financial freedom.

  10. Aimee Stewart

    I thought that email was fantastic. I read it twice, wished I had read it before I applied to college, all the time brainstorming about how I’ll apply the tips to career/anything.

  11. Gal @ Equally Happy

    Alright, you sold me. I signed up 🙂

  12. Very interesting email. If you had to receive only one email from Ramit this year, that was the one.

  13. honestly Ramit, you should run for President in 20 years time. It really was an awesome email.

  14. Usman Uddin

    When is the next earn1k course offering? I couldn’t take it the first time b/c I was working full-time, freelancing, and doing my MBA part-time (all through scholarships).

    I have to be honest, the education I learned from MBA was a drag. I could care less how to grow a company by doing a merger or acquisition. I’d rather focus on building or creating a business. You’re email and blog are so powerful, and I don’t think people realize the value. You are sharing shitt that’s not even taught in world class schools!

    Preach on, brotha!

  15. Not even going to front, that was one of the best emails I’ve ever received.

    I even printed it out (all 8 epic pages), just so I can whip it out and smack my friends over the head with it when they complain that your blog is annoying. Oh and when they say, Earn1K doesn’t seem “worth it” (define worth?).

    So yeah, rock on with your bad self.

  16. I did trust you with my email. But I realized most of the content I was receiving: was obtained just as well by subscribing in Google reader. (One less email thank you very much.) I guess things have changed in the two months I unsubscribed. This is not good news.

  17. It was a great and informative email Ramit. I recently decided to stop reading just for leisure so much and actually take action on things that I need/want right now. I just got done with your book and have taken action along the way, I can’t believe how free I feel especially now that I know how much play money I have left over each month 😉

    My next steps are to apply your tips in this epic email to get people to care about what I have to say and offer.


  18. You have that new car salesman smell.

  19. Receiving this epic email made my day so much that it inspired me to write another blog post devoted to Ramit Sethi. There was a lot to take away from that email, but something I got out of it that wasn’t explicitly expressed was the value of creating layers of content (ie paid content or content available to subscribers only, etc).

    Pamela Slim ( brought up a similar idea that Ramit mentioned in his email – connect with people who have achieved a goal you want to achieve to help you succeed (ie getting into Stanford). A question I have is what is the best way to go about this without annoying those people, or is it necessary to be persistent until they agree to talk to you?

  20. OK, you inspired/convinced me.

    I have not purchased any of your products/services for a number of different reasons, but I regularly refer people to this website. I am impressed by how you have built your business and I believe you have a lot of interesting and valuable insights to offer. So I point people in this direction whenever they seem to have an interest or a need where they would benefit from your input. I wonder how many other people do the same? I guess this is just a comment to say that you have enthusiastic followers/supporters out there who are part of your “small army” who may never actually directly buy your products or services. But they are an important part of your overall brand-buildling/marketing strategy, and so should continue to get some attention EVEN if they may not be doing exactly what you would prefer.

    But hey, if it helps you to have my email and if I can get more great content by giving it to you, so be it. I’ll play. Just don’t do funky things with it!


  21. I found the email pretty spammy and was almost inspired to unsubscribe. I think I will. The whole getting into Stanford part pissed me off–could you focus less on inspiring anecdotes and more on stuff that you can show works? (And no, I’m not bitter–a little over a decade ago, I turned Stanford down to go somewhere else, and I was happy with my decision.) “100% guarantees” make me back away–your confidence is not a sufficient indicator of value. I guess this is a general problem with business literature, and it’s why I’m unsubscribing. Your charisma is outstanding, though, and I’ve no doubt you’ll continue to be successful and popular in most populations.

    • I realized I’m sounding too harsh on the anecdotes–it has been very valuable to see what [you think] works for you. That is value. Thank you. Most of your heuristics are spot-on. The spammy part would be the referral links and the attitude that you can extrapolate with so much confidence from your narrative without rigorously assessing where (for whom or in what situations) your heuristics might fail. I’d trust you more if you were a bit less confident. 🙂 But awesome job overall–your approach is clearly working.

    • Erica Douglass

      And the winner of the best backhanded compliment award is…Sarah!

    • It’s amazing how people can read the same email and draw drastically different reactions. Ramit’s style is just not a good fit for you it seems.

  22. Hey Ramit,

    Slightly off-topic but reminded me of you regardless. Love to hear what you’d have to say about this family that’s been on the news so much lately:

    Future post mention perhaps? :]

  23. Tiffany Maxwell

    Hi Ramit,

    I’d love to sign up for Earn 1K, but, perhaps this is natural selection at work, I can’t seem to locate an actual link to sign up on the Earn 1K page, I can only see that there’s a link to the Wall Street Journal article. Have I totally missed something, or is the webpage broken from so many people registering in frenzy?

    • I get the exact same thing. No link to sign up

    • Ramit Sethi

      Sorry about that. You probably have a Flash blocker on. Turn it off and check out — you will see a signup form.

      We will add an alternate link to that page soon. But for now, just turn off Flash blocking.

  24. Can I still get the email?

    Rod Busby

  25. Would you send me the email too? I didnt get it though I’m on your list. And no it didnt go into spam. Thank you in advance Ramit.

  26. Hi Ramit

    I like to subscribe for that and do the subscription.


  27. Mike Wachowski

    Is there an advanced course for people who think $1K is chump change?

    Or are the principles detailed in your program applicable to larger endeavors?

    • Ramit Sethi

      Yes, there is. For people already earning $5,000/month using their side business, we have a special program. Some of my students have earned tens of thousands of dollars using the advanced material.

      Sign up at and attend next week’s webcasts — I’ll mention how to get this.

  28. I signed up. Can you resend that email to the people who signed up because of what was in that email? Please.

    In case you do, my email is

  29. Tai Vokins

    Brilliant email.

    Please, right another book based on your “Earn 1K” course. I would snatch that up in a heartbeat.

    • Tai Vokins

      By “right” I mean “write.” I’m now the typo master!

  30. Bill Davis

    I too signed up by the deadline and have not received the email. Could you please send it to me. Thanks…

  31. shit. saw this too late 🙁

  32. I have to say, I really liked the email as well. Came at a perfect time too. Thanks Ramit!

  33. John Meaney

    Same on comment as already mentioned. I am an Earn 1k’er! No email in my in box.

    Almost made my 1st 1K in 3 months at 10hrs per week. Tuner strategy works! If you build it, they will come!

  34. Joe Synnott

    Hi Ramit,

    Is there any chance I can get the email if I only signed up today? By all accounts it was the message of the century.


  35. Crystal

    Sadly, I’m a little late to the party. Just signed up today (thanks to a YNAB link) and then saw this. Wondering if I could also get a copy of the email.

    Thanks for providing such an amazing resource!

  36. Ditto what Crystal said. I missed the post due a vacation last week. I signed up this morning, before realizing that the Friday deadline was LAST Friday! Ramit, I would love to see the email, if possible.

  37. So far I’ve been really glad that I subscribed.

  38. Karan Garg

    I missed this email as I have joined today, would it be possible for you, ramit, to share this email on my email id

  39. Are you going to bring back the money diaries?

  40. I too just found this and signed up thinking you meant THIS friday. Is there any way I can still get in on the email? I bought your book… 🙂

  41. Ramit Sethi

    Sorry, the email has been sent out to the people who are going to get it. I might post it publicly or send it out via email in the future. Thanks guys.

  42. This was a fantastic email at the right time when my daughter, a junior at college, is trying for Internships next summer, and my twin boys in their junior year of high school, dreaming about colleges.Thanks Ramit,I truly enjoy your posts.

  43. Awesome share! Thank you very much

  44. Great insights, Ramit. Regarding admission into a dream school: I think creating a theme for an application or showing your unique qualities that make one stand out amongst the crowd is a great tip for high school students to hear.

    I do have to ask you to clarify something, though. I assume you got into Stanford on your first try, not needing to go back to the school with your prepared arguments. From everything I have heard during my years as a student at Stanford and now working many years on staff (not in Admission), it is my understanding that the school’s policy is to NOT reconsider any application after someone is rejected. I just wanted clarify that in case some applicants are mislead into believing that they can make a 2nd case for themselves after a rejection letter. I believe this is also the case at many other top tier schools. Making the absolute best case for yourself on the initial submission is an applicant’s best bet for any school.

  45. Jared Dees

    Just FYI – it was the best email I have gotten from any email newsletter list…ever. Thanks for the info and the inspiration.

  46. A truly motivating letter. Would be great to hear more on how to adopt (or internalise) this kind of (or any other desired) mindset. For my part, there are mental barriers which I’m totally aware of and which inhibit me from getting to the point where I not only know what is right but to act accordingly as well.

  47. I signed up before October 1. No Email yet….

  48. You’re post about your awesome email sounds like something I would put to use right now! I signed up before the Friday deadline, but I didn’t get that email. Would you be willing to resend it?

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    […] Instead, that email performed incredibly well. […]

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    […] Instead, that email performed incredibly well. […]