The best IWT posts of 2013

Ramit Sethi · December 29th, 2013

Back in January, I wrote that 2013 was the year of taking control.

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but this year I gave myself two things to change:

    1. Have difficult conversations earlier
    2. See a movie alone (I hate doing anything alone, especially eating or seeing a movie)

Result: SUCCESS. I saw a movie alone, even though it took me until November, and I’m slowly getting better at having tough conversations without letting them fester for 32 years.

Quiz: What is your earning potential? Choose the answer you agree with the most
View Results

Together, this year we took control of our finances, our careers, and our behavior.

Here are the best posts of 2013!

There are hundreds of emails I wrote that I never release here. If you’re curious, you can join 200,000+ other people on my private email list.

Thanks for reading and being the best community anywhere.

And I can’t wait to share even more with you in 2014. Here’s a hint: I’ll be releasing material on my #1-requested topic from the last 5 years.

By the way, what was your biggest insight of this year? And what’s one thing you want me to share next year?

Do you know your actual earning potential?

Get started with the Earning Potential quiz. Get a custom report based on your unique strengths, and discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

Start The Quiz

Takes 3 min


  1. The best IWT posts of 2013 | Enjoying The Moment

    […] The best IWT posts of 2013 is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich. […]

  2. Adnan @ Be Wise with Your Money

    Ramit.. really nice collection of your best of 2013… i however, tend to disagree on one point.. i.e. looking for the market to test the idea.. to answer the question of whether to be obsessed with the idea and balancing it with the market demand is quite tricky.. quite a times, many giant businesses created the markets rather than following the market. I can quote you the example of Air BnB.. they almost created a new niche market while focusing on the macro view of the housing market for rent…
    secondly when we talk about the idea we must not forget that ideas alone cannot be good until we also have the relevant exposure to the market so it is quite tricky i believe..

  3. Since social media is very important to us now, I’m not sure how long will it last as a powerful method of marketing. What do you think is the next big buzz in marketing Ramit?

  4. The link to the real estate myth post reminded me of something that I thought Ramit left out of the calculation (I read the post a week later and the comment thread was mostly over).

    A big problem with buying a house (to live in) as an investment, is that if you do luck out and get soaring returns…those returns are mostly unrealized (you can get a home equity loan or something, but to realize the full returns, you need to sell).
    Because prices tend to move on a neighborhood or regional basis, it becomes very difficult to realize those returns without dumping them back into another house.

    For example, lets say you buy a house in a neighborhood that is on the rise where the average selling price is $250k. 5 years later, the reputation for cool shops/restaurants and good schools (plus a general recovery of the real estate market) means that homes in your area are now selling for 500k. That’s great news because you have doubled your money right? If you sell now, you have only made 5 years of interest payments but have gained an extra 250k in equity so you have tremendous returns thanks to leverage.
    This sounds great until you think about where you are going to live when you sell. You like your neighborhood and your kids like their school. You can sell your house to realize your gains, but every other house in the neighborhood has experienced the same rate of appreciation. So now you might get that 250k in your pocket, but you are either going to have to roll it into the price of another 500k home or move somewhere cheaper and decrease your standard of living.

    The value of something is only what someone is willing to pay for it. At least with a stock or fund, you can take the gains in one sector and invest them into some other sector without upsetting your life. To do the same thing with your home, you have to keep moving into undervalued/developing areas (and since you have zero diversification, you have to get this gamble right every time).

  5. Ross McCay

    Good post Ramit. I am curious….what film did you go see alone?

  6. My biggest insight of the year is that it’s ok to be myself and I am the only one responsible for my well-being, so I should stop looking for approval from others and start being more assertive and confident. I’ve been browsing personal development blogs for 3-4 years, but only now did this really sink in. One of the things that helped shape my new outlook on life is your Success Triggers program, so thanks a lot for putting it together! I still have a lot of challenges ahead, especially in the social/networking and career development areas, but I feel like I have a strong foundation from which to tackle them.

  7. Marko Graenitz

    Thanks for all your posts this year Ramit. My insight of the year: PROCESS is key!

  8. Hi Ramit

    I only discovered you at the end of 2013 but I am really enjoying your blog and I’m looking forward to reading more in 2014.

    I still remember the first film I went to on my own – it was a nerve wracking experience but after a while I found it became one of my occasional favourite treats for myself – just to escape everyone else and immerse myself in the film without the need for conversation or sharing the popcorn.

  9. Kathryn Vai

    Hey Ramit! I am an old lady (by your way of measuring) and I absolutely LOVE your site! I made a mid-life career change as my job went overseas. It was an incredibly tough transition as I was competing with people younger and with more education….but I kept at my goal and tweaked and adjusted and asked for feedback and took classes and made cold calls and warm calls and whatever I had to do until I finally got my Dream Job this last year. I love how you don’t sugar-coat the truth, which makes change SO MUCH EASIER than trying to (re)build a life based on BS. My insight? DON’T QUIT.

  10. The biggest insight I’ve hard this year is “trust the system”. Second to that, I’ve realized that it’s supposed to be hard. Last year around this time, as a college junior at a highly competitive liberal arts school, I made the decision that I would go into the entertainment industry, which is a notoriously competitive field. This required learning how to become a top performer. The funny thing was that I’d used all available resources at my school, from the alumni network to the career center. And by all accounts, I looked like a success story to everyone around me.

    But I knew I wasn’t yet equipped to actually carry out my creative vision. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t quite make my daily life look like how I knew it should. Through some trial and error, I started making incremental changes, reviewing my organizational tools and consciously shaping my habits. I started seeing some results but I found myself not quite achieving my benchmarks.

    As I go into next year, it’s all coalesced into the realization that I have to “work the system” in order to build the life I want. Success is entirely dependent on how you approach systems & processes.

    “It’s supposed to be hard. But if you can do it — if you can acknowledge your psychological barriers, build systems to help you become successful, and surround yourself with winners who will challenge you to do more — you can reap the truly disproportionate rewards of being the best.”

    For next year, I’d love to see you share more examples of how you approach systems and processes in your own life, particularly when it comes to psychological barriers about your own ability. Did you ever doubt a specific capability or skill set that would become essential to your success? How did you improve it?

    Thank you for posting really fantastic material and inspiring us all to live a rich life!

  11. Chaz Clark


    The biggest insights for me was on the necessary preparation to find your dream job and get it. i was not able to sign up for the course yet but i put the free material to good use and will hear back from a job after the holidays. I have also been able to tell others to go to your site and sign up and learn what they can. i am looking forward to hopefully attending earn 1k, and dream job next year and that is what i am looking forward to.


  12. Cindy Caldwell

    The biggest thing I learned about how you don’t have to do anything to people. If they don’t like you that’s it but, I didn’t care because I’m learning that in Georgia there is a lot of racism. My security job even made something up on me after working for them for almost 2 yrs.I was not fired but they won’t give,me any hours so ill quit but, they were shocked when I said.if you don’t want to give me hrs. then you wont mind giving me unemployment

  13. Thanks Ramit for all that you generously and expertly share with others. The one thing that most stands out from the wealth of knowledge I’ve already gathered from you is the importance of a niche. I craft personal care products and before watching your video interview on Marie TV on the topic I was all over the place. I finally decided on a niche, created an initial product line, and have started selling product. Choosing a niche has given me so much more focus, energy and confidence that I could actually make this work. I look forward to taking a course from you one day. All the best to you in 2014 and always.

    And thanks to everyone in this community for all your shared knowledge, advice and experience.

  14. Hey Ramit
    Thanks for all your posts, articles, and videos. I really enjoy reading what you write and look forward to the upcoming year. No specific requests, thanks in advance for all the great material!

  15. A big insight for me is I realized how much I hate change but how fast I adapt to it. Next year, I hope that you continue to offer courses like your Earn 1K, Braintrust and Finisher’s Formula.

  16. Hi Ramit,

    Thank you for a wonderful year of learning from great content!

    1) My biggest insight this year is twofold:
    In order to realize the changes I want, I need to break up the work and maintain trust in the system. While previously I had done the work superficially, I did it in sporadic bursts and then felt frustrated when I did not reap the system results.

    2) One thing I want me to share next year:
    I’d like to read about more examples of real “blood/sweat/tears” changes which reaped great results in business, life, community, etc.

  17. Ramit,

    Your blog, emails and articles are incredible! I love reading them and am slightly disappointed when I visit your site and there’s the same post from the previous day. But I guess when you are testing methods to give us ONLY what works, we can’t expect something every day, right?

    One thing I learned from you this year (of the many!!) is to apply the “Pay Certainty” test. This has saved me TONS of time focusing on clients who could pay for my service rather than clients who certainly could use the service but most likely didn’t have the resources to pay for them.

    In 2014, I’d like to see more on Time Management, specifically when trying to have a side income with a full time job. Love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

  18. Biggest insight I had this past year was that I also need to have difficult conversations far sooner than the later I’ve been putting them off and that doing “favors” for people inevitably leads to failure and disrespect. If folks really value my expertise and time, they’ll pay me for it, not ask me to do them a “favor”.

    This was a hard one for me to face up to, but I’m glad I’m not ignoring it. Thanks for the inspiration and being my hardass Asian Dad, Ramit.

  19. Adam Daniels

    The testing post really hit home. This year I’ve read a lot on starting your own online business. When I finally did so I thought I had gotten something worth selling (oil portraits of great minds) because my “test” had been to see how popular such and such was on Facebook (by likes). Some of the people had millions of likes, or hundreds of thousands, and I used that to think that I had a niche market. What I later found out is that none of those popular groups were willing to give any shout out to my startup despite my multiple attempts to create value for their members. I got responses from them, some of them even saying that they would post a link, but then… nothing.

    I had banked on the potential of hundreds of thousands of views turning into a 3% conversion of my prints through these FB groups. None of that happened and I was only able to get one niche website to give a shoutout. Even marketing ads focused solely on one niche group on FB gave no returns, so I decided that FB was not going to be helpful at all for the business. My SEO is amateur at best so I don’t get a lot of traffic, and my attempts to guest blog at various sites within my niche were never answered.

    This has all made me conclude that I could have saved a lot of time through better testing. I had overestimated people’s interest through FB, “liking” something is so nonchalant, and who knows how many of those people even regularly use the site and click on ads or links. The only person among my family members who was willing to buy anything is my mom (your mom is always your biggest supporter), and I had foolishly thought I could get my friends to help spread the word of the site virally through FB (man, FB just didn’t work out in any way).

    Because of Ramit’s site (and others), I’ve been constantly challenged to rethink what I’m doing, and to not get so down on myself for trying. Most first businesses fail, and I learned more by doing and failing than by not doing and just dreaming after reading a high quality post from Ramit. Ramit’s advice post from his 9 years of IWT had a comment about staying away from losers, that includes loser websites that lie to you and make online businesses seem like childs play. Ramit is honest enough to tell you how much work it really takes, but also how hard work alone won’t get you anywhere. I’m sure that for every successful online business there must be hundreds of failures, failures we almost never hear about.

  20. Terry Gillespie

    When you are busy minding other people’s business you are not minding your own. 🙂

  21. My biggest insight for the year is that no one should have to apologize for things they’re good at. This is mostly a girl thing, I think. But my goal this year was to stop doing that – which I did. Though I’ve noticed some people truly prefer apologies in party with confidence, I’m not wasting my time with that any longer. And I feel better about myself because of it.

    Happy New Year!

  22. Michele

    I recently watched a video where Chase Jarvis interviewed you on his photography show/blog (I think it’s called ChaseJarvisLive) Anyway, I would like to see more candid interviews with you as the interviewee instead of the interviewer.

    Anyway, someone in his photography audience brought up starting a company within a saturated field.Mr. Jarvis stated he only did 20% of his work in Seattle. My question I started a business three months ago and it had just started taking off (I told you about it in an email). Anyway, I had to relocate it from a 1.2 million population to a 46,000 population (family emergency). I would like to hear more from your perspective. I would really hate to lose the clients I have; am 4 hours away from them and don’t drive due to an injury.

  23. I noticed that within the work I do as a freelance translator, there’s a huge spread (three times or more) in the amounts jobs generate per hour, even when the unit I charge per word is about the same. I’ve been moving towards prioritizing those “cash-cow” jobs, and managed to push my income up 17% in the year, without working harder. That’s like getting an extra two months or so of work done. I’ve started analyzing more closely to get the real numbers on which jobs pay best in terms of real income, rather than nominal rates. My goal is to get a similar productivity boost this year, but spend it on having the equivalent of two months of free time, rather than on earning more.

  24. Biggest Insight: pre-planning is everything to success. From finances to job searches to relationships, preparation for the funds, interviews/jobs, conversations allows disproportionate returns. Or, for Tim Ferriss, seems to be the 20% of what you need to know to accomplish 80% of the objective.

    For Ramit to share in 2014: MLM vs Corporate jobs

  25. Ramit can you share how you retrieve stored information quickly and create such an amazing content? I’ve watched from other videos that you use delicious and gmail tags, but how do you get all these sources into one cohesive work? When you write a post or create a content, start with the audience’s problem and help solve it – I understand that, but your posts also have a strong narrative element which makes it less obvious to me that you are trying to “sell” or “lecture” your audience as a surrogate Asian father. The experience I get from reading your material is that you walk me through and help me solve problems without me realizing that’s what’s happening. Am I making sense? Tell us your research and creation process…

  26. avoid analysis paralysis and develop a bias towards action — consume less (information), but be more selective about it. create more — DO more.

  27. raphael Soares

    Biggest insight this year was the earn 1k course, great course!!
    I learned a lot on how to build a business, from pricing to getting clients.
    Everything on the course is super clear and helpful but there is one aspect I would like to develop more this year. That would be how to expand your business by generating more leads. Also once you get to know where your customers are how to approach them.

    Happy new year and keep the good work

  28. Great tips that I am going to follow. Analysis paralysis is the biggest problem for me, so going to start taking more action and think less.


  29. Ramit, please share how you date in NYC, and host a singles event. I bet your readers will pay over $100 to go – I know I would.

  30. Eric Nichols


    Just out of curiosity, how do you measure progress on a goal like “having difficult conversations earlier?” It seems like it runs the risk of not being specific enough to tell if you are making progress.

    Thanks for all the great material,


  31. Ramit –

    Biggest insight of the year. I need to model myself after someone who has financially what I want. – This single insight led me to Pat Flynn at the and his interview with you and the end of the year lead me to I Will Teach You To Be Rich. I respect your style, your swag and your unapologetic certainty.

    The biggest thing I’d like to learn is: What daily practice is most effective for maintaining a sense of inspiration and ambition?

    Thank you for being you so that I can be me.


  32. By the way, what was your biggest insight of this year? The emotional component, ie loving life is more important than anything. I spent 2013 working in a job that is great with terrible people and living in a city I hate. It is lonely. It’s the first place I can’t make friends (any other city I make friends on the bus). I have saved money. Paid debt. But for me at least, inspiration, ideas, motivation, feeling purpose in life is all about being around like minded people. If I love where I am, I find away around any obstacle. I got myself out of a bad financial situation, panicked and moved back to my home town. Feel trapped and in a rut. But this year, moving cities as I don’t even want to work with people in this city or to get them as clients.

    And what’s one thing you want me to share next year?
    OKay, so getting to stage of being top performer – or being top performer in company not on your list, how do you stay a “top performer” and be motivated whilst looking for dream job and earn 1k so you keep on good terms and leave good impression? I was late to work a bit at end of last year as I was thinking in morning, oh God these people are nitwits. I want out. I am on the hunt but I know a top performer would maintain dignity in this situation. How do they do so?