Case Study: How Mike earned an extra $6,065 in 8 weeks

Before Earn1K, Mike earned around $2000/year with his freelancing. Now he's brought in $6065 in just eight weeks.

Ramit Sethi

A classic line from people starting to try to earn money on the side:

“I had a lot of people that were interested, then they would disappear and never take me up on my proposal.”

Some people have tried freelancing on their own, but can’t figure out how to turn their sometimes impressive technical skills into actual paychecks.

Most have the same problem — they don’t know how to sell their services.

That’s why they end up wasting hours pursuing deals that never close. And when they do find potential clients that WANT to buy their services, they often botch the sale.

For today’s case study, let me introduce Mike, a 20-something web designer who was struggling to turn his freelancing into something substantial. Before Earn1K, Mike was earning around $2000 per year with his freelance work. Now he’s brought in over $6065 in just eight weeks.

Here’s how he did it.

“I want the freedom to work from anywhere”

A couple years ago Mike and his fiance moved to Vancouver, Canada.

As they settled in, Mike took full time work as a web designer. Though he remembers doing a few good projects, much of the work was mundane and he knew $31,000 a year wasn’t going to cut it forever.

In fact, with an upcoming wedding, plans to have kids, and a desire for more frequent trips home to the UK, $31,000 a year wasn’t going to cut it right now.

“It would be nice to have lots and lots of money,” said Mike, “but the main goal is to have the freedom to travel, raise the kids, enjoy the life, and enjoy my hobbies”.

By day, Mike continued with his salaried job. By night he spent hours looking for freelancing work. He was pretty sure his web design skills were in demand, but every time he tried to sell a prospect the deal would fizzle away.

That’s when Mike started following I Will Teach You To Be Rich, and signed up for my free newsletter. When I sent out a complimentary Earn1K lesson on how to get inside prospects heads, Mike checked it out. “The value in those got me hooked. By the time I got to the sales page, I was already sold”.

But he didn’t join.

“I was going to join,” said Mike, “but my financial situation wasn’t the best. So I passed it up stupidly.”

So Mike bought my book and got his finances in place. After nearly a year of the same frustrations finding freelance work, Mike signed up as soon as I opened Earn1K again.

Here is how he applied the lessons to earn over $6,065 in two months.

Mike’s a-ha moment

Before Earn1K, Mike made the same mistake in pitching prospects as many novices do – he assumed the prospect wanted the same thing he did. As a web and graphic designer, he’d try to sell them on aesthetics by saying “hey, you’re going to have a great looking website”.

“I was being too casual,” said Mike, “I was treating everyone like a friend. I didn’t have belief in my abilities and I would offer stuff cheap or free. I wasn’t preparing myself enough”.

Mike was frustrated. He was wasting hours chasing prospects and getting nowhere.

Then came Mike’s a-ha moment. After completing Earn1K, he realized that small business owners want more than aesthetics.

“I wasn’t really getting inside their heads to figure out why they wanted a website, or what problems they had with their business and how a website was going to solve it. Once I started thinking about those things I could create a proposal that made them bite.”

“It was the Briefcase Technique that made the difference for me,” said Mike, “I learned to be incredibly prepared for the meeting and focus on the details.” Then he took action.

Knowing that a potential client was all about exposure for his product, Mike created a detailed proposal. He planned out how people were going to be able to interact with the site and do word of mouth marketing via social media. Mike says, “it really got him excited how he can create a buzz around his product with other people doing the work, and that literally sold him straight away”.

Less than an hour after the meeting, Mike had his first paying client. Boom.

By delivering enormous value and focusing on details Mike’s been able to build on his success. One client is pushing another three sites his way. Mike says, “I got him hooked on my services. Now everything he wants for the web he comes straight to me”.

Remember how Mike was earning $31k a year? Along with a raise at work, he is now on track to make over $61k. An increase of more than $30,000. A number he can earn — and actually increase — for the rest of his life. How much is that worth to him?

Planning the leap to full-time

By getting into his target’s head, Mike’s been able to convert leads into sales. Goodbye wasted time surfing Craigslist. Hello hours spent earning side income.

And with a few contracts under his belt, now Mike has the confidence to start planning the leap to full-time freelance work.

“I want to be working full time freelance within the next 12-18 months,” said Mike, “I want to pack in the 9-5.” He’s going to convert his job to contract work to make sure he has some regular hours coming through, and as the freelance business grows he is making his dreams come true: freedom of place, freedom of time.


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  1. Mike

    Can’t say enough positive things about the E1K course, it has helped me immensely. Thanks again Ramit.

    • Ramit Sethi

      My pleasure. Thanks Mike!

  2. David

    Sound like Earn1K could have a lot of useful and important information in it. This is a great case study too.

  3. Lorane

    Hi I would love to opt in but I cant from my iPhone. I only see code no link or button to press. Really love ur video and content. Great work.


  4. Michael Alexis

    Hey Lorana,

    Do this:

    1: go to on your iphone
    2: scroll to the bottom of the screen
    3: switch “mobile view” to off position

    You should now be able to view IWTYTBR as you would via normal web browser. Including ability to opt-in :- )


    • Michael Alexis

      ** Lorane

  5. Matt

    31k a year working full time? He must not be very good. I make over 100k doing the same thing, but then I have an art degree.

    • Michael Alexis

      Did you check out Mike’s portfolio (he was the first commenter on this post).

      He’s really talented.

      How’d you land the $100K+ position?


    • Brian

      Matt, I think it’s a mistake to conclude that Mike is not very good based only on the amount he was earning per year. Many employees are not being paid what they’re worth, and many freelancers undercharge for their services. From personal experience, I was undervaluing my tutoring services, so I recently raised my rate by 67%. If you looked at the amount I previously earned, you might mistakenly conclude that I’m not a very good tutor.

      Valuable lesson for everyone: don’t underestimate how much you’re worth.

    • Mike Carroll


      Firstly I applaud your 100k+ earnings, congratulations. I have an art degree too, that doesn’t really matter though when the country you’re working in goes into a recession. Thankfully I live in a financially stable (for now) country, and wages are much better. But that’s not the point here, I don’t want to rely on a wage.

      My “talent” hasn’t doubled but what I earn has, so you really can’t judge one by the other.


  6. Jonathan@Friends and Money

    Making the jump to full time work as a self employed person or limited company is always a risk but personally having the freedom to work in the way that you want is awesome. Very thought provoking post, thanks.

  7. G

    Making $100k/year, whether in a job or self-employed, requires some luck. And if it’s a job, you are probably blessed with good working conditions that make you want to stay and catch incremental raises.
    I think this is a success story for Mike and Michael, but it is a nascent success. Mike will have to keep working hard to earn the kind of money to make a significant change in his life.

  8. Rup Jolly

    Great story and good on you Mike! Hopefully this article propels your side business career further – thanks Ramit! 🙂

  9. Hugues

    Ramit’s lessons have been working equally well for me. I earned less than $20,000 last year, and I am now earning +$4,500/month on average in 2012 (with a peak at $8,000 last month) freelancing. Thanks Ramit, much more than the actual money, these articles opened an entire realm of possibilities in my life, and I start to actually believe that I can achieve much more than I ever thought possible. I really believe in myself now. Cheers for that!

    • Ramit Sethi

      Great job

  10. narayan

    18 years to working full time? He must not be very good. I make over 100k doing the same thing, but then I have an art degree. but i have not sucess in my life.

  11. Brad

    I would love to understand how to create
    or use an orgainzed system of understanding
    the customer’s needs.

  12. Tamera

    Sounds Good! I look forward to reading more about prospect needs.

  13. sonja

    great success…

  14. Creative Web gallery

    Excelent !.
    Tnkx for sharing !