Case studies: Getting paid to hustle

Ramit Sethi

I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me talk this month, so today I want to turn it over to 3 of my students.

Watch how they hustled — and got paid for it.

1) Ben D.: Marketing/business development

“I approached the owner of a restaurant/pub that I frequent. I simply walked in and asked to speak to the owner. I talked to him for a few minutes, put together a quote, and got a $90 check (after material costs) for about 1.5 hours of work after our conversation. Amazingly simple process – I was sort of stunned afterward thinking, ‘Did that really just happen?’”

2) Daniel C.: Advanced sailing instructor

Daniel started teaching advanced sailing instruction and he wasn’t sure how to get leads for his business.

Over the past month he used Earn1K scripts to pitch the most prestigious yacht brokerage in his area. He struck a deal with them to co-host classes with him — taking all the risk. Not only that, they’re paying him for the classes! In exchange, he’s getting access to their customer base.

He now has more leads than he can handle.

3) João G.: Web developer

“My first client was a friend of mine that is a Director on a big company that needed to develop a website using Drupal. I sent a proposal to develop the website, but the company decided to do it with a Canadian firm (much bigger then I). When I didn’t got the job I wasn’t upset. Actually I helped my friend to ask the right questions and I kept checking how I could help him. When the site was done he called me and hired me as a retainer to maintain the site. This contract was small, but this led me do other projects that I could charge 14K+ and I could also met other Drupal developers that hired me to do more jobs!”

What do you notice about these examples?

1. They’re all hustling…and getting paid to do it
2. Each of them are Earn1k students

Now that you’ve learned some of the fundamentals of hustling — like focusing on disproportionate results, negotiating, and building your own network — you can apply them to earning money on the side.

It’s not just theoretical. Those examples above are just a few of hundreds of people now earning money on the side. They invested in themselves, took action, and now are continuing to hustle — but earning thousands on the side each month.

This is precisely what I teach in my Earn1k course on earning money on the side. After this free 30-day hustling course completes tomorrow, I’m giving away an additional week of free, never-before-released case studies, examples, and even a live webcast on earning money on the side.

But to get it, you have to be on the Earn1k Insider’s List.

I hope you sign up before I close it down.

TODAY: To do

This week’s challenge was to convince a friend to save $500 using my material. This is a test rife with psychological implications and ramifications, since (1) money is taboo, (2) your friends — and most people — are skeptical of anything relating to money, and (3) most people find applied persuasion very difficult.

Because the challenge is so difficult, I offered airfare to SXSW and 3 tickets to a sold-out party — or 30 minutes of strategy discussion with me.

Unfortunately, all of the results this week sucked. Sorry, but nobody wins.

It’s incredibly difficult to change behavior, so I expected this challenge to be harder than before. Indeed, some of the responses showed promise, like this one:

“Told another friend that I was helping this friend save a few hundred. Lesson that I learned? A few hundred is too vague and/or too little. Next time I’m going to test two responses: $500 and $1000 to see if they bite”

Very good insight on future testing. But ultimately, I care about results. And none stood out for pure hustle and notable outcomes.

FORTUNATELY, I’m offering a second chance at the prize.

Here’s how: Leave a comment here by Friday at 12pm PST describing the results you got with this 30-day hustling course. Not your friends — just your own results this month reading IWT.

(Hint: Winners will use SPECIFIC numbers and measures to describe the results they got, not just “I feel confident now!”) Tell me what you tried. Tell me what worked and what failed. Tell me why you weren’t doing it before, what clicked to change your behavior, and what you’re doing next.

If you win, you’ll be able to choose between…

1) Airfare for the SXSW conference on March 11-20 in Austin TX from wherever you are in the continental United States. You’ll also get 3 tickets to Andrew Warner (of Mixergy fame)’s sold-out SXSW party with awesome people. That’s 1 for you, and 2 for anyone you want to take (to provide value FIRST).


2) A 30-minute conference call with me and 3 of your friends to talk about whatever topics interest you the most, like the psychology of persuasion, negotiation, time management, etc.

Leave a comment below by Friday, 2/4 at 12pm Pacific with your results from this month. Looking forward to choosing a winner.

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  1. James Clear

    The sailing example is brilliant because it totally crushes the I-don’t-know-anyone/ I-don’t-have-the-right-people-in-my-network/ I-didn’t-go-to-the-right-school myth. He didn’t know how to get in touch with any of his clients at first.

    Plus, talking with a yacht brokerage (or any business with access to lots of quality leads) is a super high-value activity. Think about how much time he could have wasted posting ads on Craigslist or putting up flyers or building a website about sailing… when all he really needed to do was develop a good pitch to address people that already have access to his market.

  2. Melissa Breau

    While I’m not part of the 30-day course, I started reading your site just 2 weeks ago and applying some of the things I’ve learned it’s already netted me over $200 (in 2 weeks!). As a freelance writer one of the hardest aspects of freelancing for me has always been price-setting. I work with a lot of small businesses–recently a client who I’ve worked for before approached me about a new project. I severely undercharged him the first time we worked together. I had just started doing freelance work and I was scared that he wouldn’t hire me if I asked for too much. This time, I quoted him what I thought the project was worth. I was VERY nervous, but prepared a response in case he came back to me asking why there was such a big jump in price. He didn’t–instead, he hired me, has been treating me with a lot more respect than he did on our first project together and has mentioned that he has another project he’d like to work together on after this one is finished.
    I also pitched a social media expert who I happened to know was working on an ebook to see if she’d be interested in hiring me to edit. Originally, I was hoping to make 25% of the profits (we set up a profit sharing agreement) but managed to negotiate 50% instead. While the book isn’t out yet, so I don’t know how much money this will bring in in the end, I’m expecting it to be to the turn of a few thousand dollars.

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  4. Sarah


    Thanks for this inspiring 30 days of information on testing assumptions, trying new tactics, testing, retesting, and above all else, hustling and making stuff happen. You teach that it’s not luck, it’s concrete, hard work and careful analysis that gets you to where you want to be – and that’s the kind of stuff we should all be doing. Taking the time to learn, test, explore, and practice new things. As you’ve said in your post, ‘the best indicator of future action is past action,’ and the people who take the time to try these techniques are going to be the people who are on the foreground of testing new businesses, technologies, and leadership methodologies in the near future.

    This month, I tested 4 assumptions (which I emailed to you) and one of them you actually featured in your post during week 2 – thanks, not for the feature, but for the wisdom. All 4 of the assumptions were tested and proven false. My work happiness, if it can be quantified, has increased at least 400%.

    Next, in the last month – ALONE – I nailed an additional freelance client at double the rate I previously charged, and I approached 3 more potential clients and outlined the type of work I can do for them and landed new gigs with a very small effort:output result (disproportionate rewards).

    In fact, I even convinced a colleague at my work to watch your live webinar with Tim Ferriss (after explaining the deadweight trick, which I love) and also, to buy your book. In about 15 minutes, I roughly explained to them about automation and 401K maximization pre-paycheck – and gave them the HR forms for automation and had them sign up. I’m only sorry I didn’t put it in the comments previously to win the SXSW prize, because not only did they act, but I’m certain that it’s beyond $500 of savings (more in the range of $10K) through implementing your material. Plus, they don’t have to think about it anymore – the beauty of automation. I must admit, the reason I didn’t comment on your post earlier this week is because I was spending time hustling – time on things that produce results (for me), which happened to be not commenting on your blog.

    Another example: focusing on disporportionate rewards. I am also a writer, and I went for the big guns – so I submitted guest posts to several of the top blogs in the country. I spent an incredible amount of time pouring over the content of the blog, the writing style, understanding what made previously successful posts, and outlined areas of topics that were missing. Within 2 weeks, two of the posts were accepted and will be featured in the next month.

    Next (and I could go on, so this will be the last example). I put together a diagram and outline of the structure of one division of the company I currently work for, and then outlined a completely different organization structure and potential workflow as I envisioned it, and described where the holes in the practice were. I pin-pointed two new areas of specialty needed for our company. (To be fair, this took about 2-3 months of time and diligent research and thought in advance). I presented the diagrams to our CFO in early Jan and by the end of Jan, had a new job description, a new job title, and negotiated a 10% increase in pay relative to the market value of the work I would be providing for the company. Every single time I made a pitch, I researched the hell out of it, put together comprehensive documentation and analytical summaries based on data, and inserted my opinion in a respectful, courteous manner.

    In short, I’m now doing what I want, getting paid more to do it, making more money on the side, and obliterating assumptions.

    To be fair, there were a lot of things that failed, as well. So goes the story of trying. But with results like these, I’m okay with the times when it doesn’t work out. That tells me how to get better (and what to do differently next time.)

    The best part about trying new things is that it becomes addictive – and also easier – the more that you practice. Testing assumptions, negotiating, learning, hustling, growing – these become habits when you put them to use and understand how they work.

    Thanks, Ramit. I hope everyone takes the time to do a little self-analysis and hustling as soon as possible.

  5. Audrey

    Hey Ramit,

    Just wanted to let you know that I took your lessons on hustling and the craigslist penis effect to heart. I had an interview for a job, and I really wanted to dominate. So I set up FOUR practice interviews. (which doesn’t sound like much, but everyone I talked to was impressed with the effort I put forth) The first was just with a friend. The second a friend who is in the HR business. Then another two, one each week before my actual interview with the career center at my alma mater. Found out that my second interview at the career center was with someone who had worked at the company I was interviewing, and she gave me terrific tips!

    Well, it paid off because I just got the call that they’re extending me an offer! Considering how much extra I’ll get paid at this new job (at LEAST $15K more per year based on the minimum range I was quoted in the interview- I was asked my salary, but turned it around to ask what they were looking to offer) It was definitely worth the extra time! (4 hours for the practice interviews and probably another hour or two of preparing for the practice interviews. 6 hours total, max) Yay disproportionate results!

    I’m going to go practice my negotiating skills now, and I’ll update you on how that goes later!

    Thanks so much!

    • Audrey

      Just as a follow up, I managed to negotiate a $3000 pay raise over the initial offer they quoted!

      (they ended up hiring me for a different position which pays less, but it’s still $13,000 more than I make now, with the potential to move up in 9-12 months. Yes, I got that in writing!)

  6. Martin

    I saved my friend ~$2,285, I hardly think that result “sucks” when the goal was only $500. Also included a pretty comprehensive analysis of how the money was saved, as well as the assumptions which were fairly conservative.

    But I also know that my week 4 results are still pending moderation since I included two links to online calculators I used, and I know comments with links are not automatically approved. I also knew that was a risk going in, and chose to go ahead and include those links anyways. Gotta stick to your guns sometimes, right?

    Anyways, time to tackle Week 4B results 😉

  7. Chris

    I’ve been kicking ass with my design consulting business, and have more work than I can handle.

    Yesterday someone hit me up with a side job that I just didn’t have time for. But instead of saying “no”, I called a friend who is out of work and asked if he would like to do some ghost-writing for me. Then called my new client back and said “YES!”

    I charge the client $100/hr and will do a few hours of heavy lifting each week, while compensating my friend $30/hr for his content contribution.

    End result: I expect to have a satisfied client, a friend who is very happy to make $800-1000 (through me) from an exclusive client he normally could never touch. And I make several thousand dollars of arbitrage.


  8. Lindsey

    I’m the kind of person who always wants to better myself. I always feel like there is something new to learn so I can be better. After stumbling across your blog mid-January, I wasn’t sure of the value it would add to my life – there are so many personal finance blogs and advice out there. I read a couple of your entries, and especially the credit card one stood out to me – I didn’t know a lot of the tips you mentioned (credit card companies extending warranties on electronics? say what!), so I decided to give you a chance. And low and behold, your blog has added value to my life.

    I’ve been working with a nonprofit doing social media for about a year now, and it’s a really great job. I’m leaving though, at the end of the month, because they are going through some staff structural changes, and well, it’s just time for me to move on to the next thing. I always read about social media consultants, but never really considered that to be an option for me – too young (I’m 22), and I don’t have enough experience.

    After reading more of your blog posts, I’ve come to realize that hey, why not take that first step? I’ve been working for a great, big nonprofit for a year now, so yes, I do have the experience! I got up the courage, wrote out a page of metrics from the nonprofit’s social media sites that I helped to grow over the last year, and talked to the ED – BOOM. Landed my first consulting gig – continuing their social media after I leave and WHILE I’M TRAVELING.

    Okay, so I got up some courage from the first. Couple nights later, I was perusing my favorite yoga place’s website, and realized that a Groupon-like deal they were trying to promote wasn’t hitting ANY of their followers. ‘This is lame’, I thought, ‘They seriously need to work with their social media to get this out to their fellow yogis.’ LIGHTBULB: I would pitch me to their owner! Why not, right? Walked in the next day with a proposal and a smile, and walked out with a small contract and unlimited free yoga for just working on their social media!

    Wow, I thought – I think I’m on to something here. 2 ‘clients’ already, and I’m only on the job for a week. I needed a change not only mentally, but financially, and I think I’m on the right course. Next week I’m pitching again to a related nonprofit that also needs help with their social media, and I was connected to them through the nonprofit I’m working for now. Nonprofits tend to stick together – they recommend and connect people to each other all the time here in Seattle. Seems like I hustled myself into a pretty good niche, huh?

    So Ramit, this is just the beginning – but your hustling course mainly taught me that you’re NEVER too young or inexperienced to hustle. It’s all in the way you present yourself.

  9. Tanya

    In the course of just a few weeks, I’ve essentially BEAT my procrastination habit, which was slowly killing my freelance writing career. I applied for and landed a new gig editing and writing for a well known personality’s website. I earned about $2500 more (AMAZING!) than I usually do simply by accepting more assignments with the confidence that I could complete them. On a slightly smaller scale (though no less satisfying), I cleaned my car, which I’d been telling myself I’d do for about what felt like years. No joke – that was a BIG DEAL for me.

    Bottom line: I was my own worst enemy, and I managed to change that. I always KNEW I was sabotaging myself with bad habits, but it takes more than just a few surges of energy or random “I can do this!” pep talks to get out of that rut. First, I designed a website. Every freelance writer should have one, but I thought that my lack of design skill would prevent me from creating something memorable. Instead of even attempting it, I filed it away in the “maybe someday I’ll do that” category. The website is what got me the job with the aforementioned personality. They loved that all of my published work was right there and that they could quickly absorb my writing style and get a feel for what I’m all about. The website also means I can apply for other jobs much more quickly. No more digging around for links of published articles. I can just shoot them the link to the site – and I can’t tell you how many people have commented on it in a positive way. I’m floored by what a difference this small move made.

    Next, I started my own blog. I have long admired my fellow writers – the ones who, in addition to writing for others, also maintain blogs for themselves. I have wanted to do this for as long as I can remember. Ramit mentioned that his site sucked early on, but the quality of his content was good. I kept this in mind as I launched my bare-bones blog, which is slowly but surely growing, gaining traffic and even earning some limited revenue. It doesn’t look that great, but the content makes up for that.

    The car thing? Possibly the MOST satisfying accomplishment of the month. There is nothing like the feeling of dread that settles into my stomach when I know that I have major cleaning to do. What finally forced me to do it? Well, hustling doesn’t just apply to professional work. I had already earned the major writing gig and seen some of the incredible financial results that my hard work could bring, so I essentially applied that focus to cleaning the car that had been an absolute MESS (I’m talking stuffed trunk, messy floors, the whole lot) since, oh, 2000. Not lying. Felt good, to say the least.

    I have been applying the importance of disproportionate impact to my existing writing jobs, too. I write for a particular client who sends detailed traffic/click-through data at the end of each month. My articles have done decently, but they have by no means been extraordinary, in terms of both content and data. I have been spending an almost inordinate amount of time on these articles for the past couple of weeks and noticed a remarkable change in the data I received a couple of days ago. Traffic: about 10,000 more CLs EACH on seven featured articles, more unique visitors to each page than in ANY month prior and, for me personally, greater pride in the work I’m doing.

    Overall results: No way to put it into words, though I tried above. It’s a continued work in progress and it will keep going in the right direction. Thanks, Ramit.

  10. Graeme

    Since reading your book mid-December, I’ve been focusing on negotiating with phone and internet companies. Easy, quick, and produces results with no tradeoff in quality.

    I’m going to implement the other savings tips once I create more income (launching a website in two weeks to offer LSAT lessons online). I figure making money should be the first priority.

    Here are the results of my “hustling” with phone companies (not all in the past 48 hours).

    1. Called my cellphone provider (owned by Rogers) and cited a better offer with a competing cell phone company (also owned by Rogers). They offered me more services for less money. I pay $28 per months, down from 37$. The list price of the services I now have is $50. So, 528$ over the two years they offered this deal for (and I didn’t have to sign a contract).

    2. My parents were paying $230 per month for internet, cable, and home phone, split over two companies. I called each company and told them my parents were thinking of switching (they would NEVER have actually switched). I saved $55 per month with two half hour phone calls, plus got them more channels, cheaper long distance and faster internet.

    $1320 over the two years the deals are good for. Again, no contract. My Dad bought an HD TV with the savings.

    3. We have a slow internet connection at my apartment, and were paying the advertised rate.

    I called a competing company, saying we would switch if they could match the price we were currently paying. They offered us a service that is 3x faster on download, 7x faster on upload, and with 2.5x more GB of usage, along with a better wireless router, for $5 less per month. $120 over the two years, for MUCH better service, or $648 lower than list price, depending on how you want to look at it. The whole process took about an hour.

    I would have posted this yesterday, but I wanted to finish the internet negotiation first. Total negotiating time was probably no more than 3 hours, so I’m pretty pleased with the savings.

    Keep up the email series, there’s some great stuff. I’m making a list of things to apply once my business gets going in a couple of weeks.


  11. Jeff


    I do quite a bit of math and physics tutoring for high school students. Before your lessons on Hustling, I expanded my target and started working more and more with adults who were returning go college to prepare for a new career or who needed coaching in a specific area for a standardized test of some type: nursing school, pharmacy tech., firefighter academy, GMAT, LSAT, etc.

    I felt like this was already hustling, since this an extra 10-12 hours a week at $35-50 per hour on top of my jobs as a teacher and a part-time window cleaner.

    The limiting factor was, of course, that I could only be in one place at any given hour. Two weeks ago, after reading your recent posts and deciding I needed more leverage, I approached the counselor at the adjacent school district’s high school and offered to teach an SAT preparation workshop. I presented it with the understanding that it wouldn’t cost the school anything, they could boast that they offer exam-specific coaching, the students would pay me directly for the 8-hour workshop and all materials, and I would completely guarantee the workshop and offer a full refund if anyone who attended all 8 hours wasn’t completely satisfied.

    With only two weeks lead time, we registered 12 students at $177 each and had a great workshop last Saturday. After my expenses for workshop materials and snacks and drinks for the participants, my net was $1,889.

    The counselor was thrilled, and she’s already asking when I can do the next one and if I can offer a class specifically for the ACT.

    Taking my perception of Hustling to the next level,

    • Chris

      Nice work, Jeff!

    • Graeme

      Good work. I’m launching an LSAT tutoring website, but I should look into giving an LSAT seminar like that locally.

  12. Danielle

    Ramit! I am so excited to tell you about my negotiation payoff! I read the “How to negotiate better than 99% of people” article and put it to the test – the result got me an extra $15,000 over the next 6 months!!!

    A little background – I’m currently on temporary relocation to California through work and my company gives me a stipend for being out here (it covers housing, meals, etc). The stipend is a lump sum in my paycheck and I get to choose how to allocate it, meaning if I live modestly I can accrue a nice bit of savings out of the deal.

    I was in the middle of the paperwork process to extend my stay when I got an email from our pricing department stating it was company policy to reduce my stipend down to 50% since I’ve been out here several months. My normal reaction would have been to suck it up, go along with it (hey, it’s policy!) and become upset. I had just read about other IWT readers who were successful so I decided to push back. Even my boyfriend tried to discourage me, saying 50% is still GOOD. But I was so charged up from the article and took it as a challenge – what could it hurt to ask?

    I emailed pricing back stating that my current program agreed to continue paying the stipend as is (true) and that the policy should not apply in this situation because of the high cost of living. The result? Denied! She told me I would need several signatures including a waiver…from the VP of HR! So what did I do? I put in the effort and spent the last week and a half making phone calls and sending emails to at least 15 different people, most of which I had never met. It was a matter of explaining my case and once I got someone on the phone, it wasn’t even that difficult. In the end I had approval from 7 people in 4 different departments (including the VP). My extension got signed – with 100% of the stipend! The difference between the 50% stipend and the 100% stipend will be a value of ~$15,000 over the next 6 months! THIS IS NOT A JOKE!!!

    The most effective part of the 30-day hustling course was learning the specific steps to take action (ex: 28 Days Makes a Habit wksht, the behind the scenes interview prep for BJ Fogg,). The articles dispelled any myths I had that entrepreneurs are a super breed and instead showed me it’s a simple equation of practice and follow-through. Making that connection was the push I needed to try out the techniques for myself. Thank you!

    PS $15,000!!!!!!

  13. Ben

    Hey Ramit!

    I`ve worked for 9 years now…And I`m in my mid 20`s!
    I`ve worked hard and built up credibility. I am SO lucky to get approached with 1-2 business opportunities per month avg. from my extended network.
    In most cases (where there is not enough short term profit for my taste) I often give some good advice and have a cup of coffee now and then to socialize. It makes me happy to see people succeed even though I have no financial interest. This FREE (honest) help has even given me kickback opportunities like (We will develop product X, test it, when we have succeeded with market response, we want to cut you in for a good portion of equity for doing X consulting hours for marketing++, you don`t have to say yes now.)

    What have I learnt from you Ramit?
    Just started a NEW hustle Official today which WILL pocket some good money for LITTLE time.
    Short story. I hooked up an old friend with Tim`s book, a week after he approached me with a contact of him who has X thousand semi-branded products which he aquired at an extremely low cost, but doesnt know how to get rid of.

    What we did was to bring the product to colleagues, family dinners, emailing friends, to get some ideas for RE-conceptualization and RE-branding of the product without any cost before products sold. Arbitraging the product value by finding new markets by slight changes to the product. We found both physical and NON physical ones to get an immediate price markup of up to 10x, even with high volume sales and no up front money to original seller before sold.

    We are now using the concept of testing and just sent out the first email mashup to 10 “volume” prospects (out of 100++ and growing “volume” leads).
    If we succeed to move the product to less than 20 BIG VOLUME customers we should pocket at least 25-70k USD for a minimal amount of investment and time. This is the concept of arbitrage THROUGH re-branding / re-conceptualization of existing products. Risk-free profit. _almost_ ZERO cost! Just a few dinners, emails and coffee meetings.

    Best of all? It`s fun!

    To Hustle for me is more money less work! To be a jack of many trades and executing ONLY the good viable deals, in a short time period, effectively. Be selective.

    I agree that cash-flow is also important.
    That is what you need a muse for, a small automated business generating continous cashflow to cover life-expenses++ It gives you the freedom and time to FIND, ATTRACT and EXECUTE big value HUSTLEs.

    If I unimaginably would ever be so lucky to win the contest! I want the phone call with you Ramit.

    Wishing everyone an awesome day!

    PS! Ramit did you ever think of the creation of a limited and closed _paid_ forum? Like tim is doing with 4HB experimenters now? To let people EXPERIMENT and get feedback. I really like the idea of that. What about collabing with Tim for a forum like that?

  14. Martin

    Month of Hustling in Review

    This 30-day “hustling” course aligned really well with some initiatives in my life. In November, I made the decision to enter the world of self-employment by building an income-on-the-side. Getting started was well guided by Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Workweek, and ultimately what got me linked in to your blog. This hands-on practice month has been really great to help me develop those skills.

    Since I started hustling months ago, the 30-day course’s specific influence is a bit hazy, but the reassurance, guidance, and support has been extremely valuable. I’ve run into a lot of naysayers along the way. Trying to automate my income frequently is greeted by people thinking I must be taking advantage of others, and walking all over the little guy. It’s amazing how many people seem to think I’m doing something wrong because I’m aiming for something bigger and greater than the average guy. They think there’s no way to success without being a sleaze. I think they must be projecting their own insecurities.

    The 30-day hustling course exemplifies one thing above all else: People who are successful are not afraid of aiming for success, and they bust their ass for it. Sure there are sleazy ways to make a lot of money, but as far as I can tell, even the sleazy ways are hard work.

    But you wanted specifics, right? I tried to negotiate down APRs, and didn’t have much success. So instead I switched my debt to a 0% intro APR card, and set up automated payments to pay it off before the standard rate APR kicks in (which by the way is the lowest APR of any credit card I have). Total savings (assuming the same payment per month): $647

    I’ve also tried to bargain down airline tickets since starting this, also without much success. I notice when it comes down to it, especially if I don’t have a script, I’m not strong and confident. I also notice that the more I do this, the stronger and more confident I get, so even if I haven’t had an immediate bargaining result, I know that my mindset is shifting and while I know you said not to say this, I can’t help it; “I’m getting more confident” every day.

    I’ve been focusing on self improvement and achieving success in various aspects of life for two years now. Along the way of seeking advice I’ve learned how to sort the wheat from the chaff: Good advice nudges you to do what you know you should do but have been putting off. Sleazy advice tells you to do what you know you shouldn’t do but want to do because it sounds easy.

    People who give good advice all have an important thing in common: They push you get over that initial hump. Get through that first roadblock, and once you get rolling, there’s no stopping you. Success comes from within, but it almost always requires some coaxing in one way or another to get out.

    So the biggest thing I’ve learned? You and I? We’re not that different. I used to think that success was reserved for a select lucky few. Now I know the problem merely is most people don’t even try. Anyone can aim for the stars. Successful people not only aim for the stars, but they pull the goddamn trigger.

  15. Adam

    Hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I found that the best response to the emails I’ve been getting from you was to not read them (tonight was a rare exception: I’d set aside some “down time” and thought it’d be fun to go back through the emails I hadn’t read–in reverse order, so this is the first one I’ve seen thus far).

    See, I started a new company with two of my friends about a month ago, the kind of startup that’ll need outside funding to make it. And as interested as I was in your emails, I made a decision early on: each time I saw one, instead of reading it I’d send a few updates to an interested angel, call someone we want for our Board of Advisors, approach another friend & family investor. Most importantly, I’d actually hit “call” or “send.”

    I wouldn’t say that I was a shy person before this month, but I did have the habit of deferring emails or calls to people who could help me out, which ultimately meant a lot fewer meetings and a lot less help. The “year of the hustle” theme just sort of helped me break out of that rut. Maybe all I needed was a small push. It really was as simple as hitting “send.”

    Results thus far (with a lot of help from my cofounders of course): $150K committed/invested, at least another $150K I know we can close this month, at least two angels who are ready to make a serious commitment once we hit a milestone that I know we can get to within the next two months, two committed advisors that we’re over the moon about, and as many meetings as we can handle for the forseeable future (the product itself is coming along, too, but that wasn’t the part I had trouble with before).

    Anwyay, I’m not sure that this is the sort of response you’re looking for, but I figured I’d throw it out there. The truth is that not reading your emails did me a world of good.

    • Adam

      (Just wanted to add that I’ve now spent my entire evening reading through the back emails and have–no surprise–found them very enjoyable and useful.)

  16. karen

    Prior to taking the hustle course, I sold my hand made gnomes for $40 each (in December I sold 13 X$40 for a total of $520). Using the info from the hustle course, I have sold 7 gnomes X $200 for a total of $1400–nearly 3 times the profit for half the price. This is the same product with stories on the tags developed based on customer observations. I also now wear a leather apron and outfit so I look like a “gnome maker.” I applied the techniques in the story about the boy selling things and taking notes, plus just being more bold… Thanks!

    • Anne

      Hi Karen!

      Can I ask how/where you are selling your gnomes? I sell handcrafed jewelry, and it sounds like we have run into similar stumbling blocks. Any help or advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated!



  17. Tom Watson

    I produce a product and have been hustling on permitting, production, marketing and fulfillment.
    1/4/11 Sent one question email and received response-( Fulfillment) Baby Step
    1/5/11 Sent Draft Production Agreement-(Diversify Production) Reach Out & Make Contact
    1/14/11 Negotiated Seed Purchase Agreement. Seed is a limiting factor for production. Got into suppliers head, found need, pain point, determined target purchase price, proposed barter/purchase to fill supplier’s need. Result-Secured 87% of needed seed at half of my target price, remaining 13% purchased at my target price. I represent only 6% of farmers, but secured 40% of available stock for highest value and in demand seed specie. Purchase price of $1020 was worth $42,000 at time of purchase. (Production) Negotiation
    1/14/11 Made a 60 second video, documenting this seed purchase and uploaded to YouTube, never having made a video before. (Marketing)
    1/20/11-B J Fogg interview-Created storyboard for 5 videos for persuading mentor to market production. Baby Steps to move mentor to decision to market production. (Marketing) Persuasion
    1/21/11 Received underwater housing for point and shoot camera. Took pictures for marketing and persuasion. (Marketing)
    1/25/11 Created Facebook page “Tom2y Mariculture”, pictures only. (Marketing)
    1/29/11 Received email requesting product. Lead had found the Facebook page.
    “I just found your info and your facebook page. AWESOME!!!!! . . . Very excited!!!!”
    1/29/11 Sent email entitled: Industry Markup-Farm Gate to Hobbyist to 8 people, received 8 replies and increased my network by 7 people. (Marketing) Invisible Scripts
    2/4/11 Received Hatchery Estimate and site Plan. (Increased Production)
    2/4/11 Conducted SWOT analysis. Tim Ferris interview
    1/18-2/4 Emailed mentor 11 times and received 23 replies.
    Production: 3 sent, 5 replies
    Marketing: 7 sent, 14 replies
    Permitting: 1 sent. 2 replies
    Fulfillment: 1 sent, 2 replies
    Results of emails: I have received marketing advice (5-10K value), a marketing model, social media marketing advice and free YouTube promotional video. Also have identified weaknesses to research and solve (SWOT).
    I have continued participating in a bi-weekly mastermind group.
    Change from 2010:
    Less talk, consuming content and more action.
    Have not even thought of playing video game for relaxation!
    Reason for change:
    Challenge by Ramit
    Beyond 1K cancelled due to not enough big wins.
    2011 Hustling is concentrated with weekly steps to take, encouraging me to step it up.
    Did I get more done this month than last year? Yes. I need to maintain progress. I am working on weaknesses identified this month (SWOT analysis), primarily fulfillment issues.

  18. Amy

    My hustling results didn’t follow the exact order of your course, but the techniques and constant reminder to hustle were what really motivated me. Once I started succeeding, I realized that everything is negotiable. What worked best for me is being friendly and showing that my offers also took into account the needs of the person I was negotiating with. I don’t have a side job, so my results are from my work and personal life:

    I was recommended for a new job in educational sales. The resume I originally submitted was heavy on sales experience, and I wasn’t left with much room for my experience in education. For my second interview I knew they would ask about my education experience, so I put together a second resume with a focus solely on education. When the interview panel asked about my education experience, I handed each of them a copy, explaining that I wasn’t able to fit all my experience on the previous resume. They were definitely impressed by the preparation and foresight. I start next month earning $13,000 more a year! (Plus I used your techniques for not giving away my salary expectations.)

    I switched apartments this month, and it was a bit hectic because the new apartment owner wanted to start charging us asap, while the old apartment owner required three months notice or he would charge us rent for February and March, and keep the deposit. Through hustling and negotiation, I was able to 1) convince the new apartment owner to give us the keys but not charge us until next month, 2) convince the old apartment owner to return all our checks if we found him a new renter within 5 days, 3) research tips for showing apartments that gave us disproportionate results (6 offers in three hours of showing), 4) convince the previous renter of our new apartment to sell us his custom curtains for half of his asking price and 1/5 of their total value. That’s $1,500 saved through negotiation.

    All the hustling inspired my boyfriend to do the same, so he convinced his company to adopt his personal cell phone number for his work phone (carrying two phones is so annoying) and now he has a free iphone 4 and will cancel his personal plan, saving $700 a year. He went on to successfully negotiate his interest rate at the bank and our cable bill!

    Thanks, Ramit!

    PS – I don’t live in the US, so the figures are actually more impressive here.

  19. David


    I’ve been flying under the radar on this blog. Following along, but not hitting the kind of targets that Ramit’s winners usually do. However, while I may not have hit a home run on any single challenge, I have hit a series of singles, and a couple of doubles, and to continue the baseball analogy, that leads to quite a few scores. Here are my results:

    In week 1, I left a comment about how I planned to improve my public speaking, and how I was automating the practice into my life. While this didn’t get me any 48 hour results, over the course of 3 and a half weeks, I’ve made tremendous progress. Last night was the payoff. I’m running for a board position at my business school, and I had to deliver a 2 minute speech 3 times to classes of 40-50 business students. Afterwards my friend came up and was amazed at how polished I was. To be honest, I was scared out of my mind, but the hours of practice and crazy exercises (try sitting in front of a tape recorder reciting poems and singing… naked) had prepared me to handle the anxiety and deliver a great speech.

    The week 2 challenge was to reach out to people I wanted to meet, and take at least one to lunch. Well, within 48 hours, that didn’t happen. My emails bounced back from full inboxes or went unanswered. Undeterred, I tried again a few times over the next couple of weeks. I called a successful entrepreneur and volunteered to help him with the launch of a new venture, for free, in my spare time. Needless to say, he accepted. A couple weeks later, one of my unanswered emails was finally returned. The person I reached out to was going to be travelling for a while, but he suggested I meet a colleague of his who has a cool new web app, and needs a business manager. The app is set up for a beta launch soon, and we’re very excited about the possibilities. Finally, and I don’t know how this really even happened, I ended up getting introduced to some VIP alums from my business school, giving them some ideas for increasing attendance at events, and having them tell me they want to work with me to expand the alumni presence on campus. Remember when I said I was campaigning for a board position (probably like 9 paragraphs ago)? Well, the position I’m going for is focused on ALUMNI RELATIONS!!! And completely seperate from that effort, I just made a connection with the ALUMNI BOARD!!! Sorry, I usually avoid all caps, but I felt it was justified in that instance.

    The crazy thing is this, I haven’t met any of the three people I reached out to, but by just sending out those emails, I got in the mindset of connecting with people, and seeing how I could deliver something valuable to them. That paradigm shift started the cascading of a few dominos, and now it seems like I’m making high quality connections without even trying.

    Finally, while I haven’t gotten a friend to save $500 (yet), I did have this encounter with a great friend of mine.

    She was over at my apartment and looking at the bookshelf. “I Will Teach You to be Rich?” she laughed, noting the absurd volume of sticky notes hanging off the pages.

    Then she noticed it was signed by Ramit, and she got more curious. I assured her that if there was just one book on personal finance to read (full disclosure: I have never read any other book on personal finance), that was it. She borrowed it. Will she save $500? Probably. She’s the kind of person who takes action on things like that.

    So the primary lesson this month. Hustling works. I may not be selling freelance services, trying to get a new job, or trying to get into college/grad school like most of Ramit’s examples. I’m just trying to lay a strong foundation, expose myself to opportunities, and prepare to meet any challenge.

    I’m not done hustling. This is just the beginning.

  20. Lily

    Instead of being scared of big projects that came my way, the hustle course turned my ‘no’ response into an enthusiastic ‘yes’.
    We’re on track to close a 200k project today because of it.

    Thanks Ramit.

  21. Jessica H.


    I’m going to divide this into two sections: hustling on my primary project, and other hustling wins.

    I spent some time identifying my larger goal (to get one of the best jobs in my field) and my time-scale (nine months to official application season). Once I’d figured out what I was trying to do, here’s how I took action:

    – I got 30 former students and peers to write testimonials about what a great teacher I am, and what I’ve taught them best. I then cross-correlated those against what I know certain positions are looking for, and have identified which I will be using to support my application.
    – I have done two telephone interviews and one television interview about my work. I’m giving a public lecture next week, and am guest-teaching a class in my field later this month. I’ve also got three articles in progress for various publications, but those take longer so they are not done yet!!
    – I followed up with a contact at a major company about funding my work, and they’re on board pending the appropriate paperwork. I used Ramit Techniques for finding out their expectations and getting what I want from the negotiation; there were certain things I knew they could not provide, so I asked anyways but had a fall-back position that was equally good for me. This will be a BIG attraction for people thinking about hiring me. (The amount of money in my pocket will be small, but that’s not the point.)
    – I volunteered to help a contact organize an “overview of research in my field” event for another major company. I spent an hour connecting her to people and projects I’m already familiar with, and ended up with a speaking invitation to talk to VERY high-level people at this company about what I do, plus an invite to a private dinner with the decision-makers. Talk about disproportionate results!!!
    – I met with a “superconnector” in my field. I asked her about my top three dream jobs and what she knew about them. The conversation ended with her offering to introduce me to high-level people in these programs so I can blow them away before application season even begins.
    – I drew up a list of what I’m still lacking, so I can have a focused and productive conversation with Ramit next week. 🙂

    I’m deliberately being a bit vague about these accomplishments, but I’ll tell you this: these are huge wins for me, even though I won’t know their impact until next year.

    In other hustling-related news:

    – I got two friends to use Ramit’s interview practice techniques, and helped them practice. They both got the jobs they were applying for.
    – I got a friend to send out a graduate school application essay to a dozen contacts for testing and revision. She’s waiting to hear if she got in, but it ended up as one of the strongest essays I have seen.
    – I helped a family member develop a list of useful people to take out for coffee, and promised to match her coffee funds for the first 28 days (until it becomes a habit!).
    – I negotiated with a colleague to assign me one of his research assistants for a project we are working on together. This frees up my time for other hustling activities!
    – I convinced a friend to pay me $500. She gets $50 back each time she implements a technique out of the IWTYTBR book and reports her results to me. If she can’t find ten places to save money by April 1st, I get to keep the cash. If she makes all ten, I have to take her out for a fabulous dinner at our favorite restaurant.

    Considering that I was incredibly sick for a week in January, and spent another few days out of town, these are amazing results. If Ramit keeps me this inspired all year, I’ll have my dream job begging to have me. (Fingers crossed!)

    • Jessica H.

      So … I literally JUST had another big win five minutes ago. One of the people I contacted as part of my week #2 exercise just emailed me, asking if I would like to join a multi-million dollar research project that involves some of the top names in my field – including one person I’d really like to work for. I have to consider what I’m going to negotiate for, but this is an incredible opportunity.

      So: thanks, Ramit. Quality really does pay off. I’ve been a top-notch professional for a long time, but it’s making a huge difference for me to put in the effort on making sure other people know it.

  22. Peter

    We have had very measurable success in our implementation of what we have learned through IWT. Specifically, we developed and tested a new proposal format that has increased our close rate by roughly 50% and has also lead to clients being *happy* to sign up without feeling the need or urge to negotiate on price.
    How did we do this? We created this improvement by breaking away from a proposal model that focuses on the features of our services and, instead, focusing on the specific problems that our services help solve. See examples below:

    Old Model (and what most companies tend to do):
    Pay Per Click Management
    We set up an ad campaign for your business in the ad platform of your choice.
    We create and test ads to increase conversion rate.
    We suggest a monthly budget of $5,000
    More boring lists of features and todo items that don’t relate to specific needs.
    blah blah blah

    New Model (focused on a specific need that is matched to a specific solution):
    Need: Your target audience lives online and is difficult to reach through traditional marketing. You would like to reach out to them through the mediums that they are used to using today.
    Solution: Targeted Paid Ads
    Your target market spends a considerable amount of time on Facebook. We can set up and manage a Facebook Fan Campaign and/or a Facebook Ad Campaign for each of your store locations. The campaigns will direct your customers into your store website, into your Facebook Page or into other landing pages that you set up online. Ads are targeted by geographic location, by demographics and by interest, giving you a way to push your ads directly to the people who are most likely to shop in your stores.
    • You control your budget with your online ads and can increase the budget to promote in store events or decrease your budget when focusing on other areas.
    • We will research your market and competition in order to develop a highly targeted campaign. This will maximize your conversion rate while minimizing cost per click.
    • We will work with you to develop a campaign strategy that ties into your existing marketing campaigns. This will allow us to create ads that are timely and relevant to your other promotions.
    • We suggest a $5,000 monthly budget that can be scaled up as needed for individual promotions events.

    The first time we tested this proposal format (and nearly every time we have used it since) the group of decision makers in the presentation immediately commented on *how much they liked the proposal layout*. This came without any questions or prodding on our part. By focusing on the needs of the client first we are able to keep them interested in the content of the proposal while showing them how we can resolve each specific problem that they face. We become a solution provider instead of just another agency trying to make a sale (and in reality, we *are* trying to solve their problems, so it is a perfect alignment of perception and reality).
    The test results were staggering. One prospect whom we presented the new proposal format to liked it so much that he immediately asked us if we could apply the same proposal to a second set of franchises that he owns. Not only did we get hired without negotiating on price, but the client effectively offered to double his own offer. When I asked after the fact, it was made clear that the reason that they hired us (and immediately expanded the offer to include twice as many stores) was because of the proposal format.
    This single change has increased our average setup from $2000 to $8,000 and has increased our monthly rate from just under $1,000 / month to upwards of $3,000 / month on a single proposal. One note – this is not a flat rate increase but is a result of an increase in perceived value combined with a willingness of clients to pay for additional services that they used to not see as valuable.

    To sum up:
    Testing a new proposal format
    Increase in close rate: ~50%
    Increase in gross revenue: between 200% and 400%
    Increase in happiness of new clients: Noticeable and Measurable but not in a set percentage.

  23. Mercedes

    Ok, results both for a friend I helped sort out his finances using those tactics, and me:

    My friend and I are on the same salary (he gets a yearly bonus of up to $1300, I don’t). He’s $2400 into his overdraft, had 0 savings and hasn’t been able to afford visiting his family in ages; and he makes me feel guilty for having savings and going on holiday.

    So when he found out his only sibling was getting married this summer, he realised he had to do something so he could afford flying to the wedding.

    I’d suggested ways to save money before and he’d always brushed things off, so this time I forced him to implement some changes:
    1. dragged him to the bank to open a savings account
    2. automatically pay rent/bills/student loans and transfer $160 into that new savings account on pay day, + $400 each month to get out of his overdraft.
    3. set up a weekly budget for groceries, going out and cigarettes.

    His sibling’s wedding is a great way to force him to stick to it, as it’s such a concrete ‘reward’ to keep in mind, with a specific timeline. The weekly budget allows him to see exactly how he could save more, ie cigarettes: he’s tried to quit smoking in the past but now sees that that would buy him a plane ticket every 3 months.

    Best, he’s keeping a list of concrete results/rewards on a sheet of paper for motivation: by the time of the wedding, he’ll have saved enough for 2 trips to the US and gotten out of his overdraft. He even said she went from never checking his balance, for fear of staring at his overdraft, to checking it regularly because seeing his savings account is constant encouragement.

    And following the same type of budget for myself, last month I saved $875 (almost half of my salary) which means I could pay upfront for my next holiday and expenses there. It was a tight budget but I didn’t even have to worry about money since it was all sorted and organised. Talk about instant reward, I love it!

  24. Christina Harris

    My new favorite activity now is hustling. Why? There was something that clicked this month that has me hustling for all the business opportunities I’ve got going on. I still have my 9-5 job, but I wrote down what I want in the next 12 months, how much it’s going to take to get there, and just started hustling to get the money and connections to get there. Warning, I do have a lot of items in the fire, but this is what I’ve done in the last 30 days by using the techniques from the hustling course.

    1. I Used persistence and a don’t take no attitude to finally get paid $3575 on a job I completed last June. The old me was just worried to ask for the money again and kept putting off asking even though I had completed the work. Since this month’s hustling, I fired off 3 emails and contacted the Accounting department of the business and got my money January 27th. And I didn’t have to be rude or anything. Come to find out they just dropped the ball on the process. Once I told them I hadn’t gotten paid, they were quick to rectify that situation.

    2. I keep in touch with one of my clients to see how his businesses are doing. He had a great idea for a website and because we stay in touch, I was the first one on his mind to get the stuff done. I stay on top of the trends that are going on with websites and teach him about the lates, so he knows I know my stuff. I put together a proposal for him, completed the preliminary work for him and today will get a check for $1525 and we are working on a $1200 a month project agreement because he doesn’t have the time to keep all his online stuff going.

    3. Because of my relationship with my client in #2, I went to a meeting he had with other businessmen. After the conversations about what I could do the help. I just sent in another proposal for a small project that will net $500 one time and a $200/month maintenance. I have been doing some psychological testing. I loved Ramit’s entry about the difference between telling someone you are a writer to telling someone you are an author and how different the responses are to each of those. I’m currently testing different what to tell people I do. I don’t really identify with a “web designer” yes I put basic websites together, but I’m more about the business ramifications of the site than I am about the design aspects of it. So I’m testing “Online business manager” because I handle clients’ business online where they don’t have to time to learn what I already know for their business.

    4. I do believe in helping people and being accessible if I can. I had an hour conversation with a woman who is trying to get going with her online services for others. I didn’t hold any ideas or advise back from her and essentially laid out my whole strategy for getting clients that could actually have her directly compete with me. If she just uses two of the things I told her about, she could make a great monthly living. Open and transparent is going to get me farther than closed off and secretive. At the end of the conversation, she said she felt like I had given her so much information, she feels like she should be paying me a consulting fee.

    5. I also did a 30 challenge for myself to lose some weight and get into better shape. I used Tim Ferris’ 4 hour body, the slow carb diet as my guide. How does this fit into hustling? Well, you can want a different body all day long, but until you start hustling to make changes, what you got is what you get. In my first 30 days, I lost 7.6 pounds and 2.25 inches all around. A great motivating start for my 20 pound goal by the summer.

    6. The biggest hustling I think I’ve done this month is submitting a project proposal for for my product based business, Wü– and it get approved on the first try. Since I started Earn 1k last year, 3 partners and I formed a business with the idea for making a solid, beautiful iPad case here in the states. We aren’t outsourcing anything and our focus is making it here in Florida. Putting a kickstarter project together is pretty intense, from getting the project approved last week to getting it showcased on next week means we had to hustle to find someone to shoot the video and edit it quickly. We also have to hustle work out all the reward levels we are going to offer for the project.
    This one is a huge hustling success because when I first read about about 10 weeks ago, I looked at the kickstarter guidelines thought our project didn’t fit the mold. So 10 weeks went by while we are working on the finished prototype and wondering how we were going to get the most exposure for our product. Because of Noel Kagan’s video about hustling, I reviewed kickstarter again and decided to give it a shot. The Kickstarter team was going to have to tell us we didn’t fit. Everything I’ve read says that it can take up to 4-5 days of going back and forth with Kickstarter to get a project approved–if it does get approved, so the psychological high we got from being approved from the initial application has just really been amazing. And it makes me want to hustle even more now. Our project isn’t up yet, but check in the Design category next week and see what all we’ve done to make it a success. And then watch us hustle even more to get the backers for the project!

    So what hasn’t worked so far? I point blank asked an iPad case competitor how business has been and how many he had sold. Couldn’t hurt to ask, right? I never heard back from him. Not everyone is going to be open and not all things are going to work everytime. But that won’t keep me from trying anymore.

    So you have many things that have worked and some things that didn’t this past month. I think the reason why I wasn’t doing these things before is When you focus so much on the problem or the things you don’t have yet, it’s hard to get to a solutions. It’s definitely a psychological shift when you concentrate on the goal, set your priorities, break down the desired results into manageable tasks and then hustle like crazy to knock those tasks off one by one.

  25. Katharine

    Hey Ramit,

    I just want to say thank you for inspiring me to STOP worrying and to TAKE ACTION — to make the things I want happen. After reading your posts, I decided to apply for a second part-time position as a full-time college student.

    As ridiculous as it sounds, despite obvious obstacles (e.g. my status as a full-time college student, inflexible class schedule, lack of experience in the field) I was welcomed to work at a place that gave me almost unlimited access and resources to fulfill one of my childhood dreams. Moreover, I was even more so generously offered, by the owners, unlimited free lessons so that I can fulfill my interest to learn how to dance and becoming a professional dancer, saving me at least $2600.00 on ballroom and latin dancing lessons.

    In addition, I am earning at least $400 more per month doing something that I completely enjoy, (this really helps with rent, textbooks, and food!) and in terms of school, with the limited amount of free time, I was almost able to fully eliminate procrastination from my life, and as a result, became almost 100% more productive.

    I just want to say thank you so much Ramit. I wish I can tell you so much more about my experiences and how you greatly influenced me, haha but unfortunately I have to go to class.

    Thank you again. I hope, one day, we can meet.

  26. Lisa

    Hi Ramit, I read your blog all the time but never post. Your “hustling” series was so inspirational that this morning I asked for and received an $8,500 raise with a second several thousand dollar raise coming in June. Thanks so much.

  27. Kyle McDermaid

    I own a small medical delivery company in Reno, NV. Here is a comparison of a very similar transaction before and after reading your material this month on how to hustle.

    Before I knew how to hustle:

    Last year I bought a 2010 Toyota Yaris for about $19,000 with a 0% interest loan with no money down.

    After I learned to hustle/negotiate like an Indian:

    1/31/11 I bought another 2010 Toyota Yaris and was able to negotiate the price down to $17,800 for each vehicle for the same 0% interest over 5 years with no money down.

    After agreeing to the $17,800 for the vehicle I asked the sales manager what the highest price he was able to sell the vehicles for. He was able to sell the vehicle for 20% above the asking price before taxes and doc fees which bumped the overall price to $19,300.

    I then asked them to charge me for the $19,300 price and cut me a check for the difference at 0% interest. They agreed to my terms and I will receive a 0% interest loan from Toyota for $1,500 in two weeks.

    I will be able to use this loan to pay down an SBA loan I have at 8% interest.

    Total Savings = $2,000

  28. Carl Benjamin

    I managed to save $500. It is not the way everyone does it, but it worked for me.
    1. Transeferred $200 from paypal account. (Articles I write for Associated content)
    2. Added $170 from my SS check
    3. Added $30 from aluminum cans I collected and cashed in.
    4. Collected a little over $100 for mileage from my work at the college. I suppervise student teachers.
    Note; Glad I did this too. I just filed my IRS taxes just a bit over $1000 due on April 18. Not everyone gets a refund. lol

  29. Manpriya

    One first look at your 30 day hustling course, I didn’t think that I had the wherewithal to accomplish anything you might be encouraging me to set out to do. A quick review of Seth Godin’s “Lynchpin” convinced me, however, that my fear mind was all but stopping me from doing anything to change my life for the better.

    So I did what you recommended, I hustled. I hustled A LOT. I negotiated a pay raise from $300 a week to $550. I negotiated to set my own standards of how to do my job, how to develop more creativity in my day to day life, and to hit all my own targets while becoming indispensable to my organization. I also heard about an opportunity through the grapevine at work and immediately got to work: I wrote a heartfelt cover letter and sent in my resume (something I would have failed to pounce on before I started the program due to the aforementioned fright and lack of confidence).

    Many “tests” didn’t work for me either. I look at these as successes because I tried and failed and learned. Most of these failures were the most difficult aspects of what you are asking us to test: psychological persuasion. Before the 30 day course, I had no idea where I was heading. Now, I have a clearer grasp of how to do my job better, I’m getting paid more, and I’m expanding my horizons to get more stability. I’m closer to my “core” and people listen to me because I actually believe in what I’m saying. However, they may not be open to showing me their cards just yet about what they think about what I’ve been asking for. I see that it is baby-steps (thanks Tim Ferriss!)

  30. Kyle McDermaid

    Also, negotiated the price of new software down from $269/month to $199/month

    Savings over 12 months = $840

  31. Elizabeth

    30 Day Hustling Course has led me to 1) Save $660 2) Invest Money in business 3) Overcome time barrier 4) Make Specific Goals

    1) Saving Money through negotiating.
    – Had 1 failure – where I called my car insurance company USAA after receiving quotes from 3 other insurance companies for 25% less than I currently pay. I love USAA and am very loyal to them but the savings was just too great. I honestly expected them to match or at least lower my premium as I’m a good negotiator and had a very tactical approach, but they said they were unable to ; decided to make the switch to GEICO = savings of $300/yr
    – had been dreading calling DirecTV regarding the doubling of my cable bill after 12 months in to a 24 month contract because they are notorious for their unwillingness to cancel contracts (thus they have the upper hand in negotiating as I’m still on contract.) But, I called the phone number, used the tactic to say “Cancel” into the voice automatted system (figuring I was be transferred to a person more able to negotiate than had I said “Billing”) Told him that my bill doubled, I’d like to get it lowered and he agreed to lower by $30/month going forward (going back to old rate) and I asked if he could credit me for last month’s high charge – and he credited my account an addtional $20
    2) I run several websites in order to pay for law school tuition (at a top 20 school). One site has been in existence over 3 years and is in major need of a site upgrade (been over 2.5 years and currenly likely being penalized by search engines because it’s in the slowest 88% of sites to load; also due to outdatedness worried about hacking). Got quotes from 5 different web developers and now on track to have a new site by mid-March. Also, invested $ into business cards and promotional t-shirts for the same site – going on another press trip next month and it’s officially time to not be the only person on one without a business card.
    3) As a law student the biggest barrier to getting things done for the business is time and feeling overwhelmed with the number of tasks to do. So for the past three weeks I have been getting up at 5:30am 4 mornings a week and spending 45 mins getting whatever done I can. I’ve been strategic in making week to-do-lists that actually have a reasonable number of tasks on them. I’ve been able to post twice as much as I used to and January earnings were second highest ever. (Mid four digits.)
    4) Why the hustle? Made a specific list of what $ goals are for the year. For 2011 the goal is to save $76k – most of it to prepare for the plan to have a baby in the next year. (which will require unpaid time off for spouse, and then spouse working only part time.) (Besides making goals – also sub accts set up in ING, spreadsheet to track monthly savings, and where the money will come from.)

  32. Casey


    Truthfully, I’m guilty of only a partial hustle, but it has had very positive results. Currently I have a really good job in the Biotech Industry, but have tried to get into Law School for the past year. I took the LSAT, did fairly well and applied, unfortunately I didn’t in.

    The motivation and challenge to “Hustle” recharged me to make contact with a friend who is actually an Intellectual Property Lawyer in the area. After a quick call just after New Year’s, we met up for a quick lunch, where he dropped off tons of study guides. He also set me up with contacts at local law firms for some phone calls. Those phone calls have helped me set up a solution of passing the patent bar and going to work for those firms.

    I still had the problem of getting into Law School, so I swallowed my pride. I had a very poor GPA, but have been out of school for over a decade and have a great work record. (currently making over $100,000 in the biostatistics field managing 9 people), so I made contact with the Pre Law office of my University.

    We have a plan on how to maximize my return of effort. This will include taking the LSAT at least one time, studying for the bar and making contact to sit in on classes with at least 3 professors before April.

    In my current career, I’ve also been able to refocus on persuasion in my career. By using your site for motivation to “hustle”, the BJ Fogg webinar on persuasion (fantastic stuff here), and another site I use to help my create a linear presentation ( I was able to explain my largest 2010 project to my Vice President. This resulted in my annual review evaluation being in the top quintile, so that translates to a 15% bonus vs a 10% for the second quintile, a difference in $5000.00.


  33. Annie


    Week 1 – Invisible scripts of luck and success
    This week’s challenge was difficult for me because I had trouble relating to the examples in the invisible scripts. I never really felt as if I couldn’t do anything or that anything was beyond my reach. However, it got me thinking that the point of the invisible scripts was to propel action and that was something I wasn’t doing. So I asked myself why not? Turns out my script was “I need to wait until the time is right to do X,Y, Z” but no time was ever optimal. To combat this, I started off with baby steps.

    -Made a list of 3 people I wanted to talk to this month. 3 because it’s small and before I would’ve picked 15 and had decision paralysis.
    -Scheduled with all 3 the next day. It’s amazing how easy some things are when you just do it and don’t wait. I’m in client service as are the people I wanted to meet, we’ve got scheduling down to a science.
    -Prepared a list of 5 topics I wanted to cover but not specific questions. This gave us the flexibility to move the conversation in different directions without being locked down.
    -Result: Met with all three within 2 weeks. Got some great insights into the different disciplines within marketing as well as lessons learned from past experiences and great advice on personal growth. One being “be an expert in something you love” which ironically was something BJ Fogg said in the persuasion talk the next week.
    -Spent $40 total for all 3. We did coffee/tea because it was easier to plan around.

    Week 2 – Psychological techniques to dominate
    Top 3 insights that I garnered from this week were: money is inherently social, prioritize decisions and make good decisions on the bigger ones, and behavior causing attitude change.

    -I stopped spending money on social events where I didn’t feel a lot of personal fulfillment. I started saying no to a lot of social commitments and the ones I said yes to I made sure it was because I wanted to go and not because I felt like I had to go to put in an appearance. When I did go out, I didn’t feel guilty about the money I spent and really enjoyed my time while I was there. By doing this, I saved about $350 this month and I expanded my network for which I’ll be meeting with one new friend next week.
    -Decided to move in a few months and put together a game plan based on the interviews post Ramit had written earlier. My goal is to increase my salary by 100%. Targeting summer 2011 as my move date. This decision was really difficult to make but after listening to BJ speak about prioritizing decisions, I knew it was the right thing to do and I have more direction now that I’ve committed to this move.

    -Behavior causing attitude change on a micro level is really developing habits. I wanted to start going to the gym again so I set aside time 2 days a week with a max limit of 30 min. Still haven’t gone this month. When the time came around to go, I just didn’t feel like it. To try and find another trigger, I decided to ask my friend if she wanted to go next week. Now that there’s someone else, I’m more likely to not flake. We shall see next week.

    Week 3 – Negotiating your big breaks
    I decided to start small on this week’s negotiation challenge. I’ve done a lot of the tactics last year in IWTYTBR with some successes and some failures. I couldn’t get my credit card to lower my interest rate but I did find out I was paying the lowest price on my car insurance after shopping around. So I bought a netbook on Craigslist. List price $180. It went like this:

    Me: Is the netbook still available? If so, are you flexible on the price?
    Seller: Yes
    Me: My budget is around $100, are you open to that price?
    Seller: No, I have a higher offer.
    Me: Ok, what did you have in mind?
    Seller: $140
    Me: few questions about the netbook, blah blah blah
    Seller: answers my questions
    Me: Thanks, I’ll take it for $130 if you’re willing to sell at that price.
    Seller: Ok at $130.

    Like Ramit said, negotiation does not need to be adversarial. I’ve sold on Craigslist before as well and negotiations go well if both parties are amenable and know what they want. Once sold Chanel sunglasses for $175 on Craigslist. List price: $215. Offer: $150, we agreed on $175 and I also sent them a link to one of my agency’s projects because they were affiliated with the brand. They wrote back with some great feedback and said they sent it on to other agents because it was a neat site with great content.

    Week 4 – Power of testing
    This week’s challenge really got me in gear because I loved the prize. Each week builds upon another, so here are my results for testing:

    -Success builds upon success. So after the Craigslist win, decided to participate in week 4 challenge and leave a comment in the blog post. I have never written a comment on a blog before, there’s a lot of psychological factors behind this, but I can’t win if I don’t participate. No winners for week 4, but I was quoted in Ramit’s blog post which to me is a HUGE win and shows that I’m moving in the right direction.
    -Ramit and Tim talked about sometimes letting the bad things happen to make room for better things. I tested this by not doing one part of my weekly work assignment and testing out a new calendar method. My client was completely ok with this and told me she used the previous calendar for another reason I didn’t realize, this meant I can now optimize our process better to help her which in client service is all about helping my client be a star to others.

  34. Mark Walsh

    This last month of hustling has been my most productive time in the last year. I have found success both personally and professionally, and owe much of that to what you’ve taught me in the last 30 days.

    To start off, I paid off all my cc’s and negiotiated down my APR to average of 8.9% (down from an ave of 17.9%), while increasing my credit limits by over 100% ($13,400 total credit increased to $27,500).

    I recieved over $2,000 worth of print advertising in exchange for goods and services which cost me less than 2 hours of time and $100 total expense.

    I have developed email relationships with 6 superstar mentors (out of 10 contacted) in my field, and have plans to meet with them personally at various industry confrences and events over the next 6 months when I return to the states.

    I tested/pitched 4 different advertisements face to face at craft shows, I chose the best “performing,” and have used that in online advertisements for an improved conversion rate of over 47% (36 theoretical sales/wk increased to 53 after adwords testing).

    Networked with 8 new marketing “ambassadors” who will be field testing my product around all parts of the globe, leading to invaluable lead generations and marketing content.

    After contacting my college advisor, was showcased in our alumi newsletter, which led to a 62% increase in blog traffic, and a opened other networking channels amougnst fellow alumni.

    Attended a talk by a professor who is an expert in her field. Afterwards, I was able to recieve a copy of her presentation, in addition to additoinal industry information saving me days/weeks of time to research the topic myself.

    My personal favorite, had dinner with the captain and recieved a personal tour of a 600′ cruise ship in Antarctca, in exchange for allowing him to launch a weather balloon with a personal message written to his wife written on the outside, which flew to over 65,000 ft in the atmosphere (now that’s one hell of a love letter).

    The best part of all, is that all this was done from the bottom of the world. If these tactics will work down here, they will work anywhere, and am looking forward to seeing the results once back in the states.

  35. Wayne


    1. I used testing of certain scripts to try to contact decision-makers at ten businesses that could potentially use my services. After honing the “pick-up,” I landed four concrete “job interviews,” two over coffee. The four meetings I landed were the last four in the ten attempted, so that success indicates I successfully tuned the messages that were rejected.

    2. I decided to continue the testing, so each meeting of the four was scripted differently based on success or failure of the previous meeting. The first meeting went terribly. I couldn’t convince the business owner that she needed my services, so in the second meeting I didn’t pitch myself as a writer but as a copy editor to increase conversions on sales materials. Still no bite. The third try was yet closer, as I honed the pitch further . . . sat and LISTENED to the owner talk about his business and made mental notes of every area where I could see he had a need. In the last ten minutes of having coffee, I proposed a solution to his problem: “How would you feel about letting me ghost write a series of five articles for your site on this topic to see if that helps clarify the problem in a way that presents a simple solution (i.e. more conversions)).” I offered to write the first two articles for free, and after reading them, the owner gave me a $650 deposit to continue writing AND provided me with additional lists of topics to cover. My fourth meeting is on Monday, and I am STOKED to use this success to get even further with that potential client!

    • Wayne

      One other result: While I didn’t post a result for helping friends save money (because I was caught in the winter storm), I did successfully help a friend save more than $1,500. I started by just offering general money saving advice to a number of people, but that was not well received. Then I took the approach of LISTENING to people detail their lives, and I offered specific suggestions. Even those were not incredibly well received . . . mostly “maybe I’ll look into it” type of responses, but one woman–a person who doesn’t even need the money–took my advice (and the free copy of IWTYTBR) and used it to negotiate an additional savings of about $1,500 on an Ford F-350 pickup. She has since asked me for a couple other money saving tips, and I am pretty sure that she will turn into a paying customer of mine in the near future.

  36. João Guilherme

    Hey Ramit ! Thanks for quoting me ! I’ll keep hustling to send you more stories !

  37. Anne

    30 Days of Hustling- My 5 Big Wins

    1. Before the 30 Day Hustle started, I read Tim Ferris’ book The Four Hour Body. Tim’s slow carb diet along with the motivation from your blog has allowed me to lose 10lbs, and 3.5” around my waist in 30 days. I started the diet before the hustle, but wasn’t sticking to it 100%. I really had to break a pattern of coddling myself and saying, “well, it’s okay to cheat today because…” Thanks to the webcast with BJ Fogg, I made a point to create baby steps for success, like drinking 5 glasses of water during the work day. I made a little chart, and put a tick mark for every glass of water that day. Knowing I was achieving success on a daily basis made a huge difference in how I approached the rest of the diet. Now I’m sticking to it 100%, and know I’ll be in great shape by the time bikini season rolls around.

    2. I contacted an author who writes about small business’ that I really respect and asked for feedback on my small business. She ended up telecasting a small business makeover on my business! This was fantastic marketing for her to establish her credibility as an expert, and she gave me TONS of useful advice to really help my business grow! Through this I also ended up meeting a contact who has experience and contacts in my industry who has agreed to meet with me to give me some more pointers.

    3. I was panicked to the point of paralysis about the cost of web design for my business. The quotes I was getting were between $3500-5000. I had something online that I had put together, but I’m not a tech person and it was far from congruent to say the least. I ended up negotiating a sweet deal with my boyfriend to re-write some of the code to make it look better. Instead of $5k, he is happy to be compensated in home cooked meals and backrubs.

    4. After listening to the interview with Tim Ferris, I joined my local Chamber of Commerce. I have decided that I am going to use Tim’s strategy to meet key players in my area. Before that interview, I had always wanted to join an organization like that, but was intimidated by the people and my lack of expertise and I always felt I should be doing something “more productive” with my time. I am going to go in asking for volunteer opportunities so I can really connect with people. I’m looking forward to attending events and not feeling like I have to shove my business card in everybody’s face.

    5. One idea that has gotten my butt in gear is BJ’s suggestion of using technology to create daily habits. At 3:15pm every day, I have a pop up on Outlook that says “Focus, Clarity, and Follow Through.” This serves as a reminder to do all of those things, and create my to do list for the next day with two or three specific, actionable things to accomplish for the next day. This has prevented hours and hours of useless wheel spinning, and has helped me feel successful on a day to day basis. I’m estimating I have saved at least 25 hours over the last 30 days.

    Measurable Results after 30 Days:
    – Lost 10lbs and 3.5” around my waist
    – Free business makeover
    – Saved $5,000 on web design
    – Saved 25 hours of non-productive “work”

    Thanks for the awesome tips Ramit and friends! The real prize from this 30 days has been all the sucess that I have gained from it! (but I’ll still gladly accept the conference tickets!) ;o)

  38. Tom Watson

    Additional Hustling comment:

    Failure- No repsonse from 1/5/11 Draft Production Proposal, so …
    2/5/11 Called contact and identified 6 pain points, why the proposal is not progressing ( none on my end). Will work this month solving these issues providing value at no charge.

    Hustling Big Wins
    Draft Production Agreement
    Seed Purchased ($42,000 value for $1,020)
    Marketing Advice($5-10K)
    Tom2y Mariculture Facebook Page
    Free YouTube Promotional Video

  39. Aatash Parikh

    I think this is too late for the competition, but not going to win that anyway. I have a few results and many things learned.

    What I learned:
    -the distinction between consumption and action. doing >>>> knowing.
    -small steps really help you get bigger results.
    -talking to a successful person in your field can teach you a ton, and give you a very valuable relationship
    -making cool stuff = hard work. definitely very eye-opening/inspiring to see how hard you work to create your content. but that focusing that hard work (& perhaps testing to figure out where to focus it) on the right place can lead to “disproportionate results”.

    What I did:
    -Had coffee for an hour with a very successful freelance filmmaker.
    -Developed an email relationship with an accomplished entrepreneur.
    -Started working on a project I had been thinking about for a long time
    -Stopped deluding myself as to how much I really knew.
    -Learned how to talk to busy people. (and thru mini-scale testing to about 5-6 emails, and getting about 2ish responses, saw what works and what doesn’t).

    Thank you!

  40. Alex Guertin

    Here is what I did since the beginning of the hustling course:

    1) Last year I launched a sport supplement online ( and sales were slow so I tried different tactics. So this month, I launched a special 2for1 promo and tried to go after tennis players on Twitter. Within a week, I went from 25 followers to 308 followers on @aceformula. I also compiled a list of 50 tennis blogs and contacted each one of them individually to offer them to write guest post on sport nutrition and try to work out an affiliate deal with them. We are now in the process of selling the company.

    2) Redesigned my personal website ( and my company’s website ( which I was putting off in order to be more professional to look out for new customers for my consulting/business development company.

    3) Created a 28 pages brochures, look for business opportunities, and put everything on a personal website for a company in renewable energy that I’m really interested in distributing their technology in Latin America. Then e-mailed the CEO and Business Development for the company to let them know and tell them the work I already did for them was with no strings-attached.

    4) Open a brokerage account for both my personal bank and company account. Already made a 3% return on capital that I invested this month.

    5) Boost my hourly rate 75% and billed my customer for which I did business development and marketing work over the past 7 month. Then negotiated and got exactly the amount that I wanted in the first place ($25,000), which would have been a lot lower if I had not done my homework and prepared myself properly for the negotiation (put in 40 hours of work there to build a strong case). Also, signed an agreement for a commission-based distribution agreement with the company for their technology.

    6) Created a personal website for my girlfriend who is trying to get a new job to help her out.

    7) Created a personal website and branding for my dad who is quite bad with computer and has terrible branding and marketing although he is one of the best in his field with over 25 years experience. I’m doing all his personal branding, marketing and getting him ready to do business with newer generation.

    Bottom line, I’m hustling my way to increase my company’s bottom line and help out others that I care about around me.

    Thanks Ramit for the great tips, webinar, and no-bullshit get-it-done post that are straight to the point with real life examples.

  41. The 1-week MBA on earning more money | I Will Teach You To Be Rich

    […] can see more results here, here, here, and […]

  42. LSM

    Hi, You Rock! I had a $52,000 credit line that I negotiated a pay off down to $12,000. I rock too!!!

  43. Jaime

    This was my fastest big win this past month:

    Goal: Break my fear of trying to land a jump on a snowboard

    To make sure I hit the goal, I told my friends my goal as we were heading to the mountain, so that I could have some accountability. Later in the trip, I asked a friend who can do tricks if he’d be willing to help me if I needed it.

    I originally started totally on my own with no one helping, thinking I could just brute-force it. That was not only stupid, but painful; I didn’t land anything. After a few tries, I told my friend I was failing, and asked if he could help watch me and critique me. By my 2nd run with his help, I had maybe a 25% success rate. By my 4th run with him, I was able to go down a trail and hit 14 jumps, landing 13.

    Why I didn’t do any of this before: I’d watch the X-games and think about how cool it would be to land one, but I’d just keep going on the terrain parks and chicken out every time. In my mind, this was an impossible task, and when you’re on a snowboard and going fast, if you fall wrong it freaking hurts. For years, I never took a single jump.

    What clicked: Having my friend observe me and give me some tips helped me hit my goal, but I didn’t become consistent until after my third run. On this run, I realized I was avoiding some jumps that I thought were scary (but my friend was taking) and that I was hitting most at a slow speed because I was scared. It sounds weird, but on this run I remembered your article about invisible scripts holding us back, and in order to beat them, it helps to find a testable strategy (more speed = better success rate) and just hustle.

    At the bottom I told my friend “we’re leaving soon and almost out of time. The next time I go down, if a jump exists, I’m taking it.” And so, on my last attempt of the day, I decided to take every jump with as much speed as I could handle. I finally broke my fear and nailed almost every jump. My friend told me afterward “I can’t believe your progress, and I need to step up my game because you just took jumps I’ve been too scared to try.”

    What’s next: Landing a 360 and tackling boxes and rails. The next time I hit the slopes, I’m going to make a list of nearby snowboarders that can do tricks, and shoot them an email to see if anyone is willing to help train someone that wants to learn. If I don’t get any responses, I’ll find a mountain that offers freestyle training and take that. I’m going to keep pushing myself because snowboarding is way more fun when you can do tricks, and way less crowded.

  44. Mike M.

    Putting up fliers in my area, an ethnic part of orange county, in multiple languages advertising English lessons. I haven’t gotten any responses yet, so I probably need to start drilling down to more specific markets and k at finding my first few customers. Possible markets are: professional immigrants who already have moderate skill with English who are looking to improve their accent and colloquial English, another option is heads of household who have low English skill looking to improve in specific situations.

    Still unsure how to break into these markets, any advice would be appreciated.

  45. Derek B.

    I want to start out by first saying thanks to Ramit for offering all of this great material and motivation for free. I could never have accomplished all of the things I have listed below without access to the information that you have provided, and without you actively setting the goals for me each week. Those goals were really powerful in helping me achieve everything I have mentioned below.

    Here is what I accomplished over the last 30 days.

    Find a way to get to Hawaii for my dream honeymoon for less than my $1000 airline budget. Need to spend less than 1 hour per week over the next 8 months.
    Will save at least $1280 by booking with airline miles. Tickets normally cost at least $700 each ($1400 for two), which is over budget; However, I found that I could book the same flight with only 90,000 miles. I found a reputable service that guarantees 100,000 miles per year for only $15/month ($120 for 8 months) if you take action. The service automatically sends alerts when new opportunities to earn miles become available through the airlines. Getting the miles is usually easy, it is finding the promotions that is difficult and takes time. In total $1400-$120=$1280 in savings for less than 1 hour of work per week!

    Find a way to save money on my car loan even though I have less than 36 months left on my loan.
    ACTIONS/RESULTS: Failure and Success.
    I was not able to get the loan for myself, but I took steps to improve the credit score to improve my chances of getting the loan, and I was able to get a loan for my fiance saving her 5% and over $2000. What all did I do? I researched the rates auto loan refinancing and found that I could reduce my loan APR by 2-3% ($500-700 savings) with an excellent credit score. I got my credit score and found it had dropped from excellent to very good, which will not get me the savings that I want. My credit report indicated that there were 3 main things brining down my score: two I had control over, one I did not. I focused my energy on the 2 things I could control help improve my credit score.

    Problem A: Credit report stated that I had too many accounts with balances
    Here is what I did:
    ACTION1: Paid off all my balances so every credit card was at 0, and stopped using 2 of my 4 credit cards to lower the number of accounts that have balances.
    ACTION2: My fiance also had a car loan, on which I was a co-signer, so this counts for one of my accounts with a balance. Since I had already done all of the research and knew exactly what to do, after checking with my fiance, I applied the Do It For Them (DIFT) technique to refinance her car loan as well, and to get me off of her loan as co-signer. We checked her credit score to see what kind of interest rate to expect and whether it was worth the time. It was. Then we quickly applied for a few loans, and with multiple offers, she found that she could cut her rate by 5% and save over $2000. This brought down her car payment and got another account balance off of my credit report. Double score.

    Problem B: Credit report stated that my total balance on my revolving credit was too high
    Here is what I did:
    ACTION3: Setup a recurring reminder on my calendar to make a second payment on my card every month (I already make one automatic payment every month). This is not a big deal, because I get paid twice a month anyways. Adding this second payment will allow me to effectively cut my balance at any given time in half, and should reduce the balance of my revolving credit. The recurring reminders will make this as automated as possible and with only a couple minutes of maintenance a month, I can improve my credit score.
    For now, I consider this a failure, but it has the potentialto save me money and be a win in the future. Now that I have taken these actions and setup a simple system to maintain these settings, I just need to watch my score and wait for it to increase. To make sure I did not forget to check my score, I set an additional reminder in my calendar to check again next month. Even if I didn’t immediately get what I wanted, I have set myself up for success in the future, and I was able to turn this into a big success for my fiance

    I typically wake up around 9 AM, but the goal is to be able to get up at 5:30 each morning which is the time that my fiance wakes up. I have tried this using will-power many times in the past and failed.
    70% success rate at getting up earlier. I started by getting inside my own head and figured out my barriers for getting up early. I then took some obvious actions (e.g. moving my alarm clock to the other side of the room to force me to get up), but I also implemented a small commitment to myself that I would brush my teeth each morning immediately after shutting of my alarm to force me to stay up longer, knowing that the longer I stay up, the less likely I will be to go back to bed. This concept was based on making small changes that will help you achieve the desired behavior (thing of BJ flossing only 1 tooth). I am taking baby steps, and only moving my wake time back by 30 minutes per week to keep me from having to deal with a huge change of waking up 3.5 hours earlier, where I would probably fail. Lastly, I keep track of my success/failure to get up each morning by logging it in a spreadsheet. Here, I can see whether or not it is working, or whether or not I need to try something else to achieve my goal. With these 4 small actions, I have been able to achieve a 70% success rate, which is something that I have never been able to do before. These small successes are empowering!

    Negotiated mainly for practice, but in each case I was able to negotiate for something that resulted in bettering my situation. The main point of this exercise was to get better at negotiating now on things that don’t matter, so I can dominate negotiations later on things that do matter. For each of these items, I spent some time preparing by trying to figure out how best to negotiate (getting into the other person’s head), then I wrote scripts and rehearsed them before making the call. I then recorded the call so I could track my progress, and also to see what worked, what didn’t, and what I could change for next time to get better results.
    RESULT: Success.
    I negotiated a credit limit increase of $6,600 between 2 of my credit cards.
    RESULT: Success.
    I negotiated a 1% decrease in my APR on 2 of my credit cards, for a total of 2% decrease. I was able to start the review process for the APR on a third card, but won’t have the results for a week or two. I don’t actually carry a balance on any of my cards, but it was worth the practice, and I was able to successfully negotiate a decrease in my APR on multiple cards.
    RESULT: Success–but I wanted more.
    I negotiated for 5000 bonus miles. The credit card company is now giving new members a better promotion than what I received when I signed up. Though they couldn’t match the new offer, which was my goal, they were able to offer me 5,000 miles. If I hadn’t called, I wouldn’t have gotten anything, so I was at least mildly successful. I set a reminder in my calendar to call back again with a new tactic, which is mentioning that a competitor has a better offer, and see if I can get better results.
    RESULT: Unknown.
    I tried to negotiate for my apartment to replace the dryer that they had provided with our apartment. It is old, and works okay, but is below average compared with the dryers that we saw in other apartments in our area. I was able to negotiate that a service technician would “evaluate” our dryer next week, and then he would make a recommendation on whether or not it should be replaced. The apartment owners would then act based on the recommendation of the technician. This is not the answer that I wanted, but it doesn’t mean that we have failed–rather, the negotiation is ongoing. We still have the opportunity to negotiate with the technician before he gives his recommendation. Furthermore, the last time we had an appliance evaluated, it got replaced, so I am optimistic. I will just need to make sure that I prepare for negotiation with the technician.

    Ramit, thanks again for putting together this great content and motivating me to take action.

  46. Bryan

    I got 2 main big wins, and one plan for what’s next. 

    Win 1) 10% raise in salary and 16% bonus by taking a leadership role in my workgroup without being asked.  I did this by training multiple contract employees while still completing my regular job assignments.  This was done mainly by eliminating all the “fat” from my day to day tasks to help make time for the added mentor role I was playing with multiple contract workers. I was able to create documented procedures for job responsibilities and created a streamlined system that could be adapted and modified by the other employees themselves instead of me being the road block once they got up to speed, making it easier for me to train the next person being onboarded.

    Win 2) 4 month leave of absence to compete around the country in pro/am road cycling races, while maintaining my employers health insurance.  I did this through a script that I wrote up and edited about 20 times after reading it through to friends and family. I then adapted all the possible questions and answers I could imagine getting from the HR rep so when I presented my case to them in person, I would be ready for anything.

    The main reason I wasn’t doing those things before was because I wasn’t fully confident in my job role yet.  Once I became comfortable in my position, it was just a matter of utilizing some of the lessons learned from the course to help me excute the finishing touches of the 2 big wins. 

    Next steps)  Negotiate a change in hours from full time to part time with a flexible schedule. I will do this by first using my lessons learned from the negotiated leave of absence to then present the option of a trial part time schedule.  I’ll show I can produce the same, if not more work output (mainly by eliminating the non value added meetings I don’t have to attend in person anymore), and then move into this work schedule permanently. 

  47. Steve J

    Just read the article today. That’s fine if I don’t get a chance, just wanted to finally leave a comment. This last month was a very productive month for me, mostly bc I kept reading your articles and they gave me the inspiration I needed.

    First I changed my schedule @ work where I work less days, get more hours and a little more in income (I’m a paramedic so I finally have a 24 HR shift) btw my results might seem minor but they’re a great start for me thus far. As cliche as this may sound I actually changed my car insurance to geico and saved about $30 a month, I refinanced my car which was copayed and just put it under my name and I’ll be paying less monthly but a little more in the long run but it’s gonna help me put that money into my saving for vacations instead. I quickly did my taxes for the year and used some of the money to pay off my credit card. I changed some of the monthly payments like phone and Netflix to be paid with my credit card and I can easily pay it off the next day.

    I did fail by negotiating with my phone company to lower my payments. I did everything by the book but nothing happened.. My savings for the year thus far is $400 a year with my car insurance and $816 with my car payments that’s a total of $1216 I think the funny part is that I just realized that thats my bday # ha… And my income with the extra hrs I’ll be making even though minor will be at least $1,300.

    My next step is to work on what I want to do as my side project. I just listened to your freelancing experience and ive been thinking of a business for my self, all I need to do now is get it started by researching and making a few blind calls. I’m still young (25) so I want to make every and any mistake I can now to gain experience. Thank you so much for what you do for the little people, thanks for making us grow 🙂

  48. Chris Hughes

    Earlier this week, I went into a Wine Bar in Orlando(my current city) with my MacBook Pro and my Kodak Zi8. I approached the owner of the bar with an idea (for me to share where I was with my social networks to generate buzz for his bar).

    He already had a Facebook fan page and understood that he needed to start using it to interact with his fans, but he just didn’t know how. I convinced him to record a 15 second video telling people if they came in that day(it was Wednesday), that the first 5 people to say they saw it on Facebook or Twitter would receive a free draft beer. We then broadcasted this out to my network and to his fan page. This was at 5pm.

    While we were sitting at the bar chatting, a person came in and said “I saw the video on Facebook” and was awarded a free beer. This happened at about 8pm. After this person came in and said that, a few other people who were at the bar came over to ask about what we were doing and why this person got a free beer. I also had my juggling balls up on the counter of the bar(it’s a great little way to get people interested in things) and people would ask me to juggle or show me that they could juggle.

    I ended up getting 8 people who were at the bar to log onto Facebook on their smart phones and become a fan of his fan page on Facebook. This was right in front of the owner and at about 10pm I was getting ready to leave. He told me that my drinks were on the house and that he wanted to do another promotion 1 month from Wednesday that he is paying me $250 to do. It will take about an hour or 2 of promotional work, but will also consist of a few beers on the house when I get to “work” the next time.

    It was definitely something I wasn’t comfortable doing, but turned out great and actually has turned the bar owner into a friend of mine. I’m 23 and think that working with bars is a great idea 😉

  49. Larry L.

    I convinced my wife to save over $2000 a year in fees from her mutual funds, permanently. I convinced her to liquidate certain managed mutual funds with annual fees of between 1.3 to 3.0% over the next couple of months, to open a Vanguard account online, and buy into a Vanguard Targeted Retirement fund instead over the course of the next year (for the sake of dollar cost averaging).

    Now, you might say this will not count for the contest in two, possibly three, technical aspects: (1) it is way after 12pm PST Friday (2) the following is about me convincing my wife to save money by reading a chapter in IWTYTBR, not about anything I did personally and (3) this has to do with your book and not the 30-day hustling materials, if that is what you meant by “materials” in this contest. But please consider it anyway because I have never been to Austin, much less SXSW.

    So what happened? My wife faced some deadline imposed by her current brokerage house to stay with them or transfer her money somewhere else. After the deadline, she’d have to pay a big fee to move somewhere else. So she asked me, what should I do? I said, “Baby, please move to Vanguard and buy an age-targeted retirement account, just like Ramit says. I do it already.”

    She said okay. But when she called her brokerage and told them of her intention to move her money to Vanguard, they immediately whipped out an investment adviser she had never talked to before, who said, and I am paraphrasing, “Please don’t move to Vanguard, they are just computers (?), you need human advice, come see me in person, please please please.”

    So my wife went to see them. They gave her a 50 page analysis of her account (the first time anyone from her brokerage had been so helpful), filled with all sorts of useful and useless data. After, she called me and said “What should I do? They said that I need a human broker because ‘a computer’ like Vanguard can’t react to global crises.” [I still don’t get why they kept referring to Vanguard as “a computer” but whatever.] Also the would-be adviser my wife met with wanted a 1.1% management fee, on top of the 1.3 to 3% mutual fund fees.

    I explained that an investment adviser might lose her money in “global” crises, through panicking and telling her to sell at the wrong time (or that we might panic and convince him to sell at the wrong time). I also explained that his argument that “with a 1% fee, I have an incentive to make you money,” was bullshit because really, he made money even if my wife lost money (it’s not like he took a cut of the profits only), and that even if he wanted to make her more money, I doubted his ability to beat a simple index fund or age-targeted retirement account, neither of which would charge us 1% for the pleasure.

    My wife acknowledged the logic of these arguments, but she still seemed stuck or swayed by the idea that a human investment adviser might be able to do something, anything, that Vanguard (or “a computer”) could not. I thought it natural that we feel we can trust a person more than, say, Vanguard online, but still was convinced that she needed to ditch the adviser completely.

    I begged her to read Chapters 6 and 7 of your book, so she could understand why she’d probably pay a lot for an investment adviser who would not really do better than the market, and why she should just put her money into a Vanguard lifecycle fund.

    She read the chapters of your book in full. She agreed to move her money to Vanguard, to buy a targeted retirement fund with a 0.19% annual fee, and to buy into the fund over the course of the year for the sake of dollar cost averaging. She is selling some of the mutual funds, but not all of them, right away. With some of the other funds, she’ll get walloped with hefty exit fees that will kill any savings we make this year. So better to wait until the summer when we can finally unload those.

    She also said, after reading the chapters, with stars in her eyes, “I like the book! Ramit is so funny! So funny!” This is saying a lot because investment–despite my wife’s natural care with money–always makes her nervous, and she hates reading personal finance books. I said, “Yes, Ramit is funny, but I am much better looking. Right, baby? Uh, right? Baby?”

    So Ramit, whether or not you consider this an official contest entry, thank you for something concrete: saving us $2000 a year, for the rest of our lives.

    The value of your book was that it tipped the balance. I am not sure that, alone, against a so-called expert that I could have convinced my wife to make the move. I would not have (given how hard she worked over the years to save that money) browbeaten her to follow my advice.

    What she needed was your book–a clear, lucid and funny take on basic investment that explained why most people don’t need investment managers and why mutual funds suck compared to index funds and lifecycle funds.

    We were your classic “Bs” moving to A-land, if that makes sense–we understood a lot of this stuff, or were capable of understand it, but didn’t act on it. It took your clear book to get us to do the right thing with our investments and to stop paying insane fees and to stop worrying about what specific mutual funds we should allocate our money to.

    So, anyway, thanks much again.

    (Also, I have a picture, which I don’t see anyway to attach to my comment, of my 16 month old daughter reading IWTYTBR. I think that the photo captures her attempt to grasp why the Swenson asset allocation model really works. That, or she had gas. If you want the picture, (you can see the cover clearly), please let me know how I can get it to you. Assuming, of course, that what you wanted most out of life was a picture of a cute baby with IWTYTBR, second only to actually getting the thing published).

  50. Chris


    I’ve been reading your blog for months and months now, and your “hustling” course is paying significant dividends. I’ve just last month made more income with side work (technical writing) than I did with my part-time day job- which, of course, means that I’ve started automating my savings by setting up direct deposits into dedicated accounts with my salaried pay, and living off the freelance money.

    I’d been hesitant to ask for an hourly rate for my freelance work above the one I make at my salaried position, and only raised the rate for new clients when I started running out of time to take new projects. Amazingly, the new clients were willing to pay triple what I’m making at the salaried position, and consider the arrangement a good deal. I’m in the astounding position of keeping a day job because I like the one I’m at, and doing side work for the adventure.

    Thank you for everything.

  51. KP Kelly

    “trolls and whiners”

    Love it! So happy to hear I am not the only one facing those beasties.

  52. Ryan McRae

    This is how I screwed things up with the Briefcase Technique (I’m in the video above.)

    I’ll keep this short: I revealed my rates IN THE MENU I CREATED. This was a huge mistake. Why? Because I created a reason for them to dismiss it. “Aww, this is great, except the price.” Our brains are WIRED to find the problem, the flaw, the fly in the ointment. So sell them on the service, and then, once you’ve answered questions: Then reveal it. Your stock with them has to rise and rise.

    From now on, I’m going to remove the prices, and just list the awesomeness I can offer.

    Recap: Do not put your rates in until you sell them on your service (Earn1k: Module 3 Lesson 3: Close the Sale.)

  53. Angela

    Hey Ramit,

    Thanks for all the material you’ve been sending out in the last week. I actually learned a lot about myself and what I can do with my idea. If I were more financially able to afford Earn1k, I would have totally signed up tonight for it, after listening to your webcast. But I also paid attention to the questions people asked about whether Earn1k is NOT right for them, and realized I fit into that category, too. Since I have just started out on my own, I’m still working on building a savings account, and I know that I need to do THAT before I invest in your program. But your free material has been awesome, so thanks so much for that! I’ll still be reading your blog and the newsletter =)

  54. Jon The Engineer

    Absolutely. People just need to get out of their comfort zone and really go after the cash because for damn sure it’s not just going to come to them without some effort. Great post as usual.

  55. Michael A. Robson

    Very cool. Love the testimonials. I’m reading “The Art of the Deal” by The Donald right now. Talk about hustle!

  56. nha nghi co to

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