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How to make money in high school (my $20/hour story)

Ramit Sethi

When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to get a different job than just working at the pizza place near my house.

Around sophomore/junior year, I sat down and found a bunch of websites with horrible copy…and emailed them, telling them I could fix their website and help them get more sales.

I emailed about 50.

20 replies.

I had serious calls with 3.

And I ended up going with one company that paid me $20/hour and bought me a cellphone to do sales calls. This was a big deal for a high-school kid.

And it was eye-opening to see that, while I was earning minimum wage making pizza, I could make $20/hour doing something a lot more fun.

It all started with a simple pitch. I noticed their problems (horrible English on their website), wrote them a note telling them how I could fix it, then just clicked “Send.”

This is a totally different way of approaching the world. Most of us wait for someone to tell us what to do, what to fix, and how to do it.

For the few people who can proactively identify problems and suggest fixes, you will never worry about doing interesting work, or being compensated extraordinarily well.

And today, I want to show you.

For 10 years, I’ve wanted to show you how changing your approach — zigging when others zag in money, business, even relationships — can be incredibly liberating.

Interestingly, when you write about earning more, people’s reactions are reflexively negative:

“There’s no way anybody would hire me…I don’t have any skills that somebody would pay for.”

Really? I point out all the things they already pay for:

  • Oil changes (which they can learn how to do in 20 minutes)
  • Restaurants (they could cook, themselves)
  • A nice coat (why not just get the 1/2 price one from Wal-Mart?)

But I can give you intellectual arguments all day…

…or I can just show you.

In the past, I’ve hired a personal chef, stylist for photo shoots, someone to help with travel/flight booking, etc.

Do you know your earning potential?

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