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How to charge money for something you love to do [VIDEO]

Ramit Sethi

OK, who here has had this experience?

This is the hard, boring, unsexy work that goes into making something work. It’s not the kind of thing that gets 5,000 Twitter/Instagram “Likes.” You know what does? Pics like THIS:

View from our back yard A photo posted by Ramit Sethi (@ramit) on

That’s why you see tons of pics of people living the life…but very few pics of them actually doing the work to get there.

It’s not sexy to talk about the work that goes into it — but it matters.

Interestingly, there are two pervasive myths about starting to earn more and starting a business:

  1. You can earn a million dollars working 12 hours a week (not true)
  2. You have to be working 80-hour weeks for years and years (also not true)

The truth is business is FUN. It’s playing at the highest stakes, and you quickly know if you were right or wrong. I actually love this because it means I’m judged on my merits. If I’m good, I win. If not, I lose.

Let me show you what I mean. My friend Chase Jarvis has built one of the most fun businesses I know. He’s a photographer who works with the best (think Nike, Apple, and Lady Gaga) and he gets to travel to some of the coolest places on earth.

What’s the difference between Chase, who can earn thousands in one shoot, and other photographers who work longer hours for much much less?

I’ll show you.

This is one of my favorite interviews of all time, and it isn’t just about photography. It’s about how to make good money on the side without working all the time, hustling to find clients, or getting burned out.

I’ve shown you how your dream vacation (or new coat, or any big financial goal you might have) is a lot closer than you realize.

Now I want to show you how much fun earning that money can be.

Watch this video. This is an example of something I would charge tens of thousands of dollars for, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever released for free.

Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll learn in this video with Chase:

  • The psychology behind why creatives are so terrible at pitching themselves — and how to overcome it [11:38]
  • A deceptively simple technique I taught Chase (he uses it to this day and called it “mind-blowing”) that has earned my students hundreds of thousands of dollars [33:22]
  • Transitioning from a 9-5 job to freelancing full-time [45:55]
  • How Chase got paid thousands of dollars for his very first job by positioning himself as a premium product [1:09:13]
  • How to use your first 3 clients strategically to springboard your business [1:20:46]
  • When to work for free — and how to make that free work pay in the long run [1:22:24]

Watch the full video here:

Then leave a comment below with one insight you learned from this video.

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  1. avatar

    I partially credit this video for helping me land an internship back in 2012. I took a page of notes on this interview, which is still in my drawer to this day. Even if not for becoming aware of considerations like the “I, I, I” syndrome and the briefcase technique (even just the idea of being super prepared), just watching their body language and tonality is worth the interview.

  2. avatar

    like all creatives who’s trying to break into the industry. I find myself struggled a lot. I followed you for a few months now, Ramit. Thanks to your excellent teaching from the 3 day Creative Live workshop, I learn the asking without selling and implicated it in the negotiation. The results is phenomenal! I am now able to find out my clients hopes, fears and dreams, add value and over deliver. I truly appreciate that! I also used the pay certainty to evaluable my prospects, so that I can disqualify and qualify.

    People only seeking to change behaviour when they are desperate, I am very desperate. I will be out of business if I can’t generate revenue fast enough. The most urgent problem I am facing right now is to find a most efficient way to networking to my target customers. (the art directors at advertising agencies, business magazines like Forbes, Canadian Business Mag). Wondering would your Dream Job course be my great fit?



  3. avatar


    When this video first came out, i must’ve watched it over 20 times and shared it with everyone I knew.

    Looking back, this was THE catalyst that landed me where I am at today. I bought your book, got my ish together, EXECUTED on your techniques and am making it happen.

    One thing I’m still working toward is the concept of specialization. So often creatives have a variety of skills in design. It’s definitely something. I still struggle with specializing but have made headway on becoming different.

    Thanks for he life changing advice that college sucks at showing everyone.


  4. avatar
    Atto Yanney

    Very educative and interesting show. The subjects treated are the ones they don’t teach in school. What I have learnt today will help me tremendously on my next project. Great show and keep them coming.


  5. avatar
    Ron Peace

    I found doing proper prep work before actually negotiating with a prospective client/employer to be the most insightful point for me. I’ve always assumed the client would learn I was able to fulfill their needs simply through the interview process. Approaching a meeting with a prepared sample and/or plan is brilliant, and quite unique!

  6. avatar

    “Don’t expect them to recognize your brilliance”. I at times expect people to know how awesome I am and how many hours went in to developing a product for them. In essence I’m leaving money on the table.

  7. avatar

    I signed up for Zero to Launch, and I have to say, Ramit brings INCREDIBLE value. It’s worth twice as much as what he charges, and that goes to show that he’s in it for the right reasons. This interview is awesome. Thanks Ramit!

  8. avatar

    Go specific. Go deep. Ask great. Wrap your story around that.

  9. avatar

    Did Apple and Sony pay for product placement? And Polaroid? I hope so, as that alone could fund such a production.

  10. avatar

    Great video here Ramit …I really appreciate it here …the key points for me are:
    – Be proactive …don’t wait for an answer …look for the answer
    – Be yourself …in other words be unique …in that way you are not competing or better than somebody else. In this way you are also not targeting everybody …but only to specific target market.

    These are for me just the ‘surface’ …in order to get to the surface you have to dig deep …into yourself. Let go of those insecurities …be confident …and so on.

    One of the participant …asking how not to look squeamish …or Chase talked about ‘you have to meant it’ …this is I think the hardest part.

    For me I practice this using the improv class …and apply the theory of improv class in real life situation.

    Yes, I see this life as a giant theater where we are the actor …and can shape things how we want it to be …!

  11. avatar

    Thanks for the sneak peeks. They worked, ok. Yes, I’m all over the theme of the show where you focus on how to get paid for doing a phenomenal job. I have a great product. Once, I get some traction, I’ll be able to put the price through the roof. I like the idea of asking for the testimonial and referrals upfront.

  12. avatar

    Mistake number one is the ignorance to expect the other person to recognise your brilliance without you communicating about it. It is up to you to explain WHY they should revere you.

    Thanks Ramit!

  13. avatar

    This was the kick in the ass i needed and was looking for to really plan out and market my photography business. I struggle on the DAILY with people asking me to do photos of them and I know right away they arent my ideal clients but i do it anyway – making me feel like a fake because I dont 100% believe in what im shooting. Anyway. heres to finding my way with help from Ramit and Chase !! *clink!*

  14. avatar

    This was awesome! So many tangible tips to walk away with. My favorite takeaway was when Ramit shared the tidbit, “Negotiation doesn’t have to be adversarial, but rather can be cooperative.” And not only does he share this belief but then he takes it a step further by providing word by word phrases you can say to facilitate negotiation in a cooperative manner.

    Loved it!

  15. avatar
    Matthew Eaton

    Honestly, it didn’t help me in the slightest. I know the briefcase method and the portfolio method, but I am not looking to sell or to be a freelancer. It is fantastic to know those things when people might do the same to me, yes, but I’ll never apply it for myself.

    Then again, I am also a person that will get banned from the programs because of my debt, so that’s cool too. I’m all about absorbing any information – free or not – as long as I get something out of it.

  16. avatar
    Alex Hall

    Thank you for this gem.. This definitely changed the game for me & my girlfriend.. Perfect timing on the repost.. THANK YOU!!!!

  17. avatar

    my biggest learning moment is that by helping other people you can help your own business. I have been doing this for years already. Still thanks ramit cause you gave me a new deeper level on this.

  18. avatar

    This is great! Early in the video, Chase said (of an earlier conversation with you) that he learned more in 30 minutes than he did in 10 years. This video delivers similar value: the stuff that you and Chase say in this ~90 minute video may take some people a lifetime to learn (if they’re even so lucky to learn it).

    Thanks again, Ramit!

  19. avatar

    Thank you for posting common sense blogs. I also read you book and appreciated it a lot. I also like how business will tell you through profits or losses how you are doing in marketing and selling and in every other aspect of business. I like how Mark Cuban calls business a sport, because it really is, and the best part is you can compete in whatever field interests you.

  20. avatar

    To date, this is the most valuable of all your free material that I’ve seen.
    As somebody with a software development background, I felt that a lot applied to me; I learned a lot from that interview and took copious notes.

    You asked us what’s our favourite insight but I think that’s extremely difficult to answer as I learnt so many great things; I’d say that it’s probably at the point where you said that we “need to teach them to revere what we’ve done”.

    Thank you for sharing such a great interview!

  21. avatar

    I don’t read subscribed emails much, but today, being quite down and disappointed, I luckily read one of yours, continued reading others and so on…

    You’re truly a Hope …

  22. avatar
    Franklin Martis

    the following mainly appealed to me and what i shall carry forward in my mind. It was around 15:15 in this interview , you gave the example of the violin teacher . It is important to find out what someone really want and do your best to position yourself in the thoughts and ideas of the other person.

    Thank you gentlemen

  23. avatar

    I’ve already gained a valuable morsel of info by 5:12 — negotiation can be engaging and rewarding for both/all involved and if it unfolds optimally the other(s) will actually want to (in other words, they will be enthusiastic to) pay you (fulfill your terms/request).

    Thank you both and everyone involved in making and bringing this video to me to see.

  24. avatar
    Gino Bulova

    Great stuff Ramit! Thank you for sharing this info.

  25. avatar
    Annette Vanderzon

    Hi Ramit!

    What I love about your delivery is that it’s straight up! The English language even dances around the truth – no one dies – people “pass away” and “pass on” and “meet their maker.” With you, they just die – with direct dignity, no allegorical dancing for twenty minutes around the truth.

    What did I learn? Many things, probably best is, “limited perception of risk,” and “never do it completely for free, create an exchange, get control of the project piece which we’re offering, and get referrals.”

    One of my best friends, Archanaa, is Indian. She can deliver the truth straight up and no matter how difficult it is, she does it with such elegance, you’ll eat dirt and think it’s honey.

    Thank You!


  26. avatar

    “Be confident about what youre good at, Be honest, dont try to trick the other person”
    “Dont expect the other person to recognize your brilliance with out you even communicating it, explain to them what went down in creating the work and why it is valuable and different”

  27. avatar

    How exactly did she earn $81,000 in 8 weeks?

    I’m not doubting you, I’m just curious how.

  28. avatar

    Ramit, this is excellent. Thanks for kicking my ass to do a lot better. Glad I found your website. Will advertise you here in Poland 🙂 Cheers! Keep up with the great work you do.

  29. avatar


    I’m at the car dealership waiting for my car and can literally feel my life changing as I watch this!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  30. avatar

    This video is awesome. I immediately pitched an editor with an article idea after watching this video using the tips they suggested. Thanks Ramit!

  31. avatar
    Madame X

    This video helped me a lot, now I’m taking little steps, you are godsend, Mr. Ramit!

  32. avatar
    steve from arkansas

    I am retired early and financially independent after a very successful corporate career. Now I have four side gigs for fun that also pay well though the money isn’t really needed. I’ve traded hundreds of people reporting to me for my new pursuits where I’m a staff of one and my only product is me. So far it is going great but I found this video very helpful in thinking about how I present myself to new clients. Thanks, Ramit.