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How to make money fast

I’ve taught thousands of students how to make money fast (all with different talents & levels of experience) and I can show you how to do the same.

Ramit Sethi

Hi, I’m Ramit Sethi, and I’m going to show you how to make more money fast. Legitimately, (I’m a Stanford grad and New York Times best-selling author) and with immediate results.

In the next six minutes, I’ll teach you how earn more money after one conversation with your boss, how to lower every single one of your bills, and how to start making money with a side hustle THIS WEEK. Then we’ll get into how to optimize your career and job – the easiest way to make the most money FOREVER.

Quiz: What is your earning potential? Choose the answer you agree with the most
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Before we start I need to make something absolutely clear.

We’re going to focus on the Big Wins and not the stupid, weird stuff you usually read — like all the blog posts featuring GUARANTEED WAYS TO MAKE MORE FAST, TODAY, NOW, NOW, NOW!!!!! The ones that urge you to do things like sell your hair and collect cans.

Before writing this post I searched for “how to make money fast,” and here is what I found:

There is some terrible advice for making money fast out there

Panhandling? Selling your hair? These ludicrous (and hilarious) ideas are REAL suggestions given by so-called “experts.”

That’s frustrating because I believe most of us are willing to do the work IF we know that there’s a payoff.

In this post, on the other hand, we’ll focus on what is on the right side of this graph:

 

Money Making Ideas Visualization

 

These are what I call Big Wins, the types of strategies that are worth the effort you put in and set you up for long-term success.  But long-term does not mean “delayed.” There are easy ways to make quick money. But you need to think big.

That’s why we’ll tackle this in two, equally important sections.

Section 1 – Non-scammy ways you can make more money fast to get your head above water THIS WEEK. Note: All of these have LONG-LASTING effects.

Section 2 – Long-term systems to dramatically increase the money you make in your LIFETIME. My students have gone from starting freelance gigs on the side all the way to six-figure businesses. They’ve also tripled their salary in a matter of months.

This is a long post with a lot of information. Follow the instructions below and we’ll show you where you should focus your efforts:

Section 1: Make more money THIS WEEK

Negotiate your salary

I LOVE salary negotiations! With just a five-minute conversation you can make thousands more and, what’s better, the gains add up year after year. Or you can collect cans or do whatever these other sites tell you to do that takes FOREVER and only produces a modest financial gain; getting a raise is quick money. Your choice. Check this chart demonstrating the effects of ONE $5,000 raise:

one of the best ways to make money is asking for a raise since the average person spends 30 percent of their income on rent

That’s more money per hour than Michael Jordan
.

But talking about money is tough and most of us never learn how to do it. In fact, we’d rather talk about sex than our salaries.

So, if you feel you’re underpaid, step one: Find out! Use sites like payscale.com, salary.com, or glassdoor.com and get the salary range for your job and location.

Next, let your boss know you’re preparing to discuss salary with him or her. I cover how to do that in this 15-minute video:

Note: Two roadblocks can come up here:

One, there’s a big IF here. IF you’re not good at your job, there’s no amount of negotiating that will help.

Two, what if they CAN’T pay more?

And lastly, the negotiation itself. Ready? Stop lying, we have more work to do.

Before even stepping foot into the room, use my tried and true Briefcase Technique, something my students have used THOUSANDS of times for IMMEDIATE gains in salary.

One you have all of your prep ready you’re good to go. But if you’re a weirdo over-achiever like me, you can also check out my complete guide with scripts, more videos, and common mistakes here.

Negotiating your salary takes a bit of up front work, but just ONE conversation is worth thousands – getting a raise is the easiest way to make money.

The best way to make money fast is not to reinvent the wheel and to leverage the sources of income you already have. So the next time someone tells you to get more money by cutting back on lattes or by picking up loose change, shake them for me.

Read even more: Salary Negotiation: How to negotiate better than 99% of people

Negotiate your bills

Why stop at your salary? Every month you pay for services that feel like they are a given. Things you MUST pay no matter what. Things like:

  • Credit card rates and fees
  • Gym fee
  • Cable fee
  • Cellphone fee
  • Car insurance

With a quick phone call you can get these costs lower, putting more money directly in your pocket. Here’s the dirty secret, most of these companies rely on thousands of people to zombie walk through their payment process. That’s why your cable company seems to jack up rates every year. They know you’ll likely just shrug, throw it away and carry on with your day.

NOT TODAY!

Just by calling these companies and asking one simple question, you open the door for more money in your pocket. Just remember two magic phrases:

– “Times are tough”

– “Is there anything you can do for me?”

The key is be nice. Ask them what better plans they have to offer you. Example conversation:

You: Hi, I was looking at my plan and it’s getting pretty expensive. Could you tell me what other plans you have that would save me money?

Them: Blah blah same plans as on the website blah blah

You: What about any plans not listed on the website?

Them No, what we have is listed on the website. Plus, you’re on a contract and have an early cancellation fee of $XXX

You: Well, I understand that, but I’d be saving $XXX even with that cancellation fee. Look, you know times are tough so I’m thinking of switching to [COMPETITOR COMPANY]. Unless there are any other plans you have…? No? Ok, can you switch me to your cancellation department, please?

If you mess up or things don’t go as planned, don’t worry. Hang up and call back. You can always play around with a few phone calls and see what works best.

When you get to the customer-retention department, restart the sequence. This is when you pull out your competitive intel on the other services being offered. If Verizon is offering something for $10 less, tell them that. That’s $120 savings / year right there. But you can do more.

You: “Listen, you know times are tough and I need to get a better deal to stick with you guys. You know and I know that your customer acquisition cost is hundreds of dollars. It just makes sense to keep me as a customer, so what can you do to offer me this plan for less money?”

Notice that you didn’t say, “Can you give me a cheaper plan?” because yes/no questions always get a “no” answer when speaking to wireless customer-service reps (or anybody whose job it is to get you off the phone and out of their hair as soon as possible). Ask leading questions. You also invoked the customer-acquisition cost, which is meaningful to retention reps. Finally, it really helps if you’re a valued customer who’s stuck around for a long time and actually deserves to be treated well.

This list is just the first eight ways to make more money. Download my free Ultimate Guide to Making Money to get more options for increasing your income.

Find your first freelance client

There is a limit to how much you can save, but there is no limit to how much you can earn. Finding a new job or changing careers takes time (we’ll get to that). But in the next few days you can set up your first side hustle and make money fast.

And the best part: you’ll only get BETTER at freelancing. Unlike cutting back on the things you love, which you’ll never get better at. Once you get paying clients, the easy ways to make money only grow in number.

First thing: So many other websites will tell you to troll for freelance gigs on places like Elance or Mechanical Turk. These places work if you want to compete with people all over the world in a race to do the most work for less. No thanks.

Look at what you’ve already got. 95% of jobs can translate into some sort of side gig. Ask yourself: What do I enjoy? What do I do with my free time? What do people ask me to do because I’m so good at it?

People are very bad at identifying their own skills. They’ll say things like, “I dunno….I guess I’m good at writing and communication, and, like, general organizational skills…” AMAZING!! HERE’S a $4,000/MONTH RETAINER!!! (Sorry, won’t happen.)

Repeat this over and over: People pay for solutions, not your skills.

For example, I was on a webcast where I was suggesting ways for people to earn money on the side, and I mentioned that I hate cooking, am not good at it, and would love it if someone cooked for me. I got an email later that night from someone who said, “Ramit, I can help. I can teach you everything you need to know over one weekend, and you’ll know 3-5 great dishes to cook.” I appreciated the offer, but wrote back, “Thanks for the offer! But you don’t understand. I don’t want to learn — I want someone to do it for me.”

Again: People have problems. They want solutions.

They don’t care what you’re “interested” in. Are they too busy to organize their closet? Do they need someone to help them redesign their website? Maybe they want someone to teach their kid how to play flute.

Start off by assessing the skills you use every day at home or at work. Things like:

  • Do a little PHP coding
  • Organize systems
  • Automate complex processes
  • Project manage
  • Create technical documents that can be understood by lay audiences
  • Lead a team

Don’t get stuck here. Ask yourself: Which of these skills can solve a specific problem? Brainstorm those out.

  • I could do some PHP coding, but I’m not the best. Don’t censor yourself — put everything down.
  • I could help businesses automate and streamline their income-generating processes. Vague, but okay.
  • I could manage projects and lead teams towards deadlines / organizing. This is super-vague, any 22-year-old college grad would say he could do the same, and it doesn’t take advantage of my specific skills. Skip this.
  • I could be a technical writer and help companies demystify their technical-support documents. I could even rewrite the technical portions of their websites to make them more comprehensible to normal people, especially companies in the consumer-energy field. Very promising, especially since I follow a few of these companies online.

Each of these individually is a potentially viable freelance trade – can you pick one and do it? The answer should be YES/NO to each. Put “YES” if even remotely feasible.

  • PHP coding: YES
  • Automate systems: NO (too vague for me to know where to start)
  • Project manage: NO (too vague)
  • Technical writer: YES

Excellent. Now you have a list of skills that might potentially be profitable. Optional: Combine skills together to make a more compelling, more niche offer.

You can often charge more and help clients more by packaging offers. In this case, it’s not very relevant, since technical writing and PHP coding are pretty different. But one of the people who helps on iwillteachyoutoberich pitched me to do video editing + marketing. Perfect fit. I hired him.

Next step: How can you prove to people that you’re knowledgeable enough for them to pay you?

The first thing I do when evaluating someone is look at their portfolio and past clients. At least half of potential hires don’t have this section. Easy solution! I move on to someone who does.

  • For our systems engineer, can he point to a PHP project he did on the side?
  • What about a sample of technical writing where he turned something very complicated into something totally palatable?

Having one portfolio entry increases your odds of landing a client by at least 200%. Having 5 increases it significantly more.

Last step: Start finding clients. With your offering in place it’s time to find potential clients. Sure you could randomly print business cards or set up a blog. But before doing ANY of that you need to make sure you have something people want.

Identify your clients. Who are they? What are their hopes and dreams? How old are they? What do they do? Are they married? How big is their company? (More on getting your first 3 clients here)

Reach out directly. Lots of people set up a Twitter account and wait for the world to come to them. DON’T DO THAT. Once you’ve identified your potential client email them directly. Example email:

Hi Mike,

My name is Ramit Sethi and I’m a recent Stanford grad. I’ve been reading your blog for two years (I loved the post about using virtual assistants and got BOTH of my brothers to start using one), and it’s really helped me be more efficient with my work.

It occurred to me that you’re probably interested in growing your blog. I might be able to help. I’ve done video editing (http://www.fakesamplesite.com) and Powerpoint design (http://www.anotherfakesite.com). Imagine doing a great video on using virtual assistants, then distributing it through your newsletter. I could do one for you in about 2 days if you’re interested.

How about chatting later this week? My # is XXX-XXX-XXXX or I can give you a call at your convenience.

Thanks,

-Ramit

This email script has generated thousands of dollars for my students and can help you connect deeply with your potential clients and begin a relationship that can lead to your first paying client.

More resources that may help:

Want more? I have an entire course on how to earn your first $1,000 on the side.

Negotiate your rent

I’d bet that rent is your biggest expense. Save $100 on your rent and that adds up to $1,200 a year with ONE conversation. Or you could collect 24,000 cans and recycle them. Your choice!

how to make money fast lower your rent increase your income
Of course, you can’t just say, “I want to take $200 per month off my rent!” You have to be ready to offer something in return.

What does your landlord really want? Money, of course. But dig deeper and you’ll find there’s a lot more you can offer. The goal is to give them something you don’t care about in exchange for something you do.

Here are a few things many landlords will happily lower rents for:

  • Prepay months in advance
  • Sign an extended lease
  • Offer to extend the termination notice from 30 days to 60 or 90 days
  • Offer to give up your parking space if you don’t have a car (The landlord could charge another tenant for an extra space.)
  • Promise not to smoke in the apartment (This will save the landlord money when you move out.)
  • Promise not to keep cats even if they’re allowed (Another cleaning expense for the landlord.)
  • Make a deal for referrals if they have low occupancy

If you know what you want and you know what they want, the chances of succeeding in your negotiation increase significantly.

Hi Jim,

I hope you’re enjoying the start of summer in the Bay. Since our 1 year lease is almost up, I’d like to chat about re-signing.

As you know, I love the apartment. I’ve gotten to know the neighbors and feel truly at home in the neighborhood. I hope to be able to stay here for a while yet.

I’ve been looking at rental prices around the area, and would like to talk with you about adjusting the rent to match what I’m seeing around town.

I’d also be more than happy to help out around the property —taking out the trash and recycling, clearing and cleaning the backyard, or any other duties that might need some attention. I love living here and hope that the relationship with you and the property is just beginning.

I can chat on the phone any time you’re free today or this weekend.

Talk to you soon,

Susan

Stection 2: Make more money FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE

If you also want to think about long term wins, check out my Free Guide on Personal Finance.

Negotiating your salary, bills, and picking up some side work are all quicker wins. But while your motivation is high, you can also begin some larger efforts with a few of my favorite systems. Especially for most of us, where our job is a huge portion of our income. Some approaches to make the most of your career:

Change or improve your job

Should you change jobs? Change industries? How do you know whether to stay put or to take a risky move that will result in more money. By using the Bezos Regret Minimization Framework. Ask yourself: In 20 years from now, which will you regret more: Staying in your current situation or trying something new and failing?

And remember: the more responsibility you have, the more money you can command.

More on that here:

Supercharge your job and over-deliver at work

If you’re going through your job just HOPING you’re doing a good job, you’ll be forgotten when it comes times for raises. Just like great companies get inside the heads of their customers, top performers figure out EXACTLY what their bosses want and optimize their strengths accordingly.

Tie everything you do to whatever goal is important to your boss and remind them often. This is how people become indispensable.

See my interview with Michael Williams for more:

Start an online business

There’s no question that if you really want to make more money, starting an online business is one of the best ways to do it. It’s also a great way to find freedom and self-worth.

In another article, I explain how to find online business ideas, set some ground rules for starting an online business, dig into your options, and finally present the best business to start.

Learn the ins and outs about starting an online business here.

Meet successful people who hang out with other successful people

Opportunities come through people. Ryan Holiday became the Director of Marketing at American Apparel… when he was only 21. How’d he do it? Not by RANDOM TACTICS but by taking a systematic approach to meeting people he admired and offering to help. Not by forcing awkward interactions, but by adding value.

Networking doesn’t have to be a scuzzy, inauthentic thing where you hand out a bunch of business cards. Instead try what I call “Natural Networking” by starting off with “informational interviews.”

First, an informational interview is an opportunity to meet someone you’re curious about and learn from them. Maybe you’re curious what a Front End Programmer really does. Maybe you want to know what the culture at Google is like. That’s what an informational interview allows you to do.

  • Start by brainstorming 10 people you’d like to meet.
  • Find something in common with them, it can be you went to the same university, have common contacts, anything that separates you from the rando weirdo emails they get.
  • Send them an email. A script you can use is below:

To: Jane

From: Samantha

Subject: Michigan State grad — would love to chat about your work at Deloitte

Hi Jane,

My name is Samantha Kerritt. I’m a ’04 grad from Michigan State (I know you were a few years before me) and I came across your name on our alumni site. [TELL THEM HOW YOU CAME ACROSS THEIR NAME SO YOU DON’T SEEM LIKE A CREEP]

I’d love to get your career advice for 15-20 minutes. I’m currently working at Acme Tech Company, but many of my friends work in consulting and each time they tell me how much they love their job, I get more interested. [THE FIRST SENTENCE SAYS WHAT SHE WANTS. MOST PEOPLE ARE FLATTERED THAT PEOPLE WANT/VALUE THEIR ADVICE.]

Most of them have told me that if I’m interested in consulting, I have to talk to someone at Deloitte. Do you think I could pick your brain on your job and what motivated you to choose Deloitte? I’d especially love to know how you made your choices after graduating from Michigan State. [THE PHRASE “PICK YOUR BRAIN” IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO ASK FOR ADVICE AND FLATTER, AND “MICHIGAN STATE” REINFORCES SHARED BOND]

I can meet you for coffee or at your office…or wherever it’s convenient. I can work around you! [THE BUSY PERSON IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU. TREAT THEM ACCORDINGLY.]

Would it be possible for us to meet? [A BUSY PERSON CAN SIMPLY REPLY TO THIS WITH A “YES” — PERFECT. NOTE THAT I DIDN’T ASK FOR THE TIME/LOCATION AS THAT’S TOO MUCH INFORMATION IN THE FIRST EMAIL.]

Thanks,

-Samantha

Most people will focus on the little things. Not you, if you do the above you will be ahead of 95% of your peers. Everything above is a repeatable SYSTEM and not a one and done tactic.

With that in mind, I put together a special bonus for you.

In this 11-minute video, I’ll show you how you can create the perfect system to automatically take care of your money every month.

No more panicking if you have enough in your checking account to pay the bills — it’s my gift to you. This system took me 10 years to perfect and it’s being used by thousands of my students successfully.

Enjoy!

Ramit Sethi

New York Times best-selling author

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