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How to test responses at bars

Ramit Sethi

A few years ago, I went to visit my sister on the Caribbean island of Grenada and she took me to the local market to buy some hot sauce. As we were walking around, she told me about a young boy at the market who was legendary for selling more than any of the other boys.

“How?” I asked.

It turned out he always carried a notebook with him. Every day, he would systematically vary his clothes, what he said when he approached potential buyers, how much he would laugh, if he would dance, and many more variables. Then he would write down the results in his notebook, every single day.

Imagine a notebook like this:

Attention statistical nerds: Yes you need to control for different variables.

After dozens of interactions, he would know key insights that the other boys — who simply depended on intuition — would not.

After hundreds of interactions, he would have such a fine-tuned approach that his sales would be permanently above everyone else.

This is precisely what happened. And the boy? He was apparently 10 or 11 years old.

This happens all over the world. Here’s a boy from India who knows precisely what works.

How can you apply this to your life?

I have used testing to test responses in bars, write a comedy column for the Stanford Daily, and generate hundreds of thousands of dollars (including one 60-second test that permanently added $25,000 per year to my bottom line).

Today, learn how the simple act testing can change your life.

* * *

Testing in bars

I have tested dozens of answers in bars and dinner parties that consistently produce fascinating results.

Bars are target-rich environments with predictably arousing end results.

Others pursue women. I pursue test results.

TEST: The “What do you do?” test.
Question: “What do you do?”

Ramit Answer 1: “I’m a writer.”
Response: Interest level: 2/5. They’ll say, “Oh that’s cool…I have a friend who’s a writer…he’s trying to publish his book on using cucumbers to generate sustainable energy for –” NO YOUR FRIEND IS NOT A WRITER, HE’S A LOSER

Ramit Answer 2: “I’m an author.”
Response: Interest level: 4/5. “Really? So what did you write?”

BONUS: “What do you write about?” = opportunity for hilarious testing.

TEST: The Office Test:
Question: “Oh, so do you have an office?”

Ramit Answer 1: “No, I work from home” results in a 90%-95% “Scorn Score,” (e.g., “Oh…” or “Ah…how is that?” followed by a semi-frown).

Ramit Answer 2: “No, I work from a home office.” In this condition, the Scorn Score drops to approximately 50%. Common answer: “Wow, I wish I could do that.”

One word changes everything.

You’re asked the same questions hundreds or thousands of times in your lifetimes — “What do you do?” “Where are you from?” “Where do you live?” “What do you like to do in your free time?” — yet how many of us ever take the time to systematically test them?

Have you ever tested your responses?

Interesting test results

Anyone remember listening to Loveline years ago with Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla? They had the uncanny ability to listen to a caller for about 10 seconds, then instantly detect if they had been abused or had some disorder. After years of micro-testing, they just knew.

Well, after years of writing a blog, I am proud to announce that I can tell by someone’s comment if they are a loser or not.

You can especially see this on “social media marketing” websites, where clueless small-business owners are looking for a magic bullet (social media!) to save their floundering businesses. They truly believe that if they JUST crack the code of using Facebook and Twitter, they’ll make instant riches. So when the blogger shows them a new INSTANT TACTIC FOR SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS, the comments go like this:

  • “Amazing! You have definitely opened my eyes. Thanks!”
  • “I am definitely going to try this. You are amazing!”
  • “[Blogger], thank you. I have been struggling but you put a whole new light on how to achieve real lasting success.”


And that is because micro-words betray us. When people say they “should” do something, they won’t. Taking action speaks for itself.

Let me show you by comparing two comments I received last week.

Pramit (yes that is really his name) wrote:

“I’ll be honest. For some odd reason, just typing out my week 1 results made me feel “accomplished”, so much so that I felt comfortable not actually following through on what I said I’d do. And, as much as I hate to say it, I was running 80% for the iPad rather than to improve myself in some way. Now that the first week’s contest is over, a part of me is saying, “screw it, you’re still too young for this stuff, just go back to normal and watch more TV”. Then I feel guilt wash over me – “god damn it – Ramit has been hustling since friggin high school! If I can’t reproduce that kind of effort, I’m lacking in some major way!” I’m guessing this is the stage when a good amount of people turn into haters, but I don’t plan to. I know that if I were Ramit, I’d step back, think about what I’m really getting at, and try out the next few weeks, with or without posting my results.

Anyone else feel the same?”

I love the brutal honesty. The mere fact that Pramit is so self-reflective, and that he took the time to leave a comment like this, is a positive sign. But the fact remains that he didn’t follow through on what he pledged.

You can talk a big game, but if your action doesn’t follow, nothing else matters.

Now compare this to Tracey, who left a comment on the very same post as the above commenter.

Tracey wrote:

“I’ve been reading Ramit on and off for years and never implemented any of his strategies. I rationalized that I was a perpetual loser, and that these were all great things for someone really together and talented to do. As a consequence, I’ve struggled as the low employee on the totem pole with the lowest salary, most hours, and least fringe benefits.

I’ve been saying for the past year that I needed to find another job. But I never bothered looking very hard because the whole idea of looking for work in this economy depressed me. I realized that I was making a lot of negative assumptions.

I didn’t post my assumptions, because I wasn’t sure I could stick to testing them or that I’d fail – that self esteem thing again. But thanks to Ramit I started doing things differently. I created a resume that didn’t just focus on my strengths, it yodeled that I was a super-awesome employee. I did this by having a positive coworker who really has her shit together look over my resume and cover letter and suggest adding some obvious stuff about my capabilities that I never even thought of mentioning. And then I went the extra mile on a job I had applied for weeks ago…

11 days later they offered me the job – 5K more a year than I make now, 30 minutes closer to home, and a benefit package that blows the shitty one I’ve had completely out of the water.”

Tracey had a terrible job and crippling beliefs. Like Pramit, the above commenter, she was self-reflective enough to notice them.

But unlike Pramit, she took action.

Who is more likely to succeed over the long term? Who already succeeded with a $5,000-a-year salary increase?

How do you take action?

I’ve received and responded to thousands of emails this month from IWT readers. The patterns emerging are:

  • Many of us are in our late 20s and early 30s and wondering, “Is this it? I’ve been working for 5+ years out of college, and I just feel stuck at this job. Is this really all I have to look forward to? Cost-of-living increases, the same co-workers, a job that’s not particularly challenging/meaningful…really?”
  • Many of us have HUGE problems with motivation and following through. We “know” we should do things like networking, working out at the gym, and our personal finances, but we just don’t. Many of you even bought my book (which you can completely finish in 6 weeks) but still haven’t done anything!
  • We’re not stupid. We see our friends who are our age — or a few years older — and want to make sure we don’t fall into the same patterns of buying an expensive house, then getting tied down “living to work” so that we HAVE to go to work to pay for all this stuff we’ve acquired. We “claim” we want to do extraordinary things but our actions usually don’t reflect it.

With that said, a defining characteristic of the emails I receive is that most people are really smart. You are already on-board with self-development and improving yourself, so that’s one huge bridge that’s already been crossed. It’s a matter of offering both TACTICAL suggestions, but also of changing your attitudes and worldviews to show you that there’s a game going on around you that you don’t even know about.

But so many of us are stuck on getting started, rather than adopting a “let’s-test-this” mindset. For example, how many bloggers think they need to create the perfect blog design before getting started? My blog was a piece of crap for YEARS until I got a professional design…but my articles were really good.

Many of us think we need to create a “perfect plan” before we start looking for a new job, or earning money on the side, or even deciding where to travel. The truth, of course, is we can test all of these things.

Uncomfortable psychological truths

I was talking to a friend who was sharing his goals for the next 2 years. He had several grandiose ideas and he asked — PRESSED — me to share my honest feedback. For once in my life, I tried to show restraint…but finally, after being badgered, I told him what I really thought.

“Honestly dude,” I said, “the best predictor of your future action is your past action. And if you’re honest, you haven’t done much in the last 1 or even 2 years. It’s fun to make goals but what are you really going to do?”

People don’t like hearing this because it cuts right through all the fancy ideas that are so fun to write down during a brainstorm and forces you to confront yourself. Indeed, when confronted with our own behavior from the last year, we usually have no answer for the question, “Why will this year be any different?”

The common response to this is, “You’re saying the book is already written! I refuse to believe that!” (Or worse, “Yeah…I guess…”)

I’m not saying the book is already written. But the odds certainly do say that you’ll more likely do the same thing as last year than have a radical change. And if I have two people in front of me — one who’s consistently taken risks and taken action, the other who grandiose notions of what he wants to accomplish this year but hasn’t done anything — who do you think I’ll bet on?

This is a key difference for top performers, who are constantly testing approaches, whether in business or even their personal lives (e.g., always meeting new people, challenging their own assumptions, etc). They’ll fail more…but they’ll also learn with each strategic failure.

There are ways to shortcut our natural tendency not to test, and to beat the odds:

  • Do something different THIS WEEK. Last week, I challenged people to automate their positive scripts and leave a comment saying “WEEK 1 RESULTS.” Over 90% of people simply wrote down their PLANS instead of actual behavioral change. I have a specific to-do at the bottom of this post.
  • Acknowledge that “knowing” something is not enough. Last year, you “knew” you had to max out your Roth IRA, or automate your finances, or earn more, or work out, or whatever. Knowledge itself rarely leads to behavioral change.
  • Chunk it: One of the leading causes of doing nothing is not knowing what you need to do. If you’re inspired after reading these posts, but it fades away 2 hours after lunch, you might just be guilty of “I want to do something — ANYTHING! — but I’m not sure what.” The key here is to email 5 people every week who are doing something interesting that you admire and take them to lunch.
  • Test it. Instead of assuming you need to spend months agonizing over the perfect phrase to get a meeting with someone, pick 10 lower-level people and simply test responses. Find the best response, then use it (with personalization) with your top target. And always have more than one target.

Or you could do the same thing you did last year. See if these sound familiar:

  • “Yeah…I really should do something…I’m just not sure what” (Whose fault is that? If you continue doing what you’re doing, will you ever figure it out? You don’t need to know what your life goal is today, but you should be taking systematic steps towards finding out)
  • “I should really talk to [friend’s name]” (“Should” and “really” are codewords for “I’m not going to do it.” If you really want to talk to him, email him and ask if you can take him out to coffee right now. Otherwise, stop fooling yourself that you’re going to do it)
  • “I’m going to try to –”


  1. Identify THREE people that could help you get closer to your goals this year. Maybe it’s an alumni from your school who works at your dream job, or someone who’s started an interesting business.
  2. Find a creative way to meet with at least one BEFORE WED NIGHT (e.g., take them to coffee/lunch).
  3. Leave your results from the meeting along with ONE specific thing you learned in the comments section of THIS post with the heading “WEEK 2 RESULTS” by WED at Midnight PST.

Bonus points to anyone who uses testing to optimize their experience.

The person who gets the best results can choose between…

1) $250 to take people to coffee to help accelerate you towards your goals in 2011
2) A 15-minute call with me to discuss psychology, personal finance, or earning more

Do you know your earning potential?

Take my earning potential quiz and get a custom report based on your unique strengths, and discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

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  1. avatar

    I’m an astronomer is what I say if somebody asks me what I do and I want to keep talking to them. If I don’t want to continue the conversation, I tell them I’m an astrophysicist. Kills the conversation (almost) every time.

  2. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Ha! I forgot about that.

    The single-best way I’ve ever seen for a girl to kill conversation at a bar is to tell the guy you went to Stanford (or similarly, that you’re an astrophysicist).

    You are so right. It works like magic.

  3. avatar
    Dave Doolin

    I did something positive about 2 hours ago: dropped a client.

    Sure, I “need” the money. But the end result of that little piece of work would have been reinforcing negative beliefs I have about myself… and an unhappy client. There’s plenty of work out there more suitable for me.

  4. avatar

    “Well, after years of writing a blog, I am proud to announce that I can tell by someone’s comment if they are a loser or not.”

    This made me burst out in laughter… well done Ramit!!!

  5. avatar
    Jason Baudendistel

    Unless A guy loves a girl with a bright mind then your stuck trying to find other ways to kill

  6. avatar

    I think the saddest thing is when you know someone who has awesomely awesome ideas, and they take no action on ANY of them. And you want to kick them in the ass to get them moving but then you realize it has to come from within the person to want to actually make progress on one’s ideas.

    I’ve kicked my own ass a lot lately and am finally seeing results. I guess the next step would be to break down barriers psychologically that will help get me to the next step, the next big client, the courage to fully strike out on my own, etc.

    Love the content Ramit, thanks man.

  7. avatar

    Hilarious 🙂
    I used to tell people I’m an entrepreneur, but that opened up a bevy of questions I didn’t care to explain 20 times a night.

    Now I say “I own a rave company” (true)

    They say, “Do you sell extacy??”

    I say, “I wish”

    …we both laugh and get on with the conversation.

  8. avatar

    Lol, when I got your email I thought this was going to be an article on pick up or something. But it was Waaay better.

    I test things like this all the time, although maybe not as methodically. When you travel as a backpacker you get into the same conversations over and over and you get the opportunity to test the different ways you manage those conversations.

    One thing I would like to share is that you dont have to only test your ‘answer’ to the question, try testing different responses all together.

    As an example, I have found that responding to the question “what do you do?” with “wow, really? what a boring question… why dont we start with something like what do you do for fun? spice things up a little” generally gets a much better response.

    I use some iteration of that almost all the time at networking events. Makes you stand out form the crowd.

    Also, kick ass video. The kids in Cambodia do the same thing.

  9. avatar

    This is so true. Want to talk to you = “space sciences”. Don’t want to talk = “space physics.”

  10. avatar

    This is so true– I’ve been testing my personal introduction for the last four years for precisely this reason. As a Yale graduate/corporate analyst who also happens to be a poet and performer, I consistently need to adjust my introduction in order to be taken seriously in either of my primary communities. Writers are about 10x as likely to 1) talk to me and 2) offer to help me with editing or performance opportunities if I say I went to school “in Connecticut” and only divulge my alma mater if they ask again than if I mention it immediately. Conversely, the only way to get taken seriously at my corporate job is to confidently mention my educational background and never bring up how I spend my free time.

    Incidentally, when at a bar, I find that mentioning neither of these things is generally best for optimizing number of dates 🙂

  11. avatar

    I have the second way to instantly kill a conversation, I’m a lawyer. If I was interested in a guy, I’d just say I worked in the legal field or a law office. If not, I’d just tell him I was a lawyer. The best one was when the color drained from the guy’s face and he stumbled backwards trying to get away from me as fast as he could.

    As for describing my job, I’m glad you brought this up because I’m really struggling with that topic. I am general practice attorney who right now practices is everything. I really have no idea how to describe what I do, but these are great tips for testing better ways to describe what I do without having someone just tune out.

  12. avatar

    I contacted five industry people I have personal relationships for meeting and lunch as well as a college professor about putting on a play 🙂
    Still working on getting the appointments set up although I did get positive responses from everyone.
    I’ll probably get in contact with another 3-4 people tomorrow (designating tuesday as contact people day and keeping a list of who, when, how and results.)

  13. avatar

    Amazing! You have definitely opened my eyes. Thanks!

  14. avatar

    I kept doing things after my week 1.
    So far, I’ve done these things, which have affected other areas that I didn’t imagine they would!

    So, one goal: get my goddamn graduate admissions essay done. I purchased (off of paperbookswap) a graduate admissions essay writing book. One of the exercises in there was to write down every unique fact about yourself, everything you’ve done that other people that you know haven’t done, etc. I filled about ten pages. I had no idea I’d done so many awesome things! So, the essay is nearly completed, I just have to put it together, make sure I answered their questions, and wait for my recommendation letters.

    Another goal: get my recommendation letters in: one of them is the director of the program that I’m working at, so I can bug her any time, and I did last week. The other two I sent quick emails to let me know when they got it done so I could COME AND PICK THEM UP and take them to lunch/dinner/coffee/whatever. No answer yet, but I’d rather do the hour and a half drive in a shitty car to make sure I meet a deadline then miss it because they didn’t have a stamp! Plus awesome conversation opportunity. (so I’ve emailed 2 of the three people already)

    Another goal: Get a new stinkin’ job. I got a request for an interview for Friday – they solicited ME! The only action I took was to put my resume on! (talk about 80/20 in action!)

    Another goal: get my Certified Family Life Educator credential. I feel that I need SOMETHING as far as a credential to gain credibility as a relationship coach. I’m eligible for this just by sending in my paperwork and the fee, since I completed a college program that’s accepted. I realized what was holding me back: I can always pay down bills more, I can always fix another thing on my car, but I can’t always do this. I’ve got the papers ready to go, the envelope and stamp at home. I’m sending it in!

    Goal: Get into the MSW program I want. I emailed the lady that I find really interesting about her work, who is at the local program here, asking her about meeting for lunch/coffee/whatever and to discuss local activism, so we’ll see!

    So, 3 emails, 3 people are already sent!

  15. avatar

    Interesting that such a young kid could come up with a statistically designed experiment (DOE) 99% of the public would have no clue. Simple A/B testing is beyond most.

    Anyway, though Ramit is much younger then I, he has had a motivating affect on my productivity. Last week I was able to write lots of content for my website and move page view from a couple hundred a day to 1500 yesterday. I had procrastinated writing more content for a year and I appreciate the kick to pick up the slack


  16. avatar

    Personal responses to frequently asked questions:
    “How are you?”
    “I’m doing Phenomenal” or “Unbelievable!” (it’s actually pretty difficult to answer this way)
    guaranteed conversation starter

    “What do you do?”
    “I’m a competitive break dancer, you know America’s best dance crew?”
    no joke


  17. avatar

    when I closed my office and became a musician, the frown I got from girls at bars when I said I was into music, that was a surprise

    so I went back to say I was an entrepreneur and that I had an office, for a while, and after lots of tries went back to the truth, with a few change of words

    girl – what do you do?
    me – I have fun
    girl – haha, no, really!
    me – im a singer / songwriter
    girl (puppy eyes)

  18. avatar

    I missed most of week one so I’m jumping on the bandwagon kind of late.

    I love the “testing” mindset, but I had never thought about it in terms of getting started, or rather of overcoming the fear of failure related to getting started. I think by taking action with the attitude of “let’s see what happens when I try X” could help overcome that huge barrier to entry, because it removes any emotional attachment to a particular outcome.

    I’m guilty of writing down my plans, not the behavioral change that’ll get me there. So my behavioral change for this week: Do LESS. Instead of punishing myself for 12 hours a day with minutia, just focus on a couple key tasks and save my body and my sanity!

  19. avatar
    Dan @ Casual Kitchen

    I can also testify to the variance in using “writer” vs “author.” Also, this statement…

    “…after years of writing a blog, I am proud to announce that I can tell by someone’s comment if they are a loser or not.”

    …has to be the funniest things I’ve read in at least a year. I’m developing this skill too, although I’m not sure it’s a skill I really want.


  20. avatar

    haha, way to go

  21. avatar

    Couldn’t type my web address correctly!

  22. avatar

    My biggest “test” has been to the question, where did you go to school? It plays out in 1 of 4 ways.
    (I actually went to a small state school that not too many people have heard of. It worked perfectly FOR ME, I finished with no debt, got to study abroad, broke out if HS laziness and learned that I could do well, I would have been thrown out of a larger school because I was an idiot as a freshman)

    Anyway it depends who I am chatting with but it goes like this…

    Local white collar people (say at a fancy bar)- Oh, my cousin went there, she is crazy and hated it. Converastion ends or they then tell me about their private Boston College they went to.
    Local blue collar people (tailgating at football game) – Oh, my cousin went there, they loved it! I went up to visit and had a great time, do you know them? Conversation continues)

    When talking to non local people, I usually substitute a big local school to not waste time with the “What school, where is that” talk.
    The more snotty the people look, I usually go with BC, where if they look like a normal dude I tell them UMass.
    It has consistently gotten me into, or out of many conversations. Do I feel like a dick? sometimes, but so are the people who scorn you for not going to a college they feel is good enough.

  23. avatar

    I run into this all the time.
    Them: “What do you do?”

    “I’m a schoolteacher.”
    “I teach 8th grade.”
    “I teach Algebra.”

    “I’m doing Teach for America”

    It’s sad that teachers have to come from an elite, ivy-hipster teaching program to get respect in this country.

  24. avatar

    Sad that women have to choose between being liked and being considered competent.

  25. avatar

    I LUV the 30-day course on hustling, it made me move my butt and do what I was considering beyond my abilities! Awesome!! I never had so much “hope” before, Ramit you are it!!
    Hey It’s hustling we’re talking about… please consider helping a girl and check this one out… (Tnx)
    (Ramit, if this is NOT cool, I’m sorry, delete my comment, I SO get it!)

  26. avatar
    Nathan Strange

    I’m jumping in a little late here, but have gotten tired of that excuse. 🙂


    The beautiful thing is that last weeks lessons already put me on the path to this week’s. I have already sent out an email to two people who I hope will partner with me on a business venture, and a third who has expressed interest in mentoring me in it.

    I won’t be back in town until Tuesday night, so I may run a day late on the assignment, but that’s okay. Its the lesson that counts, not the prize.

    Thanks, Ramit – this is exactly what I need and want!

  27. avatar

    Are you kidding? If I was chatting someone up in a bar and they said they went to Standford or studied Astrophysics, I’d be totally enamored.

    But I’m (kinda) weird.

  28. avatar

    Ha ha! I was waiting for somebody to write that!

  29. avatar

    I am REALLY unhappy at the job I’m in right now, so to change that I started to apply to jobs that I’m absolutely not qualified to do, but would love to. After getting the first rejection letter, I wrote an e-mail using the “Recession Proof Graduate” technique and secured a phone interview for tomorrow! Now I just have to keep hustling to show them I’m really ahead of the game.

    Thanks for the daily butt kicking, I have no excuses to ACT.

  30. avatar
    Joseph Dantes

    This comment will be completely ridiculous, but…

    I missed last week’s automation “report” because my polyphasic adjustment was still crashing and burning. That was my big goal for the period.

    Anyway I kept dreaming up different ways to use default behaviors and automation to make polyphasic sleep easier. And then testing them, and scrapping the failures.

    Automation and default behaviors are hugely important for polyphasic adjustment, because you have to stay focused 24/7 to get through it. That’s easy most of the time, but during your circadian lows you’re basically a head-shotted zombie.

    So if there’s ANYTHING that can go wrong with alarms, going to bed, and waking up, it WILL, and you’ll wind up sleeping 8 hours and having to start the whole painful process over again.

    Another complicating factor… when my girlfriend goes to sleep, I have to play the alarm with headphones instead of blaring it on the speakers.

    Anyway, all that testing and brainstorming led to some very weird fixes, like sleeping on the floor next to my desktop computer (when I have to use headphones because my girlfriend’s asleep) because my desktop’s Linux OS is 100% reliable and my Windows laptop isn’t…

    …and sticking an ice pack down my pants when I wake up during circadian lows to get a caffeine-free adrenaline shot (requires way lower willpower than taking a shower or getting wet).

    And of course, basic automation stuff like having a two-click alarm clock template.

    I made default behaviors for falling asleep too – deliberately stay still with eyes closed and DON’T try to fall asleep for max relaxation.

    I made a default behavior of “time wasting” internet surfing immediately on waking up to motivate myself to go to the computer, where it’s harder to fall asleep again because of all the distractions and uncomfortable desk…

    But yeah… tonight I’m 75% through my circadian dead zone, no sweat.

    So with fingers crossed, and ice pack firmly applied to testicles, I may just make it this time…

    Yeah, the productivity gains for polyphasic sleep are tremendous. Not only do you only sleep 2 hours per day, but also you’re never tired, always at max alertness, and you get constant REM cycles to make your brain consolidate and reevaluate info faster, whereas otherwise you’d be limited to one of those cycles per day.

    Of course it’s pretty inconvenient, so having a fast, easy way to transition in and out of it is crucial.

  31. avatar

    If anyone ever tells me he’s an astrophysicist, I’ll let him talk for the next 15 minutes and tell me what an astrophysicist do. It sounds so exotic! 🙂

  32. avatar
    Sarah W

    I did a little A/B testing in college- I noticed that when I told guys that I was minoring in metaphysics it usually scared them off- I think talking to a girl about something they don’t understand might be damaging to their manhood?- but by contrast, when I opened by saying I was majoring in info systems, guys were much more interested because apparently chicks who like technology are more desirable.

  33. avatar

    one of my friends (very attractive woman) used to get hit on all the time. when men asked what she did for a living, she would tell them that she’s an undertaker. at the end of the night, she would tilt her glass to them, then she would say, “see you soon,” and wink.

  34. avatar

    Guys, if you ever want a woman to leave you alone in a bar situation, simply tell her that you’re unemployed when the “So what do you do?” question comes up. Works every time, assuming the patrons are >working poor income wise.

    Ramit, I’m enjoying your 30 day course on hustling, especially last week’s live webcast. I now see where you were spending your time during November and December!.

  35. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    You are a rookie. Try testing “nursing” or “education”

  36. avatar

    I don’t even remember what I wrote last week. I’m trying to get a better job. I determined that I would apply for 100 jobs by the end of the month. (heard somewhere ages ago that for every 10 applications you get one interview, and for every 10 interviews you get one job offer, so that’s my basis for 100) I’m currently at 35.

    I was contacted by headhunters and have an appointment with them this week. I also have an interview at the end of the month.

    I’ve scheduled two practice interviews with the career center of my alma mater to help with the end of the month interview. (Had the first one last week)

    Didn’t take any of them to coffee (though perhaps I should) but I did reach out to 4 acquaintances at the company where I’m interviewing for advice. (alas, they weren’t very helpful, but perhaps I didn’t ask the right questions)

  37. avatar
    Justin R


    I’ve treated you like a prostitute for too long. I take what I want from you, donkey punch you back to the curb, and never follow up with a phone call. Those days are over my Indian friend and I want to share 1 major win with you via testing.

    I work for a Fortune 500 here in KC and have been kicking ass at my normal 8-5 job making peanuts for salary. I’m 25 years old and have been at this gig for 2 years busting balls. Promotions at our place are scarce at best and are given to top employees with long tenure.

    With this invisible script glued in my mind, I blew through 13 interviews for 13 different senior positions. FAIL. But on each one, I refined my approach, redid my resume, tested my questions, and gauged reactions from managers. I created a game with myself on how many of these rejection interviews I could collect.

    HR wasn’t pleased. They were wigging out saying that ALL my feedback was, “Justin’s a great candidate BUT…they went with someone else.” My 14th attempt blew the interviewing managers out of their toilet seats. Why: because I changed the script, used the briefcase method, job shadowed my potential client, wrote a detailed proposal with 5 things they can do TODAY to save the company $1500/week EVEN IF they don’t hire me.

    Ramit, thanks for the extra $10k, 5+ weeks of vacation, and 6% 401k. I look forward to talking to you on the phone.

    PS, I know you and Tim (Ferriss) love a good bottle of vino. MO has 64 wineries, I’ll send you a couple bottles of our best. Any preferences, it’s the least I can do?

  38. avatar
    Tasha T

    I am loving the 30 day course on hustling. I have been systematically going through my assumptions and finding ways to get to my goals. For example, I am now working an extra 10 hours a week to fund my IRA’s (roth and traditional) and my daughter’s college fund. I have figured out how to begin selling my handmade baby blankets on etsy with fabric I already have. I can’t wait for the new earn 1K.

    Thank you for helping a single mom achieve her dreams.

  39. avatar
    Alex Shalman

    This matter comes down to what your goal is. Is your goal to keep someone’s attention by utilizing the most socially appropriate small talk, or is your goal to meet someone who has similar interests as you?

    I really like when someone can display knowledge and competence and isn’t another drunk doofus at a bar. I like when someone can teach me something I don’t already know.

    Dawn, I think Bradform is interested in Astrophysicist chicks <3

  40. avatar
    Tim Brownson

    Love the bit about finding ‘who’ can help you. My co-author on How To Be Rich and Happy, John Strelecky talks in the book about Mad How Disease..

    Too many people are running around like headless chickens asking “How do I do this or how do I do that?” when to get the best results simply asking “Who can help with this?” would be far more useful.

  41. avatar

    @Ramit – what about “child development”

    I had a guy friend in school who would pick up grils by telling them he was a child development major. lol

  42. avatar
    Jon R

    As a PsyD. student, I would encourage you to try to find some scholarly sources supporting reducing total sleep time with polyphasic sleep before attempting to make it a lifestyle. I don’t think there’s much support for it, and when you’re working so hard at something it’s easy to “want” something to succeed when it’s actually hurting you.

    Though I think you’re the man, for choosing something you want to do and doing it, for your long term health you may also want to make sure what you’re trying to get good at will actually give you the results you’re looking for. Test the method and the value.

  43. avatar
    Michele O

    Unfortunately Ramit is right. I work in IT and believe me, guys are intimidated by girls who can setup an email account, trade stocks and watch porn faster than they can. “I’m a teacher” however, pulls them in like you are a cute little non-threatening puppy.

  44. avatar


    I love the way you and e.g. Tim Ferris have a look at the world and how to change the own life. The approach is great – and in both cases you guys live from us – having a lifestyle you guys suggest. Me too. I have both books from Ferris.

    Now – there is a huge but! In the end there is not so much space for a second Tim Ferris nor a second Ramit. Read e.g. the post above mine – Tasha wrotes that she is now working extra 10h to earn some bucks.

    Sure, I can raise my 40 to 60 hour week up to 90 or 100 hours to have more cash. But this can’t be the clue. Your post about rhetoric is – which is this all about – not bad, but also pretty basic. E.g. the author vs. writer thing – one word has high credibility, the other not. That’s it.

    I’m asking myself – where are you livechanging hints – teach me to be rich! Don’t only teach me to make you rich 🙂



  45. avatar
    Tasha T

    For Nick below,

    I do not currently work 40 hours. I tested the assumption. I don’t have time to work more. I figured out I could work during her naps instead of reading blogs or email and use that time more effectively. So, Ramit’s idea made me rich. Plus he did not charge me for the information.

  46. avatar
    JD Howell

    Week Two Results
    It’s funny how thi gs seem to come to fruition when you slowly follow the advice step by step of those who ha e gone before you. To understand my self indulgent pat on the back. Here is the abridged back story. I decide it is important to figure out what to do with myself after spending four years at a two year college. Circa 23yrs old. I begin to read finance books and life coaching books (you know” your best life now” and shit like that). I enjoy trying the daily suggestions and begin to practice the “to do’s”. I discover a list of things I wanted to do before I was forty that I wrote in my late teens(while I was spending four years on a two year degree). After deciding to leave my family and friends for a job on a cruise ship i fi d myself taking my sister up on her open ended offer to get things moving by living with her in NY (I was fired from the cruise ship before ever stepping foot on a ship because I snuck back I to the training facility after my friend stood me up for a place to stay AFTER I graduated from the training). At my first job in NY the colleague across from me pulls out a magazine a d says “look at this. This is Dubai. All the rich people live here now. It’s the new hottest place”. And I arrogantly told him that I would live there some day. Circa 26yrs old. Present day…..I look at the list of to do before I’m forty that is now so old the lines from
    The ruled school paper I wrote it on are gone completely. Written down are several things that I have accomplished simply by writing thm down and Trying to improve myself one thing at a time. Among them are find a career learn ballroom dancing and live in NY. Currently i am Living in dubai running a successful branch of Arthur Murray dance school and days away from opening our second school. Skip to testing: While in Dubai I learn about the poverty that Americans never seem to grasp. I discover that the security worker along with several low Income “worker bee” positions are earning as little as 330$ per month. This co
    Es as a great shock to me so I decide to dust off the student organization committee skills and do a sociL experiment. For four months I will attempt to live on three hundred and thirty dollars per month. I will journal daily about what I can only assume will be hardships a d write a. Article e titled living like a local. .. .. Not an Emirati a d send it to the newspapers back home a d locally. In preparation I have used your testing theory by bouncing the idea off a couple of co workers a d gotten mixed responses :
    Me -“I’m going to try a social experiment”.
    Response- ” what’s that”
    Me I’m goi g to try a d live on three hundred dollars a month for four months
    Response -” are you crazy”. Or “what for”
    Me -“I’m going to try and live like the workers on their slary to see if I can distinguish between my wants and my actual needs”
    Response – “you can do it. But it’s going to suck”

    I am now sitting in bed writing this because I am so proud of myself for having improved my natural state of thinking to fit Into one of Ramit’s to do’s before I even read it!!!! I guess what all of you “get off your ass right now while you’re readi g this and do something authors” really know what your talking about….. Action can be ome more automatic than complacency and can win over the I should automated response!!!! I even considered to myself waiting until morning to post this from a computer because I knew it would be alot of typing from my iPhone (which service will be capped at a fixed dollar amount or suspended all together) but decided it would be more selfsatisfying to do it now…even though everytime I try to type one of the bottom letters I accidentally hit the space key. Ggrrrr!!!

    JDH in Dubai

  47. avatar
    Sean Oliver

    I’m a IT consultant, and in the last 3 years I haven’t been able to create a response to that question that has captured anyones imagination.

  48. avatar

    Are you suggesting that Ramit’s readers smoke weed? 😉

  49. avatar

    I need a sexy name for Internet marketer.

    Anyone? Bueller?

  50. avatar

    Hah, I have experience with the “home office” example, so true. Work from home and you’re some loser, but man, you have a home office, with a fax machine and everything?!

    I replied to your email. I look forward to your response.

  51. avatar

    Rusty, what’s the name of the book you bought for the graduate admissions paper?

  52. avatar

    Ramit, Susan’s 28 day challenge in the email bonus inspired me, and I started eating more, sleeping better (not polyphasic), and maintaining relationships better by calling three people every day. I’ll post weekly updates on my website at

    I’m in marketing and “work from my home office”, and one script I realized I have is “you can’t grow your professional network as quickly if you work out of your home.” So to change this I will schedule coffee with at least one potential future mentor every week. This week I’m meeting with the former Brand Director of a local technology company to learn from his experiences.

  53. avatar


    I find your blog outstanding.

    Just one thing I’d like to say:



    A quarter of an hour is an insult.

  54. avatar

    I’ll develop several winners for $20 via Paypal. For you, the key is to focus on what you’re marketing.

  55. avatar


    I’m enjoying the shit out of your 30 Days of Hustlin’.


  56. avatar

    Nicely done, Justin.

    Good job on the initiative and great job on the offerings of wine to the gods.
    You’re an impressive Kansas Citian and I hope you keep kicking ass.


  57. avatar


    I’m looking for a better job, too. I have basically the same approach but don’t you think it’d be better for people in our position to research a small group of companies that we’d love to work at and feel that we’d be a great fit within rather than putting all this effort into applying for 100 different jobs?

    Does anyone have experience with these two approaches or know of an even better one?


  58. avatar
    tara - scoutie girl

    Ramit, I’m a fairly new reader but I was introduced to your work in the Fall by my friend, Amanda Steinberg.

    I really loved your example of “testing” (and I’m enjoying your Hustling course!). I STRUGGLE with telling people what I do, even though I’m successful. Part of the struggle is not wanting to be judged as “less than.”

    So, I hesitate before I say I’m a writer.

    Because I’m more than that. But how do you say that quickly? Finally, after much introspection over the last month, I’ve rebranded myself (just this weekend!) as a DIY culture & lifestyle design expert.

    It’s truer than anything I’ve ever said about my current career. It’s gotten great feedback so far and it’s giving me the confidence to go grab some much needed media attention. That’s what I’ll be concentrating on this week as I continue to hustle.

  59. avatar
    Nigel Chua

    Hey Ramit

    This is by far one of my favorites posts by yourself, and yes, like what a couple of others had said, your statement of being able to identify loser immediately by the way they commented was really funny. =p

    Testing, testing, and more testing is a actionable word that I’ve been picking up more on since 2008. Before that, I was just idealistic dreamer, but I was comfortable until 2008, even though I call my life “comfortable”, i realise now, as I look back in retrospect, it was actually quite shitty from 2002 – 2008 (OMG, i lost 6 years of my life in wasted and stupid actions and thinking) my relationships were screwed up, my education was screwed up, my work was screwed up – I was at most, just blocking all the shit by thinking

    “Life’s like that.”

    Only in 2008, when I finally got my ass-kicked hard enough, and I did some major reflections about my actions and behavior, and I went a little deeper to find out some other not so nice stuff about myself, that I finally went out to grow.

    I’m not the best I am yet, but I’m steadily inching forward – with a business and a new clinic poised for more growth, with a beautiful relationship with my beautiful wife, and improved communicative skills to build and restore broken and burnt relational bridges of my past.

    One thing is that, I realise now, as I look around me, most people whom I see, be they new people I meet or people whom I already know, they’re “comfortable where they are” and refuse to budge. They may say “oh, I know, I want to improve —) but seriously, they don’t. I get a mixed feeling of being sorry for them and frustrated as I believe they could do so much more, in fact, they believe it too, but they just don’t do it.


    Anyway, the word “testing” is now a key element in all my ideas and projects, as we do not know FOR SURE until we test.

    Ramit, keep the good stuff coming – will be keeping watch for more.


  60. avatar
    Ryan McRae


    I go to Crossfit, that gym where they take your soul and smash it and make you fit. I’m notorious for bringing people to try it (just to watch them turn into the 9 year old girl they really are). So the trainer knows I’m interested and he appreciates my “Word of Mouth” skills (Strengthsquest: Woo).

    My goal is to get increase my marketing experience so I’m having lunch with him next week, to discuss how he can get people into his gym, increase his “Word of Mouth” and market to a small niche. I’m doing it PRO BONO. Why? Because I want the experience, not the cash (Perhaps later?).

    I’m also meeting with my dentist (he’s fantastic) to get him some more patients. That’s next week. (I’ve already typed up the services I can offer and I’m going to use the Briefcase Technique.)

    Thanks, Ramit

    –Ryan McRae, a Ramit Disciple

  61. avatar

    Ramit –

    Took your advice to heart. My goal is to talk with an expert in the online content space. Today I:

    1. Reached out to a friend who runs a successful blog
    2. Reached out to VC in NY
    3. Reached out to an entrepeneur that I don’t know but admire

    Pushing hard to chat with one of them by Wednesday. My mug will be in front of one of these cat in the next 48 hours.


  62. avatar
    James V

    Nice post. I test for responses all the time. I don’t frequent bars, but I do go to many networking functions.

    I’m enjoying your posts and I’m considering joining the blog as a paying member. I also bought your book on Kindle. Was hoping it would tell me other strategies on building / buying additional assets. I like the theme on hustling. I’ve hustled since 3rd grade (I owned a candy stand that earned $800 a month) throughout my corporate career and b-school. I work a full-time corporate gig and own a side business now (consulting and websites).

    Question, any thoughts on moving from $10K extra a month to $50K? I’d like 2011 to be the year I can leave my day job.

  63. avatar


    Hey Ramit,

    I have subscribed to your blog via RSS for a long time, probably over 4 years. I am currently an MBA/CPA working for a large public accounting firm in Chicago. I always thought that when I graduated and began working I would start to accumulate wealth. I am engaged now and my fiance is also an MBA/CPA working in public accounting. It is funny that although we make considerably more than most couples our age, we have accumulated no wealth at all. I decided this year that it was time to stop talking about it and actually do something. I decided that I was going to start by reducing my rental expense which was really draining our bank accounts. I have already reached out to two rental agents we know to reduce our monthly rent by $400. Our lease is not up until March 31st but I am going to sublet the final month to accelerate that savings. Second, on Friday (technically before this week’s agenda) I met with a banker and talked about my desire to start investing in real estate to add some passive income. I had already teamed up with an attorney and a realtor and we have already talked about our grand plans to find xyz property. I was skeptical anything could happen at first but after we had met for the 3rd time, inspected an actual listing with a builder, and our realtor’s father, I realized this could happen. This banker told me that before I even think of teaming up, I should consider doing something on my own, he kept commenting on my passion and inner desire and how strange it was for an accountant to portray these characteristics. It was so refreshing to meet someone who was so candid and spirited. I spent a couple hours on Sunday preparing my credit package and I am underway to acquire a 4 unit building in Chicago to live in the penthouse and rent the rest which will pay my mortgage for me! It feels strange to be writing this but so many people I talk to refuse to do anything about their situations. I refuse to just accept anything for what it is at face. Posting on your blog is also part of my action that is going to change my life. I am going to act on what I dream about, small things each week to incorporate, so that my routine schedule guarantees greatness. Your blog is inspiring and I look forward to reading daily now. Anyone who lives in Chicago and would like to talk and network please contact me!


  64. avatar

    Well it would have been lovely when I was dating if there had been all these people interested in astrophysicists! 😉 And yes, while it can be a conversation killer, it also certainly separates the wheat from the chaff. If somebody isn’t interested in what I do, then the conversation is already over, right?

    Your comment about ‘small talk’ is right on, Alex. In fact, I find that the conversation killer aspect works best on an airplane, when I’m not in the mood to chat.

  65. avatar

    Oh man, I’m a habitual list-maker – even now I’m cutting and pasting from above into yet another “advice” doc. Too many plans not enough time, need to remember the one step at a time method to say the least. One goal of many: to do voices for animated cartoons. I know somebody personally who does it but doubt I can meet him by Wednesday (he lives two states away). Also some local animation studios to bug.

  66. avatar
    tom o.

    Way back in 1981 I was a salesman in one of the first big box appliance stores. I sold tv’s, washing machines, vcr’s, microwaves, etc. We worked on straight commission. It was very important to me to quickly learn what worked.

    We had lots of high volume days. I got to try out several approaches to
    selling every day. Some days I would do well when I was rude to people.
    Some days I would do well when I was nice. Sometimes being nice and
    then turning rude would work. The point here is that I got to test out what
    worked for me.

    Most of us do not have that high volume of customers to test on.

    We do have a unique opportunity in that we all can attend networking meetings on a pretty regular basis. If you do have networking meetings near you then try your Chamber of Commerce or other service type clubs. Speed networking is probably even better. The people are always looking over your shoulder to see who they talk with next. If you can keep their interest then you’ve got it goin’ on. Use them to hone your skills.

    I love the video of the street sales kid. He totally rocks. His approach is a little different to a German than to an Arab. Even his hand gestures are different with each approach.

    PS. After years of selling I learned that what works for me is to be genuine with people and let them know who you are and that you care about them. It is tough to do but it is the best way to live. Till you get to that point keep on testing.

    PPS. Even when you are genuine it is best to know which words ring true with people so never stop testing.

  67. avatar

    Well done. I’ve never regretted firing a toxic or very unsuitable client. I have regretted taking one on when I thought I needed the money!

  68. avatar
    Dave Doolin

    Barron, yes, people with “potential.” Potential and 2 bucks gets a cup of coffee at Peets. Was nice to meet you a few weeks ago.

  69. avatar

    I thought I didn’t have time to write a short story and it was no good to even try. I’ve started — it’s not done yet, but it’s (literally) a start.

    I thought I wasn’t able to learn a certain skill set at work. Literally the day after I wrote that down as one of the preconceptions that was holding me back, a coworker gave me a book on how it works. Wow, serendipity, thy name is Ramit.

    I thought it was no good to put myself out there in a new social setting and meet interesting people. In the past few weeks I’ve volunteered at two events, met a ton of people, “friended” a few of them, e-mailed with two, and am having coffee soon with one. (I hope before Wednesday night so I can tell you about it in time!) All in a realm where I felt very uncomfortable and unsure of myself.

    And it may seem like a tiny step, but as a mother of young children who tends to feel overwhelmed by the chaos of my house, tonight I did something I’ve literally never done in 7+ years of home ownership: Cleaned the bathroom vent fan. It was beyond nasty — huge clumps of dust were falling all over, but I made it through! Just now when I glanced up at my bathroom vent and saw how clean and shiny it is, I felt a surge of pride and satisfaction.

    Ramit Sethi, inspiring people to clean the crap out of their lives… sometimes literally. 😉

  70. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    No, I don’t.

    Also, I can pack in 1-2 hours’ worth of help into 15 minutes.

    But not for you. I wouldn’t want to “insult” you.

  71. avatar

    I love your posts and have been enjoying all of this very much so far. This really doesn’t count as I did this prior to the course but I wanted to share an experience I had as it seems applicable and may spur someone else to action: Let me set the stage. I work for a small company of less than 15 people, most of whom have been there more than 10 years. I have only recently passed the one year mark. Prior even to that though I could see that there were some real problems, and I could see where my strengths could alleviate those problems, except that it was not in my current position, in fact that position doesn’t really exist. So I wrote to my CEO, explained it to the effect of “I am telling you this because I am not certain anyone else will.” Explained the problems I saw, how I could help, described projects we could put in place, and even included a copy of my Strengths 2.0 Assessment for him so that he could see an outside source verifying my personal claims. The results were mixed. I did not get the job I wanted, no one did, however, I did get a 10% raise, with a potential for another 10% in bonuses for 2011 based on performance. So even if we still have the same problems and I didn’t get ALL the results I wanted, I would still consider a potential 20% increase in today’s economy a nice bump based on testing my assumption in an email.

  72. avatar

    So, how do you categorize those of us who have “mini victories” in actually doing something, taking action towards our goals, but constantly struggling with getting distracted with other/more “goals” that we want to do. I think that’s my main problem, is that I always bite off more than I can chew, and end up becoming overwhelmed and spinning my wheels. When I start to get rid of some of the clutter, and simply my life and focus on accomplishing fewer/smaller tasks, I get the strength to take action and do something, and I feel super-motivated to keep going. Over time I’m able to see that I was able to move forward, but just at a slower pace, because I allowed myself to get distracted too many times.

  73. avatar

    I don’t find I have any problem with the responses I get when I tell people “I am an artist and art instructor”. One or the other aspect always interests someone enough to ask about it, and that’s very helpful to conversation- and relationship-building.

    I believe I’m somewhat older than your average reader, so I can say that for almost 20 years I believed it would not be possible for me to do what I do now professionally. And when you don’t do what you are “called” to, you start to die inside. I did in fact spend many years in very poor health.

    Almost 8 years ago I started (in baby steps) working toward where I am now, but even 5 years ago this still felt like a dream. Now, with the support of wonderful mentors and building an ever-growing list of interested people to publicize my work and courses to, building relationships in a few artistic communities and with some curators, I am moving toward a version of this life that feels like a dream now but will be real in some form 5 years from now!

    There’s a lot of work involved, as well as people skills, information-gathering (about opportunities and to increase knowledge) and I find it’s vital to get strategic about which opportunities to go after, based on clarifying specific goals for whatever stage you’re at in your career/business development.

    To get clear about goals in a way that breeds success, I think it’s really important to get clear about yourself first. It can start with what your strengths and weaknesses are, but later put aside that paradigm for one that looks clear-eyed yet non-judgmentally at what your real qualities are, then make sure you tailor your goals and approach to work with you not against you.

    I didn’t realize how important self-acceptance was to self-understanding until I reached my 40s. And that is the foundation for everything else.

    Anyway, thanks Ramit. I find reading your material is very helpful for helping me to gauge whether I’m on the track I’ve set for myself or not. It is one of several ways I check in with myself. Also I enjoy the creativity of the ideas, it helps me generate my own.

    PS I find I respond poorly to the term “networking”, it has cold and mercenary associations for me somehow. I find “relationship-building” is a better reflection of what I am actually doing when I “network”, because I try to make real, not just utilitarian connections with people. And that matters to me personally.

  74. avatar

    So you help people run the gauntlet through the judicial system? That could be interesting.

  75. avatar

    I am really enjoying the content and the “challenges” for the month of hustling. Enough that I had to re-examine some of my self limiting behavior. I picked up the book “Your Own Worst Enemy” by Ken Christian. I’m having an introspective and difficult few days as I move towards better habits.

  76. avatar

    Same here, love that line!

  77. avatar

    I think there’s an invisible script in here that what you “do” is actually worth talking about. I disagree. What IS important is the results you achieve. IT guys make sure people can do their calculations all the time, lawyers help people get out of trouble, musicians make people smile, photographers help people record precious moments, and astrophysicists investigate the origins of the universe. Spend a few minutes of time thinking about it and I’m sure you can come up with better examples. The same idea works on resumes when you phrase your experience in terms of how people benefited from your work, although I haven’t really tested that one fully.

  78. avatar
    Eric 2

    Too many Erics here. You can call me Eric Prime.

  79. avatar

    You really know how to cut through the bullshit at lightning speed.

    While I’d read about automating my finances, I didn’t do it. Thankfully, 2 weeks ago I realized I needed to take the leap and just get it over with. I wish I did it sooner so that the ING the 30 hold from transferring to other accounts would already be lifted and I’d be able to complete the automation.

    Next up…your challenge…hmm….yes this is stream of consciousness

    #1 Tyler Terveroon of Advanced Riskology
    I bought his Guerilla Influence Formula and he did offer some of his time. I can make this happen. As for taking him to lunch…he’s a couple states away. So long as we spend the time on the phone or get the feedback it still counts right?

    #2 Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich
    I’ve read his blog for some 2 years now and that’s how long it took me to implement some of the most important stuff. While I planned to use some Tim Ferriss-esque tactics to get his attention, he’s friends with Tim and privy to the same info and thus may be invulnerable to them. This might be the most fun of the bunch to figure out.

    #3 Malika Duke of the Lean Lifestyle System
    While typing this comment, I’m on the phone with her setting up our ‘date’. Already in progress.

    Now that I’ve publicly talked all this shit, I’ve made it near-impossible to back out of this considering that people might actually click on my link visit my blog and see if I follow through on everything I say. With reputation and success is on the line, my game of inevitable success is in full effect.

    Now to set the Blackberry reminder to set it all in motion to follow through on the rest of actions needed to pull it off.

  80. avatar
    Aurelius Tjin

    it seems to me “testing for reaction” here is either, getting over laziness or researching/thinking first before jumping. Either way, i think, its clever to word it that way… gets them to act!

  81. avatar

    Another good one is the difference in people’s perception when I say I’m a “manufacturing engineer” compared to “robotic engineer” (I work on manufacturing robots).
    First one kills the conversation every time: “Dude, you should go to China!” -> No dumbass, innovation in manufacturing is led by US/Germany/Australia among other developed countries.
    The second gets a: “Hmm.. interesting?” (i.e. “tell me more”) -> great conversation starter! 😉

  82. avatar

    Ramit, this month has been awesome – both your content and the stuff I’ve got going on, and they’ve been kinda related, so thanks for that!

    I just got back from a tech industry meetup at a local bar, and I’ve totally been testing my “what do you do” responses. What was great about tonight was that I could notice the difference in reactions between freelancers and company owners (there was maybe a 70-30 split.) A lot of the trouble with testing is that we look for validation, and freelancers with similar stories tended to agree with me more than the company owners who were actual prospects for future work, so the choice of audience is crucial!

  83. avatar
    Rebecca Geiger

    Hi Ramit.
    After reading your post about automating your banking etc…

    Normally paperwork is something that I put off. I have difficulty organizing paperwork for my book keeper. My motivation from your post was to create an organizing a SYSTEM FIRST for my paper work for my hair salon business. This new system that I created for myself prepared last years books and this years books into categories for each month in a binder with labels for ease of sorting.
    With this system I then managed to get 1 week of paperwork organized in less than 6 hours. THEN I started 2011’s binder and started putting my new paperwork into that.

    I contacted a friend to help me set up a basic Excel spreadsheet for my business so that I can track my business expenses / income. (In exchange I re-arranged and tidied her office in two hours (she was trying to organize it for the last month).

    Then I started looking at WHAT ARE THE THINGS that give me joy to spend money on and what are the ruthless things that I can cut out? I have had a hard time with this one because I found it difficult to answer. I am ok with it though because at least I now can QUESTION myself as I purchase things.


  84. avatar

    Ugh. This is me. Taking action: no problem. Focusing in on one idea, getting past the resistance to the harder steps, sticking with it, and taking it to completion. That is hard. Want the shiny. It’s not a matter of the last mile… it is more the 2nd 1/3 that is the problem.

  85. avatar

    I am a sucker for lists. I love the tactical nature of your posts and emails. I always emphasize the ‘tactical’ in all the educational events that I organize for young women. You can’t just sit there and soak up knowledge, there has to be things to take away and implement. I even advertise our events as always having actionable takeaways. Here goes my answer to your tactical questions:

    TO DO THIS WEEK (by Ramit Sethi)

    1. Challenge by Ramit: Identify THREE people that could help you get closer to your goals in 2011.
    1. Answer to Ramit: 1. Have a call set up with Carla Thompson tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss a future career as an analyst. 2. Tomorrow (Tuesday) have an onsite meeting with the founder of uShip to get help for our Young Women’s Roundtable. 3. Wednesday have a lunch with Niles Patel for insights on being a brick and mortar business owner.

    2. Challenge by Ramit: Find a creative way to meet with at least one BEFORE WED NIGHT (e.g., take them to coffee/lunch).
    2. Answer to Ramit: 1. Early morning call (we had coffee last Monday regarding the Girls In Tech SXSWi happy hour); 2. Onsite visit to uShip; 3. Sushi happy hour

    3. Challenge by Ramit: Leave your results from the meeting along with ONE specific thing you learned in the comments section of THIS post with the heading “WEEK 2 RESULTS” by WED at Midnight PST.
    3. Answer to Ramit: Be on the lookout. It’s a coming….


  86. avatar

    I feel like I’m not following the assignments right, but I want to post my comment anyway. And I’m lamenting that I’ve waited this late to post my response to this blog.

    To be honest, I’m somewhat intimidated… by your posts as well as by your readers. I feel as if I’m not as focused as some or as ready to take action. But if you polled the people around me, I’m definitely not risk-averse, but I need to focus my efforts.

    Last week, I mentioned that I would get info on starting a blog. I have started an account with WordPress and will begin blogging this week.

    The fear for me is that I am not sure what I want to do, but I realize that this is what holds people back. I want to blog; I want to teach; I want to do missionary work; and I want to find other ways to generate income.

    My next action steps:

    1) Complete the idea generator worksheets by Wednesday and determine options.

    2) Start blogging. Start writing. Put up one blog post by Thursday. Brainstorm articles and generate a listing of blog topics for research.

    As for the start of the post… changing one word. I find that I am often too humble. When people ask what I do, I am far more likely to say that I’m an accountant rather than to give my title (VP of Finance). And I’m not sure why.

  87. avatar

    Ok. First blog post… posted. It’s a start.

    Next steps: define relevant, hot topics for wellness blog and decide on next blog topic by Thursday. Post at least once per week (please let me know if this is too few for a blogger).

  88. avatar

    A psychiatrist bills in 15 minute increments. Is that an insult? Certainly not to her patients. A patient only needs to be seen in 15 minutes or less for a review of the situation, a quick assessment, and a new prescription.

  89. avatar

    @Jennie (and others interested) The book I have is Graduate Admissions Essays by Donald Asher – – you can get it for a penny in the used section.

    One really interesting and fun thing that I did, for example, was use popular New York Times articles to foster reading comprehension and vocabulary building with some Chinese ESL students during undergrad.

    The exercise was basically writing everything about yourself that is unique, not good, not bad, just unique. Then write about your influences in your subject, write about professors and teachers, etc. Your essay will write itself. Remember though: Answer the questions they ask! I can’t wait to finish mine.

    UPDATE: I have 1 email back from someone – they aren’t the right person to talk to and will forward a LIST of other people in my area to talk to!! Woot! Not bad for a day of work.

  90. avatar

    Ramit! It’s official – you’ve kept me up at night!
    I literally couldn’t sleep because I hadn’t automated my storage unit payment. Oh god help me.

  91. avatar

    I get really annoyed when people make general assumptions. If the word design is in your “what do you do?” answer, the resulting reply is: “oh, pretty pictures.” that leads me to think: “NO ITS NOT PRETTY PICTURES. ITS MONTHS OF PLANNING. Understanding the client, the product, its the whole goddamn architecture and I’m the conductor. Go to hell with your pretty pictures.” and reply: “yes.” just to end the conversation as I am bound to explode if it continues.

    Anyhow, I started to do the exact same thing as ramit. I started testing responses. What I found out was that, if I describe my job as “Interaction architect” I dont get so much confused looks. However, its not a real profession (Interaction architect) and I still find it hard to explain my job to a layman. I’m a Interaction designer and User experience architect.

    I know that making assumptions is what people do, and I dont blame them for it. I try to explain it as simple as I can every time. But when I hear pretty pictures or sense they’re thinking in that way I just get annoyed beyond belief. 🙂

  92. avatar
    Kevin Nejati

    Hey Ramit,

    I love that you started This whole Take Action plan of yours. reading your emails have really made me get my act together. I’m a recent college grad from the University of Illinois. I came back home knowing that I wanted to create my own job, but I didn’t have a clue of what it was going to be. After talking it over with my friend for a while, we both came up with the idea to offer a unique custom framing service over the Internet. Since the decision though, nothing had been accomplished. Then I read your first email on hustling. After finishing it I felt compelled to start hustling right away by any means necessary. I called up my friend and we bought the domain name that same night and we have now just recently completed our pre site launch facebook page. We decided that even thought we can’t get the actual website up, let’s at least get a simple fb page made so that we can get the word out as many people as possible. I have to tell you taking action and seeing the results right in front of me was so motivating. It musts makes me want to get even more done. I’ve set a deadline to have our actual site up and running by Feb 1st.

    Thanks for everything Ramit, stay hustling.


  93. avatar
    Marie Z Johnston

    Bonjour Ramit!
    So, I’ve been reading your posts for about… mmmm… a year now. The challenge for me has been that I am in my 50’s (moved to Paris last year, am re-inventing myself) and you write this column for people my kids age – I couldn’t quite see how to apply some of your sound advise to my challenges. Some of that, naturally, is a cop out because lots of your advise is relevant. That said, I LOVED this article about working on that elevator speech… my biggest challenge actually… and thus far, it always falls a little flat… but it’s getting better, and I’ll keep working on it until I get the response I want: “Wow! That’s exciting! What’s you Blog called? Got a card?”

    I’ll keep you posted…
    Marie Z

  94. avatar

    No Dude, I’m suggesting that Pramit’s readers smoke weed! 😉

    Have a great day.

  95. avatar


    I did not post my inv. scripts and results in the first week, they were pretty good but I wanted to keep them private. The second week is proving to be quite well too, so I’m encouraged I guess ; )

    I emailed 4 ppl this week, 2 of them I had met before and the other 2 I knew them through mutual friends.
    2 of them agreed to have a coffee meeting with me next week (they live in another country that I am visiting next week), 1 did not reply yet, and the most fascinating one is the last one! He was quite interested in what I had to say, and told me he had a radio show in which he interviews expats in this country (I am one) and he would like to have me as a guest on his show so I could talk about myself and promote my business.
    In the meantime, I will offer the other 2 that I will meet next week my free services for a few hours every week, I have mapped out what I think they need and I will offer to do it for free for some hours a week. Strongly feel they will accept. It will give me the opportunity to meet others in their respective offices and make them accept me as one of their team, make it much easier to work with them when my training is finished.
    The one thing I learned from this couple of days is -once again- you need to ask people for support. Not in a desperate way, confidently. It is true that there are people who don’t want to help you because they are afraid of newcomers, but there are also smart people.

  96. avatar

    I work as an IT consultant – is there any way to make that sound good? I’ve tried being vague and just saying I work with computers, I’ve tried dropping the ‘IT’ bit and just being a consultant – nothing seems to work

  97. avatar

    Tell them you’re a hacker.

  98. avatar

    Really enjoying this!

  99. avatar
    Dave Hunter

    Angela, some men are insecure and have difficulty with successful women and they are called losers. Soorner or later you will have to disclose that you are a lawyer but that may be a topic for another day. As for how to describe what you do, why not think about the 5 cases that reinforced why you became a lawyer, helped a woman out of a bad relationship, guided a family out of a bankruptcy, helped someone buy a house or keep a house , helped a client in an employment situation or forced a better settlement for a client. Dave Hunter

  100. avatar

    When you reconsider the response, to “what do you do?” it forces you to actually reevaluate what It is that you actually do. And if you can’t think of an interesting, conversation-provoking response, perhaps it’s because your invisible script is telling you that what you do isn’t interesting. That is enough to spur the next action.

    On another note, part of what I do is resolve conflicts in the corporate.environment. I’m going to test responses and record them in a notebook as in the beginning of the post and report my results.

  101. avatar

    Can posts be edited once they have been published? No real need to do so other than to correct a typo in the website address.

  102. avatar

    It’s fascinating reading all the comments!
    Still working on responses to”what do you do?” I have noticed different reactions to my answers.
    “I am a Nurse” most guys and older people like this; nonthreatening, safe traditional career. But most people assume I’m unambitious= not true!
    “I am a Registered Nurse” makes me sound more competent.
    “I am a Radiology RN” usually leads to more questions.
    Still working on the elevator speech.

    I think that asking people what they do in social situations is very limiting. I prefer more a creative approach: “How do you spend your time?” or “What do you enjoy about your work?”

    I am also from another country and I get lots of questions about that too. Some people are surprise that I “speak English so well.” I usually end the conversation after that one.

    I love my job, it has great benefits and I get 6 days off every 2 weeks. It took years to get to this point. I have worked in very stressful jobs in the past that paid much more but took a huge toll on me physially and mentally. I remember getting sick to my stomach before leaving for work at my first job and dealing with a lot of disrespect being the youngest RN. Some people would assume I was the assistant. I am glad to be in a different place now. Of course, it would be great to get paid more and I have been working on financial goals.

    I bought your book last year and made changes. I automate my finances. Negotiated credit card fees. Been paying off balances and I’m so close to clearing off credit card balances. I learned that I was doing a lot of emotional spending and what the triggers are. I use to track my finances. Moved to smaller cheaper apartment in more peaceful neighborhood I got a part time job for extra income. I worked at one place for a month then quit when I realized it was not the best fit for me and I had been drawn into it because it’s affiliated to a world famous academic medical center. I got my present part time job due to personal networking. Going on interviews made me more confident that I can get other jobs, I want to. I attend as many work events as I can and speak to my manager about my contributions to the department.

    Motivation has been a huge problem and I’m working through it. I made some big changes in my personal life in the past 6 months. I am volunteering with a nonprofit for a cause I care about and will be taking a trip to my home country with the group this year. It has been one of my major goals for years. I will be fundraising so I will be testing various approaches .

  103. avatar

    I have been silently reading this blog for quite some time now while working on building my website. It’s no big traffic site like this one but it is making progress and I have numerous tools to see where that progress is coming from so I can tweak and refine.

    Monthly Totals
    Visits Visitors Pages
    Jan 2011 1830 2585
    Dec 2010 1063 2191
    Nov 2010 459 933
    Oct 2010 106 359

  104. avatar

    Week 2 results:

    I decided to call one professor I absolutely admire about career advice. Unfortunately, he’s quite unapproachable (excentric genius kind of person). Considering I have phone anxiety and generally don’t talk much to people at college, I started with a simple test.

    I typed up a list with all the phone numbers of ALL of the professors I’ve ever had a class with, and some stuff I could talk to them about (well, a question per professor, so the call wouldn’t be strange.)

    Getting past the secretary:
    „Hi, this is a student of ..“ – forget it, the professor is almost always occupied.
    „Hi, I’m calling about the professors’ new book.“ – sometimes works.
    „Hi, this is (my name) from (the company I occasionally work for), I’m calling about his lecture on (etc, etc).“ – works awesomely.

    Talking with the prof:
    „Hi, I’m a student, calling about your lecture in -“ – asked me to go to office hours for such things. Didn’t care.
    „Hi, I’m a student working on a project about (lecture topic). I’m attending your lecture, but there’s one or two questions -“
    – Professor is interested 8/10 times and if prompted, agrees to meet me for a coffee. Of course, then it takes a few hours to think up a project…

    In the end, I have coffee dates with several profs for the next week – including today. Today I met the professor I originally targeted and we talked about my project (which I had spend the entire day on – thinking it up, making some daring assumptions to have preliminary results – he loved one of the ideas), about our love for that topic (didn’t need to fake that one), recent developments (Did you know – ? I did, but it’s nice to hear that students read industry blog abc :-)), and college in general. He treated me some dessert, and asked me what I wanted to do with my life.
    Well, and then he told me he takes PhD-students.

    Results: I’m going to grad school with a horrid GPA – to one of the most profilic and brilliant people in my field. I’m officially working on a project I faked – and it is actually quite interesting. Also, I’m totally over my phone anxiety.

    Life officially rocks.

  105. avatar

    How do you get the energy to actually DO something? I mean, do some people have a ‘natural’ energy for trying new stuff? Or they come up with it, how? I think many of us who want but don’t do stop here.

  106. avatar

    @ Dave – yours is an attempt to make being a lawyer sound “safe” and “womanly” by associating it with traditional caring practices that women are “supposed” to do. There’s a huge stereotype about women and “family” law, that it’s the safe way to go, etc…
    What you said with focusing on what brought her into the field, that’s spot on.
    Angela, what was the drive for you to go to law school? If you chose a firm to work with, why? If they sought you out, what was special about you above other candidates?

  107. avatar

    Funny bar story:

    I and a friend of mine arrived at our favorite bar one night to find all the tables taken. We asked a group of guys if we could share their table and they consented. After introductions the cute guy across from me asked me what I did and the following conversation resulted.

    Me: I work for NASA.
    Him: No, really what do you do?
    Me: I work for NASA. I train astronauts and flight controllers.
    Him (laughing): Right. So, what are you, a rocket scientist?
    Me: Yes, actually. Aerospace engineer.
    Him (sounding intrigued): Oh, reeeaaalllyyy….

    Four years later, I married him.

  108. avatar

    You say, “What the hell,” get off your ass, and do it. Even though you’re scared of the results. Read a bunch of Ramit’s other articles, especially in the psychology about how that one works. It’s a common theme.
    It’s not necessarily a natural energy, it’s learned, like other traits.

  109. avatar

    Start small and make a list. All you have is time, it’s up to you what you do with it. It’s kind of like doing the dishes (assuming there are a lot). It can seem overwhelming at first, but if you decide to just wash one fork you’ll probably end up doing a plate too, and then a cup, and so on.

  110. avatar
    Tim Rosanelli

    Ramit, Pure genius. A few years ago, I developed an answer to the question of “What do you do for a living?” I wrote a face-to-face pitch to answer this question and have been test the response for years. My answer highlights the benefits to the person asking the question and has brought me more business than any playing around on Facebook or Twitter by ten-fold (actually it’s hundred-fold).

    I think that everyone read this comment should sit down and write out a short paragraph answering the question “What do you do for a living?” and practice the answer. If you’re a business owner, a great answer to this question will provide tons of business. If you’re an employee, a great answer will open new doors through networking. It will also help employees resist the temptation from answering negatively which will squelch any chances of finding a better opportunity.

    I no longer use a formal script because that what you say isn’t as important as how you say it. I found that thing like tone of your voice, body language, and tempo effect your results more than what you say. Conveying passion for your job, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude with a twinkle in your eyes will skyrocket your results, but using a script helps you convey these things at the beginning.

  111. avatar

    Well, you had the right advice, once again. I set up a time next Wednesday (she’s unavailable this week) to take a former coworker (who’s got her own business helping startups with their marketing) out for sushi so I can pick her brain. She’s into it. Even better, I called up my friend in Calcutta this morning who has his own photography studio and we decided to launch a 3-month “testing period” of partnering and starting a retouching business together. We even broached the topic of eventually bringing on employees to handle production work so we can optimize our workflow and concentrate on the art. I hadn’t even considered employees as a possibility, but it’s a factor that could really expand our reach and our income. Thanks for the push, Ramit!

  112. avatar

    Love this! She focused on what she actually does and saved “aerospace engineer” for later in the conversation… he was already hooked 😉

  113. avatar

    Kienan, normally, I would totally agree with you on the whole “focus on the few jobs you want” Especially when I’m in the position of being currently employed, so I have the luxury of being picky if I want.

    But aside from wanting a different job, I *really* want to relocate. That’s more important to me. I’d take a job doing the exact same thing I am now for the exact same pay (after factoring in cost of living adjustments) to be able to get out of where I am and get somewhere else. That’s why I’m trying this sort of “spamming” technique instead.

  114. avatar

    Another thing to consider is who you want a good response from. Ideally your what I do statement will repel people you’d never want to talk to anyway and draw in the awesome people. Of course looking for dates in a bar is probably your first mistake. Find the kind of place your ideal man would hang out.

  115. avatar

    Week Two

    This is a good motivator for me. I HATE meeting new people and am very bad at networking, so I needed the extra encouragement.

    As a result of Week One, I am now scheduled to present a paper at a professional event at my company in March, and I have rolled over my old 403b into a new account at Vanguard (this one I’ve been meaning to do for 2 years now and have even made a few abortive attempts but always thought it was too complicated – the secret was finding someone who would walk me through the entire process. All I had to do was call Vanguard, and they actually called my old account with me, set up the transfer and the new account, and helped me pick my new investments.)

    For Week 2:

    I am applying to some graduate student math/computer science internships in the fall for summer 2012 with a very tough to get into organization. Instead waiting and turning in a half-assed application this fall while fretting about not having any connections, I have already taken steps by emailing my list of three people. I have contacted my advisor and asked for his advice and when he can meet in person, someone at my target organization asking for the same (I’m out of state and it would never have occurred to me to suggest meeting if I hadn’t seen your earlier post), and a friend of mine who, as it turns out, sits on an advisory board to said organization. More to come later.

  116. avatar
    Danny Rosenhaus

    I love the idea of testing responses at bars (without lying)! You see it in movies and TV shows, kind of, and every time I love the idea. But how you brought up the kid in the market is perfect. Really, these people are just testing out ideas so they can learn new information to act on for their benefit. For an 11 year old kid, that is really impressive, I wonder if he had any help coming up with that idea…

  117. avatar

    I never had a real name for it, but I was testing responses to the “what do you do?” question for a year while working in Los Angeles as a “computer consultant”.

    Scorn Scores (approx. from memory):
    “computer nerd” – 90%
    “computer consultant” – 80″
    “IT consultant” – 60%
    “aspiring porn actor” – 20%

    Yes, I did use the last one regularly, and it was fun to see the reactions and change in conversation over the other responses. Depending on the crowd you’re around (especially in LA), different responses are better for different groups, and you have to be able to detect which group a person is in while meeting them. That is a skill that only gets better with practice and meeting more people.

  118. avatar

    People are simply afraid to open their mouths. That’s all. It’s easy to tell your buddy from grade 6 your crazy plans but it’s difficult to call up a stranger or to attempt to network with someone in a higher position than you. I laugh at this because you have nothing to be afraid of. Just open your damn mouth!

    Oh and you people need to have more fun at bars lol! I never ask anyone what they do. If they ask me I tell them “retired strippr” or “ass model.” I enjoy the moment and ask for the details next time we speak.

  119. avatar

    Right ON! That is AWESOME!
    Really pat yourself on the back and getting over your fear and being super bold!

  120. avatar

    I am high performance color specialist (I have this on my business card).

    I am going to test this out on my customers and see what their reactions are. I work out of my home so meeting new people on the street or the elevator is an uncommon thing being that I work 10 hour days.

    Though once I am out this weekend. I will be testing out new phrases to see peoples reactions and find the best one.

  121. avatar
    Jessica H.


    In order to do this week’s exercise, I had to think hard about my existing strengths and weaknesses. I am actually really good at reaching out to people. I have one morning a week set aside to have breakfast with someone interesting before I go to work, and I’m booked all the way out to the end of February. In the last three months, I’ve met with entrepreneurs and professors and authors and designers and more.

    So what’s the problem?

    I’m great at doing the work and getting the meetings and knowing the people. Relationship-building is something I’ve got in the bag! But I am bad at identifying specific things I want, which means I don’t end up asking for them. Sometimes I get awesome stuff anyways, but it’s not the same thing.

    So! I didn’t exactly do this week’s assignment (which is good, because I totally should not win again) but what I did was super valuable. I took the connections I already have … then I ASKED for something CONCRETE with a TIMELINE attached.

    – Contacted a colleague with whom I am writing an academic paper and asked him to assign me one of his research assistants until the paper is finished. Status: achieved! I meet my new research assistant on Thursday.
    – Contacted a former professor of mine and asked her to review the list of jobs I’m compiling for next year. Status: spreadsheet shared, and we’re getting together next week to go over it.
    – Contacted a musician friend and asked if he would accompany me for my first vocal performance next month. Status: we have a rehearsal set up for early February!

    My take-away this week is that different parts of this whole “outreach” thing take different skills. It took me time to master the relationship-building piece (and yes, I’m sure I can improve, but it’s not the low-hanging fruit anymore). It’s also going to take me time to get good at figuring out what I can reasonably ask for, and what I might want to ask for that I could get from people I don’t already know.

    Thanks, Ramit. Great challenge!

  122. avatar
    Garry Fitzpatrick

    Ha this is hilarious, I am well known for making big plans and then talking them up and never following through on them but late last year I realized from observation that if I just said to myself that I would try something without committing to achieving an outcome that I was 100 times more likely to follow through. My progress on many fronts has greatly increased as a result. Your blog has been a great inspiration Ramit and I hope to send you some great examples of the successes I hope to achieve in 2011.

  123. avatar

    I like the new emphasis on implementing Ramit. We all (most of us at least) need a kick in the ass, and a look in the mirror.
    Little example: I have been a snowboarder for years. I have wanted to get out of my 9-5 for the last year or so (about when I started reading Ramit). I have always thought, “Man, how sweet would it be to work at a ski resort for the winter? I could probably teach snowboarding to make some decent cash, and I’d be living the sweet life in the meantime.” Well that idea popped into my mind again while I was daydreaming last week. Instead of my usual “you’ve never taught anything before. nevermind those pipe dreams. get back to work” I decided to look up some ski resorts in my area and emailed the ski schools asking how I could become an instructor.
    So far it’s a FAIL because I would have needed to start instructor training in November, but at least now I know for next season.

  124. avatar
    Steven B

    Ramit, I just want to tell you that this is great stuff! I’m getting a lot out of it and I look forward to testing different responses in upcoming job interviews. I’ll let you know when I get some interesting results.

  125. avatar
    Zac (Attack) Seth

    Hi, uh, Ramit? Long time reader, first-time poster…

    So, anyway, my largest goal is to get enough work as a freelance web developer to support my lifestyle (this primarily consists of travelling around the world but currently I’m based in Berlin, Germany). I have a friend here who seems to be well connected locally and we’re working together to build up some work but I already see the guy several times a week so I guess that doesn’t really count in terms of ‘finding a creative way to meet’.

    On the other hand, I do know a few people in my home country (New Zealand) who might be able to help me – but I don’t think meeting them (in person) really works considering we’re 12 time zones apart from each other. Regardless, I’ve just finished sending messages to three of them encouraging them to A) give me work if they have some, or B) recommend me to people they think I can help, and C) generally keep in touch (who knows, when I’m making crazy money at the end of the month maybe I’ll be able to fly them to Berlin for lunch?).

    As for testing, I’ve setup a section in my (long disused) Evernote account related to networking and created tabs for each of the people I’ve contacted. Under each tab I’ve recorded the messages I sent. Each message was sent with a different tone (one casual, one formal, and one smart-casual – if you can apply that term to messages). Tomorrow I will rinse-and-repeat with the next three contacts on my list (need to sleep after this post and I think it’s important to take the time to craft well thought out, personal messages). Of course, the testing aspect requires me to gauge responses and I haven’t received any yet but if I get any in time I’ll post them in response to this comment.

    On a side-note; it seems that you’re applying some serious psychological techniques in your hustling course – like so many others who read your blog I usually don’t get beyond the “shit, this guy has some good ideas” phase to the “doing what Ramit suggests” phase. This time though, I actually am doing something – and you know what? I’m getting the impression that I’m doing it right. I am changing my scripts, I am challenging my assumptions, and I am taking specific, measurable, and realistic action.

    Nice. Oh, and there are a few other things I’m doing too – for example: I’m tracking this message in Evernote for advice and response (hey, if anyone needs a good web guy, you know who to go to right? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

    Keep it coming Ramit.


  126. avatar
    Sarah K

    Here goes nothing.

    I just emailed 45 of my closest “friends” to offer private yoga classes. I did the training, it’s time to get paid.

    PS- love the token “wahhhhh” from time to time. Helps me put on my big girl pants.

  127. avatar

    Dude, Lingo Kid hustling pretty peacock fans in India is gonna be your counterpart one day. Are you sure he’s not your little brother and he’s already spitting out your game? He’s awesome!

  128. avatar


    What I’m trying to do is to earn extra income in the fight promotion industry. I emailed 3 people whom I knew a little bit about to say that I’d like to help them. I got one response, but that lead sort of dead-ended. I figured that I needed to go a different route, so I started asking people at my Jiu Jitsu gym tonight if they could recommend someone I should speak to. They all pointed at one of my training partners. Apparently her husband is a matchmaker and bigwig for several high profile MMA promotions. Her and I had about a twenty minute conversation after class. While talking to her I thought it would be a good time to do some non-verbal communication testing. Admittedly, I’ve experimented with this in the past, but probably never with the specific intention of testing reactions. I won’t go into detail, but the testing part was pretty fun and I think I might start compiling some data on it.

    The result of my conversation was that she asked me to email her husband to express my interest. I haven’t done this yet, but I intend to tomorrow. If anyone has any specific ideas about the best way to ask him for employment, I’d be glad to hear them. I’m not necessarily looking for compensation just yet (although it wouldn’t hurt). I’m just trying to break into the local scene, learn and make contacts.


  129. avatar


    I forgot to add the one specific thing I learned: don’t agonize over the perfect phrase to get a meeting with a top-level person. Test responses with lower-level people, then use the results with the target.

  130. avatar
    Moishe Swift

    I keep wondering if I’m the only one…but here goes. I got laid off from my law firm in late 2009. Picked up by another one within five weeks, then got laid off again in March 2010. Really shocked my confidence but I never ever stopped applying or meeting people. I literally would talk to everyone during my search.

    A successful entrepreneur, a real hustler – brought me on as his assistant counsel at his startup legal services company. And it’s not bad – but honestly, I don’t know what to do. We’ve got amazing clients, I’m busy (which I love) but I’m not getting paid enough and I don’t have time to do anything else in my life because we’re always working (whether on the phone, on the computer, via skype, etc.). And when I’ve asked for money, the response is always that I’m not experienced enough – although I do get bonuses fairly regularly. There’s no security, no benefits, and I haven’t been able to sleep. (I do like the work, and I do like the potential, but it’s tough to work with this person.)

    At the same time, I’m still looking for something else and running my own law firm on the side, which seemed like a great idea. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place because I can’t give up the assistant counsel work and still pay bills (not to mention loans or rent). How does get to be stable – much less hustle – when the outside factors are so overwhelming? Or am I just making excuses?

  131. avatar

    Hi, Ramit.
    Thanks for your 30 days hustle program mes. Its has been the truth. We plan and write things down and what we lack is action. I have been one of those people who planned, tried some things yet never seems to accomplished things. This year Ive decided to make a fresh start- and I have actually done the assumption challenge- and following each step. At the back of your mind you know what you have done wrong- but to stare it in the face is a whole another thing.

  132. avatar

    I’ve been traveling – got a late start on my homework (nope – I’m not making any excuses). I still have one person to meet tomorrow. As of today, 2 down and 1 more to go. Below are the steps taken / results / lessons learned.

    I’m a project manager juggling couple of different global implementation projects. Since I’m more of a “consultant” – there is no formal process in place to get “feedback” on my performance. I decided to schedule a lunch / coffee with my Director at Client site. I just casually mentioned it yesterday, I deliberately did not “Schedule” anything on his calendar as he is unable to keep up with email requests he gets bombarded with – at work. Result: I was asked to join him for dinner instead today. What is the one thing I learned? The higher you go up the career/corporate ladder, the lonelier you can get because people below the food-chain are nervous to approach the Director / VP (financial firm fortune 100). Success intimidates most people but if you ask and you shall receive. If you never ask, you will miss out on great opportunities without even knowning they exist. Getting to connect with them at a personal level – was another plus. (I’ve been wanting some “stability” so avoid unnecessary travel to have more time for “other things in life” – got a long term extension on the project from one meeting.)

    I also have a part-time business on the side so I’ve juggle that as well. Since I’m always traveling to different city, this one was a challenge. To find someone to have lunch / dinner / coffee (and not ask him out on a date??? j/k) Well Ramit you gave us homework so I just reached out to some of my friends on facebook to help me connect with their friends who are entreprenuers in the city I’m currently working in. Result: I got more names than I expected. I met with one them today. Lesson Learned: If you started something couple of yrs ago, you can always enhance it or end it or sell it. First define definition of success to yourself, then cross-check whether the nature of business you plan to do coincides with your definition of success. For example: If success means sitting in Hawaii and working from anywhere you want. Don’t go into restaurant business that will require every single day of face-time commitment. I also got tips on automating my business further as its growing globally and I can only give my attention to a limited number.
    A 15-min call with you on how I can better invest my money would be a fantastic birthday gift to me (which happens to be this week as well). Eagerly awaiting the “Draw” tomorrow.

  133. avatar

    What has worked for me? Tested and tried. Always worked for me when I want to connect with someone.
    1. I reach out to my very close network of friends (either call or email) depending on the person and ask them if they know someone with a-b-c background as I would really like to connect to learn a-b-c. There is a 40-50% chance (at least in my circle) that someone knows someone.

    2. – this has groups that meet up regarding specific interest. Anyone can become a member and the groups generally meet at a certain frequency. If you have a specific interest (like photography, artist, budding writer) this a good place to start. You get to sign up for free and most groups meet up for free. You get to meet more people with similar interest and they share their experience on what has worked and not worked for them.

    3. LinkedIn is a good place for people who would like to connect professionally as well. If you know someone who can refer you to someone from their network, you’re in. Communicate through internal messaging system, set up a time, exchange numbers and meet up.

    4. Corporate Alumni network has also worked out very well for me. If I worked in a certain firm – I simply tap into the network.

  134. avatar
    Moishe Swift

    You know what I will do? I met one or two folks who are doing what I want to be doing – without the difficult people – who I really respected in the past few weeks. I’ve emailed one of them this morning (well, right now) and I’m going to ask him to go to lunch.

    Then I will see what other stress and life management tools I have in my pocket – I refuse to be devastated by life and miserable because of my own actions.

  135. avatar
    Moishe S

    Sophia – Your comment here actually helped me out. I forgot about the awesome people I had recently met at a MeetUp. I’m writing to some of them now to meet for lunch/dinner/coffee tonight. We’ll see if it works.

  136. avatar

    Ramit, I reached two CEOs and a VP of marketing of big companies and managed to fix a meeting with them to discuss a product (patent pending of course 🙂 ) that I will rent out. Got my blog started with a design that probably makes any designer suffer from eye cancer. Few people came across my first two atricles and loved them (Germans rarely comment on blogs. So that’s huge).

    The best part? I didn’t think about possible problems that might occur in the future for one second. Not one.

    I’m probably not exactly following your guideline, but damn am I hustling. Thank you so much, bro.

  137. avatar
    Lindsey S

    Hi Steve – Can you forward me Susan’s 28 day challenge email? Or post it up here? Sounds like something I could use help with (with regards to calling people on the regular…).


  138. avatar
    Justin Y

    So I’m in college and don’t have the best network yet. However when I read your challenge I immediately thought about two of my Indian friends who have gotten rediculous intern offers and how I would tell other people that I had a friend who worked for Samsung and another that worked for Apple and how amazing their jobs/lives were… but never once did I talk to them about how they got there.
    I immediately called both of them and met with them yesterday and caught up, but with the goal of learning how they became so sucessful. I particularly asked them about how they interviewed and if they had any tips. My friend who worked for Apple told me that his first interview was a pretty relaxed, easy interview. However, the second interview involved an Apple Manager who sat there and drilled him on all of these technical questions from past classes. He did fairly well, probably got 75% of the questions right, but then he told something pretty amazing from my point of view. He said, “Listen, I know most of these problems, but I just couldn’t pull it from memory on the spot. If you don’t mind, I’d like to e-mail you the answers.” He went home and ended up typing out four pages of equations and diagrams and sending it out at five in the morning so that the interviewer would have it in his inbox when he went to work the next day. He got an offer the next week.
    What I learned is that the extra step can be a huge difference maker. How many other interviewees didn’t do that extra step? And now its something I’ll keep in mind for my future interviews.

    My next step is to take a very sucessful alumni from my fraternity out for coffee and pick his brain as well. I have sent him an e-mail and if his schedule is open, meet with him within the week.

    Thanks for the challenge!

  139. avatar

    Yesterday there was a writing class given by an acquaintance of mine. I didn’t know about it until a friend told me, but when I found out, I emailed the person in charge of arranging the course. They told me there wasn’t any room, but of course I figured that since it was free there were bound to be people who signed up but didn’t go. I went, and at the end of the class there were suggestions for a writing course. I emailed the person in charge that night and asked to teach a writing course. I used your script, telling them specifically what I would teach, about how long it would take, and then offered to give them a preview course.

    We’ll see if they bite. If they do, I’ll try this with other universities.

  140. avatar


    Another meeting has been set up for next week Wednesday for me to see an hours presentation and get any questions I have answered.

    The most significant lesson I learnt is that ‘chance favours the prepared mind’. A unique set of circumstances occurred that I would not have taken advantage off without the weeks challenge. It just so happens that in the process of following up on something else, I happened to catch the person I wanted to sit down to lunch/coffee with actually having lunch. As I was showing someone around at the time I never took much notice, however a few seconds later I remembered this weeks challenge and organised to join the person having lunch.

    As I had been researching a venture she was currently engaged in and had exchanged a few messages with her, I was able to ‘slot in’ and start a conversation.

    Had I not been prepared I’d have missed the chance as I would probably never have met her without going through stiff appointment procedures. Also, it’s only because I was attending a meeting at an odd time which happened to break a little earlier than expected the the opportunity arose!

  141. avatar


    I run a small non-profit support group on the side. I just secured a permanent meeting space. A friend of mine is the CEO of our local AIDS organization. In exchange for doing needle-exchange and testing 2 hours a week on Fridays, I get to have my once a month meetings there, which means a key to lock up, access to resources for my group (like condoms and dental dams), and a wheel-chair accessible location. BONUS: I get direct-service contact experience, and another organization I can add to my field experience list on my resume.

    I emailed a bunch of people, and received email back from two. Those emails pointed me in the direction of other people to contact.

    So, in the numbered list format:

    1. Stevi, CEO of AIDS organization; Cass, New Professional Representative in Michigan with Family Relations Council; Lauri, professor of the MSW program I’m applying to, local to my area.
    2. Emailed all three, met with Stevi via gmail chat (like we usually do during the weekday). Offered to get her coffee/lunch/dinner, might happen next week, but it didn’t work out with her schedule (she’s super busy).
    3. Offered to be a volunteer (I’ve already gone through the training) after I get out of my 9-5, to have more client contact and help them expand their hours (mutually beneficial). Had bonus offer of meeting space for group. Cass put me in contact with a local person to talk to about my credentials, they’re emailed now. Lauri is excited that I applied for the program because they want more people like me and is glad that I’ve read the application materials so thoroughly (sounds like it doesn’t happen often).

    Bonus: I have a lot more confidence in my ability to get these things done. I’ll be doing more of them. I know that I’m a great candidate for the Masters of Social Work program I’m applying to, and I should be accepted.

  142. avatar

    Tell everyone straight up what you do in a way that is exciting to you. If they run away, you haven’t lost any time. If they are threatened by you, they aren’t strong enough for you anyways. Why would you want someone like that? You’re just stroking your own ego to have someone to talk to for a few minutes/hours before they freak out. Stop setting yourself up for the break up.

  143. avatar
    R. T. Brown


    One of my goal is to become more comfortable with the world of PR in my city so I know exactly how to give them what they want (which will give me what I want).

    Yesterday I met with a former PR director for our cities largest theaters (she’s also a former journalist). We talked about forming messages, theme-ing events and coming up with viable points of entry.

    She basically gave me seven or eight great levers for an upcoming Valentine’s Day fundraiser I’m promoting. I’m passing two of those slants to my content writer and will have her tailor the message for as custom send to our media outlets (which will come from my personal email address, boosting my personal brand).

  144. avatar

    @Lindsey, I can’t see your email address. Its in the Time Management zip file from a Ramit email – my subject line was “Hustling case study: Software developer to rock climbing instructor in 72 hours” but YMMV. Ping me by email if you can’t find it.

  145. avatar


    I met with the former brand director last night for coffee. The conversation itself was tactical to my situation, but my larger goals were to ask for another meeting and practice showing respect for his time. As a result, we ended at one hour rather than the two I would have defaulted toward, and he agreed to take regular meetings to discuss challenges. Sweet!

  146. avatar

    This post was just the kick in the behind I needed to actually take action. None of the people I admire are local, so I can’t take them out to lunch, but I did compose an email. Then I froze. Here I was, begging for help (internalized script alert!). They’d probably lose respect for me (internalized script alert!), they’d probably laugh at me, they’d probably…

    It seems ridiculous, right? I mean, I know, like, and respect these people! I shook my head, sucked it up, and clicked send before I could think myself out of it. The result? One replied with fascinating and specific information. I took action and made a flyer; something I’d been dreading for weeks. Haven’t gotten any bites yet, but I’ll keep iterating on the design it until I get responses.

  147. avatar
    Lindsey S

    Ah, thank you Steven. I was able to get that zip file you mentioned! Here’s to maintaining those relationships!

  148. avatar

    “See” you’ll in the Webcast with Stanford psychologist BJ Fogg.
    6pm Pacific time = 4am Israel time, I LOVE IT, I’m at a point with this course that if Ramit says JUMP! I’ll ask: how high?
    The best thing ever. Had results produced beyond my biggest imagination! I’ll post than latter as I still waiting on some stats.
    (me? waiting for stats??? unbeFUCKINGlievable)
    Thanks @ Kelly Seiler you are amazing!!

  149. avatar


    Had a fascinating dinner meeting with a musician colleague of mine who managed to retire from his consulting career in his 30s, support a family, and focus on pursuing a career as a classical musician. Because of his past business experience, I knew that he would be a fountain of info about the most efficient ways to proceed with my ideas about harnessing self-production/self-promotion in the classical music world.

    The conversation was beyond what I had even hoped, and by the end of dinner, we had verbally outlined a 16-month plan for starting a Wagner concert opera institute in residence at a nearby university that would mutually benefit die-hard Wagner lovers, up-and-coming Wagnerian singers as well as up-and-coming opera conductors. He also helped me identify people with whom I already have strong friendships and colleague relationships as potential artistic and administrative partners. (Emails have been sent to those people toward arranging meetings to assess their interest.)

    And then for good measure, we scheduled a first rehearsal for a concert we will present together.

    In the world of classical music there are fewer and fewer opportunities, but no shortage of talented musicians. Those of us who can figure out how to self-produce and self-promote effectively are greatly increasing our chances of financial and artistic success.

  150. avatar

    Thanks for the idea Ramit!
    I’m going to start testing my job description:
    “Information Technology”
    “Computer Security”
    “Professional Hacker”
    “Hacker for the Good Guys”
    “I Break Stuff”

  151. avatar

    And I should say also, there is no shortage of classical music LOVERS who want to enjoy quality offerings.

  152. avatar

    Met with a customer today on her fourth commissioned painting. She is charge of the Library and asked me to have a SOLO exhibit there in September. I will research and apply for an artist grant this week. I will find 4 new sites to advertist my art.

  153. avatar


    In comment #92 I laid out the gameplan. Here’s the results:

    #1 Tyler Terveroon of Advanced Riskology

    “Hey man. I’d be happy to skype. Are you available in the evening onTuesday, 2/2? Kind of a ways off, but I’m going to be out of town for a week or so.

    We ironed out the specific time (3 PM EST) but February 2 isn’t before midnight tonight.

    #2 Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich

    I’m participating in his challenge(s) (yeah I know I’m doing the talk in the room as though you’re not there thing but I think it’s less boring this way) to simultaneously help myself and provide valuable feedback (read: value) for him and the IWTYTBR community at large. After I’ve ‘proven’ myself as not just another shit-talker but rather someone who follows through on his word, Ramit will most DEFINITELY notice the awesome guest post ideas I shoot his way AND take time to do a Skype ‘lunch’ interview. I’ll even send him the cash via Paypal so he can pick up something tasty @ Whole Foods or some natural food store or something so he’ll even be healthier at the end of it and stay on diet since he’s into Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body on pages 64-67.


    #3 Malika Duke of the Lean Lifestyle System / FitRichWoman

    We just finished out Skype “Lunch Date” that turned into a bedroom date. I’m sitting in my chair while she’s still laying in bed. That’s besides the point though. She shares how she built her latest business entirely through Facebook. After just hitting the 600 Fan mark, she’s got a loyal group of mostly women who are learning how to lose up to a 1 lb per day by eating as much food as they want to. Even more remarkable is that her system ‘cured’ her Dad of having to take his diabetes medicine when doctors said they couldn’t do anything for him.

    The takeaway is this:
    Create awesome content and people will follow you to the ends of the earth. If the stuff is so good, they won’t care whether you started with a crappy design like Ramit did (and myself as well with my first website). Keep making it better over time and let your people tell you what they want and then give it to ’em.

    Thanks for communicating in a way really causes behavior change Ramit. That’s true learning.

    Knowledge isn’t power. Applied knowledge is power.

  154. avatar

    Yo Ramit. It’s Franco. You emailed me to tell me I’m the man the other day after I shared with you about dominating a coaches conference and getting tons of sweet interviews that I’m using to start my baseball blog (coming in March.)

    Anyways… On to Week 2
    I’ve been trying to get in touch with this professional baseball player that spends his off seasons in Nashville (where I live.) For this note, we’ll call him Tim. Tim is a busy dude, and is frequently being asked to do speaking engagements, dinners, lessons, etc. We share a mutual friend who I keep telling to let Tim know that if he ever needs someone to play catch with, I’m ready.

    At 11:20am today I called my buddy up to be a little more upfront about getting lunch with Tim. My buddy immediately goes, “Just talked to Tim and he needs someone to throw with in thirty minutes.” I dropped what I was doing and went and played catch. Tim was a super cool dude and after we were done he was asking me what I did and used that time to tell him about my blog for baseball players. He asked me if I wanted to interview him! Done and Done.

    ONE thing I learned:
    If they (new contact) genuinely like you and get a good vibe, than they’re generally willing to go above and beyond to help you out. Most importantly, it usually leads to more great contacts that continue to open up new worlds of info.

    Testing to Optimize:
    In all my interviews, I’ve been experimenting with the last question I ask guys. I want it to be something different, that makes them think and hopefully makes them remember me. The latest one that I tried that has had tremendous results (one former MLB All Star and Hitting coach called me Peter Gammons after I asked it) is “Off the top of your head, what are 5 things on your bucket list?”

    I found that asking for 10 things on the list can be overwhelming (one coach couldn’t get past 6) and if I asked for 3, people would give me more than 3. Asking for 5 things works well.

    With the Tim interview- he LOVED the bucket list question. Kept saying how good a question it was and then proceeded to give me the best top 5 list I’ve heard to date. When the interview was over, he went out of his way to put me in touch with a buddy of his who owns a company that might want to advertise on my website, and two of his baseball buddies that will no doubt become great interviews… And we exchanged numbers and are planning on playing catch again tomorrow.

    I look forward to our 15 minute convo,


  155. avatar

    I contacted Alex Shalman of He’s in dental school with my wife, and he offered to take time to help me plan out my next two months. My goal involves a blog, a book, and trying to get several high profile interviews. But the goal is less important than the action.

    We weren’t able to meet in person, but instead had an email back and forth.
    Because of the kind of guy he is, I explained what I feel my biggest stumbling blocks are going to be. Then he suggested a plan, which I’m currently modifying and executing.

    My first action is to plan out 5-10 blog and write them. I’ve done the planning. I’m going to be going a writing meetup tonight to continue writing.

    The LESSON: Stop being isolated. It can be very energizing to surround myself with the right people. While I’m very much one to do things, I’ve been doing alone. Most of my friends are in the 9-5, and so we don’t relate too well about work. Finding someone with energy and experience to coach and cheer me on makes it all much easier, faster, and more fun.

  156. avatar

    Week 2 result
    I am finding my niche in sustainability (commercialy). I have need to do something about the mentality that is going around, (helplesness or plain blunt they dont care about this planet.) And i love sustainable designs or re-used products. I am getting there slowly, but decided to get the motor running a little faster. So after being kicked in the but by you, again!! I picked up testing again (last test was about 48 hour dating). And i love testing. Decided to mail 3 people who already earned their place in the sustainability area. One is a famous kinda lifehacker writer in Holland, other is CEO of company where i volunteer, and last one is guy who founded a green biological supermarket.
    The writer i met some months ago very out of the blue and took my change (read: action) and nnow when you buy her book, you can win me as a prize (well not me, but my service offerings as a freelancer). She responded with saying she is at a radioshow and offered to meet before and introduce me to radioguys. CEO i know him but responded immediately (in the middle of the night right after i mailed him) that i should call him in the morning for a time and date. The third one i persuaded him in the email by talking to him as i was sending him an email from the future as a director of the green warehouse, and thanked him for this good lunch years ago and that he had been very helpful and it helped me on my way to my carreer. didn’t receive an answer yet…i thought about what i should do, if he does not react in a few days. I will try to think of something and be helpful to him.

    Ramit i love the way you get to me and i love testing. I was happy all day, even though slept few hours because of taking action…plus that i got some dating going on, because of my own testing earlier…go Dani go Dani 😉

    ok now i wil set my alarm clock for the interview, while you are not sure you can tape it. I dont believe what you make me do…master persuador!

  157. avatar

    Week #2 Results
    This week I contacted 3 people I wanted to get travel ideas from about my upcoming trip to Peru. Yesterday I had lunch with a friend who’d just had a birthday on Friday. We haven’t met up in 8 years due to distance but are now in the same city, so instead of the usual facebook wall bday message, I wrote her an email and, because she loves cats, attached a photo of a kitten holding a cupcake.

    It didn’t take me long to google search “kitty cupcake,” wish her a happy birthday, and tell her I’d like to take her out to lunch to catch up and hear about her medical school travels. Just as Ramit stalked the Persuasive Technology lab, I learned that people respond to those who show genuine interest by putting in some extra effort.

  158. avatar

    I got into a class where a very successful executive from a local company was speaking (I’m not registered for the class 🙂 After his presentation, I approached him and asked a a few questions and offered to take him out to lunch. He gave me his phone number and said I could come by the office and he would provide the sandwiches. He runs a very successful business with similarities to the one I am starting. His best advice so far is “Just show up. You’d be surprised how many people don’t even get that far.”

  159. avatar

    The above post should have as a title


  160. avatar
    Kyle P


    1. Colleague of a friend who oversaw the building of a production facility in Brazil for a major power systems company — A high school friend of mine mentioned this person’s name during a conversation we had about South America. My company has charged me with looking into how to get our products into Brazil. (tough if you don’t manufacture there due to import taxes, etc.) I wasn’t able to meet him since he’s in WI, and I’m in GA but I did talk with him on the phone for 20 minutes about business in Brazil and set up a meeting in WI when I’ll be up there in 2 weeks.

    2. Chris Guillebeau — I saw him on his book tour in GA, and he talked for quite a while about business start-ups and pursuing ‘unconventional’ lifestyles. I thought with his vast travel knowledge as well as international business experience he could help me find ways to quickly and more effectively understand business cultures in various countries. It could come in forms of who to talk to and/or what types of things to research. I didn’t attempt to contact him until today, so I haven’t heard back yet.

    3. Colleague of a friend who built up the first national account at a major lighting company and then helped grow the company ZEP exponentially. In a conversation about 2 years ago this friend mentioned he was good buds with one of the higher-ups at ZEP who had a great track record of building client bases. I asked for a reference and contact info to be put in touch with him for a potential lunch or coffee. I think he could help me quite a bit with selling similar type products as ZEP does in brand new markets internationally as well. So far, I haven’t heard back from my friend who I e-mailed on Tuesday.

    The main thing I learned is that people are truly more than willing to help others out even if they don’t know the person at all. I suppose I’d seen it before, but this time reaching out I was able to have a nice 20 minute conversation and set up a meeting across the country with someone with nothing to gain except helping me out.

    Thanks for the motivation Ramit!

  161. avatar

    Am currently an undergrad in University of Warwick, U.K.
    Workshop Co-ordinator of the Warwick Entrepreneurs society for 2 years.
    Always had the idea to create an ‘incubator’ where students/entrepreneurs with tech-ideas could meet up with students with the technical skills to create a working prototype of a Minimum Viable Product. Similar idea to Y-Combinator.
    Never actually did anything about this till I accepted your challenge.
    Worked on it yesterday. Sent out an email to approx. 800 students to sign up if they are interested in such a project.
    So far 44 people have signed up!
    I took action and got the results.
    Now I realise how much time I wasted not doing this before!

  162. avatar

    Since last week I have spoken with a writer/marketing person about doing a photo shoot, tags, and producing a marketing kit for my fiber folks sculptures. She is working on some marketing ideas and I have one new sculpture half made and am keeping track of the costs of materials so I can better judge my pricing I really liked the above section about the boy experimenting with what he said and what he wore. based on this, rather than doing several sculptures in similar colors as I usually do, I will make them in different colors and see which sell the best. I have found out about several doll shows in my area and when I go to them, I will take a notebook and make notes as to what booths are getting the most sales and try to figure out why.
    I am not your usual follower as I am 55…so I hope that one of my comments wins 15 minutes with you because I don’t have as many hours of life left and want to get the most out of every minute…

  163. avatar
    Kyle P

    Update to Post 159 — WEEK 2 REULTS

    Since I posted a few hours ago, I had a few updates! Chris Guillebeau got back to me with some good advice on researching business cultures that I hadn’t thought of before which was a success. Perhaps I’ll try to meet him sometime when I’m headed to the west coast.

    Also, I had a 4th goal of learning to fly-fish this year. I contacted an older guy on one of my summer league frisbee teams who I didn’t know too well about setting up a date to teach me, and he was more than willing to do so. We’ll be meeting on Friday for a beer.


  164. avatar

    WEEK 2 RESULTS: Since my goal is to start a small online business, I talked to a friends I’ve had for 15 years who has had three small businesses…and failed.

    What did I learn? Well, I got great advice about the small business association, grants for women business owners and ideas on how to keep people from stealing my ideas after I present them.

    However, the most important thing I learned was that failure is a possibility. And it’s not going to kill me, or crush my dream or humiliate me. I’ll just start something else if this doesn’t work, because there is always something else. After thinking about it, I realized that I’d never thought anything bad about my friend when her businesses didn’t take off. I just through it was impressive to try.

    Totally worth a 30-buck lunch.

  165. avatar
    Elizabeth Williams

    Out of the three emails I sent out, I received two positive responses. The negative response was followed up with a reply email. We’ll see how that goes.


    In the mean time, my two positive responses:

    1. Last summer, I did a promotion with a small coworking space in Central Jersey, Launchpad Creatives. Their in-house marketers, 20 Lemons, marketed a “Facebook Faces” day during which, for $25, a young professional could come in for a professional head shot by my company, Girl Plus Camera, check out the co-working offices and workstations available at Launchpad Creatives, and leave with an unlimited license, full-resolution head shot to use on their website, in campaign emails, marketing brochures, business cards, Facebook, etc. For two start-ups, it went pretty well, but I felt like we missed a lot of potential clients.

    I’m a dues-paying member (ie no one special) in an organization called New Jersey Young Professionals. On Monday, I sent out an email to the president and founder of the group and asked to meet with her and the owner of Launchpad Creatives about doing a second Facebook Faces day with the full support of NJYP, a 7-year-old, 4000+ member organization of high earning Gen Y professionals.

    Not only did I get a chance to pitch the idea later, but we’re hammering out the details right now and estimate that we’ll triple the number of participants, at least.

    I’m working on a side project, a GLBT social justice art project called Faced With Injustice ( but getting little traction with it. On Monday, I decided to email the alumni relations department at my alma mater, Rutgers University, just as an alumni update.

    Today, I had a half-hour interview with the Assistant Director of Communications at RU, after which she said the University was so interested in the project that they were going to see what they could do to get the word out and get more investors to the site.

    Definitely glad I sent those emails. Tonight, I’m going to send three more to see what else I can do.

  166. avatar
    Sarah Kathleen


    I identified three people – one business friend, one design friend, one new client. I got feedback on my new venture from the B/D perspective. I landed a new client who I LOVE. I’m now so busy that I get to pick and choose what I work on.

    Learned a simple lesson: Don’t be afraid of trying new things and dropping old things when they don’t work.

  167. avatar

    This week I continued to test my assumptions. Actually, I picked one assumption to really test – starting a small side business to bring in some extra income. My plan of action is the following – some of it finished and some of it in progress:

    1. Identified three different manufacturing partners
    2. Called all three and learned the ins and outs of each of their processes
    (duly recorded with cost and differentiators on a spreadsheet)
    3. Found and emailed three different entrepreneurs who have started businesses similar to mine

    I asked them the following questions:
    – what were your lessons learned with regard to marketing and promotion
    – what would you do differently if you had the chance to start over

    In the email, I offered to call them if that would be more convenient and to take one of them to coffee (he’s the only one on this coast). As of right now I haven’t heard back from any of them, but I set a reminder for tomorrow in and have scheduled the followup email to be sent.

    Next Steps:
    – I’ve already written a followup email to both “targets” where I’ve offered free software (from my current job) in exchange for their knowledge (scheduled to be sent tomorrow at 11am).

    – Dig up phone numbers for these guys. So far, none are explicitly listed. Try LinkedIn and Naymzk

    – I’ve set aside two hours in tomorrow’s calendar to create a date driven plan to continue testing my assumption. I want to keep making forward process and this method is something that keeps me taking action.

    So far I feel like I’ve made huge strides in getting this going. I felt really uncomfortable cold-emailing the three entrepreneurs, but once it was done I was really proud of myself. I find that actually taking action over writing down things that you want to do is amazingly rewarding.

  168. avatar

    Week 2 results:

    Tested out all my assumptions about my supposed inability to get things done, make more money and move forward to greater financial success.

    Ended up doing the following:
    – Filming over 100 new videos for a product that I am working on, completing the biggest part of the project
    – Filmed another 15 videos for a different product and completed the whole thing in one go
    – Got a promotion and increased power at my job
    – Started a new working relationship with a major household name in my industry

    Overall, frigging nuts! What it boiled down to was pretty much just not giving myself the option of not getting stuff done. To make the videos, I locked myself in a room 30 minutes away from my house late at night with nothing but a camera. I told myself that I was staying there to film those videos and create that product, as long as it took. I ended up staying until 2am multiple nights of the week and then having to get up for work at 5 the next day but it was totally worth it.

    Thanks for the encouragement and advice Ramit.

  169. avatar


    Got together with a public relations consultant I know. I told her about my new book and she immediately offered to give me a hand, hooking me up for interviews in radio and TV. I already had a press release prepared, to I sent it to her right away. Now I’ll follow up. I set reminders in my iCal so I won’t depend on memory. I’m doing the same thing for more and more of my tasks. Automating everything.

    Lesson: Be prepared, but not too prepared. Take off and remember luggage may shift during flight.

  170. avatar

    I made 3 contacts:

    1. I called a woman at a barn that is near my house but I have never been to. She does dressage, which I am very interested in. She says there may be a horse for me to ride and I should come by, just call the day before. I have a reminder to call and touch base on Friday and I am thinking about going by on Saturday.

    2.A friend introduced me to a woman who runs a race horse operation in NY. She does not have any exercise rider/breezer need for the winter, but perhaps this spring. I have her cell number saved in my phone, and a reminder on Google Calendar to follow up as soon as April comes and those race horses need riding! I have never ridden a race horse but I am fully confident that if I just show up ready to go that I can make it happen.

    3.I approached a woman who I work with who teaches lessons and rides event horses who I am usually very intimidated by. She said she could offer me an opportunity to ride for free whenever I want. I just have to let her know. I was shocked by her willingness to have me come by her barn, and the idea of riding for free instead of paying 80 to 100 dollars for an hour was also great. However, I’d like to actually generate income, not just do things for free, but I am hoping that if I do it for a month or so that I can make some good connections. Then maybe I won’t be so scared of her at work either.

  171. avatar

    i emailed a mentor of mine about interviewing him so that i could replicate his success. i was afraid he would brush off my attempt to meet up with me because of his status. WRONG. he emailed me back within 3 hours and agreed to talk.
    i’m going to email 2 successful mentors, bloggers, etc. a week because it’s empowering asking powerful people for help.

  172. avatar

    My business card says “image creator and manipulator” instead of artist or illustrator, so that’s what I tell people, if they can’t read it, that is.

    1 – Contacted my friend about doing voiceovers, he gave me some advice, need to follow the trail he pointed out.
    2 – Signed up for a year of StudioShare to hopefully improve my studio photography skills. Next I need to find a way to afford a digital SLR camera! Maybe I’ll finally check out eBay, I’ve resisted it so far in my life. Also I’ll check out Kickstarter.
    3 – Will send a note to somebody who posted in a Facebook thread that they are looking for illustrators.

  173. avatar
    Brad Draeger

    Week 2 Results:
    I identified three people to meet with. The one person I met with started his own band and produced 2 records so far. His wife has been working with small businesses and knows their needs. I met with him for lunch and told him about my idea to start and IT consulting business. As I told him about my idea, I found myself narrowing in on my target market and determining why my business would be different than other businesses in the area. I determined that I will be offering a very specific package that would include a 5 page website with email and docs in google docs. This would be a very packaged offering that gives people less choices and narrows in on a price instead of offering to do work at an hourly rate. We talked more about how I would pitch the value to a small business owner. I determined that a video would be the best option to show them how a website and google docs would help a small business.

    Just practicing giving a sales pitch with him allowed me to narrow my focus to anything IT related like Antivirus, networking, troubleshooting and support to being very specific and differentiating myself in the marketplace.

    Thanks for the material. I like the video with Tim Ferris. I used the ideas to target time in the morning to work my action plan for my business. I created a new logo that works better on my site this week. I am working on a design for business cards so I can start working on personal advertising of my services.

  174. avatar

    Where are you located? I grew up on a horse farm and working in the thoroughbred industry and would be happy to help you make some connections if you are truly interested in becoming an exercise rider. Start building a lot of upper body strength now though!

  175. avatar
    Zac (Attack) Seth

    Shit. I really need to sleep now. Your webinars really don’t work well with the European Standard Timezone – the only reason I stayed up was because I was already up. Regardless, I’m glad I was up for the chat – you and BJ talked about some things that really interested me. I will be studying my notes tomorrow afternoon when I wake up (work is officially a write-off at this point – they won’t mind).

    Well, as I said I would, I’m posting the follow up to my first message. I have to say, firstly, that I haven’t sent any additional messages today – it’s fashion week here in Berlin and I was partaking in the festivities tonight (hence why I was awake for the webinar). What can I say, I’m travelling the world and enjoying life: working is only there to support lifestyle right?

    So with that covered, my results (after 24 hours). I have received two replies out of three. Neither offered anything concrete – or, in fact, anything close to being concrete. I have no problems with this. Both responses indicated a willingness to pursue opportunities in the future and I fully intend to follow up – as I said, I have my Evernote tabs setup and I’m tracking everything I can – and I will not be resting on those laurels.

    It’s interesting that, even though I haven’t really gained anything certain, I’m now a hell-of-a-lot closer to getting work through these contacts than I was before. Why? Because I *did* something. Makes ya think huh?

    After listening to your webcast this morning/tonight/this afternoon/whatever, I can’t help but think that I was applying the foot-in-the-door technique that you were referring to. All of my messages, regardless of tone, were focused on re-starting the dialogue and building friendships – if I maintain this with these people it seems very plausible that it will lead to bigger things in the future.

    This shit is fun. I want more.


  176. avatar
    JP Adams

    Original Post With Updates:

    Ramit –

    Took your advice to heart. My goal is to talk with an expert in the online content space. Today I:

    1. Reached out to a friend who runs a successful blog (CALL SCHEDULED FOR THUR EVENING)
    2. Reached out to VC in NY (NO RESPONSE)
    3. Reached out to an entrepeneur that I don’t know but admire (CALL SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY AFTERNOON)

    Pushing hard to chat with one of them by Wednesday. My mug will be in front of one of these cat in the next 48 hours.


    What I learned:
    – Setting up extra small achievable goals a few times a week could have significant long-term affects
    – Most people will help you, just ask
    – I need to set another target tonight to keep the momentum

  177. avatar


    I’m right around North Salem NY, so not too far from the city, but certainly not in horse country either. I am truly interested in becoming an exercise rider. Right now it’s more of a side hustle to potential full time job aspirations because I am currently working at an equine hospital and trying to firm up some solid (non race horse related) connections there as well. Upper body strength? That is not what I expected to hear! I guess I’ll have to change my gym routine, or start playing polo or something! Let me know if you have any ideas for me 🙂 Thanks! -Cat

  178. avatar


    1. Met with a beautiful, 38 year old former model who started a spa and salon and her own line of beauty products after selling a successful modeling agency. She literally grew up eating ketchup and bread and is now worth many millions of dollars. She spent an entire afternoon talking with me about her journey, and at the end she agreed to let me consult with her on her first online product launch. VICTORY. We also scheduled a date! DOUBLE VICTORY!

    2. Met with an attorney who did exactly what I want to do: He started with almost nothing and turned it into a lot of wealth. He also has too much work to handle himself but not enough to hire another attorney (he’s a solo guy). After an hour meeting, he agreed to let me use an office (a REALLY NICE office) in his building in exchange for a few hours per week of contract work, and he agreed to consult with me on getting my own law firm started. VICTORY!

    3. Had a two hour telephone conference with an attorney in Texas who operates in a very specific niche that is largely based online, which allows him to travel all the time and spend multiple months in Europe, Central America, etc. I told him that I want to learn exactly what he has done so I can replicate it. I even offered to work for him for free. He asked about my strengths, and I told him that I am a good writer. Next thing I knew he said, “Let’s get started this way: I’ll pay you $250 per month for two great blog posts on my website.” VICTORY!

  179. avatar

    Just came back from my last meeting and the lessons are in:

    1. Challenge by Ramit: Leave your results from the meeting along with ONE specific thing you learned
    1. Answer to Ramit:
    1. Call set up with Carla Thompson: The most powerful asset of any analyst is to evoke a targeted response is to know how to ask questions
    2. Onsite meeting with the founder of uShip to get help for our Young Women’s Roundtable: The service we are providing is a provides a huge benefit to technology companies and their need to attract more women.
    3. Lunch with Niles Patel for insights on being a brick and mortar business owner: Accepted me as his grasshopper and will teach me the way of the Indian business owner.

    Yay! This challenge was awesome. So does the $250 count to take you to coffee when you’re here during SXSW? I know a great place for breakfast tacos.

    2. Challenge by Ramit: Find a creative way to meet with at least one BEFORE WED NIGHT (e.g., take them to coffee/lunch).
    2. Answer to Ramit: 1. Early morning call (we had coffee last Monday regarding the Girls In Tech SXSWi happy hour); 2. Onsite visit to uShip; 3. Sushi happy hour

    3. Challenge by Ramit: Leave your results from the meeting along with ONE specific thing you learned in the comments section of THIS post with the heading “WEEK 2 RESULTS” by WED at Midnight PST.
    3. Answer to Ramit: Be on the lookout. It’s a coming….

  180. avatar
    John PS


    A. Meeting People

    1. Entrepreneur who was featured in a major Newspaper

    Actions: I read an article on an entrepreneur. Found him on LinkedIn and offered to introduce him to a few Private Equity executives I know.

    Results: He responded well to my e-mail. I did what I promised to do.

    Time Taken: 45 minutes

    2. A Legend in the Global Private Equity Scene (Couldn’t find his personal e-mail)

    Actions: Typed a letter (I have bad hand writing), printed and signed 3 copies. Handed the letters directly to receptionists working in his offices (3 different locations). E-mailed the letter to a colleague of his. E-mailed it to the “contact us” e-mail to all the organizations he is associated with.

    Results: Pending

    Time Taken: 4 Hours

    B. Automating Positive Scripts (Very Powerful tool. Thanks Ramit)

    Actions: Prioritised Most Valuable Actions. Broke them down into specific steps. Assigned durations for them.

    Results: Got things Done. (It did hurt)

    Lessons Learnt:
    – Automated Scripts Need to be very very very specific. The more specific, the less you procrastinate.
    – After deciding what needs to be done, make it the first thing you do in the morning.
    Do this before you check your E-mail.

    Time Taken: 1.5 Hrs (For designing the scripts)

    C. Tested Freelancing (home tuition) Fees

    Actions: Raised fees by 50%. Approached 20 potential customers.
    Results: Nobody Responded

    Actions: E-mailed them asking for reasons.
    Results: 4 responses. Price was the major factor.

    Lessons Learnt : Tutoring Market is (almost) perfectly competitive
    Actions: Currently Designing Course to differentiate my service

    Time Taken: N/A

    The $250 and the phone call with you will be greatly appreciated.

    – John P.S.

  181. avatar


    I spent a summer as an exercise rider (the last one before I got too big), and I remember my arms being like jello. Like all riding though, good leg strength is important too. I think Dad put me on horses that pulled like hell to “talk” me out of wanting to ride thoroughbreds.

    If you really want to learn to ride, try spending some time in Kentucky or central Florida. Most farms start breaking in October and send horses off to the track the following summer. You don’t want to start with breaking, so I would suggest spring time. Good luck!

  182. avatar
    Jun Zhang

    Ramit, you’ve taught me that life is all about ACTION ACTION ACTION. Sure, strategizing, planning, visualizing, and all that good stuff is useful– but ACTION is what makes all the crap in your head come to life in reality. It is what takes wonderful ideas and tangibly places them into the world.

    This week’s challenge was slightly difficult. I am a student studying political science and business in college. Interestingly enough, I am also a musician– a hip hop rapper to be specific. I decided to really challenge myself. Because you said GOALS in general, I wanted to select people who would be able to help me in both my dreams of owning an indie record label one day (hence the college education), as well as being signed to a major record label.

    Me being the ambitious mofo that I am, I selected the following three people who could get me closer to my goals: Doug Morris, CEO of Universal Music Group; Scribe, a well known New York rapper; and Wax, a current youtube rap sensation on the verse of getting signed.

    Ramit, this week definitely taught me one thing. Short deadlines force you TO WORK! I immediately realized that if I wanted to make anything happen, I had to do it in 2-3 days. I hoped for at least a phone call. I began by emailing Doug Morris multiple times with my phone number to no avail. I then hit up Scribe and Wax via my personal twitter a few times. I discovered from experience that musicians respond to fans on twitter surprisingly often. However, I should have expected that none would have contacted me back, at least not for a few days.

    I then got my hustle on. Your challenge was to find a “creative” way to get to one of these people. I realized that Doug Morris was unreachable in 2 days, and Wax was all the way in California. I focused on Scribe. I knew that he wasn’t on tour and was currently in the city working on a mixtape. I went on his facebook, and found that we had one mutual friend: a fellow musician I had met in Soho. It turns out that Scribe hosted an open mic night at a local bar every Thursday night, and this musician participates. Who knew? But, I said to myself, what are the chances that he’ll be there on a tuesday night? Well, I said !@#$ it, if I don’t see Scribe, I’ll just hang out in manhattan and have a good time.

    Well, not only was Scribe there, but he had a whole group of musical friends along with them. I was really nervous approaching, but he was such a nice guy and even told me to sit down and relax. I talked with him for maybe 10 minutes, and probably would have stayed longer had I not wanted to intrude on his night out. Results: amazing, was invited to participate in the open mic later that week and met some cool people.

    I learned two things: 1) the reason you make the deadline Wednesday night is to force IMMEDIATE action. If the deadline were Friday night, people would wait until Wednesday to do anything. 2) Scribe told me that, surprisingly, NOBODY will ask him for advice. Everyone’s down to give him due props for making a name in music, but people really don’t realize that those who have made it wish to give back and help the people trying to get to where they are.

  183. avatar
    Julia Mailander

    Week 2 results

    Called my roommates uncle, more to make a concrete move towards getting a new job than anything else. He told me to call his friend, who just happens to be the CEO of a very successful consulting firm. One more phone call later and he has my resume and I am interviewing this week!

    2 phone calls and maybe 15 minutes tops – thanks for giving me the motivation to do so!

  184. avatar

    Week two results:

    Yes, I was among the many who said that I “would” do something, but didn’t actually follow through. Thinking about why, I determined that I needed to simply act immediately, and not worry so much about the precise phrasing of emails, etc.

    Interestingly, I found all of the people I wanted to contact had “draft” emails sitting on my computer. What did I do? A quick scan to make sure I did not have any incomplete sentences, then hit SEND. I also quickly composed an email & reagent request to another colleague on the other side of the country that I have been thinking about emailing for almost TWO YEARS.

    Results: Two meetings about research projects I have been thinking about for months but not moving on, and one more for Tuesday morning. Oh, and for the one I sat on for two years—reply in five minutes & reagent on the way!

    Woo Hoo!

  185. avatar

    The minute I have a solid emergency fund and another solid “I can quit my job and still pay my student loans for a month or two on a rider salary fund” I would move down south. I just have to prepare for that moment, which seems to be a little slow these days. If I get some side hussles here in NY riding, I can put all that money in a fund to move to KY or FL and ride at big farms! Thanks for the advice, sounds like you had a lot of fun 🙂

  186. avatar
    Robyn Perry

    OK, Ramit, about a month ago I made myself into a marketing company: I created a (basic) website, basic (but funny!) business card, and following Ramit’s advice to “find three customers that will pay you for your services” and “get the job by doing the job,” I hammered on my friend, who’s been struggling endlessly with copy for her website, to send it to me. After revising it halfway, I realized the “story” she was telling was going in two directions and tailing off in both! So I chased my friend (who didn’t have time or motivation for a phone call) until I caught up with her on SKYPE. She had a huge mountain of issues she was trying to address, ethical and otherwise (including whether those in the therapeutic community should even advertise their services), so – channeling Ramit – I came up with this idea on the spot to help her break down her competitive advantages into single, identifiable, actionable points: I told her to go down to the Duane Reade on the corner, buy a deck of index cards, and write one sentence or phrase on each card describing ONE THING SHE CAN DO TO HELP A CLIENT. The catch? She has to fill every card.
    Next step: together, we will lay those cards face up all around us, and one by one, put them in order by priority. 1. What’s the most important thing you can do to help someone? 2. What’s the next most important thing? etc.
    From those prioritized cards (e.g., outline), I’ll create the marketing narrative for her business, hopefully in a way that is least painful and confusing for my client!

    LESSON LEARNED: Did I do this for myself? No, damn it! So you got me, Ramit. But I will go down to the Duane Reade and buy a deck of index cards tomorrow. Teaching someone else is the best way to learn yourself. Make the job a game.

  187. avatar


    Like a lot of people, I didn’t leave any results from the first week, but I internalized the message and have been making headway since. For this week, I made some real progress which has been awesome. I identified three people that I know can help me in my goal (which is to leave my job and work at a tech startup this year). I emailed all three, so far with a 66% response rate, and have set up a dinner with one of them so far, a guy who works at a software development startup here in DC.

    The other guy who I haven’t heard back from (although, not surprisingly) is Andrew Warner. I found out that he is speaking at a workshop/meetup here in DC next week, and I went ahead and applied and got into the entrepreneurship group that organized it (in the process opening up the door to a potential 200+ more people in the field that I could meet). As a big fan of his interviews, I sent him an email saying so much, and promising to buy him a beer if he is around after next week’s meetup. If all goes according to plan, I will get the chance to meet one of my big heroes in entrepreneurship!

    One less I learned along the way is just to be unafraid and go for it. In the process of the above challenges, I emailed, got in touch with, called, or met up with close to 10 kids that I haven’t talked to since high school (5+ years ago). Some of them are working at firms like Bain, Blackstone, etc., so they are some great connections to keep up. I realized that by taking the first step you eliminate a lot of the undeserved fear in the first place.

  188. avatar
    zachary wertz

    I’m meeting with a coach tomorrow at the mountain to take a couple laps and discuss training.

    I emailed the Team Summit from the website and asked about how much it would cost for coaching and explained my situation. So I got a response quickly about what my schedule was, so I emailed back that I am free and ride all the time, no work or whatever.

    Then I offered him a free lunch or dinner and he got back to me quickly Now we didn’t get a lunch in but today he texted me that he was busy yesterday and we should get in touch tomorrow 2pm on the hill. He said he can help with training.

  189. avatar


    First Ramit, I must admit, you were right. I looked back at my submission last week and it was littered with what I was “planning” to do.

    “I should”, “I will”, “I plan to” = loser talk

    No one cares about what you’re going to do… what the hell did you do?

    Now to this week’s action:

    #1 – First, I identified THREE people who will get me closer to my goals:

    1) Person A – An active money manager who has raised funds in his life
    2) Person B – A well respected industry professional who makes capital introductions for young hedge fund managers who are raising capital
    3) Person C- An affluent, potential investor who has launched a successful business and has raised capital in the past

    I actually identified six real people to reach out to, the first three were solid contacts which I did contact this week (my test group) and the other three will get my more refined pitch. But since the first three attempts went so well, I don’t plan on waiting.

    #2. Secondly, I did find creative ways to meet (talk) with at least one BEFORE WED NIGHT

    When I first read this post late Tuesday afternoon, I first thought that this would be impossible to get done in time. I almost gave up. Then I realized that this thought was classic loser talk. There is always a way.

    So, I visited Person A’s website and found his PR / media person. I immediately emailed this person and let them know that I am doing research in this field, plan to publish an article on the topic and would like to get an interview from this investor. I mentioned that I had a deadline and since I was in town was readily available for coffee.

    I received a response back in the morning agreeing to the interview. The only catch was that it had to be by phone since Person A was out of town on business. I took it, had a wonderful conversation and have already scheduled a follow up coffee chat when Person A is back in town. Success!

    Bonus – Since, I get paid for freelance articles, I have already arranged with the online publication I write for to purchase my writeup of the interview. So I’ll actually get paid for completing this week’s task … double success!!

    #2b. Success is addictive. I looked up Person B’s website and notice that this person will be at an industry conference next week. Since I write for an online publication that would value insights from this event, I called the conference organizer and arranged for a press pass. Then I called Person B’s office and let them know that I will be at this upcoming conference and would like to sit for coffee and talk when we are there. Not only did I get an “yes”, but I also got to chat with Person B for a bit on the phone.

    #2c. I emailed Person C (they actually founded the company I work for) and offered to take Person C to coffee at Person C’s earliest convenience. The best they could do was next week. It’s not Wednesday night, but I took it!

    Testing Bonus – While I didn’t have a lot of time to do much testing, I did draft three different versions of the email I sent to Person A’s PR rep and asked my girlfriend which one she would most likely respond to. I used the one she selected, so I guess she was right!

    Ramit, keep up the name calling. Honestly. We need it. When you call someone a “loser”, they have three choices:

    a) ignore it
    b) post and complain about it
    c) prove to yourself (not Ramit) that you’re a winner

    The funny thing is that the people who choose (a) and (b) prove your point. The ones who choose ( c ) and achieve it, then understand totally what you meant and appreciate you for the kick in the pants.

  190. avatar
    Mark W.

    I identified my manager as one of five people that could help me get closer to my goals this year. He is consistently successful with his own production and is someone I admire and aspire to. Since we had a coffee meeting last week, I decided to just walk into his office and tell him that I’ve been making my prospecting calls to referral sources and potential clients (sorry, Ramit, if I didn’t mention you yet, but I do acknowledge that you have kicked me in the ass with the Year of the Hustle). I didn’t have any intention other than to inform him that I’m ready for a big year of production (sales) and that I’ve started making my calls. He then looked at my production from last year and told me that I’m a good candidate to be on a winning sales team (I had forgotten he asked everyone to “team-up” for a sales contest which can include any of the managers). Later, while I was on your webinar, he stopped by my desk and told me he wants me to be on his team. I told him that I’ll be a constant reminder to him to make those calls and I expect him and the rest of the team to do the same for me. He accepted. I now have three highly successful sales agents lined up on my team who are motivated to support me to be productive and I have my automated triggers lined up with them to support me as constant reminders to do the right things and stay focused on the productive activities over the next three months.
    Learned that it takes a short, simple conversation with the right person (someone with a proven track record and desire to support you to be successful) to build a supportive environment for results and success.

  191. avatar
    David Kassa


    Hi Ramit,

    I’ve been thinking about meeting with a few people about my goals for the last couple of weeks. This post motivated me to actually do it. Even though my initial response was “It’s my birthday — I won’t have time THIS week”, I found the time.

    I identified 3 people:
    1) Somebody that had a failed startup similar to one that I’m exploring
    2) The leader of a local entrepreneur group
    3) A peer that is a couple of months ahead of me developing and marketing a startup

    And the results:
    1) This was the meeting I was most excited about. I wasn’t able to get a meeting by the deadline, but I have a lunch meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
    2) I just heard back from this person and I’ve been invited to discuss my goals with the group.
    3) I met with this individual for dinner tonight! I was encouraged to move forward with my startup exploration and research and we discussed a few potential pivot points if my initial plan doesn’t work out.

    I learned that there are quite a few people that are willing to provide their time and good advice to me for the cost of a meal. And that just asking is the key to getting that time and advice.


  192. avatar
    Chris Clark

    So I missed tonights webinar (sadly) because I was out having drinks with one of my contacts from this weeks assignment. He told me I could negotiate at least a 25% higher rate with a company I’ve been talking too.

    Contact #2 has a job interview set up for me this
    week, with ” huge upside.”

    Contact #3 friendly advice and a promise to “keep an eye out.”

    Unbelievable week!

  193. avatar
    Don V


    My long-term goal is to become a freelance project manager, specifically for Drupal, a CMS used by many sites. One of my ways of increasing my visibility in the Drupal PM space was to create a website that acts as a repository of best practices and processes from other Drupal PMs. This way, I can contribute to the community while building my portfolio.

    I had to give that backstory to answer the three questions:
    One of the ways to provide content to the site and to learn is to ask others how they manage their various Drupal projects. I identified many different companies and project managers and have sent e-mails to three of them. It’s not creative but it worked as I have an appointment with one next week and have exchanged questions with another who is tied up for the next couple of weeks.

    Therefore, by the rules set out here, I have failed this exercise since I did not meet anyone by Wednesday. However, for the purposes of the long-term goal, this was a huge success, pending the outcome of the meetings, and I have more people to contact still.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Ramit.

  194. avatar


    Identify someone who’s started an interesting business
    doing something that you admire
    and take them to lunch (read: drill him/her/it).

    As I’m on the other side of the sea,
    I found a creative way to possibly meet-if you will – THE EMAIL. 😉
    I challenged myself to get 3 digital entrapanures
    that can help me get closer to my goals in 2011 to replay my email.

    Results: by now, only one replayed; chris guillebeau, NICE.
    I learned that Chris thinks my idea (1kOS) sounds fun,
    he certainly wish me well with it,
    and that it’s the kind of thing (my idea)
    where the vast majority of his group doesn’t have this problem,
    hence they are not my prospects!
    (I’m still “hoping for the other replays)

    The Big Bang, THE survey.
    This made my hart beet like a jungle drum…rakatum kutum
    and it was worth every second of my life.

    (this was posted in a forum where the “big” kids play!!)

    Me asking for this is WILD! I’ve come a long way.
    The unbelievable happened, (Drum roll please) and I got “HIT” by an idea,
    I created a survey and was wondering if you’ll be willing to:
    Take it (if relevant), and/or forward/RT/FB.
    Posting here makes me feel uncomfortable.
    Pushing outside my comfort zone is the entire point.
    I got GREAT feedback from the big kids!!! Really, Sweeeet…

    Question: how do I analyze the results of the survey to determent if my idea is the ONE? (anyone knows?)

    Thanks you Ramit.

  195. avatar


    -Had 1.5 hour conversation with former colleague. We have different areas of specialty but in same industry so we often consult each other. Asked why he had recruited me years ago to better understand how I was perceived by other professionals in my field. He is candid so I knew I would hear both the positives and negatives. I had been wanting to discuss this with him but had not gotten off my butt to actually do it.

    -Have phone conversation scheduled with a former boss to catch up and discuss possibility of working together again. He is an amazing entrepeneur who I admire both for creativity/research smarts and business acumen and with whom I’d really like work again. Again, this is someone who I have wanted to talk to for a while now


    -Patience is as important as action. I really, really, really want to win that 15 minute call with Ramit but rushing the second contact listed would have been interrupting his vacation. I know how much this person values his time off and it was a matter of respecting his lifestyle. Even if it meant that the best shot at an exciting conversation was not going to happen until after the deadline. I didn’t want it to be about winning a contest.

    -When I actually do something that I have been resistant or afraid of doing, it has never been as bad as I ambiguously feared it would be, if anything it has been both positive and even if it doesn’t go as well as hoped, it is a relief to have done it and learned from it. The things that intimidate me have changed over the years as I confront various fears.

    -Reading the choices I knew immediately that if by freak chance I won I would choose the conversation with Ramit, I can earn $250 to take people to lunch and coffee anytime, 15 minutes of Ramit wisdom if I were to be so fortunate would earn me significantly more. The value is much higher.

  196. avatar

    I thought the To Do List was pretty hefty (Meet someone by this Wed? Unless I read that wrong…) but I did email 4 people asking to meet with them for career advice, since they are all work in the field I want to work in. Right now my job is just a paycheck, and it bugged me to no end that I missed the webinar because of it. It’s another reminder that I have to find a new one. On the plus side, I got 2 yes responses already, 2 haven’t responded yet. Way better than not sending them at all, I gotta say!

  197. avatar


    1. I identified 3 people who could help me get closer to my goals in 2011. Two are successful entrepreneurs and one is the head of a local angel investment group.

    2. To find a way to contact them, I started early. To reach the entrepreneurs, I emailed the founders of two of the companies that this guy, “Dave”, mentors. I spoke with them a little bit via email and actually took one out to coffee. At the end of our get together, I casually asked him if he knew of anyone that he thought I should talk to, and he mentioned Dave. Bingo. He then gave me Dave’s contact information, set up an introduction, and I got lunch with him!

    As for the head of the angel group, I sent five personalized emails to six founders of her successful portfolio companies and briefly mentioned what I was doing. I heard back from 2 of them, and 1 offered to connect us, so I was introduced to her that way. I have not yet gotten lunch with her, but over a quick phone call she mentioned that she would like to have me come in and pitch my business to her angel group in March! She also set me up with two guys who had started successful companies who will be helping me craft my pitch. I honestly can’t believe how well this worked out.

    3. What I learned: In a business sense, I learned a ton from lunch with Dave. He told me about what caused his company to fail and showed me why my approach to entering the market would probably not work. I also learned a lot from him about what investors are looking for in a business opportunity, since he himself had been investing for about 10 years now.
    What I learned from the exercise in general is to start small. Based on how hard it was to get a meeting with these individuals, I don’t think there is any way that I would have gotten to speak with them had I just sent them a cold, unsolicited email. I could have hustled and offered to buy them things (like Noah Kagan), but even then I think I definitely preferred the warm-introduction approach. I think it also helped that I was sincerely interested in getting to know these people, even the founders of the companies I initially emailed. As a side benefit, I was also asked to come in next week to discuss a possible internship with one of the founders I cold emailed! But basically I learned that a warm introduction is best, and that being sincere is the best way to deal with things like this.

  198. avatar
    Aatash Parikh


    So I was not able to finalize a meeting before tonight. But I do have positive results and a scheduled meeting. I emailed 4 people that would give great advice in regards to two of my passions & career goals: 2 filmmakers and 2 entrepreneurs (actually, you & Noah).

    Everyone responded except 1 of the 2 filmmakers. You told me you were out of town. Noah I didn’t realize lives in Austin, but he emailed me back, and I’ll say more about that soon. And one of the filmmakers, who is an established freelance filmmaker in SF (he also made Tim Ferriss’ book commercial), I’m having coffee with Friday evening.

    The one thing I learned is from Noah. When I told him some of my entrepreneurial desires, he responded with “What are you going to do to fulfill those desires this week?”. I realized that even though my goals were seemingly for some point in the future, there were things (that I had already been thinking about) that I could do now, this week, that would bring me concretely closer to that future.

    Additionally, he actually helped me complete the first step on a project that I’m working on. And that pushed me greatly to start doing a lot more on my own for that project, and I’ve done in the last 2 days what probably would have taken me a month otherwise. Aligned with what was mentioned in your talk with BJ Fogg today – small steps build a lot of momentum.

    Thank you for helping me take action.

  199. avatar


    On tuesday I wrote down 5 people that I found fascinating and wanted to meet. One of them is a local entrepreneur who have done some really amazing things. Along with that I find his philosophy very like the one I’m trying to adopt (that is, he’s done what I want to do) so I definitely wanted to meet him.

    Now I’ve noticed that giving first is a good start so I decided to test something, the “just a heads up” following an engaging question about his/her business/philosophy. Because I’m quite web savvy it comes naturally to suggest improvements and provide solutions to technical problems. People are often very grateful because they might often love the web but hate the tech.

    This time I simply pointed out some bugs in a newly released project of his and followed up with some other stuff. After a few emails he asks if I want to grab a lunch on friday? Sure! Then he emails me today that it’s on him as well!

    One thing I learned is that I often make up worst case-scenarios in my head when waiting for a reply when in fact this is just another negative script. I’m not sure what the best way would be to get rid of this but I’ll try to break it down (why am I often expecting the worst?). I’m thinking it’s often a defense mechanism so that while I’m waiting i’m trying to create a rescue plan _just in case_. This is nuts.

    Any tips on getting rid of this script is highly appreciated!
    Any tips

  200. avatar
    Justin L

    So the person I asked to lunch spends her time between Boston and NYC, and meeting this week was a physical impossibility but she was very flattered that I asked and willing to do so when she’s back in town.

    More interestingly, I attended a course about managing your career put on by my company, and the HR rep said that the higher up folks in the company find it strange that people don’t really network within the company. The VPs and all those folks expect to be asked out to lunch or whatever, but it never happens. Definitely going to take advantage of this info.

  201. avatar
    Rob Gonzalez

    Hustle Story:
    My last name is Gonzalez. My dad’s Cuban, and his family all speak perfect Spanish (clearly). My sister married a Columbian guy and lived in Costa Rica, so she’s fluent. I speak some Spanish but am nothing like fluent, and every year I say I’m going to take lessons but I don’t.

    This time, I set a goal of being conversational by Memorial Day weekend (I’ll be in Bogota for a wedding).

    On Monday I contacted a Spanish tutor who’s name I found on a tear sheet in a cafe. I met him for coffee, and he’s agreed to set me up with a personalized lesson plan to meet my goal. We met for our first official class the next day (Wednesday) and have a schedule to meet at least twice a week through May.

    Ramit: you have a way of getting a guy off his ass and onto the field.

  202. avatar

    Week 2 results:

    Well, I didn’t meet with anyone by Wed night, but I have one face to face and one phone meeting setup on Saturday AND I took crazy action (for me) – I am looking for work in Portland (I’m in LA), and instead of just doing my job search by internet and phone, I just booked a plane ticket for February to be up there for a week to meet face to face with employers and people I can network with to find work in the future. It makes me nervous just saying it, cause I’m not that person, but I did it, and now the spent money is a HUGE motivator to set up face to face meetings

  203. avatar
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  204. avatar

    Wow, I test the “What do you do” line all the time. If I’m interested in a person and want to make a conversation I respond by saying “I work on Computers”. It intrigues them and they ask more follow-up questions. Sometimes they even ask if I can help them with their computer-related problems. However, if I’m not in a mood to converse then I simply say “I’m a programmer.” It ends it right there. Guys don’t want to engage in conversations with a geek-girl and girls feel a little intimidated anyways.

  205. avatar

    WEEK 2 RESULTS. Mexico

    Ok, I have take action. I Launch a complete course on internet in just 5 days (as I compromise in my last post).

    When I satarted I didn’t know how. But I learned fast how to upload a web page and track all the people who click in from an email.

    I choose a Theme “WW2 spies”, so I called the course (that is actually about markeing) “Underground Forbidden Conspiracy”. The prospects engage in a multi-step process-game and learn 10 principles during the first 10 days. All this is FREE. Then I ask a voluntary donation to continue receibing more information. I want 100 attendees,,, but the fact is that even 1 is better that what I have got until now.

    In the first 3 days I get 150 interested persons (just make clik in a link).

    Tomorrow (Friday) is the official launch. Although the course is not ready, I will start… and then I will write it as we move forward.

    My Assumption was: “I can launch a complete course, from zero, in 5 days”. And I launced it. Assumption tested.

    Next week I’ll inform you on the response of the people.

    Excuse my spelling, I’m not an english native language.

  206. avatar
    Sue Chop

    Actual profession: Chief of Legall in a billion dollar company. Degree from a top 10 US law school. State Supreme Court internship.English is not my native language, nor is German or French.

    If I like you: Professional copy writer. [My initials grace docs worth upside of USD 2bn produced in four-copy sets :P]

    If I really, really like you: US-trained circus juggler, ropewalker, and if the guy who usually does is sick, I put my head in the lion’s head. [You really gotta multi-task and occasionally cover for your boss at those high level corporate jobs.]

    I have been down with bronchitis + at home recovering, however, I already set up two lunch meetings for next week for the non-profit web portal that I will get off the ground this year.

  207. avatar


    Ok, so I am a little slow on the uptake, I admit, but I finally read this post today and here’s where I have gotten so far.

    I decided to take the challenge to see who I could contact. My idols are Julie Taymor and Matthew Bourne, and I’ve been trying to think almost like 6 degrees of separation – who do I know who could get me closer to them? I tried to do the Tim Ferriss thing and find ways to contact those celebrities. It’s harder to get Mr. Bourne’s information since he’s in the UK, but Julie Taymor might be possible.

    I have it in my head now after reading these posts that if I can get in in touch with New Adventures or Matthew Bourne, I might even be able to do a Fulbright or something with his company.

    Anyway, I started thinking “I’m sure I know somone who knows someone…” My fiance introduced me last year to an award-winning Broadway director whose show we saw (won Obie awards, etc.) and I’ve been emailing her off and on for the past year. She knows many people in the industry and has work with NYC Ballet and tons of famous directors. I have wanted to intern with her since we saw her show last year.

    I reached out to her again. Her FB says “traveling” but I sent her an email anyway saying when she gets back from her travels I would love to take her to lunch or coffee and see if I could assist with her current projects. She emailed me back RIGHT AWAY and said “Early February would be great. Keep contacting me and we will get it set up. Looking forward to seeing your piece!” It’s not by this or next Wednesday but it’s the most promising response I’ve gotten so far!

    I have also emailed 2 more mid-level female choreographers I have been trying to set up meetings with and am waiting to hear back.

    I’m still combing my address book, FB, and my friends’ friends, but that is what I have so far! More to come!

  208. avatar

    The women are just worried that you’ll follow up the astrophysicist line with one that involves checking out “Uranus”.

  209. avatar
    zachary wertz

    Week 2 results:

    I forgot to put “week 2..” in my previous post, this is a update on my meeting with the snowboard coach. We met at the mountain today and I bought a big pizza for us all 20 bucks, mountain prices are high!

    My reward, the coach gave me one on one feedback for a hour and half lucky that she was free and willing. We have another meeting on Tuesday to practice half-pipe along with the summit (her) team.

  210. avatar

    Wrote down the challenge.
    Wrote down my people.
    Wrote down my answers / how to contact them.
    actual action? none. But I did see one of them tonight and mentioned getting together to him. Maybe tomorrow I’ll contact the other two. Better late than never counts for something right?

  211. avatar
    Joe A

    Bar Conversation Testing:

    I decided to take your advice and change up my answers to questions when meeting people and see how it went. Results were surprising:

    What do you do?
    Originally: I’m a teacher.
    Response: Along the lines of “Oh, really that’s nice. Where do you teach?”
    Now: I’m the BEST teacher in Bogota (where I teach)
    Response: Laughs, “Why best teacher?”

    Why did you come to Colombia?
    Originally: To travel and live in another country.
    Response: “Cool. Why travel?” or whatever
    Now: For the women.
    Response: Incredulous laughs about 80% of the time. Scowls and shaking heads (but usually still smiling) about 20% of the time.

    I was surprised how entertaining these answers seemed

  212. avatar
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  216. avatar

    I have the same problem, I believe no one likes lawyers until they need one (of course) so I never really know how to introduce myself.

    I was reading the tips that Dave left but honestly that wouldn’t work for me, I work as a defense attorney. If the fact that I’m a lawyer is intimidating well that’s nothing compared to when I tell them exactly what my chosen field is.

    My specialty? drug related cases (consuming, possesion and minor selling) yeah not really something you like to mention, unless you are ready to be scorned as the “jackass who help “that people” run free” (that is an almost textual answer I got one day)

    Then I read Rusty’s comment and thing went from bad to worse…

    What was the drive for you to go to law school? I love to argue about everything and anything under the sun, money and the fact that I had a secure job even before I started my career. Nothing really inspiring to talk about, no glamoured or romaticized vision of life, about wanting “to help” or “fight the unjust system”.

    If you chose a firm to work with, why? I didn’t chose it, my father owns it and he expects me to direct it some day, family legacy and all that.

    So if you solved your problem and you can I would love to get a few tips…

  217. avatar

    I have been trying to meet with the Ambassador for several months. His secretary had given me several reasons why it was not possible. This evening he was hosting a cocktail. I attended and was able to introduce myself in person and speak to him about my book, he was interested and he introduced me to the head of Education. I am meeting the head of Education Thursday morning in his office.

    I learned if you want it enough no cocktail invite is needed to make it happen.

  218. avatar

    1) $250 to take people to coffee to help accelerate you towards your goals in 2011

  219. avatar
    LJ Sedgwick

    Yeah, I find if I tell people I teach graphic design, they ask if I’ll design something for them (“It won’t take long, it’s only something small…”).

    If I tell them I teach advertising (which I also do), they make the sign of the cross at me.

    If I tell him I’m a writer, they ask what I write, and then get sniffy because it’s not ‘literary’.

    If I tell them I’m a blogger, they ask what a blog is.

    It’s one of the most boring conversation starters, after “Cold weather we’re having, huh?”

  220. avatar
    Chantell Glenville

    Hahahaha I love the bar game on saying you’re a writer vs. author. I’m an author too but haven’t played around with that one yet. I’m definitely now going to see how much fun I can have with it next time someone asks me “What do you write about?”. So much fun to now be had.

    Thanks for the great post.

  221. avatar

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