Win Win Win

Ramit Sethi

A few years ago, a reporter from Fortune Magazine followed me around for several months and wrote a 6-page profile on me. (If you’re curious, you can find that profile here.)

How did this happen? Why did a national reporter decide to write a massive article in Fortune Magazine about me? Was it my dashing good looks? My charming repartee? The contours of my irresistible smile?

The answer is no. Hell no.

Here’s the back story.

At the time, there was a conference coming up called FINCON, the personal finance blogger conference. This is an event where people go to take body shots off bikini models wearing whipped cream, stuff like that.

Anyway, I knew I was going to be a speaker, and I was flattered.

But the magic in real success comes from knowing how to use LEVERAGE to multiply your successes.

Most people: “I’m so happy I’m speaking. I better not screw this up.”
Top performer: “How do I spend the extra 2 hours to make this 10x more meaningful? HOLLA”

This is what I did. I reached out to a bunch of journalists I knew and sent this exact email:

Hey (name),

It’s Ramit from

Not sure if this is up your alley, but I thought I’d run it past you.

There’s a Financial Blogger Conference on 9/30-10/2 in Chicago. I’m not associated with the conference — I’m just a speaker — but it could be great for a story on how these bloggers have more readers than many of the major money magazines…and are mostly under the radar. More Americans are getting their advice from these bloggers, and all the big ones will be there — many of whom have turned their advice into big business.

If you’re interested, let me know and I can get you hooked up with interviews and a ticket.


Notice how I:

  • Did NOT promote myself: This was all about promoting the conference and getting exposure for everyone at the event. I knew that since I was a speaker, they would naturally see me. No need to be pushy. I could just be chill about it
  • Offered real value: I shared a new potential story and even offered to get them a ticket
  • Offered real value to my friends: The bloggers would love to know a national journalist was coming. And the FINCON organizer loved me for it (I checked with him before making the offer)



This is called leverage: taking something you’re already doing, spending a little more time, and multiplying the results dramatically.

Leverage is completely different than what most people do, which is to take something that’s not working and try even HARDER to make it work.

For example:

“I’ve posted my resume on and I’m not getting any offers…oh I know, I’ll send out 500 more resumes! That’ll get em!” (Bad strategy)

“I’m not losing any weight running on this here treadmill…so I guess I know what I need to do! Run more!” (Guilt/beating ourselves up)

“Ok, THIS YEAR I’m really going to work for myself. SERIOUSLY! It’s all about finding an idea…ya, this year I’m gonna do it.” (Temporal delusion + no plan = failure)

I turned to the ancient Greek world for guidance. Achlys, goddess of misery and sadness, shares her eternal words on the subject:

“I beseech you, heed my painful words: Do not go gentle into that good night also WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER??”

If something isn’t working, don’t try harder or do more. Do something different.

Doing “more” doesn’t always mean longer hours or extra sweat (though god knows Americans could work a little harder). It’s also about working smarter.

Here is a terrific example of leverage:

“Taking the kids to the gym is probably where I gain the most leverage of the day because it’s a kill three birds with one stone, triple-jump move. The reason this works is that the gym I go to is five minutes away, is state of art and has a giant, first-class day care center with a ton of kids (ages 6 months to 13 years) having a blast.

My kids love it because it’s awesome fun for them, I love it because I get to work out and play basketball every day, and my wife loves it because she gets about a two to two and half hour break to regain her sanity. When we get home the kids have burned off that end of day energy (a huge win), my wife is back to her normal, happy self and I’m completely rejuvenated so that I’m able to get some more work done in the evening if necessary.”


Again, the key insight here is leverage. You take something you’re already doing…and make it more POWERFUL. You amplify it. Multiply it.

Let’s apply this concept to you:

You’re already cooking. What if you could add 30% more ingredients and make 3x the meals for the rest of the week?

You’re already reading a book. What if you could read faster and remember more?

You’re already spending your time doing random tasks — laundry, email, cleaning your kitchen counters. What if you could eliminate (or outsource) the low-value tasks and free up your time to focus on higher-value items?

And now…let me show you another example of how I used leverage to get MORE. This time, a lot more.

How I eliminated 35 hours per week, generated over $1mm, and saved my sanity

Yesterday, I mentioned how I was trying to do too much. Hundreds of emails…50+ pings a day from my coworkers, building new products, and on and on.

I needed time to step back and think about the big picture of IWT, not sit around and write 50 more emails. Doing more of the same would keep me stagnant, like some poor sucker treading water.

The thought of doing the same thing over and over is one of the most painful, mind-numbing things in life. It’s like Groundhog Day — only real. Even worse, I was too busy doing “busy work” that I couldn’t even spend an hour a week on the things that really mattered. Who wants to live like that?

BAD OPTION: “Try harder.” I could made incremental progress by getting some new keyboard macro, new productivity software, or some new gadget. None of it would have made much of a difference.

GOOD OPTION — WHAT I DID: I took a step back and realized I couldn’t just make incremental improvements. No, at a certain point, you have to change something BIG.

I knew:

  • There were other people who had had this exact problem, and had solved it, so it was solvable. As my friend Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figureoutable”
  • I had to make some hard decisions and change my mentality and behavior.
  • This was non-negotiable. I couldn’t delay any more, and I couldn’t go on like this.

I decided to start by setting aside a half-day, every Wednesday, for “strategy time.” I had a list of big questions I needed time to think about, like where are we going? What kind of new technology should we develop? Who should we hire? Etc.

And my goal was to eventually take every Wednesday away — the entire day — to think about the big picture.

I knew that one big picture idea could be worth more than 100 emails I wrote.

It started off rocky, with lots of interruptions. But eventually — months and months later — I was able to solidify a full Wednesday away every single week. Here, take a look:

ramit_calendar_wed_blogBad, better, GREAT. By the way, “DND” = Do Not Disturb


This was a massive change for me and the IWT business. When I set these boundaries, I was able to take a step back and focus on the important vs. the urgent. This wasn’t easy — it took a long time — but soon, I realized that the things I’d been holding onto (“I must answer every single email”) just weren’t true. This was the kickstart that allowed me to get better at management, delegation, and scale.

If you guys are interested, I’ll send you some IWT revenue charts later, but here’s one direct result of this time: I was sitting on my couch one Wednesday afternoon, reading a business book, and I suddenly got an idea that matched up with 2 pages of notes I’d taken.

It was the idea that we turned into a course that has now generated millions of dollars of revenue. I never would have been able to put the pieces together if I didn’t have dedicated time.

Do you see how this was leverage? I was already spending my time on my online business. I decided to spend my time on higher-value items, and the results were powerful.

You could do the same thing. We’re all browsing around every day…reading blog after blog, watching friends on vacation on Facebook. What if we actually took that same time and put our focus towards something that would build an asset for us, year after year…automatically?

I’ve done it. I’ve taught it to thousands of people, and they’re seeing results.

Now it’s time to talk about you.

Guys, this is about the year of MORE. More time to think big. More time to set aside attention to see the people you care about. More time for success and FUN.

It doesn’t mean you have to set aside that full day. Most people have full-time jobs where they can’t get away for a full day.

Or can you?

The Big Win most of us haven’t considered

I’ve previously written about the importance of pursuing the Big Wins in life. This concept allows you to never worry about lattes or diet cokes, and instead focus on the things that really matter.

In fact, I’ve even laid them out over the past 10 years by urging you to tackle each of these:

  • Automate finances
  • Start investing early
  • Improve your credit score
  • Land your Dream Job
  • Negotiate a raise
  • Earn money on the side
  • Negotiate your rent

If you haven’t done those, refer to my site for tons and tons of material on how to tackle each of those.

But since 2015 is the year of MORE, I want to include another Big Win that’s not on that list:

Start an online business.

This Big Win has been the biggest in my life.

An online business isn’t just about the money.

An online business is about the freedom and flexibility. For example, only with an online business could I take Wednesdays off, then come up with an idea worth a million bucks and still hit the gym that afternoon. BOOM

An online business let me work from my home office. If I want to work early in the morning, or late at night — or not at all and just take a day off — I do it.

An online business lets me take my knowledge, my experiences, my skills and passions…and share them with the world. Not just 1-2 people, or clients where I have to show up every day to earn a check. I can write something once, and benefit FOREVER.

And one more thing.

I’m not some internet genius. I learned the same way as anyone else, through a lot of trial and error.


The wayback machine never forgets 🙁


The beauty is, when this works, it really works. You don’t have to trade time for money. You can create once and profit forever — and your readers will benefit forever, too.

Look, there are plenty of ways you can get MORE this year.

I’m in the fortunate position of being able to try multiple approaches and show you the very best. Nothing else — just what works.

You know if you use my material on negotiating fees (or negotiating salary) that they work. Because tens of thousands of other people have used them.

Same for starting an online business. It’s not just me, but the thousands of students who have put my material to practice. I’ll show you their stories soon, too.

This year is about MORE. I want to help you get more freedom, more flexibility, more success, and more FUN. And I’m going to start by showing you the surprises behind starting an online business.

This is the stuff others won’t tell you.

To start, I want to hear from you. Tell me your questions about starting an online business, and tell me specifically what you’d like to see from me.

I’ll write you back soon with my answers.

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