The Ultimate Guide to Making Money

By reading this Ultimate Guide you’re already taking the first steps on your journey to a Rich Life. This is only an introduction to the ideas and material you’ll find inside IWT.

I started this site in 2004 while I was studying technology and psychology at Stanford. I’ve spent the time since testing and honing my Rich Life systems on thousands of successful students.

At IWT you’ll Learn:

Buy all the lattes you want!

A $5 coffee is not going to change your financial life. But learning how to automatically invest, how to select the right asset allocation, and how to negotiate a $15,000 raise will. I believe in asking $30,000 questions, not $3 questions.

Your Rich Life is yours

A Rich Life can be picking up your kids everyday from school. Or buying a $1,000 cashmere sweater. It can be buying a round of drinks for your friends, or traveling for 8 weeks per year. You decide. Your Rich Life is yours. (Here are some of my Money Rules.)

There’s a limit to how much you can cut, but no limit to how much you can earn

I have readers who earn $50,000/year and ones who earn $750,000/year. We’ve helped tens of thousands of people earn more money by negotiating their salaries, investing, and starting businesses.

Spend extravagantly on the things you love, as long as you cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t

I don’t believe in cutting back on lattes. In fact, I want you to spend more on the things you love. What if you could double your spending on travel, or eating out, convenience, or charity? I call those Money Dials and I’ll show you how.

The 85% Solution

Getting started is more important than becoming an expert. You don’t need to be perfect to take control of your money. It’s OK to make mistakes. Get 85% of the way there and move on with your life.

Investing should be very boring

And very profitable—over the long term. I get more excited eating tacos than checking my investment returns.

Money is political

You can simultaneously acknowledge personal responsibility and real systemic problems. This is a core part of the I Will Teach You To Be Rich philosophy. Housing is political. Healthcare is political. Voting rights are political. If you’re looking for bland tips on cutting coupons, this site is not for you.

I consider it a tragedy to live a smaller life than you have to

So many of us have been raised to believe that money is something to be scared of. We use phrases like “I’m not good with money” or “Money changes people.” Yes, money does change people. Money allowed me to dream bigger, to be more generous, and to be more adventurous. It can do the same for you.

A Rich Life is lived outside the spreadsheet

What’s the point of all this saving and investing if you’re simply going to wait until you’re 80 to live? No thanks. I believe that once you’ve set up your finances, you’ll see that the most important part of a Rich Life is outside the spreadsheet—it involves relationships, new experiences, and giving back. You earned it.

Welcome to your Rich Life journey, I’m excited to see what you do next!

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Do you want more from life — more money, more freedom, more security, and more time for the activities you love?

If you’re like me, hearing another expert tell you to save a few bucks by cutting back on lattes makes you want to jump out of a window. Please, stop with the frugality. Is saving a few bucks really going to change your life?

NO!

While you’re scrimping on the things you love, you see other people enjoying the financial freedom to do the things they love… and they never have to choose between paying bills, automatically saving for their future, or living a Rich Life. If you’re ready to stop saying “no…no…no” and start living the life you want, you need to embrace this financial truth:

You can spend hours a week clipping coupons to save a few bucks…

…or you can negotiate ONE raise at your job that pays you thousands more a year for the rest of your life.

You can switch from two-ply to one-ply to save a few pennies…or you can use skills you already have to start making $1,000 a month on the side (or more). Yes, making money is only one part of living a Rich Life, but it can help us do things we love and free us up to pursue our dreams.

I’ve spent over 10,000 hours and a million dollars discovering and refining the three best strategies for making extra money — and I’m going to walk you through them in this guide.

How to get the life you deserve

Some of us know we deserve a raise, but we don’t know how to ask for the money we should be getting, and we’re terrified of being shot down by the same boss who gives us our paycheck. If that’s you, I’ll show you exactly how to deal with fear and intimidation, and exactly what to say so your boss is excited to pay you more.

Want to diversify your income and make extra money on the side? I’ll guide you through the process, even if you don’t know how to start. Whether you have hundreds of ideas and don’t know which ones people will pay for — or have no ideas at all.

Do you dream of starting an online business and making money even when you aren’t working? I’ve launched almost a dozen successful products, and I would’ve given anything to have access to the strategies and secrets you’re going to learn now.

I’m happy to share some of the systems I spent over a million dollars developing so you can make more money — and slash your workload, save months or years of frustration, and skyrocket your success — much faster than you’d imagine. For FREE. Why? I give away 98% of my material, and I know that by helping you achieve Big Wins and making my free material better than anyone else’s paid products, you’ll join thousands of other readers who’ve gained so much that they became students for life.

What is this guide for?

1. Getting A Raise

If you want to ask for a raise and get paid what you deserve, I’ll reveal the strategies thousands of students have used to boost their income for life.

2. Making Extra Money

If you’d like to make more money on the side or online — but don’t know where to start — this guide is for you.

3. Building Your Income

If you’d like to build your income using skills you already have, I can help you get there.

Chang Your Psychology for Easier Success

My team and I have spent over 10 years refining our money-making systems so you can get results faster. It won’t happen overnight, and it will take work (never trust someone who promises instant results without work)… but you’ll have the exact roadmap so you can quickly join thousands of students who’ve used my systems to learn how to make more money, get more freedom, and more fun for the rest of their lives.

How to develop a money mindset

I’ve never felt more invigorated and alive than I feel right now. And it’s not because I’m doing well financially (although that helps). It’s because I’ve made my living by helping other people earn more money, share their passions, and learn how to achieve mastery.

And it all started when I freed myself from the shackles of frugality.

How to get the life you deserve

Have you ever read a frugal living blog? Some of these people spend hours making their own laundry detergent and cutting coupons to save $10, maybe $20. They aren’t interested in making more money because they’ve found hundreds of ways to chip away at their “excess” spending.

People who live frugally will wait 5 months to check out a movie from the library so they can save a few bucks versus going to the theater. They pass up seeing the movie on opening night with their friends, then yell when their friends accidentally tell them a spoiler. Half a year later, they mention the movie over drinks. Crickets.

How Frugal People Behave

Going out to eat?

They recommend you skip the appetizer at your favorite restaurant, even though you’ve been salivating at the thought of that dish for days or weeks. You could put that money into your 401(k) instead.

At a bar with friends?

Say no to another round of drinks, they tell you. You shouldn’t even order a second drink — don’t you know they cost less money at home? And forget about buying a round for your friends and hanging out ‘til the bar closes, then taking a cab to the after party.

Is your house an Easy Bake Oven during the summer?

It’s not 90 degrees inside — yet. So make sure you carry the fan with you when you switch rooms because the air conditioning shouldn’t come on until there’s a heat alert.

Going shopping?

Spend half your Saturday driving around town to save $5 or $10 on groceries, and plan your shopping so you might save $1.50 on gas.

Planning a vacation?

One that’s filled with incredible memories that’ll make you smile a decade from now? You should stay at home instead. Or find a godawful plane ticket with 2 connecting flights so you’re exhausted when you arrive, then stay in a hotel in the boondocks and forget about the paragliding or fancy restaurant or night of partying you’ve been dreaming about since you were a teenager.

You can spend your life feeling disappointed when you have to say “no”…

No to exciting opportunities to explore the world, no to expensive things that make you happy, and no to the freedom to spend time with the people you love.

Or you can learn how to make more money, so you spend less time choosing how to spend your money and more time enjoying it.

And the best part is, there are proven ways to do it.

Just “trying harder” doesn’t work

Here’s what does…

Have you ever noticed that we make most of our really stupid decisions at the end of the day? If you’ve ever done something you regretted after going to the bar, watched YouTube videos instead of reading or actually talking to people, or eaten a late night bowl of ice cream when you’re trying to lose weight… you know how much of a struggle it is to do the right thing after you’ve spent an entire day trying not to screw up.

Researchers now know why this happens, and it isn’t your fault: Blame willpower.

Willpower is like a muscle. Each time you have to make a decision, you deplete some of your willpower. The more decisions you make about things like which groceries to buy, or whether to take a cab or save money by walking, the less willpower you’ll have for focusing on what’s really important.

This is crucial because the research shows that making more choices, like focusing on frugality, limits your ability to land the Big Wins that can dramatically change your life. I’d like to show you how to “trick” your willpower so you can focus on making more money and never have to budget, give up things you love, or waste your energy on saving a few dollars.

I’m not going to give you a “Top 10” guide to making money or spoon-feed you motivational quotes about “following your passion.” Because if you’ve ever been to a motivational seminar and felt ready to take on the world — then fallen right back into a rut a week later — you’ll know that motivation doesn’t help us succeed, either.

Instead, you’re going to learn my systems — the exact action steps, word-for-word scripts, and other frameworks thousands of students have used to automate success.

You’ll discover how to make more money so you can live a Rich Life. 

You’ll stop worrying about bills and having to choose between things you love. You’ll start making more money and being free to enjoy more of your time with your family and friends. And you’ll have the exact step-by-step plans to get Big Wins and start creating a life you only dreamed of.

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How to ask for a raise and get paid what you deserve

Did you know that just one $5,000 raise, properly invested, can be worth $1 million over your career?

Aside from asking someone to marry you, chances are you’ll never have a more important conversation in your entire life.

Yet some people go through their entire lives trying to save pennies on meals, gas, and even things they love… and never know how to get paid what they’re really worth. You’re going to show up to work anyway

Why not learn how to set up a 10-minute conversation with your boss that could add 7 figures to your lifetime income — and open the door to even more raises in the future?

 

But first, I want you to ask yourself a simple question:

How would getting a raise change your life?

  1. I’d have extra money to eat out, pay off debt, and do fun activities like traveling
  2. I’d feel more respected if I got paid what I’m worth
  3. I work hard, and it’d feel good knowing my boss values my hard work
  4. My parents, friends, and/or significant other would be proud of me
  5. I could automate my finances and pay off debts
  6. It’d be easier to provide for my family and save for kids and retirement, without sacrificing my quality of life
  7. I’m going to work anyway — I might as well get paid more for it
We all want to make what we deserve, but most of us don’t take action because we don’t know what to do, and we’re afraid of getting rejected by our bosses.

What your boss will never, ever tell you about raises

Have you ever heard this:

“Money’s tight this year, so raises will be limited.”

Most of us have. Still, you may have heard rumors that a few people you work with got big raises anyway. (You might even have a successful friend whose boss told them, “Don’t tell anyone else you got a raise this year. We don’t normally do this, and I don’t want to make the rest of the team feel like they got cheated.”)

What makes some employees special — seemingly immune to recessions, market changes, and pay freezes — and able to get big pay raises no matter what?

They weren’t “born” knowing exactly what to say to get bosses to open their wallets. They just knew they should start the conversation and studied how to ask for a raise. Meanwhile, most of us only dream of walking out of our boss’s office thousands of dollars richer.

And our bosses couldn’t be happier because most of us never ask for raises, even as we get better at our jobs and add more value. Even fewer of us actually know what to say if we do ask for a raise.

When we finally decide to assert ourselves and mention getting a raise, most of us put our foot right in our mouth: “It’s been a while since I got more money, and I think I deserve to get a raise. Is that something you can do?”

The answer: 

“There’s no room in the budget for that. Maybe next year will be better.”

It’s humiliating. We hang our heads in defeat and apologize for asking.

Meanwhile, management saves over a million dollars — of money that could’ve been, should’ve been ours.

Truth be told, every boss hates the idea of giving out raises. But when you make their lives easier and help the company, you’ll be in a perfect position to ask for — and get — the raise you deserve.

Why most people don’t get a raise

I haven’t asked for a raise.

Top Performers have invested a small amount of time preparing, so they’ll nail their meeting with the boss.

“I can’t negotiate” 

“I don’t know how to get a raise”

“I asked for a raise once, and my boss told me ‘no”

They recognize that building basic negotiation skills and learning a few phrases to say are easy-to-build skills that’ll help them boost their earnings for the rest of their careers.

I gave up when the boss told me there’s no room in the budget

Top Performers know that, unless your company is dying, there usually is room in the budget.

They know they’re delivering massive value to their companies, and they’re happy that more people don’t spend a few hours learning how to make it almost impossible for their bosses to say no… because they can get even bigger raises.

I’ll ask later. Besides, if I just work harder, somebody upstairs will notice and shower me with extra money.

If you work harder and deliver results, most bosses will notice. But Top Performers know they probably won’t get more money unless:

  • Bosses think they’re going to lose you to another company.
  • You know what to say to show them how badly they need you.

I found this super-motivational blog post called ‘The Top 10 Ways to Get A Raise.’ I’ll just go tell my boss I should make more money

Many Top Performers have tried career “hacks” and blog posts… and failed. Then, they spent years testing action steps and systems.

I’ve tested this system with thousands of people, and I want to share it with you so you can avoid failures and succeed faster.

Case Study

An automatic $5,000 raise in 6 months

Luke W. used I Will Teach You To Be Rich (IWT) negotiating tactics to secure a big raise — stress-free. Here’s how he did it:

“Earlier this year, my former boss referred me to a small company looking for an accountant. I got a call from the company’s hiring manager to schedule an interview. In that same conversation she asked what I was looking for in terms of salary. I knew from Ramit’s advice that this was a trap.

The recruiter will always try to get you to say a number first, but you are under no obligation to say anything.

So when I responded, I flipped it around as if I was clueless as to what to ask for (which I was) and said ‘Hmmm… I haven’t given it much thought. What did you have in mind?’ I was preparing for her to strong arm me into saying a number. However, she was nice and gave me a figure; $35,000. My response (as if Ramit was talking to me in the other ear): 

I think we’re in the right ballpark and we can work from that number.’

A few days later, I had the interview. The hiring manager wanted me to clarify my salary requirements. Again, I told her that we were in the right ‘ballpark’ with the $35K figure that she gave me, but then I asked:

 ‘How can we get to $40K?’ 

She said that she would give it consideration if I was offered the position.

A few hours later she called to offer me the job. She said they would start me out at $35K and after 6 months I would be given a performance review for an increase to $40K. 

But again, my IWT training kicked in and I asked for the 6 month salary review to be in writing. She accepted. Five months of dutiful employment past, it was time for me to prepare for the ‘compensation discussion.’ I emailed my boss asking her when she would like to schedule the performance review/compensation discussion.

Within minutes, she wrote back saying it wasn’t necessary for us to meet…. they were going to go ahead with my raise as planned.

My first successful salary negotiation!

Let’s break down how Luke got such massive results:

He knew what traps to avoid, like speaking first when you’re asked about salary

Often, we’re so eager to get the job, or earn just a little more than we’re making now, that we speak first… and rob ourselves of thousands of dollars a year.

Just by knowing what to say so the employer speaks first (“What did you have in mind, in terms of compensation?”) gives you tremendous power. Because now, you have some idea of the low end of what they’re willing to pay

If you’ve done your homework, you’ll know how much you should be earning in your field and geographic area — and whether the company you’re interviewing with is lowballing you. I’ll share some of the word-for-word scripts you can use to counter those tactics, too.

He used some of my most powerful word-for-word scripts

Interviews can be stressful because there’s so much on the line. When you come to the table knowing exactly how to answer questions and direct conversation, you won’t just say the right things — you’ll also gain the hiring director’s respect because you value yourself, are courteous, and come off as polished and in demand.

Want to nudge your boss or interviewer toward higher salary figures, without offending or being aggressive?

Here’s an easy-to-remember script thousands of students have used to earn thousands more in just minutes: 

“I think we’re in the right ballpark with that figure. How can we get to $X?”

He asked for a performance review to increase compensation… and got it in writing

When you ask for a performance review as a condition of employment, you’re already setting yourself apart from other job candidates. Most people are content to do “good enough” work to not get fired, or ask for a raise without showing they’ve made the company more money

You’re completely different: You want to prove you can help them reduce costs, eliminate headaches, or make more money, and then adjust your compensation to reflect how much you’ve helped them.

Of course, it’s always good to get this in writing because otherwise, people can forget, postpone the conversation, or decide it’ll happen “later.”

When you frontload the work and know exactly what to say, you gain power and control.

And when you have the ideal conversation already mapped out, you’re infinitely more likely to succeed.

Read this Ultimate Guide the way it was designed

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2. How to Make Money on the Side

I’ve helped thousands of students earn $1,000, $2,000, even $5,000 and more on the side, every month, while still keeping their day jobs. And I’m going to share some of my best systems with you.

But first, imagine how it’d feel if you made an extra $1,000/month.

Would you feel excited? More confident in yourself? More secure about your day job because you have a safety net and can ramp up your side income if you need to?

What would you do with your money? Would you build up enough savings so that you could quit your job? Travel for a month? Pay off your mortgage? Buy a round of drinks for friends? Spend money on things you love, guilt-free?

Whatever we’d do with our extra money, we all have the same question:

How do you get started?

We’ve all read blog posts proclaiming that we need to get on TikTok and Facebook, buy better business cards, or build a website… and then, magically, money will fall down from the sky. And we’ve heard scammy con artists with private jets promise we’re just one more overpriced eBook away from earning 6 figures with just a few hours a week.

There’s some terrible advice out there, and you deserve better.

That’s why my team and I spent over five years and $500,000 building and optimizing a system that actually works.

Because I give away 98% of my material for free, I’m going to share some of my system with you today — including an easy way to find your first profitable idea, 2 problems that eat up people’s profits, and my Briefcase Technique that makes it almost impossible for people to turn you down.

What you really need to know about making money on the side

Making more on the side lets you work on interesting projects and raise your rates or hours when you want to. It’s one of the keys to never worrying about finances again.

Some of us struggle for years — spending countless hours on ideas people won’t pay for, not knowing how to get paying clients, and wasting time on social media before we’ve cashed a single check.

In contrast, successful people know exactly what to do at each step — and which activities are a waste of time. They know how to lock in the benefits and avoid any potential downsides when it comes to earning more.

Pros and cons of making money on the side

What’s great about making money on the side?
  • It’s easy to get started — and you don’t have to be the world’s best, just better than most people.
  • Standard rates for most jobs make it easy to price your work.
  • Work –> income is very clear and easy to follow.
  • You choose when you want to work, and who you want to work with.
  • You can eventually go full-time and • leave your 9-to-5 if you want to • because you’re in control.
What are the potential downsides?
  • It takes testing (and time) to find out which of your skills people will pay you for.
  • Raising hourly rates can be difficult if you don’t know how to approach the conversation.
  • Earning money on the side is easier than many people think, but you still have to invest your time.
  • You have to find out how to get consistent clients and steady income.

I’ve helped thousands of students make money on the side using skills they already have. One of the most common problems they face is figuring out what profitable skills they have.

What service could you offer?

Most of us are experts in at least one area, or we’re at least better than most other people. Think about the last time you’ve helped your parents with a computer problem. You may think you’re just so-so at computers, but to them, you’re a magician. And weeks later, they’re still telling their friends that you’re a “computer whiz.”

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What skills do you already have? 
  • What do your friends call you for advice on? 
  • What kind of sites do you read? (ex: computers, fashion, sports, business)

Many people give up on their dream of making money on the side because they’re held back by invisible scripts like:

I’m not an expert at personal finance, finding a dream job, or [fill in the blank].”

“I don’t know anything people would pay for!”

How are you sure? Unless you’ve actually tested your idea, you aren’t.

Ramit, I don’t think anyone would ever pay me. My idea’s too weird/niche!”

I used to think that, too. Then I found out that people are making 5 and 6 figures by:

  1. Drawing caricatures
  2. Helping people pick out clothes
  3. Walking dogs
  4. Delivering home-cooked meals to busy and lazy people

Do these ideas seem normal? No. But they work because they solve somebody’s problem.

How do you turn your skills into something people will pay for?

All of us have a skill that’ll help other people. So how do we get people to pay for them?

Just remember the #1 marketing rule: 

Nobody gives a damn about you, it’s always about them.

A skill is something you’re good at — say, organizing offices, handling dogs, or getting amazing deals on airfare for vacations. But nobody cares about your skill because they’re too busy to spend the time thinking about how it’ll help them.

That’s where you come in. You offer a service… you solve a customer’s problem or deliver a benefit, like: “I can help you organize your office so you’ll feel more relaxed, get more work done, and increase your profits.”

That’s why you’ll be so far ahead when you start thinking about business ideas in terms of services and ways you can help your clients.

Try this simple test to find out whether your skill is viable:

To check if you’re actually offering a valuable service, you should be able to explain it by saying:

I can help you (some service) so that you can (some benefit).”

Here are a few examples of how your skills can become services:

Let’s say you’re great with Photoshop and HTML (skill) so you decide to do web design (service). But your clients don’t care about web design – they just want a good-looking website that attracts customers (benefit). And ultimately, what they really care about is the increased sales as a result of that credibility (benefit).

This seems simple, but clients often don’t make the connection between service and benefit on their own.

Most wantrepreneurs say:

Here’s what I’m good at, do you have any work for me?” 

No wonder they get ignored; they haven’t explained what problem they’re actually solving! Their loss is your gain because you already know that people only care about what you can do for them.

Did your idea pass the “I can help you” test? Great! Now, you’ll discover how to start earning money fast by focusing on the right activities, instead of trying everything and “seeing what sticks.”

Why some people never make money on the side

Lots of would-be entrepreneurs spin their wheels for months or years. They try dozens of random tactics — Twitter, handing out business cards, posting in forums, blogging. And when these don’t work, they give up and blame themselves.

The real problem here is the bloggers who don’t have much business experience, but dish out awful advice, such as:

  • “Just start blogging! Create great content and someone’s bound to pay you someday!”
  • “Make a website and do some SEO on it so you always get free traffic!”
  • “Do something unique and eye-catching, like creating a viral video to get lots of viewers!”
  • “Go on some forums, and you know, be helpful… answer questions… establish your presence and see what happens!”

Wow, it’s so easy! Once you do those things, people will sell themselves on what you can do for them… then beat a path to your door and shower you with money.

Or not.

Successful people have a different approach. Instead of trying everything and “seeing what works,” they have a system — a step-by-step plan that guides them from finding their first profitable idea to figuring out which people need their services and getting paying clients. Everything else, from blogging to getting better business cards, is a timewaster they eliminate.

When you’re just starting, complex marketing strategies are often an excuse to avoid finding people who will pay you. SEO, blogging, and viral marketing can take a long time to work… and each of these projects is actually dozens of subtasks that are nearly impossible to finish.

Luckily, you don’t need complex marketing to start earning serious money on the side. There’s a better way, one that eliminates unnecessary steps so you can start making money faster. It’s easier than you think:

Just go directly to your customers.

All you need is 3 paying clients

Why 3 clients? The first client could be your grandma, the second could be a fluke, but once you have 3 clients, you’ve proven that people are willing to pay for your services. You can test different prices and options with them, and then you can try more complex marketing.

Remember: Get 3 people to pay you before you do anything else.

You’ve already learned how to figure out what service people want. Now, you just have to find out where the right people are and talk to them. Here’s how it works:

1. Find the People you can Help

Most people who want to make money on the side pick generic services that have lots of competition — general writing, fitness training, and computer repair, for instance — then wonder why nobody notices them or buys from them. Meanwhile, other businesses are super-specific and deeply understand their clients and their problems. And they never have to worry about competition or lowering their prices.

Let me give you an example of how this works: Pretend you’re a 30-year-old information technology (IT) employee who’s stressed and has trouble finding the time to tackle big projects.

Which of these people would you choose to help you become more productive?
  • A productivity consultant who helps people of all ages and careers, from college students to dentists to teachers to retirees, get more things done — and charges $20 an hour.
  • A productivity consultant who worked in IT for 10 years and can share the exact systems, tricks, and strategies you need to regain control at work, finish large projects, and optimize productivity. He only works with IT people because that’s his specialty — and he charges $40 an hour.

Paying consultant #2 twice as much seems like a bargain because he solves your exact problem.

I’m going to show you the framework for picking a particular group of people so you’ll seem like the only choice for them.

Here’s how you find them

First, niche down your market. Do not try to find every person who uses a computer between the ages of 18-34, lives in the USA, and likes wasting time on YouTube and Facebook. NICHE IT DOWN. By age, location, interest, income level, and so many more options.

Then, find out where they go when they have problems:

  • Want to pitch to moms that blog about children? Go to The Mom Blogs and start with the “Popular Blogs” section.
  • If you want to groom pets or do dog sitting, there’s probably a local pet store or dog park near you where owners are just waiting for you to take care of their pets for them.
  • Looking for physical or massage therapists within 50 miles of your house? Yelp should get you started easily.
  • If you know a lot about nutrition, you might find that active people who are too busy to plan meals go to a local yoga studio or Whole Foods.

I’ll explain more of how to uncover exactly what people want and how to niche down so you’ll only spend your time on the people who are most interested in paying for your help.

2. Reach out to people who want your service

Once you find out what kind of people need your help, you’ll need to reach out to them. And it’s pretty easy.

Back in the day, this meant cold calling anybody who might be interested — a time-consuming, anxiety-inducing way to get rejected.

Luckily, you’ll only have to write a few emails, then use my Briefcase Technique to get your first clients.

Secrets of getting people to read your email and want to work with you

Imagine being swamped with over a thousand emails. You come across a rambling email from someone who talks about themselves, isn’t sure how to help you, and doesn’t tell you what you should do next. Do you delete it — or respond?

Here’s a quick strategy to make your emails grab their attention and force them to respond:

  • Compliment the other person
  • Show them you know their problems
  • Get to the point quickly
  • Establish your credibility
  • Suggest how you can help specifically
  • Create a call to action — that is, ask them to email you or call you if they’re interested
  • Always ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?” One of my students used this strategy, along with my word-for-word email scripts, to raise her rates more than 30x.

Case Study

How Julia went from $8 to $250 per hour with emails

Julia K. is a 24-year-old accounting student from California. When she started my Earn1K course, she had an $8 an hour summer job drawing caricatures at a theme park. She enjoyed her work, but she wanted to earn more. “I wanted a buffer,” Julia explains. 

A little security. My pinnacle of success… was actually just to make $1000 per month with a side gig.”

I taught Julia how to reposition her skill to attract high-end clients.

She repositioned herself as an entertainer at trade shows, then used one of my tested scripts to start reaching out. 

Four emails later I got my first response: ‘Oh, fantastic. You can come to our next event.’

You can read more about Julia’s story here.

Julia made $200 for her first 2-hour gig. Since then she has raised her hourly rates to as high as $250/hour. “I made $4,000 in June, and I know I can do even better. Plus, I’ve got my buffer now… I could survive off my emergency fund for 9 months.”

How to use the Briefcase Technique to make clients beg to work with you

The Briefcase Technique is an advanced negotiation strategy my students have used to earn thousands of dollars in just one meeting. It looks obvious, but it’s almost unbeatable. That’s because its magic comes from doing your homework before you ever set foot in a room with a prospect.

Here’s how this powerful tool works:

As the business owner, when I’m considering hiring someone for a job, I’ll talk to them about the business, hear their thoughts, and generally get a feel for their skills and their personality. If I think there’s a possible fit, I’ll ask them about pricing.

Now, if the person I’m talking to is using the Briefcase Technique, that’s the exact moment when they pull out a proposal document with things they’ve found in my business that they can improve and exactly how to do it.

As the business owner or hiring manager, it’s the most compelling document I’ve ever received. It’s a list of problems I already know about, and they’ve identified them from the outside. Then, they list potential solutions.

Do this and you’ve suddenly separated yourself from 99% of other applicants…

…and you can charge multiple times what other people do because almost nobody does this.

Case Study

How Mike earned an extra $6,065 in 8 weeks

Mike is a 20-something web designer who was struggling to turn his freelancing into something substantial. He knew his web design skills were in demand, but because he didn’t know how to sell his services, he kept wasting hours on deals that he’d never get paid for.

When Mike and his fiancée moved to Vancouver, Canada, he got a full time job as a web designer. He didn’t enjoy most of his work. And with a wedding and plans to have kids and travel back home to the UK more often, his $31,000 a year salary wasn’t nearly enough.

It would be nice to have lots and lots of money,” said Mike, 

but the main goal is to have the freedom to travel, raise the kids, enjoy life, and enjoy my hobbies.”

What changed for Mike?

Before he used my free material and then joined my course, Mike tried to sell people on how great their new websites would look.

It was the Briefcase Technique that made the difference for me. I learned to be incredibly prepared for the meeting and focus on the details.”

Right after learning more about the Briefcase Technique, Mike created a detailed proposal that “literally sold him straight away.”

Before, Mike was earning around $2,000 per year with his freelance work. Now he’s brought in over $6,065 in just eight weeks — and he’s on track to say goodbye to his day job and work wherever and whenever he wants.

The world wants you to be vanilla...

…but you don’t have to take the same path as everyone else. How would it look if you designed a Rich Life on your own terms? Take our quiz and find out:

 
 
 

3. How to start a successful online business

How I went from being a broke college student to living a Rich Life

What does living a Rich Life mean to you?

When I started I Will Teach You To Be Rich, I was a broke college student who worked hard to get scholarships so I could afford school. Back then, living a Rich Life meant eating Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza.

Since then, I’ve spent over half a decade of my life and a million dollars of my own money creating online courses to help my students achieve their Rich Lives — so they’re able to spend extravagantly on things they love, automatically save for retirement and other expenses, and take control of their lives.

After helping hundreds of thousands of students, I could buy enough Mexican Pizzas for life.

Or a fancier car than my 2008 Honda Accord. But I don’t care about those things. (OK, I still care about Mexican Pizzas, but I’d live a very short life if I ate only Taco Bell.)

What’s important to me now is having an online business that allows me to live on my own terms. When I started out, I Will Teach You To Be Rich was a fun project, then an extra stream of income.

Now, my business gives me total freedom.

Freedom to choose projects that fascinate me, make money while I’m on vacation, buy drinks for my friends without worrying about splitting the tab, and travel whenever I want. I feel liberated knowing I never have to worry about my finances again.

Yes, if you’re wondering, I still work. It just doesn’t feel like “work” because I’ve built my business around things I enjoy and am good at. That’s why I’ve had so much fun creating courses proven over 10 years, in 34 industries, by 15,000+ paying customers.

But when I started, I practically begged people to buy my $4.97 eBook.

It took me YEARS (and lots of hard work) to get to where I am now — and even longer to test and perfect my methods of creating and growing an online business.

I quietly refined my systems and waited until I could share my insights from nearly a dozen successful launches.

Now, I want to show you the path — the exact systems, strategies, and tactics — I wish someone would’ve shared with me when I started.

The reality of starting an online business

Where do you work — and how many hours a week?

Passive Income Dream – You almost never work. But you might put in an hour at the beach, your oceanside cabana, or your private jet.

Passive Income Reality – From your home, favorite coffee shop… wherever you want, anywhere in the world. You choose your hours, and the more you focus on the right activities, the faster you’ll succeed. 

How much will you make?

Passive Income Dream – Millions… in your sleep… within a few months.

Passive Income Reality – Many people make hundreds or thousands of dollars a month after several months while still working their day job. With hard work and the right systems, it’s possible to earn $10,000 a month or even more in time.

Just knowing the truth about launching an online business puts you way ahead of most people, because instead of chasing too-good-to-be-true pipe dreams, you can focus on proven systems for starting an online business.

Now, let’s look at what’s great about launching an online business (and what isn’t).

Pros and cons of launching an online business

What’s great about having an online business?
  • You make money even when you aren’t working because people are buying something you already created
  • You can reach a large audience
  • You can 2x, 5x, or 10x your sales… and only have to work a few extra hours 
  • You can easily test different pricing methods and offers to maximize your profits 
  • You choose when you want to work 
  • You can earn $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 a month — or more
What are the potential downsides?
  • You WILL NOT become a millionaire overnight (although you can become very successful over time)
  • It can be challenging figuring out who will buy your product, how to create it, and how to sell and price it
  • Some markets are already saturated, so you’ll have to use different techniques to find the right idea for you
  • When you launch an online course, you have to figure out how to process payments, handle customer support, design a website, etc. (Hint: There’s an easy way to do this, and a hard way.)

How do I get started?

Step 1 - Repeat after me: PASSION IS NOT ENOUGH

Most “experts” teach you that once you find your passion, you’ll magically become wealthy.

I don’t have to tell you that this plan is missing a few vital steps, such as an actual plan. Before you invest your time and energy creating an online product, ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I know which idea will be most profitable?
  • Will people actually pay?
  • How do I bring in traffic and buyers?
  • What can I do to set my business on autopilot so it runs on systems instead of on my (limited) time?

Step 2 - Solve the right problem (It’s probably not what you’d expect)

I asked readers, “What excites you about starting an online business?” Over 1,000 readers responded with ME-FOCUSED responses about what they wanted from an online business.

OK, we all want something for our work, whether it’s extra money, more free time, or the ability to be our own boss and give ourselves vacation days when the weather’s nice.

But what about your customers?

Nobody will ever give you money to solve your problems… but they’ll love you and happily pay you if you help them solve theirs. And by focusing on them, you’ll immediately stand out in a sea of online businesses that are only looking out for themselves.

What would happen if you said, “I’m really good at helping my friends with their relationship problems. I don’t want to just help people 1-on-1…I want to help THOUSANDS of people.” Or “I love helping people get in shape. I want to help as many people get fit as possible.”

It’s a huge psychological shift.

Once you’ve identified something you believe in, you need to know what idea people will pay for, how much to charge, and how to sell it — without being sleazy.

It starts with figuring out what kind of online business you want.

Which online business ideas work best?

When you’re starting an online business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by tactical minutiae. Should you create software, a physical product, a coaching system, or something else? How do you choose the right software, create your website, figure out drop shipping, and accept payments?

But when you drop what doesn’t work — I spent years figuring this part out — you’re left with 6 main options for an online business. I’ve systematically tried them ALL over almost a decade, and I’ll let you know exactly which ones are good and bad.

Your 6 options for starting an online business are software (including apps), physical products, ads, affiliate marketing, coaching, and online courses. And they aren’t all created equal.

What’s the first thing you notice about this illustration?

This simple framework lets you see if a business model is attractive right now, instead of investing time and money on the wrong thing (most people skip this step and regret it later).

You don’t have to quit your job and raise millions in venture capital funding (I’ve done that too… but I love I Will Teach You To Be Rich way more).

There are 2 clear winners that have the highest profit and lowest cost: online courses and coaching. Take a look at the graphic below to find out which one is right for you.

Coaching and courses are both great models.

I love coaching, and I’ve taught thousands of people how to become freelancers, consultants, and coaches using my Earnable program. In fact, coaching is the single, best way to start learning business skills.

But if you want to scale your business — create something once and profit for YEARS to come — that’s where online courses come in. You can make more money with them than other business models, and you don’t have to mail anything or directly trade your time for profit. And you can help more people, since you aren’t working with them 1-on-1.

Let me walk you through how I went from selling a $4.95 eBook to a premium $12,000 course.

What online course could you create?

Many people don’t even think they can launch an online business. They hold themselves back by saying things like, “I’m not an expert at personal finance, finding a dream job, or [fill in the blank].”

People also hold themselves back by thinking their idea is way too weird for anyone to ever pay for.

I used to think that, too, until I discovered how many other weird people are out there. Here are just 3 profitable courses I’ve seen in the past year:

  • Become a Pro Gamer: A guide of insights, inspiration, advice, and tools to gain a concrete vision of what it means to become a pro gamer. Revenue from courses
  • Hear and Play: Learn to play piano by ear, without sheet music or years of lessons. Revenue from courses
  • The Ultimate Disney World Savings Guide: Vacation at Disney World for half price. Revenue from eBooks.

Do these seem like ideas for normal, successful products? Of course not. These people simply found something they’re good at, then tested the market to see if other people were willing to pay for their knowledge.

What skills are you already good at?

Remember those three questions from earlier in this guide?

  • What skills do you already have?
  • What do your friends call you for advice on?
  • What kind of sites do you read?

Now I want you to answer them. When you’re done jotting down your responses to those questions, pause.

Did you notice what happened as you went through that list?
  1. “But what if I’m not sure what I’m good at?”
  2. “An online course? But I don’t have a website/traffic.”
  3. “What kind of software should I use for…”
  4. “What will I do if I have to decide whether to stay at my job?”

SLOW DOWN.

If you were on a first date, you wouldn’t ask someone if they want kids… because you’d be getting way ahead of yourself. But somehow, when it comes to making money, our brains concoct far-fetched scenarios about the future to keep us stuck where we are.

When I started I Will Teach You To Be Rich in my dorm room, I didn’t worry about SEO strategies or creating powerful online courses or optimizing revenue.

No, I focused on the first step. I’ll help you get there, too

Just know that you do have passions and experiences people will be happy to pay you for — even if you aren’t the best in the world at them. You’ve already learned more from this guide than most people learn after months (or even years) of reading blog after blog.

The next question is: 

5. How long will it take you to launch your first product and start making money?

How to build an online business faster

Nobody can teach you how to build a successful online business overnight.

But you can learn from the mistakes that cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of my time… and from how I grew I Will Teach You To Be Rich from my dorm room to 6 figures, to a multimillion-dollar business that’s helped thousands of students.

I’d like to share some of the highlights of the exact system I’ve used to start a successful online business — one that lets you take what’s inside of you and share it with the world, including:

  1. How to find an online business idea people will line up to pay you for (using the deep psychological frameworks I’ve developed to launch successful product after successful product)
  2. Advanced strategies for getting traffic
  3. How to sell online without being sleazy, even if you’re not a “natural” at sales
  4. The exact systems to set up so your business works for you (and not the other way around)
  5. Never-before shared conversion secrets I discovered and perfected in the I Will Teach You To Be Rich test labs, so you can reach more people and make more money

Discover how to launch a successful online business that’ll help you live your Rich Life.

4. How do you get started?

In this guide, we’ve covered 3 important strategies to make more money:
  • How to ask for a raise and get paid what you deserve
  • How to make money on the side, $1000 or even $5000 every month, while still keeping your day job
  • How to start a successful online business

Now that you’ve learned more about the 3 best ways to make more money, you can select the approach that works best for you.

Whatever you choose, the rewards can be huge — from a 7-figure raise over your lifetime, to an extra $1,000 a month, or the freedom of earning money from an online business.

If you want to learn more about starting an online business with my help, join my Earnable program. You don’t need a business idea to join. We’ll show you exactly how to dig into your own skillset and come up with multiple ideas.

Then, we’ll take you through the process we use at IWT to “test” ideas for profitability. You’ll quickly know precisely which idea will work before you invest tons of time into pursuing it. Hope to see you inside.

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Written by

Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be Rich Podcast. For over 20 years, Ramit has been sharing proven strategies to help people like you take control of their money and live a Rich Life.