Episode 57 // I Will Teach You to be Rich with Ramit Sethi

February 2, 2016

When we have a guest on our site to talk about how to become rich, we’re not talking about how to make a quick buck. Ramit Sethi is the author of the New York Times bestseller, I Will Teach You To Be Rich and writes for over 1 million monthly readers on his website where he covers psychology, personal finance, careers, and entrepreneurship. He’s jamming with us today on what it really means to live a rich life and how to manage your creative ideas to create quality, profitable products and services that can stand the test of time.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
"Money is part of a rich life, but it's a small part of a rich life."
- Ramit Sethi

Discussed in this Episode

  • What does it mean to live a rich life?
  • Why most money advice out there isn't what's right for you
  • Passive income
  • Increasing your prices
  • Balancing work and life
  • Setting yourself up for productivity and accomplishment
  • Investing money + time
  • How health + fitness impacts the entrepreneurial journey
  • Holding onto creative ideas until you're ready
  • Putting out quality products
  • Rushing to make products vs. products that stand the test of time


More from Ramit Sethi

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Braid Creative

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Almanac Supply Co.

This Episode Brought to You By:


Emily Thompson 0:05
Hello and welcome to be lost episode number 57. Brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting.

Kathleen Shannon 0:12
Alright you guys we have red meat Satie with us here today and he is the author of The New York Times bestseller. I will teach you to be rich, and writes for over 500,000 monthly readers on his website at I will teach you to be rich, calm. Let's Get Real say what you mean there, where he covers psychology, personal finance, careers and entrepreneurship and I'm on roommates newsletter list and everything that he sends every week. I'm like, Yes, amen. Like he, you guys are gonna like this one. Get your business together, get yourself into what you do, and see it through

Emily Thompson 0:48
being bosses hard. Lending work, and life is messy. Making a dream job of your own

Kathleen Shannon 0:54
is easy, but getting paid for it, become known for it. And finding purpose in it is so doable. If you do the work. Being boss is a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. Brought to you by Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Check out our archives at love being bossed calm. All right, it is tax time around here. We are not scrambling to get our finances in order. Because we've been using fresh books all year, we automate everything. So everything that we spend on our business debit card immediately gets categorized in our freshbooks expenses in tax friendly categories that we just get to provide with our CPA. And she'll ask us for things like our profit and loss reports or cash reports. And it's so easy just to pull up in our fresh books, cloud accounting system, it's so easy. freshbooks is an easy to use invoicing software designed to help creative entrepreneurs get organized, save time invoicing, and get paid faster. And also track and organize those expenses so that you're not scrambling at the end of the year. So try fresh books for free for 30 days, go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section when you sign up? And I have to tell you 30% of you are actually using and buying freshbooks because it works. And it's awesome. Try it out. For me. Hello.

Ramit Sethi 2:24
Hi. Thanks for having me.

Kathleen Shannon 2:25
Yeah. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate your time. Let's go ahead and just jump in. I want for our bosses who listen to this podcast to they may not know you, and I think I first heard you either on like a TED talk. Or maybe it was even Lewis house podcast. The School of greatness. Yeah, it's like my guilty pleasure podcast. I listen to you. Anyway. Um, so like, tell tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are today?

Ramit Sethi 2:54
Yep. I. So I started learning about personal finance and psychology A long time ago, because, you know, I came from a pretty big family. My parents are immigrants from India. And they said, okay, cool, you want to go to college, that's great. Well, actually, every Indian person has to go to college. But if you want to go to college, you have to get scholarships, because we don't have any money to pay for it. And so I'm kind of a weird systems kind of guy. That's I just this the way I think, and I love systems. So I built a system that helped me apply to about 65, or 70 scholarships. And I ended up paying my way through undergrad and grad school at Stanford. And the funny thing is the first scholarship by God, or one of the first ones, they wrote the check directly to me. So for a 17 year old kid, you know, this check of whatever amount it was, was this kind of a lot of money. And it was 1999 2000. And I basically took that money and invested it right in the stock market, because that's what you do with your scholarship money. It actually didn't work out very well at all because I lost half that money. And I thought that investing meant picking stocks and all that stuff. And meanwhile, you know, I go to college, I decided I better learn how money works. And I'm studying social influence. I'm studying psychology and human behavior. And I just realized that most of the money advice out there was total BS. That's really what got me started down this path. So fast forward, I ended up learning about money. I ended up realizing that the typical advice about keep Allah keep a budget and don't spend money on lattes. Nobody really listens to that at all. Even the people who write it, I actually came to learn and eventually I started writing a blog which led to you know, starting an entire business and that business has been around now for over 11 years.

Kathleen Shannon 4:47
And I feel like it's expanded from just talking about money to really the being boss philosophy of finding your dream job. Making bank you know, and everything that comes with Thought and yeah,

Ramit Sethi 5:00
I mean, to tell you the truth, the money part of it is actually not the most interesting part to me. I mean, I think money is a part of a rich life, but it's a small part of a rich life. And so, you know, I wrote a book on personal finance. And I was very fortunate the community had grown, it became a New York Times bestseller. But ultimately, I have no interest in sitting here talking about asset allocation for the rest of my life, I'd rather kill myself. What's more interesting is the other parts of a rich life, finding a dream job negotiation, you know, how to earn more how to start a business, even social skills, those are the parts of a rich life that are really nuanced and different. But I think for a lot of people just to start, if you get your money in order, you get it working for you, you automate it, like I spend less than an hour a month on my money, you can actually afford to do the other things you want to do, which are part of a rich life.

Kathleen Shannon 5:57
I love that so much. And we we talked to Jesse from you need a budget who actually introduced us to you or made the connection to bring you on the podcast. So and for our listeners listen to that one too, whenever it comes to budgeting, but um, okay, so remain, what does it mean to live a rich life? Like, what are some of the other aspects that play into that? And what, like, what do you think is the attitude there? And really, I guess what I'm trying to get at is, I feel like a lot of the bosses that listen to our show are really freaked out and come to entrepreneurship with a scarcity mindset. And for me, I feel like there's no better opportunity to make a ton of money than to be working for yourself. Hmm.

Ramit Sethi 6:41
Yeah, I think that's a very interesting way of looking at it. I agree. I, you know, we have to remember that the type of advice we get is mainstream, it's very much written for the lowest common denominator. So if you open up any magazine on money, or you flip to any typical book on personal finance, what is the advice they give you? They say, keep a budget. And they say, don't spend money on lattes. Fact, don't buy jeans and forget about buying shoes or vacate? Forget about it, just save it all in one day, you know, you'll have enough to maybe scrape by in retirement. Now, the philosophy that I have is that first of all, there's a limit on how much you can cut. But there's no limit on how much you can earn. And I want to explain that for a second. A lot of people take that to say, oh, roomie tells me that I can buy like $1,000 jeans? And my answer is, yeah, if you want to buy $1,000 jeans, that's awesome. I'll show you how. I'll show you how to earn more how to negotiate your salary, how to increase your revenue, but you have to make sure that you can actually afford it. Right. So I think most of the advice out there about money is actually telling you what you can't do. No, you can't go here. No, you can't do that. No, how dare you think about ordering a cocktail with dinner. But my philosophy is actually use money to say yes, if you want to travel, if you want to buy a really nice coat, if you want to fly your parents first class to visit you do it, let's just figure out how to make the money support that rich life.

Emily Thompson 8:12
I agree with that. So hardcore one of my very favorite things about about you know, being an independent entrepreneur doing what I want to do and not under anyone else is that idea of unlimited income potential. Like you can't have that if you are working in a day job that salary didn't doesn't matter how much overtime you put in, because there's going to be a cap on how much that that check is at the end of every two weeks, or whatever it is, I love the fact that we have the opportunity to to make as much as we want. And we've talked on the podcast before about how how a lot of people have this mindset of like, if you want to do something, you know, it's about cutting out things so that you can afford to do what you want to do. But for our crowd, it's not about cutting things out. It's like what can we launch? What product can we can we get into the world? What can we make? It's not about cutting but making that I think makes our crowd a pretty, pretty cool, unique group of people. It's, it's, it's why I like to do what I like to do.

Ramit Sethi 9:13
Yeah, that I love that attitude with entrepreneurs. I also think that sometimes entrepreneurs, they kind of go into this harried frenzy phrase, and you'll hear this a lot with entrepreneurs, they'll use words like I'm overwhelmed. And just to be honest with you. I've never known a top performer to use that phrase, I'm overwhelmed. So I'd actually caution people against that kind of self talk. And the reason I kind of bring this up is that I think sometimes entrepreneurs need to take a step and say, let me actually get control of my money. I can't just create products and earn my way out of every problem. You actually do need to manage your money. You need to know your costs. You need to know your spending. There's no doubt about that. And I think sometimes entrepreneurs get in the mindset of Oh, I'll just My way out of every problem, you know, you could earn a million dollars. But if you're spending 99% of that it's pointless. But at the same time, something that the most mainstream doesn't get is that revenue solves most problems, not all doesn't solve your emotional problems, or your really, you know, does it solve those things, but it actually solves most problems when it comes to business, you can hire out the best people for the customer support team or for product development. And you can build this virtuous cycle, I just want to make sure entrepreneurs know you have to balance it all. It's not about just earning and spending 99% of it. I know a lot of entrepreneurs, I'd be happy to talk about that. I also know a lot of people who are very scarcity minded. And they're like, oh, let me cut back on all these things. And the truth is we are cognitive misers. We have limited attention, limited willpower. And so if you're spending that limited willpower, focusing on saving $3 a day on your latte, who cares in the grand scheme of thing that doesn't add up to anything, if you want your latte, great, get it feel joyful and caffeinated in the morning, but you got to make sure you're managing the rest of your spending and your earnings.

Kathleen Shannon 11:07
Okay, I've been wanting to talk to someone about passive income. And I feel like you're the guy to talk to you about this. So I find that a lot of aspiring creatives feel almost entitled to passive income, or at least this is a conversation that's happening in our sphere, like passive income, passive income, like that. They can just make an ebook. And that's enough. So I I've been wanting to talk to someone about why passive income isn't so passive. Yeah. And I feel like you're the man. Okay, well, I've

Ramit Sethi 11:37
been earning passive income for probably seven or eight years,

Kathleen Shannon 11:42
and how passive has it been?

Unknown Speaker 11:45
Become passive?

Ramit Sethi 11:47
Well, okay, let's, that's a weird question. I mean, because what does that really mean? So I'll give you an example. The first time I ever sold something. I had been writing my blog for about three years, I've been writing it three to four times a week really in depth stuff. I had never charged a cent for anything. I didn't even have ads on my site. So if you it wasn't a business, I was losing money. But I didn't want people to think that I was just in it to make a quick buck. Anyway, finally, one day, I decided to create an E book. And this was in 2006. And I was I have to tell you the truth, I was actually petrified of selling anything, because I had a scarcity mentality. I thought that selling was bad, and that people would leave and call me a sellout. And you can actually go to that sales copy. It's still online. I wrote it in a blog post. You can Google remits, 2007 Guide to kicking ass. That's what I called it. Alright, is a 30 page ebook. And I had it professionally done and all this stuff. So I wrote this cowardly sales copy where I said, Hi, guys. I've been writing for a long time. And I think this might be useful. And yeah, I know, you could probably learn a lot of this stuff for free. But I think blah, blah, blah, okay. $4.95 Oh, no, and

Unknown Speaker 13:12
you're apologizing for apologizing?

Ramit Sethi 13:14
I'm doing what I what we call selling from the heels. Like, I'm like, trying to make my case. But I'm like halfway out the door because I'm afraid and you could see it all. It's still live. And guess what? Everything I was afraid of happened. You can see the comments are still up. I left them all up. People call me a sellout. Somebody said this site jumped the shark. Somebody said Oh, so all along. This has been about I will teach I to get rich. Like in my head. I'm like you. I mean, I wanted to curse them out. And I felt that sort of pain at the bottom of your stomach. I felt it for like a week. worse. It's the worst. And I felt, I'll tell you what I felt I felt betrayed. Because I had been writing for three years and giving everything I had learned for free. I felt that there was not loyalty. I felt that like basically my experiment had failed, because I didn't do it to make $4.95 how much money can you make off? I just did it to see what would happen. And I thought I'd filled. In fact, just to show you how seriously, I under estimated I didn't think more than 50 people would buy it. So I didn't even set up a fulfillment system. I literally said, click this link to pay through PayPal. And then I'll just email you the ebook. Okay. There was no automation at all, because I didn't think anybody would buy it. Well, what happened was I'm getting these comments, these sort of negatives, arguably hateful comments, and then peep but behind the scenes people are buying and they're like buying a lot. And it kind of blew my mind because I realized that there's this vocal minority who really hates paying for stuff they expect everything from They're freeloaders. And I realized that it took me about three years to realize this. Honestly, it was a very brutal time. But it took me three years to realize that's not my customer. Those people will complain, it doesn't matter what price you say, they're gonna say, Oh, 495 That's absurd. Maybe if it was 45 cents, I would consider it. Other people said roommate, I hate PayPal, I'm philosophically against them. Will you set up a place where I can mail a check? And you know, I was so naive at the time, do you know that I actually believed that people would actually set up a PO Box, I went out of my way to set up a peel box. Because all these people in the comments were like, Oh, I'm not pay pal sucks. I'm gonna mail it. And I got a grand total of zero. Yes. So but but what I learned? Yeah, what I learned was, you know, over time, I think that ebook generated something like $5,000, over the course of maybe two years, it really opened my eyes to the fact that what people say versus what they do is a very, very different, it also opened my eyes to the fact that you have to choose your market very carefully, very carefully. That's one of the most important lessons I've learned. And I will tell you that since then, I have created products that have sold, I mean, I laugh at the $5 price, I've now created products that sell at $2,000. Completely passively. I've created products that sell at $25,000. And at every range in between $5.20 5000. So going up that value chain has been very illuminating, I'd be happy to talk about any of it. But the main message I would say for people is, you know, if you're getting this kind of feedback, you want to really listen carefully. First of all, it's okay to feel bad. I felt horrible. And I felt bad for about three years to tell you the truth regarding sales. But I just said, You know what, I'm not going to let this vocal minority dictate my business. I know I have something valuable The world needs to hear. I just need to find the right people who are willing to pay for value.

Kathleen Shannon 17:00
So I have a question then. Do you feel like maybe your copy itself was egging like the haters on? You know, I mean, do you feel like almost like you were were showing them your insecurities, and then they yell at them? Or do you think it was like your specific tribe that you were attracting? We're just kind of asses. vocal minority of Well,

Ramit Sethi 17:25
I think both but you know what, I don't blame them. I blame myself. And I think that's what an entrepreneur needs to do. You know, if one person kind of complains about the price, they're probably just a freeloader. If two, they're just a freeloader. If it's three or 10, or 100. It's your fault. You're the CEO, you cultivated that audience. It's your fault. It was my fault. Why? Because I had never asked them to put any skin in the game. So how can I expect someone who's been coming to the party for free for three years to suddenly pay? I mean, of course, they're mad. It's my fault. It's like raising a spoiled kid. You wake up one day, you got a 16 year old son or daughter and you realize with horror, you raise this monster. And it's like, who do you blame? It's not their fault. It's yours. So that's one. But if you look at the copy, you're exactly right. I mean, I was inviting and honestly, I recently I created a $12,000 course. And the copy was I'll just give you some numbers. The first time I created a $500 course, I got something like 200 complaints about price, like a lot of people saying How dare you bla bla bla, when we created a $12,000 course and over 1 million people heard about it. I received less than five complaints about price. Again, we had hundreds of complaints about a $500 course, less than 10 about a $12,000 course Why? Because we had selected the audience more carefully. And the copy was bulletproof. We basically said look, here's who it's not for, this probably isn't right for you. In fact, we don't allow anyone with credit card debt to join us that's one of my philosophies costs us millions of dollars a year but it's the right thing to do. And the people who it was right for raise their hand and the people who it wasn't ready for they knew it wasn't for them. I still gave them value, enjoy the free emails. But it was like I walked in and I was very confident about who I was selling to I knew who I was selling to. You know, it was just a skill that took years to develop. And but I have to say my life is a lot better now that I don't sort of deal with those freeloaders day to day.

Kathleen Shannon 19:33
Hey, bosses, did you have a case of FOMO

Emily Thompson 19:35
that stands for the fear of missing out

Unknown Speaker 19:38
when you saw all the being boss magic go down for our being boss vacation in New Orleans. If you're

Emily Thompson 19:43
not friends, because we are planning another boss vacation this spring in Miami.

Kathleen Shannon 19:52
So it was really hard to figure out what location to go to, but we've never been to Miami and the reason why we do these boss vacations. is to cultivate our creative pack see different parts of the world get some face time with each other connect with each other and live the boss life so to learn more details about this boss vacation just go to love being boss calm slash miami we hope to see you there

so i want to talk about developing all other two things are talked about but first we're gonna talk about developing the skills that it takes to go from being apologetic about a $5 product to confidently selling a 12,000 or $25,000 product like what goes into that can you tell us a little bit about your own like personal transformation they're like did that take like a ton of therapy

Ramit Sethi 20:50
you know what

Kathleen Shannon 20:51
business coaching like way how do you do that

Ramit Sethi 20:54
well it took a lot of work it's i think it's important i used to look at people who would sell these very high value products and i would say like oh wow they're just more confident than i am and i think that's a really destructive mindset to have because you're basically saying they were born with something i don't have and i can never have and i learned along the way that what i should have said was wow they have skills that i don't have yet so they know how to write copy they know how to select their audience they know how to price a product and deliver an amazing experience that would have been way better than what i said which was oh they're just better than me you know and so i want every the reason i want to be here today is to share some of the things i learned and for entrepreneurs i would just start using the word yet they have skills i don't have yet here's another thing i learned you don't go from $4.95 to $25,000 it's impossible in fact we have a course where we teach people how to create create a business and go from zero to launch that's the name of the course and a lot of people come in and the first thing they want to do is create a $2,000 product and i tell them no absolutely not why because the sophistication you need to create a $2,000 product is so high that there's no way to jump from zero to a $2,000 product it took us years to do that so the $4.95 cent thing i learned things like copy i learned about fulfillment etc there's a different price at $50 you're going to create a different type of product at 100 then we created it 500 we learned at 1000 we messed up we did it again 2000 like each of these price points has different product features and expectations for example if you're selling a $5,000 product people going to expect some kind of personal interaction whether it's a phone call or a webinar etc there's also a taxonomy of pricing so people kind of understand that an e book plus videos might cost like 97 bucks but at 497 they're expecting more than an ebook and so there's this well understood taxonomy of pricing if you google for dollar 95 cent to $12,000 remate if you google that there's a video we put out there which shows how we went from $4.95 to $12,000 there's a lot of subtlety so my suggestion is basically step by step don't try to we say don't try to be 40 before you're 40 just try to start where you are and start at the eye start at a low price point and then understand the ramifications as you move up the value chain

Kathleen Shannon 23:37
i love that and we'll be sure to include links to some of the things that you're referencing in our show notes at love being boss calm um okay so i have a more personal question because i'm seeing how much work you're putting out i see that it's really top notch and i do believe that you're really confident in what you're delivering so you obviously work hard i know that you have a team but how are you balancing like you said earlier it's a balancing act and when it comes to finances but it's also a balancing act whenever it comes to you know your family and your day job and having a side hustle like a lot of our listeners do so do you have any insights on like having a life while you're working to be the absolute best like is it possible to have both

Ramit Sethi 24:29
well speak to myself i you know i once wrote an email to our email list and i asked them what's something you claim you want to do but you haven't actually done it and this one woman wrote back to me and she had a really interesting comment she said you know i keep telling myself that i want to go for a run three times a week but i never do and i wrote back to her i said why don't you just go for a run once a week she said why would i do that go run once a week doesn't do anything so in other words she would rather dream about going for a run three times a week then actually go once a week and i think that's something that i learned to grapple with and to try to work through for myself like of course i would like to start my day at 7:30am and work in 15 minute increments but i'd be better if i actually picked like three to five key things i want to accomplish every day and then did that so that was a big mindset shift for me the way i think about my productivity and balance is first of all if it's not on my calendar it doesn't exist and it has to be there so i am religious about putting things on my calendar second i make it as easy for myself to succeed as possible certainly not saying that i've solved the productivity problem at all but like everything is in its place so i'm not spending a ton of time deciding what to wear i kind of thought that through my keys are always in the same place my food is i opened my fridge it's all there like a lot of planning goes into having a really productive week in fact i think most of the you know i always say in life 80% of the work is done before you ever set foot in the room so you know when you open your closet is everything there is it all folded is ready to go when you open your fridge is it all there when you're ready to leave the house is everything where it needs to be i think those little details are actually surprisingly important and the third thing is balance

Kathleen Shannon 26:36
i just you know sorry i just can't wait for my husband to listen to this episode because he's oh yes kathleen

Unknown Speaker 26:42

Kathleen Shannon 26:44
miss place i don't mean to be you know

Ramit Sethi 26:47
marital dispute guy i hope i'm not causing problems here

Unknown Speaker 26:52
no it's good it's good all right

Ramit Sethi 26:54
yeah and also like sleep and like for me i really like i work from home a lot and so i want to be around people so i make it a point to like make sure that i am out with friends family etc otherwise i kind of go crazy i think knowing that i don't feel guilty about stepping outside and you know doing social stuff or just vegging watching netflix or hanging out with my nieces nephews whatever it may be i need that i think we all need some kind of rejuvenation and we all know what it is for us

Emily Thompson 27:29
i really love the what you're saying about about having everything in its place so we talk about we talk about things like you know balance and focus and all of those things like in a in a grander more like abstract scale almost but i think that bringing light to those like really finite little pieces of your life is such like a key shift for a lot of people like you know making sure your desk is is organized and making sure your socks are put together in their door so you don't spend half the morning looking for like mix match socks i think those little pieces we don't bring it up enough but but i think it's huge a lot of people in our feeds lately these days are talking about the life changing magic of tidying up which i know kathleen and i have both done and just sort of reminded me of that so if you haven't checked out that book listeners or roommate i think that's a really good place to start in terms of getting those little life pieces put together so that you can actually be productive

Ramit Sethi 28:26
yeah that's an amazing book i also get inspired by hotels so if you go to a really nice hotel or even a bathroom in a really nice hotel or bar you'll notice that they've really been thoughtful about what goes where so for example i stayed at a hotel where i didn't know where the hairdryer was but i just opened the cabinet where i thought it would be in there it was perfectly ready ready to go and i just smiled i said wow somebody really thought this through and i want my life to be like that almost like if you think about a chef at a great kitchen they don't have to move everything is exactly where it needs to go and i wanted to create one of the i don't really do new year's resolutions i do themes and one year my theme was to surround myself with beauty and beauty men everything from you know learning about art a little bit more having a beautiful apartment redecorating it kind of just learning what goes into making things beautiful because i kind of was raised to be like if you came to visit me in college they'll just be like a poster on the wall and i wanted to learn what it's like to be an adult so i spent a year learning i read all these magazines and stuff and one of the things that i did i thought i was pretty efficient but i hired a professional organizer a personal organizer to come in and just take a look at my workflow and basically this guy really nice guy very non judgmental he came in and he was like okay tell me about your date i'm like walking around my apartment i feel embarrassed because there's these piles of papers right and like i'm a pilar i just pile these papers up like i'll get to it later and he goes okay he's like got his clipboard out he's like how long have those piles been there and i'm like god i want to die right now because they'd been there for like like literally three and a half to four years i'm like oh i gotta get to those things you know like i live in a manhattan apartment it's not like i got a huge garage or something so i go you know they've been there a little while he goes over a year i go yeah so like that's putting charitably and he goes okay well we're gonna learn what to do with these piles so you're not going to have them anymore and he basically he taught me how to be more efficient he taught me how to process things he taught me how to get over some of the mental blocks i had and the thing i learned from that was number one stop being so judgmental of yourself i was very critical about my inability to handle piles and i think instead of turning it into this emotional battle with yourself this guy just came in and said okay i've seen this a million times matter of fact here's what we're going to do and it became less emotional and more just functional and the second thing is learn from the best no matter how good you are there's always somebody you can learn from whether it's getting their book hiring them for two hours of consulting whatever anyone can learn from the best every professional athlete has a coach i believe that everyone should be learning from at least one amazing person don't try to do it all yourself

Unknown Speaker 31:35

Kathleen Shannon 31:38
so what's your theme for this year do you have one

Ramit Sethi 31:42
yes i'm working on articulating it perfectly but it's basically to meet people where they are and see the best in people and that's something i'm working on is to be just a little bit more positive about just everything and a little bit less critical meeting people where they are and knowing that other different people take different life paths to get where they want to go

Emily Thompson 32:09
nice i feel like there's probably like a yogi word out there somewhere

Unknown Speaker 32:12
i hope there is because that was really long winded there's got to be a sanskrit word for that

Kathleen Shannon 32:18
that kind of non non judgement and i'm super i'm pretty judgmental too i feel like you are it took having a baby to be like oh this is compassion

Ramit Sethi 32:31
what happened to you when you had like how did you stop getting being judgmental with the baby

Kathleen Shannon 32:36
well so like i had to go through my shit a little bit like i had so i kind of got knocked on my ass he didn't sleep and i became kind of a wreck and i was like oh like other people might be going through really hard things like sleep deprivation whenever they're acting that way or i'm kind of just balancing work and life in a really real way that's kind of how it went down for me but it might also just be getting older you know like getting older but i definitely had like i feel like in my life i've had to really experience things to understand them and that comes from learning styles but also just life situations so learning what it's like to to be you know to like have postpartum depression or you know i had to experience it so i guess that's kind of just in general what made me be more compassionate but i also just think i don't know there's that for me having a baby was the thing that i needed to crack my heart open in that way but i don't really know quite how to articulate it best no

Ramit Sethi 33:40
well that's that's very enlightening it really is i mean i think it's pretty powerful to hear how your experience of actually going through it it became less theoretical and really helped you empathize with other people who might be going through similar things

Kathleen Shannon 33:59
or even different things but like their own you know struggle i guess like it's just one of the first times in my life that the struggle became really real so you know like for every dark cloud there's a silver lining but man those clouds can feel dark sometimes but that's what it took for me i don't think it takes i don't think i don't condone for everyone to have the baby to learn that it's just what i needed to learn that i want to rewind a little bit to whenever you're talking about investing and you invest in the stock markets because that's what you thought is the way that you invest money what are you investing in these days money time energy what is what is investment look like for you today i

Ramit Sethi 34:44
love that question love it okay i have a few unconventional things first of all i think entrepreneurs have this weird belief that they are too good to invest in the stock market that's totally incorrect a lot of them think that oh i to just invest in my own business because that's the best investment of all and the answer is yes and yes you should invest in the stock market as well the mistake i made when i was 17 or 18 years old was i invested in individual stocks everyone should be investing in the stock market in a traditional low cost target date fund i cover all this in my book you can get it for free online i mean don't think you're too smart do not think do not be so arrogant as to think you're too smart to not invest in the stock market the stock market is the single biggest biggest wealth creator in the history of mankind and so whether my business does well or not i know that i will continue to invest in the stock market i do automatically and regularly and it's just there so no matter what happens that's great second thing of course i invest heavily in my business we we have a belief in like ultra high quality so we'll spend years developing and testing our courses that means we try to hire the very best people to work with us and the best equipment and technology and training so so i would say that's probably the largest investment of all that i make time i think that i mean friends and family it's really important to me to be able to spend time with them so i kind of craft a life around that also for me health is pretty important working out i have a trainer chef those kinds of things that's probably the biggest luxury that i have

Kathleen Shannon 36:36
you think that's a luxury

Ramit Sethi 36:38
well i think it is a luxury when you're you know you have a trainer and a chef i mean come on let's be honest

Kathleen Shannon 36:44
okay but like investing yourself i am a total fitness nerd like i listened to like the bulletproof executive like those are the podcasts i listened to you and so i see so many relationships between fitness and like your performance there and also money in a weird way but then also entrepreneurship and just kind of like the discipline it takes to have all of those things are so connected so i'm curious if we're well let's just go there like yeah like let's let's geek out on this okay let's do like let's talk a little bit about your health and fitness journey and how that's maybe impacted your philosophy on entrepreneurship and money

Ramit Sethi 37:29
this is you know what out of everything you asked this is actually my favorite quote i mean seriously i could talk about this but nobody asks everybody wants to know about like hey what's your opt in conversion rate and i'm like god just i'd rather be dead then talk about

Kathleen Shannon 37:43
let's talk about what you're lifting okay thank you oh my god what are your macros

Ramit Sethi 37:48
sorry let's make sure we have enough tape for this okay so let me tell you this i am more proud of my fitness journey in the last six years than i am of the business journey and i think that the two are totally intertwined i think that if i had followed my default life path i would probably be like a cisco network engineer wearing like a really big polo shirt you know and i would be really skinny i used to be 127 pounds i'm just under six feet tall i was a really skinny guy had the measurements of a supermodel female supermodel yep now and not good i don't think so i'll tell you the truth you know like moving to new york and just seeing everyone here is so attractive i was like alright i better step my game up and i knew that i wanted to get a trainer but it took me four months to walk across the street to go into the gym and ask for a trainer because truthfully i wasn't raised like that there were so many mental blocks in my head first of all indian culture isn't really about going to the gym that much and second the idea that like you would pay some guy why would you pay him $100 an hour you could learn that on your own in a book you know and it's ironic that my business was doing pretty well and i still couldn't get out of that mindset from childhood anyway i finally did it i got a trainer and i walked in the guy at the front desk was like okay what's your goal is it health or aesthetics i was like aesthetics i don't care about health and so he was like no problem and i started doing it and you know since then i've been with the trainer for probably over four years i've never missed more than two sessions in those four years total and doing i mean training with him and learning more about macros and all kinds of stuff has been absolutely transformational not just from a physical perspective but also mental and even business there's so many connections i see every week between what we do in the gym, and what we do in business

Kathleen Shannon 40:03
is even periscoping earlier today talking about what to do whenever you're kind of feeling like lazy bones. Nice, like, you know, whenever I'm working out well when it's on my calendar. And so it's the most important meeting of my days and my workout, honestly. And even if I don't want to go, it's on my calendar, I've made a commitment, I'm just putting on my shoes and going. So the same thing with work, like I don't always want to work, but it's on my calendar, it's on my to do list and I just open up the document, whether I'm writing whether I'm designing, I just open up the file, you know, and that's kind of the equivalent of lacing up your shoes, right.

Emily Thompson 40:41
Emily here coming at you to talk about managing your schedule. One of the hardest things about being boss is how many people can be vying for your attention from clients and customers to online buddies, real life friends and family and more. Scheduling time to focus on your work or yourself gets more and more important, the more Boston gets. Our friends at acuity scheduling are here to help you take back your calendar, giving you the functionality you need to easily block out times for focus, and leaving time open for checking in with clients and friends with an easy to use interface that matches your actual schedule with available appointment times making it impossible for your schedule to get hijacked by another meeting. Schedule clients without sacrificing yourself. Sign up for your free 60 day trial of scheduling sanity at acuity scheduling.com slash being boss. Now, let's get back into it.

Kathleen Shannon 41:49
But, um, so we Okay, like I still want to nerd out they want fitness. So are your goals still aesthetics? Or has it moved to health, um, I?

Ramit Sethi 41:59
Well, I'm very healthy now. So I eat basic, like I said, I have a chef, my chef coordinates with my trainer who coordinates with a nutritionist, I set up a system. So it all happens automatically. And I just opened my fridge and the perfectly calibrated food is there and I eat it. This was my big thing. You know, they say if you want to track what's important in your life, look at your calendar and look at your spending. And for me, if you look at my calendar and my spending, some of the biggest areas are working out and food. So So in a way, I mean, while it is a pretty big extravagance, I'm really proud that I am conscious that this is where I want to spend my time and money. And you know, it's reflected. But let me tell you something that's interesting. When I was like growing my business, and I wasn't particularly healthy or anything, I mean, I was fine. But I would read these interviews with CEOs. And the first question they always asked is like, what's your morning ritual? And these bigshot CEOs? The first thing they always answer is, I wake up and I go to the gym. And I would read that. And I would skip right over it every time because I was looking for, you know, what's their productivity system? What software do they use to stay in touch for CRM? And I just, I wasn't ready to hear the part about health and fitness. I didn't understand the connection. I was kind of like, yeah, yeah, yeah, they all talk about it. But that's not me. I'm not that kind of guy. I don't want to be one of those protein drinking jocks. I had all this weird self talk, you know, like so many entrepreneurs. Oh, no, I never do that. I'm not a salesy person. Like, I would tell myself these weird phrases. Where did it come from? I have no idea. I just had these weird stereotypes. Well, when I started to like, learn and surround myself with people who were more into fitness, I started to realize that that first of all, there's a lot of stuff I didn't know, I was just making half this stuff up about protein, I don't even know what protein was. And then getting help. Like, I could have read a bunch of books, but the fact is, I wasn't. And so sometimes, if you know that there's something you want to accomplish, but you just are not doing it. You can actually pay your way out of that problem. You can hire a trainer, trust me, you're going to show up when you have that spending you've already done. So that's that's my psychology. insight from there. If you want to talk about macros, and lifts and stuff I'd love to talk about I don't know how many of your readers care. Shut up.

Kathleen Shannon 44:32
No, but you know, am I after I had my baby. I started doing macros and bodybuilding and all decided not to compete or anything because I feel like a lot of people develop eating disorders and kind of skewed body image issues that I was not down for. But I think that stuff is so fascinating and like you I see so many parallels between working out and being healthy. So one of the things I was gonna say whenever you talk we're talking about systems. Thinking literally staying hydrated is one of my biggest business tools. Like if I can just stay hydrated, I'm less irritable, I don't get headaches, I don't get as much brain fog. It's kind of silly, but I think it's huge. And that's, that's a big investment that I put in myself. So I just think it's really interesting and fun. And okay, so one of the things I wanted to also say about kind of being where you're at, and even scaling a business, sometimes I think about health and fitness so much, the entrepreneur in me is like, Okay, how can I, how can I convert this into like, some sort of business something, but then the other part of me is like, okay, here's where I'm at what I'm an expert in is personal branding. You know, like, that's where I'm at, not fitness so much, but kind of acknowledging that maybe one day I can grow into that somehow. And I feel like that's something that you've done with your business is, you set it up as a, you know, niche with with I with finances, but that it's able to kind of slowly evolve, you know, to different things,

Ramit Sethi 46:02
I never would have predicted that I would be writing about the things I am now. So for example, when I started off, I was writing about personal finance. And I got really in detail on that. And I wrote the book, and I, you know, I answered questions and build systems for like, probably about 10 years on personal finance. But as I said, that was just a small part of a rich life, then, I was like, you know, I want to I went on book tour. And sometimes your most interesting ideas come from the most unexpected places. I asked the people on book tour in just these random cities around the country. What do you want me to write more about what would help. And that's when they said, Love your personal finance stuff, but I want to know how to earn more. And that was kind of a big aha to me. So I started digging in doing a lot of research, it took us a couple of years to really perfect. The first course we were going to offer on that. But over time, you know, now I have an ultimate guide on social skills, and oh, and salary negotiation. I think that sometimes you have to let it breathe, like they let wine breathe. If I had tried to create a course on starting a business on day one, that would have been ridiculous. I didn't even know how to do business myself. But if I tried to create one on social skills, well, I wouldn't have had the sophistication to do that. There are things right now that I've put aside for the for about three years, because I don't know how to do it yet. But I know that one day, I hope I figured that out. And then you know i can i can make that work. So to me, it's interesting, you have fitness. The way I approach that is I've exactly the same things, I've interest in these different areas. I kind of write it on a piece of paper, and then I revisited every six to 12 months. If I figured something out, maybe it's the right time. If not, I can wait another year.

Kathleen Shannon 47:54
I think it's cool that you have that patience of waiting a couple years for a product to be just right. And I feel like that's a challenge for a lot of entrepreneurs is waiting to release something until it's perfect, which I feel like you are good at doing but then also At what point do you just say, Okay, I need to launch. Okay, can

Ramit Sethi 48:12
I can I talk about this? Because

Unknown Speaker 48:13
I would love for

Ramit Sethi 48:14
you to talk about it. This is a this right here has been worth millions and millions of dollars to us. Okay, and I believe it's one of our secret sauces. I want to talk about this. The amount of people I see online creating. shitty, is it okay, if I say that? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 48:30
we have we have a big red next to our podcast. Oh, great. Okay,

Ramit Sethi 48:34
I'm just why why create a shitty course or product just to get it out in the marketplace. And if you really dig into this, let's dig into this psychology. A lot of people say, Well, I got to get it out. I need to lean startup this and that. And if you ask them, Hey, have you ever bought a product where you didn't love it? Oh, yeah. What do you do? refund it immediately? Would you ever buy from that person again? No. And so we're treating other people exactly the opposite of the way we would want to be treated. And I'm going to give you some actual numbers internally here. So we have, we have products that we were now in year 2.5 of testing this one product, it's not even going to be out for a long time. We're just not there yet. Now we have the resources and the patience to be able to do that. But we also know that by the time it comes out, we can virtually guarantee it will be very successful. The way that we do that is not just hope and pray and spend three years and a lot of money we systematically tested along the way. I'm not saying you need to test something for three years. I do think that in every experience we've had if the time we spend to make it great, pays off, way, way, way more. So we had one course we spent about six months creating it wasn't it wasn't a great course. Okay, the way it was launched, it wasn't great. We had another course we spent About 12 to 14 months on, we really took the extra time. That second course, generated millions and millions of dollars more than the first course. So I'm all for testing, and agile and all of that we do all of that. But in our experience, every time you build a super high quality product, you instantly set yourself apart from everyone else, everyone, because most of the market is just creating low quality junk. So you know, and the way we know this is we measure our retention rates, we measure repurchase rates. One example is our customers repurchase at a rate 2,300% higher than non customers. What does that mean? It means that once people buy one thing from us, they usually love it, so they keep coming back. And if you approach your business with the idea of, we call them students or customers for life, then you're going to have a really long term approach rather than let's monetize for 70 bucks, and then we'll somehow find more suckers to sell to, I hate that I hate that view. I believe in craftsmanship, I think every time you create something that's world class, you will generate way more profit way more happy students or customers. And that's how you build a really long term business.

Kathleen Shannon 51:16
That's really inspiring it and I think that my problem and maybe a lot of the entrepreneurs listening, it's just the sense of urgency, like, if I don't get it out, now I can die. Or maybe what if podcasts aren't relevant in two years, you know, so for example, like Emily and I are working on a product right now teaching other people how to podcast with a couple of our buddies who also have a podcast and um, and it's like, what if we don't get it out now, like, someone will beat us to it. And there's just that sense of urgency there. But I'm, I'm inspired now to be a little more patient. But that's it. Yeah. And let's,

Ramit Sethi 51:51
let's spend a second on that. If you're building something that could potentially expire in two years, what are you doing?

Unknown Speaker 51:59
No Good point,

Ramit Sethi 52:00
why are you wasting your time on something that's so temporal, that in two years, it's pointless? Let me give you an example are we created a product recently, and our designers came back with like three to five logo options? And I looked at them and I said, Look, guys, this product will be around 15 to 20 years from now, do you think these logos stand the test of time, and that completely reframed the way that they designed it, they had come up with these somewhat gimmicky logos? And I said, you know, if it's 2025, or 2030, do you think people would want to buy this? And instantly, they realized, that sort of timescale we're dealing with, if you're playing in a $50 sandbox, or you're playing on a one year scale, what are you doing?

Unknown Speaker 52:47
Mm hmm.

Kathleen Shannon 52:51
I've got a lot to think about now. Emily, and I are gonna have a long meeting after this.

Emily Thompson 53:01
Scratch are your plans? Were done guys. Right? No, like,

Ramit Sethi 53:04
you know what, the way the way that we think about it is this, we say, look, we we know, we believe that we create really great world class material. And we don't just say that to be arrogant. We always are listening, we're asking people to reply to our emails, we're doing tons of surveys, like we're really keeping our ears and eyes open. So assuming that we are creating great stuff, we believe that it's just a matter of time, before somebody comes and buys from us. Now it could take them a week, it could take them five years, we see both in our data, we see both of those. But it's just a matter of time. That means all we need to do is continue creating amazing material, and occasionally give them the option to join. Totally different than Hurry up. I'm overwhelmed. We need to do this launch. Otherwise, the podcast market's gonna go away like that. That whole mindset of being overwhelmed and rush and frenzied and harried. It's like you're compete. You're doing what everyone else is doing. Yeah. And I would rather play like, you know what I heard? I heard a great quote. You never hear anyone in a Mercedes commercial screaming. And so ask yourself, what kind of business are you building?

Unknown Speaker 54:19
We're Sadie's.

Ramit Sethi 54:20
Bingo. So if you're truly building a Mercedes, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with like, kiya. kiya is a great business, okay, McDonald's, amazing business. There's nothing wrong with that. But you can't claim you're building a Mercedes business and then offer a 50% discount. You can't It makes no sense. You can't claim you're building a Mercedes business and then roll out an E book or a course that's half assed or it's not the best in the world. So if you're building a McDonald's business, that's awesome. You can roll those things out and you just sell them at volume, which means you need to have really clear acquisition strategies. But I would say that, like we our business is built around More of the Mercedes model, we never tried to be the cheapest, never, we tried to be the best. We don't do discounts. We are very clear about who we allow who we don't, if you have credit card debt, you cannot join our flagship courses. So we're very selective about our audience, and we expect them to be selective about us. I would say that for entrepreneurs, you really want to ask yourself, what kind of business do you want to run. And that trickles down a lot. It's not just oh, I want to operate a Mercedes business, because they're so cool. Mercedes is like, very selective about what they do, how often they release products, etc. And so making those decisions can be the difference between, you know, mediocre mediocrity or big, big success?

Emily Thompson 55:47
Well, and I think that also hugely plays into again, I know our crowd, a lot of them are like, leaving day jobs to start their own business or are just sort of fell into the business they've started. And and I think this speaks very heavily to getting yourself into the mindset that you're going to be around doing this for a while. I mean, not a lot of us really think about the longevity of what it is that we're building, because we are doing business online, and things go so quickly. And all those things we hear all the time, or we just don't really commit to this thing that we're building in a way that has us looking 10 to 15 years down the line. I know that whenever I made the conscious decision to do this business where you know, I just been kind of freelancing for a while. And then I made up my mind that no, this is a business, I will actively build that mindset chef did tons of huge things for me. And I think this speaks very heavily to that idea of, of taking yourself seriously and taking the business that you are building seriously and taking the products that you're building for your business seriously. And thinking of it in terms of like a long term plan, as opposed to I just need to get through the next six months.

Ramit Sethi 56:58
Yeah, totally agree. You know, what if you need to get through the next six months, get a job?

Unknown Speaker 57:02

Ramit Sethi 57:03
tell you the truth. You know, how many people write me and by the way, I have a whole course on that find your dream job, or just use my free stuff, I don't care. I have so many people that write me, they're like roommate, should I join your course, I really want to create a business. I love what you have to say, I just got laid off or I quit my job. Like, I'm, I have about three months of cash left, and I really want it I'm like, No,

Unknown Speaker 57:25
what are you talking about? You're like, buy yourself some food and get a job.

Ramit Sethi 57:28
But here's the craziest thing, when you tell people to get a job, especially entrepreneurs, it's very insulting to them. And I actually think that that's one of the most arrogant things you can do. How dare people think that they're too good to get a job? There's nothing wrong with a job at all. It's totally respectable. 98% of people have a job. And I just think about my parents coming here from India, what would they have done? The answer is they would have done anything to keep their family fed and clothed. And suddenly we have a bunch of people who are following these dreams of passive income, and they think they're too good to get a job. I think you start by being financially secure. That's why we don't allow people with credit card debt because they make crazy decisions. Okay, and so you get your finances under control, you're calm, you're cool, methodical and collected. And then you can have a long term perspective on starting a business. If you're down to two months of money. I mean, just what kind of decisions are you going to make? So I like to just take a slower approach, a whisper approach. And when you can do that, when you can surround yourself with other entrepreneurs who are not just trying to make a quick buck, but like, really thinking long term, the kind of people you admire, that can make all the difference in the world.

Kathleen Shannon 58:46
I love that like just that intentionality behind it. And it's even, you know, a shift that Emily and I have experienced with creating this podcast that started as our side hustle. It organically grew into what it's grown into. But now this year, we're like, okay, let's get intentional. What is our Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 59:00
and how does that feel?

Kathleen Shannon 59:02
It feels so good. And it does feel different, because we've certainly have our hustles where we're like, Okay, Let's hunt, you know, but then it's the difference between hunting and farming, right? And we're super into I think farming, and kind of giving it all away. I know that's a philosophy that you believe in to where you're giving as much good stuff away as you can so that you build your tribe, right?

Ramit Sethi 59:24
Yeah, we give away 90% of our stuff. Our goal is always for our our goal is to create free material that's better than anyone elses paid stuff. And so if you if you Google, like the ultimate guide to personal finance, or the Ultimate Guide to salary negotiation or social skills, just take a look and we'll let the work speak for itself. Or you sign up for our email list where you can get our free emails for five years, don't buy a thing. Enjoy it. I kind of love what you just said about intentionality. You didn't start like knowing about long term farming and it's just like, Hey, this is our side hustle, let's just take it day by day. I love that. It's like you're climbing to the top of a mountain, you may not be able to see the peak yet. But every day, it's just one foot in front of the other. Now you get to the next hill, and you can see the next hill. And that's like, it's like the world and your business unfolds in front of you. But we're not trying to jump from zero to the peak. We're trying to take it step by step very methodically.

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:25
Yes. Which brings us full circle to that, you know, running three times in a week versus just running once a week, right? Like, be where you are, make shit happen one step at a time. Alright, Remi, I don't want to take up too much of your time. Tell us about where our listeners can find you. What are you launching now? What do you want to talk about? Where do you want people to find you?

Ramit Sethi 1:00:48
Okay, we have a whole new site at growth lab.com everything relating to online business? Do you want to know about copywriting, we've got material, we show you our actual test results from copywriting. We want to know about monetization, conversion, finding a profitable idea or email marketing, we teach all of that stuff at growth lab.com go there, get on the newsletter, we would love to show you our material. And like I say 98% of it is free. And it's our goal to challenge you and to show you what's possible with your online business.

Kathleen Shannon 1:01:23
Thank you and how many years you spend developing growth lab?

Ramit Sethi 1:01:26
Oh, I mean, it's been 11 years in the making, really. So it's all your best stuff. Absolutely. We're continuing to release it. For me,

Kathleen Shannon 1:01:35
it's been so nice talking to you. Thank you for lending us your time. I feel so lucky in my job that I get to learn from the best by interviewing them. So thank you. Well, it's

Ramit Sethi 1:01:47
my pleasure. Thank you so much for the time and for the opportunity.

Kathleen Shannon 1:01:51
Thank you for listening to being boss. Find Show Notes for this episode at love being boss calm. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to new episodes on our website on iTunes, SoundCloud,

Emily Thompson 1:02:03
or Stitcher. Did you like this episode, head on over to our Facebook group by searching being boss on facebook and join in on the conversation with other bosses or share it with their friends. Do the work be boss and we'll see you next week.

Kathleen Shannon 1:02:35
I want to tell you guys that there are 30% of you out there actually using fresh books. Our conversion rate is so high our listeners are actually using and loving and buying fresh books. So the proof is in the pudding. Y'all try it out. Cut that out. proofs in the pudding. Y'all keep it cut that out. Anyway,

Unknown Speaker 1:03:01
prove the book.

Kathleen Shannon 1:03:02
proof is in the pudding y'all. Thank all for Oklahoma.

Emily Thompson 1:03:07

Unknown Speaker 1:03:09
Do not use that as a blooper either.

Emily Thompson 1:03:13
It's funny