Hey everybody, how's it going? I'm Chase Jarvis, welcome to another episode of Chase Jarvis Live, here on CreativeLive. Specifically, you're turning in to the 30 Days of Genius series. If you don't know what 30 Days of Genius is, it's where I sit down with the top creatives and entrepreneurs in the world and create actionable insights out of these interviews with them. That you can apply to help you live your dreams in career, hobby, and life. If you're new to CreativeLive, 30 Days of Genius, check it out, creativelive.com/30daysofgenius. All you have to do is go press the blue sign up button. And then we will put an email in your inbox every morning, with one of these amazing interviews, with a top notch person who will help you change your life, progress, move, you get the whole picture there. You will know my guest today by the long list of accolades. I'm gonna try and keep it short so we can get into the real meat. He is, a New York Times best selling author, author of the book, I ...
Will Teach You to be Rich. And he's actually the CEO of a company by the same name, I Will Teach You to be Rich. My guest today, none other than Mr. Ramit Sethi.
Thanks for having me.
What's up buddy?
How you doing? (upbeat music)
All right man, welcome to the show.
Hey, thanks a lot.
Super good to have you. You are a second time visitor.
And the show's been almost five years running. This one, people know, is not live. Even though it's called Chase Jarvis Live here on CreativeLive. But the benefit is that now we can just, we can go renegade and edit later.
Bingo, so curse words--
Any of it.
Slurs, all right I'm ready.
I won't tell people that it's 10 in the morning, we've been drinking heavily. (he laughs) I really wanna focus this interview on a handful of things. You know the audience is primarily creatives, entrepreneurs, people who want to be more creative or more entrepreneurial. They realize that the world is moving towards a freelance world, where you're trying to define your own thing. If our parents had one job, we will have five. And the next generation will have five at the same time. So how do we incorporate a life, a rich life, where we get to do the things that we want and still be responsible? So, straight off the bat, why don't you just give a little bit of, knowing that you've been on the show before and that show's been seen hundreds, and hundreds, and thousands of times. But give a little overview on how you went from being little Ramit (laughs) to sitting right here in this chair.
Well I always say, if I followed my default life path, I'd probably be 50 pounds skinnier. I'd be wearing an ill fitting polo shirt And you know, like a Cisco technician working in a cubicle right now. And every day I thank God that that's not the case. Because I made a couple of pivotal life decisions that took me on a different path. So starting from when I was younger, grew up in a family, not a lot of money. And in order to get into college, I had to apply for a bunch of scholarships. Well I took that first scholarship check invested it in the stock market, lost 1/2 of that money, not a good move.
And you thought you were being awesome.
Oh, I, 1999/2000, "I'm so cool. "I'm an investor." No I'm not, I don't know what I'm doing. And I started learning about money, and I started learning about human behavior as well. So there are all these things that everybody tells us we need to do. You need to cut back on lattes, you need to work out more. And we know these things but we don't actually do them. So I'm really fascinated with why. What's the nexus between what we know we should do and what we don't. And so I started writing about money. And actually from a creative perspective, I tried to teach people for free. Nobody came. Everybody said they wanted it, but no one ever showed up. It's like, ah it's frustrating, but I want to crack the code so I started writing about it on a blog, called I will Teach You to Be Rich. Kind of weird name I know, and my friends at Stanford they started reading it and then other people starting reading it-
That's how it works.
Yeah, and no secrets to it. It was just writing material, being consistent and showing up every day, trying to get better. And eventually it sort of expanded and now, money's an important part, but I think it's a small part of a rich life. Now we have dozens of employees, we have a million readers a month, we talk about everything from starting a business, we talk about finding a dream job, even fitness and food. All the different parts of a rich life.
I love it. And that's one of the reasons that I was very, very particular, sorry I've been hounding you. (laughs) We're both busy guys, been friends for a long time, like dude you're coming on the show. Okay okay. How 'bout the 23rd, how bout the 28th? But one of the reasons it was a requirement for you to be a part of this particular series is because I feel like when I'm learning about the people who pay attention to me and to Creative Live, is that there's sort of two piles of people, and I'm generalizing but, there's the folks and again I set that up earlier, people who want to live a more creative life, want to be more entrepreneurial and sort of tap into their dreams, but there's the whole group of people that haven't started that process yet or they think of themselves as like, I need to get out of this particular xyz that I'm in, whether it's a corporate job, they are in a relationship that they want to get out of, and I want to go from zero to one. I want to get started. And there's an entirely other pool of people who have either, maybe they're a working creative maybe they're a freelancer, and they say alright great I got this thing and now how do I make it amazing. And there's a little bit of a different mentality between the two of those, so to me that's a great place to start the conversation because I know I'm super familiar with your stuff, I have applied your financial, the Automating of you Finances, and I also know we've had a lot of deep conversations around this zero to one how do you get started, and then once you start, where do you go. So let's start with the first pile of people and your background is in behavioral psychology from Stanford, what is the psychology between what you said earlier that people who, oh man I want to get fit, I want to do a thing, how do you go from zero to one?
The best example I know of is a random woman who responded to one of my emails. So I send out millions of emails every month, and I always say write back to me I read every email. And I do. Every single email that comes in every day. And one of the questions I asked my readers was so-
You're so brave first of all, that's amazing.
Well you know you got to have a thick skin. After awhile I went from getting hurt to, I got an elephant hide now this is funny. The rule of internet trolls is don't respond. And I respond to every one. I mean it's entertaining, I'm like you're going to come into my house? It's like a comedian, why would you go in and heckle a comedian? They're better at this, they're been doing it their whole life.
You're about to get smacked down.
So anyways, so this woman was not heckling. She gave a real response. I asked people what's something you claim you want to do, but you actually don't do it? And I think for a lot of us, that could be I want to start writing a book, I want to redesign my website, I want to get a couple of photography clients. Whatever it might be, there's something we want to do in the back of our head, but we don't do it. So she said, I want to run three times a week. And I wrote back and I said, why don't you just run once? And her response was amazing she said, why would I bother running once that doesn't do anything. So think about that. She'd rather dream about running three times a week than actually run once. And so many of us when we're being creative. We start off saying, I want to shoot Lady Gaga. Well, you're probably not going to do that day one. In fact, you're probably just going to go out there a shoot bikes on the street. That's what everybody does.
Or Gary for your first shoot. (laughs) Stand still Gary I'm going to take a picture of you.
Exactly. But we often so many times, we want to jump ahead. And I see it in so many examples when you look at somebody's apartment, we look at our parents their house and we're just like oh my God they have everything. They have food, three spatulas, they have 10 different types of pillows. I need that. It's like, it took them 30 years to get there.
And sometimes it's okay to start with a couple of spoons and you work your way up. That patience, that discipline, that craftsmanship, that's something that I found separates the best from the people that want to get rich quick.
So if we get out of the get rich quick idea and just realize that the people who are paying attention to this thing right now, let's just assume because otherwise we can go down a very deep rabbit hole, let's just assume that they actually want to make those changes. I'm banking that 90% of the people are in that category just like that woman. Why would I just take one picture, or how can I basically get started on something that's sustainable. So you told that to the woman, and you say well how about running once, and then after you're done running once, run again. So what's the psychology and how do you as a psychologist or someone who helps people, do this. How should we think about it?
Well the first thing is to look at the people who are actually doing what you want to do. The people who are shooting Lady Gaga, the people who are the best at what they do. And actually study them. I think a lot of us, we want to reinvent the wheel, but if I wanted to study your progress, I would say Chase Jarvis interview in Google and would read what you've said and watch your videos. And you talk about it. You've hustled, you did stuff for free, you learned by getting on the ground. And you'll find this kind of uncomfortable truth that everyone who's the best, started at the same level and yet they had a different thought process. One, they were comfortable and humble enough to start at the beginning. And second, they knew it was about craftsmanship instead of I'm going to just from one to a thousand, I'm going to go from one, to 1.1.
And there's a belief that the people who have sort of made it and again, I think it's fair to say that I have on this show have made it, otherwise they wouldn't be on the show. They've made it in some way, shape, or form. And I am familiar with the concept of people thinking that oh, you did this and I get asked in interviews all the time, what was your lucky break?
My moment, my lucky break. And my answer is let's see, I think it happened, it's basically about 10 years of busting my ass is the moment.
Yeah, so I recently wrote a post on our friend Tim Ferris' site. And I wrote about the $5 million dollar week. We had a week where our business generated $5 million dollars, and that's pretty cool. A lot of people look at it, wow! What's the secret? What website, technique, tool, optimization did you use?
Oh this button which is the $5 million dollar button.
Oh we changed the color to blue and it optimized everything. And so I wrote about it and I started off by saying this is the amount. But let's talk about the decisions that made it possible. And there's so many subtle, tough decisions and I went through all of them. One, I didn't try to do everything at once. So for creatives, one of the things you're going to discover is that every one has an opinion about what you should do. And if you've ever tried something new, I'm trying to learn a language, I'm trying to lose weight, as soon as you tell people, oh you got to try Paleo, you gotta try this, you gotta try that. If you start anything creative or a business, you're going to have people saying you need to get on Twitter, you need to get a Facebook page, you need to do x, y, z. We didn't do SEO, Twitter, any of that stuff, for years. Years. Why? Because we picked a couple things to be really great at. We took the time to learn it. For us, it's email. We took the time and if you sign up for our email list at iwillteachyoutoberich.com, you're going to see within three days, these emails are different than anything you've ever seen. And we spent years learning it. Finally we felt pretty good. We felt like, alright we know what we're doing. Then we added one more thing on. But people right now they tell me you got to do this channel and this and I'm like, I'm not good enough. I don't know how to do that. So I have a little text document, it's called Do It Later, and I'll just add ideas that people tell me. And maybe every six months Ill go ahead and look at it and say like, is it time? And as you get better your intuition gets a little honed, but one of the things that I learned was just being more comfortable saying no and focusing on just a couple of things that you can become great at.
What's an example, I guess let me tweak that a little bit. So instead of an example of how to be more creative, talk to me about habits and process. Because to me, there's a list of ten habits that I do everyday and I know that if I do these ten habits, that I am almost, I generalize and say that I'm my best self. And it's not like, oh I didn't do one of them today, I missed one, so I'm going to do zero. Like the woman in your example. But I know the more of these habits that I do, the better I'm going to be. And that's a better human, better creator, better husband, better friend, all those things. Talk to me about habits and process.
Because clearly that's important.
I love it. So Scott Adams, the cartoonist has a great quote that says "Losers have goals, winners have systems." And I'm all about systems. My personal finance book is not about cutting back on lattes or feeling guilty about buying an appetizer, it's about setting up an automation system that runs whether you are there or not, and it just works. Your money goes, it's not emotional anymore, it runs. It's a machine. No big deal. I also was inspired, there's an article in the Atlantic Monthly about Olympic athletes. So one thing that's really different about Olympic athletes is not only are they the best in world technically, but they have to be able to mentally get in that space, right away. They can't wait, they can't wait for inspiration, boom, they need to just make it happen. So a lot of researchers studied Olympic athletes and one of the things they do is they have their rituals, they have their habits. So I was inspired by that and I have my own set of habits. Like you, I know that if I do a few key things, then I'm going to as close as possible, guarantee I'm going to make that day a successful day. So for me simple things like starting with sleep, by the way can I just talk about sleep for a second? (laughs) Okay everybody in America is like, oh my God I need to sleep better. I suck at sleep, I can't sleep well and it's like really? There's like two main things, if you fix these things the sleep problem disappear. You don't need a pill, you're not narcoleptic, gimme a break. One, stop drinking caffeine after a certain point in the day. Test it. Some people it's 3PM, some people it's noon, whatever it may be. Two, stop using the computer towards sleep time.
The end of the day.
Now that's very unsexy to say.
Very. Now whoa, what about this, what about using the f-lux on my computer, it's this cool tool that goes down- No! I mean you can do it if you want if it makes you feel better but one of the things I find in creative life, is rather than looking for the gimmicks, look for the things that actually matter. So in habits, sleep matters for me. If I do those two things, problem goes away and I sleep beautifully. Two, when I wake up I don't wonder what to do today, I'm very fanatical about my calendar. So my calendar is laid out and in the morning I'm more alert and creative so I do my writing in the morning. And I have a block. Within that block, I double-click the link and everything is there. I just double-click and I'm in this document and I'm ready to write. No reference needed, no need to click over here. It's all in one doc, it's right here in front of me. Boom, just start writing. And so once that happens then I have meetings in the day, that's because I'm getting a little less creative and I need to just do the managing stuff. And then for me at night it's about being social. That's important to me because I work from home a lot, if I don't I'll turn into a nutcase. (laughs)
That's not good, gotta get out. It's easy to do here in New York.
Big time. So the interesting thing about that is there's no magic bullet to what I just said. Every creative is different, you know we talked to Tim Ferris, he writes late at night. I write in the morning. But one of the key things is creatives know their style-
Yeah, you figure out your own-
And you admit it. Like I don't feel guilty that after 6 or 7 PM I'm not really in the game. That's just who I am, okay. And so I work my schedule around that.
So one of the things that I'm deconstructing all the time is my peers, you mentioned Tim, people who are world-class at what they do. You recommended we do that. And this idea of a series of habits that you get into. And I think this is true for people who want to be more creative or even want to start a business. Like what time can you allocate everyday to think about this thing, to do it, to pursue it? And you know, I put myself not in the zero to one category, there's plenty of things in the world that I'm doing at zero to one, but professionally I'm in the one to ten and if ten is Richard Branson, and you and I are somewhere on that between one and ten. The idea of carving out special time to pursue that dream, if you don't do that, it's sort of not going to happen. So I actually make that one of my habits. To do or to make something everyday and to give myself some time literally on the calendar to do that.
I love it.
What mistakes as a psychologist and someone who studies human behavior, what mistakes do people get into? How do they sort of self sabotage, and what can we do to get over it?
Huge. I love talking about productivity, but it's like one of these passion projects. I love talking to my friends about it, and then ultimately I come back to my own calendar and I'm like oh, it's pretty much working the way it should. I'm always looking for that extra one percent, but if I have the bulk of it right, good.
Yeah it's no silver bullets, it's lead bullets. A lot of lead bullets.
Exactly. Okay so, there's this common phrase, show me a man's calendar and I will show you his priorities. And I'll add a little twist to that. Show me someone's calendar and their spending, and I will show you their priorities. So for many of us we claim that family's really important. Cool. Me too. And I would say, let's look at your spending. Time and money. When was the last time you spent dedicated time flying home to see your parents or with your wife or husband and what are you spending on money wise? It doesn't have to be a lot, but we're talking proportions here. Same thing with fun, with dating, fitness is a great example. So I wrote this post about spending like a lot of money on luxury services. And people like to talk about luxury, but they don't really give numbers. I want to talk exactly about how much I spend. Because nobody talks about it. And for me one of the things is fitness. So I say, look at my time and look at my spending. And if you have a trainer or you're buying organic food or whatever it may be, that really reflects your priorities. Mistakes I see. The biggest one is saying, I really want to do this, and people genuinely want to do it-
In their hearts-
And then they don't put it on their calendar.
Calendar, that's it.
First of all, if you don't have a calendar that's fine. Start using one. The natural inclination is that I don't want something to control me, but the truth is the calendar's under your control. So if you don't want to do something, then that's okay. This is new for people because you're actually starting to respect yourself, and what that means is if I put something on my calendar I respect myself enough to actually honor it. So if it's on there, it's going to happen. And if it's not and I sort of skip over it once or twice, then I know there's some kind of internal problem. Like maybe I really don't want to do this meeting. That's hard-
Then you got to deal with that.
Yeah, it's easier to say oh the world, oh I got these emails and it made me so busy and I just couldn't get to it today. Not acceptable. At the highest levels it's not acceptable. If you don't plan your day the world will plan it for you.
I talk about it in terms of writing, if you don't write your own script, someone will write it for you. And that was the story of my life actually. I was on a path to do things that everybody else was, and they're all great things, but they were all things that everybody else thought I should do and it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to overcome personally, and I am a stubborn son of a bitch, I'm a type A, aggressive sort of, I do what I want to do only child kind of person, and I struggled. I let everyone else's sort of messages program me and say oh gosh, you're smart, well why don't you become a doctor or a lawyer-
Again you have an opportunity to pursue a career in professional soccer, well of course that's what you're going to do. And when I left all those things, which is very, very, very, very hard, to pursue a career as a photographer and an entrepreneur, it was a major like what! What are you doing? You're going to- And not from the people who were actually closest to me, but sort of that next layer of friends or acquaintances.
It's amazing the identity you create for yourself right, because like it or not we all crave approval and it can happen in the most subtle ways. So like for example, one of the things I've noticed is something I call the Handshake Effect. It's like if someone comes over to your apartment or house, especially here in Manhattan, and you got a nice view, you got a nice place, as they're meeting you they're going to go like this. Wow nice place. Do you own this place? And this is a pivotal moment. It's a pivotal moment. You don't even know this person, you're just meeting them and shaking their hand, and if you say I own it yes, they go wow, this guy's kind of young, he owns this beautiful place, and you get this approval. That feels good. Even if you don't know who the person is.
It's a little shot of dopamine.
Boom! And this is one of the ways that society tells us for example, that you need to own a house. This is a very subtle, insidious pressure, and if you don't own it, you're a failure. The American Dream, blah blah blah. Now I happen to not believe that. I believe that, like I rent on purpose-
Because you could just like, alright hey landlord, I got a leaky faucet.
Because you don't want to have to manage it.
Or I'm moving to San Francisco tomorrow, or whatever. The point it for a lot of us we are influenced by these subtle things. So your family might say, oh yeah, you know Chase got a graduate degree and everyone else is like hmm. If anyone here is asian or Indian you know exactly what I'm talking about. And we have to be aware of that because like it or not, it affects us. And the same thing is true for the creative process. It's really hard to be creative, otherwise everybody would do it. So let's just kind of be aware of what these subtle messages are. You can choose to accept them, like I accepted some from my background which is, education's the best, be good to your family, etc. I accepted those. I love it. Others like, you need to be an engineer or computer scientist, I did not accept.
So I believe that what you just said is perhaps the single largest things that's keeping people from their dreams. And whether those dreams are in career, or hobby, or life, that paradigm of not allowing yourself to be programed is very hard. That is, I just gave my own example of how stubborn and bullish I am, and I lived everybody else's dream and I spent tens of thousands of dollars on a graduate school. I was in a PhD in philosophy because when I decided not to be an M.D. doctor, I was like oh well I'll just get a doctorate and it's like second place for my parents. They'll think I'm smart still. And that cost me years of my life, it cost me 50 grand, and only to realize part way through that I want nothing to do with this. So if even bullheaded, and I know how I overcame it, but what are some things that you feel like, is it making a behavior, is it like small steps? How do we go from zero to one specifically on this thing of starting to live your dreams. Getting out of everyone else's path or rut for you.
It's one of the hardest things you could possibly do.
This is the key people, like you're sitting there right now going I want to do something different, and my husband's telling me we have a mortgage, I can't do this. My parents are telling me, oh Manuel you want to be an artist, there's a reason why they call them starving artists.
And all that shit is not true. I think there's examples everywhere else in the world of overcoming this thing, but what's the-
So this is a phrase we call, Invisible Scripts. These are the scripts that guide out lives and they are so deeply embedded, they're invisible to us. And invisible scripts would include things like, more education is good. It's very common, in fact so common how can you even argue with it? Buying a house is part of the American Dream. Who could argue with that? Having kids. Everybody's got to have kids, otherwise you're selfish. That's another invisible script and they're very subtle and very insidious. So the first thing to do is to is to think almost like if you asked a fish, are you swimming in water?
It doesn't understand.
They don't speak English first of all and they don't know what you're talking about. So to actually realize there's a game being played around you. There's a phrase I learned from someone named Steve Blank. There's a game being played around us and we can notice it from just looking at the world with a more objective lens, with a more scientific lens. For example, the media constantly telling us that the economy is crumbling, times are tough, etc. Actually unemployment is way down, economy is doing great, but you can't talk about that. When I went on a book tour, the economy was really in the gutter, it was 2009. And I went to all these different cities, I went to 13 different cities and I went on local news. And they were all talking about the economy is destroyed etc, everybody's unemployed, and I said, true, but actually 90% of Americans are employed and they want to live a rich life. And do you know what they told me? We're not going to talk about that, we need to talk about everybody who's in debt. So the narrative around us is being constructed. Number one, stop and say-
Do I want to participate?
Do I want to participate in this and where am I getting my news sources from etc? That's a huge issue. Number two is to say let me pick just two to three people who I really admire, and I guarantee the people that you pick are going to be out of the mainstream in some way. Like if it's you, you dropped out of the PhD program on purpose, and you became this professional photographer now CEO. Whoa! That's a very interesting path. What did Chase do to get there? So now I'm Googling Chase Jarvis interview, Chase Jarvis bio. I'm reading everything that you've said and you've basically laid it out there.
I have, yeah.
You told everybody, everything. Now the information is not what we need, it's actually taking it and applying it to our zero to one life. And that is saying things like, you know what? I always say, should I do x or should I do y? Should I, and this is one of my favorite concepts. When I was in high school, you get this applications and there's an FAQ on these college applications. And one of the FAQs was, should I take an easier class and get an A, or a harder class and get a B? And you know what the answer was, I thought it was one of the ballsiest answers I've ever heard. The college said, we always recommend that you take the most challenging classes you can, but in our experience our top candidates take the harder class and get an A. Yes, and yes. (laughs) So it's not should I do x or y, if you flip the frame, should I do x or y? Yes. And the way you get to that is to look at somebody like Chase. Should I be a good partner or should I be a good CEO? Yes. If you can do it, then I know it's possible and so now I want to figure out how. This is a very different perspective. I'm looking at the best, so number one I'm studying the best. Number two, I'm saying wow they made some decisions and they're doing stuff that normal people don't do. Well Chase did it. Chase isn't some mutant. He might have had a little more experience than me, me might think a little different than me, but he laid it all out. How can I do what he does? I'm going to just take it one step at a time.
Let's dive into that because I think again, I look at having talked to a lot of and having had a lot of peers in the game who are high achievers and talked to a lot of people who are in this sort of, how do I make change in my life. What you just described I think is- I guess one of the things I get the most questions on is yeah, but how did you do that? Or wow that seems risky. So first of all I believe that it's probably the first time in the history of the world where the thing that was risky is actually more safe than what our parents would have said, so going to college and spending, the average student comes out of college with a $35,200 debt. That is actually starting to become the riskier path. And so in a world that's trying to get you to be a vanilla, nobody that I know who is successful or I'll even say, not happy might be stretch, but some sort of intersection of those things that we aspire, successful, happy, comfortable in their own skin whatever, took the normal path. The new norm is not normal and the new beige is anything but beige. So let's talk about how the world looks on that and how can we resist the world's trying to make us vanilla and beige or whatever.
Yeah totally. Well I do think the world tries to make you vanilla. I get is all the time in very subtle ways people say, you know I was listening to this podcast interview you did until you used the F word. Or I was reading your emails and this is unconscionable. Unsubscribe! And I just think the world wants me to be vanilla. I could stop using curse words-
I don't know how. (laughs) I've tried, it's impossible.
My emails would be this short. And I could dress a different way because they didn't like this beard or this hair, whatever. And the minute you turn vanilla, the world abandons you. So people will tell you I want you to do this, you shouldn't do this, you should do that, you need to do that, and the minute you start doing all of that and you regress to the mean, the game is over.
I say different, not better.
There you go.
Different and better.
If you're a restaurateur and you're looking at all these critics, oh I hate this and he served it the wrong way and you're like, okay I'm going to do what they say and all of a sudden, you have an empty restaurant. Why? Because you're just like everybody else. I actually think some of my views are a little counter-intuitive from a lot of entrepreneurs. These days it's very popular for people to say, skip college, nobody needs to get any eduction you can just create a life of your dreams online, and I actually believe that education matters. I believe that first and foremost you need to understand the game being played around you and you need to win at that game. So people come to me, do you think that I should work on my business or I should get good grades? I'm like, yes. Yes you should. Both. So the best people I know they got good grades, because they played the game. They know the game and they mastered it. And they were like, you know what? I'm going to start a business on the side. And I'm going to start it with five hours a week, which we teach how to do. Then you can scale it up to ten, and 40, and you can hire employees if you want, you can make millions or whatever you want. I think first you need to master the game. And if you wake up for example, and you're always tired, if you're not in good shape, if you don't have good relationships, you're not mastering the game. So first things first, kind of unsexy-
Base principles, table stakes, get your sleep in order, get your calendar in order, etc. And I'll give you an example, I was at dinner the other night with a bunch of other entrepreneurs and we went around the table introducing ourselves. And one of the questions was, if you weren't here what would you be doing? Interesting question.
And then here at the table.
Yeah like if you weren't with this group, what would you be doing tonight? So people had these different things and I said that I would be at this hot sauce shop that opened up in Brooklyn because I love hot sauce. There's a woman a couple of seats over and she said, I live in Manhattan and if I weren't here, I would be cooking because I never cook and I'm trying to cook one time per month. Everybody laughed. Ha ha ha. Only once a month, ha. I thought she was the most honest person in the room because I could guarantee you that the majority of people in that room never cook. She could have lied and said I'm trying to cook three times a week. She actually was honest and she said, I just want to cook once a month. That's success. Declare victory, go home. Done. So I would say if you're still at the zero stage where you're thinking about getting creative, first things first, master the game. Get the sleep in order, and you could say you know what? I want to go to sleep by 11PM one night a week. Not seven nights, just one night a week. I want to, maybe it's eating, maybe it's working out, whatever it may be, one time a week. Set a small goal, win, and then you can add to it from there.
These core principles are so simple but so powerful. That's the thing that I can't stress enough to anyone who's paying attention right now. And I go back to my personal habit list, it's things on there like exercise everyday, eat 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up, these are very very simple things, that it's the difference between me being very very high functioning and not. So put your oxygen mask on before assisting other passengers you've heard that in the airline safety videos, is it fair to say this is the same thing and there's a handful of base principles. You've talked about a calendar, personal fitness, personal health and well-being, that's table stakes.
Table stakes. By the way, I have to say I used to ignore the same advice. So I hate myself already. A lot of creatives, there's a lot of self-loathing it's like a blanket you wear. So I would read these interviews with CEOs and all these cool people, and they always ask them. What's your morning ritual? What do you do to get in the zone? And without fail, every single one of them would say I wake up in the morning and I work out. And I was like oh whatever, what software technology do they use? What's their project management tool? I skipped over that.
Literally the most critical things. I thought I was too smart and sometimes creatives and smart people have this problem of being too smart for their own good. They want to skip over the stuff that's obvious to get to the novel part. But when I was at Stanford one of my professors was a communications professor. Now communications does not get a lot of respect. It's kind of seen as like-
Soft and the smart people are busy taking computer science, I actually loved it. I was in a class, this was a class on relationships and relational love and the professor made a really good point she said, the value in the material you're learning is not in the novelty it's in the utility. And what she meant was this is the stuff that you can apply everyday. It's not particularly difficult, it's applicable. And so when I look at what I was doing with this productivity stuff I was skipping over it because it wasn't novel. Oh I've heard it before.
Everyone says this.
Everyone says it. But if had asked me point blank, yeah but do you do it? Uh, no. Because I was one of those guys who read all these books about paleo and Atkins and this and that, but I didn't actually eat right.
In trying to hack the system you looked beyond the things that were actually the basic core principles.
Bingo. You must get this a lot with people asking you about creative stuff.
All the time.
Yeah, yeah, Chase I know I should take at least 100 photos a day, but what camera do you use?
Literally they will circumnavigate the part that I feel is the differentiator. You said take 100 photos, just if you're making something every day, and even if it's terrible, I literally will with intention make something everyday. This is the thing that I'm making today. Or I will schedule it in my calendar, this is the time for making. And I would say, I mean, I track these habits everyday. I could literally tell you what days over the past days I have not actually made something. It's very very very very few. It's very few.
And those are the dirty secrets that people don't really want to know because I think they're always chasing the sort of sexy stuff. It's incredible to know how far core principles will get you. So again, the zero to one is it fair to say that it's really about sort of core principles?
Core principles, mastering them, and for me I'm inspired by videos like Jiro Dreams of Sushi, where the person who creates-
Great documentary film if you haven't seen it about a guy who makes the best sushi and I believe it's his son, sushi chef in Seattle name Jiro. Incredible. Super good.
Just to get the rice right, it takes the person years before he's even allowed to do it on his own. Just think about the craftsman ship and the discipline. So maybe you don't want to get to that level okay fine, but table stakes, zero to one, master it, your sleep is under control and one of the things I notice is sometimes things are very emotional, they're very heated. Oh, I really need to get to sleep or I just can't sleep. I'm not the kind of person who sleeps well, it's just this very heated thing.
Stories that we're telling ourselves, I understand.
I'm not the kind of person who can go to sleep by ten, we tell ourselves these stories. I used to be, oh I'm this skinny, Indian guy who can't gain weight. That was my story. In truth, I wasn't eating enough, and I didn't know how to work out, so obvious. But I was like, oh my genetics-
You look great by the way-
Thank you. So the stories we tell ourselves, we want to interrogate those and say I'm probably not a freak of nature, I'm probably not a genetic freak. If Chase can do something, I can do it. Let me break it down. That's zero to one, master the basic behaviors, and then you're ready to talk about the advanced stuff and that's where it gets really-
Well, hold and reserve the advanced stuff, and I want to go into Ramit the human for a little bit. What's something about you that most people don't know, that if they found out they would be surprised?
I think that, man I'm like pretty open book, I think I'm at a disadvantage when people meet me. (laughs)
It's all out there, I'm just naked.
I tell them everything. The thing I think would surprise people is how uncomfortable I used to be, and in some ways still am about the things that are embarrassing. For me it was little things like-
The thought of being skinny.
Skinny was a huge one. Oh huge. And you can see this a lot. Like going to the beach or something like that and people not taking their shirts off, that's a big one. In fact I know lot of my students who are weight lost instructors and one of the things they notice, is a lot of women who are mothers, they won't take pictures with their kids. So they have almost like years of their children on the beach, where they're not in the pictures. Why, because they didn't want to be embarrassed. That's really heartbreaking and I experienced that. Same thing with these scripts I told myself about meeting women, oh I gotta focus on studies, I don't want to be shallow. Working out, that's shallow. Even the music I listen to which is like horrible like late 90s RnB, actually it's amazing. But I used to not talk about it at all. What I learned, which I'm still in the process of learning is once you get comfortable with it, I like Jodeci I'm going to admit that. And then you can actually kind of own it, so that's actually been a process. Like I actually do write about listening to Whitney Houston at the gym, but I think there's still other things in my life that I probably am embarrassed about still, that I don't share.
If there's a takeaway from that it's that everybody has those things and the way I feel like the best creatives that I know think about it is those things that were quirky and made you weird as a kid, those are huge strengths. And if you can own that stuff, that is not only does it help you move through the world, feel good about yourself so you can get on to thinking about the things that are going to help you live your dreams but, owning it in a public environment it sort of sets other people at ease because it reminds them that you're just like them. That's there's sort of this approachability around it, so I'll remember this about the Whitney Houston, I think that's hot. (laughs) Okay so that's a Ramit-ism that we know you like Whitney Houston, and you haven't admitted it, or maybe you've written about it but our audiences know.
I love her.
How about something that you want to do, but you personally haven't yet started to achieve?
Oh wow, this is great.
We can go for years I'm sure, because we all have big dreams, but just give us a couple simple ones. And I'm trying to do this so the folks at home realize that Ramit, super successful, has done so much and New York Time bestselling author, he's a CEO, making $5 million bucks in some weeks, but there's still stuff in your life that's undone.
Definitely. So I think for me, like one of the things is I remember being asked to MC a wedding. And I turned it down. That's a pretty big honor to be asked to MC a wedding. And I just know that I don't have that kind of style. I'm not the kind that can get that crowd kind of rilled up. And I believed that. And I think to some extent if I'm honest, I still believe that. But I know in the back of my head that's just a story I'm telling myself. That actually I could learn the skills-
I think you would crush.
I don't think so. Like right now I'm telling you from where I'm sitting, I love hanging out with you, I love hanging out in a small group, but like on the mic, it's not me. And it see this glimmer in the back of my head where I'm like I think I'm just telling myself a stupid story. So I'd like to get to that point and maybe it involves taking a stand up class, improv, who knows. But that's something that I- it's like here, and I'd like to bring it to the forefront.
And one of the things that I love about talking to people like yourself who have done so much, is that you actually, if you applied these rules that you're sharing with the world, which is actually what you will do at some point, you just need to prioritize that.
That's a great lesson too is that, just because you know these lessons, doesn't mean you always apply yourself and I'll be the first to admit it. I know how sales, marketing, persuasion works. I still get persuaded all the time. I mean, I have people that use my own negotiation strategies against me. I'm like, oh shit that was pretty good. Just because you know it doesn't mean you're immune to it. And I think that's actually comforting. That's the human condition is that just knowing something, isn't enough. And as you said like prioritizing. I have a lot of people who are a little bit older than me and the advice they give me is get more spiritual, yoga, etc. And I thought a lot about it because if all these successful people are telling me this, it's probably something to it. And what I decided was at this point in my life, I'm not into that and that's okay. But I also know enough to know probably-
At some point it's going to come back-
Yeah, like I'm not different than anybody else. I'm pretty much the same like 98% of the time, so I bet you one day you're going to see me coming in doing some leg thing with yoga and namaste stuff like that.
Tim Ferris, who we've mentioned a couple times in this talk already he's part of the series. He was asking me, dude you're all zenned out, you're killing it, like what's up? And I was like, oh man I started meditating a couple years ago-
Oh shit now you're going to tell me to meditate. (laughs)
I'm not going to go, because you know I just said it without saying it, but Tim tells a funny story about not wanting to- Ironically in meditation there's this weird twist that goes on in our mediation is that most of the people that I know who have achieved a reasonable amount of success, and this is the story we tell ourselves, part of the how we got there or did that thing was because of our relentlessness or always on, hard charging and this was a story that Tim was telling himself and I was like would you think about it in terms of just tried this thing and maybe you'll realize that all that stuff that you thought actually got there was actually an anchor. And so Tim started meditating and his shit just took off and it was me and Rick Rubin who were beating him up and now he's like, alright I figured it out. So the thing that you think got you there, might actually be something that's holding you back.
It's very humbling to realize, very, because if you actually get into that zone, you might realize that what you thought for the last 25, 35, 40, it was actually wrong. And there's a guy named Michael Ellsberg who tells this great story about how he once went, he had been sort of unsuccessful with dating-
I know Michael really well, you got the eye contact thing-
Oh yeah the eye contact thing, great book. And so he went to a dating seminar for men and they put all these men on stage and after interacting with the crowd they put these men on stage and people from the audience, in particular women, stood up and told them what they thought of them.
He said there were grown men crying because some of these men were told, you come off as really creepy, you are not fun, you're boring, etc. And Michael said what I had thought for 25 years was wrong and these men are crying on stage. That moment, there's something powerful there. How do we get to that moment? How do we look at what the world sees of us instead of what we see through our mind's eye. I'll tell you one of the scariest things ever is to go and ask a couple of close friends and say, you know what, I'm trying an experiment. I'd love to get your help. Would you be open to give me some feedback. Yeah, yeah of course.
I'm going to do this on you right after the cameras stop rolling. (laugh)
Tell me one thing that you think I'm good at, or something that I do differently than other people, I'd love to hear it. And also I'd love for you to tell me one thing that you think I should improve. That's sort of the surface level way. That's going to get you stuff like, oh you're always organized, you're always on time. And if there's one thing you can improve it's like, you know you've talked about wanting to change your clothes and maybe it's time, there's a sale at Ross. Sort of generic stuff right. Now you want to probe, you want to get that knife in there and twist it and say, appreciate it. I'd love to go shopping with you but personally I have a feeling that I'm not that approachable, that sometimes I'm mean, sometimes I'm two-faced, stuff that you know. We all know there's stuff in the back of our mind that we don't like about ourselves-
Very aware of ourselves, sure.
And so you give them the space and so you say-
Think more like this not where to get my clothes.
The same is true with creatives for example, like if you really want someone to look at your work, you need to invite it. And I start off by saying, will you review my portfolio? I'm like, alright I really only have one mode, and that's the super honest mode if I'm going to review your work.
So they say let me guess, they say, yeah yeah yeah I want you to be honest. And then you are honest with the pros and the cons and then what happens?
Their eyes are like, wow. It's very hard for them to take. And that's because we identify ourselves with our work and the ability to put a little bit of distance there to turn off the narrative. And if you can actually lean in and ask for this sort of feedback, you're talking about it in human terms and relational terms, I'm talking about in terms of reviewing your work but there's obviously a huge tie there. Invariably I get a handful of notes every single week that says, you told me x, y years ago and I believed it, I learned from it, and now z is happening.
Ah, this is music to my ears. So there's a complete lack and absence of people telling you the truth in your life. And you know what, I totally get it because now I've gotten a little older, I have friends, and basically it's crazy to say this, but the more and more I get older, the more friends, the more I realize that it's probably better to just be nice. Why stir the pot, why tell the truth. Oh I didn't really like that chicken. Nah, the chicken was pretty good. Oh I had a great time, see you next time. Why do I really need to be Mr. Honest Ramit? And this is kind of a story I told myself. What I've realized is that the social cost of telling someone the truth if you don't like something is so high, that it's almost crazy to tell them the truth. So if you want it, you gotta like rip open and just be like please.
And being nice is a nice quality, but also this is trying to tell you if you're looking for hardcore feedback on a way to make your art better to help you get from zero to one, starting your thing, then you have to double, triple ask.
Because they won't tell you. People they have opinions and feedback, but you ask them the first time they're going to say, oh yeah your clothes. You ask them the second time, oh your shoes. The third time where you open yourself up, maybe just maybe they'll tell you the truth. Here's a good exercise I learned from a great guy, author named Marshall Goldsmith. He said Ramit you believe it's important to ask your employees about how happy they are? I said yes. He said, would you do the same thing in a relationship? Would you ask a girlfriend or a wife, would you just text them and say how can I improve as a boyfriend, how can I improve as a husband? Or for people watching, how can I improve as a girlfriend or a wife or a daughter or a son? How many of us have ever done that? None. So if you're watching, pull out your phone and per Marshall Goldsmith's advice text your partner, your Mom and Dad, your kids, and say what can I do to be a better Dad? Just one thing. I mean the trepidation of just putting that. Think of how vulnerable it is-
For sure it's very vulnerable.
If you can do that with your partner, you can do that creatively.
Burnay Brown talks about there's not creativity without vulnerability. And for the artists said the people that, oh I love this person or that person, they talk about hard things, and they don't walk around like crying, like they're a normal human they can conduct themselves, but at the appropriate moment they'll really go there and that's that sort of human connection component and I think the ability to learn. Now we went into you a little bit, I want to go back to not from zero to one, but from one to ten. So if zero to one is very much about sort of fundamentals and productivity and getting the basics together, starting to create something everyday or how do I actually spend not my 9 to 5, but my 5 to learning about this business that I want to start online, what is One to Ten? What's the next phase?
This is a, in my opinion, it's more exciting. It's more challenging. So because the basics are sort of, you got those. You handled it. It's like brushing your teeth, it's not a question anymore. You just do it. Now you get to take these exciting ideas and start to implement them and grapple with some cooler things. So for us, in our business the first thing was for me, how do I write stuff where people actually care about what I have to say. Okay I learned that. How do I create a product that will sell? I sold a $4.95 e-book. We talk about this in our other video on YouTube. I was just terrified and there were all these people saying like, screw you, maybe if this were 30 cents I would buy it. And we talk about the psychology of valuing yourself. So at a certain point we created product on freelancing called, Earn 1K. And that thing did really well. I think when we first launched it, it generated something like $600,000. So I was like, I had no idea that it would ever do that well and that's when you realize that you're playing at a different level. And boy this is when things get interesting. One, the habits that got you here are not going to get you there-
Not the same habits. You can't just keep getting sleep.
Totally. You can't.
You can't have a world-class performance.
Yeah, exactly. Sleep it becomes something that instead of your goal, which was up here, now it's just a tool that you utilize. You utilize sleep, etc. The things I used to do like I was working with somebody on my team and I asked him, we had this big launch and I wanted to continue growing, and I said you know what I need you to step up and be more strategic. Now he didn't really know what that meant and to tell you the truth, I wasn't really sure what that meant at the time, but I said come back with a plan on how we can grow and after a week or two he came that said we need to change paragraph two of this email because the copy is not quite right. That's not strategic. That's tactical. I might have done that two years ago, but when you're operating at a different level, now you're talking about business model, you're talking about breaking your business into things like traffic, conversion, sales, or whatever your business model might be. You're looking at the competition. I asked my Dad who's an engineer, no surprise. I said Dad if you were to take like an engineering exam right now that some college seniors take, do you think you could pass it? I'm just curious, I like to ask the masters if they can do the beginning stuff. And my Dad thought about it he said, you know, probably not. I don't know the formulas anymore, but I have the intuition and I know of faster and more efficient ways to problem solve. And when you go from Zero to One, and then One to Ten, you may not be as technically inclined. For example, I don't even know how to send emails to our list anymore. But I have somebody on our team who does that.
It's a very complicated response or something crazy-
Yeah but I have the intuition to know if this is entire sequence is going to be effective, etc, etc. So giving up control is something I struggle with, it's something I'm working on, but keeping your eye on the bigger picture which always gets bigger and you just start to grapple with bigger and bigger meals, that is something that ends up being One to Ten.
Oh thanks for topping off our water. You saw me reach for it twice didn't you? You're good. Thanks Mattie. Let me get a little sip here. On our path from One to Ten, I felt like for me that Zero to One was really about learning how to learn, and then One to Ten was just a constant cycle of realizing that the next level required me to learn this skill set and I was able to apply my method of deconstruction and how is it going to work for me and then application, over and over and over again. So A, tell me if you think that's true. You need to learn how you learn or how the best people in the world learn, and then from One to Ten it's about rapidly learning. So if you agree with that and then B, tell us a little bit about how you have applied that principle.
I think that the way we say it is for creating an online business through Growth Lab, year one is just learning to crawl, year two learning to walk, year three learning to run. And that's accelerated. For some of our products that we create it takes us two, three years of research to even show it to the public. So I believe in a longer time span. Jeff Bezos says we're more patient than anybody else. That is a virtue that few people have. And I think that that's really special. One to Ten I also think you're looking at- One of the most important and challenging parts of One to Ten, is you're actually already pretty good at the basics and so this is where it gets really tricky. So staying humble becomes increasingly hard. Really hard. I'm going to give you an example. I met a bunch of people who are in the online marketing world. I don't really hang out with most of these people, but I was in the room and one of my co-workers was there, and we all went around the room introducing ourselves and I told my co-worker, watch how people introduce themselves. They're going to say two things, one how much money they make and two how little time they spend on their business. Why, because that's sort of the-
That combination shows success.
Yep, I'm so successful. And my co-worker goes, no way. The first person who introduced themselves goes I have this business called blah.com, make $600K a year, work two and half days a week. And I'm just looking at him and I'm like, what did I tell you. And I actually found it just horrible because I want to work more because I love what I do. And money to me, that's not the success factor that's just the by product. What I learned is the people who were in that room had a really difficult challenge because they had created an identity of making a lot of money and not working that much. Well guess what, when they saw someone up- Bingo, they put themselves in a corner. When they're friends started doing more than they did now they're stuck and they have this cognitive dissonance. I want to make more, I want to be more successful, but I make pretty good money and I live on the beach. You know what, I'm just going to stay here. And now they've painted themselves into a stagnant corner. So as you get more successful, I have a number of people who email me all the time, they're like Ramit, I don't know this course seems a little too basic for me. I don't know, should I join? And I go, what's your business doing, what kind of revenue? They go, we're making $70,000 a year, or whatever the number. And I think to myself, this material helped generate millions of millions of dollars and millions of readers. And you think you're too advanced at 70K or 250K or whatever? You take a look at any of the greats. They still take photos everyday. They still practice their dribbling everyday. I still buy $10 books, I still buy $1000 products from people whose businesses are a fraction the size of ours. Staying humble is really hard.
I think that's a huge advantage if you can. Ironically I was just talking to Sir Mix-a-Lot, Anthony Ray who talked about coming up through hip-hop in the 80s and 90s, that's when people like MC Hammer, you got NWA, these huge hip-hop groups and the ones that have stayed humble and stayed hungry are the ones that- Because that's the underscore here, is stamina wins. Stamina is one of the most underappreciated, undervalued, I think it goes to whether you're trying to be more creative or create a business, being sort of diligent, being in the hunt and my trainer, I'm going to shout out Dave Warner, Chase you were a college athlete and you push yourself very hard, you know how to push your body to extreme limits. We're not going to do any of that here. We're not going to crash, crash, crash, crash, it's not three steps forward, one step back. It's one step forward, but one step forward every day.
I love it. It's so rare to say like we're going-
It's one of he hardest things ever. The last 18 months were one of the hardest things I've ever done and he, Dave Warner at Moveskull.com has specifically rebuilt my shoulder in a way that everybody I'd have surgeries and all that kind of stuff wasn't possible. Now I'm doing handstands, push-ups, I used to not put my hands above my head. It's specifically because I just did something everyday that moved the bus forward.
Why was it hard for you?
Because I want to sprint, oh what's possible? What is possible from a human potentiality on that scale, I want to put myself in that little quadrant. And the reality is that all the people who are there, most of them got there through this sort of long, sustained pattern.
Look at the way that you're talking about it. It's understanding what victory is and sometimes it's for that one moment in time out working everyone else. And you need to be able to burst and do that. And sometimes it's taking the year's long perspective. And that's really hard. And you need to know when is the right time for which one.
For sure. There's a fair bet of subtly in that. But that's also learned if you're in the game everyday Burney Brown talks about being in the area. You can't actually criticize someone who's not in there doing the work and she keeps a list of a very few number of people in her wallet, as she describes it. And ultimately those are the people that she cares if she lets those people down. And there's a whole other class of people that if you were in my field or you're in the public eye and you're criticizing me because you've actually been in the arena which is a great quote, I think it's Tina Roosevelt, she knows my heart, it's called the Man and the Arena, you should look it up. Then, she will listen to you criticism and if you're neither, not on the list of people she cares about and you haven't ever put yourself out there and done the kind of work that she's doing and other people who are sort of making an impact on the world are doing, she just doesn't have time for the behaviors. She's just going to work everyday and doing her stuff. So there's a fair bit of takeaway there. Let's just now pretend we're some where on that scale, the one to ten, and all these are pulling from your principles so this particular principle I'd like to talk about is sort of self-valuing and how the market looks at you. Again that's one of the things our video that we've done before, right here, a great interview. And it was much more tactical than this one is. I think folks should go watch that one as well. But let's dip our toe into the pool here for a second because I think there's a lot of value in how you position and value yourself in the marketplace.
One of my mentors is a guy named Jay Abraham and love this guy. He has without a doubt, the biggest vocabulary of anyone I've ever met. I mean, whenever I talk to him I have a notepad and just write down the words he uses. It's unbelievable. So he's a very experienced marketing legend and first of all on the point of being humble, I read his $10 book, and every Wednesday I carve out the entire day just for strategy. So I have a list of things to read, I sit on my couch, sometimes I got to a coffee shop, sometimes I take a couple meetings, and I just think big. And truth is most of those days, nothing comes out of it. Maybe once a quarter I get an idea-
A game changer.
And maybe two times a year those ideas are good. Maybe two ideas a year, but they are really good. So I have to kind of go through the mess to find the gems.
And I read his book and it gave me this idea that turned into a very successful product. Well I knew I had to meet him and I went to his website, signed up, applied for one of his programs where I had to submit references, and I was like it's been like 15 years since I had to do this. I had to get reference letters, I'm like who do I even ask. And he accepted me and I had to fly to L.A. fifteen times over 15 months just to get 45 minutes with him. He changed the way I think about business and the way I communicate. He teaches a concept of teaching the market to revere your work. And so many of us don't do this. So the most common thing when you see products and services out there, they'll say buy my e-book or I'm a wedding photographer and if you sign up today, it will be 30% off, or 50% off, or buy one get one free. And I think to myself, that's not the game I want to play. The game I want to play is I want to spend a ton of time doing my research, front loading the work, creating the best product. And if I believe it is the world's best, and if I know that because I've tested it with people and I got feedback-
You're in that world?
Why on Earth would I discount it 15 or even 50 percent? There's no reason. You never see like a Mercedes commercial, you never see them yell. Think about that. A used car commercial, yelling. A Mercedes commercial, enjoy our 300 horsepower, S500. The most luxurious vehicle on the road. Completely different. So the question is, who do you want to be. There's nothing wrong with being a volume business like McDonald's, that's an amazing business.
McDonald's or Amazon, it's all about price and marketing.
It's incredible. But that's a business model. Think about everything embedded in that strategy. If you want to be a luxury model, or a model where you're serving a few customers at the high end which is more of our business and your business as well in many ways. Then you would not discount, you would create the world's best product, you would offer an unbelievable guarantee because you stand behind it and you would back it up. For example, when you join our products, you're not allowed to join our flagship courses if you have credit card debt. That decision cost us millions-
I love that gating, that's great.
We're very clear who we're for, who we're not. When you join any one of our products, you're going to get a phone call from a live person. And sometimes you'll get two or three calls throughout your experience just to make sure you're doing alright, can we help, can we hook you up with anything. That's a luxury-
That's next level.
And we're not playing the McDonald's game. We don't have the strengths that a McDonald's might have.
So when I guess one of the things that stuck with me about that last interview that we did was in positioning, how to talk about your work which is something I see people, especially people who haven't gone from zero to one and you're just trying to figure out your thing, get in the core principles. But when you have had your first gig, you know you get a gig like if you're a photographer you shot your first wedding or you got your first portrait commission, from that point forward talking about how you fit into the marketplace is something that most people are very very uncomfortable with, I think it's fair to say that if you don't actually master the skills of talking about your profession and specifically how you see the world and the way that you're better and different, you're not going to get there.
Is it fair, can you comment on that?
Yes, I love the way you're saying it so most of us don't think about the market at all, when we got to pitch a client, all we're doing is like oh I hope that they get this-
Buy my stuff. And so first of all, necessarily scarcity minded. We're thinking that if I don't get this gig, then I can't pay my photographers, my this, my that. So you've already lost the game before you ever walked in. And that is a very humbling thing to realize that you already lost before you walked on the field. So I want to eliminate that. And the second thing is-
But how Ramit, I'm so scared.
I'm going to show you. The second thing you said which we'll dive into is talk about how I'm different in the marketplace. Now what does this mean? It means that if you're the potential client, and I'm the photographer, I need to walk in knowing that you are a smart guy and you're probably talking to three, four, five people. So I need to acknowledge that, I don't want to BS and think I'm the only one and you should buy my stuff or you're going to die. No, you have a lot of options, there all good options. If we're talking, you have good options. Let me tell you how I see the world and I'm going to help you understand the lay of the land. Because the client, you have to serve them and educate them on the market. They don't know photography or online business or whatever like the expert. So let's say I walk in and I'm the photographer. What I would not do is say, here's my photos, you can see that I really highlight the bride's face, she looks so beautiful and if you sign up today there's a 30% discount. You're commodity. You're like sandpaper, there's a million I can go buy at Home Depot, get the hell out of here. You haven't made a connection.
Sandpaper, like that just a great.
If I walked in and I said you know, first of all I really appreciate you taking the meeting, I can tell you that I took a look at your RFP, I took a look at your website-
X Y Z or whatever-
I'm very excited. I think there's so much we can do. First I'd love to know a little bit about ' where you are in your process. How did you find me? Tell me about what a dream wedding might look like.
Just to be clear I've never shot a wedding. It's a great example. I can have a thousand of the biggest art directors standing behind me, but the mother of the bride will never and face that one.
Perfect. So make it the example you want, and we'll make it up on the spot. So now the potential client, the prospect, they're really telling you. And sometimes, they might be, they're going to be super expressive and talk forever, in that case you got to wrangle them. Sometime they're just going to be terse, like that's how I would be. This is what I'm looking for, you tell me. And you need to vibe with them. Then I might say something like this, I'd say you have a lot of different options when it comes to a wedding photographer. There's some photographers who are amazing at ethnic photography. For example if you were doing an Indian wedding I would recommend blah. If you want to capture blah, I would recommend x. But here's what I specialize in and here's the way I see weddings. Okay let's pause right there. What did I do?
There are other people in the marketplace that if you're not the thing that I'm the best at, you're going to want to go to them. So you're sort of differing. I mean, you tell me.
Abundance mentality and I'm being a valuable service to you.
Adding value, you haven't even done any transactions yet.
I'm educating you on the lay of the land. How would you know that this person is the best, you're just a prospect, but I know and I'm going to tell you what they're the best at.
But if you're looking for someone who, and then you match the thing that you know they need more than anything, because they just took a minute and told you, then I think that would be a fantastic-
And sometimes you need to be honest and say, you know, I don't think we're the best fit. So for example if somebody comes to me and they go, this happens by the way, nearly 20 times day. They're like Ramit, I'm down to my last 2 months of money, I need to make money so I need this online business to work and this is the phrase they use, I don't have time to waste on stuff that might not work. And you know what what I tell them, I say you know I really appreciate it-
They should go dig a ditch and get paid $20 bucks and hour.
Oh yeah another thing that entrepreneurs or so called entrepreneurs really, really hate. Like they'll go Ramit, I've been running this business for three years, I made $540 total, I need this thing to work. And I go, can I give you some honest feedback? They go, I welcome it. And I go, I think that I would recommend you get a job to start and once that job is stable, then you can think about that. And you what they go? F-you mother F-er. Because their identity as an entrepreneur and the idea that getting a job is a failure. Okay so back to this, what I might say is well you nailed it exactly. This is what I'm doing. If what you told me was something that I'm not great at, I would say you know I don't think this material is right for you or I don't think my services are right, I actually think you should talk to John Doe and I would be happy to make an introduction. But if they said something like for example if they said, I want to have four photographers because I want the perfect lighting, the perfect this, the perfect that and they're talking at a premium level, that's the world I live in, then I'm going to say you know, I'm glad you mentioned that. Look at this, and I open up my briefcase technique, Google it, it's so powerful. In this engagement I did this and we couldn't afford to miss the shot because we had a rock climber and he was only going to do it once. And so we had a helicopter, we had this we had that, and you can see the perfect shot. And this was in National Geographic. And this person they're just sitting back and they're just salivating-
I bet they are.
And finally, this is when you know you succeeded. When you have connected, price is a mere triviality. And we talked about that in our previous video, but when I work with the best people, they don't ask about price. The worst, the people I don't want, the first question they ask is-
How much does it cost?
How much does it cost, and what is the refund policy? Now we have a very generous refund policy, but if your first question is about that, you will refund I already know it. I already know for a fact mathematically. Now if you say, tell me about how you're different, here's my situation, could you help me? Those are the best. And if they say I'm willing to spend the time to create a business, I know it's not going to be easy, but I am ready, I'm like welcome in. So that's how you know if they're right or not versus in going in a begging for a few dollars.
Don't do that. So we've already reference our earlier video that you and I did on this show a couple years ago. It's very, very tactical. The briefcase technique, how to sort of position yourself in the marketplace, there's a ton on that. You have a great class on CreativeLive called how to make money for Creative. Great, again, very tactical-
Super, like the exact words to use-
Yeah, if the client says this, you say that. Like it gets down to the nitty gritty.
Didn't you have people maybe even in the class calling they would go at lunch and you would say how much they could get their credit card debt reduced or something like that, and just with the script that you gave them, and just with the script that you gave them, 50% of the people got their credit card reduced or something I don't remember, it was great. And then on the high-end stuff that you do so well, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, products like ZerotoLaunch, is there any particular product that you steer people towards?
Yeah I would recommend that they go to growthlab.com/400k, and what that is is going to show you one of the campaigns that we use to generate over $400,000. And it really breaks down the psychology behind it. So whether you are creating and online business or you're a creative doing services, that's going to show you some of the psychology that's not very obvious on the surface.
I love all the psychology that underpins how to become a successful entrepreneur or creative. How to live your dreams and again, this is not only for people, you can do these things to be a solopreneur or and entrepreneur, you can do these things and use these techniques inside of a company but how do you think and behave entrepreneurially and creative? And when I say creative I mean creative with a capital C. Like all forms of creativity. You're at Ramit everywhere pretty much yep?
Yep. Instagram, Twitter, you can find me just search my name. I'm out there.
You're out there. Anything that you want to leave us with?
You know for the first time in our lives we don't have to wait for gatekeepers. And in the past it was if I want to write a book I have to wait for some New York agent to call me. If I want to create a business I have to wait for some big funding and I think what we talked about today was recognizing that there's no gatekeepers except one, and that's in our head. And if we can get the basics right, the stuff that's sort of unsexy that no one else wants to talk about, the sleep, if we can get the automation on the money, if we get that stuff right and you can find all of that at I Will teach You To Be Rich or GrowthLab for the business, man you are setting yourself up for great success. And for a rich life. So don't wait, you don't have to sort of think of jumping from zero to 1000, start today.
And it's literally the first time in the history of the world where we don't require permission to do any of these things. I think you said it best there only is one blocker, and it's us. My man, much gratitude.
Thank you man. Great to see you.
Always. The guys just delivers. He's a machine. Like a robot, Energizer Bunny. That's it, I gotta wrap up. Signing off. Thanks so much for tuning in, stick around. Don't forget to press that blue button at 30 Days of Genius if you're just coming here for the first time and we will put one of these powerful interviews with equally powerful people, I don't know if there's anybody who's equal to you, (laughs) but there's a lot of powerful people out there in the world that we're talking to on this show and we'll put it in your inbox.