Over the years, I have purchased two flagship courses from Ramit Sethi.
In short, Earn1k is my go-to resource when I want to start a new business on the side or grow an existing side business.
I consult Zero to Launch–another course by Ramit Sethi–when I need help with digital marketing. If you want to learn more about digital marketing, you can download Ramit’s free e-book: The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing.
Now that I have given you the short version, I want to dive into the details, good and bad. By the end of this article, you should know if Earn1k is right for you.
Why did I join Earn1k?
I joined Earn1k because I wanted to earn money on the side but I had no idea where to start. Even when I had ideas, but I didn’t know how to separate the good ones from the bad ones.
I felt overwhelmed did what everyone does when they feel overwhelmed: nothing.
Sure, I could have bought another book on entrepreneurship. I had several already. But I knew that I needed to try a different approach.
Books are great, but they often contain too much information. I needed to know what to do and when to do it; I also needed to know what not to do. I needed step-by-step instructions.
Earn1k gave me those step-by-step instructions, simplifying the process of starting a business.
How much money did I actually earn?
Like I mentioned earlier, I earned over $11,000 on the side with Earn1k. I started small and grew slowly, increasing my fees with each new client.
Using Ramit’s free Idea Generator Tool, I found my first profitable idea: website design. I already knew how to build websites. Why not build them for other people?
Website #1: Free
I built my first website for free because I had no experience and new clients.
Fortunately, my boss at the time asked if I would build a new website for his father-in-law Don who owned a sealcoating business. I jumped at the opportunity and built a basic website for Don in an afternoon.
Free work is a great way to get started, but it is not a great way to earn money.
Website #2: $300
Don appreciated my willingness to build his website for such an attractive price and asked me if I would build a website for his childhood friend Rocky who owned a car wash.
Once again, I jumped at the opportunity but decided to charge Rocky for my website design services. I chose a rate of $30 per hour since I still had almost no experience in website design.
At the end of the project, I charged Rocky a staggering $300.
$300 is not a lot of money. Still, I felt like a million bucks when Rocky handed me a check for the website. I must have stared at that check for a half hour. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“I made this,” I thought to myself.
It was the first time in my life that I made something from nothing. Until then, I thought that jobs were the only way to earn money.
Website #3: $550
When my dentist asked me to build her a website, I proposed a rate of $50 per hour for what I thought would be a ten-hour project.
“Why not?” I asked myself. “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Happily, she accepted my proposal and I built the website charging $550 in the end.
Website #4: $1,500
A few months later, I sent an invoice for my biggest deal yet: $1,500.
At that point, I learned that I could increase the deal size by offering my client additional services. So I offered to maintain my client’s website so that he didn’t have to do it. Fortunately, he accepted and I increased the size of the deal. We both won.
Website #5: $100/mo gym membership
Next, I built a website for my jiu-jitsu coach, trading website design for training. It was a pretty good deal in my book. Remember: money is not the only form of compensation.
Later, my coach referred me to a former training partner of his whose cousin needed a website.
Website #6: $3,750
I met the cousin on New Years Day and talked shop for a few hours. When he asked about rates, I decided to try a new rate and stated, “My standard rate is $80 per hour.”
“Okay,” he said.
Inside, I was jumping for joy. I overcame a psychological barrier, charging more than I thought was possible. The funny thing is that he was more than happy to pay $80 per hour for services because I understood what he really wanted: more time.
In the end, I charged $3,750 for the website, making it the biggest deal of my life. We continue to work together to this day.
New service, new rate
In 2016, I decided to increase my rates again. So I returned to Earn1k and implemented one of Ramit’s “big wins” that helped me significantly increase my hourly rate.
Today, I charge $150 per hour for consulting, and my clients don’t bat an eye. My clients are happy to pay that rate because they know that I am worth every penny.
What is Earn1k?
Earn1k is an online course created by Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, a blog that teaches readers how to live a rich life.
In Ramit’s book by the same name, he writes about the “CEO” approach to personal finance. In short, there are three ways to get big wins in your financial life:
- Cut costs
- Earn more
- Optimize spending
Earn1k teaches students how to earn earning more money on the side via freelance work.
Ramit’s course is geared specifically toward making money on the side because it is far too difficult and risky for most people to simply quit their job and start a business. According to Ramit, it makes far more sense to keep your full-time job and earn extra money in your spare time.
Why should you earn money on the side?
My dad told me a long time ago, “You can’t save your way to being rich.” Eventually, you have to make more money.
Starting a business on the side is wise because you get an additional stream of income without the risks associated with starting a business full-time. That additional stream of income gives you an additional layer of security that protects you from the ups and downs of life.
Even if you lose your job, you don’t lose everything because you still have some money coming in every month or two. Plus, you can use your side business to explore new career paths and add new skills to your tool belt.
How is Earn1k organized?
Like Ramit’s book and other courses, Earn1k is well-organized, following a logical progression that clearly explains what to do, how to do it, and why.
Earn1k contains four modules, plus a bunch of bonuses. Each module is broken down into a series of lessons, teaching you how to start your own business on the side.
Module 1: Lay the Groundwork
Module 1 lays the foundation for all of the other modules. In fact, you can’t even access the other modules when you start. Ramit allows you to view only one module per week because people tend to skip ahead to the “good stuff,” forgetting the fundamentals. Whenever I find myself struggling in my business, I always return to the fundamentals.
Lesson 1: Set Your Goals
Goals are important to the success of any business and life in general, so Ramit begins by teaching you how to set goals. Lesson 1 will help you establish your “why.”
Why are you doing this? Why do you want to earn $1,000 on the side?
Lesson 2: Pick Your Field
If you are like me, you want to start a million businesses and change the world. As awesome as that would be, it is a far better strategy to focus on one business at a time until it is up and running. Only then should you start your next venture.
Some people have the opposite problem. They have no ideas. They don’t know where to start, and they think they lack any marketable skills. If that sounds like you, don’t worry. Lesson 2 will help you decide what type of business to start.
Lesson 3: What NOT to Do
In Lesson 3, you learn exactly what NOT to do in the early days of your business.
It is incredibly easy to find yourself working on the wrong things. People tend to work on the easy, fun things rather than on the important things.
In the case of Earn1k, you have one goal: earn $1,000 on the side. Your goal is not to make a pretty website or create the coolest business cards ever. Your goal is to make money. Period.
Lesson 4: Define Your Target Market
If you have ever read Ramit’s blog or book, you know that he is obsessed with psychology, especially the psychology of persuasion. In Lesson 2, Ramit will teach you how he gets deep inside the heads of his customers to give them what they want and charge them accordingly.
Module 2: Craft the Offer
In Module 2, you will learn how to create and position your service offering to a potential customer. Despite the fact that I bought Earn1k a while ago, I find myself returning to Module 2 on a regular basis to refresh my memory on positioning and pricing my services.
Lesson 1: Identify the Benefits Your Clients Want
One of the hard lessons in business is that customers don’t give a damn about features. They care about benefits. Lesson 1 introduces the concept of benefits and how they differ from features. Ramit will also show you how to turn a feature into a benefit, which comes in handy when you need to do some persuading.
Lesson 2: Define Your Deliverables
When a person or a business buys a product or service, they want to know what they are going to get. When you define your deliverables, you essentially create a list of to-dos that your client will verify before they write you a check. Lesson 2 shows you how to create that list.
Lesson 3: Set Your Price
People worry too much about pricing. In the beginning, your goal is simply to pitch clients and make $1,000, not optimize your pricing to the nth degree. In Lesson 3, Ramit discusses a few ways to price your services and ends the lesson as quickly as he starts it.
Lesson 4: Start Generating Leads
Lead generation is a topic of debate among marketers. Which method is the best? Marketers are quick to shout out their favorite answer:
As it turns out, lead generation is much simpler than that. It may not be as exciting as getting five new likes on Facebook, but it is a helluva lot more profitable.
Module 3: Get Clients
Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without customers, you don’t have a business. Module 3 focuses on how to qualify leads and close sales. At the end of the day, closing sales and generating revenue is what matters.
Lesson 1: Qualify Leads
A lead is anyone and anything that has a pulse; a qualified lead is a person or a business that actually wants to buy what you sell. Lesson 1 teaches you how to determine whether someone is a buyer or a tire kicker.
Lesson 2: Build Trust
Zig Ziglar said, “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.” Lesson 2 covers strategies that you can use to build trust with potential customers. If you focus on building trust, everything else will fall into place.
Lesson 3: Close the Sale
Now that you’ve built trust, it’s time to close the sale and make money. In Lesson 3, Ramit shows you when and how to close a sale. He also touches on proposals, contracts, rejection, and more.
Lesson 4: Get More Leads Using Classified Ads
As it turns out, you can harness the power of Craigslist to turn it into a lead generation machine. It’s surprisingly easy to set up, and can send you a healthy amount of leads every week.
Module 4: Execute and Optimize
In Module 4, you will learn how to wow your clients, manage any issues that arise, and build your business to the point that you no longer need your day job.
Lesson 1: Do Awesome Work
This goes without saying. If you do awesome work, you will eventually need to turn down business. If your work sucks, you will never have to deal with the problem of “too much business.” In Lesson 1, you will learn how to exceed expectations and make your customers say, “Wow!”
Lesson 2: Manage Problems
Not every project will go smoothly. In Lesson 2, Ramit shares strategies to help you stay afloat when things get rough.
Lesson 3: Optimize Your System
The last part of Ramit’s “CEO’ model is O: optimize. This lesson introduces you to the “Tuner Strategy” and shows you how to work less and earn more, or, if you like, work more and earn way more.
Lesson 4: Make the Leap to Full-Time Freelancing
By the time you get to Module 4, Lesson 4, you will have a solid understanding of how to start a freelancing business using your existing skills. You may also find that you are now making a good amount of money on the side.
For some people, this means that it’s time for the baby bird to leave the nest and start freelancing full-time. While this is not true for everyone, Lesson 4 shows you how to prepare for a life of full-time freelancing. It may not be as glamorous as everyone thinks but neither is spending 40+ hours per week in a cube.
Earn1K 2.0 Modules
- 2.0 Module 1: Staying Motivated
- 2.0 Module 2: Networking
- 2.0 Module 3: Location Independence
- Free eBook: Find Your First Profitable Idea
- The Vault
- Case Studies
- 2.0 Bonuses
- Laura Roeder on Creating Systems
What do you get in Earn1k?
The basic level of Earn1k gets you most of the modules that I outlined in this review. The standard level gives you access to masterclasses hosted by some of Ramit’s blogging counterparts: Noah Kagan, Tim Ferriss, and others.
Regardless of the package that you choose, you maintain access to the material for life. Ramit also offers a money-back guarantee on all of his courses. If you don’t like it, just send him an email and ask for a refund.
By now, you should know whether or not Earn1k is right for you. If you want to learn more about Earn1k, join Ramit’s free email list.
I have been on Ramit’s email list for years. His emails are good, damn good. In fact, I tend to save Ramit’s emails and let them pile up in my inbox. Then, I read them all in one sitting every 3-4 weeks. If you a marketing nerd like me, you will learn a ton about blogging, email marketing, and copywriting by studying Ramit’s work.
If you got this far, you’re clearly interested in Earn1k. That said, my challenge to you is to stop searching and start acting.
Worst case scenario, you email Ramit, tell him that the course did not work for you, and get your money back. (Yes, Ramit actually gives refunds if requested. He is a legitimate businessman.)
If you have any questions, leave a comment and ask.