Ramit Sethi on Persuasion and Turning a Blog Into a Multi-Million-Dollar Business



If you want detailed tactics and hilarity, Ramit Sethi is your man. Here one quote from this episode, to give you an idea: “Indian people don’t get punched, dude. We don’t get into fights. We’re doing spelling bees.”

Ramit Sethi built his personal finance blog up to 500,000+ readers per month, and has since turned it into a revenue generating monster. I don’t use that phrasing lightly. In this episode, we dig into the nitty-gritty tools, software, and experiments he’s used to turn a college side project into a multi-million-dollar business with 30+ employees.

Tons of amazing links and goodies below…

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Do you think I should create a course of some type? If not (and if writing a book isn’t an option), what would you like to see me create next? What would be most helpful to you? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for all show notes.


Who should I interview next?  Please let me know on Twitter or in the comments.
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Books Mentioned in the Episode

Entrepreneur Resources Mentioned in the Episode

  • Basecamp – Web-based project-management tool
  • Google Docs
  • Aweber – Email marketing and autoresponder software
  • Infusionsoft – A complete sales and marketing automation software for small businesses
  • Surveymonkey – Create and publish online surveys in minutes, and view results graphically and in real time
  • GitHub – Powerful collaboration, code review, and code management for open source and private projects.
  • Asana – A web and mobile application designed to enable teamwork without email.
  • Screenflow – Screen recording and editing software for Mac
  • Dropbox – A free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily
  • Wufoo – Online form builder with cloud storage database
  • Skype – A freemium voice over IP service and instant messaging client
  • Visual Website Optimizer – A/B Testing Software for Marketers
  • Umbel – a tool for understanding your audience

Documentaries Mentioned in the Episode

Show Notes

  • Why Ramit Sethi’s parents added the “R” to his original name, Amit
  • His grassroots beginnings as a personal finance teacher to friends
  • How his persistence garnered exposure for his blog in the Wall Street Journal
  • How his site functions like a laboratory
  • Why you only need to focus on caring for 1,000 die-hard fans
  • How a few world-class posts can change your life forever
  • The “secret recipe” for attracting lots of people to your posts and making them fall in love with your content
  • Ramit’s email practices and marketing techniques that generate 99% of his revenue
  • The entrepreneurial tools and software Ramit’s team uses to systematize the daily functioning of the business
  • A common email practice that people share as the “Law of God” that is completely false
  • Why you should encourage people to unsubscribe from your email list
  • How to sell a product without coming off like a spammy Internet marketer
  • Why Ramit turns away customers who have personal debt
  • What roles race and culture play in Ramit’s life
  • How I Will Teach You To Be Rich is like the Asian father some of us never had
  • His book recommendations for entrepreneurs
  • The longest lie his father ever told and why Ramit can’t wait to do the same to his children
  • The best investment he’s made for under $100
  • Email tips for building respectful relationships with busy people

Posted on: October 9, 2014.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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85 comments on “Ramit Sethi on Persuasion and Turning a Blog Into a Multi-Million-Dollar Business

  1. Hey Tim!

    I loved the podcast with Ramit! My favorite so far! Very tactical.

    I would pay several thousand dollars to be apart of a course teaching you how to optimize/hack your life for success.

    Like how you taught ‘how to learn’ via cooking in 4HC, but do that in crazy detail for being successful.

    Hope this helps!

    Live long and prosper!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you’re excited.

      Don’t forget that living your life with a contrarian, lateral mindset may be the best way to truly be “successful”. Live it out, and I’m sure you’ll come into your own cool strategies to share with us. :)


    • Yes, absolutely, I second Aarons opinion. Besides some basic knowledge, a few solid tactics and a good mindset, many people forget about actually doing something about it. Just soaking up stuff but completely forgetting about the application part of it! Just go for it man… you’ll be fine.


    • +1 on Ramit. Having initially been turned off by the “Four Hour” aspect of your brand, I’ve since become a rabid consumer of your material after being tipped to it by a close friend — Work Week and Body so far, plus of course the podcast and blog. Ramit was wonderfully tactical, funny and inspirational. Longer episodes are the best, but grateful you take the time for “inbetweenisodes”, too. Something is better than nothing when lifting, rowing or commuting 2+ hours in Cairo gridlock.

      In terms of courseware: Anything related to entrepreneurism / risk mitigation or health. Maybe retirement planning for owners of “lifestyle” businesses? Big issue for those of us who launched businesses I’m our late 30s.


  2. Yes, you should create a course. I know you touch on the subject in 4HC, but I think a course on accelerated learning would be great. Or, maybe accelerated learning on specific subjects, such as learning a language. You have given tips and hints on how to do it in your books and blog, but I think a more hold-my-hand approach would be beneficial.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Could you please write or speak more about batching and minimizing time spent on household chores? You mention batching your laundry in 4HWW, but how else? I am a stay at home mom with two kids- 6 and 3. Working without distraction is not really an option for me- can’t batch potty requests or advise them that you’ll be handling such requests at 12 and 4 only, but I am looking to apply your ideas in ither ways. Thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Tim! I’d love a course on how to collaborate with others in our field to reach and help more people. Who is willing? How do we approach them? What works best?

    Thank you so much for all that you do. You are one of my gurus and although we’re in totally different industries (I help people heal from “chronic” illnesses like Fibro, MS, Lyme, etc. etc. after healing myself), I totally respect and dig all the awesome information you share.

    You rock!


  5. This was one of my favorite podcast episodes. You both have a candidness and a penchant for cutting through BS that is really refreshing to listen to and sets you apart from other podcast hosts.

    As far as your next creation, if books are off the table, then video-format how-tos would be great. Your podcasts and books are appealing not only because they’re useful and applicable, but it gives your fans better insight into your life. It’s not just your wisdom that makes you desirable, but your whole persona. Video versions of your lessons or things from your life would give us a deeper look into the seductive life of Tim Ferriss.


  6. Just because I’m reading on this now, but I’d be very interested in seeing a course or instructional toolkit by you on sustainable living. I think if there were anyone who could do it and in an entertaining way, it’s you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Firstly, hope your Lyme disease recovery is going well, and secondly, Well done! This was my favorite podcast so far. It was cool to hear that you read 3-4 books in a week, that’s awesome. I also checked out the Checklist Manifesto, and in 3 days I’ve just about finished it; it has turned out to be a really good book. When you read it, did you start making checklists for everything? Because, that’s what I’m about to do.



  8. I feel sorry for Richard Branson. To have the title “billionaire” perpetually attached to your name seems like it would be such a drag. Hey look, it’s the IMMENSELY RICH Richard Branson! Why not “serially successful entrepreneur”?


    • Perhaps. But he does seem to enjoy “Sir Richard Branson,” and Sir would seem to refer to knighthood. I would argue that billionaires hold a much more revered position today that knights did when they were at their zenith. Billionaires are the capitalist kings of this age, and they wield arguably more power. I’m sure there are worse prefixes to have.

      Just my two cents,



  9. Tim, in response to what should you create next, I agree with what Ramit said in the episode. We want to know more about YOU. What does a day, or week in the life of Tim Ferriss look like? You are obviously very successful and have designed a great lifestyle. I would like to see the curtain pulled back a bit to take a look at the Oz of lifestyle design. All the best!


  10. I had listened to Ramit’s Audiobook version (amazing talent to narrate his own work btw). Then I read yours, and to my surprise you did a podcast together. Come to think of it, it’s no wonder you’re good friends. For once it’s refreshing to hear that you wouldn’t accept someone’s money if they actually can’t afford it. Other “famous” authors would do that without giving it a second thought.

    It would be great to see something about how you organized your trips around the world. You mention a few pointers on 4HWW but, would it be a pain to ask for a whole book on it?


  11. Hey Tim,

    Absolutely loving the podcast (just struggling to find time to get through them all at the moment!) – please do keep them coming…

    My suggestion for a potential guest would be Erlend Bakke (Book: Never Work Again) – he credits you with changing his life in the acknowledgements and evangelizes the lifestyle set out in the Four Hour Workweek , so I think he would be an ideal guest for your show!

    Thanks again for the great show and look forward to future content.



  12. !URGENT!

    Dear Tim sorry for disturbing on this blog post.

    I need your guidance on rehydration following my weight in (I believe I have about two hours to rehydrate only) which is why I feel confused about the blog post regarding this issue, which is talking about a wider timeframe.

    I live in Angola and things are not easy to come by. I read your post on weight-cutting (water) however I would like to know how to approach this tight timeframe – rehydration wise. Pharmacy may have somethings but Im not very hopefull.

    Could you give me some guidelines please?
    Sorry for any spelling mistakes!

    Kind regards,


  13. The transcripts that were made available for the previous couple of interviews were really great – Tim, are you planning on publishing the transcript for this episode of the show? Would love to be able to read through the interview, never had the patience to listen to a 2 hrs long audio podcast.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. First post on your blog. My (very first world) problem, that I’d love your thoughts on:

    I love BJJ. I know you’re into it too. I trained up to be a solid blue belt by training ~4-5 five times a week for a few years. However I have diverse hobbies and a time-demanding, busy career that I love and can no longer train more than 2x per week. I’ve noticed my level really fall. I read the book you recommended (submit everyone) but would be really, really interested in how you would advise someone that only trains 2x per week to progress as fast as that time might allow.

    Thanks for all you do. Hope you’re smiling.