Notes from the CreativeLive Course Money + Business: Essentials for Creative Entrepreneurs by Ramit Sethi – October 19, 2012

Common advice:

  • Do what you love
  • Follow your bliss and you’ll never work a day in your life
  • Follow your dreams/passion
  • What did you want to do when you were a child
  • Make sure your resume is just one page

It all begins with how you introduce yourself

  • Most people in their 30s are happy to hold on to their job and they don’t think about long-term.
  • It is possible to get a dream job but what are you willing to do to get there?
  • Realistically it is not possible to go form being a simple clerk to making $150,000/year within the next 5 years.
  • It is possible to increase you salary gradually.
  • Think of steps rather than big leaps.
  • Chris C. Case Study

The biggest barrier to finding a dream job

  • Too many choices
  • We don’t want to close doors
  • This won’t work for me
  • I am not sure I’m qualified for this…
  • I don’t have the network
  • It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
  • I should just take whatever is available
  • We self-select ourselves out
  • I am not at that level
  • I don’t look like the person who should have this job
  • I don’t have the education

If you are not getting paid what you should be, you deserve it. You are either not a top performer or you haven’t negotiated.

Properly trained, women are some of the best top negotiators.

What matters most:

  • Not the resume
  • How well you can solve someone’s problem
  • How well you can communicate
  • Your ability to anticipate the problem before they can

Sending out resumes

  • Instead of just sending out 20 resumes/week everywhere, do the deep research that almost no one else will do

What most people do:

  • Magical Matching – take a quiz to discover what you should do with your life
  • Delegate our responsibility – easy to do
  • Send out lots of resume and feel like they are trying
  • Do work but playing an entirely wrong game
  • Post resumes and just wait

Meaningless Objectives

  • I want to help people
  • I want to change the world

Think about it

  • Everyone even in this economy is looking for top-performers
  • If you are really great at something specific and you can show it, companies can create a position for you
  • Top performers know that you only go to a law school if you can get into one of the top 10 law schools
  • Top performers know that the money will come
  • People don’t think about testing their beliefs and instead focus on failure

Top Performer

  • How do you find out what is a top-performer
  • Ask you boss – one of the things I really want to do is become a top-performer and make a contribution over the next 6 months. Can we please sit down so that you can tell me how to do it?
  • My end goal in the next six months is to become a top-performer, can we please sit down and discuss how I can do this?
  • Busy boss – give him a draft of what you think you need to do to become a top performer and ask you boss to help you

What you’ll need to do

  • Go external – discover what’s actually out there (People have preconceived notions)
  • Test your delusions about the market
  • Focus on CONCRETE job qualities that matter to you (get rid of “I want to change the world” sentences)
  • Tell me the three things that you are looking for in a company
  • Deep research via Natural Networking
  • Come up with your own theory about the dream job and test it
  • What you think matters… Doesn’t

Two variables that matter when it comes to you finding a dream job:

  1. Job Title – implies a lot
  2. Company

When you get very specific about who you want to work for and what you want to do, you:

  • Know what you are talking about
  • Focus
  • Filter out what you don’t need
  • Can speak the language of the hiring manager
  • Cut through butter with a hot knife
  • Think in terms of niches

Think of the hiring manager as your client

  • What is his need
  • What is his fears and frustrations

Think about it

  • You need to be making friends with people who are better than you are
  • Study people who have gone further than you
  • Honer your client above all – put your client in the center of your world
  • Hiring Mangers only look at the resumes for 10 second
  • Go around and focus on building relationships
  • Getting a great job is challenging but it is worth it

Traditional Networking

  • Awkward
  • Don’t really want to be there
  • I don’t know these people and they don’t know me
  • Doesn’t feel authentic
  • I am not a very outgoing person – introvert

Great Networkers

  • Charismatic
  • Keep in touch
  • Pay attention
  • Seem genuinely interested in me
  • Great story tellers Think About It
  • If you want to be more interesting, be more interested
  • You are not born a great story teller, but you can study to become one
  • Networking is incredibly powerful, yet most people don’t know how to do it
  • Network can get you far but you still have to perform

I noticed that you have such an interesting background. I am wondering, how did you get there?

1. Identify the right people

  • Who are the people that you want to naturally network with?
  • Think Bigger – focus on networking with people on the next level

2. Reach out directly (Twitter is not networking)

  • Most people don’t do it at all
  • Script: Reaching Out to a VIP
  • Email subject line – Important but not as important
  • Send an email on Monday afternoon when the Inbox is cleared and repeat on Thursday

3. Chat over coffee, phone, or email

  • Chat for 15-30 min over coffee
  • Busy people hate time suck
  • You haven’t yet earned to spend more time with them
  • If they talk longer – ask them if it is OK to go longer – respect their time
  • Spend 90% of the time talking about them and 10% about you
  • Focus on really discovering the answers to your questions
  • You actually need to want to meet this person
  • Be genuinely interested in their path and how they got to where they are now
  • Be really curious

Networking For Women

  • Plan in advance that guys may hit on you
  • Meet for coffee during the day
  • Be crystal clear that it is a business meeting and not a date
  • If you start talking about social, redirect to “I actually wanted to talk about this specific thing”
  • I am flattered but, redirect to the subject
  • Never be angry or rude


  • After listening to you, I understand that ….
  • I am curious if you were in my position
  • What would you do?
  • Who else should I be talking to?
  1. Ask a person for an advice
  2. Come back in a week or two later
  3. Tell the person that you have implemented their advice
  4. Thank them for it and show it to them – no response needed

Script: Closing The Loop

Most busy people want to mentor someone great but they don’t because they know that they won’t take action.

You can send a repeat email every 2-3 weeks

  • You cover letter is a marketing material
  • Your resume is a marketing document
  • Marketing is about telling a story and not telling just facts
  • Focus on conveying your narrative

Resume Test

  • Close your eyes
  • Pretend that you are a hiring manager
  • You just got a resume – your resume
  • You are looking at your resume
  • You have 10 seconds
  • Read it
  • Open your eyes
  • What do yo remember
  • Who is this person?
  • Are they remarkable enough to get the interview?

Biggest Mistakes in Resumes

  • Too vague
  • Chronological list of facts
  • List of facts – how does that help me?
  • Filled with corporate jargon and other BS
  • Stuffy and boring (words like “proficient”)

1. Craft your narrative

  • Your narrative allows you to differentiate yourself from everyone else
  • What is your pitch
  • Just put it in plain English
  • Your narrative matters more than individuals words

2. Make every words earn its place on the page

  • Within the first 10 seconds, earn the right for 10 more seconds
  • Most traditional words don’t mean anything
  • Your words must support your narrative
  • This means most people can cut 40% of their resume now

3. Write with energy and confidence

  • Cover letter: Dear Mike, I am thrilled to apply for…
  • Super boring cover letters just stink
  • Most people fall into the trap of writing the standard boring model
  • One of the things that I am proud of is

Use a surgical knife when editing your resume

Meta message

  • Away from “I can help you with whatever you want”
  • To “From what I understand, here is what I can recommend (specifically)”
  • Instead of telling them what you can do for them, show it to them
  • People don’t want a million options, they want what is right for them
  • I don’t want to decide as a client, don’t make me think, just tell me what I need to do
  • Listen to your client and customize it
  • The Interview Is about presenting your message

Three Must Says

  • What are you three must says?
  • What specific great things have you done?

1. Know what you’re going to say before you even enter the room

  • Research your company
  • Network with the team ahead of time

2. Don’t be a robot –  practice being emotive using the Reporter Technique

  • Learn how to be friendly and approachable

****3. Prevent rambling answers by using the High Low High method of storytelling**

  • Keep it to the point
  • Watch a professional speak on one of the top TV shows – NPR
  • High – I did marketing – what I did
  • Low – more specific about what you did
  • High – sum it up – I managed acquisition and revenue – conclude what you did
  • Rehears your answers

“Why do you need to work here?” – You need to have this answer perfected to every word.

Record your stories so that you can track them and related them to something that you are working on now.

  • A real smile can help you a lot
  • Use it strategically
  • A good smile makes an instant connection on a non-verbal level
  • You can brag about yourself if you do it strategically and you tell a story
  • Never lie or bullshit your way through
  • Be honest and practice
  • What is your greatest weakness question
    they want to know the deeper answer,
    your ability to show that you can admit it,
    your willingness to improve on it
    what are you doing proactively to fix it?
  • When you respond to a weakness question, tell a small story
  • When you end your response, you can repeat the question – “that is why I think you should choose me”.

How to prepare for your interview

  1. Write down the questions that you will get – Google it
  2. Write your answers
  3. Say them out loud
  4. Call one of your friends that can interview you
  5. Videotape yourself

Always be prepared with your top three things

  • The three things you want to ask a stranger
  • The thee things that you can say about yourself
  • The three things that you are proud of
  • You top three values
  • Always be prepared
  • Help them first and then reap the rewards later
  • The importance of the power of psychology
  • The power of systems and techniques
  • Knowing your own barrios to success
  • Systems and strategies over tactics
  • Not everybody is for everybody
  • Focus on serving the right people
  • Take action