How to get people to pay for your work, without seeming sleazy or scammy


The first product Ramit Sethi ever sold cost $4.95.

It was an e-book on personal finance, and he told the PLUTUS Awards that starting to charge for his work was "one of the scariest moments of my entire business."

The CEO of GrowthLab and I Will Teach You To Be Rich said many of his fears came true: Readers called him a sellout, they insulted his work, and they flooded his site with dismissive comments. "That felt incredibly debilitating because I had been writing three years for free, putting my heart and soul into it," he told PLUTUS.

However, over 1,000 people quietly bought that e-book. And when he wrote "I Will Teach You to Be Rich" in 2009, it made him a New York Times bestselling author. Today, he's created a business out of teaching entrepreneurs to be more focused, more efficient, and more productive.

When Sethi visited Business Insider for a Facebook Live interview, he spoke about how to get past the fear many entrepreneurs have of charging for their work.


He understands why entrepreneurs might be nervous. "I guess it can be awkward the first time you do it, because you know, first of all a lot of us are nervous about being sales-y," he said. "We don't want to be sleazy, slimy, scammy, 'Hey buy my thing.'"

Plus, many people don't know how much to charge. "I remember I've gone through exactly that," he said. "I've created services and products that were totally mis-priced, and people were just like 'Go screw yourself. I'm not going to pay that. Why would I?'"

Sethi says that when it comes to selling and pricing your services, there are a few things to keep in mind. He said:

"First of all, remember how I talked about that research, where you go and email people and say 'Hey, when it comes to money, or styling, tell me a little bit about your biggest challenges?' If you've nailed those challenges, and you can write, you can speak to those challenges, then people will be much more likely to pay. 

"I'm going to give you an example: What is the difference - which one is more appealing - if I say, 'I'm gonna teach you how to get a six-pack,' or, if I say, 'I'm going to teach you how to activate your glutes and do lat pull-downs?'


"The first one's going to sell a thousand times more. Now how did I get that? Because I did my customer research and I know that guys between the age of 25 and 30 want a six-pack. They don't care about lat pull-downs - that's just a way to get it."

Before moving on to talking about pricing, Sethi had a caveat: Outside of his example, lat pull-downs won't help you get a six pack. "Don't email me," he said.

Then, he continued on to talk about pricing. For one thing, he doesn't recommend discounting your product or service right off the bat. "If you live in a world where you are constantly discounting, you attract the worst, most pathological customers," he said. "You know what we do? We look at the market, we see what people are charging, we identify the holes, we then go on to create a product that is so much better than the rest of the market that we can charge a premium price."

His team aims to make products that are far superior to what's currently available so they're then able to charge significantly more for them. "Trust me when I tell you that in a world of infinite options, there is a huge group of people willing to pay for the best," he said. 

Watch the full Facebook Live »


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