Meeting Ramit Sethi

I was introduced to Ramit Sethi's work, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich, (I know it sounds scammy but that's why he did it; he's the real deal) when I was reading Tim Ferriss' Blog (4 Hour Body author) a few years ago. At the time I was a finance major at James Madison University and Ramit's outside-the-box-thinking and writing on personal finance, automating businesses and entrepreneurship, which I love, captured me as a devoted reader of his blog.

Anyways, out of nowhere (actually, I'm assuming his newsletter software screened people from 'Chicago area' out), he emails me that he is doing a reader meet-up in Chicago. Sweet! I emailed him back a little about me and he emailed back, "nice, look fwd to meet you."

20111004-christian Ramit
Me with Ramit Sethi

And so it began...

I'd like to point out that motion palp was hosting a cornhole (bags) tournament the same night I was supposed to go into the city for the meet-up. Bags? Tournament? Fun? Soo, naturally I signed up. I will say this, RJ and I were playing like we could run the table. HOWEVER, in an almost eerie 'Listen up, the universe is talking,' we got beat by Peanut Butter Jelly Time, a solid team (Kendall and Caleb) no doubt, but we suddenly went from dominating to an ultra close 21-19 loss.

At this point, I was still pondering in my head "Should I stay or should I go now?" With all the classic "excuse thoughts" that enter one's head when they are expanding their bubble past their comfort zone, which going into the Loop on a Thursday night to meet a bunch of people I didn't know and try to network and meet a NYT author would definitely classify in my book, at least at that time, as a "bubble stretcher."

Thoughts like...

  • "What if there's like 300 people... what a waste."
  • "What if I'm the only young person there?"
  • "What if he's actually a jerk and I don't like anybody there?"
  • "This bags tournament is really fun, and we don't get to do this that often, let's stay here."

And to think I almost was going to pass up this opportunity to stretch my bubble. That's when the universe said, "You LOST (at ironically the perfect time to run home change and catch the train), now go." Ha, funny how things work.

The Meet-Up

20111004-searsThe meet-up was down W. Adams Street, not far from the Willis (Sears) Tower, at a place called The Living Room. On Yelp the reviews were "very classy, but service is OK." lol I will definitely vouch for the classy part. As I hadn't hoped for, that "class," also occupied the "we don't serve that here" look on the bartenders face when I ordered, a Bud Light. They only had Amstel for beers. And $10 later ($1 for tip) I thought to myself... well, I will stay sober tonight thanks to you classy-hotel-cool-lights-and-modern-couches-and-expensive-drinks-place.

The Approach

Well, I had made it. With a frothy beverage in hand and a trendy looking crowd of about 35 (7 circles of 5 by my quick gaze), I scoped out where Ramit was talking. He was talking to a couple younger gents that seemed to be salivating while speaking. I had a brief game plan (I had draw up on the train ride in) as to how to casually strike up a conversation. From the angle I was at (the bar) I couldn't make a more than an awkward 'excuse me' tap on the shoulder. THAT'S not what I wanted. I instead opted for a 'I need to take this exit' as I whipped out my cell phone and walked to edge of the crowd pretending there was someone important on the line so I didn't look creepy while stalking my plan of attack.

Then that weird butterfly feeling started turning my stomach (who knew butterflies could lift a stomach?). Instead of the typical sympathetic reaction I was waiting for, I quite literally said out loud, "Let's see what you're made of," and promptly approached Ramit from a more approachable (and premeditated) angle, walked right up, and to the best of my casual yet confident ability, introduced myself.

Ramit and I went on to have a stellar conversation for about 25 minutes about everything from working out, to launching a business, to tracking metrics on websites, to experiments in self-improvement. Ramit, I must say, was pretty damn cool. One of his event assistants excused him to attend to something in the back and I went on to mingle with the other people in that circle for the rest of the night. At about 10:30, a good hour and a half past the end of the 'meet-up' he swung around each group and said the ole' "Good meeting, I'm taking off." I wished him luck on his new DreamJob Creation Product Launch that's due out in January and snapped this quick picture with him.

Awesome. The Night was a Success. I met my first New York Times Best Selling Author (which used to be on my bucket list), and I met some really cool people, one of which offered me a free cross fit workout downtown whenever I wanted. I will hit him up on that as we coordinated me possibly giving a mini nutrition seminar to his gym on "Reducing Inflammation Naturally With Diet and Supplementation." Cool beans.

In case you're interested here are a few mental notes I purged onto paper when I got home from my chats at the meet-up.

14 Cool Things I Learned

  1. Ramit tracks everything fanatically because he puts so much money into new ventures, if he doesn't know his target market perfectly it would be a flop product launch.
  2. Ramit went four months and then completely changed tracks because his market data changed their initial plan. (Business lesson read: Be flexible, give what the market wants, not what you think they want.)
  3. Views January as a huge month to launch a big product. Works year long on a particular project to launch it.
  4. I need to get some biz cards. (I got more offers than I was expecting.)
  5. Cross fit could be a huge underground market (for potential chiro clients).
  6. People don't know that much about chiropractic. One guy asked when you adjust, do you do stretches or something?? Bhahah, he literally had NO CLUE what we did. I that he's going to get his first adjustment lol. Side Note: I almost sat him down at the party and gave him a seated CT but opted last minute that might not be a good idea lol.
  7. Old book selling and sell old rare books on ebay for a killing.)
  8. Project designs on satellites can take 30 years to come out lol. (One guy who just moved to CHI from LA said he worked for the Air Force but we might not get the chance to see what he was working on until we retire. Something about Top Secret.)
  9. Always ask for a photo... Ramit was more than happy to. Plus, why not?
  10. Just go for it and talk... I walked to the back after scoping the territory and said, "Well, here goes nothing," and had a great conversation. As Nike says, "Just do it."
  11. Prepped a sheet of an elevator pitch, some common talking points of things I knew he was doing. (This helped carry on an interesting conversation that explained who I was and found commonalities in what he was doing so it would hopefully be a more memorable conversation so when I emailed him later thanking him and asking him for mentorship he might reply "yes.")
  12. Non-verbals are so important. (Pay attention to this next time your in a conversation with someone you don't know. Reading this allows you to quickly move onto different talking points until you get the right one.)
  13. Monster.com and careerbuilder.com are jokes. (This one guy's sister works for Monster and they literally get thousands of applications/resumes for one job opening. Do you think you have a chance? Instead, go out and hustle and build your network and make impressions and get 'informal' job offers, not necessarily advertised as 'openings' by the company.
  14. Groupon has shady accounting and no wonder Google didn't buy it. It's a dying company that's disorganized. Apparently the fun-writing website is on the skids and the business model isn't as well oiled as their creative deal writing.

That is all. Long post. Thanks for reading NUHS' blog...all 10 of you :) 

Christian