Ramit Sethi is a New York Times bestselling author and founder of I Will Teach You To Be Rich (IWT), an online portal with expert advice and personalized materials for optimizing your approach to business goals. A core tenet of Ramit’s methodology is using psychology to focus on what actually works (instead of saying “no” to everything) when it comes to money management and beyond.
The overarching goal of IWT is to help millions of people live richer, more fulfilling lives, and it takes an entire team to make that kind of impact. As the IWT has grown, so has Ramit’s 100% remote team. Through the IWT blog, training sessions, and more, Ramit and his team test their findings to give people the opportunity to actually save (and make!) money in a way that also allows them to enjoy life. Did we mention they give away 98% of their material for free?
We had the opportunity to ask Ramit some of our burning questions: everything from what it’s really like to build a remote team (and why he thinks it’s so important), to optimizing his own life. Read on to learn more about Ramit, his team, and beyond...
Your company is building a globally distributed workforce. What made you decide to do that?
Ramit: There’s amazing talent everywhere, not just in “typical” markets like NY, SF, or LA. We reach millions of people from all over the world on our blog, so it’s important to have a high caliber team with diverse backgrounds (one of our project managers moonlights as a professional MMA fighter, another is a yogi and mother of 2).
As we’ve grown, we’ve had to develop new systems to be ultra-productive while working from home.
Plus, I love a short commute.
How has your day changed as you’ve gone from writing content individually to running a team?
Ramit: Well, there are definitely a lot more meetings! Besides that, there are 2 other major changes:
First, I focus a lot more time on finding people who are better than me at certain things, and then I give them a voice. For example, every member of the customer service team does a better job at connecting with our students than I ever did.
Second, I spend more time on things that don’t scale (we call this “planting seeds”). For example, today I had a 30-minute coffee with a younger entrepreneur. What’s the ROI? Who knows? Tomorrow, I’m working on a new product — at least 2 years before we release it.
You’ve spent a bunch of time optimizing your own life, how much of that comes out in the way you develop employees at your company?
Ramit: I’m serious about optimizing habits. Every one of us automatically brushes our teeth every morning. What if you can apply that same habit approach to cooking a healthy breakfast? Waking up an hour earlier? Or writing something every single day?
If you build the right habits, you get the right outcomes. To make focusing on work easier for IWT employees, I want them to have the freedom to optimize their own lives.
That’s why we:
- Are 100% remote
- Give stipends for education and learning (“Should I read Book A or Book B? YES”)
- Offer a 401K plan with the same funds I personally invest in (Vanguard)
How do you see the future of remote work evolving in the next 5-10 years?
Ramit: We see technology driving amazing results at our business, with deeper integrations (love we can pin Slack channels in our Trello boards, for example).
I’m a bit old school — I find a tool that works, and use it forever. I also believe amazing things happen in-person, which is why we meet-up at least twice a year.
"If you build the right habits, you get the right outcomes. To make focusing on work easier for employees, I want them to have the freedom to optimize their own lives." Tweet this
-Ramit Sethi, bestselling author of "I Will Teach You To Be Rich"
Which tools can your remote team not do without?
Ramit: Trello, for project management. We were late to the party with Slack but I’m glad we finally switched over. We’re constantly doing customer research for products and collect over a million responses a year. We use Zoom for video calls and Zapier to automate a ton of tasks we’d waste hours doing manually.
For example, Zapier helps us upload cards to Trello in bulk, automatically coordinates projects between team boards, and drafts recurring emails.
Ramit Sethi is a New York Times bestselling author and CEO of GrowthLab.com, where entrepreneurs go to launch and grow their online business.