If you haven’t heard of Ramit Sethi, he runs a blog and company at Iwillteachyoutoberich.com. He teaches Millenials in their twenties and thirties how to earn money on the side as a freelancer, get their dream job, and/or start an online business.
This is the story of how I spent over $2,000 on his online course, Dream Job. It’s also my brutally honest review on if it was worth it. Maybe Ramit would kill me if he saw this, but I thought it’s best to be honest as a consumer; I have my right to be.
Perhaps, it’s best to start my story at the point where my emotions were highest…
Before I Bought the Dream Job Course: Desperate, Frustrated, & DisIllusioned
Before I bought Ramit’s Dream Job course, I was at one of the toughest times in my life. I was frustrated and confused with getting any job and I was getting desperate, which wouldn’t make sense if you knew how academically-focused I was in school right before.
I was taking some of the hardest classes out there. I was used to a rigorous workload and schedule. In high school, I spent hours a day preparing for SAT, practicing piano, running track, and doing homework for advanced placement classes. In college, it was a similar story. Yet the job market wasn’t rewarding me for it.
Two years after college, I was working as a waiter and still looking for work. How is this possible?
After spending virtually my whole life trying to be a doctor, I pulled out at the last second after scoring poorly on the MCAT. I did a lot of thinking and decided I wasn’t passionate about the career. But the other opportunities with my degree weren’t appealing either (being researcher for a lab or company).
On top of that, I had constant pressure from various sources:
- My Asian parents wanted me to move out and find a real job as soon as possible — even if it wasn’t “my passion.”
- The shame of being unemployed, which caused me to behave differently:
- I spent all my time job hunting because I felt I didn’t “deserve” to relax.
- Peers and strangers asking me what I was doing with my life and me responding with vague answers.
- The depression that seeped in from having no social life because I spent all my time job hunting.
- Seeing my peers doing well and living it up.
- Feeling like I was missing out on the “best years of my youth.”
- the constant reminder of how long it had been since I graduated.
- the hopelessness that popped up each time I sent out tons of resumes and got no responses.
- the doubt of ever finding a job I was passionate about that popped up each time I scrolled through pages and pages of job descriptions without finding one thing I was interested in.
- meeting a fellow waiter who studied biotech, but had now spent several years serving as a waiter. He had resigned himself to it and had stopped applying to jobs. The reminder that this could be in the future shocked me.
- working for a boss younger than me.
- the frustrating fact that I was a hard working, high performing student before and now couldn’t get a job despite sending a sea of resumes even though my work ethic and willingness to work hadn’t changed.
All of these pressures resulted in frustration and desperation. This disillusionment lowered and lowered my standards over time. I was having some crazy thoughts. I told myself it could be the most horrible job out there as long as I could pay for my own rent because I wanted to look independent to my parents and others. I was desperate to the point of taking the most random job (thank goodness I didn’t).
I remember interviewing for a couple receptionist jobs, two sketchy biotech jobs, a pyramid scheme, a financial advisor commission scheme, a health insurance document filer, a grant writer, and a temp agency. And that was all I could get after two years. Only the health insurance one offered me the job, but for some reason I turned it down. Some part of me still believed in the idea of “following your passion” and there was something about the job that didn’t feel write (the growth opportunity and the daily duties).
You see, online job boards make it worse. You would think it would be better since people can now submit their job application with a click of the button from the comfort of their homes.
But what that has done is magnified the amount of resumes an employer has to sort through. I was competing with hundreds, if not thousands, of spammy resumes for the most low-tier jobs.
Long story short, it required a lot of mental toughness to get through this time of hopelessness. A lot of personal development books and videos, like this scene from Rocky Balboa, helped a lot:
Seeing how people had been through longer, tougher times and made it through really inspired me. There is more that happened, but I’ll keep it short.
Making sure I had a positive attitude helped a lot. I saw the good parts of my situation and made sure to be thankful for everything I had that I was taking for granted (like being born in the land of opportunity in the first place).
One of the the toughest times was getting through the repetitive tasks as a waiter on a daily basis. My mind was highly intellectual from working through tough, long, intensive concepts from school. But all of a sudden, I had to do simple repetitive tasks for many hours every day. One time, I had to fold napkins for hours while staring at a wall. It felt like an eternity.
On the positive side, I appreciated and tried to learn from the people around me. I took what I could from the experience. I learned about social skills, dealing with others, community, and happiness. Some of my coworkers were never going to be rich. They were going to work there until they died. Some had already spent half their life working there. But they were rich inside. They were happy.
How I Discovered I Will Teach You To Be Rich
So I found Ramit first through a book of his called I Will Teach You To Be Rich. The last semester before I graduated, I compiled a comprehensive universe of all the self help, personal finance, life advice, wealth building advice, and stock investing books in existence. It was a list of a thousand books. During the process, I got familiar with most of the books and could recognize them by their cover.
Ramit’s book was on that list. A few months later, I saw it in a used book store and skimmed through it and left it on the shelf. The cover showed a bare-footed smiling Indian man, and I didn’t think it was a fit for me. I thought he’d be spiritual and the format of the text and headings didn’t appeal to me (if you know Ramit, he’s actually really practical and non woo-woo, which is funny. He should change the book cover to fit him more).
Months later, I was listening to Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Podcast. I can’t remember how I found it. But I must have stumbled across it on iTunes while bored. I wasn’t interested in online businesses or sites, which is peculiar why I started listening. I had grew a blog to millions of visits as a child, but had given up that hobby a long time ago. I was really into social media growth, so that’s probably how I found him.
After binge-listening to most of his content, I found an interview Pat did with Ramit. I eventually went to his site and started reading a few of his articles. I was pretty savvy with the digital scene so I knew that he would launch the course, give several emails leading up to it, and then open the course up for sale for a limited time. I joined the email list for his Dream Job and waited for the email that sold the course.
Why I Spent $1,997 Online (My Largest Purchase Ever)
I had done something 99% of other people my age wouldn’t do. Invest a large sum of their money into something that would hopefully be of greater benefit down the road. Other people my age were worried about wasting their money on clothes or other items that wouldn’t bring them money.
I felt excited, hopeful, and also curious to see if it would actually be worth it.
What actually made me do it?
I didn’t read most of what he said. In fact, on the sales page, I scrolled all the way down, watched a few of the videos, and bought. If you haven’t seen his Dream Job sales page, Although there were thousands of words on his page, I was already convinced and bought.
For me, I was a skimmer. I didn’t read every word of his emails (he writes really long emails). But I could tell he put a lot of time, money, and effort into this course to help people get results. He mentioned he had spent millions of dollars to test this process on students, which really perked my ears. I thought it may be credible and time-tested for once.
This was something different from all those other ten dollar print books like Pathfinders I desperately read through. Those books were super thick and overwhelming. This was digital and he promised it would walk me through a specific process tailored to me.
Another big push forward was the money back guarantee. He said that I had a few weeks to try out the course and refund it with no questions asked. This lowered the risk, and I was really considering trying it out and returning it. At worse, I came out even with some extra knowledge and insights.
To Refund and Run Away With the Treasure … or To Not Refund?
When I got into Dream Job, I realized that I get one new module per week. In eight weeks, the course would be complete, but you should go at your own pace, so it could take longer.
Ramit says his best students actually put their heads down and do the work. I can vouch that this is true. In the first two to three weeks, I went through the modules once and partially did what he told me to. But then, I was reminded about the reality of my job situation again.
I realized I wasn’t making progress and time was ticking. I was two years out of school. I got to work and went through the modules I had already gone through a couple more times and did everything he said.
I eventually got to the last module, which was the deadline to ask for a refund. I was really leaning on asking for the refund, but then he surprised me with a bonus module. The bonus module had a hefty amount of bonus videos. I was stuck with a tough decision.
The money I had spent was no small sum. I had worked hard for it. I hadn’t seen big results from the program yet. It was too early. I still had work to do to catch up. I had to decide between getting a refund and just trying to remember what I had learned from the course or let the refund deadline pass and use the course in my leisure.
I was really considering getting the refund because I had absorbed most of the course. But something Ramit said earlier somewhat stuck with me. He said I would have access to this library for the rest of my life. I would have sequential access to the modules, process, and bonus module all in one place. I could work through it at my own pace for as long as I wanted rather than trying to remember or re-organize what I had learned (if I got the refund).
More importantly, I knew that if I went through with it, I would be so motivated to make it work and make sure there was no chance in hell it wouldn’t work by working my butt off. Why? Because I would have spent so much of my precious money on it, and would be motivated to make it worth it.
There’s actually experiments that explain this. People are more likely to follow through with something when they put money on the line. Derek Halpern had a Harvard professor on his podcast to explain this.
I ended up not getting the refund.
Inside the Treasure Chest: The Pros and Cons
I have to say that the fact that I was so motivated to make the coursework made it eight times more valuable. If I was less motivated or got it for free, I wouldn’t have seen as much value or really taken every point of advice he gave as intently.
If you take the course, make sure you really put weight and importance on what is told to you. Or you won’t get as much value out of it as I did.
By the time I had taken the course, it had been fully fleshed out and tested with many test groups and thousands of customers before me. Each time, it was iterated and improved.
For me, I still saw room for improvement, but also saw the strengths of the course. I realized I spent a significant amount of time in Modules 3 and 4 because I had no idea what industry or job I wanted. Those modules were on testing out different jobs and gathering information. I must have gone through those modules at least six times. I spent the bulk of my time in these modules.
One day, I’d hope to see these modules expanded with more steps.
The biggest strength of the Dream Job course for me was the streamlined, confident nature of the process. It really relaxed my anxiety each time Ramit said, “Just trust the system.” Of the many times I felt skeptical, anxious, or frustrated, he relaxed me by reminding me that the system works and that past students were stuck in these situations but got through it.
The LinkedIn and Facebook Groups
Along with the course, we got access to a LinkedIn Group. Although it had over two thousand members, it was dead. I posted a few times in there and got a couple responses after a few days. There is no real engagement or community.
I think he mentioned in the course that they had tried Facebook earlier, and it didn’t work out. They must have been testing LinkedIn.
Later on, I mentioned this to the Support team they have and they said there is an active Dream Job Facebook group as well but I had to dig myself to find it. I joined the group and it was small. There were only a couple hundred members, but the group was a lot more active than LinkedIn.
People were pouring out their souls in these long essays about their struggle on there. I ended up writing my own essays on there myself.
There was also a community-hosted weekly phone/webcam call to discover and help each other. I got feedback, advice, and encouragement from others. One of the people on there (a Harvard grad) called me personally to help me and we even found out we went to the same high school. I also got a lot of encouragement and life experiences from people when I told them about my lack of progress and struggle to “find a calling.”
Most of them subscribed to the whole Ramit Sethi and Cal Newport philosophy of “Following your Passion”, which is that you have to address practicality first and you can learn to love anything that you get good at and make incremental progress at (through money or performance), even if it seems boring at first. I was skeptical, but some of the group members gave their own life experiences of this and it really changed my mind. One of them had to adopt a seemingly boring government job, but learned to love it by finding interest in the topic with an open mind.
The only point of improvement for the group was if it was larger so that people could answer questions faster. I had to wait several days at times. And the weekly phone calls were inconsistent. Sometimes, they would happen every other week. Overall, these aren’t huge problems.
I went on one of these phone calls, asked a question, got some great advice from the group, and left. A week later, I reported on my progress (of securing interviews), and one of the call facilitaters applauded me in the Facebook Group for “asking just one question and getting to work.”
The Customer Service
The customer service system was managed through a network called Zen Desk. You could chat with them on a live chat pop up inside the course. They would respond within 24 hours usually (it wasn’t live chat).
It was slightly above average, but had plenty of room for improvement.
One of the Zen Desk people was really nice to me. One time, I was really struggling to see results with the Dream Job process and get an interview even though I had done as they said and talked to over a hundred people through LinkedIn. He gave me a month of another program, Ramit’s Brain Trust, which slightly helped.
Another experience with them was bad. I had finally gotten a job with Dream Job and asked a live chat person where to specifically look for advice on succeeding after you got your job. I had a decent idea since I had went through all the modules in extreme detail, but I wanted to see if he could point me in a more specific direction. Instead, the live chat person gave a vague answer like, “Module 4, 8, etc.”
That’s like asking where the beans are at the supermarket and getting a response like, “Aisle 4, 8, etc.” Nonetheless, I pressed him to clarify and he gave a slightly more specific answer. It left a bad taste in my mouth and prevented me from becoming a super fan of this whole thing. But I just figured it out on my own. No need to curse them out or anything crazy.
Was It Worth It?
Forget everyone else’s testimonials. For me, was it worth it? What’s my honest-to-god answer? It’s hard to say. I like measuring things from a numeric return on investment approach so that’s what I will do.
I put in around $2,000 for the program. I worked fairly hard to make it work. I drove around and scheduled tons of phone calls with a variety of people. As you can see, if you don’t follow through or work hard to do what the program says, your return on investment or value achieved could be far less, so it depends on the person.
Eventually, I got a job applying the standard ways I had before: online through their direct site. I had significantly changed the structure and presentation of my resume and interview process from Dream Job. Could I say for sure that it was Dream Job that made my resume get noticed? I can’t say for certain, but there is a good chance.
Also, I applied twice to the job, which was noticed positively by my employer (possibly, an accident. I can’t remember.). This persistence was something Dream Job didn’t mention.
But there is one thing that most likely made it worth it for me many times over from a return on investment standpoint: asking for a raise…
Before Dream Job, I never would have considered asking for a higher salary or being confident in my worth. I just wanted a job. After, I spent a long time studying negotiation and practicing to ask for a raise.
But when it happened, I butchered the whole thing. I forgot, but ended up following back via email with a feeble attempt and hoping it would transition to a negotiation via phone (which I would have caved in on if there was even moderate pushback). Despite this, I got it. Just with a simple email reply back accepting the new salary. I won’t give you specifics but it was a decent amount more than the price of Dream Job.
You could buy the whole program and have a completely different experience from me. There’s a definite sense of attitude of “I’m going to make this work” and seeing the value in this. I think someone can go into this and not see the value if they look at it from a shallow viewpoint and give it the same value perception as a library of free YouTube videos.
But because I did put so much emphasis in making this work and trusting the process, I did get something out of it.
Now, I have a question for you. Whether or not you are considering buying this course, what is your #1 struggle when it comes to getting out in the workforce?