One of the greatest things I learned in college was in a class I almost failed.
I took an introductory programming class — CS106A — and walked in feeling like a huge stud. I knew I was going to crush this class, especially compared to the English majors who were taking it because they were required to.
GOOD OLD RAMIT WAS ABOUT TO CRUSH THIS!
Except…no. I worked for 40 hours a week on this class. I went to office hours. I tried my hardest…
…and walked out of that class with a D.
A D!!! Nobody gets a D at Stanford. Grade inflation…I love you.
Looking back, I learned 2 things:
- I am not a good programmer
- I learned how to break huge problems down into their component parts
#2, breaking big problems down, was actually an incredible lesson that made the entire class worth it. Like most people, I never received formal training on how to think logically and break problems down. You know who gets this training?
Lawyers and engineers. Two of the weirdest fucking people on earth.
Anyway, today I want to show you how to apply that to taking a dream vacation. Unlike delusional people who say “Yeah, I really want to take an awesome vacation…some day…”
I WANT TO TAKE IT NOW.
A few years ago, I decided to stop talking about traveling and actually START traveling. Since then, I’ve been able to take some great vacations.
To be honest, it actually took me about 2 years to figure out how to take a really long vacation to Southeast Asia and still have my business keep running (in fact, I automatically earned money while I traveled). But I finally did it.
This was the pool in my hotel room in Thailand.
So I want to show you the lesson I learned that finally let me stop talking about taking vacations…and actually start traveling.
By the way, my goal is for you to be able to travel some place awesome within the next 12 months. (Really, you could do it this year, even this summer, with the right system.)
NOTE: This isn’t just about vacations. You can apply this to ANY goal — a new car, moving to a new city, redoing your wardrobe. It’s up to you.
The key is breaking it down from a huge, overwhelming goal into something you can control.
What’s your dream vacation?
THINK BIG. If you tell me your dream is to stay at a Best Western in New Jersey, I am going to unsubscribe you from my email list.
When you’re brainstorming, think big. You can always cut down later. But for now, think big.
After you come up with something — “I want to go to Paris!”, get specific.
When I used to say, “Yeah! I want to travel,” I never did. There was no specificity, no urgency. It was a dream easily deferred.
Pick a date so you can start breaking it down. Notice how reluctant we are to set dates and specifics because, gasp, what if we fail? I would rather have you try and fail than never try at all.
How much will it cost? Really map it out. This doesn’t have to be exact, but you should know if you want a $4,000 trip to the beach or a $20,000 trip around the world.
Here’s an example.
BAD IWT READER: “I want to go to Paris some day”
GOOD IWT READER: “By December, I want to go Paris for a week with my significant other. I also need to find a significant other, but that’s another story”
- Flight for 2: $1,600
- Hotel: $2,000
- Food: $1,400
- Fun money: $1,000
OMG! THAT’S SO MUCH MONEY! RAMIT WE DON’T ALL SLEEP ON A BED OF $100 BILLS LIKE YOU.
Ok, this is where my training in breaking down big problems comes in handy. That’s a big number, but if you break it down, it’s absolutely achievable.
Let’s break it down even further and I’ll show you what I mean.
$6,000 = $500 x 12
One of the principles I realized when I earned my first dollar as a consultant was, if I can make $1, that means I can make $10…and if I can make $10, I can make $100. And on and on.
So — if you can earn $500 once, you can do it 12 times. And you’ve paid for your dream romantic getaway to Paris.
Let’s keep breaking it down.
How long would it take to earn $500? Let’s do the math.
You have a lot of options. You could:
- Save all your change in a jar by the washing machine. At .50/day, it will only take you 2.7 years to earn $500. Which means your Paris trip is a mere 33 years away. Love you, frugalistas
- Cut out your morning latte 5 days/week. If you remember to put that money aside, you’ll have $780/year and have a Paris getaway in a little less than 8 years. Except you won’t be reading my emails any more since you’ll have moved to a shanty town in South Dakota and ceased the usage of electricity. Nice knowing you
- Take $100 out of each of your paychecks. At biweekly pay, you’ll have enough in just over 2 years. This is reasonable and it adds up way faster than you think — especially when it’s automatic. (Btw, when people say, “I’ve already cut to the bone…there’s nothing more I can cut” these are the very same people who have never automated their savings. They don’t know what they’re talking about.)
We’re going to break it down further, because there’s another, even quicker option that doesn’t require cutting back. You can use the skills you already have to earn money on the side. And you don’t need that much time.
Look: To earn $500 you could…
- Work 10 hours and charge $50/hr
- Work 5 hours and charge $100/hr
In other words, with just 5-10 hours of work per month — that’s only 1½ – 2½ hours per week — you’ll have your Paris trip in a year or less.
You can also think about it in terms of clients.
20 one-time clients paying a $300 project
Even better: 6 one-time clients for a $1,000 project
Best: 2 recurring clients for 6 months at $500/month
Notice how much easier this is. 6 clients? I can do that. (Notice that voice in the back of your head: “But where would I find these clients? What would they buy from me? Why would anyone pay $50/hour??” You can use the same principle of breaking down the problem to answer every one of those. I’ll show you how.)
Let’s take an even easier example. Not everybody needs to go on a $6,000 Paris vacation, Jesus.
I went on a food tour in Vegas
How much would it cost to take a long weekend in Las Vegas?
- Flight for 2 from NYC to Las Vegas: $900
- Hotel for 3 nights: $900
- Food: $500
- Fun money: $500
You can earn a guilt-free weekend in Vegas with your best friend — your treat — working 5 hours per week in less than 3 months.
That is pretty cool. In fact, you could take this trip over Labor Day weekend THIS YEAR.
5 hours x $50/hr = $250/week
$2,800 = 11 weeks
Or, you’ll need just 3 clients with a $1,000/project (and you’ll have a little extra fun money).
If you have no idea how you could make $50/hr or $1,000 per project, don’t worry. Wednesday I’m going to break down exactly how to find an idea and what to charge.
The key things we learned today are:
- You can break huge goals into small, discrete actions that become a lot easier to achieve
- It doesn’t matter if the goal is a $6,000 Paris vacation, a weekend in Vegas, or even those new shoes or coat you’ve been eyeing. A Rich Life is guilt-free. I’ll show you how to earn it
- I am really bad at programming
Now, I’m curious what your goal actually is. Forget about the money right now — just assume you’ll be able to earn it (I’ll show you how).
For today, what’s the dream? If it’s a vacation, where do you want to go / where do you want to stay? If it’s clothes or a new suit, which brand? If it’s helping your parents pay off their mortgage, how much and how would it feel to write them that check?
Using the framework above, do you think you could take it within a year?
Leave me a comment below with the destination and details and this week, I’ll show you how you can make it happen.