Developing a Point of View with Ramit Sethi [#FinCon Keynote Address]

“Do I just sound like everyone else?” Whether you’ve been creating content for ten weeks or ten years, you’re familiar with this question. You’ve thought it, and you’ve probably even said it. Setting yourself apart as a content creator matters. It has little to do with marketing and everything to do with developing your point of view according to Ramit Sethi.

In this Money & Media podcast episode, Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You To Be Rich shares a powerful message about finding your voice and standing out to reach new audiences, no special opt-ins or funnels required. 

Changing Financial Landscapes

The book I Will Teach You To Be Rich was updated ten years after its initial release. The motivation behind the update seems simple enough–a changing financial landscape. Credit cards, banking, and investing all look different than a decade prior (hello, roboadvisors!). 

But none of that is what influenced Sethi’s new edition the most. His personal finance landscape changed. His business expanded, and he got married. With a decade worth of time cultivating and honing his point of points of view, he rewrote the book. And he’s challenging everyone else to develop their own point of view and put it at the forefront of their work. 

Why Developing a Point of View Matters

You know you need to differentiate yourself. No content creator wants to get lost in a sea of voices that are all saying the same thing. When it comes to standing out as a content creator, Sethi says there is only one question that matters. 

If I asked you right now, “What is your point of view?” would you have an answer?

Developing  your point of view allows you to stand out. Don’t worry if you can’t answer the question crisply at first. Even just starting to pin down your unique perspective allows you to find the right audience. Connecting with an audience that wants your message is something that really matters. It allows you to have an impact and keeps you from sounding like everyone else.

A Case Study in Standing Out

To illustrate why developing a point of view matters so much, Sethi put together a quick case study. He took some of content creators’ favorite personal finance talking points and asked someone who wasn’t part of the personal finance community. 

Her responses to stock market averages and Monte Carlo simulations reflect real readers, Sethi said. He then challenged people to consider who they are writing for. 

People in the personal finance niche love those topics, but they may not mean much to our audiences. Sethi says it’s easy to talk about the same things that everyone else talks about. It’s also important to remember who your audience is. Who are you creating content for? He emphasizes that developing a point of view is one of the rarest things on Earth. 

Learn more about turning your audience into fans with this advice from Mr. Money Mustache.

Three Moments that Pushed His Point of View

A viewpoint isn’t developed instantly. Instead, it’s something that appears over time. For Sethi, he felt three different moments bring about the point of view that he’s ready to share with readers in the updated version of his book.

Developing His Point of View

Starting out, Sethi kept hearing the same sound bites chorusing through the personal finance community. As someone who wanted to live a rich life, the latte factor didn’t resonate with him.  Though he didn’t know how to fully articulate it at first, he knew he wanted to say something different. He believed something different. Saving $3 a day on coffee for the next lifetime wasn’t going to bring him what he wanted. So he worked on developing a point of view that was uniquely his own. That laid the foundation for his work on and at I Will Teach You To Be Rich. 

Being Unapologetic About A Point of View

Once you develop your point of view, you have to commit to upholding it. For Sethi, that means refusing to apologize for what he thinks. With an online business, this might be even harder than it sounds at first. 

Sethi’s first rule of thumb is to ignore your critics. At least be careful whose criticism you heed, he says. The advice about not feeding the trolls, though, Sethi doesn’t buy. In fact, he reads every email and he responds to most, troll or not. 

He’s able to do this so unapologetically because he remembers what ignoring the criticism has afforded him. Personal lifestyle upgrades are nice, but he’s been able to take care of family, friends, and his entire I Will Teach You To Be Rich team. To him, that’s what really matter.

Instead of allowing external critics and even yourself stand in your way from being uniquely you, tune them out. Don’t let critics who are nobodies derail you, Sethi cautions. To find out more about how to prevent yourself from becoming a roadblock to your work, check out this conversation with Pete McPherson about overcoming impostor syndrome.

Realizing A Rich Life is Lived Outside the Spreadsheet

The final moment that helped Sethi with developing his point of view and refining it over the past decade is a realization. It’s simple enough on the surface, and it’s impact is profound. The world exists beyond a spreadsheet.

That means that you have to have a plan for when you accomplish your financial goals. After you’ve paid off your student loans or battled your consumer debt, where is your content going next? Finding an answer to “Now what?” and determining what money truly means to you is essential. 

Final Thoughts on Developing a Point of View

Creating your own point of view is no easy task. Truthfully, it is probably the most difficult part of content creation. There’s no recipe or rulebook. Instead, it’s opening yourself up to trial and error, and it’s giving yourself the time and space to think about what you really believe. Ultimately, creating content around those thoughts is what allows you to stand out to your audiences.

To explore the full results of Ramit Sethi’s miniature case study with someone who doesn’t read personal finance blogs and has no idea what the 4% Rule is and to hear how he turned the volume up on a 2,000-person-plus crowd of money nerds at #FinCon19 with a Money Dial, check out the latest episode of the Money & Media podcast.


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