Hack the system with Maneesh Sethi

(This is an interview for the blog’s Lifestyle Design Heroes series. Read my interview with Maneesh for the cover of India’s biggest tabloid, Sunday Mid-Day published much earlier for an introduction)

He’s the guy who hired a girl on Craiglist just to slap him in the face whenever he logged on to Facebook (this crazy decision quadrupled his productivity). Meet the supremely creative Maneesh Sethi, founder-CEO of bad-habit-repelling wristband Pavlok and Editor-in-Chief of Hack The System, a website where you will learn to succeed unconventionally in fitness, travel, business and productivity.

In 2008, while studying at Stanford University, Maneesh took a little trip abroad… a little trip that lasted 5 years. He has lived in Italy, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Colombia, Germany, Sweden, and many more. Since then, he has made it his life’s goal to show others that there is another way to experience the world. “It’s never been easier to live your dream,” he says.

Since 2008, Maneesh has travelled to over 30 countries, learned five languages, and studied the art of hacking systems. He has spent time becoming a “famous” DJ in Berlin in just 90 days, living in the wilderness for a month with no backpack, and tested systems to become more productive, healthier, and happier. Currently, he writes for Hack the System and Forbes, and works on interesting projects around the world.

Maneesh got candid about starting a business, his travels and other exploits.

Your take on the book The 4 hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss?
Maneesh: It is an excellent book, a great motivator. It doesn’t always give excellent step-by-step instructions but it provides a general framework for an outsourced passive income life.

Any other resources you’d recommend?
Maneesh: Some good lifestyle designers are Tynan (www.tynan.com) and Chris Guillebeau.

How does one, step-by-step build a life around something you don’t have to slave behind a desk everyday?
Maneesh: I use the Keyword Academy and I teach passive income at my own site. There are a million models though. It depends on what the person wants to do. My brother Ramit Sethi teaches on www.earn1k.com which is an amazing site for how to build your own freelance business using your own skills.

What kind of hurdles did you come across while setting up passive income streams?
Maneesh: Breaking the $100 barrier. It was a lot of work the first few months, but then outsourcing made it easier. Funding is always a problem. I started my business with $0. Then, I started outsourcing, going to a maximum of $4000 or so per month.

Maneesh’s firm Pavlok won the Shopify ‘Build A Business’ Competition in 2015, and were subsequently treated to a trip to Necker Island with productivity rockstars Richard Branson, Daymond John, Tim Ferriss, Marie Forleo and Seth Godin

Have you met any other lifestyle designers?
Maneesh: Yes, Tynan and Chris, Cody Mckibben from Thrilling Heroics (he’s from my hometown).

Tell us about your travels and other exploits.
Maneesh: Since I hit my passive income goal in April, I’ve lived in India, Norway, Italy, New York, Mexico, and Colombia. I’m aiming to do push-ups in every country by the time I am 32 years old. I am at about 20 countries now.

You love languages too…
Maneesh: I speak Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Hindi. I’ve moved to Berlin and am studying German.

Any tips on language learning?
Maneesh: Pick a country and live there and make friends. I live in a host family and study the language four hours a day with a private tutor. And dating a language speaker always helps.


How can New Rich hopefuls overcome fears of lack of security, regular pay and comfort if they decide to quit a full time job?
Maneesh: There’s never a better time than now. Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to. For young people who don’t have responsibility, why are you in a rush to get a job? In the US, people graduate university at 21 and immediately start working and they keep working with two-week vacations until they are 65. In my mind it seems like hell. When you are young, you can live on nothing. Why not use your low standards to allow you to do anything you want?

Any parting words for our readers?
Maneesh: You only have one life, don’t regret it.

by Kasmin Fernandes


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