Winning at negotiation and firing myself

Dec 23, 2023 6:05 am


This is an email I send to keep in touch with people and share a bit about what I'm doing and thinking about.

This month, I'm:

  • Negotiating a rent reduction
  • Attempting to give up control of my work life
  • Thinking about my 50-year-old self

You're receiving this monthly email because you signed up for it at, or you opted in after reading my book The Price Of Money, or I added you manually because we've spoken one-to-one.

If you don't enjoy it, feel free to unsubscribe at the bottom – I won't be notified and I'll never even know!

💪 How I accidentally reduced by rent by 10%

We choose to rent, rather than buy, the home we live in. This is brilliant in every way… except the looming fear of the annual contract renewal.

Last year we were ill-prepared, had no other options, and amid a hot market our rent was hiked substantially. Not good.

This year we suspected we might be asked to leave, because we know the landlord is trying to sell the property. So ahead of time, we decided to make some moves to strengthen our position…

First we identified, viewed, and had offers accepted on two equivalent apartments on the same development that we’d be happy to move to. Both were for less than we were currently paying – which we weren’t expecting to achieve at all.

Then, we said to our landlord’s agent: “We’ve had offers accepted elsewhere for £X and need to respond, so you need to tell us within 48 hours if you want to match them.”

Result: Within a few hours they replied to accept, saving us the hassle of moving. And even more astonishingly, this has reduced our rent by nearly 10%.

To be honest, this whole gambit was born of having nowhere to live rather than an attempt to “win”. But it solidified lessons that can be applied to any negotiation:

  • The way to win is to project a “DGAF” attitude. And the best way to do that is… genuinely not give a fig. We would’ve been perfectly happy to take one of our other offers.

  • A tight (and genuine) deadline often helps. The pressure put us in the driving seat and gave our landlord the fear of missing out, without the time to rationally assess their options.


Overlooking Malaga on a family break last month. Nothing makes me happier than t-shirt weather in November.

😓 Be my own boss? No thanks!

Most people would agree that being your own boss is preferable to having someone else as your boss.

But this misses the fact that you end up with two roles: being yourself (which is great), and being your boss (which is a nightmare).

After all, you’re stuck attempting to manage someone who’s arranged their entire life so they don’t have to answer to anyone else. The fact that the person is “yourself” only, if anything, makes it harder.

I’m such a hopelessly unmanageable employee that this year, I’ve attempted to palm off the “boss” role on others. In other words, I’ve brought in external accountability to force myself to do what needs to be done.

For example:

  • A personal trainer makes sure I don’t miss workouts.

  • I wanted to write a giant piece of content, so I hired someone to co-create it with me.

  • I hate filming videos, so instead of doing them at home I booked a studio for every Monday afternoon. Now I have no choice but to show up and get it done.

It seems weird to work hard to get into a position of freedom, then immediately start paying people to remove that freedom again.

But the pattern is striking: I’ve been far more successful and consistent in the areas where I’ve brought in an external “boss”.

So when I’m deciding what I want to achieve next year, alongside each I’ll be planning something else: who (or what) will I use to force myself to get it done?

imageThis is where I go on a Monday afternoon to make sure my videos get filmed

🔮 What would your future self thank you for?

A question I’ve been pondering: What can I start now that I’ll be thankful I did in 10 years’ time?

I know how powerful this can be, because 10 years ago I did start something I’m profoundly grateful for: The Property Podcast. Now, it drives our entire business and recording it is one of the highlights of my week.

Sure, part of its success came from the luck of being a first-mover in a growing medium. But if you do anything for 10 years, it’s hard to imagine it not changing your life in some way.

Another example is strength training. I started this 2-3 years ago, and I’m already glad I did. In 10 years’ time, when I’m 50, I imagine I’ll be delighted with my past self.

This question is powerful in an “instant gratification” world, and I’m not immune from seeking quick wins. Now I’ve achieved decent success in a couple of projects, I find myself looking for ways to achieve that same level of success rapidly in new areas and skip the multi-year grind.

Eventually, I remember that’s the wrong way to think. The answer is to just start, stay consistent, and wait longer than you’d like for the eventual (and inevitable) results.


Life goals: My friend Noel has a cold plunge on his balcony.

🔗 Odds and ends

☕️ A small but enjoyable life upgrade I’ve made: grinding the beans for my morning coffee daily, rather than buying pre-ground. Other than the one time it woke up the baby, it’s given every morning a small but noticeable lift.

(I was inspired by this interview with coffee expert James Hoffman, who is a phenomenal business person and content creator, and seems like a lovely person.)

🚂 A game that’s been driving me nuts: how many London station names can you remember without looking? See if you can beat my 69.5%.

😍 This podcast interview about how to be happy between Tim Ferriss and Arthur Brooks is one of the best things I’ve listened to in ages.

💳 You don’t realise you need a wallet that magnetically attaches to your phone and doubles up as a convenient stand. But you honestly do.

📆 Next year in this newsletter

This year I’ve managed to send seven “monthly” (lol) newsletters. Clearly, I need an external boss for this area.

Despite the lack of consistency, it’s one of my favourite things to do – in large part because there’s no point. No goals, no strategy, no revenue… just sharing whatever I find interesting.

A couple of months ago I sent out a survey asking what people wanted, and the gist was “more of the same, but talk more about your business”.

So that’s what I’ll be doing. Maybe I’ll even manage to send monthly.

Thank you for trusting me with your inbox. And if you’re managing to have a break over the next few days, I hope you enjoy it.

That’s it for now! Feel free to write back and let me know what you've been up to.



p.s. You can also follow me on Twitter or Instagram.