The 80/20 Rule
Believe it or not, eighty percent of our sales most likely comes from twenty percent of our efforts. Sad, but probably true. The other eighty percent of our energy is sort of wasted effort or at least not a very productive endeavor. We’d probably be better off kicking a soccer ball around with our kids during some of that eighty percent of the time. After all, family and life and work balance are essential. Balance is often strained in the life of authorpreneurs who are self-publishing their way to a better world around their 9-5 gig.
So, the 80/20 math may be eye-opening, but according to the math, I think it’s simple to figure out what to do next. Let’s stop doing a lot of that eighty percent that hasn’t been very effective. And let’s do a little more of the twenty percent of our efforts that have been very effective. And then with our new-found time, let’s spend more with our family and on other things, too, that bring us balance, peace, and happiness.
Here’s the problem, though. The math seems easy, but it’s really not. Knowing what exactly is involved in the twenty percent of our efforts that are kicking butt is hard to discover. It’s obviously much easier said than done. You know what I mean?
One of the things that cause us to dabble a little too much in the eighty percent zone that is not helping us sell books like crazy is the concept of trying to be perfect. Believe it or not, perfect can be our enemy.
When we spend way too much time trying to make our website perfect, causing it not to be up and running, and people not to be able to find us on the net, that’s hurting us. When we spend way too much time trying to make our next blog post perfect, and our tribe hasn’t had anything to read from us in a couple of weeks, that’s hurting our book sales. When we won’t make any videos because we’re afraid we won’t look perfect, that’s a problem. Or when we spend weeks or even months making that video perfect, that’s a problem too. We’re spending too much of our time trying to make things perfect. Those behaviors of perfect are in that eighty percent zone of less effective efforts that we’re trying to spend less time in.
Spending too much time trying to look good is a close cousin to being prefect. It sits right next to our enemy of perfect in the eighty percent zone of less effective behaviors. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t look professional. We should look professional when we can. And we should also remember that reasonable business people try to make money. So, if we’re spending all of our time just trying to look good, but aren’t doing things that actually bring in money or get results, then we’re hanging out in that eighty percent zone again of less effective behaviors. And this isn’t good, regardless of how good we may look while doing it.
We have to figure out what makes us, us. What makes us unique? What particular thing about us can people latch on to? That special thing about us is what draws people to us. That one thing is probably in our twenty percent zone of very useful behaviors for us authorpreneurs.
So, here’s the deal. Let’s do more of that thing that makes us unique and special. And let’s hand off some of the menial tasks that anyone can do to someone else. Hmm… who can this someone else be? Well, if we have some cash flow, we could hire a virtual assistant to help us with the mundane things that need to get done. Then we can spend more time on our specialty, making more money so we can pay our virtual assistant and have some left over for ourselves that we might not have had before.
In addition, we may be able to acquire a really cheap or even free intern who wants the experience or the college credit for them helping us. Some high schools or colleges have kids that will do the mundane stuff for us that doesn’t make us any money. This will free us up so we can jump into our twenty percent zone to make money on other stuff.
Heck, sometimes we can even pull in one of our raving fans who want to spend more time with us. While doing these tasks for us, they can learn more about what we do. And someday, they too, can break out on their own and do what we do with the newly obtained knowledge base they gained from helping us.
Let’s lose the 9-5 mindset mentality of working 40 hours and making the same paycheck every week with the same exact hourly rate, regardless of what we do. Instead, let’s hop on over to our authorpreneur mindset mentality, and let’s make more money by working less through spending less time in our eighty percent zone of less productive behaviors. Now that’s a win-win, isn’t it?
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