Getting Back to The Pareto Principle aka 80/20 it Bro

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As an entrepreneur it’s easy to lose sight of certain things. You get caught up in metrics, catch some traction in one thing and forget about another. If I want to make epic shit happen in 2013, then it is time for me to put things back in perspective and laser focus in on my goals. Or else it’s just going to be a lot of wasted time in facebook feed, hackernews and reddit consumption.

The Pareto Principle or in startup lingo “you gotta 80 / 20 it bro” basically says that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes, inputs or material. In many businesses 80% of total revenue comes from only 20% of the customer base.

Apply 80/20 to your life by spending 80% of your time your money business with 20% of the time in development of new projects.

Just 80 / 20 it bro!

Just 80 / 20 it bro!

My main money project is consulting (hire me). I’m skilled in digital marketing, search engine optimization and online branding. My background in e-commerce taught me about conversions, so when I go to clients telling them that we need to set up goals to generate your company more revenue not just traffic or facebook likes… their jaw drops.

I love working with small businesses and giving them the edge in their respective markets. Yet I’ve done less consulting over the past months with more focus being put into this software that I’m building.

Don’t stop swimming in the stream, until you find a river (or even better an ocean).

I guess that quote means, you shouldn’t stop or reduce any money making activities until you have found another that’s bigger. Just like you wouldn’t quit your day job without a strong enough secondary income, you should not put all of your effort into a new project that hasn’t taken off.

Whenever you start working on a new business, you’re going to be able to crank things out at a high level for a significant period of time. Most of the process is familiar and there isn’t any struggle involved. Once you reach a difficult period like acquiring new clients, pivoting or inability to scale, it’s easy to just jump and move to something new. Don’t get away from your 80% until you’re confident that you can generate enough money elsewhere.

But if you’re making money with one business why not scale it?

Lifestyle design is about the automation of processes. With any sort of marketing campaign that I am involved with, it’s very labor intense process in order to deliver quality results to my clients.  They’ve trusted me with their reputation and to generate revenue for their business. I obsess on making it happen and refuse to outsource any part of the work.

Creating automation in business how you achieve freedom.

Automation is as simple as setting up your personal credit card payments to auto-pay from your checking account each month to drop shipping products with an e-commerce business. Take a minute to think about the tasks you do everyday, especially the ones that you hate. Can you apply automation so that you don’t have to do them any longer?

New business = no intelligence

If you already have a business going, you’re able to estimate your return on investment (time). If I send out ten well drafted sales letters, I know that my average conversion rate is 10%. It’s easy to put a value on my time / effort and see how much money I stand to make. The same cannot be said for something that you’ve never done before. When you being a new project you have no clients, no revenue and no step by step guide.

For the software business I’m working on, it’s a venture into an entirely new model. This alone has taken hours of research (reading, studying and listening to podcasts) and planning the marketing and sales. The design work was outsourced but it had to be done to fit the flow of the website spec / functionality.  That took a lot of time, but nothing compared to the development process which as expected has met mulitple delays along the way. In the beginning, we were going at a rapid pace with interns, sales plans and cold calls. We had momentum. Now that we’re delayed, I’m not sure what the best thing for them to do would be.

In hindsight I shouldn’t have brought on others until the minimum viable product was fully functional and should not have gone away from my main source of secondary income. When you start a new business, don’t go all-in until you’re fully ready and the model is proven (when you have sales / clients).

Situation = Frustrating // Damage = Absorbed

The situation is frustrating, but I’m fine. I am actually headed to Las Vegas tomorrow for Krewella so maybe I’ll get lucky ;). A few of my niche sites are taking off and I’m getting back into consulting having landed my first client of 2013 a few days ago. Emotionally a little bit drained but the feeling doesn’t last for long. I’ve learned that as an entrepreneur you cannot dwell on mistakes or errors because nothing is going to wait for you or feel bad. The world doesn’t care (see Six Harsh Truths).

If I would have quit my job to work full-time on this business, I would be in Defcon-5 panic mode and in a rush to return to the workplace. This happens to many entrepreneurs who quit their jobs, fail early and go back to work thinking, “I can’t believe I thought I could do that.” You’re going to fail and there will be setbacks, but you always need to maintain a financial shield so you can absorb the damage.

Lesson for the future.

Never fully depend on something that is out of your control.

I can’t control the development process because I’m not a developer. I can either learn how to code (hard as shit) or work on things within my skill set. Coming to this realization has pushed me further into a few other exciting projects that I had scheduled for 2013, but am moving up in the timeline.

I’m launching a course for people interested in learning internet marketing. We start on February 1, 2013 and you can email me (ben@benhebert.com) for details.

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk / Foter / CC BY-NC