The 80/20 principle is my favorite and the most important principle to understand in life and in entrepreneurship.
Its says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. 80% of your stress comes from 20% of your environment. 80% of your joy comes from 20% of your activities. You name the result. 80% of it is generated by 20% of your efforts.
This applies to everything. 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clientele. 80% of your stress comes from 20% of your customers. 80% of your work is spent on 20% of your customers.
I call the 20% your wheelhouse.
The goal is to understand the wheelhouse. If you can understand it and pinpoint it and focus on it you can multiply your results with the same relative effort. Spend more time in your wheelhouse and you will be a lot more productive, profitable and even happy.
I’m sure you have heard the term work smart not hard. Im a firm believer in this and I preach it often. One of the responses I sometimes get is that this is a cop out for lazy people who want to get ahead.
Not the case. Everyone works hard. This is America. You can’t get ahead by working hard alone. Every day you wake up with a decision. Where are you going to spend your two most precious resources – your time and your money. If you can work smart and understand the 20% that is generating the 80% you can make better decisions and multiply your results.
The concept is this – if you can understand it and go from spending 20% of your time in your wheelhouse to spending 100% of your time in your wheelhouse you can produce 5x more.
So later you do another analysis and find that once again 80% of your desired results are coming from 20% of your efforts you can specialize even further. Go deeper into your wheelhouse. Your competitive advantage. Your niche. Another 5x multiple. So a year ago you were producing 1 now you are producing 25. You multiplied by 5 the first time you specialized and now you did it again.
Use this mindset when deciding where to invest your two most precious resources. Time and money.
Work smart. Work in your 20% wheelhouse. Multiply your growth and productivity.
It works in reverse as well. 20% of your customers are causing 80% of your headaches and your stress. Fire them. Avoid them. Tell them, in as polite a way possible, to go elsewhere. Design your service away from them. Design your marketing to avoid them. 20% of your activities in your personal life are producing 80% of your anxiety. Pinpoint it. Avoid it. Step away from it. Get out.
Every year sit down and pinpoint your wheelhouse. Reflect. Study. Learn. Discover. Spend a lot of time doing this. Then adjust. Change the plan. Do things differently. Change the way you invest your time and your money.
Each year you’ll specialize further and achieve 5x the return. You’ll develop your competitive advantage. You’ll nourish the areas of your life that are producing the most benefits.
Do this 5 years in a row and you’re spectacularly good at what you do and living the life you want to be living.