I want you to do me a favour. Everything that has anything to do with your business or marketing your business, I want you to 80/20 it.
Just go ahead and 80/20 everything. Every. Damn. Thing.
It’ll work, I’m sure of it.
The 80/20 rule was created by an Economist called Vilfredo Pareto when he noticed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population. Then he noticed that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the pea pods. And so the Pareto Principle was born — a principle that can be applied to seemingly everything.
Profound, isn’t it?
Well, here’s how to use it in your business, freelance or otherwise.
80/20 your social media
80% of your likes, shares, and comments come from 20% the things that you post. Dig deep into your analytics to find out what’s working best and focus on creating more of the same.
Also, not quite the Pareto Principle, but still an 80/20 split and important for how you use social media… Spend 80% of your time liking, sharing and commenting. This is the social bit — showing that you’re actually there and that your content isn’t entirely pushed through an automation machine. Use the 20% that you have left to share your own stuff — blog posts, services, special offers and the like. If someone is kind enough to like, share or comment on any of the 20% stuff, respond in 80% mode with a nice, friendly thanks. Maybe even chuck a GIF or an emoji in there too.
80/20 your content marketing
Some of your marketing is great. Some is pointless. 80% of your leads will come from 20% of your content. Find out what this 20% is and do more of it. If it’s a particular type of blog post, do more of the same or make posts even better by updating or adding more depth. Or, recycle the content to turn it into a video or podcast. Milk that 20% for all it’s worth.
80/20 your customers/clients
80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers/clients. Who the hell is this lucrative minority? There’s money to be made if you can out. Work out who they are, where they are, what they like and where their money goes and spend 80% of your time on them.
Of your customers/clients, most of them will be fine. And even if they’re not, you’ll never know about it. But there’s 20% of them that aren’t fine and guess what percentage of complaints come from them? Yep. Find out who they are, where they are and what they don’t like and prepare ways to deal with their grievances.
80/20 your writing
80% of the takeaways come from 20% of what you’ve written so start editing. Plus, 20% of what you’ve written isn’t needed. Edit a little bit more.
80/20 your website
80% of your conversions will come from 20% of your pages. Have a look at your Google Analytics to see which pages are most popular for conversions and optimise them so that they’re even more appealing than they clearly already are.
While you’re poking around in your analytics, have a look to see which of your keywords bring in the most visitors because, as per the rule, 80% of them will get there from 20% percent of your keywords. Use this 20% in the 20% of best-performing pages and you’ll be living the 80/20 dream.
80/20 your services
20% of your services bring in 80% of the revenue. Is it even worth bothering with rest? Get rid of them. Or don’t. But do focus more on those services that bring in the dosh. These are your bread and butter.
80/20 your time
80% of your results come from 20% of your time. Take the things you don’t like and outsource them, or just stop doing them altogether. This is how Tim Ferriss moved from 14 hour work days to a four-hour work week.
Did Keith really need to call a meeting about this year’s annual fun run? Not really. Tell him you can’t make it. Get him to email you instead. Same goes for that client that made you travel across the country to tell you he didn’t like the colour of the design you sent over.
Most meetings are, in fact, pointless — unless you want a bit of a skive. Only bother with really serious ones.
Some people enjoy admin and are actually really good at it. Hand those tasks over to them.
Check your emails and social media accounts twice a day or at designated times (after you’ve just finished something that’s made your head hurt, for example) and put your phone on silent while you work. You’ll soon zero in on the 20% of things that are important.
Also, the contents of the fridge haven’t changed since you were last there five minutes ago. Stop wasting time staring at it. Make your coffee and get out of the kitchen.
That last part is more for myself.
Got some 80/20’s of your own? I want to hear about them. Leave them in the comments so I can take a look. Cheers!
Gareth Hancock is a multi-skilled content provider that runs a company. I’m director, writer, marketer, courier, cleaner, and tea-maker. That kind of makes That. Content. Shed. a one-man agency.
Also published on Medium.