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How To Make More Money And Be More Productive By Finding Your One Thing

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If you want to learn how to make more money, the first thing you need to do is make revenue your primary priority. Sounds like a simple concept right? That’s because it is. Yet many guys don’t truly internalize this principle and their business suffers for it.

When you chase money you make more money, it’s a fact. Many otherwise terrible businesses owe their existence to their adherence to this principle. I know this first hand because in my past life as a salesman, I worked for many of these terrible businesses.

My last sales job is a perfect example. Our products we’re sub par, the office was disorganized, turnover was through the roof, morale was atrocious – yet the branch I worked for did 5 Mil in revenue the year I left. The company as a whole probably did 20 mil. The reason they were profitable was because they did one thing very well, they chased revenue relentlessly.

They focused on revenue in two primary ways:

1) By cutting costs at every corner

They made the back office staff do double the work for half the pay. They built an office in the Philippines to do our grunt work and illegally scrape emails. And they cut costs at every corner in regard to expense accounts and product creation.

2) By Putting Pressure On Their Salesmen

From performance reviews to daily team meetings to twice-weekly sales target meetings, I’d never worked for a company that was as involved in the sales process as they were.

They knew every client you had, every client you we’re working on getting and every client you weren’t getting.

And they expected targets on all of them.

And the targets you gave had to be the targets they wanted to hear.

And if you didn’t hit them it was your fault.

And if you crushed them it was still your fault because you didn’t set the target high enough.

It got to a point where I would be knee-deep in a 19 year old and all I would be thinking was:

Well I think Barb at Initech will come around this month. She’s flakey but she seemed to be warming up. Although it’ll probably only be for 10k as opposed to the 20k I promised from them. I’ll have to go back to Michael at Dunder Mifflin and see if they want a half priced takeover ad. I know he told me they we’re tapped out on their budget but that’s bullshit, they always keep some supplemental cash on the books. I’ll pitch it as a client cancellation and sell them on price and urgency…

Needless to say, having a target on your back is not a fun way to live. To survive as a salesman you have to become a land shark on the perpetual hunt for revenue. But I’ll give them credit: they got results. They got guys to pull in $40k a month in revenue with nothing but a telephone and an internet connection.

But I don’t want to talk about how to make more money at your job. Because fuck your job. I’ll never work another day to make some fuckbag richer and neither should you.  I want to talk about how to make more money in your business. Because I had a major revelation this year that made me more productive and is going to make me a lot more money over the next decade.

How To Make More Money And Be More Productive

I wish I could take credit, but I got the idea from Gary Keller and his book The One Thing (or just read the summary like I did here for free). Gary Keller is the man behind the insanely successful real estate brokerage Keller Williams. And The One Thing is, hands down the best book I’ve ever read on productivity.

It’s so effective because it’s so simple. In it Gary starts with the 80/20 rule, also known as Pareto’s Law. He explains how, on average, 80% of your results in any endeavour come from 20% of your efforts. I’ve noticed this principle to be true in every business I’ve been involved in. But the 80/20 rule is standard business book terminology. Gary’s innovation is in his simplification of that rule. He says:

What Pareto started, you’ve got to finish. Success requires that you follow the 80/20 Principle, but you don’t have to stop there. Keep going. You can take 20 percent of the 20 percent of the 20 percent and continue until you get to the single most important thing! Start with as large a list as you want, but develop the mindset that you will whittle your way from there to the critical few and not stop until you end with the essential ONE. The imperative ONE. The ONE Thing.

I had to read the paragraph a few times before it really sunk in, but when it did I was blown away and immediately began to structure my entire business around my one thing. I thought I’d been focused on revenue before but I realize I hadn’t been focused enough. I hadn’t simplified enough. I was still way to focused on other shit that doesn’t matter. He goes on to explain:

Contrary to what most people believe, success is not a marathon of disciplined action. Achievement doesn’t require you to be a full-time disciplined person where your every action is trained and where control is the solution to every situation. Success is actually a short race— a sprint fueled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and take over.

Being a workaholic perfectionist, this hit me like a ton of bricks. And not just because of the power of the idea, but because of the man behind it. He’s not some generic, jerkoff business coach, he’s a legit winner in the game of life. And I knew instantly that he’d lived not only lived my problem but had found the solution. Gary then describes the way to finding your one thing by asking this one question:

What’s the ONE THING I can do right now – which will make everything else easier or unnecessary?

But this is where we disagree. I tried this question and I couldn’t find a clear answer. Because the primary purpose of my business is making a profit, not making things easier. I love you guys to death and feel incredibly blessed to do what I do… but for my business to survive and thrive, I need to be making money.

So profit has to be my primary purpose, and I think it should be yours too. Because the world runs on money. Without it, it’s going to be hard for you to live a comfortable and happy life. Therefore you owe it to yourself to get paid. As CEO of YOU Inc., it’s your duty to what’s in the best interest of your primary shareholder: YOU. Therefore, the money question is:

What’s the most profitable thing I can possibly do?

When I asked myself this question I got an immediate answer: release more products. Let me explain why. In my business there are six things I can do to make more money:

  1. Charge more
  2. Promote my products more
  3. Increase my traffic
  4. Promote my affiliate links more
  5. Increase the conversion rates on my sale page
  6. Release more products

Of those six, releasing more products is hands down the most profitable thing I can do. All those other avenues are useful. But they’re either already maxed out (charging more), not completely within my control (traffic) or potentially damaging to my brand (spam blasting my newsletter with affiliate links). Of the 20% of my efforts that create 80% of my results, the most important effort is releasing new products. Therefore releasing new products is my primary priority.

The way I put that into action is to block off three hours in my productive primetime, from 9 AM till NOON, to work on creating new products. In the past, I spent that time writing articles or working on other tasks I felt needed to get done. Then I would schedule three months to beat my head against the wall, work 12 hours a day on Tramadol (don’t ever take Tramadol) and bang out a new book. Which in hindsight is probably not the healthiest way to go about things.

Now I never take breaks from releasing products. The second I finish one book I’ve started the next one. And even though I’m only writing three hours a day, I’m getting my books done way faster because I’m not taking time off in between. Not to mention 3 hours of primetime is worth six hours of regular time. Quality knowledge work is not the same as manual labor, where you can just hammer away for 12 hours without a significant dip in quality.

The crucial point to remember is to block off time every day and treat that block seriously. That means turn your phone off, turn off your email notifications, have your food ready in advance and accept no interruptions. If you don’t block off your time that way you won’t get the results you deserve and your business will suffer for it.

That book alone will increase my revenue stream from anywhere from 15 to 20%, without me having to do any follow-up work or client management post launch. There is absolutely nothing else that could be more valuable to my business at this time. Not to mention the margins are through the roof. To launch a book costs me about $400 which I make back in 1 to 2 days post launch. I’d be hard pressed to think of a better use of my time from a financial perspective.

Not only that but I’ve found myself with a lot more peace of mind. Sure, some small tasks have been piling up but I accept a bit more chaos because that chaos doesn’t cost me money. In the past I was still focused on revenue, but I came to the realization that I’d prioritized getting tasks done over getting money. Among those tasks were:

  • Endlessly tweaking my website/sidebars/newsletters/forms for style
  • Endlessly tweaking my sales pages for conversion
  • Endlessly reshooting/reuploading my YouTube videos (with many still looking like shit)
  • Rewriting my older articles multiples times (many of which still look terrible)
  • Random backend projects
  • Posting on other forums
  • Launching a forum
  • Spending my whole week writing one article
  • Optimizing my site speed (spent a month doing this with no increase in profit)

Some of those things proved useful, some didn’t, but my time would have been better spent releasing new products and getting to those other tasks when I had the time. If I’d started writing my first book four years ago when I started RLD, instead of two years ago, I’d have three more products available and would be doubling my current income. Lesson learned.

Now that profit is my primary priority I’m guessing that by the end of this year, I’ll have increased my revenue by 20%. Not to mention the peace of mind I get from not having to worry about being on top of everything. Every time I find myself reverting to perfectionism, I remind myself that small tasks don’t affect my primary priority of getting paid and that solves the problem.

How To Find Your One Thing

To find your one thing, I highly recommend you do a business review to find where the 20% of your efforts are that are bringing in 80% of your results. And then dig in deeper and find what one thing is the most profitable out of that 20%.

If you’re running an online product based business like me you can use my checklist. Or if you’re running a service business you can use this one, because your 20% will probably come down to these four things:

  1. Getting new clients
  2. Charging your current clients more
  3. Upselling your clients other services
  4. Creating new services to sell to your clients

In my experience in sales, which is just like running a service business, except you only take home 20% of what you earn – my one thing was getting new clients. I knew that every new client I brought on was going to bring me in thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue over the course of a lifetime. So I spent the bulk of my day harassing people on the telephone trying to make it happen.

But every business is different, the important thing is to find your one thing and make it your primary priority. It’s a game changing step in taking your business productivity and organization to the next level.

Even if you don’t have a business yet, I want you to think about what your most profitable source of revenue will be in your future business. That way when you get operational you can hit the ground running. If I’d found my one thing four years ago I’d have twice the amount of products available and be making twice the money I’m making now. Don’t make the same mistake.

SUMMARY

  1. Do a business review
  2. Find your 20%
  3. Narrow that 20% down to your most profitable activity
  4. Block at least 3, distraction free hours a day in your productivity primetime to make it happen

Do those four things and you’ll make more money, be more productive and feel more peaceful.


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12 Comments

  1. Ali
    August 11, 2016 at 12:11 am

    I’ve heard of pareto’s law before but it’s amazing how easily your mind forgets shit and loses focus.
    Plus, I like your helpfull tips mentioned in the article.
    So all in all, just like to say thanks. :)

    Ali

  2. Leo
    August 11, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Did you change the design? It is great.
    By the way, this page has a great copy: http://revolutionarylifestyledesign.com/how-to-sell/

    Well done. I am interested in copywriting, and I like it. It flows.

  3. Cameron
    August 12, 2016 at 5:22 am

    Hi Will,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and its been so helpful! I’m graduating university next year and I was wondering if you could give me your opinion (if you have one) on entering consultancy (like at mcKinsey) over other business areas? I want to gain skills to start and run my own business so I figured it would be a good starting point.
    Thanks,
    Cameron.

  4. August 12, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Hey Cameron,

    Thanks for your support. For consulting, I know those guys at Mckinsey make a fortune, but it’s a grind, you’re looking at lawyer hours. And you’re probably looking for at least putting in 10 years before any of those big corporate clients would pay you as an independent, probably closer to 20. With that said I’m not an expert in that field, but I know you can make a lot of money if you put your head down and work hard. For me, I would never go back to corporate america, but for you young guys who have an opportunity for high level consulting, investing banking or other high paying jobs, I understand why you’d seriously consider those options.

  5. August 12, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Thanks Leo, I appreciate your kind words, all the best to you.

  6. August 12, 2016 at 10:30 am

    You’re exactly right, the mind really needs strong discipline to keep it on track. And thanks for your kind words Ali, all the best to you brother.

  7. Vegas
    August 17, 2016 at 3:54 am

    Well, I have been thinking to start a business over a few month now, but I don’t know what kind of service or product, do you have any idea/tips or inspiration of what kind ?

  8. August 17, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I would recommend starting a service business to the vast majority of guys, to see my full thoughts on that you can check out my article on how to start a service business. If you’re planning on living in the expensive west, I’d recommend selling expensive services like real estate, insurance contracting etc. If you’re willing to travel to a cheaper country, online services like web design, programming and coaching are all great options. It all depends on your lifestyle goals and your skillset. If you don’t have a skillset in any marketable area, my advice is to pick the industry you’re most passionate about that has six figure potential (or the developing world equivalent), and work on building up your skil in that area.

  9. Vegas
    August 18, 2016 at 1:13 am

    I’m style interested person have an idea to start up an online shop where I can sell stuff for men like jewellery like bracelets, rings and etc., the idea is that it should be in a small selection. If this goes well then I would invest in own designed jeans and t-shirt. What do you think?

  10. August 18, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Again, I think a service based business is the best move for most guys, especially for your first business.

  11. Jer
    October 8, 2016 at 11:11 am

    This was a great reminder, I’m long overdue for an 80/20 on my life/business. Glad I stumbled upon your site. I’m doing some research for a product and found your article about phenibut.

  12. October 8, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks Jer, glad to hear you found the site and that you’re stepping your game up. All the best player!

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