Man executes 80/20, then freaks out a little

PerryMarketing Blog88 Comments

Share This Post

Last week in my private Mastermind Forum, “Mister L” posted this question:

Hi Planet Perry,

I’m kinda freaking out and just need a little perspective from you seasoned veterans.

Bottom line as of today for the year: my client base is down 23%; revenue is up 43%.

Now, I know that sounds great on paper.  I know I should be doing naked cart wheels, but…

I’m freaking out a little.


The phone isn’t ringing as much.

These were long time clients that through my marketing I must of pissed them off, or “disqualified them”.

Again, it sounds great in a book, but these were long time clients that i really liked.

It’s just weird.

Plus, I’ve hired a full timer, and I’ve got all this free time.

So, I’m doing less work, and making more.

Again, I know on paper this sounds great.  This is the “dream”, right?

What is "80" and what is "20" for your business right now? Take my 2-minute quiz and I'll show you where you'll get the highest compound interest on your time and money!

But it doesn’t feel that way.

Maybe, I’m just missing the emotional rush of dealing with hundreds of things all at once.

Now, I’m focusing on 3 things at a time.

Again, I know this sounds great in theory, but to live it, well, it just feels weird.

Also, based on the Marketing DNA, I’m doing what I’m great at.  Now, again, sounds great on paper, but I’m so used to doing work I hate that drains me, and I find it strange that I’m no longer “working”.

Like I’m doing nothing.

It’s like I was in 2nd gears for year, and now I’m in 4th.  More speed, less RPM.

For those of you who’ve implemented 80/20 in your business and have transformed your business on little hinges, who’ve gone from doing shit they hate, to what you’re great at, can you give me a little feedback.


~ ~ ~

What advice do YOU have for Mister L? Post your answer in the comment box:

Photo by: Abie Sudiono

Share This Post

About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

88 Comments on “Man executes 80/20, then freaks out a little”

  1. What a strange and wonderful problem to have!

    The question to ask yourself is what are you trying to achieve in the first place. If you get what you thought you wanted and then realise it’s not what you are after, then at least now you have some spare time to figure out what it is that you are after.

    Best of luck!

  2. One word, “SWEET!”

    We’ve just started to implement the 80/20 in our efforts and stress levels have gone down tremendously as well as we are becoming more effective in our work efforts. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hey man,

    Learn to enjoy your extra free time. Life is not all work even if you like it.

    I guess you have whole bunch of things you want to do, or wanted to do, so do them :)



  4. It seems you have transitioned over from doing the work you didn’t like, but you were able to persevere and get it done anyway, to work you enjoy doing but doesn’t require as much hard work..since you enjoy it, its easy work. I recommend, increasing the goals you set for yourself in the enjoyment area and scale them. For example if you enjoy talking to ten people about “web design color selection”, how about talking to 1000 people via talk show, webinar,Google hangout or tv.

  5. I have been implementing 80/20 in my business and it looks something like this.

    1. I had to adjust my engagement with clients. Fire some, raise rates, adjust the scope of work, (one client I fired before we ever started which still cost me about 10 hours of my life).

    2. Now I had some “time” to focus on the business. What direction do I want to go and how do I get there. I realized that I did not have a functioning business. Few procedures and processes that made things happen. This became my primary focus.

    The results?

    It has taken a couple of months but here is some of what has been happening.

    Quality of work and results for existing clients is improving more and more.

    My ideas and creativity are incredibly high.

    My excitement and energy levels are amazing.

    My time:

    Typically I have used the weekend to catch up on projects that I did not get finished during the week and they were usually still late and behind. I started to notice that on the weekend I might have a few small projects but then I had extra time to, take time off or work on things that I wanted to work on, not had to work on.

    Then a strange thing happened. One week I got to Friday and I looked at what I needed to do for the day and there was nothing pressing that had to be done that day. I used the time to think and strategize about the business.

    The next week a similar thing happened and spent the weekend working on some cool new things.

    This is week is the most dramatic of all. I could have finished everything that I “had” to do on Monday. I could literally take the rest of the week off if I wanted to. My team could have handled anything that would have come up.

    Now my revenues are not where I want them but as I rework everything I can now start to focus on what I do best and that is sell and market my company instead of doing all the deliverable work.

    And yes, I am a little freaked out about it. I am not sure how to be not drinking a bunch of red bull late at night trying to get a project finished and hoping I don’t lose a client.

    Best freaked out feeling in the world though!

    Thanks Perry and your team for all you do!

  6. Congratulations! I might be missing something, but based on what I see, sounds like you’re bored out of your mind and need to play a much bigger game by challenging yourself with goals you’re not sure you can hit. (Something that you’re not sure you can do… but NOT something that sabotages your current success).

    (i.e. Don’t break your success to recreate a world of addictive survival-mindednesss. Maintain & transcend your success and engage in something bigger).

    Hope that helps…

  7. Hey Mr. L, I have been following the 80/20 rules in sales for 20 years, but not like I have since I got Perry’s book. I understand the emotional let down, and it’s hard for driven people to slow down and goof off all the time.

    How about reconnecting with the people in the 80% catagory that you like dealing with and explain your new direction, the good ones will understand. I have even purchased or told them how to puchase Perry’s book if I feel like they are worth continuing with. This has paid off for me but I do advisory sales to other business people, I don’t know what type of client you deal with but some surely worth the 5 bucks. (It also helps Planet Perry)

    Just my 2 cents,
    Tim Gibbins

  8. Be fractal. Be a Perry. Do consulting.
    Help others n clients/friends move to
    right edge of power curve. Start again.
    Be fractal.

  9. Congratulations! Now it’s time to discover and go after MORE of your dreams. What in the world do you want to change? What legacy do you want to leave behind? How will the world be different because of your influence?

  10. Good problem to have!

    I think you should travel, see the world or do something that most people can’t do.

    Enjoy your free time, be mobile and do something to payback the universe or whatever faith you have ..

    Keep on working less!

  11. It is a deep psychological barrier that many fall back into. Dan Kennedy once talked about a chiropractor who, after being scolded by his family for creating record sales, went back to doing the same thing that caused him to be broke before so he would be more comfortable and get his families approval back.

    I only had two sales in October. Drove me crazy to not have the phone ringing. Yet it was a record month in sales with the two biggest sales I’ve ever had. My banker is more satisfied.

    1. Scott, biologically you’re going cold turkey on those serotonin kicks you get from the ringing phone. So if you’re trying to keep it up, and you’re going insane in the office because of the quiet, try applying the equivalent of a smokers nicotine patch. Treat yourself to something nice if the phone ISNT ringing, just to kick that stimulus.

      Also, congratulations on your sucess.

  12. LOL, kind of strange he would be missing clients he disqualified rather than finding more clients that are bringing in greater returns on time and investment. Not too many people come to the end of their life and moan they wished they spent more time in the office. Maybe he thought putting out fires was living the life rather than spending it more wisely with family?

  13. Great to hear a true story about getting out of the rat race!! Well done! I’m big fan of focusing on what works instead wasting time and space on what doesn’t work! I used to own Convenience stores before I start my new local online marketing agency business, one of my previous convenience stores my customers all they wanted to buy chips, drinks, and ice cream they didn’t care much about anything else, so I ended up setting up 70% of the shop with chips stands, ice cream freezers, and drinks fridges, and the profit went up up up, ended up selling the business for nice profit.. so now that you have more free time if I was you I will focus on whats working and just drive the profit up up up!

    1. My advice to Mr. L would be to make a list. Like a bucket list for entrepreneurs ha! Here it is:

      – 20% of your customers, deliver 80% of the revenu.
      – 20% of your products/services, deliver 80% of the revenu. (mine = 95/5)
      – 20% of what you do, delivers 80% of the results.
      – 20% of your relations, deliver 80% of the leads you love.
      – 20% of your marketing, delivers 80% of the results.
      – 20% of your sales, delivers 80% of the results.
      – A tree continuously is trying to grow and multiply itself (leaves, roots, trunk) to get more nutrition. All while applying 80/20, and because of that force of nature, the tree keeps on giving more and better air for the world around it.

      That is: until another tree shows up (competition!) that captures more light (a reason trees die).

      Another reason trees die is they collapse under their own weight.

      Now let’s say your business is a tree. Not so hard to imagine after reading the above.

      – Final point is about you: You do not feel great about applying 80/20. Does it feel like you’re cheating?

      My actual advice:
      Up to me you are not cheating and you should not feel bad, you should feel awesome. Since you are doing the complete opposite of cheating.

      You are creating more time to help others that can be helped(!), by bypassing clients you can not help and by avoiding stuff that might collapse your business (your tree) since you are focusing on the things you can do best to help grow yourself and your clients.

      The tree is telling you what to focus on: Growing bigger (roots/leaves/trunks) and/or multipy yourself to get as much sunlight as possible and give back as much air as possible to the world.

      So, if you have 1 tree now that is helping other people breathe, why not start growing a forest with the time you have now?

      1 tree, 2 trees, 4 trees, 8 trees, 16 trees, 32 trees, 64 trees. That is a forest to me, and it takes only 6 more steps to get there.


  14. Everyone here is telling you to relax and take a vacation, but at least consider the possibility that you are one of those people for whom, like Noel Coward, “work is more fun than fun.”

    So, start doing five times as much as you are now, either things like what’s working well for you, or entirely new and different things – NOT the crap you were doing before.

    Then after an appropriate period review and cut out 80%. Repeat the process. And repeat again. And again.

    1. I agree with that. I’m NOT saying not to have a vacation or anything like that. But true entrepreneurs usually love their work more than they like “relaxing” and you can always reach for a more thrilling set of clientele who pay you 4X more than the ones who left.

  15. Hi L,

    Take a vacation. Learn to enjoy non-working life. Don’t be a workaholic. Be with your spouse more (if you have one) and your kids (if you have them). Go out with friends. If you don’t have a spouse then date. Read a book. Have fun!

  16. Hmm… maybe the clients who left kept you in your comfort zone – who you ( thought? ) you were in the past.

    And new you need to get used to operating on different level.

  17. Based on the writings of Perry and the book The Four Hour Work Week, I would say you have made it. Like many of ys, you probably have a very strong work ethic and are troubled with earning money without “working” for it. While many of the comments above talked about more leisure, I doubt you would like this. My suggestion would be to investige new business opportunities. This can be done very cheaply and quickly by following Perry’s advice in his book The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords. Here he talks about doing quick market research with Adwords. You might be able to find something you never considered before. Good luck.

  18. Wow great story. Well done! Yes it’s funny how we’re programmed to believe we ought to be doing the things we hate. There can be a strange satisfaction in knowing that your “working hard”.

    Sounds like some inner head trash work would help you to let yourself off the hook and enjoy some free time. I can highly recommend Perry’s Financial Sozo course – its all about giving yourself permission to have abundance in your life. I got some major epiphanies in just the first video of the course.

    Onwards and upwards!


  19. Mr. L,

    I bought the Perry Marshall Platinum marketing system QUITE a few years back… and his adwords book, whitepaper course, and a few other very useful courses and seminars and implemented them. I did a few 1-1 consults where Perry set me straight and ‘unjammed’ me from my sticking points… MOST of which are covered in the 80-20 course, so what you are getting the last 2 months are a SPECTACULAR value.

    The exact same thing happened to me… I went from working all the time and killing myself (I made a really good living, but was miserable… and I often had to put off my wife, at the time, beg me to take trips with her and my boys because I didn’t have time) to ‘all of a sudden’ Making more money and start a second and then third business and having a huge amount of time off, WHEN I WANTED TO! I still do a lot of work, but on my terms now.

    RE-EVALUATE your life!!! Talk to your loved ones about that they and you want to happen in it… More work/stress/money wasn’t even in my top 5… or my kids’ so we decided to go LIVE!!!


    I did. Now I spend EVERY other weekend with them hiking, snowboarding, biking, golfing and having the best memories ever with them.

    and I did a personal bucket list for myself too! So I also take time for myself and travel on the weekends, bungee jump, skydive, golf, go enjoy the best meals in the PNW and do almost anything else I want to in my free time including Salsa dancing, SPA days and BJJ…

    Be underwhelmed! it is much better than the alternative.


  20. Everyone is telling you what you should be wanting to do. The problem, however, as I see it, is that there may be some underlying issue that is keeping you from enjoying your newfound freedom for life.

    It seems like so many people feel guilty about having free time, that if things come too easily, they aren’t “earning” their way or paying their dues. They are stuck in society’s “doing, doing, doing” loop and not allowed to enjoy being in the now and present.

    Another issue that could be blocking you might have something to do with self-worth. Some of the most confident, successful people still sometimes have deep, deep underlying issues with feeling worthy about their success and happiness. Perry has touched on this phenomenon as well.

    Or maybe you are an adrenaline junkie with some deep-seated hole or void you’ve been trying to fill with always doing, doing, doing.

    Or, are there some fears that are keeping you in a place of lack, that make you feel if you don’t keep doing, doing, doing, it could all be taken away from you tomorrow?

    I would find someone to talk with (I believe Perry even has a workshop on this currently that would be right up your alley) who can help you pinpoint and identify what the underlying issues are so you can start clearing away those cobwebs and begin allowing yourself to enjoy the success you’e clearly achieved. You have the God-given right to enjoy LIFE, not just work, work, work.

  21. I want to reiterate what Kathy said about these comments not addressing the root of your uneasiness.

    Look, this is new territory for you ‘L’ and you’re going to feel uncomfortable simply because you’ve stepped outside of your comfort zone. Give yourself time to readjust to your founded reality and become easy with your uneasiness. And that’s it, plain and simple.

  22. What a brilliant analogy:

    “It’s like I was in 2nd gear for years, and now I’m in 4th. More speed, less RPM.”

    That is such a powerful statement. Working hard and getting nowhere!

    I bet most people can relate to that. I can. I need to move up a few gears I think I’m still in 1st…

    Perry – thanks for sharing that – I’ll never forget it!

    My advice to Mister L is keep going in the same direction and you’ll soon move up to ‘Top Gear’ – you’ll soon get used to it.

  23. Now it’s time to “give back” to the community. Volunteer for the SCORE program to act as a mentor to small business people stuck with the same problems that you learned how to overcome. (SCORE helped me learn about business.)

  24. I have to admit, I’m a little annoyed at your comments. Grow up and start enjoying what you have accomplished. I am working my butt off to achieve what you have already done and I don’t have anywhere near the time or resources you have.

    1. The grass is always greener on the other side. And maybe it is. But if someone has a problem, and asks for advice, hell, he’s at least doing something. Whether or not he’s better off than you isn’t the issue.

      There are billionaires out there that sleep in empty double beds, clutching at imaginary bodies to warm their rest. There are stars out there that can’t deal with the pressure and take to numbing themselves down with sex, drugs and liquor. People in 12 room mansions looking over the results of their hospital checkup and weeping. Do they look like they’re better off? Sure. Are they better off? Nah. Adversity is a b*****, sorry for mon francais. It’s 10% real, and 90% in your head, and your head is a tricky beast to master.

  25. Great problem to have. Now, you need to think about ways to shrink your client base some more. The more you decrease the number of clients you work with while increasing what it takes to be a client of your business, the faster you will grow. And you can use some of the extra time you have to identify new business opportunities. One of the challenges of having too much to do (pre-8020) is finding time to acquire new business…now you don’t have that problem. And sure, have some fun too!

  26. Feedback Mr. Marshall? Sure! What you’re describing is deeply unsettling. I’ve experienced it too. You get so accustomed to fighting fires and staying on the tread mill that it becomes normal.

    And then when it’s gone, without a new crisis to occupy you, it’s deeply unsettling and leads to insecurity and doubt.

    You fear you’re missing the big picture and disaster is right around the corner. Happily, that’s not a bad instinct. Disaster is always right around the corner….but now you’ve the time to see him coming, head him off, avoid him, or convert him into success.

    The only thing worse than having this mild paranoia is not having it.

  27. How funny you say that – I’m in the exact same place!!! I spent all of last week being weirded out and exhausted; finally now I’m adjusted to this new place and loving it!

    My advice would be to give yourself a day or two to regroup. You just need to reset your dials for where you are now. You said it, yourself – you’re so used to being in 2nd gear, you don’t know how to handle it in 4th.

    Gain this new identity of yourself as a happier, wealthier, more leveraged person. Shouldn’t take you too long to adapt; it’s a lot more fun here ; )

    And CONGRATS!!!

    : )

  28. Not too many of the comments so far have addressed the uneasiness Mr. L is feeling–and I think that’s key.

    It reminds me of an online exercise I once saw called “the prosperity game.” It worked like this: Every day you would get an email that said, “Congratulations, the universe has rewarded you with $1,000. What will you do with it?” The next day’s email was $2,000, then 3, then 4, 5, 10, 15, 20… You had to make a list and detail how you would spend every dollar of that money. The takeaway was that most people, after they’ve paid off their plastic and car and house, simply don’t know what to do with the bounty of the universe. They get uneasy, they say “I don’t know what to do,” … sound like Mr. L?

    Or take any random lottery mega-winner. It’s not “bad luck” or “a curse” that makes some of them end up right where they started within five years.

    Mr. L, you have an opportunity to sit down with your family and determine what your values are, and how your new-found time and money can be used to support those values. Clarify this, and I suspect your unmoored feeling will be replaced by purpose.

    Our family decided several years ago that we were tired of living on the bleeding edge of our credit limits, in a crappy house, in a crappy neighborhood. We used David Bach’s technique–google “david bach values circle” and read the PDF called “determine the true purpose of money in your life”–but there are plenty of other paths to the same goal.

    We each made a list of what money means to us, we aligned our common goals, and then we examined how our daily life was or was not supporting those goals and values. This exercise led to IMMEDIATE, LONG-LASTING changes in our everyday lives. We did some housekeeping (Do you have a will, Mr. L? What about life insurance?), we started paying attention to how we were using money, and we made a “five-year plan” to pay off our plastic, purchase our car, and buy a better house in a better neighborhood (which would mean better schools for our kids, a better commute for us, etc.) We actually did it in something less than two years.

    Socrates said: The unexamined life is not worth living. Examine what your new security and time really mean to you, what you really want to do with them, and then go do it!

    We’re rooting for you.

    1. Kathy what an amazing post.

      I’ve read your post a good six or seven times in the past few days now and I’m back reading it again.

      Can’t wait to be where some of you people are. (Time-Wise!)

      Thanks for the amazing insight.

      Mr L, I hope these comments have spoken to you like they have to me! Wishing you the continued BEST.

  29. You are experiencing the peach seed effect. A peach seed is one of the toughest seeds for rain and other elements to break through but once it does and that seed starts to grow, it bears one of my favorite fruits. Life can in fact be peaches and cream, it’s just not peaches and cream getting there. Congrats! And most important, don’t rest on your laurels and new found success. It’s a lot easier to lose it than it was to gain it. Time to look for more hidden opportunities.

  30. I’d say, take a breath, then take a break. Sounds like you earned it. {I took a week off and still checked in for a couple of hours from the ski lodge over wifi each day…was just as productive}

    Plus I bet you’ll come back from the break more focused and even less prepared to put up with any crap from anyone, cos the power you’ve developed will ‘bed-in’.

    Be sure to let us all know where you go on vacation

    {and share the pictures}.

  31. Congrats to you! I, too am facing some “weird” things after going through the second level of 80/20. It requires some adjustment, eh?

    Why don’t you pull out your dream list and dust it off (all those things you want to do someday when you have the time) and take action towards getting them into motion?

    Enjoy your newfound freedom as well!

  32. Congratulations Mr. L. Stay Focussed and keep doing what you are doing even to a higher degree. As One of the comments above, I agree, take a vacation. be with the Family, then plan to attend one of Perry’s top of the line corses like 4man Intensive.

    Thanks for showing us it works.

  33. The ski areas have gotten about 30 inches of snow in the last two weeks here in Colorado. Get away from your biz completely for a week or so doing something very different and give your mind a break. Wen you come back you’ll see it with different eyes. As someone else said, you can add to your current business, or expand into something else where you see opportunities.

  34. To be honest, this sounds as if you didn’t have much of a life outside business. You were so focused on success that success when it comes isn’t what you wanted. Enjoying the chase is one thing, becoming addicted to it is quite another. I am afraid that you won’t be the only one who has your problems if they implement 80-20 as well as you have – after all, it’s a great reason not to.

    So my advice is to revisit your childhood – your dreams and your wishes. Work out which ones you can deal with in the next twelve months and start enjoying them. Treat them like a business to start with, apply the 80-20 you are so good at! Start knocking them off, you’ll always find more dreams to realize. Once you become good at making them real, you’ll realize that life has a lot to offer right now without any need for dreams.

    Oh, and your wife’ll appreciate you being around too.

  35. Gee, if I were only in that situation I would …. ummm … perhaps really focus on finding the commonalities of the customers you retained to find key points of engagement. And then look at the ones you lost to see why they weren’t a fit – helping you avoid attracting more like them (or modifying your offering to capture them as well). It seems you have plenty of time to do this analysis while still working on lowering your golf handicap or smelling the flowers.

  36. You obviously have hit on doing what provides the most value. Continue to focus on that. When you provide higher value, your client base will grow. You will be attracting your idea client and by providing higher value to them, your income will continue to grow.

    No need to freak out, just stay focused on providing what a select number of clients find extremely valuable.

  37. No advice, just two questions:

    1. What do you want to do next, professionally?

    2. What do you want to do more of (or for the first time), personally?

  38. I think the answer depends on the absolute figures behind this percentages:

    “my client base is down 23%; revenue is up 43%”

    Taking it to the extreme, if you’ve gone from 4 customers to 3, even though your revenues are higher you are in a riskier position, as losing any of the remaining 3 customers could put your business in jeopardy.

    Whereas, if you’ve gone from 200 to 144 clients, not only you still have a big enough customer base as to be confident about your future, but you’ve somehow separated the wheat from the chaff, and increased your profitability.

    Just relax, enjoy your improved revenue stream and… congratulations!!

  39. Dear Mr L,
    While you have the time (ie before you re-immerse yourself in loads of work you hate), join the next level of Perry’s groups (roundtable?) and surround yourself with the people that have been there/done that and will challenge you to jump curves again. Don’t get hung up on keeping those old clients, maybe you can come up with a product offering that is a fit for them and keeps you from back-tracking, maybe not. But the roundtable sounds like the place to get the right advice to me.
    [qualifier: this advice comes from a future roundtable member… lol… who is currently taking the steps you describe. I will be following this blog post closely]

  40. Congratulations Sir!

    Now, go take a long vacation!

    Working less and getting paid more is what it is all about.

    Congratulations on implementing 80:20 and executing same.

    I am in the process of doing exactly the same.

    Continued Success,

    Ray K.
    Toronto, Canada

  41. Congrats! That’s awesome. Now go fill your life with the good things that you love. Tim Ferriss talked about this phenomenon in “4 Hour Work Week”. You have to fill up your time once you cut out all the BS.
    Enjoy the Journey. I’m very happy for you.

    1. I was comming here to say exactly that.

      You have some deeply ingrained habits and views on what work should be, and you’re addicted to that chaos rush we all know just too well. Hell, sometimes I myself think that the only time I’m feeling alive is when the sky is crashing down and the house is burning, with a cigarette in my mouth just savoring that adrenaline kick it brings. And it will kill me if I don’t stop, and the same goes for you.

      Now you’ve gotten to a point where you can get out of that grind. That’s a temendous opportunity, even if it doesn’t feel like it. You’re sitting on a mountain of gold, and you’re grabbing your buttocks because the gold doesn’t feel comfy, aint feeling like what you’re used to.

      Easy. Go take a walk. Through the Slovenian mountains, savoring the clouded skies and the crystal clear water of the Socca. Or through the mean streets of Beijing, blending in with the locals, eating street food late at night (bring Immodium). Expose yourself to the world, and let it fill that void cutting out all the slack and junk from your life created. You’ve stopped chomping on greasy Big Macs, but you haven’t found a healthier substitute for it yet. So go out and taste the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *