6 Figure Creative Icon

The 80/20 Rule: How To Make More, Work Less, And Get Rid Of Bad Clients

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Ever meet someone who's able to earn more than they need while still having time to enjoy their lives…without stress weighing them down?
A successful, carefree person is a surprisingly rare person to meet.
It seems like people are either constantly working while neglecting their personal lives, or their personal life seems solid but their business is stagnant.
Even more common seems to be the person whose life is in shambles in all areas (I mean that's the norm post-2020, yeah?).
Here's the “secret” behind success for those few who seem to have it all together…those people live by The 80/20 Rule.
Most of us already know (or have some vague idea) of what The 80/20 Rule is, but very few people actually use that as their “north star.”
If you have no idea what The 80/20 Rule is, or you need a reminder of how you can use that magical rule to “refresh” your life, this episode is for you.
In this episode you’ll discover:
  • What is the 80/20 principle, anyway?
  • How the 80/20 principle affects your business
  • Maximizing your profits by reducing your workload
  • Enriching your personal life using the 80/20 principle
  • How to review your business through the 80/20 lens
  • What not to do when you have a “f*¢k it” moment
  • Dealing with shiny object syndrome using the 80/20 principle
  • Prioritizing the pillars of your life

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[00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the six figure creative podcast. I'm your host Brian Hood.

I'm here with another substitute cohost episode from Mr. Sexy, mark Eckerd. How you dude? How you doing today? My dude.

That's right. It's super sexy. Super here to substitute. I'm just, I'm just here. Did you call me? I show up. That's it, man. How you doing?

I'm doing great, man. This is our uh, my last day before my vacation, I'm like really excited about this. Like, I've got my, if you're watching on YouTube, I've got my, I've got my beat shirt on for everyone watching the video of this.

he's got, the classic music industry, Hawaiian shirt, a gold chain douchebag mode. So I'm really, really


dude. gold.

chain. You got puffy chest hair. Your name is lefty. I'm going to give me a good deal on management. I appreciate you, bro. Make me a star.

God, I'm going to be, you're going to be a star mark. Yeah. So we leave for for Cancun on, on Monday. And like, I don't know how you are mark. Like, are you an adventure traveler or like a relaxation traveler? Like which one are you.

No, I'm definitely uh, so Shira, my wife and I, we call it active resting. So if we're just sitting doing nothing, [00:01:00] we're pretty miserable people. But so you.

know, this past year we went to France and we did not sit at all. We were just going from city to city. Yeah. I went to Panama last year. I slept in disgusting hostels.

I was meeting all these people. I was sweating in the humidity. That's my kind of trip,

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So that's how typically do it, like that was your honeymoon, right? Like I believe you're referring to.

No. Well, so we, we had a domestic honeymoon, which was a Jackson hole, but once the border started like, you know, opening up, then we did our international one, which was Paris.

Yeah. So on our honeymoon, we went to Paris and we went all around Europe on that trip and it was, it was very much active traveling. We went to Thailand right before COVID like January of 20, 20 to February, 2020, like right before the ball dropped. And that was like six weeks active travel. Once a year, my wife and I, we just want to do like nothing on a trip and our place for that.

As Cancun, we went, we did this last year, but at the same time, last year, went to Cancun for like about 12 days. And we do

nothing, nothing we set and I'll tell you right now, like we love the [00:02:00] beach, but not really. We really like the idea of the beach. So we stay at the JW Marriott on the hotel zone and like, we sit at the pool.

Is it visible? You can hear it, but we're not gonna touch it. We're not gonna use it for anything. We're going to sit by the pool. We're gonna order food drinks, and we're going to read our damn Kindles for like seven hours a day. Everyday. I'm going to get there like 10 bucks. My wife's gonna knock out like 20 bucks.

Cause he's a faster reader and we're just book nerds and none of our business books, by the way, all like fantasy.

I'm just escaping reality. Yeah. It's It's


See, yeah. Sharon and I are a definitely more like, we don't like a heat. We're not like beach people and all, we like to go as cold of places as possible. So like, we'll go to New York in the winter when everyone's like, that place Jackson hall was during the winter. France was cold as Yeah, you just it's.

It's good to like get cold a little bit because we're in North Carolina. So like the summer we're just miserable people. So we try to counteract that as much as we can with.

Yeah. Yeah. All right. So by the time, by the way, but it's always episode airs. I will have already been on my trip and come back. So that's, that's the beauty of like batching. These [00:03:00] episodes ahead of time is like, I can take some time off and you still get weekly episodes listener. Speaking of weekly episodes, let's talk about what we're talking about today on the podcast.

Um, If you listen to last week's episode with Steven Helvig we mentioned a little bit about the 80 20. And and I want to do a full episode on this. We D we've done a couple on this, on the podcast, but one of my favorite quotes is we need to be reminded more than we need to be taught. So for those of you who already know about the 80 20 principle, you need to be reminded of it again, like every year you need to do like an 80, 20 deep dive on your business.

If you don't know what the 80 20 principle is, this episode is incredibly important for you because this is the secret to success. Especially like faster success. So if you feel like you're like doing all the things, you're putting all the work in, you're like hustling every day and you're seeing no results or your results are not coming fast enough.

It's probably because you have not considered something called the 80 20 principle. I like explaining this, but I want to see if mark can do a great job of explaining the 80 20 principle really quickly. And then we'll get into kind of what we want to dig into for this episode specifically.

Yeah. So I think the 80 20 rule simply put is you're going to make a lot more money and [00:04:00] have a lot more success. Specifically doing less, but you need to choose the most important things that you're doing. And those are the only things are going to do, or you're just going to prioritize that and everything else comes second, or you cut it out completely.

Yes. So it's basically saying like 80% of the results that you were achieving come from 20% of the efforts. And that means that 80% of what you do is only yielding a small amount of your success. And like, I can look back at my last year and say, I definitely see this in my business. Like no matter where you get as a business owner, no matter where you get as a freelancer or even as an employee, if you work at a job, there are things that you are doing that absolutely don't matter and don't accomplish anything.

I, I will agree with you that 90% of the things, not even 80, 90% of the things that I do are complete ludicrous and I don't need to be doing them. So I actually about a week or two ago, I had a moment where I was like, oh my God, I have a lot going on. The team has a lot going on. This is crazy. And so actually the past week or [00:05:00] two, I've just been reviewing our own business 80, 20 style and just reading as much as I can and seeing how we can trim as much fat as possible.

Yes. Yes. So for those of you who are in the U S it was just. So you've, you've hopefully done through all done all your taxes properly. You've hopefully worked with a CPA. If you're not in the U S I don't know what your tax has to miss, but in the U S it's like every April, you just scramble to get all your taxes done last minute.

If you're, if you're like me, sometimes you file an extension because you have money working in other places, but that's like advanced stuff that I don't want to get into. And like, it's really dangerous if you're not good with money. But I don't know if I want to mention that that's like one of those things it's like, do I even talk about this?

No, I'll do it. I'll talk about it because my QuickBooks is not linking to my bank accounts right now. And my guy who does all of our bookkeeping is like, yo, like 60% of your stuff, we still have to go over and I'm like, damn it. It's not going to fix that

Yeah. well, we're not, today's episode is not about tax extension. It's not even about taxes. It's about the mindset that we get into in tax season, which is April. It's very much like new year's where you've just done all your numbers. And [00:06:00] this is a really good time to review all of the stuff that you've done.

I think Graham Cochrane who's been on the podcast several times cause it counting the fruit. So this is the time where we've looked at all the numbers we've submitted them. We know at this point we should know what we owe in taxes and we've already paid. Hopefully if you're smart and you're uh, an honest.

But this is a great time to look at your business and, and start analyzing it from the perspective of the 80 20 analysis. And there's four different areas we're going to talk about when it comes to 80, 20 analysis, One is your finances. Second is your clients. The third is your time.

And the fourth is what we call lifestyle design. And we want to look at use our numbers to help dictate how we apply the 80, 20 principle to our business. Am I missing anything here, mark? Or am I doing okay, so.

I think you're doing so beautifully, Brian, you're


good job.

That's what your substitute goes is cause you just feed my S my sad little ego. No, I don't have any uh, we all have you

sad. Just sad,

sad, sad. It's because it's because I'm about to pay my taxes. That's why it's.

Oh, well, you were about to, you were about to say, yeah, it's time to go over all your numbers. [00:07:00] Now it's time to be critical, critical, because you have way less money in your bank account.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. All right. So let's talk about 80 20 finances, right? So, When you're looking at your numbers for the last year, and you can do this anytime, by the way, if you're listening to this podcast in like September, it came out April, you're listening to September because you're bending through our backlog for whatever reason, which is a great thing to do.

You can still do this in September. You can do this in January. You can do this in August. You can do this today. Whenever you listen to this episode, but look back on the last year of your income. And I want you to look at and see what services did this money. ' cause, this is the, this is the story I want to get into is I mentioned this on a, on a episode recently, I did this analysis the first time in 80 20 analysis on my services in 2014, it was after the 2014 tax year.

It was actually April, 2015. And I looked at. All my services. And I found out that most of my income, like 60, 65% of my income came from one service, but that only took up about 20% of my time. And then the other 80% of my time was spent on a service that only brought in about 40 to [00:08:00] 30, 35 to 40% of my income.

And for those of you who are in the production and audio world, that service was full production, like tracking, editing, heading bands live with me. It was, it was not an easy service to do. And so what I realized is that like, if I actually. Cut out that service full, full production, like lodging bands, tracking, editing this freed up so much more time to double down on the services, bringing in the most of my money.

And not only that, mark, I don't know if you've done this in your business recently or

ever. Yes. I see that. I see the look on your face. That's why I like doing

video calls like this. Cause like.

I really want to say so.

what happened was the year after that, or which is 2015, when I fully cut out tracking and editing and full production in my business, that service that was, it's actually several services, but you can call it whatever you want.

When I cut that out, when I stop recording bands, my income doubled that. And I worked less. And that's the beauty of doing the 80 20 analysis on your services specifically to where your money is coming from versus the time that you're spending on it. Mark, tell your [00:09:00] story or whatever you wanted to

mention there.

yeah. So I think the funny thing about that is, you know, you're saying, all right, Mr. Creative person, or Mrs. Creative person go in and see all of your money and all you've made and see where you made the most. Well, the thing is, is that if you're earlier on, it's like, well, I did some of this. I did some of that.

Where did I make my most money? Cause it's kind of all over the place. Cause a lot of times, if you're freelancing, you're doing a lot of different services. What I do and what I've always done in is kind of ties into what we're last, going to talk about it, about lifestyle design. But I literally list out all the different services I did that year.

All the clients I've had, all the people I've worked with all the scenarios. And then I literally just go down that and I see which one of those. Annoys me, it just pisses me off. I'm just annoyed about it. And then I cross it out and I see what's left. Like that's two all the time. Like I just did that.

And there's a few projects that we had this year that I lost sleep over. It annoyed me. Yeah. It might've made a lot of [00:10:00] money long-term but the amount of effort that I had to put into it, why the am I doing this? Like, I'm doing this so I can have a good lifestyle in the music. This is fun for me. Why am I going to deal with, that's not the point, you know what I'm saying?

So, yeah, I just, I just cut all these people out and all these projects out and then I move on. It's good.

Yeah. So, I mean, honestly, you kind of like put all four of these areas into that, that bucket. So I love the idea and we didn't actually talk about this before the episode we were playing this out, but like just listing out all of the things, all the clients, all of the, all of the services you you've, you've gotten in some cases, all of the software you're using, if you really want to dive into things, cause we're, we're going to talk about expenses in a second, all the software you use or any expenses you incurred, all the things you purchased

Oh, let's so the thing is you're working with human nature. Like you're going in. This is like, Yeah.

You know, I really have my shit together. I'm just going to write out here's my profitability score. Here's my Google sheets. And I'm just like, I'm annoyed with all these people should goodbye.

Goodbye, goodbye. And that's how I, that's how I work.

Yeah. I mean, honestly, so w [00:11:00] we, we can kind of bounce around this list, but the 80 20 of clients, when you cross this off the list, you're essentially firing a client. So we should probably just jump into this part, because this is a little later in the episode that I planned, but this, I already tell this is not going to be a linear episode.

We're just going to bounce around, but that's okay. We probably should have 80, 20, the outline before we started with, you know, what. Okay. firing clients. Let's talk about this. This is an area that can save so many freelancers if they'll do it. But most won't because of multiple reasons. One is they don't want to let people down or two they're just so hurting for cash that they feel like they have to do the work.

But when you're finding your client, mark how do you go about it? And I'll, I'll talk about my approach and, and what my wife recently did when she fired.

Yeah. So I think, um, so I'll, I'll say, you know, just blatantly we fired a, a pretty massive client a couple of weeks ago. you know, really, really great people, good company You know, when we took them on we thought that it was going to be a very, in a slam dunk scenario is mutually beneficial, et cetera.

And. You know, as we [00:12:00] kind of progressed, there were a lot more needs that were not originally discussed. There was a lot of alternate communication. And the biggest thing is they just didn't really want to follow how we go about our business and we've created a system, so we are profitable. So it's a low stress for our whole team.

A big thing as you grow is ensuring that your team does not get burnt out. That's huge. That's. If you're an owner or freelancer and you just have contractors working for you or whatever, a huge responsibility of yours is to understand the morale of your, of your team or whomever you're working with, you know, because if it gets bad, you can't keep that going.


for anyone who doesn't have a team, which is like 99% of listeners, the same applies for you, your own morale, because that, that is honestly more important than your team morale. Because if the business owner or the person controlling everything has low morale, it affects everything.

Yeah, but like the thing is you are your own team and you can even consider friends that are a couple of years ahead of you that are giving you some advice. [00:13:00] They're your team. Like? For instance, I have a really, really good friend of mine here. Daniel Grimmett, you know, him, Brian, great guy. He was at my wedding and, you know, I got to a point where I was just like calling him every day, asking for advice.

And this was just like annoying. And I was just dealing with a bunch of This was maybe a couple of years ago and I got off the phone one day and you know, he's a great friend. He'll always pick up for me. I love him to death,

Unlike me.

Oh, no, you'll always pick her up for me. I just have to call twice.

But uh, but the thing is it's like I realized my morale was so bad and it was actually affecting everyone around me, whether they said it or not. And so I was like, I need to go to therapy. Like that was the thing that I needed to invest in to like talk about business stuff going on, but going back to this particular class, The whole thing is if you're firing someone or taking them on, you don't want to be subjective about it.

If you are leaving a relation with a client, the biggest thing that I learned from some of my mentors. [00:14:00] Don't speak subjectively, don't say you did this and I feel this way you did that. And this affected me.

No, it just says, or what I wrote was, Hey, so and so really big fan of your company. It's very clear early on that.

there's a lot of things that have made this very clear that our systems are not, working well together we're trying to like bridge the gap or whatever. And there doesn't seem to be a way in which we can work.

So for your benefit and for your team's benefit I don't want to waste your time. We respect you and we think we should cut it here before we're too invested. Because I care about you all at a later date. We may be able to service you, but not right now. And That's a very, Hey, it's a little subjective.

Cause I am saying, you know, we do care, but the main thing is like, it's not working and it's for your benefit financially that we don't work together anymore. You know? So it's not like a you get out of here. I don't like [00:15:00] you, you always, you never want to give anyone a reason to talk about you ever, ever, because everybody knows.

Yeah, I think this is a better way of putting this would be breaking up with the client, not firing them. I fight fire, firing a client to sound so negative, but some of us, not all of us, but like, I feel like some people have been in a relationship where it was just best for both of you. If you split up and you could have an amicable split, it's not always the case.

Sometimes it's, it's, it's brutal. But at the end of the day, like it's best for both of you, if you split things up. So so writing this list down of all your client, All your services, where your incomes came from softwares you use and marking off the ones that, that piss you off as mark said, or make you angry or frustrate


just think it's easy.

yeah, yeah, yeah, it is. we talked about crossing off the list of services, like for me, full production tracking, mixing like that recording bands in my studio pissed me off. So I literally fired that service from my life. I broke up with it forever and I haven't recorded a single band since 2015.

So [00:16:00] early on when I first moved back to Charlotte at a studio in my parents' basement, and until I had like a good client pool, I was actually teaching drums and piano. My mom taught piano. I talked about this on the last one, but she kind of showed me the ropes and it was really easy for me to get an, a good income.

And so. there was this one, mom of a student that I needed to drive to, to them as 45 minutes, but I really needed the money at the time and literally two minutes, but you know, I'm outside their house two minutes before the lesson starts, she texts me and she says Hey, you know, so-and-so's feeling a little unwell today, so we're going to have to call it off.

And I was like, I'm already here. And. She was like, well, sorry. And I, and I said, I even said in my my policy, well, you have to pay if it's not within 24 hours. And she's like, ah, I don't think we're going to do that. And I was like, okay. And so I just sat in my car for a little bit and I had, what's called a it moment.

And that's when I realized I'm [00:17:00] losing money by doing this because I have, so I could, I could spend a little bit more time just marketing myself and getting production club. And so I literally just made the decision. I was like, I'm going to put myself in a chaotic situation. I called up all of my clients, all of my teaching students.

And I'd said to their parents, Hey, I'm not teaching anymore. If you do want lessons, it's going to be this rate and it's going to be at my studio. And I'm only going to teach on Monday mornings. That's it. And so literally. That night. I lost all of my students and I had to figure it out and I did. So it's sometimes it's about having a it moment too.

I don't suggest that all the time, but

occasionally it's not a bad idea.

Yeah. Take it an emotional moment where you're like pissed off is not the best time to make decisions. So I, I like


story, but I

don't know

if I would suggest that.

it was logic base. Cause I was losing money and like, I, I did have all my financials and it, it, everything made sense. I just felt desperate for some reason.

Yeah. So honestly, I had a sister, a similar situation happened to me in 2009. [00:18:00] This was the first time I ever had someone cancel. Last minute. They'd booked up a week of my studio time and they canceled. And so I lost out the entire weeks of income. Like what sucks at the time? Like it was, it wasn't a lot, but it was, it was money that I was missing out on.

And instead of like just quitting or firing all my clients at that point and saying only work this time, I did something that I think is also worth talking about when you have clients that piss you off and that is your boundary issues. So what I did was.

As soon as I had that issue come up, that pissed me off instead of blaming on the client, I first wanted to do what I now call extreme ownership, which is a book from Jocko, Willink.

That's a great book.


didn't know what it at the time. It wasn't even out at the time. and I, and I wouldn't have even called it that, but what I did was. I said, okay, this situation sucks. What can I do to never have this situation happen again? What I can start doing is collecting a deposit. So from that point on, which was like summer, 2009, I started taking a 40% non-refundable deposit to even get added to my.

[00:19:00] And if they cancel a special last minute, that deposit, I keep it, I keep it. And so if you just cancel on me last minute, I still get paid 40% of it and I'll have to do any of the work and that rarely happened, but it did happen. And in those times I either could just refill the schedule and make 40% extra money that week, or I could just take the week off or the month off

or the day off, whatever it was and, and still make some money.

Yeah. And I think, you know, again saying that it's like looking back, it's like, yes, that was an emotional decision. And I did have some logic behind it, but I mean, going forward. Yeah. So with this uh, this client that we recently let go of, you know, we had an entire systems audit of everything with the company and we realized, okay, Things can we put in place because this is completely our fault.

You know, whether it was the onboarding experience or our sales call or communication, we did all of this stuff wrong. We failed. Yes. We let them go. But we lost them. It was our fault at the end of the day, whether we decided to take them on or not, it's our fault. So we did a [00:20:00] complete. Built out a bunch of new systems and protocol, and we don't foresee that happening again, but if something were to happen again, we would have another systems audit and constantly refine.

And that's how you build a great.

Yeah. So just to kind of get us back on track here, just to keep everyone on the same page, we're talking about the 80, 20 analysis of your business, the 80 20 principle, and specifically looking at your numbers at a taxis and now, but whatever you want to sit down and actually take the time to do this and looking at where are where's all my money coming from, who are all my client.

what are the tools I'm using are the tools I purchased this last year and then looked at the lesson sink, what pissed me off and then striking out the ones that you need to get rid of. So we've been talking about this, but there's also more than just the things that piss you off.

There are also things that just didn't work out the way you thought. So you can also do this with projects. Like what, what projects did you work on over the last year? Especially like, think about this. The 80 20 analysis of your business is a project. So anytime you're working on your business, think about this.

Like, what are you doing to work on [00:21:00] your business and didn't work out the way you thought it would, because this is where we get into wasted time. We are working with clients. You can't call it a waste of time because you're getting paid. But when you're working on your business, if it doesn't give you the result that you expected or that you wanted, then it's wasted time.

And I'll tell you right now, mark, like, there's so many instances this past year. And when I sit down and do this exercise which I'm doing right after this, episode's over, I'm

going to go to a coffee shop afterwards and do this all.

I'll call you twice and I'll interrupt everything. No

I know, I know Um, I'm finalizing on my taxes. Daniel is April 1st.

Today's April fool's day. Happy April fool's day. not if you're listening right now, but anyways when I sit down and do this, like I need to look back and see what are all these areas that I spend time on working on my business and determined, like. Why did I do this? So it's almost like the decision making process, because when we make decisions to work on our business, sometimes we just do it because of shiny object syndrome, which is probably the worst way to work on your business.

Cause it's like, oh, they just talked about the 80, 20 principle. I should do that. That's shiny object syndrome. And sometimes that's like, you just have asked those things. Like, I don't know if you ever did that. Mark, do you struggle with shiny [00:22:00] object syndrome?

Well, absolutely. And I think also with that, you know, it's good to find people to look up to and kind of say to yourself, what would this person do? Like actually funny enough, you're one of those people I actually say to share all the time, like Brian is so good at saying no to everybody. I'm like one of his best buds and he barely picks up my calls cause he's busy. Phil Caplin who owns distro kid. He's a huge hero of mine. He says no to literally everything you go on there. You know, if you make music good chance, you've released music through district kid. There are no features. It is so simple, kind of, it's not a great looking platform, but like they just say no to literally everything.

And they just, they do a really good job at what they do. And that's what they do. And they just make that better, which I love. So I think it's, you know, to avoid shiny object syndrome, you kind of have to build in a, a know thing in your head, like your default answer needs to be now. And the exception is that you say yes,

that approach works for [00:23:00] everything. So like I own two software companies. And if we said yes to every feature request, we got, it would be the most bloated, impossible to use software on earth. Like that is impossible to do everything that everyone wants. So you just have to understand what it is you do and what it is you don't do.

And so, like when you're working on your business, going back to the 80 20 in your time and the projects you worked on the last, in the last year, meaning working on your business, understanding. When a new shiny object pops up that I want to do, I need to by default say no. And now my process is what needs to happen for me to say yes to a project?

So basically like I have to create arguments that this is worth my time to implement in

my business. Like how hard is that?

It's well, it's hard because we're we're creatives, you know, so it's like, everything's cool. Oh my God. The vision. I'm going to lose so much money on. So I, I think, you know, I definitely said yes to a couple of opportunities this past year. Regrettably and I wasted a lot of [00:24:00] money towards it, but, you can either take that?

and be disappointed in yourself or you can, again, extreme ownership.

It was all my fault. This is me maturing as a, as you know, a business owner in the music industry,

What can I just say something? If you have a problem in your business, whether it's your client that, that screwed you over or cancel on you last second, or it's the client that pisses you off, or it's the money wasted or time wasted, it's all your fault.

Mark. Any problem? My business is all my fault.

this past year, I actually, you're going to laugh so hard too. I actually made a list of basically all of the money that I spent on different avenues that didn't work out. And it was a little north of like 30 grand or so.

And, you know, I definitely learned, but a lot of it was tech related, you know, that's just inherently expensive.

Like we needed to build out more tech in that pitch for licensing. And [00:25:00] like, it costs like 15 grand and literally into it, I was like, this is not the direction we want to go in, so I can the whole thing. But I learned so much from that. And I've saved probably just so much money in the future and the same thing with like anything.

You could work with a N somebody who's ghost producing for you, or hiring an assistant for a photography or whatever. And you're going to learn pretty quick. Maybe that was the wrong person to help me with a project, or you're gonna spend on Facebook ads and realize you didn't do it right or something.



know, these are all lessons. the point is you don't do it again.

Yeah. Sometimes it's

this is just the cost of learning the lesson. Sometimes it's not like, okay, when we talk about the 80, 20 principle and all the things that piss you off or had no ROI for your business, all the expenses you wasted or the time you wasted, or the clients you need to fire, like all of this stuff.

Is inevitable, like, no matter where you are as a freelancer, as a business owner, as an employee, as, as a husband, as a, whatever you, you are like in all the [00:26:00] areas of your life, you will encounter issues at every single level. You can always do the 80 20 principles. So this episode will we do it again next year?

It will still be relevant and it'll still be something you need to do again and again and again. So don't feel like you can just avoid these problems. Like. when you lose five grand on Facebook ads, because you want to just start testing it out. That's just the cost of learning Facebook ads.

Like there are ways to mitigate those, those risks and stuff, but sometimes we just have to learn that, oh my God, I suck at copywriting. Oh my God. I suck at building out funnels. I gotta suck at this. I suck at that. I suck at how understanding how the algorithm works. Like that's just one example or I started to do.

A new service in my business and it flopped, I thought it would be fun to do, or I thought I'd bring a lot of income and it absolutely flopped in these situations. This is just the cost of being a business owner. You have to, you have to explain. And it'll be okay with failure, but also learning from those failures and that 30 grand you lost wasn't necessarily completely wasted.

Although that doesn't mean you should have said yes to the project. So this is, this is the, the, the balance we make between being free to create an experiment as our, as a [00:27:00] business owner and understanding when we need to say no. And in 80 20, everything.

Yeah, And I think with shiny object syndrome, there's a balance and it's it's, I think it's a constant. You're never like, if you say no to absolutely everything you will miss out on opportunity and you know, maybe someone ends up doing a way better job than you. Cause you're so busy saying no to everybody.

So like you can't adapt to what, you know, clients may need, if you say no to absolutely everything. So I try to look at it as not you know, it's kind of like course correcting and I think, you know, kind of talking about time and lifestyle design kind of in this episode, it's about.

Course-correcting to make sure that you're within how you want this to work and you're not just overwhelming yourself unnecessarily. I think that's. Would you agree with that?

Yeah, you're right. Like, so we're all on a path from point a to point B and like ultimately point Z, whatever that long distance thing that you have in your, in the back of your head. Some people, like if you [00:28:00] listen to last week's episode where he talked about being in zombie land for eight years straight, some of us just kind of wander around in the desert for 40 years or whatever, not ever making it anywhere because we don't have a destination in mind, but eventually, like if you do have that long-term vision, which is what what Steven eventually found was like, he had a long-term vision and he started working towards it.

He, he has like, I guess you could call it guard rails. Think about it, like on a, I think about like a bowling game where you have the bumpers on the bowling alley. Think about it like guardrails. Like if you don't have those guard rails up, you're going to roll gutter balls. Like every time, if you're bad at it.

But if you have the guard rails up, that is essentially like what the 80 20 principle allows us to do is just course correct

every now And, again, it's the guard rails.

and I think like to that you know, I forgot who said that. But it's like, you need to learn how to fail quickly, you know? Cause everybody's going to fail. You're going to, you know, up some sort of project with a client you're going to, you know, do a bad job. You might have bad communication, but you know, everybody's going to do that.

Nobody's born just [00:29:00] amazing at all of this stuff. Everybody has just, you know, if somebody is ahead of you, they just spent more hours. That's that's literally it. But Shiny object syndrome. It's controversial because like on one hand, it's like, you could waste a lot of time, but on other hands, like we just started that management.co and we're running operations for a bunch of music industry companies.

And that was a shiny object and that's been a really great thing for us. But if it wasn't good. Yeah, a great skill is for me to cut it off quickly. If it wasn't good. And that's kind of what I did with that other client, I cut it off quickly before we spent too much money in it. So just everything you have to be good at knowing when to say no default, no, immediately an exception is yes.

But once you do say yes, you also reserve the right to eventually say no, if it's not good and you want to do that.

So we talked about 80 20 analysis of your finances by. Looking at your incomes and your expenses. We talked about 80 20 analysis of your clients by looking at which clients pissed you off and which [00:30:00] ones you need to fire or make adjustments with boundaries.

We talked about the 80, 20 analysis of your time to figure out where your time has been wasted and honestly, even more important why you wasted the time on that in the first place. So it's almost like readjusting your decision making. Or what frameworks you use to make those decisions. So you're working on the right thing and hopefully not having shiny object syndrome, pulling you towards the wrong things.

I think to kind of wrap this up, we should talk about the 80 20 analysis of lifestyle design, because, I'll tell you right now, like I do not build this business to just be a business owner. Like I have multiple businesses and while there are seasons where I'm busy and I'm working on the. Ultimately your business should be designed to serve you as a business owner, as someone who's making money, doing what we do.

We're not a charity. We're not, we're not a non-for-profit not-for-profit even if you love what you do, it still should be set up from the ground up to serve you and the life that you want, your life should not be built around serving your business. And that's a really important thing as freelancers, because when we're working in our businesses, when we're working with clients, we're working on whatever stuff we're doing, that [00:31:00] we love, it can be.

Really, really imbalanced in a really toxic way because we love it, but it's not serving our ultimate purpose in life of what we're trying to do, whether it's your family, whether you're trying to travel. So.

one of my mentors actually said something fantastic the other day. You know, he was VP of Columbia records, ANR, and like, you know, big, you know, in this sort of realm. And he told me on the phone, he was like, Yeah.

The interesting thing about being in this industry is the way you have to look at it.

I would do this for free, but don't you tell anybody that I just said that and I love, I love that because it's true. It's like, Yeah. if this, I would be doing all of this for free, like, I love running that pitch. I love developing artists. Like, I love all of this, but don't tell anybody I said that,

you know, cause it is fun, but. you're building a business to support your lifestyle and your dreams. Now you have to help people to that is the by-product like [00:32:00] being able to, accomplish the lifestyle that you want. A by-product of that is you are helping a lot of people. I think a lot of people, you know, who cares about money, Brian, you and I like, we, we don't give a about money. We it's, we're building something that ultimately helps people and supports the life that we want.

Yeah. I mean, I'm not going to pretend like I'm some Saint who doesn't care about money, like money, money

serves. Yeah, Yeah, yeah. But it's, it's not the

thing that

drives me. Yeah.

So you were talking to Brandon Brown earlier. Who's a a couple been on a couple episodes of our podcast and he was telling you about something like the four columns in your life.

Can you talk about that

for a second? Because that's an important thing with lifestyle design.

Yeah. So Brandon is a really good mutual friend of both of ours.

I lived with them for two years. Yeah.


And that actually, that's how I met Brandon. It was through you. We were hanging out. We went to, yeah. Oh, okay. Well, anyways, Brandon and I, we backpacked in Panama during COVID cause it was the only place we could fly to.

Um, And our Morocco trip got canceled last minute and we found a flight for like 300 [00:33:00] bucks to Panama. So we took it. So anyways, traveling around, we were on a, this flight from. It's called Porto VR to back to Panama city, really small planes smelled like feet bumpy, but he opened up his book.

Cause I, I consider him a really great friend, but also a mentor of mine because he truly lives the lifestyle that he wants. And I just really look up to that so much as a business owner and he showed me his notebook and he was talking about. Your life should have four columns in it. And those are your four big priorities in your life.

Like what feeds you both creatively, but just everything in life, what nurtures you? And I actually have to review my, but you know, I think when I filled it out, it was creativity. And, and, you know, kind of business goes along with. Travel. I love traveling. It always nourishes me. My close relationships with friends and having a good community.

Those were the four things that were [00:34:00] extremely important to me and music follows falls under creativity business. I kind of look all of it as one, to be honest. I would assume you kind of do too. It's just businesses, creativity anyways, but. What he said, and he had his four columns. And the idea is those four columns, keep the roof up.

You know, there's no stress because you have this four columns. Well, if you lean too much into one of those columns, you know, things get unbalanced, the roof starts to fall. That's when you start feeling kind of crazy. So, you know, he was explaining we had pretty similar columns and if I'm too focused on the business and everything.

You know, I start getting really stressed out and it's like, wow, I haven't traveled for awhile. Wow. I'm not feeding my close relations. Wow. I'm not, you know, in my community, hanging out with a bunch of people and, you know, chilling at dive bars, just meeting new people or whatever,

I thought you were going to say chilling at Chili's for some reason,

chilling at Shelley's dude. I'm not going to, yeah. That's one of my columns is chilly. TGI Friday's bro. But you know, if I'm traveling too much, then, you know, and that's all I'm [00:35:00] doing, then maybe I'm not being as innovative on the business. And I might not feel as creative and I'm too relaxed and I kind of get bored, you know, if I'm only focused on my relationships, well maybe my business and my personal endeavors and travel can hinder, you know, it can be hindered from that.

I think the point is, is that you need to be aware of what are the four things that truly nourish you as a person. And with that, how can you build a life that supports those four columns? You know, and if you're ever feeling unbalanced typically, it's because you're too focused on one of those comps, one of the best things that I've ever learned.

I'm so thankful for Brandon and he's just such a good guy. I really look up to that.

Yeah, I need to do that exercise. Like I, I remember Brandon telling me about this when he was, he was actually working with like a

mentor of his own, who kind of helped him with coming up with all this stuff.

I think it's Lonnie. May he wrote think red shoes living, I think is the book that he wrote. I think it


be, it

I dunno, I can't vouch for the book. I can't vouch for the author. All I know is I remember Brandon told me about this [00:36:00] and like, this makes a lot of sense, but I definitely know that like, well, I have an idea of what those columns would be in my life or pillars. If you want to say that. It's really good to have those friend center because when it comes to lifestyle design, I'll tell you right now, like the last year, I focused way too much on business and not enough on some of the other areas in my life.

And I feel that imbalanced, I feel that stress and I'm working towards getting out of that. So it's good to keep lifestyle. On the forefront, because again, we're not created to just work, like whether it's on your business or on a day job, we're not created to just work. There's more than life than just work or just business.

So it's important that when we're doing the 80, 20 analysis of our businesses and our lives, which there is a lot of crossover there that we have the design of our life at the forefront of our minds. Because if you don't, you will essentially put all the eggs in the business basket. The miserable.

Yeah. And another thing that actually didn't I failed to mention is he had a list of people like straight up just like the [00:37:00] people that were most important to him. And that list was very small. Brian, you and I were both on there, which is sick, but uh, but you're on my list. Brandon's on my list. And just keeping that, I mean, it was there small lists like there, they should, there should not be a lot of people.

I'm very extroverted. I have a lot of acquaintances, a lot of friends, but I had to make my list very small and I really just focus as much as I can on those core people. And that's kind of 80, 20 ruling, you know, your, your personal life too. And that has actually been so beneficial for me because again, I'm very extroverted.

I always feel very, very, like I have a lot of pressure to reach out to so many people and. That's just, I like people, you know, everyone's really interesting to me for the most part. And so limiting that I can actually kind of get deeper into friendships that I already have. And that's been, it's kind of like going deeper versus wider.

It's been really nice for me.

And I heard something similar to this where they're talking about creating a, just a small list of people that you like really, [00:38:00] really love and care about and only allowing those opinions to affect you. Like, so just for example of like, if you have a, if you have a lot of people in your life, family, whatever, it's good to have a small list of people that you trust with their opinion, because everyone's going to give you their opinion, especially as a new business owner, everyone will give you their opinion of why it won't work or why you're going to fail.

You know, they're just going to give you whatever skewed perspective they have. And if they're not on this list of small, this small, but mighty list of people that you trust, people that you know, that they have your best interests at heart, then their opinion 100% does it shouldn't matter to you only let the people on that list, opinion help you guide what your decisions are.

Well, because let's be honest too. I mean, since we're talking about personal life, as you move further in your career, yes. You make a conscious decision to make your circle smaller. It's like, keep your network big, keep your circle small. But like also, I don't know if this has been for you, but like I have my cards a little closer now because a [00:39:00] lot of people who reach out, you know, not always, but like, there's a lot of people who don't have my best interest and they just want something.

And it's, you know, it can create a lot of, I, I like helping people, but it can create a lot of pressure and you know, you, yeah, it can get a little bit lonelier too. So it's nice to have those really important people around to kind of keep you grounded.

Yeah. Yeah. This is a, this has just been like a six-year long con with me and you, or I'm trying to get you into my, uh, multi-level marketing scheme, my pyramid scheme.

Well, just so you know, we have a new site It's called

It's called creative mlm.com. No, don't don't even go to that site. I don't know if it's a real thing. So let's just kinda wrap this episode up, man. We, we, we were kind of all over the place today, but like, honestly, there's just so much to this conversation. Like we could honestly, like we could have an entire episode on 80 20 analysis of your relationships.

We can have an entire episode of 80 20 analysis of lifestyle design. And 80 20, the entire episode on 80 20 analysis of your clients or of your income or whatever, like this is such a [00:40:00] broad thing. And this applies to like your personal life. It applies to your relationship. Every, it just applies to everything.

And it's, by the way, we didn't mention this, but it's, it's even in nature, like they discovered that 80% of the peas come from 20% of the pods or like in any given area like 80% of the wealth will be accumulated by 20% of the people. It's like, it's fascinating stuff. But at the end of the day, like it's important that we sit down and take time.

To again, what Graham Cochran says is count the fruit, look at everything and determine like what needs to change in my life and my business and my relationships to make next year or this next 12 months, the best 12 months of my life so far. And if you keep doing that every single year or even every whatever, however, often you want to do this.

If you keep doing this on regular intervals, you will always have better and better years assuming you don't make the wrong decisions, but this, this helps with the decision. Decision-making maybe we should have an episode on just decision-making frameworks,


yeah, cause like also, you know, something we didn't talk about is like, yeah, while this is a really, you know, easy way to look at it. And there's actually a book called [00:41:00] essentialism. I definitely recommend reading that it's very much, you know applicable to this, but a lot of what people don't talk about is making these conscious decisions is extremely hard sometimes.

You know, like I'm talking about breaking up with one of those clients. I lost so much sleep over that.

But how do you feel now that the relationship has been cut?

As soon as I sent the message, I felt just so good. Like I slept, I was in such a good mood. Everybody thought I was a hippie the next week.

And I was like, wow, this was really affecting me. And so these decisions aren't easy, but once you make them, you know, And you don't owe anybody anything, unless, you know, it's a child that you, you know, if it's your kid or your relationship or something, you have the power to build your business the way that is the best for everybody involved.

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