Revisiting The 80/20 Rule and Why It Is Even More Critical To Your Business In 2009

Although I boast I was able to run my business while traveling a circle around the globe, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t experience more pressure on the time available for work.

The way I chose to travel resulted in planning the details for my next stop a week before I arrived – sometimes just 24 hours before arriving or even after arriving! This included booking accommodation, flights and figuring out things like how to get from the airport to the apartment or hotel I was staying at.

Once landing in a city and settling in, the next “pressure” was determining what was worth seeing and doing, and ensuring the time available for fun was used on the best sites and attractions. This involves research and planning, reading reviews online at sites like, buying tickets for tours and figuring out how to get to places using public transport.

When at home in Brisbane my time is quite fluid and I have few commitments or deadlines. With just my mother now living in Brisbane, I rarely have family events on and I’m not married with children, so I’m pretty much looking after myself.

Traveling dramatically changed how I live. What is normally stable in my life – where I live, what I do during the day and what I eat – became dynamic, with the variables changing every week. Suddenly my free time was gone and I was forced to live in perpetual inconsistency.

As a result of the constant changes in my life, I had to become very focused with how I used my working time. I didn’t want my blog to die, I had customers to support and I wanted to work on new projects so my business continued in a positive direction. This was no easy task, but I’m proud to say that I was able to achieve all my business goals in 2008 despite the changes to how and where I lived my life.

Revisiting the 80/20 Rule

If you’ve never read my article on the 80/20 rule, go do so now. It’s one of the most powerful concepts available today that can truly make a difference to your life and your business. My article introducing you to the rule has been one of the top 10 posts on this blog for years. You can find it here –

If I look at the metrics, this was a great year for my business. I more than doubled my revenues, my blog readership and email lists grew significantly, I had successful product launches and released some fantastic free resources like the Conversion Blogging video, not to mention publishing many articles on this blog that I know will continue to bring in traffic for years to come (the true essence of a pillar article).

None of this would have happened if it weren’t for the 80/20 rule.

Information overload has always been a problem. In 2008 it became even more of a problem. Although a great enabler and empowering tool for education, the world wide web has created a situation where it’s as important to be aware of what you need to know and do as much as knowing how to do it. If you don’t learn how to ignore 99% of what’s out there, you never get the clarity to learn the 1% that you should focus on.

I Want Your Attention

In 2008, a wonderful collection of new communication tools took off, and although they are fantastic resources, and can be great business tools as well, they are serious time sinks if used passively.

Twitter has well and truly arrived and is fast becoming a must-have tool for every blogger, internet marketer and small business owner. While it’s a wonderful way to connect with people, if you aren’t careful, you can tweet entire days away.

Facebook is the leading social networking application available today. The generation just below me (the teens and early twenties) are so connected with Facebook, they choose to communicate through it rather than email. Think about that for a moment.

You can’t afford to ignore Facebook, yet like any social network, it takes time to maintain and leverage your profile and networks, so another slice of your limited time is taken away.

These are just two tools, the leading two social media tools in my opinion when it comes to business purposes, that demand your attention. You might also spend time building a stumbleupon profile, or keeping up your Digg time so you sway some power there, or perhaps you have a MySpace profile to upkeep, or maybe video is your thing and you’re actively monitoring all the latest YouTube developments while keeping your own profile fresh with videos.

I haven’t even mentioned reading the leading blogs in your industry and staying up to date with news articles. Thanks to Digg and similar sites you can easily find what the crowd considers the best content, but that only increases the pressure you feel to read it so you don’t become out of touch.

Let’s not forget the oldschool resources that still claim some of your mindshare – books, magazines, trade publications and print newsletters. While “traditional media” face stiff competition from newer forms of information sharing and publishing online, there’s still much value to be found in reading the old fashioned way.

Plus we have new product launches each week too. If you’re in my industry, the world of “learn how to make money” information products, then every few days something new comes along to tempt you. Even if you have no intention of making a purchase, most launches offer free resources that are actually pretty good, since businesses today are learning how important it is to move the free line even more (thanks Eben Pagan!).

Simply put, in 2008 there were more tools, resources, articles, reports, books and e-books, videos, podcasts, news feeds, magazines, tweets, and updates coming your way that if you attempted to give your attention to even just a handful of it you will have felt overwhelmed, and worse still, you were distracted from the all-important action steps you should be taking to build your business.

So as not to be hypocritical, let’s acknowledge that we all contribute to this problem. I’m doing it right now by publishing this article. I’ve been doing it for four years on this blog, with a steady stream of content, that while valuable to some, adds more noise to an already very noisy world wide web. I released free reports this year, published videos, blogged, tweeted, updated facebook, uploaded photos and like any good net-citizen, made comments, posted in forums and sent emails.

How exactly is this going to work, if we all contribute to an information overload problem that’s becoming worse, yet current wisdom dictates if you want success you need to study information and then produce output to gain experience, and ultimately, make a profit?

The solution, in particular for information publishing entrepreneurs who are attempting to build a profile of expertise as the basis for their online business, is to liberally apply the 80/20 rule to everything they do.

Less Is More

Although one of the key selling points of the internet as a commerce medium is having access to a global marketplace, this also creates the aforementioned problem of information overload, and means you face a lot of competition. In order to compete you need to focus on fewer people, not more, although you can certainly draw people to you from all over the world thanks to the web.

What I am talking about is what we call niche marketing, and as Seth Godin explains, you need to build your tribe.

We differentiate ourselves by focusing on a target market and presenting a perception as being the best, or offering the best solution, to one problem. This in turn attracts a certain type of person, who become part of your tribe because they benefit from what you teach and sell, and also feel rapport with you – they share your circumstances (or perhaps your previous circumstances that you rose above) and like you as a person, as well as a resource to help them become better at something or solve a problem.

People want the best answer to their specific question in a specific niche. You need to be the answer, but only to that question or category of questions – not every question.

Your job is to be the search and filter for what your tribe need to know. You help deal with their information overload problem by being a trusted source. They ignore almost everything else, listen to you and apply what is relevant for their present situation. You are one of their 80/20 resources. You are part of the minority that they pay attention to and not the majority they ignore.

This is obviously a good position to be in for your business, since people pay attention to what you say, and thus buy your products. However it’s a position of great responsibility. You need to deliver results and in order to do that, you have to solve your own information overload challenge.

Removing Constraints To Find Leverage

The 80/20 rule, when applied right, means you work less and get better results. This happens because you focus concentrated effort on the few elements that matter most.

In order for the 80/20 rule to work right, you need to be able to identify what you should ignore. Once you know what is not important, then what is important are your points of leverage. With leverage, comes exponential results.

The first step to determine what is important to the growth of your business, is to figure out what you need today in order to get an immediate result. In other words, what constraint do you have that if removed would immediately take you a step closer to the result you want?

When you find the constraints holding back the 80/20 leverage points, then you have your big money answer. You need only work on eliminating that constraint and then the next in sequence until your outcome is realized.

If at any point you spend time on tasks that do not remove immediate outcome constraints, or are low-impact activities, you are effectively wasting time, at least from a business objectives point of view.

Determine Your Trusted Sources

Just like your tribe look to you for advice on what really matters to them, you need to find your trusted sources. The people you follow, who you study under, admire, aspire to replicate and of course, like as people too, are your filters. You take what they learn, experience, filter and then distribute to you, and then process it for your people.

I believe I’ve cracked the code on how to become an expert and you really only need to do three things well –

  1. Study the lessons of other experts
  2. Implement what you learn so you gain real experience and have real results to talk about
  3. Translate your learnings and results into lessons for your tribe

Every expert I currently study is constantly referencing to other experts they have studied. They quote from a book, or from a presentation or a coaching program or even just a blog article, but in essence, all they are doing is taking what is already known as a good idea – an idea that works and has been tested by someone else – and then translate that idea into an applicable concept for their audience.

Rich Schefren and Eben Pagan are two guys I place at the top of my mentor tree. These guys are experts I study, because they both have achieved what I want to achieve. I follow their example, study their training, and find myself referencing their ideas to my people – and yes that means you as a reader of my blog too.

Rich and Eben constantly read books, listen to audios and study courses and use what they learn to teach their students. They act as filters for their followers (Rich has openly stated that his key role in his business is acting as an information filter and idea generator for his customers).

I choose to listen to a select group of people because what they teach resonates with me, they have credibility and proof, I fit their target demographic, I like their personality and style and I have benefited from implementing their techniques in my own business.

Because time and energy are finite resources, there is a limitation when it comes to how much you can study. To succeed you need to find the right people to follow, who match your criteria, who can help you eliminate your immediate constraints, and then go to work implementing what they teach. It’s also critical that while you do this, you ignore everything else until you have achieved the outcome you desire.

Learn How To Ignore

In 2008 I ignored like I have never ignored before. As a result of less time and constant change, I needed to focus specifically only on what needed to get done to get a result.

I wrote fewer blog posts this year than in any other year since I began blogging. I read fewer books, ignored product launches, didn’t read the news in my industry, almost completely stopped reading other blogs, didn’t keep up to date with plugins or scripts or tools released for my blog platform and unsubscribed from all but a few key email newsletters.

What I did do was focus on what I knew mattered most to my success given my present circumstances and desired goals for the year. I needed to keep my marketing system active. I had to keep blogging, but I focused more on pillar content and less on update frequency. You will see my blog this year featured very few news posts and although less was published, each article I wrote was thorough and had a specific purpose.

In 2009 my circumstances have changed again and I have time once more for more active study. As a result of this I’ve already ordered several courses and plan to increase the amount of time I spend keeping up with my industry and using social media tools. I may also write more blog posts, however I plan to use most of the “extra” time for product creation, as that is a higher leverage activity for me at this stage of my business.

What You Need To Change

In your case right now you need to ask yourself if your current day to day activities are really helping your business, if of course business goals are your focus in 2009. If they are not, you need to make changes.

Stop trying to study everything that shows up on your radar. Stop trying to keep up with every social media tool. Just because an expert you trust says something is great and you should do it, and this certainly includes me too, don’t just follow them blindly. Even this advice I’m giving you now should be carefully interpreted based on your situation and what you want to achieve in 2009.

What Bloggers Need To Do To Succeed in 2009

For bloggers, if you are keen to make 2009 a year of growth, you need to commit yourself to excellence. Excellence in terms of what you consume and what you output for your readers. You have to study and you have to take action. That’s the only way you can truly learn new things, which you can then teach to your audience, your tribe. However you must be careful, choose only to study and action what can help your business and what can be translated into learnings (blog content) for your readers.

The core elements of a successful blog have not changed. You still need great pillar content. You still need to market your work through communication channels. You still need to build relationships, network, and implement fundamental traffic and marketing techniques. You still need to follow the Blog Profits Blueprint, which is just as relevant today as when I published it in 2007.

For most of you bloggers reading this, the big change you need to make in 09 is an adjustment of how you spend your time. I’ve said this before, but it remains just as powerful a statement – you don’t win if all you do is consume other people’s ideas, you must publish your own unique ideas for others to benefit from. Cut the time wasting activities, focus on output and consider what you can become really good at in 2009.

What Entrepreneurs Need To Do To Succeed in 2009

For those of you building a business, which may include blogging, but also other critical elements such as email lists, automated marketing systems, affiliate programs and of course, products of your own, you face a myriad of choices next year.

Your challenges are relevant to what stage of business growth you are facing. Most of you reading this are likely still in the momentum building phase, which means you lack cashflow, products, resources and marketing systems.

In most cases the first place you need to focus attention on is marketing, in particular, how you can automate your marketing system, so your cashflow becomes steady while you go to work building the other aspects of your business. It’s much easier to spend money hiring people and investing in your business, when you know a certain amount of money is going to be generated next month, and the month after that and so on.

To make this practical, you can ask yourself some practical questions.

Is your business not delivering what you want because…

  • You don’t have an email list?
  • Your email list is too small?
  • Your email list is not responsive?
  • You’re having trouble sustaining consistent lead generation?
  • You don’t have a product?
  • You don’t have a niche?
  • You need a certain person to handle an aspect of your business?
  • You don’t know how to do something important?

…and so on.

If as you ask yourself these types of questions, consider what you could do if you had the answer. If what you could do would immediately result in an increase in cashflow, or elimination of whatever major constraint you face now, then that’s the problem to solve. If however the answer only opens up more questions, then you haven’t found the core element that needs to be addressed first.

Once you find the core element – the problem you need to solve today – go study the trusted source to get the answer, or if you already know how to get it done, get it done. It’s not rocket science. Find problems, learn solutions, implement actions, get outcomes.

Consider the 80/20 rule, learn how to ignore everything that’s not going to help you eliminate your immediate constraints, decide what you want to change and what you need to learn in 2009, and you will enjoy tremendous rewards.

Yaro Starak
Still Studying



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About Yaro

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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  • Wow Yaro! Great post. Looking forward to more from you in 2009.

    Thanks for all the great info.


    • Great timing on the article, since I’m on the process of defining my own priorities for 2009. I do know that I want a passive income of USD 500 by the end of 2009, but your article provided great insight on how to get there.

      Moving the free line is a concept that I was already picturing in my mind and you provided a name and definition for me. Both articles were printed and I am already transforming your concepts in my actions. Thanks a bunch!

      Cheers, D.

  • Great post, Yaro. Nice to see you getting back into the chair again, and from this post, it appears you and I are on almost the exact same page on our 2009 outlooks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks David, though I intend to get at least 8 hours of sleep every day too ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Oh yes, 8 hours of sleep, that’s on my priority list too (she types at 1:41am… okay overcoming my insomnia and getting 8 hours sleep).

        Thanks for another great article Yaro, and thanks for making the point so strongly! Focus and action are my big challenges. I’m good at studying and researching, too good in fact. I understand I NEED to do what you are saying here, but I need to keep reminding myself of it. I find with this article, like many of yours, I already know the information but the way you write it just really sinks in like nothing else. I feel really lucky to have found you as a mentor and not surprisingly I’m finding that having you as a mentor makes it really easy for me to “ignore everything else” and focus on what you’re teaching on your blog and within Blog Mastermind. It’s a really freeing (is that a word?) experience ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Enjoyed your ‘year end’ post, Yaro. Nice advice. Now, to follow it in 2009 ๐Ÿ™‚

    All success, and happy New Year!


  • Excellent post! The 80/20 rule for me is 80% building relationships and 20% promoting.There are several benefits to building relationships as you promote your web site.One problem entrepreneurs have is opening up and showing their true self.You cannot hide behind your company name because people have no way of knowing who they are working with.But if you build relationships, people know who they are working with.Looking forward for more interesting posts in 2009!

  • Excellent post Yaro.

    We did notice a change of writing style through the years of your writings.

    I think you got it spot on when you wrote:

    Once you find the core element – the problem you need to solve today – go study the trusted source to get the answer, or if you already know how to get it done, get it done. Itโ€™s not rocket science. Find problems, learn solutions, implement actions, get outcomes.

    Yes, it is simple but not easy to do *Winks*

    Hope 2009 goes well for you Yaro.

    Your friend from Singapore,
    Maynas Eric

  • This was a great read and definitely worth the time! I really do need to refocus and determine which things are my time wasters and which are beneficial for growth.

  • Hi Yaro

    You’re spot on that we will all have more rather than fewer opportunities to grow our businesses in 2009, no matter what they are.

    Its more important then ever before to prioritize and focus – thanks for the timely reminder!

  • Some really awesome stuff, Yaro. Keep up the great work. Hope we’ll still be reading each other in ’09, as well ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Great post Yaro. Can’t wait to hear more from you in the coming year. I’ve only been blogging for 4 and a half months and I’m already putting a detailed list of specific goals together for 2009. Just as you did, doing the right things long enough will eventually get you the result you are looking for.

    Thanks Yaro.

  • Nice post. We all have learned about the importance of the 80/20 rule and yet we seem to lose track of it so easily. There are so many “social” mediums out there today (and more coming in 2009) that unless you maintain your focus the original goal will be lost. I find myself twittering, checking my facebook account at 9 and next thing I know it’s 1 in the morning. Oops.

  • This is a good week to look back at 2008, determine what worked (and what didn’t) and then formulate a plan for 2009. This post is a good reminder for us to do that.

    Yaro – your trip was one of those “once in a lifetime experiences,” but I do hope you’ll get to do it again in about 5 or 10 years. Time will have given you a new perspective, and the world will be like a classic book that offers fresh insights with each re-reading.

  • Good work yaro good post . You will get your goals for 2009 for sure and waiting for your new products in 2009.

    Happy New Year !!

  • I love the bikini concept!

  • Hi Yaro

    2009 is going to be my year, I’ll turn 30 in July, and I need to raise a lot of cash this year as I want to get married December 2009.

    I totally agree that information overload is a huge problem, I have bought things for hundreds of dollars that have still to be opened and put into action. I do have a few profitable websites, and a great marketing funnel for many IM products, but I’m lacking the vital traffic.

    I’m going to focus on becomeablogger as I really want to maximise social traffic and establish myself via blogging.

    Let’s all have a great 2009


    • Remember to use the Paretto principle when planning for your wedding!!

  • I am impressed, as usual, with how you put your articles together. You always do a great job of balancing personal with business, which speaks volumes of your personality. I think this is one of the biggest reasons you are so successful!

    What I find a very strong key point is people learning to be unique. Everyone loves to ‘borrow’ information, and it takes a certain amount of courage to truly focus on letting ones own strong points and knowledge shine forth. We all have different interests, and will find ourselves enjoying our experience a whole lot more if we learn how to share our wisdom through individual expression. Each blog should represent a particular niche wholly and uniquely, so as not to ‘muddy up the water’ so to speak, and to provide enough content to keep visitors happy and coming back for more.

    Thank you Yaro, for all your advice and great blogging tips. May 2009 bring you much Happiness, great Health, good Fortune, and many True Friends to help Light your Path.


  • Yaro, this was an EXCELLENT post to end the year on. Thank you for the reminder. Since I started my blog in September, I’ve been thrilled as to what I’ve been able to accomplish because of your coaching. Thanks for that.

    However, I do notice that although I try to implement the 80/20 rule, I do end up wasting “too much” time on things that don’t necessarily build my business. I’m in the process of TRYING to teach myself to be more disciplined so that I can leverage my time much better.

    According to your instructions, I’ve outsourced more than I would normally do and that has been great. Not only did I save time, but I got things done in a MUCH BETTER way than I would’ve been able to do on my own. That was a big step for me.

    Now that the cash is flowing relatively consistently, I’m trying to structure my business in a way that EVENTUALLY, all I have to worry about is producing content, products and nurturing relationships.

    Well Yaro, here’s to 2009. I hope you are able to double what you did in 2008 ๐Ÿ™‚ and I look forward to reading more AWESOME content. Cheers!

  • Couldn’t agree with you more.

    Less is more.

    Bruce Lee said it best, “being wise in doesn’t mean adding more; it means to minimize, in other words to hack away the unessential.”

  • Hm, without really realizing it until recently, I’ve been applying the 80/20 rule to how I get my information for sometime.

    Through podcasts of all places, I’ve found authorities I trust and identify with (I want to build a business and invest the way they have done and are continuing to do). Because I am in agreement with their ideologies, it makes sense for me to read the books they recommend and pay attention to what they’re doing and saying. I don’t need to search high and lo to find good information, because I’m already getting what I need from these folks (it’s a big plus that the podcast format allows me to listen during time that would otherwise be wasted just listening to music or the radio).

    I find that even in ignoring the mainstream media (or because I’m ignoring the mainstream media!), I’m more educated and more aware of what’s going on in the world than ever.

    The challenge, as you speak about here, will be for me to figure out how to become an experienced and trusted authority such as these folks are. Maybe I should start a podcast myself, since I’ve had good luck finding great resources in that arena. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ah, indeed you have cracked the code, my friend.

    In the NLP world, it’s called modeling.

    In the software circles, we call it patterns. To take it step further, they’re rooted in pattern languages. Christopher Alexander is the man.

    It’s also mentors and prescriptive guidance.

    It’s exactly why I originally joined the patterns & practices team – find, author and share principles, patterns, and practices from trusted sources.

    The beauty of modeling the best is success leaves clues. It can be who you know … or a book … or an artifact on the Web. It’s all about your sources of insight.

  • 2008: The Year of Vilfredo Pareto.

    His principle has re-entered the public mind in the era when it can fit perfectly with increased technology and the power of the Internet.

  • The way your personality and depth of knowledge about blogging comes across makes for solid feelings of trust in the things you suggest

    Thank you for a great post

  • Hello Yaro

    I went and read your entire 80/20 rule post. I consider myself to be an old newbie to Internet Marketing. Old because I have been messing around with it for over 10 years. A newbie because until I found a couple mentors, Michael Cheney and Alex Jeffreys I had zero success. Now thanks to what I have learned from them things are looking up.

    Like you I find that writing articles and blog post are the things that I like to do the most. I believe that these things are what I should concentrate on. They will bring me the best return for time invested. However I am still chasing around exploring some other methods and these things take up most of my time so the 80/20 rule is in play.

    Thanks so much for reminding me that I should probably concentrate on the things that I am best at. They will bring me the quickest success

    Thomas Northrop

  • Well said!

    I was introduced to the 80/20 rule a few years back and i must admit, i dont use it as much as i should! I currently have been working on an internet business project for the past 4 weeks and i honestly cannot say i have been using this!

    Thanks so much for the reminder and the great blog, it makes loads of sense…80/20 here i come!

  • Hey Yaro,

    awesome post, the 80/20 rule is so true. I’ve just started blogging, I guess I’m still looking at what is working well for me and what isn’t at this stage. I have a really good mentor in Alex Jeffreys which is helping to keep me on track, and it looks like I’ve found another mentor in you. Looking forward to reading more from you ๐Ÿ™‚



  • Happy new year to you too. It has been my experience that the Paretto principle works one hundred percent. The problem is that in the midst of hectic activity, we fail to use it to take appropriate action.

  • Yaro, another great article & thing to think for 2009. (and made me buy that 20/80 book btw). Thanks again for the great content and wish you luck for the year 2009

    I’d say more but I think the above text contains the 20% of what I wanted to say, so I’ll just skip the 80%… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Great stuff…There’s so much information, I’m not sure where to start. I think I’ll go back and read your blog on the 80/20 Rule. I’ve learned a lot about blogging and SEO, but I know I have more to learn.

  • Tim Ferriss’ blog also presents some great pointers toward the 80.20 rule as well as his 4-Hour-Work-Week book.

    Not know about this rule could potentially harm you!

  • Wow! I’m impressed. This is where I would like to be as a blogger. Doing affiliate marketing, I can’t focus entirely on my blog but your post about pillar articles made a bit more less complicated. Thanks for a such a great advice and great blog.


  • Freakin awesome post Yaro. This couldn’t have come at a better time. This is right on point with what I am doing and teaching. This is a phenomenal post. Thank you for putting such great info on this blog. I truly believe that if people don’t start to do this they will see little or no success and start to fall by the way side.

  • Yaro,

    The 80/20 Principle is one of the most read books in my library… I was excited to see you spend so much time blogging about it.

    Thanks for continuing to provide great informative content.

    Best wishes in 2009!!!

    Lee W.

  • Really an excellent application of the 80/20 rule, Yaro. Funny thing, it’s exactly what’s been on my own mind lately. Just in the last few days I’ve started from scratch with a new blog with a more defined niche than I’ve ever had. I’m doing an Internet Marketing blog, but instead of the typical Make Money Online focus mine is for brick and mortar businesses who want to use internet marketing to build their businesses. In this case, the 80% is really huge and more like 95%. The 20 is probably more like 3 or 4%.

  • Jon

    > If you donโ€™t learn how to ignore 99% of whatโ€™s out there, you never get the clarity to learn the 1% that you should focus on.

    This quote is probably the best summary of 2008 I have ever read… 2008, time wasters have only lead to more unproductive “productive” work time… I fear the more knowledge we are able to give or take, the less we will be able to accomplish in our lives.

    Jon – Create Unique Memories

  • Peter

    The 80/20 rule is something that is good for focusing one’s attention to what is necessary and critical and eliminates a lot of clutter from what is happening.

    Extremely critical for businesses, I would say, to put out a definite decision on which are the criticals to minimize effort and maximize gains. There are even at times that 80/20 becomes extremely important for making important changes in life and giving clarity to one’s goals and dreams

  • @Jon that’s certainly what I’ve experienced.

    I’ve learned only with the experience that came from wasting so much time in this way how to spot a lot of those time wasters so that now I can avoid them. But still some slip through. But if I wasn’t at least monitoring some of these time-waster channels I don’t know if I would have found Yaro and Blog Mastermind, which is the most valuable thing I’ve ever done in my years of studying Internet Marketing. Are the time-wasters a necessary evil on the way to gaining the experience to spot what’s valuable and what’s not?

  • Liz

    Hi Yaro,

    Excellent article! This is one of those posts we need to commit to memory.

    Quick question: Will Blog Mastermind Students be able to receive some kind of discount for private coaching? ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Jay

    I have been dragged kicking and screaming at the end of 2008 into the social networking arena and plan to coast into it in 2009–thanks for the momentum!
    And taking very good care of my 20% is one of my top priorities.
    Happy New Year, ya’ll.

  • It’s not only the already wealthy who are action takers.

    “The best answer in a specific niche” is very thought provoking. Thanks for this.

  • Jon

    Great final post of the year… keep up the fantastic blogging Yaro!

    Jon – Create Unique Memories

  • I certainly can identify with your point about how much superfluous information you can accumulate from the net. You do tend to lose track of your ultimate goal within the welter of facts you assimilate. It is very hard not to get sidetracked but obviously this is where you need to keep in mind where you are aiming, you have to try to ignore the lure of more and more information for the sake of it and learn to use the relevant facts that you need to attain your goal.

  • This is a great post. Long, but a good read. Eben is also someone I follow for my online business growth. I follow Rich as well.


  • The 80/20 rule is fundamental to most things in life. I certainly agree with your take on it.

    As self employed IT consultant (trying to get out of that!) who works with a variety of clients, the 80/20 rule makes up about, well, 80% of all activity. The last 20% is made of of exceptions that you generally can’t plan for.

    8 out of 10 issues takes 20% of the time to resolve, but the last 2 issues can kill the project.

    8 of your clients are a breeze, but the last 2 take up most of your time.

    The biggest thing I have found is ensuring you surround yourself with competent people and processes to minimize the drain those last 20% of issues take.

    I also end up firing 2 out of 10 clients.

    Life is about patterns, and business is no different. The key is identifying those patterns and using them to your advantage.

  • Hey thanks Yaro. Happy New Year to you and all of your readers!

    I think the universe or god is trying to tell me something…

    I was chating yesterday with a becoming-mexican-internetmarketer (hehe what?) about how to start his business online but then he told me to watch the 80/20 rule, he is a financial advisor… so i need that in my business i have a lot of focus points like 3 diferent niches…

    So i need to focus and i think that 2 times in a row its not a casuality is causality ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for your post. Adios amigos

  • Greetings my friend, Thomas Richmond here from San Diego wishing you and your family a Happy New Year! Will keep in touch! Thank you for your help. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hi Yaro. Thanks for your post. It’s truly inspiring and it really motivates to do something about my own business. I am setting my business goals for the year 2009. I must really focus on a selective experts to bring my business to the next level.

    Lastly, I wish you a happy new year! Let 2009 be another year of achieving all your business goals again!

    Take care,


  • Hi Yaro,

    Happy New Year 2009!

    Thanks for your sincere & truthful blog post. Every time I read your posts just like talking to a long time friend, or feel just like you beside of me.

    I really need to apply 80/20 principle on my business journey, especially on this year 2009..more challenges & more uncertainty.

    Wish you and your family have another great moment on year 2009!

    Still Learning

  • I definitely have to agree with you about learning to ignore. My biggest problem has always been looking for the next best thing and getting easily sidetracked. I made a decision in October to ignore pretty much everything around me because I knew what had to be done – I just had to get in there and do it. Because of that my affiliate business has literally sky-rocketed in just a few months with the efforts me and my business partner put into just one niche blog.

  • Awesome post , as always very detailed. Launched my new blog end of November 2008. Your ideas were a great help.

    Thanks and happy new year. See you in 2009

  • Thanks for your explanation about learn to ignore, but some time it’s not easy for us , because we still want to find which one business it’s suitable for us because I still did not find the best topics to make money on internet.

  • Happy New Year’s Yaro!!

    Great Information! I have learned a lot from you in the past 4 months and feel bad that I have not even purchased a product or service from you yet. I am just getting to the point where my blog is getting some traction just from reading the information on your blog. I have already made you one of my top trusted sources for information. Everyone else except a few others are filtered out of my radar. Thanks for being honest with me and completely transparent. My blogging success will be the result of what I learned here. I plan on joining your Blog mastermind sometime next year.

  • A long but worthy read, thanks Yaro. I’m slowly but surely unsubscribing to the ‘mountains’ of lists I’m on and deciding who will make up my key mentors. 2009 will be much more productive for me after having read your points on the 80/20 rule, thanks so much for helping me to focus.

  • We do tend to concentrate on the negative things in life just because those particular events trigger a different type of response in our brains, whether we’re aware of it or not.

    Instead, we have to train ourselves to let go and only work on the tasks and steps necessary to get us to our goals in the most efficient way possible.

    Take the time to find what works best and ignore everything else because you can’t change the past, only work toward the future.

  • It is the first day of the New Year 2009 as I am reading your post. Admittedly, I must say that that is the first very important lesson I have learned for this year. You have positioned me into a good start for this year.

    After spending about four years in self-study of internet marketing, today officially marks the beginning of my being a full-fledged internet marketer. Your lesson today is a very important guide to this new way of life of mine.

  • Hi Yaro,
    Here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    I am hoping to do better than I did last year.

  • It’s posts like these that make me constantly refer people back to you Yaro. I meet people all the time who are just starting out and who have been through unproductive phases in their lives trying every course out there and I always tell them the big issue is finding a mentor or teacher that you feel will give you value in your learning and development.

    I tell them to stop reading everything and start reading your blog, go sign up for the thirty day challenge with Ed Dale, and if they are a little further down the track to start following Rich Schefren.

    Why? Because that’s who my journey began and I have received immense value from following those people, yourself included.

    Good luck in 2009 and I look forward to seeing whats coming down the tube.


  • Happy New Year Yaro. I have learn so much from your blog until it is mind blowing. I am very new at blogging and I get turn around at times. I will continue to learn from you with your Blog Mastermind program. If you have the time will you look at my blog and let me know if I am going in the right direction. Thanks for the the great work that you are doing.

  • First of all, Happy New Year to you. Really appreciate your free informative article. I am looking forward to implement it and bring my blog to new high.

  • Thanks yaro for the info ,it helps me trying to get started and pushing things forward in 2009

  • Hi Yaro, it is a great post!

    I am exactly in the situation of being overhelmed by many resources which I want to study, but at the end of the day I only know that I should know more… It is a neverending circle and I think many bloggers have similar one. You are right, we have to be focused on things which make immediate sense/impact for us or our businesses and we donยดt have to follow all blogs/RSSs/Facebook profiles/Tweets etc.

  • Very sound advice indeed. There’s just so much garbage in the blogosphere and building good content is definitely good for the long term.

  • Hello there,

    Thank you for that, timely reminders that much needed for me, anyway. It’s just to easy to be sidetracked by email and everything else that comes along. Plus, that is what leads to overload as well; both distract from the basic bottom line of getting the job done.

    Saying that, I am now off to get the job done!

    Ruth Stewart

  • Valerie Love

    Excellent post Yaro!

    The most valuable part is my ability to IGNORE. I’ve never heard it phrased this way, yet I understand now, from reading this article why it’s imperative for me to become a professional IGNORER.

    I’m committing to ignoring all but the most pertinent information, tools and resources for me in 2009.

    It becomes easier to ignore what’s not pertinent when I have a clear intention set on what I desire. When I’m clear on intent, it becomes that much easier to weed out everything (including really good information) that just doesn’t fit the intention.

    Thank you for all you do and your continued commitment to excellence.

    You’re a phenomenal example of practicing what you preach!

    Be blessed richly in ’09!

    Valerie Love

  • Hey, it’s Valerie again, forgot to include my website in my previous comment!

  • Good post. I am reading a lot, the more I read, the more I find I have to learn and read more. i am slowly mounting the information curve. I feel that I have to focus more on what is relevant, the 20%.

  • Yaro, I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s so easy these days to suffer from information overload – there is always some new method or technique to chase in the quest for online riches.

    It’s funny that you should post this article now, as I was already thinking along the same lines.

    There is truth to the old adage that “Less is more”…. IF you focus on what’s important.

  • Thanks for the great article Yaro! Focusing on just what we need to focus on can be very difficult but definitely can be done with discipline. Something I am working at getting better at myself as I am learning to ignore the many things that come through my email .


  • Wow Yaro,

    Thanks for the great post that we all should strive for.

    Keep up the great work.

    Kevin Morrisett

  • Thanks for an outstanding post Yaro, personally this coming year will be one of the hardest for me and I know I must FOCUS my efforts and work on only the money making activities. Awesome post.

  • Len


    Outstanding post (relevant, internal were especially helpful).

    “Focus”, IMHO, is the them for ’09. Simple, yet not necessarily easy and you made some compelling points.

    Thanks so much for your insight,


  • Yaro, great article!! 2009 will be a year to look forward to and cutting out all that clutter that slows down our productivity. Thank you for the insight about marketing is key. Yes indeed i’m still in the building phase with my blog. Cheers

  • Yaro,
    You sum up the information that I’ve been studying for the past few weeks.

    I’m very new to IM and am studying with a mentor who studies with your mentors. He suggested the book “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris during the first class of our coaching course.

    It has made a huge impact on how much I am accomplishing. You’re right on target with what they are both teaching.

    So, we’re getting the info, the right direction to take and the next step is to actually take action. Narrow our focus and get to work.

    After that first class, I did just what you mentioned . . . deleted myself from 90% of the lists I was on.

    Thanks for the great article. I’ll keep your blog on my reading list.

    All the best,

  • Yaro,
    This was just the thing I needed to refocus after spending the latter half of 2008 tweeting my days away on Twitter. I *love* Twitter & think it’s so fun–but spending all day doing it isn’t helping me or my readers.

    Back to focusing on writing great content, building my tribe and being a filter for my peeps!!

    Thanks so much…just what I needed on the first day of 2009!!!

    Heather Allard
    The Mogul Mom

  • Thanks for this great article.
    Most valuable part for me was “learn how to ignore” – very easy to get caught up with the trivial or get sidetracked.
    I actually have started using the learn how to ignore concepts in my “day job” and it makes a lot of sense.

  • Another great article, thanks! Learning to ignore is such an important skill. The last few weeks I was feeling overwhelmed by my inbox and the amount of time spent distracted sorting and deleting. Discerning which I wanted to keep and were useful and which I tended to delete right away has been a huge help and a skill that I will keep working on to reduce the information overload.

    Thanks for confirming my thoughts and the skills I need to continue to develop.

  • Hi Yaro,

    Happy New Year and thanks for the great article. I have been aware of the 80/20 rule for some time. Strangely I have just started reading “The Four Hour Workweek, a Christmas gift, and I found the author talking about it, and now I click through on you email and you’re talking about it.

    I do get the message and I have really started to focus in on that 20%.

    I have been throwing stuff out since just after December. I all ready feel lighter and less burdened with all the stuff that seems to accumulate. I need to do that for my computer files too.

    Applying the rule to what I right should help me edit for my book which will be a collection of my words over the last three years. I’m looking for the top 20% of my work for the book.

    Interesting how all this applies to everything.

    I am printing off the article so I can read it in much more detail. It’ll be part of this years 20%.



  • Hey Yaro

    Thanks for your prompt “to open it”.

    Your article spoke volumes to me …… I have been struggling to allocate my time effectively since I got involved with the social media sites. For me they are not doing much except taking up my family time. They have probably not been that effective for me as I’m unable to spend the time necessary to make them work.

    Over the years I’ve acted on the 80/20 rule to give me business direction with great effect.

    As my internet business is still developing am I correct that if I have limited time I’m better spending that time building unique content [pillar content] that is well researched and keyword rich for my blog?

    Thank you again for the timely reminder to go after the 20%

    Kind Regards

  • What a shame I’m not the first people who give a comment on this article. You know why? Yes information overload!! I’m subscribe to it but miss it…So year 2009 would be most worth spend of time online.

    I’m just realized everything already here. It’s only you to decide how to control. You can control what would you like to see on your screen everyday. Yes you can do it. It’s only “How About Now?”

    Syed Akram, Malaysia
    You just need to be “Smart Computing Ordinary Guy”.

  • This post (and some of the posts you linked to) had a lot of info in it that I’ve been really searching for but didn’t know it. On my blog that features artistic cat photos (not the uber cheesy ones), I was scrambling to figure out out to get google traffic. But your tips have encouraged me on some key areas to beef up. I’m going to start by writing pillar articles on how to take good cat photos yourself and then work on offering something for free.

    Thanks and happy new year!

  • Yaro –
    Great observations and directives as always.. In your post I needed to grab some meat and walk away with the jewels. Yes the relationship quota is always the highest in success that grows and last.

    You wrote and I lifted and pasted again below what I believe is keeping the mix for combustion ๐Ÿ™‚
    and suggest to others as you outlined; aside from taking note of the expert time stealing medias’ resources, do not flinch for the next thing that takes one off task.

    You said “”Removing Constraints To Find Leverage
    The 80/20 rule, when applied right, means you work less and get better results. This happens because you focus concentrated effort on the few elements that matter most.
    In order for the 80/20 rule to work right, you need to be able to identify what you should ignore. Once you know what is not important, then what is important are your points of leverage. With leverage, come exponential results.
    The first step to determine what is important to the growth of your business, is to figure out what you need today in order to get an immediate result. In other words, what constraint do you have that if removed would immediately take you a step closer to the result you want?
    When you find the constraints holding back the 80/20 leverage points, then you have your big money answer. You need only work on eliminating that constraint and then the next in sequence until your outcome is realized.
    If at any point you spend time on tasks that do not remove immediate outcome constraints, or are low-impact activities, you are effectively wasting time, at least from a business objectives point of view.””

    and here you said

    “”What Entrepreneurs Need To Do To Succeed in 2009
    For those of you building a business, which may include blogging, but also other critical elements such as email lists, automated marketing systems, affiliate programs and of course, products of your own, you face a myriad of choices next year.
    Your challenges are relevant to what stage of business growth you are facing. Most of you reading this are likely still in the momentum building phase, which means you lack cashflow, products, resources and marketing systems.””

    I said and Thank You and would point to a health & fitness component that will vital as we all sit idle for hours, eat poorly, and sleep little which = the slow train wreck that is happening to all of us whom build or work businesses that use the mind and relationships from a seated position. Anyhow, as you said or someone said get more sleep in 09 …

  • Happy New Year, Yaro!

    The new year is always a great time to look back and reflect at what the previous year gave us. Gave us in terms of: headaches, heartbreaks, wins, losses, successes, & personal (business) victories.

    This was, as always, a great & insightful post from you- Thanks!

    I just started my businesses last year. I actually incorporated on the night before New Years Eve! I have 1300+ domain names which need to be built into sites. I have TONS of products, services, & affiliations.

    However, my biggest 80/20 issue is to actually build a site. For me, generating & acquiring content comes naturally. It’s that first, initial step, the actual building of the site, where I am lost. That said, I found someone to help teach me that aspect of the business, but his time is limited. Needless to say, this then makes site creation a slow process.

    I decided to “80/20” the creation to him so I can focus on what I know- marketing, sales, blogging (which results in traffic).

    I did, though, go all-out for our first, original site. I put all my financial eggs in one basket, as it were, to make sure the site would succeed. It has gotten lots of attention and buzz.

    So we continue and press on. Onto the next site, then the next and so on.

    Thanks, again for the post!



  • Yaro

    Thanks for sharing! I don’t know if you ever read my email but you answered some of my questions in this post. Excellent- thanks for sharing the resources used to plan and research your trip. Sounds like you had your hands full. The art of balancing between work and play becomes difficult when your settings are constantly changing. It’s easy to lose track of priories…

    You’re right, content creation is where we’ll see great returns. We can’t answer questions (provide answers) if we don’t know the questions people are asking. We must find the gaps in our specific niches. Thanks for sharing, I’m feeling empowered, driven and all the kind of crap, seriously- good stuff Yaro. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Thank you for your honesty – it’s interesting to note that even someone with your experience struggles from time to time with information overload.

  • Blaine Lentz


    Thanks for a truly “pillar” post. Great job.


  • Yaro,

    Thank you for the post. I also read somewhere that within the 20 % there is a further 20% and then we can render it down like a fine condiment and then our activities take on the power of the concentrated ray of sun.

    To a 20/20/20 2009!


  • Yaro,

    I agree with everyone on this page … this WAS worth the read.

    I too spent much of 2008 “not doing” certain things. I’ve been cutting back on newsletter tracking and since July have stopped reading a lot of other blogs.

    I’m still in the early stages, but since following many of your advice, my blog’s traffic has doubled and revenues have increased (not huge, but growing).

    There are many plans for 2009 to grow the business side of my blog even more and the intention is to also cut back on the number of posts and focus more heavily on affiliate product promotions and creating my own products.

    Since joining the blog master mind, I’ve ignored pretty much every other “guru” out there because it was just too much “stuff”.

    When it comes to social networks, I try to keep up to date on my Facebook (as much as I can) and I have a small following on Twitter. I suspect that my new site (which I will launch in February 2009) will get me even more of a following because of the topic.

    I look forward to learning from you even more in 2009!


  • Agreed. The 80/20 rule is important to understand and remember. It helps you remember to focus on the 20% of your activity that provides you with the greatest amount of results. To tell you the truth, before I read this post I had totally forgot about the 80/20 rule. This has been a nice reminder.

  • Hi Yaro,

    I think it is always good to sometimes take a step back and go back to basics from time to time to keep things into perspective.

  • This is my first visit and I found the post very interesting. I am quite new to the internet and I have a long way to go.

    I often find that you try to absorb so much information that it gets too much for you. That’s when you start to get things wrong. You have all of these things rattling around in your brain and it can be quite confusing at times.

    have a good 2009.

    Alan…A.K.A. Bigal

  • Hi there, great post with masses of content and all spot on the money too. Facebook is indeed powerful these days. In m,y office it is running all day long on most of the girls computer along with IM.

    On a personal level it is too open as everyone in your friend list sees most of the content to and from you but from a marketing point of view that is terrific of course.


  • Yaro,

    Yes – the topic of 2009 – GET IT DONE ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Very nice blog post Yaro I learn a lot from you. Happy New Year!!

  • Very insightful, Yaro. Ignoring seems to be one of the ‘skills’ that every marketers in this light-speed information era must have. Information overload leads to confusion and when people are confused, they usually do nothing.

    Have an awesome 2009!

  • Tina

    Thanks Yaro for the great info, keep up the good work.

  • Thank you for a great article. I am also a strong believer that less is more. It is important to be focused on most important things, and not let the trivial stuff distract you.

    There is no way to lose out if you focus on what you do and create value.

    The 80/20 rule is also a great way to eliminate the unimportant. I follow this rule every day (at least I try to) since reading the Tim Ferris book.

    I also find Parkinson’s law a very useful principle to know. By following these two rules together you will go a long way:)

  • Reading this made me realize that I’ve been more or less completely ignoring Facebook. Will have to remedy that in 2009 I suppose. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • What a great point! I did manage to find two tools this year that help me reduce the incredible time-suck of social media. I use to post updates that simultaneously go to my Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Plaxo, Friendfeed, and other accounts. Very handy! One post goes everywhere, so it reaches all your various audiences. The other resource I found is called and that is a website that allows you to aggregate all your various websites (any web presence, really) into one place! It’s very cool.
    Here’s to a magical 2009 for all!

  • Pops just put me onto you Yaro, and I must say I’m happy he did. I like this 80/20 rule concept. You’ve enlightened me, and have help to clear up some ongoing situations I may just need to throw away. Thanks for your thoughts my friend!


  • I like travelling too but i can only spend costs for travelling in our countries tourists spot. But i am glad i lived in a place where there are thousands of places to go. I lived in the philippines.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • thanks so much for this advice. This can really help me a lot.

  • Great Post! The 80/20 rule has never been more important to Internet Marketers than it is today. I started online 13 years ago and what was true than is true now. The 80/20 rule was just as relevant than as it is now, with the exception that the clutter that is present today versus 13 years ago is like night and day. Time allocation and management is key to making a go of it and succeeding!
    I couldn’t agree more in regards to the travel aspect as well. I too have been on the road and doing that as long as I have been online. It does create this inconsistency in ones daily life and does create hurdles in actually getting your work load done while still accomplishing the goals you have for being on the road.
    Again, great post…a lot of great nuggets to glean from this.

  • It’s amazing how changes in your life (whether chosen or not) make you stop and take a good look at how things are being done in your business isn’t it?

    When my teenage daughter was diagnosed with cancer I had the ability to be with her through every step of it and still grow a profitable business because I was forced to buckle down even more than I ever had in my life.

    Focus is key in online business without a doubt.

  • I am grateful for Yaro to introduce me to the 80/20 rule which really help me to eliminate tasks that do not provide much value. This is an evergreen topic that everyone can learn from.

    Personal Development Blogger

  • Sam

    Good article Yaro … noticed myself reading these comments – a classic example of misdirecting my time – sorry must go – more important things to do! … Happy New Year everyone! from Sam

  • Like some of the others have already mentioned, it is great to have you back to writing some engaging and informative posts, Yaro.

    I totally agree with the points you raised here. Now more than ever, bloggers and entrepreneurs are going to have to take things up a notch in order to not only survive but also thrive in this economy.

    To do that, we have to focus, focus, and focus even more on those results which produce results. In doing so, we need to also keep a filter on the information we expose ourselves through whether it is through blog posts, RSS feeds, Twitter, and all the other numerous social networking tools out there.

    Again, great post, Yaro, and it’s great to have you writing these kind of posts again. Kudos!

    The Geek Entrepreneur

  • Time is always short and its always a struggle to get everything done. One of my resolutions is to be more organized and focused instead of running around like a chicken with its head chopped off.

  • Vic

    I have been exploring this blog and have already earned lots of useful information. Learning how to ignore things really helps us in eliminating unnecessary investment of time and effort.

  • Good luck on catching up on the news, etc, you missed (re: ignored) last year.. Though I’m prety certain you won’t have too much trouble finding your way back to the top of the pile..

  • I am quite sure that 2009 year will bring you more innovative ideas and, of course, success. Though, on reading this post it is quite understandable youโ€™ve succeeded already. May this year will be successful for all the bloggers who work as hard as you!

  • Yaro, Thanks for putting my mind at ease by reminding me to focus on the core elements of my blog and business and not getting caught up in all the social media hype. I tend to worry that I am missing out but I do not think I am at the point where I have the time to start working the social media angle.

    I started subscribing to your blog about seven months ago and have read many of your archived posts. You have definitely become one of my trusted sources.

    Thanks for the meaningful content.


  • Yaro,

    Great post. It is easy for anyone, entrepreneurs included to get distracted with things that don’t matter nearly as much as they seem to. In order to increase our productivity we need to constantly question if what we are doing is truly important and then act from there. As you said, for many of the start-up entrepreneurs, the main thing they must focus on is marketing–cash generation. In this case, start-up entrepreneurs must constantly be asking themselves if what they are doing right now is influencing the cash inflows into their business. If not, its time to change gears.

  • To understand it well, first I have to read the first post regarding 80/20 rule and it was an awsome article. This one is also good one & good motivating tips about to get successful in 2009.

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