The most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing. – Donald P. Coduto
World-class entrepreneurs usually have around three main “power activities” that directly determine whether their business succeeds or fails. The more they focus on these activities, the more money, success, and prestige they gain.
You can see this unmistakable pattern among the world’s best entrepreneurs and creators. In Kevin Hart’s autobiography, he described the three main activities he did during the early years of his comedy career: Writing jokes, experimenting those jokes live on stage, and practicing his speech/delivery. In just a few years, he went from an amateur comedian to the number one highest-paid comedian of all time.
For Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting career, his three activities were taking acting classes, auditioning, and networking in Hollywood. For Phil Knight (founder of Nike), his three activities were literally inventing new rubber soles for Nike shoes in his garage, selling the shoes at sporting events, and marketing his shoes.
Of course, these entrepreneurs had dozens of other responsibilities, obligations, and day-to-day tasks that needed attention: Bookkeeping, customer service, fulfillment, negotiations, etc.
But as long as they focused on the three most important things of their business, their business grew.
Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs have a dozen priorities, leaving them unfocused, stressed out, and tired. Since they don’t focus on their power activities, their business growth is limited. The most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing; if you want to be a world-class entrepreneur, you have to spend most of your time on the few things that truly grow your business.
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If You Have More Than Three Priorities, You Have No Priorities
I’ve been an entrepreneur for over three years now.
The first year, I made about $20,000.
The second year, I made about $70,000.
This year is the first year I’m going to break $100,000.
The reason I’ve seen such consistent, significant growth is because I’ve simplified my entire business, focusing solely on my three power activities:
- Writing great content
- Creating great products
- Selling those products
Before, I was spending about 40–50 percent of my time on these activities; now, I spend about 90 percent of my time on them. Of course, I have a ton of other responsibilities: I have hundreds of customers who need constant, swift attention. My email inbox is always full. I’m constantly networking and building friendships with other high-level entrepreneurs. Heck, I have a newborn! I can always be doing other things.
But when I’m working, 90 percent of my energy and focus goes to one of my three power activities, and it’s made a huge impact on my business and quality of living. One of the most important business lessons I’ve learned is this: If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities.
If you want to do world-class work and see consistent growth in your business, you have to identify the most important activities that directly impact your business, then spend as much time as possible doing those three things.
Don’t be like most entrepreneurs, constantly jumping from one activity to the next, where each day looks different than the last. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, simplify your life and focus on the most important things that grow your business.
Amateurs Say Yes To Everything. Professionals Say No To Just About Everything.
The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything. – Warren Buffet
When you’re building your business, it’s easy to put on every hat there is to wear: Social media marketer, video editor, copywriter, head of sales, even janitor.
I get it. My first year as an entrepreneur, I couldn’t afford to delegate. I was writing, creating, and selling, but I was also doing everything else – customer service, taxes, social media, advertising, video editing, etc. It was hard to focus solely on my three power activities. If you’re in that situation right now and have to do everything yourself, don’t beat yourself up.
But you need to start trending in the right direction, saying “no” to things that don’t directly grow your business in a meaningful way.
This is the essence of prioritizing a “who,” not a “how.” Eventually, you shouldn’t try to learn how to do a complex new business skill like accounting or website design, you just pay someone to do it for you. It’s an investment, but one that will ultimately grow your business exponentially because the more time you can spend on your power activities, the more successful you’ll become.
Let’s be clear: This is a true investment in your business, one you can’t afford to squander (especially in the beginning when money is tight). Your time is priceless, and the best entrepreneurs spend their time in deliberate, focused ways, prioritizing their power activities.
In his book Traffic Secrets, Russell Brunson described how he launched his SaaS product ClickFunnels (now worth $360 million). He had a small team of coders to handle the technical parts; his job was to create a huge customer base for a successful launch. But ClickFunnels was his “baby,” and Brunson kept trying to help his coders by doing their job for them, staying up late and tweaking their work.
Fortunately, his co-founder gently but firmly reminded him to stay away from the coders, and do his job – getting customers! Brunson got the message, and re-focused on getting the customers they needed (his power activity). Now, ClickFunnels is one of the most successful self-funded SaaS companies in the world.
When you first start your business, you might need to say yes to everything for a little while. But as soon as you can, start delegating so you can focus on the three most important parts of your business.
Ruthlessly Simplify Your Decisions. If It Doesn’t Make More Money, Do It Later.
There are a million reasons why so many businesses fail early on, but it’s usually for one reason:
The business wasn’t making money.
When I was a no-name blogger trying to make it as a writer, I spent 98 percent of my time on tasks that weren’t making me money. I must’ve wasted 50 hours alone redesigning my website’s theme and color scheme!
Now, I spend most of my time on money-making tasks. My three power activities directly make me money. I wish I’d learned this years ago.
The truth is, there is no social media update that will grow your business in a meaningful way. There is no new color scheme that will get more customers to your website.
I’m an avid reader, but I reached a point where I knew reading another book wouldn’t help my business grow. If I was being brutally honest, I knew reading more books was just an excuse to not work.
If you want to be a world-class entrepreneur, you have to ruthlessly simplify your decisions. If it doesn’t make you more money, save it for later. Once you have a steady cash flow, you can afford to spend your time on other things. But you need to solidify your money first.
As a six-figure entrepreneur with information products (online courses, coaching packages, book sales), email marketing is extremely important for my business. I need to communicate well with subscribers and customers.
I bought an email marketing course by a professional copywriter, and I learned a lesson that changed my whole business: Simplify your communications. It’s better for you and your customers.
Before, I had dozens of automations and a vastly complex tagging system where subscribers would be placed into dozens of possible content buckets. Soon, I had over 100 tags that a subscriber could have. I knew if I ever hired anyone to handle my email, they’d have no idea how to make sense of anything.
After the email course, I simplified my entire process. If they wanted more information about business, they got it. If they were more interested in self-help, that’s what they saw. That was it. Better for me, better for them.
Best of all, I could delegate my system so that anyone could make sense of it. I ruthlessly simplified my decisions and process, and made my entire business run far smoother.
World-class entrepreneurs might have vastly complex systems, funnels, and processes for their business.
But their day-to-day lives actually look very simple: consistently working on only the most important parts of their business, their power activities.
As soon as you can, start delegating the parts of your business that don’t make you money, so you can work on the parts that do make you money. Wear fewer hats, letting other “whos” do the work instead of trying to figure out how to do it yourself.
Simplify your business, and your business will grow.
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