The 80/20 Rule at work…

Everyone (including me) talks about the 80/20 rule…

This is what you most often hear…

Spend 80% of your time on the 20% of actions that get you results

Well…I have a different example of 80/20 that flips it on it’s ear a bit…

Here you go…

Spend 20% of your time on the 80% of your customers that waste your time.

WHAT? What do I mean by that?

Here’s the deal…

80% of your customers, prospects, clients etc. WASTE YOUR TIME…

In fact, some of them waste so much of your time that they pull you from working on the 20% of actions that get you the MOST (80%) of your results!

Clients fight me on this all the time…

They don’t want to devalue their customers, prospects, clients etc.

And that isn’t what I’m suggesting…you should value everyone until they stop valuing you and your time!

Here’s an example:

I was recently working with one of my 1-on-1 clients on this and she was having a really hard time with it…

She had a customer that was wasting tons of her time…

This customer had bought an ebook from her for $19.95 and was sending her at least 2-3 emails per day with different issues and challenges and cries for help —

She asked me what I thought she should do…

I said, “Give him a refund”

WHAT? But that’s money I’m throwing down the drain…

I asked her how much time this guy had already taken from her — and she figured it to be about 60 minutes and counting…

I asked her how much people pay her per hour to consult with them personally — she said $150…

Have I made my point? Does that make sense?

There are some people that are going to be more work than they are worth…

I know that sounds cruel…

And I don’t mean it personally…I’m not saying those people aren’t worth it, but just because they are buying from you doesn’t mean they own you…they need to value you and your time too…

So, in her case, I told her to either lay down some boundries OR refund him…

She refunded him…

I promise you the 60 minutes she gained will be much more valuable in the end — especially since he had all the signs of someone that was going to ask for a refund anyway (it just would have been AFTER he wasted much more of her time)…

Don’t get so wrapped up trying to fix things for your high maitenance customers that you take time away from your dream customers!

This rule applies for every area of your life — ESPECIALLY personal relationships (but that’s a much more touchy subject, so I went at it from a business standpoint)…

How can you immediately apply this to your life or business?

Leave me a comment to let me know!

Go Big!


21 Responses to “The 80/20 Rule at work…”

  1. tina says:

    Hi Kristen…this was a different perspective to it and one that finally “clicked” for me…it’s kind of “wake up call”…I have a client that continually cancels and each time they cancel, I lose money…instead of my saying goodby to them and getting another client for that time slot…THANK YOU for giving me the push…

  2. Babalwa says:

    Soonest Sis, but its tough wwith someone u love, a prospective boyfriend. I must say u used the rite approach- the business approach, its a touchy topic indeed, but true.I\’ve decided that I spend time/energy on someone who doesn\’t spend his (in this case) on me.
    Thanx 4 sharing
    Much love

  3. joe says:

    I am sorry Kristen but it sounds to me like your saying if this person is not spending a lot of money with you they are not worth your effort or time and to me it means if the person is trying trying to understand and trying to put the pieces but do not have a lot of cash to give to you ,they are not worth your time,and thats not fair or the right thing to do.

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Joe!

      I can understand why you thought that was what I was saying so let me clarify…

      Some of my most valued subscribers have never paid me a dime…

      All I am asking you to look for is people who value you and your time as much as you value them!

      Go Big!

  4. Welcome says:

    Thanks Kristen, I used to hear about 80/20 rule about I never understood it until today that you have explained so clearly for me.



  5. Leila says:

    Hi Kristen, you made me laugh with your last comment! Thanks. It’s true, there are customers who don’t value the efforts you make – they probably just don’t get you. Valueing my dream customer – now that sounds like a proposition.

  6. Jayant Hudar says:

    Dear Kristen,

    I completely agree with you here.
    I think you have given the other side of practical advice of 80/20 pareto principle rule.

    I may call it a WISDOM rule. what say?

    The work is in progress, and wisdom is ever
    growing !!

    all the best for your Business.

    have a nice day!

    Jayant Hudar

  7. Mark Danner says:

    This is very true. I am sorry if I might be one of those people. I hope you can forgive me. Please continue to do what you do, you are very appreciated.

  8. Jackie says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more except mine is on a personal level. I have a friend I am going to have to let go of, she wastes my time and is extremely controlling. It seems like every time I see her I feel worse about myself and she is good at manipulation. She calls and text messages me all the time it gets annoying. Thanks for making me see what she is doing to me.

  9. Tabitha says:

    Hi Kristen,

    You’ve just touched on something really BIG for me with this post. I knew about this already, I’m not sure how- I just intuitively knew that it does everyone a huge disservice to waste time and energy on people who don’t value what you have to offer. Maybe because all of my family members except my hubby were dream-stealers, telling me I’d never get a book published, never make it in network marketing, never attain my lifestyle goals and never build the kind of assets I envisaged. I jsut told myself that no matter what they said or thought I was not going to let my dreams be suffocated. I watched that happen to my husband and decided I was not going to die this slow death as well and not only that, I was going to help him push past the dream-stealers and overcome limitations too so that we would doubly prove everyone wrong. It’s been a tough journey, all uphill, but last year we finally had a breakthrough and started manifesting a few of those dreams. The weird thing for me now is that I find myself blocked by my church family. Church is huge part of my life that I always loved. I was always happy and fulfilled giving freely of my time and energy to church activities. I grew a great deal as a person and spiritually when I was assigned as a mentor to the youth. But this year, church activities are no longer aligned with my purpose. I feel like I was groomed and trained and supported by my church family and now am ready to fly. The problem is I have become indispensable in many ways and can’t seem to find a way to bring closure to projects started. These projects take up a lot of my time and energy, don’t pay me a cent and are now no longer even producing any kind of results. How do I tell the pastors I am acocuntable to that they fulfilled what Spirit needed them to do in my life and now I need to be free to radiate that outwards to others- in a way that pays my bills? For those who thinks this sound selfish and is not right, conisder that after two years of pure volunteer work for which I paid my own way, I am now left wondering how to pay my kids’ school fees. The youth mentorship programme I developed and run has applications outside the church in comapanies, small businesses and government agencies that will pay for it. Should I not be using the $ 350 dollars my husband gives me a month- my only real source of income as I re-invest everything from network marketing- to grow a business in the field of mentoring rather than travelling back and forth between church and home 4 times a week and paying a baby-sitter? To me it’s common sense but our emotions do get in the way. Any advice will be most appreciated.

  10. Linda says:

    I agree totally with the get away from ‘time wasters’, you will know who they are. There are people who do take longer to commit to something because of personal reasons or past experience(fears).If they are not demanding attention and are learning that is great.
    You are a good teacher Kristen.

  11. Lisa says:


    It sounds to me like you explained your situation very well in your post. Why not try the direct approach with your pastor and see if together you can’t find a solution to sustain the programs that you began. If the programs don’t produce results anymore, maybe it is the right time to end them or let someone else take over who can alter them enough to get results again.

    Hiding your emotions regarding your volunteering will only produce resentment in you and then no one wins. Best of luck in growing your business.

  12. Tabitha,

    I agree with Lisa’s post that you explained your position well. As my own church involvement is extremely important to me, I can understand your anguish. My question to you is, are you planning to still worship at this particular church? If so, part of your mentoring should now be focused on you grooming your replacement, not leaving it up to your pastors to find your replacement. Why? Because you know what the job and the program require. Plus, this “new blood” may be just what is needed to revive your program to produce the results you formerly achieved.

    Also, with the current economic situation the way it is worldwide, you shouldn’t feel “blocked” [or guilty or any negative underlying feeling] for wanting to grow your business and get paid for it. It’s not a matter of the pastors “fulfilled what Spirit needed them to do” in your life—Spirit is merely pointing you towards the next upward level of service on a broader scale, that being beyond the church doors and out into the community! You are sharing the treasure of your talents with many more people than just at your church, and you have every right to be paid for your time and skills.

    Now, because you mentioned Spirit, ask Spirit to give you the right words to say to these pastors in truth and love; your message will be better received.

  13. Tabitha says:

    Thank you Lisa and Gail for your responses to my post. I have been looking for a way to explain all this to the pastors and agree that the direct, open approach is the best. I also agree with you Gail that my mentoring should be focused on grooming someone to take over from me but no one has stepped up so far. nevertheless, I didn’t see until now that I should be thanking Spirit for taking me to a higer level of service and trusting Him to help me find a replacement. Really appreciate your encouragement.

  14. James Z says:

    Another great twist on the 80/20 rule. It’s okay to “fire” your customers if they don’t value your service enough to buy more or want more free stuff from you without anything back.

  15. Naresh says:

    WOW! That was real sensible and a simple solution to handle these time-wasting clients/customers. Need to apply this in my life too to ward off those nosey-bugs! Thanks, so much.

  16. Annie says:

    Kristen, that was an appropriate blog. I just came to realize the other day after spending hours over the past few days on emails to a friend who constantly wants more explanations, descriptions, information about a program i thought she might benefit from. She does this due to fear of taking action. I use to confuse my stopping the exchange as abandoning someone or being unkind to someone who needed support, but your 80/20 description is in alignment with some advice that one of my past mentors told me: stop trying to help that person; he is draining your energy and he isn’t ready to grow. Your blog was a very good remInder to put one’s energy toward interactions that value you because it’s those interactions in which both you and the other person(s) benefit and it’s time well spent.

  17. Diamond Dave says:

    Very good. I would also add that this doesn’t have to be just based on business or time. I have started to do this with people I just don’t like- I realized I have spent a lot of my life with people for some reason I have been put together with- family, neighbors, co-workers, church members,etc – some who I just do not care for- I’m not being harsh or judgmental but facing the fact I don’t get along well or mesh with everyone, many feel the same way about me I’m sure. Once I stopped spending time with or around them my life improved dramatically. Many situations that I had to deal with previously completely disappeared. Now I spend my time with people I like & enjoy — a much better & rewarding use of my life.

  18. Leon Jones says:

    Fantastic Day to you Kristen,

    That is a good read! I have personally found for myself, that the more I focus on being what I want, the universe tends to excuse the ones that abuse my time and drain my energy away. I do appreciate what you are saying very much.

    Have a wonderful day

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