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20% of your effort leads to 80% of the results you create. That’s the essence of the Pareto Principle.

Now, if you were to look closely, you’d probably see this principle at work in a variety of areas.

We’ve certainly seen it at work at Music Entrepreneur HQ over the years.

80% of our website traffic comes from content and SEO. We went all-in on content from day one, and our focus was rewarded with search traffic.

20% of our website traffic comes from social media – mostly Facebook and Twitter.

In our early days we invested heavily in automation and social sharing tools to boost our social media traffic. And while we did see it go up, the ratio always stayed the same. 80% of traffic came from search and SEO, and 20% came from social media.

Ultimately, that prompted us to let go of our subscriptions to a lot of SaaS apps. Most of them don’t cost that much, but $10 here, $50 there, $30 over here… it all adds up.

We stopped putting so much effort into social media, and instead reinvested that time into content.

You know what’s interesting, though?

The ratio stayed the same…

Content and SEO traffic dropped to meet the decline of social media traffic. Fascinating how that works.

So, yes, while it is always good to understand that most of your results are coming from a few of the things you’re doing, there are times when cutting out the 80% of activity isn’t going to produce more focused results. The ratio will always adjust itself to be in balance.

In his book, The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson talks about how in any area of life, you’re always on an upwards curve, or a downwards curve. Small, consistent, daily actions lead you to being on the upward slope. Neglect, inconsistency, and inaction leads to you to being on the downward slope.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your career, business, finances, health, fitness, relationships, or otherwise. Things are always getting a little bit better, or they’re getting a little worse. Temporary imbalance is fine, even necessary at times. But whatever areas you’ve neglected will be on a downward slope by the time you’ve returned to them.

The Pareto Principle is Always at Work

The key is to notice it.

Inc. says most employees are only productive for about three hours per day.

Interesting. Because 20% of 24 hours is just under five hours.

Since about 2011, 80% of my income has always been from the music business in some way, shape, or form. 20% has been from design, websites, content, communities, and other projects.

If you were to look closely at your own income ledgers, you’d also find that 80% of your income is coming from one overarching source.

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