It's all about leverage.
Here's the deal: everyone, through unique life experiences, has their own unique sets of skills, strengths and talents.
But more importantly, you have a unique combination of those sets of skills.
If you find you have a talent for writing, the first thing you're going to figure is "Hey, maybe I should do something where I get paid to write!"
Congratulations, you're already a step ahead of the curve.
But what if you're also great at systems thinking or negotiating or physical expression... or whatever else you happen to be good at?
The more time you spend doing the things you're the best in the world at, the more you will get paid.
If you're great at writing, you have a slight edge.
But if you do something where you can get paid for doing MORE of the things you're good at -- in COMBINATION -- that makes up your personal USP (unique selling position) -- and your income goes up exponentially, and your competition goes DOWN exponentially.
The more things you do that you are great at, the fewer people have your exact combination of skills and strengths and talents.
It's a simple question of supply and demand.
A doctor is well paid because it's hard to become a doctor, so there's fewer of them. At the same time, they perform a highly valuable service. Because there are so few of them, hospitals need to compete for them.
If you identify five things you're exceptionally talented at, and you figure out a way to combine all of them in your work or business, there will be almost no one else on the planet who can do what you do.
If you're great at writing, cool. There's a lot of other people who are great at writing, too. Big pool of competition if you want to get well paid for it.
But if you're also great at systems thinking AND negotiation AND physical expression AND public presentation skills...
A lot of people are good at those things, but virtually no one else will have your exact combination of talents.
If you can leverage that to do something that's valuable to others, you will be one of a kind. No one else will be able to solve problems the way you can solve problems. You'll have a monopoly on it. You can charge $2000 an hour for your time.
The first step is figuring out what you're the best in the world at.
If you insist that you're mediocre and you're not really good at anything, you're lying to yourself and you're afraid of facing who you are. You've allowed yourself to get rolled over by society. Everyone has a unique combination of EXPERIENCES, and that's where perspective and insight comes from.
Figuring out what you're the best at may be the most important thing you ever do.
It may take a while. I haven't fully figured out myself either. I know I'm good at writing. I'm GREAT at strategy and what I think of as "design thinking," I'm naturally good at selling and I'm good with people.
Some of my writing is also pretty bad, because while I'm good at writing, I'm really bad at editing.
Another aspect of this is figuring out what you absolutely SHOULDN'T be doing. If you're good at writing and you can get paid for it, your time spent writing might be worth $50 an hour. However, if you're BAD at writing and you still spend your time writing, that time is probably worth -$50 an hour when you factor in opportunity cost.
Don't do things you're not naturally good at doing. It drains you instead of energizes you, and it's a huge waste of opportunity since you (A) could have done something with that time that you're actually good at and (B) you could have gotten someone else who's good at that thing to do it.
The ultimate 80/20 application of how to spend your personal time is:
1. Figure out your exact combination of skills and strengths and talents
2. ONLY DO THOSE THINGS
3. Build a team around you. A team of people who ARE good at those things you're not. This way, you will end up with a very very valuable group of people who, as a team, are exponentially more valuable than the sum of its parts.
Do you get it now?
That's about all I had to say. I'm thinking a lot about this kind of stuff. I just finished reading my (signed) copy of Perry Marshall's new book "80/20 Sales and Marketing" and my brain is violently throbbing trying to digest it. Probably the most important business book I've ever read.
Most of the ideas in this post, I stole from Perry, as I understand them. A lot of things I write are just for personal benefit, so I can better figure it out for myself. In this case, I thought this would be extremely valuable for just about anyone else.
I shall leave you with this thought from Gary Vaynerchuk: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5fpyoxUAMbE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" />
The best personal development blogging, juggling, motivational speaker. Haha it's sounds goofy, but I could see it working! Blogging helps clarify my thoughts and builds an audience for speaking gigs, juggling gets their attention once I'm on stage, and then BAM. They're hit with my talk, and motivated to change their life AND they have a resource in my blog to change it with. Brilliant!
A reader emailed me to ask why I didn't use an affiliate link for the Amazon book link. Hah.
In case anyone else is wondering:
1. (The real reason) I'm too lazy to click two buttons and generate the link. Don't really care about the 50 cent commissions.
2. Also, if I did, a lot of people wouldn't get a copy because they'd think I have a hidden agenda. Or whatever. Anyway, that would be a disservice to anyone reading this, considering how good the book is. (it's really good, like, makes-your-brain-implode kind of good.)
Mate, look at it this way and tell me what you think:
1) An amazon link takes about 30 seconds to generate. Assuming you make just one sale, your making $100/hour by ratio.
At the size your blog is and the type who read it, I'm guessing you'll make abut 0.5 sales/link ($50/hour). As your blog grows, so will your sales/link. Your amount of links will also grow, and old links will still generate revenue as your more loyal readers go back into your archives.
2) We don't think this. Look at the comments on your blog: people planning websites, talking about amazing books, TAKING ACTION and sharing successes...we know you stuff is good quality, we know you're not milking us, and we'd love to give you free money in return for a great tip. We understand giving value for value (especially when it costs us nothing).Those who don't get a copy of a great book because the person recommending it did so with an affiliate link, wouldn't have gotten the book period. If they don't trust you enough to take your advice without thinking you're main motive is trying to make money off them, then they definitely don't trust you enough to take your advice on life improving books to read.
Go ahead Linus, use affiliate links. You'll make some free money, help weed out those who you don't want in your community in the first place, and give us a way to reciprocate some of the value you give to us.
Have you read The Dip Linus?
People greatly enjoyed "How to Set Your Consulting Scope and Fees," and there were a number of questions. Here's a crucial one -- reader "Tom H" asks --
Here is the exact verbatim language to put in your proposal --
The quality of work is guaranteed, if the work is not consistent with the quality expressed, your full fee will be refunded.
I'm pretty good at a lot of things. I'm a good programmer, a good blogger, a good writer, a good poker player and so on. Am I one of the BEST programmers in the world? Nope, not even close. Best bloggers in the world? Again, no. Writer? Not within miles of it. Poker player? Middling.
There's a type of bet in sports called a parlay. If you don't know what that is, it's a bet on multiple events. To get paid off, you have to be right on all of them. So maybe the 49ers have to win their game, the Patriots have to win theirs, and the Steelers have to win their game. Even if every event is pretty likely to happen-- say fifty percent to make the math easy, the odds of all three happening are pretty slim. One in eight. Because it's rare for all of the events to happen in the same way, you get paid off proportionally well.
In the same way, combinations of skills are extremely rare and valuable. I may not be the best at any of those things, but I doubt you can find someone who is as good at all four combined as I am. That's not because I'm amazing, it's just because we've all picked a handful of things that we specialize in. You might be the best juggling / running / physicist in the world.
Luckily very few things in this world require only one skill. Even things that seem like they do, like painting, also require storytelling, marketing, social skills, etc. In the infinite world of possible paths, we all have the opportunity to use our set of specialties and change the game so that the winner is the person who has those skills.