Focus – Using the 90/10 rule

Focus 90/10 rule

The 90/10 rule

Why focusing on the one thing you do well is the best way to grow your business…

In our society, being busy has always been worn like a badge of honour. Multi-tasking is seen as some sort of skill that only the elite can do and those with the biggest to-do lists wave them around like certificates. Yet the tide is turning as more and more experts tell us that it’s focus that creates a successful business.

Focus is a massive subject and one that some people find scary and some people find impossible, me included.

Focus 90/10 ruleThe realisation that you can’t do everything is the subject of many a Youtube post by Adam and Pete from Atomic. This dynamic marketing duo are business partners and best friends who have been working together since leaving university. They tried their hand at numerous strands of marketing but realised they were doing lots of things averagely and nothing really well. Consequently they were spreading themselves too thinly and not making much money.

They did some research into successful entrepreneurs and came up with the 90/10 rule  - that if you focus on one thing 90% of the time, you can spend the other 10% experimenting – and this is the key to success.

Basically, it means to simplify what you’re doing and focus on the one thing that will work for you. This not only helps with the bottom line but it gives you mental space and clarity too.

Here are their top tips on how to focus for success:

Don’t  do stuff for the sake of it: 

This is flawed logic. It can be hard, especially in marketing, to not be involved in all the new social media platforms or latest channels but you can’t do them all without killing yourself! It’s also taking time away from your client work. So, focus on the one thing that brings you the most viewers or revenue and the thing you enjoy most and do it well. This is also the same for products and services – focus on the thing people want and the thing you do well.

Don’t make decisions based on emotion:

There’s a phrase in marketing that we make decisions based on 80% emotion and 20% logic. So, when you do make decisions, try to focus on the logic. Look at the data and let that tell you where you are making money, then focus on that one area. Don’t be afraid to get rid of other work, whether it’s other channels, or one to one client work, that isn’t making you money. Don’t try to sell people something they don’t want, even if you know they do!

Outsource your work:

A big realisation Adam and Pete made is that outsourcing isn’t about having loads of money, it’s the other way round – they have made money because they have outsourced! The more they outsourced, the more money they made and that’s because it allowed them to focus on one aspect of their business.

Follow the money:

focus 90/10 ruleStop doing stuff that doesn’t generate you money. Focus on the high impact stuff. It may seem daft to cut your income streams but Adam and Pete have made way more money doing that. They used the data and followed the logic and now they’ve gone from making ‘measly amount to six figure sums’! For example, when they analysed data that showed them over 50% of people were coming to them via Youtube, they decided to focus on Youtube rather than spending time on other channels. They quickly went from 3,000 to 30,000 viewers a month.

Get out of your own way:

This means don’t be afraid to get help and advice from other people. Ask experts to talk you through how they did something. If you’ve read an inspirational book or heard a great keynote speech at a conference, drop them an email – you’ll be surprised how willing people are to give back and help you out.

Go and participate:

focus 90/10 ruleGo to live events, meet people, travel and stretch yourself. You’ll find yourself stagnating otherwise. Just talking to like-minded people is amazing and can have a huge impact on your business. You need people around you to support and encourage you but don’t surround yourself with ‘yes’ people – you also need people to challenge you. You’ll often find that the things that have the biggest impact are the scariest and most unknown things – that’s how to grow a business.


Adam and Pete have a weekly Youtube show called Marketing Unboringed. They also run the UK’s leading content marketing membership community, Atomic, and host the UK’s largest digital marketing conference, Atomicon. Find out more at

For more details on how to Focus on your business using the 90/10 rule listen to the full Podcast at :


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