The Vital Few Versus The Trivial Many: Be Intentional About Your Growth and Productivity

Image result for free productivity images

While it has been empirically proven that only about 20% of  what we do is responsible for 80% of the outcome, the next  logical question should be;

Why do the majority of people fail to observe and identify the 20% input that produces 80%, concentrate on them to increase their outcomes and lessen the 80% effort that amounts to nought?

It’s also called the principle of the vital few versus the trivial many.

Most people confuse activity for productivity. That you’re busy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting it right. It only fuels some kind of self-aggrandizement and vanity most of the time.

Be deliberate and intentional about measuring your progress and result as against your set goals, each week and month end.

Tweak, re-strategize, modify and re-adjust when and where necessary based on the feedback.

Doing this will put you in the upper echelon, amongst the few that are fortunate enough to understand the power of balance and positioning.

Are you ready to take the bull by the horn in 2018 for more productivity?


The Right People to Connect With and Send Your Cold-pitches to as a Freelance Writer

To be successful and profitable with freelance writing, there are things you need to get right and one of the important, if not the most important technique you need to get right is knowing how to craft a winning cold-pitch/cold email.

As important as this technique is, if the goal behind it which is, getting your cold-pitches read and responded to is not achieved, it makes the whole process pointless.

At the core of achieving this goal is knowing how to send your cold-pitches to the right or designated people within an organization or a company and getting away with it, if sent to the wrong personnel.

Here are a few important suggestions from tested, tried and practical strategies that will help you get it right with sending your cold pitches, getting it opened and responded to as a freelance writer.

What is a Cold-pitch or Cold-email?
I assume that you already know what a cold-pitch or cold-email is and how important it is to your success and profitability as a freelance writer.

With this understanding, I won’t bore you with the details of what a cold-pitch is but simply put, a cold-pitch is a content of a value proposition made to a prospect in hope that through it, a transaction might take place between the two parties.

The Designated Personnel Within an Organization or a Company
In every organization or company, there are always people designated for each of the tasks involved in running a business and failure to send specific requests or inquiries to the right personnel might affect an expected result.

As a freelance writer, for your cold-pitches to be read and responded to by a company or an organization, it has to be sent to the right people designated or those who are in the capacity to attend to your cold-email.

Depending on your niche/industry, these set of people are always the ones you should send your cold-pitches to except for in a few cases.

  • Chief Marketing Officers (CMO)
  • Marketing Directors
  • Content Marketing Directors
  • Digital Marketing Directors
  • Social Media Managers
  • CEO/Founders
  • Online Marketing Managers
  • Digital Marketing Managers

Where to Find Prospects That are Likely to Become High-paying Clients

  1. Job boards
A Job board like is a good place to look for potential clients to cold-pitch. It’s even better than you think because you already know that job posters are in need of a writing service they’re willing to pay for.

To maximize this, you’d have to do a thorough search of the job poster’s website. You must know all there is to know about the company and have an idea of the kinds of content they have on their websites. This knowledge, coupled with the writing service they’re in need of is another advantage you have.

Before you send your cold-pitches to job posters like this, you should come up with a content similar to what they’re in need of as posted and post the article on your blog if you have one, or on  LinkedIn Pulse.

By sending a cold-pitch like this, you’re increasing your chances of being chosen while also bypassing the competition from other writers that would contact them through the job boards.

In your cold-pitch, make sure you include the link to your prepared and posted article. I wish you good luck on this.

This article on Write Life is also a good place to start.

2. Find Leads on
You could also get warm leads on LinkedIn and Twitter.

How to Get Away With Sending Your Cold-pitches to the Wrong Personnel
There are times you’d want to reach out to prospective clients but can’t determine the right recipients of your cold-pitches probably because of the size of the company or undefined positions.

This might make your cold-pitches end up in the wrong inbox or with the wrong person. If it’s still within the same organization or a company, all you need do is make a request at the end of your cold-pitch, for the message to be forwarded to the appropriate person within the establishment.

You should only do this if you’re not sure you’re sending your pitch to the appropriate person. Ask humbly and nicely.

This should not be a practice for you when sending your cold-pitches to prospects. It should be a last resort after you’ve exhausted all the available avenue to getting the right person’s contact within an organization or a company.

A Simple Guide for Monitoring The Effectiveness of Your Cold-pitches and your Freelance Writing Business

After you must have gone through the rigor of finding out prospects, searching for what their businesses entail and getting hold of their contacts for your cold-pitches to be sent to, it might still be unproductive and end up being a futile exercise if you don’t follow up on your prospects with respect to your cold-pitches.

With all the busyness in the daily activities of business people which your prospects are not excluded from, there are so much happening in a day that might stand in the way of you getting a response the very first time from prospects.

One major reason being the fact that, an average busy person receives on the average 121 emails in a day as described in a statistics on LifeWire and as a result of this, your sent cold-pitches might end up being buried in a heap of all these emails.

Sometimes, your cold-emails are seen by prospects which they might actually note and plan to respond to but eventually forget to. It now becomes your responsibility to remind them periodically, of your value propositions.

There’s a popular formula for doing a follow-up on prospects you’ve already sent your cold-pitches to but you’ve not received responses from.

It’s a 3-7-7 formula which means that you send a reminder as regards your cold-pitches exactly 3 days, from the day you send the original cold-pitches, a second reminder exactly 7 days from the first reminder and a third reminder exactly 7 days from the second reminder.

This makes the life-cycle of a cold-pitch 17 days though it’s not cast in stone. You can re-adjust the follow-up days or lengthen it if you feel there’s a ray of hope and the prospects might be persuaded to becoming clients but are still taking their time to make a decision.

You just have to be very careful and not sound pushy in any way.

Here is a simple table for monitoring Prospects’ Follow-up and Sent cold-pitches for smooth and seamless running as a freelance writer. I hope it helps.

If you prefer to have it in a pdf, here it is:

Harnessing The Power of Technology For Business Productivity & Growth

It's almost becoming impossible in the current global business world to be optimally productive and experience real growth without the input of technology.

The advancement in technology has changed how businesses are being operated around the world and with many of its advantages and disadvantages, there’s no doubt about the fact that it has improved business efficiency, productivity, growth and profit making.

To actually take advantage of this upward trend, corporate bodies, mid-sized and small business owners need to intentionally incorporate into their business systems, modern technological techniques that enables continued viability and sustainable competitive ability in an ever competing business world.

To efficiently control and make use of the power of technology for business productivity and growth, the following areas must be looked into and adopted by businesses that wants to stay relevant and profitable.

Technology-Assisted Quality Training Process Improvement

For a company to keep up its game in the 21st century business environment, there has to be a system that allows and continually measure the ever evolving technological advancement particular to its industry in order to improve employee efficiency and the quality of products or services in its offering.
This can only be achieved by a thorough and quality training management. The training also has to be technologically improved on if it’s going to accomplish its primary objective and goal which is to empower the working team to provide perfect value to the customers/clients with as fewer as possible resources.

To keep up with the rapid business and productivity innovations that virtually comes up every day, any company worth its salt should have a team put in place to always be on the look-out for useful and latest technology that has the potential of increasing and improving the quality of the company’s output.

When this kind of technology is found, it’s the responsibility of such a team to bring to the awareness of the employees or the team it concerns. Technology has contributed immensely and has become so powerful that it could also be used in the improvement of the training process to achieve the training target of increased business productivity.

Taking Advantage of the Big Data Revolution Technology

“Big data” is a buzzword that up to a few years back has been used widely but most people didn’t know its meaning and usefulness until recently that most large companies started taking advantage of it to determine consumer behavior and engagement. Its usefulness and potential is far more than what the information and communication world had thought.

Technology happens to be the main drive behind harnessing the power of big data as it were. From the era when it was referred to as “information explosion” and was getting out of hand with the way information in the form of data started growing exponentially, the scientific method of analyzing information by data sets was a blessing to humanity.

It is now a general belief that big data could be analyzed to extract a large data sets to identify patterns in order to make economic, social and technical assertions that if properly managed can be used to predict and determine the probable future of an emerging market and ride on the wave to a more productive and profitable business.

To make all these happen, technology has to be involved in gathering, analyzing, linking and comparing large data sets to generate insights and discern trends that previously could not be done and to unearth useful market discoveries that has been buried in an immense database, with an almost perfect accuracy.

The Importance of Custom-Technological Design

To leverage technology for business productivity, profitability and growth, it has to be managed in a way that makes for industry specificificity. The competitive advantage that small and mid-sized companies used to have in the marketplace has considerably increased because of the affordability of new technologies made available mostly because of the emergence of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry.

It is therefore important for companies to consider technological designs made specifically and tailored for their companies as this will cut down on the cost, improve functionality, efficiency and quality deliverables.

This is where enterprise resource planning (ERP) comes to the rescue as it makes it possible not only for the large and high-resourced businesses but also for small and mid-sized businesses to invest and build a robust infrastructure that supports all the aspects of their business operations.

According to eresource ERP, it does this by integrating all departments and functions across a company in a single computer system that is able to serve all those different department’s particular needs. An ERP system also automates business processes by placing them into a useful format that is standardized and common for the whole organization.

The ideas mentioned in this post is just a little of what technology is capable of doing if harnessed properly for business productivity and growth.

How to Raise Your Value in the Marketplace (Part 2)

The following are some of the attributes of professional sportsmen and successful business owners that made so valuable to their world and as result of that, they were highly rewarded financially and productive wise in their various chosen professions.

You also can contextualize and apply some or a combination of these to increase your value in the marketplace and become successful in your chosen field and thereby experience business productivity and profitability.

This post is a continuation of a 3 part series. To read the first part of the series, click here

4.   They conquer barriers and leagues in stages to become big players in and of their industries
Successful people appreciate the importance of long term growth and investments. The truth is that any business or endeavor that’ll be successful requires time.

Time is truly the currency of life and together with patience and consistent growth, one can achieve anything that’s important enough to be set as a goal.

This truth plays out more than we’ll want to admit. It’s just like a boxer. He has the potential to become great at what he does but he doesn’t become a heavyweight champion the year he starts boxing. He has to go through the various weight levels.

While doing this, he must have been getting a fitter body, gathering the experiences from the fights with different competitors. It is no different for any individual or business that wants to level up and eventually become successful.

People do have different definition of what success in life and business mean to them. For each his/her own. Regardless of this, after a lot of findings and from experience, I think it’s safe to give yourself at least between 3-5 years for your business (If it’s a small-sized business) and about 5-10 years (If it’s a Medium or Large-sized business)to become successful.

My definition of success here is the point at which you reach profitability and this differs because of things like: the nature of business, (whether online or brick and mortar based) type of industry and so many other things.
Case study 5:
Footballer: Neymar

Case study 6:
Businessman: Jeff Bezos

5. They Have Coaches and Mentors
- Training Regime
- They wake up early for practise
- They are consistent and intentional about their growth

Case study 7:
Basketballer: Kobe Bryant

Case study 8:
Businessman: Marc Benioff

How to Raise Your Value in the Marketplace (Part 1)

Your value in the marketplace is what determines what gets to you in terms of customers/clients and revenues. In business, value is the basis for exchange. You are being patronized because of the value you create for your customers/clients by the quality of work you deliver and this in turn raises your own value.

I’ll be pointing out to you in this post how you can raise your value in the marketplace so as to be in a vantage point to attract customers/clients. This I will do by also including brief case studies of professional sportsmen and successful business owners in a bid to buttress and drive home my points.

These excellent and high-achieving set of people’s value in the Marketplace is evident in their deep pockets and high purchasing power not to talk of fame, popularity they become entitled to and the impact and impressions they’re making on a lot of people both young and old and their personal fulfillment and achievements.

There has to be some principles they’ve learned, mastered and applying. It’s a good thing for us as well to learn and apply same principles depending on our different and specific definition of success, dreams, goals and aspirations.

1.   They set goals, plan and work toward its achievement: They are go-getters.
It has already turned a cliché for people to say they set goals, make plans and work towards its achievement when in reality most do not know why they’re doing it but just because they see others doing it or because they were told to do so. This does not exclude even some business owners and corporate bodies.
An article on Inc explains why 92% of people don’t achieve goals even on things most people do year in year out: New Year Goals (It also shares insights on how to achieve set goals).

Only a little percentage of individuals, business owners and corporate organizations that set goals eventually achieve the goals they set. This is because talk is cheap and planning is powerless if there’s no conscious and deliberate willingness to take prompt actions in executing the right plans.
Setting targets and goals can only be effective when you understand the “why” and the purpose of the goals you set. This will lead you to the “what” part of the goals which prepares you for the “how” part of the process, which is the execution stage.
Professional athletes that have and nurture the goal of being Olympic medalists don’t just stop at the goal-setting stage. They come up with practical and workable plans together with their coaches and they break down the plans into a daily routine for at least the next four years during which they become fully committed their regimen.
They train to become Olympians not just by setting the goals but also by planning and staying fully committed to the right training, series of training re-adjustments and being consistent with their routines.
Likewise, if you read biographies and autobiographies of successful business owners and CEOs, you’ll notice a pattern. They are all fully committed to the three stages involved in any successful endeavors either in business or personal lives:
i.             Clarity of goals/purpose.

ii.            Proper and informed planning and guided decisions that comes from understanding their goals and

iii.          A daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly and lifetime commitment to the execution of ideas and plans.

case study 1:
Athlete: Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt is an interesting man and a delight to watch on the pitch as he strides and glides past his opponents like a bolt of lightning as his name suggests. Bolt’s success gladdens the heart of his fans around the world and he’s become a great source of inspiration for youngsters and would-be professional athletes.

Despite the fact that he has retired, he’s still the fastest man ever lived that has been timed. It is worthy to note that such an amazing achievement can’t be attained by wishful thinking not backed with decisive, continuous and deliberate actions. A typical day in his life; his daily regimen and structure on its own is exhausting and he had no choice if he wanted to stay relevant and on top of his game.

That goes beyond just setting goals. He was constantly putting in the work required. He was consistent and never gave up even when he had temporary failures along the way in his career.

This is a man that at a time suffered from Achilles tendon and curvature of the spine injuries but that didn’t deter him from getting back into play after the injury treatment and came back to win more golds and broke even more world records. He literally looked his numerous challenges in the eyes and overcame.

It paid off for him financially as well because of his raised and increasing value over the years in the athletic world. According to Celebrity Net Worth he’s worth around $60 million mainly from endorsement with big brands and prize money.

Case study 2:
Business Owner/CEO: Sir Richard Branson

For someone like Sir Richard Branson, hard work and prompt execution of ideas has become synonymous with living. It has become a lifestyle for him and this makes him thrive in areas most people dare not venture into.

This is a man that started more than four hundred (400) companies and still counting. In the process of taking charge of things and not taking the word “NO” for an answer. He was ready and willing to challenge the status quo and do what other people have not done at the expense of being laughed at or even resulting in failure.

One thing he did that really struck me was when he changed the way banking is being run when he started Virgin Money in Britain where branches look like living rooms with beautiful furniture in a serene and comfortable environment. With this, the bank was able to get rid of lines and teller windows and every customer attended to like a royalty.

Until he did that nobody had ever thought of banking in that manner. The better he executed the business ideas he had, the better ideas he had.

Because of time and space, I would like for you to read on some of his exploits in the business world and important advice he gave on starting a business, running a business, managing a business, hiring for business among other valuable lessons from him. You can get it here.

Despite having suffered from dyslexia at an early stage of his life, he allowed nothing to hold him back. You don’t have any genuine or valid excuses for not putting in your all and making a success of yourself. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

It paid off for him in many ways than I can count and as at the last time I checked, he’s one of the richest men Britain and the last time I checked according to Celebrity Net Worth, he’s worth about $5.1 billion, owns a private luxury island.

In working towards achieving any worthwhile goal, the execution brings back a feedback that allows you to if need be, re-target, tweak and make adjustments that will help align your actions and set you on the right course to putting together all the elements required to fulfill your goals.

Professional sportsmen and successful owners understand this and do not shy away from testing and retesting as much as they need to in reaching their goals which is an important factor responsible for the successes they enjoy.

Once they realize a plan or system is not working, they’re humble and experienced enough to admit and go back to the drawing board to make the necessary adjustments.

Your success in any endeavor is directly related to the quality and timeliness of your deliberate actions and the ability to recognize and differentiate between what’s working and what’s not.
2.   They keep learning, practicing and getting better at what they do

Almost all the professional Sportsmen and successful Business owners I know or have read about have one thing in common: They cultivate and maintain early in life a lifelong habit of personal/self-development.

To be successful at anything in this age, you have to be constantly and continuously learning because business strategies and methods changes almost on a daily or weekly basis. There is always an invention or a new way of doing things as a  result of people researching and finding new ways to simplify things, trying to change their communities or the world and using this to generate wealth so to speak.

An article on Forbes I came by in the course of my research for this topic has some excellent views on learning. It talks about the “skill of learning how to learn” among other things. This is an extract of what the contributor wrote that struck me and I quote

“Now change is driving an opportunity society, where the next step is undefined, and entrepreneurs are in the forefront of the wave of people whose best skill is learning how to learn ”

More than ever before, there’s a need for capacity building if you want to stay relevant and thrive in the business world of today. If you fail to do this, you’re falling behind.

Out of all the definitions of capacity building I have come across, that of Wikipedia captures the meaning in a powerful and concise manner and I quote

Community capacity building is defined as the "process of developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources that organizations and communities need to survive, adapt, and thrive in the fast-changing world."

Keeping up with the change is a survival skill that needs to be developed and mastered in this era bearing in mind that the actual learning is doing, practicing and more doing. Learning requires action and should not just stop at reading.

Case study 3:
Tennis player: Serena Williams

The tennis player born Serena Jameka Williams is arguably the best female tennis player in the world. Her achievements in life and sports really shows how success can be attained through tenacity, hard work and guts.

Hers is a typical story of starting little to becoming great with practice and hard-work. She has broken and set many records in the history of tennis. She had been world No. 1 female tennis player for 319  weeks. Even at those times she lost titles to competitors, she never lost her focus but rather fueled her thirst for more wins and titles.

Her achievement in sports can be traced to the power of consistent growth and it always involve deliberate actions. For someone that started her tennis training very early in life at 4 years old together with her sister and coached by their father, she worked her way from the ground up with sheer hard-work, discipline and resolve.

The following statement is credited to her:  “I feel like I have a desire to be better than ever. I am never, ever, satisfied. I always want to do more, be more, reach a new level. Not just in tennis but in everything I do.”

Truth be told, it is quite unbelievable what she has done in tennis. She won her first major at seventeen, and again won at the age of 33? That’s over a 16 year period! seriously that kind of longevity in tennis is very rare and probably has never happened.

By reason of her increasing value in the tennis world over the years, she has been financially rewarded handsomely largely from on-court earnings and  endorsements. According to Celebrity Net Worth, she is worth around $180 million.

Case study 4:
Businessman: Bill Gates

Bill Gates no more needs introduction to most people in the world today as he is the richest man on the plane. Most of his admirers and critics probably never know of his hard-work or enormous daily work load because it can only be imagined.

He founded Microsoft, the world’s largest software company together with his college friend Paul Allen and built it up to a powerhouse in the computer world. According to Net Market Share as at 2014, over 90% of the computers in the world operates on Windows. It’s being used by 1.5 billion people and Microsoft Office used by 1.2 billion people according to MSFT.

One recurring factor in the lives of successful people is their gumption even when things become difficult in their journey and it looks like they won’t survive it. What makes the difference is how they react to challenges. They are wise and experienced enough to know that it’s a passing phase.

From his early days of writing codes for BASIC software program that would later run on the Altair computer to creating Windows, Softwares, Gaming Console and all other branches of his company, he kept working at getting better and increasing value for both himself and Microsoft.
This Biography here does more justice to his challenges, exploits and achievements in the business world.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Bill Gates is worth around $90 billion. He was said to have collected over $10 billion in dividends since the company's IPO in 1986. The higher the value of his products and services, the higher his personal value and that has significantly paid off.

The next post in this series is on its way. Till then if there's any thing you'd like to share on how value can be raised or any other method you have used to increase your own value in the marketplace, please share in the comment section below.