The One Most Important Thing…

by on Nov 08 2010

At my recent PLF Live Event I had someone come up to me and ask me what the ONE THING was… the one thing that has meant all the difference for me and my success – the one thing he should focus on as his business grows.

And that’s a really tough question!

When people ask me how they should get started… well, that’s easy. I always tell them to start building a list. And the second thing is to only focus on selling stuff that you know the people on that list really want. If you stick to those two things, it’s hard to go wrong with your online business.

But what’s the one most important thing to focus on in your business? The one thing that makes all the difference?

Well, my answer was “opportunity cost”…

Wikipedia says that opportunity cost is “the cost related to the next-best choice available to someone who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices.”

That’s sorta hard to understand… I just think of it as “what you have to give up when you choose between two or more different choices.”

And that cost is NOT restricted to financial cost. For an entrepreneur, the biggest opportunity cost is often time.

When you first start out, you will likely have limited capital. And since you’ll be doing most everything yourself, you’ll definitely have limited time.

So picking the right opportunity is HUGELY important. Making the wrong choice can set you back weeks, months or even years.

That’s what opportunity cost is all about… you have to realize that chasing an opportunity has a greater cost than any financial expense it requires.

I don’t want to scare you into inaction… because taking no action has a HUGE opportunity cost. I just want you to realize that when you decide to go down one road, there are several other roads that you won’t be able to go down… or at least they will be greatly delayed.

Of course, once you start to have success, then the issue of opportunity cost becomes even greater.

This is the deal… the more successful you become, the more “opportunities” you will have. This is what we call “deal flow”… you start to have success, you build up a series of assets, you prove your worth… and all of a sudden everyone wants to do a deal with you.

And deal flow is a GOOD thing. That’s how the rich get richer. That’s one of the reasons why it’s easier to go from $100,000 to a $1,000,000 than it is to go from zero to $1,000.

But as you get into the deal flow, it’s easy to get distracted. You only have so much time, energy, attention, assets, etc… and every time you make a choice to pursue an opportunity, you are giving up something.

Usually, for entrepreneurs, that something is time.

I just heard Dean Graziosi use this analogy… he said it’s like he has a bookshelf that’s completely full. If he finds another beautiful book he wants to buy… well, he can. But that means he has to take one of the other books on his shelf and throw it away.

So remember… having choices in your business is great. But those choices have an opportunity cost.

Making the right decisions around that opportunity cost is one of the biggest factors in the success of your business.

86 Comments

  • cory shanes says:

    Jeff – First off, I think its awesome that you’re blogging now too. Glad to see you’re active in social media more now.

    This is a great post, and time is without a doubt a huge factor in making a decision. I found an evolution in my business when I moved my copy from telling people I can help them make more money, to helping those already making money, to freeing up some of their time.

    Having a system that builds a list for them is what I feel like would be one of the best solutions.

    On that note, I recommend you add the “fblikebutton” pluggin to your WordPress blog. It makes it even easier for a reader to share your article with their friends. They simply take half a second to click their mouse on the like / thumbs up button.

    Speak soon,

    Cory Shanes

  • Clay Franklin says:

    Great article Jeff.
    Sometimes we forget what we are giving up when we make choices.
    I learned about opportunity cost when I was a strategic business manager at HP.
    The cost of a delay to a new product is huge for big business. If you think about it, it can be huge for a entrepreneur also.
    One way I advise others to decide is to look back on the decision five years from now and do what you will have wished you did in the future looking back.
    @ClayFranklin

  • Excellent reminder Jeff. By the way – PLF Live was AMAZING!! I have pages and pages and pages of incredible notes so thank you so much. I’ve found my intuition is a huge help when the “deal flow” gets intense. While many opportunities look great on paper – many of them can be huge distractions, even when they’re from people I really like. So when in doubt, I turn inside and let me gut guide me.

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @Marie… it was great having you at the event, and so much fun having you get up on stage and talk about your launch (and awesome videos).

      It’s good when you can trust your intuition, and when you’ve built up enough experience to know you can trust it.

  • Ah yes, the beauty of having SO many opportunities is you really can let some go. The better you get at spotting the ones that work for you — and that you truly enjoy — the faster you can pass on the others and move on.

    I’ve often thought it would be fun to have an opportunity bank where entrepreneurs could drop off unused opportunities (not to be confused with squandered ones) for others who do have the time or inclination to capitalize on them.

    Letting go of opportunties is infinitely easier when you know there are more to come.

    Thanks for the reminder Jeff, and for the opportunity to learn from you.

    Valerie Young
    Dreamer in Residence

  • Matthew Loop says:

    Good post, Jeff… Time is the one thing you can never get back so it should be guarded closely. It’s imperative to understand ways to leverage your time, energy, and efforts early on so your business can grow faster and focus more on the deals. With experience also comes the ability to filter the “opportunities” better.

  • Nice post Jeff.

    Thanks,
    Willie

  • Jane Savoie says:

    Boy! Did I ever need to hear that right now. As always, thanks, Jeff!!
    Jane (the Horse Ballet lady)

  • Oli Hille says:

    Hi Jeff

    Again right on the money. Time is the most precious resource we have.

    I have a page of my Lifestyle website devoted to it:

    http://www.LifestyleBook.com/time

    I’m still enjoying and applying PLF!

    Oli Hille
    Author
    “Creating the Perfect Lifestyle”

  • Lee Pound says:

    Jeff, this is a very good post. From what I’ve seen, most people just grab the first opportunity that comes their way without considering what they may have to give up. There are so many wonderful things we can do that making a choice can be difficult.

    By the way, I had a great time at the PLF live event a few weeks ago and am putting together a launch that focuses on my core business. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

  • How timely! I’m at a crossroads right now and was just ruminating on my choices, even laid out my options on a spreadsheet and rated them as to various characteristics. Ease Of Implementation, Profit Potential, Residual Potential, etc. all play a part in the process.

    I also found that lifestyle considerations weigh very heavily. I’m just working too hard…even for an OutSourcerer!

    Don’t let that opportunity cost scare you into analysis paralysis, though. The sooner you fail, the closer you are to your next success!

    Thanks for the post Jeff!

  • Completely agree.. I don’t know where I would be if I wasn’t building my list.. It’s an asset that no one can take from you.. thanks for sharing this with us Jeff..

    Talk soon
    Hector

  • Branodn says:

    You strike up a good point Jeff. To add to your thoughts, I think a lot of people don’t ever do anything because of there being so much opportunity. It seems that there a million and one ways to make a living online. And so some Joe Smoe’s try to get into affiliate marketing, blogging, product launching and everything else that is being promoted. They are basically trying to start 5 businesses at once instead of starting and building one sustainable business such as you mentioned, and then integrating the others along the way strategically.

    Pick that One opportunity, accept it’s cost, and take action.

    Best to ya Jeff,

    Brandon

  • I totally agree with: “For an entrepreneur, the biggest opportunity cost is often time.”

    Focus on your plan, strategy, and execution.

    Extreme time management!

    Standardize, integrate, and automate.

    Time is a perishable commodity!

    “For an entrepreneur, the biggest opportunity cost is often time.”

  • Kalem says:

    Great post, Jeff. My next question for you would be, since “opportunity cost” is so important, what criteria do you use when considering which opportunities to go with? Of course, I recognize that each opportunity might be different. I just wonder if you’ve developed a set criteria that you run each opportunity through.

    Thanks, again, for the post and the insight.

    Kalem

    • Jeff Walker says:

      Kalem… literally as this blog post was getting published, I thought to myself… well duh, now I really should cover how I go about picking opportunities. So look for that in an upcoming post… 🙂

  • Just one hard hitting on the nose valid point here, Jeff. Totally dig it, and as I read through it. I’ve paid a high price for opportunity when I should have thought a little more and weighed the options. Super cool post, boss.

  • Poppie says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for that!
    You have just opened the can of worms into HOW TO MAKE DECISIONS?
    You always enter my mailbox with your words of wisdom at the exact moment I need confirmation or a boot along.
    I’d just got off the phone to a friend who I asked to help me with this very thing.
    Opportunity cost, although I’d labeled it as “confusion”.
    I know God is not a God of confusion, so therefore I had to go with what my higher self was needing to allow me to accomplish my chosen mission here, even though it seemed to have not as much logical application as one of 4 other opportunities on the table.
    Thanks for the heads up…yet again and dead on time too!
    Kindest,
    Poppie/Mary .

  • Sometimes its hard to judge the right opportunity i have had bad experiances in the past and paid for it,in time and the little money i had $20k to be exact.
    I wont look back” just be careful when you put your hard earned money into any opportunity
    do your homework and if it seems to good to be true it will be.
    Jeff my son teaches Guitar if you look at the above website and listen to Persona you may like it Regards,Norm

  • Sam Seegars says:

    Thanks Jeff! You always offer so much value to your readers and students.
    The “one thing” is a toughie. I think it’s different for everyone. Most people start strong and fizzle out. Burning desire backed by continued action is an important part of the equation particularly when people are getting started.

    ~ Everything costs something ~

    Thanks for the words of wisdom and willingness to share.

    Sam Seegars
    http://listbuildingaction.com

  • Jeff,

    As usual, your are succinct and to the point. Opportunity cost and opportunity loss are big issues. In today’s market it’s all too easy to think we’d better try this one or that one instead of looking at their relative worth. Thanks.

    I agree with Cory – Get a like button or grab th elike box from facebook and get it pasted on your blog.

    Jess Wilkinson

  • Julie Isaac says:

    That’s something rich to chew on.

    Every choice you make has a consequence, a cost. To choose one path is to delay or discard every other path.

    That’s both a blessing and a curse.

    The challenge is to let go of thinking about all the other roads not taken. Once you make a choice–travel that path wholeheartedly. Put your full focus there. Be willing to do whatever is necessary.

    Split energy can sink a great opportunity. So let all the other paths go. There will be other forks in the road, other choices, but they come later.

    Thank you for bringing “opportunity awareness” our way.

    Julie

  • Lorna says:

    I agree with you totally about time. But as you start up in this business, getting the first sale is absolutely daunting. I think once you have that, the rest should be easy. Coming from a completely different sales background, I find that my time as an internet marketer is absorbed ten times more than in the ‘real’ world. I have the business model down, but not the internet part. Time is all I have right now and I think your point is that we fritter it away on the internet easier than at a bricks and mortar business. thanks for the article.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Willie Crawford, Jeff Walker, tshombe, Jay Castillo, Margaret Gill and others. Margaret Gill said: Just been having a read of this oh so true concept RT @jeffwalker The One Most Important Thing… http://bit.ly/brNPEn […]

  • Thanks for that Article Jeff. The one most important thing to me is being totally invovled in what I am doing right now. That I am helping as many people as possible right now. Reading “The Power of Now” by Ekahart Tolle as changed my perspective on the one most important thing

  • I recently watched an interview with an author who was asked to explain what his plan was now that his new book was out.

    He said he can’t predict that because the first book’s success opened up so many unexpected deals and he expects the same opportunities for the second book.

    The lesson for me? Leave yourself open for deal flow.

  • Pierre says:

    Great post Jeff.
    It reminds of Seneca, the Roman philosopher, which one said that man are extravagant in the only matter where they should be thrifty: their time.

  • G Filotto says:

    Excellent point. Thanks for clarifying something I should already have clear in my head!

  • Great reminder on what we need to do to keep focused and choose wisely.

  • That was great Jeff. I could agree with you 100% on the mindset you need to be in, when taking your business to level. I’m 17 and I finally quit researching and decided to make my 2nd info product now after my first totally failed. I’ve taken my fail as a value of learning where I went wrong. One of the things that went wrong was the fact that I was all over the place when It came to time. Time is my most valuable asset and it should be valued enough for it to be organized so that my business can run efficiently and what not.

    Also like most new Im’ers, I was all over the place jumping from the new best things to tomorrows, and that just totally wasted atleast 4 months until I litterally had to sit there and ask myself “What’s going to help my mom pay the bills? What am I most knowledgable about and comfortable doing? Can I stick to it and enjoy doing it enough not to let me get distracted from different opportunites?”. I asked myself those questions before figuring out what I was fully going to do, which became selling info products.

    To sum it all up, when your not successful yet, opportunities that don’t contribute to your current business in a positive way are like grenades waiting to blow up in your face. You should only go for unrelated opporunities when you are already successful and have the “time” to still grow your other business and eventually create an empire.
    But if you’re a guy like me and just starting out, dodge the opportunities stick to one thing and only take opportunities that will grow the current business your working on.

    To Our Success,
    Corey

  • Yin Li says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I would add, the “Mindset Cost”… Having the wrong mindset, believing in the wrong mindset, acting on the wrong mindset… usually cost an entrepreneur yearssss to “clean it” and not to even mention building a business strong.

  • Jaydee says:

    Jeff, Great post I know exactly what you mean I’m just launching a Jewelry Making Course and it takes so much time to get traffic to this site. Everyone tells me I need to hire someone to do all this work but I’m on a very limited budget right now. But I do see once you get this business going then the next one is that much easier because you can hire people and create more time.

  • Thomas says:

    Hey Jeff,

    This is a huge point! If you can combine the awareness of “opportunity cost” with a focused sense of what’s right for you and an unwavering decisiveness, that would round off the picture pretty good.

    BTW: I like good old fashioned WP comments 🙂

    Cheers,
    Thomas

  • Tom Watson says:

    Bingo…that is also why it is so important to choose the right mentor. You want to follow folks that have a proven track record. Choosing the wrong mentor adds greatly to the opportunity cost because time is all you have in the beginning.

    I really enjoyed that post. Thanks.

  • Mike Mareska says:

    Hi Jeff, this was a very timely message for me – thank you.

    You see, I know how to cure depression and I want to teach everyone how to do it. In the last few months I have been learning about “marketing”. The focus seemed to be on how I could make money out of my knowledge. But I couldn’t get into it – something always felt wrong.

    Your blog post got me in the heart, I began to melt inside as I read it. I realized that (for me) there is another opportunity that is being lost too; and that is the opportunity to help another person. I suddenly realized that the longer I do nothing about sharing my knowledge, the more people will be forced on the path of psychotropic medications because they had no alternative to what the doctors offered.

    I am going to focus exclusively on helping and teaching people how to cure their depression. I do not want to feel the pain of their life’s lost opportunities because I was too afraid to “put it out there”.

    Thanks Jeff, I owe you one mate.

    Namaste,
    Mike

  • Very profound. It is that way in all of life, but vital to understand this principle in our businesses. But I also agree moving ahead is better than doing nothing.

  • I’v noticed oppertunity cost as well Jeff… Great post!

    Thank you!

  • So true, Jeff. Thanks you. I’ve been sacrificing a lot lately because of one choice. It’s the one I believe will bring the best return, above all the rest. One such decision was PLF 3.0 and that was the right one so, I must be doing something right!!!!

  • Nick Klopper says:

    The biggest opportunity cost is definitely time. There is only so much we can do as one person… That’s why it’s important to leverage your time through automated processes and outsourcing/developing a team. This has been my biggest struggle… There is so much you can do on the internet it can be hard to keep focused on one thing.

  • Mike says:

    Great post Jeff.
    Sometimes we don’t think about the choices we make by default. By not making a decision we actually make a decision. When faced with multiple choices and we find ourselves incapable of making a decision we’re actually in fact making a decision.
    Thanks…ml

  • Binod Maliel says:

    For a new (and maybe not only new) entrepreneur, the ‘temptation’ to try the next new fad is often irresistible. When working on something that could spell success, being attracted to the next great offer that comes is common. The result? Money needlessly spent on the new offer, money lost on the previous opportunity being worked on, and also the opportunity lost of the success that could have been gained working on the previous opportunity. All this loss of focus results in the loss of time that is lost forever.

    Great post Jeff, and very thought provoking.

    So, think big, have great dreams. But keep working on your plan and don’t jump to new opportunities without first exhausting all possibilities with the existing opportunity. Break this rule only and only if the new opportunity is at least 10 times as big as the existing opportunity.

    The result? Saved money. And more money made by focusing on your plan without getting sidetracked.And more time to do things that matter to your success.

    Binod Maliel

  • Hi Jeff

    Make minutes matter! Do, delay, dump and delegate. All things I wish I was better at!

    While I have a few PLF materials, what if the product is free and you simply want to change the world, as I do? My pre-launch URL is for Oprah, yet you can check it out too.

    Thank you!

    Jonathan

  • dani says:

    Searching and sifting without mentorship, in a very new niche (for me that is). Which way to go and who to listen to… what products to invest in, that will get me from point A to point B without taking advantage of people. This internet marketing “thing” seems crazy, shifty and just confusing. Everyone is selling everything and saying something different.

  • Glenn says:

    Indeed, opportunity cost is very ‘real’ and has very real implications – whether or not one takes notice of the fact. I recently tried to influence a customer’s choice as to course of action to resolve a service issue. It is unfortunate that his decision, born within the absence of understanding, will cost significantly more while yielding lower quality results. I incurred opportunity costs [in terms of time and the alternative uses thereof], as will he through having increased the total time and expense required to ‘resolve’ his issue – while reducing the quality of his end results.

    From what you have shared, it is evident that an entrepreneur’s proactive address of opportunity costs can leverage their results, particularly if such contemplation precedes the planning and implementation of a business or project – among the highest of entrepreneurial leverage points. From this emerge prospects of leveraging opportunities themselves, ensuring that ‘what is done’ is ‘what should be done’ consistent with prioritization among available alternatives.

  • “… because taking no action has a HUGE opportunity cost.”

    Probably the single most important phrase in this awesome post. I believe this is the thing most people fail to realize. That is, until it’s too late. I hear it all the time: “I should’ve bought that house 5 years ago when it was dirt cheap…” or “If I had just started investing when I was in my 20’s”. The list goes on. I also appreciate the concept of the “deal flow” and how one’s forward momentum naturally propels them to greater success. Thanks for the reminder, Jeff!

  • Thanks for sharing you get a good response JW I enjoyed reading the comments too, well done everybody. If you Digg this post look me up at trashrobot please.

  • Gail Fay says:

    I think we need to compare online opportunities to those in the “real” world. When a youth has to make a decision on what career path to pursue when leaving school it can be very stressful for many of them. A lot of them just want to earn a good living.

    The same goes for the newbies who decide to try the online world. There are so many different ways to do business online, yet there is little or nothing to prepare them for which line of business to go into.

    The first and foremost consideration is to know one’s real strengths (and many people don’t know) & passions and work out a way to leverage them online. One of the reasons many fail is that they just want to make money, and get drawn in by so-called “opportunities” without having a plan.

    Getting educated, incorporating what you really enjoy and working with your strengths is a great start.

    Success is more likely to come to those who do great things to help others, rather than those who continually chase “opportunities”.

  • Deborah says:

    Thanks Jeff for this. So brilliantly put! I too, wish I had understood this when I first began. I’m also thinking this phenomenon can occur when we transition between projects/businesses or redesign our current business; not just when we are beginning.

    I’ve been experiencing the time “cost” you mention in learning “what I didn’t know that I didn’t know”. Glad someone is talking about that factor. I find it comforting and oddly encouraging. I hope to remember what I’ve learned in terms of factoring in the “learning curve” for my future.

  • Thanks Jeff. This is a great post and a great reminder of just keeping taking focused action!

  • Mau Fournier says:

    Great post, excellent timing. Thanks for reminding me of this!!

    -Mau

  • I take the last line as the sum of your thoughts…

    “So remember… having choices in your business is great. But those choices have an opportunity cost… Making the right decisions around that opportunity cost is one of the biggest factors in the success of your business.”

    But the thing for newbies like us, our main concern always is choosing the right tools and ensure that this works to our advantage and need. Most often, we fall victims to the superhyped program that at the end of the day we end up loosing time and effort for this useless tools…

    Do you have any suggested Criteria in picking up the right tools for us to us, eg. Link Building?

    Thank you for this insightful post…

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @Ruben: I’ll follow up with another blog post soon where I go over some of the ways I make decisions in the face of opportunity cost.

      Picking tools for an online business is one of those areas where it’s really really hard. The choices are complex, and it’s rare when you can make “apples to apples” comparisons. Almost none of the tools work in a vacuum… you have to fit them in with other tools, and that’s when things get REALLY complex. And the decisions depend 100% on your specific business, and where it’s going.

      Over the years, I’ve made some good choices and I’ve made some bad choices… no one is perfect. I’m lucky now that my network of friends in the business is so big that I can get lots of opinions on most any tool. But when you’re first starting out you don’t have that.

  • G’day Jeff…

    Great post…and thanks for teaching me this early on…this is one of the most important things I’ve had to practice since being accepted to the Platinum PLM group…

    Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes and asking the right questions is vital to making choices.
    Detachment is also important, this is a tough position to come from when starting out, but as deal flow grows, so does the comfort level.

    Cheers…James

  • Jeff,

    First off, we had a blast at PLF Live 3.0 – thank you!

    Second, something that has been occurring for me is the need for short feedback loops. Figure out how to get feedback as quickly as possible to make sure you are on-track with the opportunity you choose so you can either make course-corrections or minimize your sunk costs.

    Jason

  • Jules says:

    The amount of opportunities I’ve chased has cost me dearly in time spent spinning my wheels. Much time has been sacrificed unnecessarily. If I was to start again I would hire a coach to help me focus on a plan and learn from those who were already successful with what they do. Oh, and I would be very careful about whose email lists I subscribe to, only joining those who provide value such as this post, thanks Jeff.

  • Hi Jeff
    wikipedia says Serendipity is a propensity for making fortunate discoveries while looking for something unrelated.
    Just now I sat at my lap top to ask my PLF Mastermind group about which path I should take early next year and “bang” my first email is your Blog !! So I m back in the game and not as despondent as I was 5 mins ago. It is seriously hard to get started and even though I have gone over PLF 3 several times I m still floundering. But I know I can do it and I know I will do it ! Plf 3 ,you Jeff and my group are all fantastic so with great support and back up I ll get there . God Bless you Jeff and thanks for all ,this year has been a blast, Your blog looks great I suspect Cousin Andy is out there somewhere !! Susan

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @Susan: thanks for you kind words…

      And let me tell you, having a mastermind group, in my experience, is the SINGLE best way to deal with making decisions around opportunity cost. Almost every time I’m faced with a complex decision in my business (ie, I’m face to face with “opportunity cost”), then I will run it by my mastermind group (or at least one of them – I’m in several).

      And the track record for those decisions that come out of my mastermind is a lot better than the track record of those decisions I tried to make in a vacuum.

  • Adrian Birt says:

    Excellent piece Jeff, thank you. It also makes me think about how we assess the opportunity cost, because sometimes we do those things which interest, entertain us or make us look clever rather than move the business forward. A lot of opportunities can be mundane work but yield more than those which keep us interested. Keeping a balance means we need to be objective in assessing the opportunity, and the object is business growth.

  • Hi Jeff,

    Great post.

    I’m an economist (well long time ago now) so I totally get what you are saying. I try to explain to the clients I work with that their time is as important if not more important than their money. If they spend 3 months working on something that they haven’t tested then it’s actually the same as three months lost income! Wheras if they get something out in a couple of weeks and it doesn’t work then they can move on.

    Loving your blog 🙂

    Cathy

  • fit4thabo says:

    Great point Jeff. We all sell time and it can be painful watching it burn. I do think sometimes what seems like an opportunity cost at the time can be well invested time for the future. I sold out of my last business after 18 months of heavy lifting and taking on partners who were not good for me. I was devastated given much as I quit, I was muscled out and lost our business in the process. While some people thought that the money I invested and the time were all lost when I exited, I think it has done me wonders for where I am today particularly on the confidence to believe in my idea and go for it! The biggest return on investment I have is I used to think I could not sell. I had to learn how to sell in that business and now I don’t get stage fright when someone mentions the word sell or business development. Now I thrive on engaging people and connecting with them. So it was a huge cost getting involved with the partners I did, a LIFE LESSON of note. It has also brought out a lot in me in terms of stepping up. So the opportunity cost can be burn in the moment, but if used wisely you can still reap a return later from it (even as simple as not making the same mistake later).

  • Hi Jeff,

    Great post thanks. Off topic(ish) I bought PLF about 10 months ago. You have changed my life. Thankyou.

  • Jeff, you’re right on as Opportunity Cost is the toughest to gauge, but the most important.

    A long time ago a very wise man told me that “no decision is still a decision” and I’ve used that (among other axioms) to drive me.

    I’ve found that as long as I’m clearly on the right path, the right opportunities come up and become evident. When they’re not, I go with my ‘gut’. If I’m wrong, then it was simply tuition for the next decision.

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @Dwain: you’re right, there is great wisdom in that… “no decision is still a decision”…. I tend to be a “ready, aim, aim, aim aim, fire” kind of guy, so I have to be careful not to spend too much time making things perfect.

  • Peter says:

    Again a great post Jeff. I am in the same situation – after a recent launch (great success in my country in EU), now everyone wants to make friends with me. I have to choose and be assertive, or my personal life will suffer from lack of time.

  • Shellie says:

    Jeff
    Thanks you are spot on! AGAIN!

  • Golf Market says:

    Great piece Jeff. I have to catch myself getting distracted by (as you called it) ‘Deal Flow’. It seems they come out of the wood work. Staying focused and finishing projects, and then moving on once they are done is key process.

  • Michael says:

    Jeff – Just an hour earlier I declined what looked like a great opportunity because I felt it would spread me too thin with what I am currently doing. Then you explained ‘deal flow’ and confirmed my decision not to get distracted. Thank for a great posting.

  • Mark Coudray says:

    Jeff,

    Great post. Having just come off the PLF 3.0 Live Event, as a Platinum PLM, I had the chance to meet and talk with many PLF owners who where about to launch their products or who were evaluating their own opportunities.

    One thing became abundantly clear. Those without a clear vision of who they are and what they want out of life in the bigger sense, were having a much harder time seeing the clear path. The opportunity cost goes up both in time, risk, and capital when you don’t have a clear sense of purpose and direction.

    The other thing I noticed was those without clear sense of direction tended to gravitate toward tactical tools as the method to get to where they want to go. I think this is an easy mistake to make because there are so many persuasive arguments that can be applied to which tools you need and how you will use them. Without your own internal “opportunity filters” everything that comes along looks attractive and possible, whether they really are or aren’t.

    I’m looking forward to your insight on evaluating opportunity cost in a future post.

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @Mark: great points, especially with regards to people without a clear direction tend towards getting caught up in tactical tools. I’ve seen that a lot as well.

      It’s usually a warning sign when someone starts telling you about their plans, and they lead off talking about a specific tactic or tool. Another warning sign is if they start off telling you about a new domain name they just acquired. A business is not a tool, and a business is not a domain name (with a few very rare exceptions.)

      It was great seeing you in Scottsdale and hearing the good news about your son!

  • Hi, Jeff.

    Amazing event and amazing people. (I think I’ve finally gotten over the embarrassment of my little karaoke performance.)

    It is so interesting to hear about things in terms of opportunity cost. It makes so much sense, but said in these terms makes each decision I make more important.

    One thing that’s driven me crazy as I ready for my January launch is wasting time. It can be because I didn’t clearly think through a blog post that should have taken 20 minutes, but takes two hours. Not keeping in tune with the development of our video series (39 videos) and missing things that need to go in a particular video. Doing things post production always takes longer and doesn’t look as professional. Or not keeping track of my social media. I missed an excellent recommendation on LinkedIn that the former CEO of a company I used to work for had written on October 8 because I have my VA running my accounts.

    Reading your blog makes me realize that I need to do a better job of setting up a schedule of routine events. It sounds so obvious, but even the little things can lead to big opportunity costs.

    Thanks for the excellent post.

    Jane

  • Annette says:

    Great post. One of the biggest keys to becoming wealthy is learning how to attract and choose the “positive deal flows”, versus “negative deal flow” or the “yo-yo deal flow” where you go from positive to negative. Most people never master this critical skill and thus never become financially free.

  • Erico says:

    Excelent insite, Jeff.

  • Mike says:

    Jeff,
    Great Post – one of the turning points for me was to stop chasing lost money – time is linear and although you can be efficient and effective with it, it still passes. You cannot earn it back.

    Money doesn’t need to be linear, you can make a years worth of money in a few weeks (thanks PLF) – My point is, watch your time and invest it wisely.
    Great event in Scottsdale!!

  • Pete says:

    Some good wisdom there Jeff.

    I get things thrown at me almost daily but have decided to buckle down and get what I am doing working to the point that it pays, then the other stuff will get a look

  • Frank MD says:

    Jeff, thanks for an outstanding post. Your insight regarding the evaluation of opportunity costs within the context of time management is a beneficial consideration not just in business, but in personal life as well. I look forward to future posts regarding your decision process when comparing multiple opportunity costs.

  • JD Nichol says:

    Jeff, Excellent take on the subject. It’s always good to know that you have faced all of these distractions and difficulties with priorities too. One of the things that really saved and wasted a tone of time in my past (the suit & tie days) was corporate or department mission statements. When they were used right they would clarify everyone’s purpose and set the priorities. When everyone was focused on a people pleasin’, say all the right thing mission statement all it did was waste our time because we were all focused on everything. When deals or opportunities came we took most of them without the focus that was really needed to make the core business work. The lesson was, have clear and concise goals and then when opportunities or distractions come up is gets easier to pick the right ones.

  • Jeff, great post, as always. One line stood out and spoke directly to me – that doing nothing, inaction, has such a huge opportunity cost. I always let life carry me away, and I look back over the course of months of busy-ness, only to say, “Wow, what if I had stayed focused and on task all this time.”

    Thanks for the spur. 🙂

  • […] from. Anyway, Jeff’s email had a link to his blog where he’d posted an article titled “The Most Important Thing” In this article he talks about opportunity cost in relation to building an internet […]

  • Tara says:

    Jeff,

    So glad PLM went well…missed being there this time. I want to thank you you for your inspired authenticity, being transparent there were a few times when I thought to myself “Can this guy really be THIS real, THIS genuine?” And of course the answer is yes. You are a true man, a real entrepreneur, and someone that leads the way (all the way up those snow covered tracks) Thanks again Jeff, Tara

  • Marc Evans says:

    I was just on a call with someone from the PLF event and essentially we were just talking about opportunity cost. He is at one of those crossroads with his business and opportunity cost. Those that remember me from the event I have a full time job and also manage product launches as one of Jeff’s trained managers. When I left PLM training in 2009, I wanted to revive one of my earlier launches of my own product. I thought it would be the right direction for me, before working with clients. I worked on it for 6 months before I chose to change direction and work with clients that were asking to hire me to do their launches. I realized that what I was building wasn’t my passion. Helping people grow their businesses was. I do feel like I missed out on 6 months of growing my launch business, but we all live and learn. I especially can’t afford to make these mistakes when I also work my full time job. It’s important to stay focused on your business plan once you have direction. Please do not to get distracted along the way by all the shiny opportunity objects that steer you off your path to your goals. Thanks to Jeff and an amazing group of people I work with, I’m able to stay focused.

  • Greg Vining says:

    Great stuff Jeff. It so true that every action we take has an opportunity cost. And also every time we DON’T take action, there is also a cost there too. A lot of times that is where the greatest cost occurs. It is something to think about as we make our plans for the future in all aspects of our lives. What do we really want? And what is the cost of doing or not doing it?

    Keep up the great work,
    Greg

  • Matt King says:

    The event was a huge deal for me, very inspiring, and probably the kick in the pants that I needed to get things done… One of my new partners and I have adopted the saying, “1 Thing” just to keep each other on track since we have SO many ideas rolling around in our heads… We’ll make it to the other ones eventually, but for now we just stick to “1 Thing!”…

    Thanks,
    Matt

  • Hi Jeff,
    It’s great to see you with your own Blog. Now if we could just get Frank Kern and Alex Jeffrey’s to pick-up a keyboard we’d be in business.

    It’s interesting to see how different people think differently. You state that “opportunity cost” is what’s important. How can it be ………. if like some, if not a majority spend their lives looking for the opportunity. I’m 52. I’m not so sure I’ve found “opportunity” in my life.

  • logman says:

    This is a good way to emphasize focus – in an end-around sort of way. There is an opportunity cost when you choose to do something, but either no action, or incomplete action, also results in opportunity cost. As we get better, our strategy for opportunity cost will increase too.

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