Get Sh*t Done At Least 10x Faster With the 1–50 Rule
How to Take Action Faster Than Anyone
During a discussion I had with Liz Huber today, she asked me what my superpower was. My mind was racing but I don’t think it showed. Since I journal daily and I’m generally pretty self-aware, I figured out a few options quickly enough but nothing seemed right.
A superpower, that way I see it, is something you do better than 99% of the rest of the world.
Given that definition, I couldn’t just say the first thing that came to mind.
Through my SkillUp Method, I’ve been a pretty good skill learner. And I’m proud of that but I don’t think I’m a top 1% performer on that. Maybe a top 3%.
Can you say, without giving it much thought, what are you a top 1% performer in?
It’s a damn hard question. And, even though we’ve all got different abilities, having everyone be a top 1% at something seems impossible to me.
So I had to think of something else, which I figured out shortly after. Here it is, in all its glory, my true superpower:
I get shit done faster than everyone else.
What’s my secret?
When it comes to getting things done, I have a very simple and extremely efficient method. I call it:
The 1-50 Rule
For any new project I’m thinking of or that comes my way, I ask myself this question:
How can I build and launch this in ONE day and still deliver 50% of the results?
We all have big ideas. Ideas that would take weeks, months, or even years to build. I have those at least once a week and obviously, I can’t build them all.
There are a few reasons why the 1–50 Rule is unique and groundbreaking:
1. It forces you to think outside-the-box
Too many people are scared of starting projects because they’re too ambitious. I understand that completely. Then when comes time to trying to come up with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), people struggle to find where to cut, thinking that they are indeed building an MVP in the given time they plan.
How about you start thinking about how can you cut the development of the product to one day, stop saying it’s impossible and really think differently?
I’ll give some examples of things I’ve done below.
2. You can actually fit that in your schedule
I hear so many people say that they don’t have the time to implement their big ideas. Well, it’s likely true. Their ideas are too big to be accomplished by traditional methods.
When you figure out a way to build your idea in one day and yield 50% of the results, suddenly the schedule doesn’t seem so tight anymore.
3. You can bring immense value to people with just 50% of the results
I’m a software engineer by trade. I do appreciate a well-crafted bug-free software. But you know what I appreciate more? Helping as many people as efficiently as possible, and sometimes that comes at the cost of imperfection.
I’m fine with it and so are most of the people I help.
4. You can be profitable much faster than you think
When you launch a product in one day, you save a tremendous amount on development cost and can start generating money right away.
Most of my 1–50 products have been profitable from day 1 without much marketing effort.
How I got sh*t done using the 1–50 rule
The examples below are of my own products and are only meant to give you an idea of how to make this happen. Please don’t feel any pressure to buy anything. Check my website out to see what it’s all about.
Feel free to skip to the next section for guidelines on how to apply the rule for your own projects.
1. Accountability Program
When I was first brainstorming ideas on how to create a great accountability program, I had visions of a nice website with beautiful forms and with some video calls built-in. I estimated that it would take me about 30 days of development, with the help of a designer/artist.
It was the first product on which I applied the 1–50 rule. The current implementation of my accountability program is the result of less than one day of work.
The most important thing is to achieve accountability and I realized this could be done using existing tools. The current implementation uses the following: Mailerlite, Gmail, and Google Forms.
Every week, I send a form to members. I then go through all the forms and provide feedback.
That’s all there is to it. It took me less than one day to build and yields at 50% of the intended results.
2. Productivity and Self-Awareness Tools
Over the years, I’ve built personal “systems” for being more productive and more self-aware. When I brainstormed ways to build tools available to the public, I thought about custom software for each of them. This would have taken me about a month each to build.
When I was designing the tools, I realized that most were very much table-based but needed a little more “oomph” than a typical Spreadsheet. That’s when I thought about Airtable.
Using Airtable, I was able to create all my tools in less than one day. The important part is that it achieves their intended results. So most of the tools I created are Airtable templates that guide the user to be more productive or more self-aware.
They’re easy to implement yet can be really powerful.
3. SkillUp your Life Program
The goal of the SkillUp your Life program is to help people learn skills better and faster. The product I was working on at the time would have taken at least 6 months to build. It was custom software that let you find, plan, and execute on skills you wanted to learn. It had a community, mentorship, and accountability built-in. It would have been the best platform to learn any skills.
But I didn’t have time to get it to completion. Instead, I tried to figure out how I could achieve the 1–50 rule.
My answer was simple. Having a community of skill learners could achieve 50% of the results. People who know about one skill can help another with it. By making all the progress public, it adds accountability. Everyone can share the best resources they found to learn anything.
My options for a community came down to either a Facebook group or a Slack channel. I opted for Slack.
The original implementation took 8 hours to build, including setting up the website, the onboarding process, and creating the signup process.
Check out the appendix at the bottom for more examples.
How you can apply the 1–50 rule for your projects
Here’s a 5-step process to guide you into using the rule for your next ambitious project.
Step 1: Define what 100% of the results mean for your project
Be as clear as possible on that. Use quantifiable metrics:
- I want my users to make at least $100/month writing one hour a day 5 times a week.
- I want my users to learn 1 new skill every month.
- I want my users to achieve 80% of the goals they set themselves every month.
- I want my users to get 50% more views on their articles.
Try to limit it to one or two quantifiable metrics at most. What is the real value you bring to your users with the product or service?
Step 2: Define what tasks and actions need to be done to get to 100% of the results
How is the product or service going to get built? Is it a course, a website, a spreadsheet template, a custom software, a physical product, a service, something else?
What are its components? How many web pages? What are they? How many worksheets? What are they? What material do you need to build the product? Do I need a community?
What action steps do you need to take? Can you do this alone? Do you need freelancers? Do you need to go to the store and buy material? Do you need to contact anyone?
Step 3: Rate at which percentage each task and action bring you to the intended result
For each of the components from step 2, figure out how much each contributes to reaching the desired results. Spend a good amount of time on this.
Step 4: Combine the tasks and actions leading to about 50% of the results
If I want to get my users to get 50% more views on their articles, what components from above deliver about 50% of the results?
In that example, the headline is always the number one thing to focus on to get more views. The product, therefore, needs a good way to craft better headlines.
Step 5: Figure out which existing tools you can use for each task and action, and how to combine them to achieve 50% of the results.
Now, that’s a very important part. Don’t re-invent the wheel if you don’t need to! There are so many great tools out there to make products and services really quick.
- Websites: Squarespace, Wix
- Spreadsheets / Databases: Google Spreadsheet, Airtable
- Coaching: Magnifi.io
- Courses: Teachable, Mailerlite, Mailchimp
- Landing pages: Mailerlite, Mailchimp, Squarespace, Infusionsoft, ClickFunnels
- Payment Solutions: Paypal, Stripe
- Community: Facebook Groups, Slack Channel
- Books: Scrivener, Microsoft Word, Google Docs
By combining the above tools, you can create many different types of products in less than one day.
Dave Schools created a writing course that was distributed solely by using email. He sent one important lesson every day for 30 days. This can easily be done using Mailerlite, Mailchimp or any mailing list product. If you have the content already, putting the product together should take no time at all.
My three books were put together in less than a day because the content was already written. I used Scrivener to take the best content from some of my best articles and created books out of that.
The 1–50 rule is about releasing a product built in one day that provides 50% of the value to the user, then build from there.
A true Minimum Viable Product.
You get early feedback from your users and some money to help you bring it to the next level. With baby steps, you can reach 100% results while getting both money and valuable feedback from your early adopters.
So next time you think of another big and ambitious project, think about the 1–50 rule. Think outside-the-box and figure out what tools you can combine in creative ways to build your product/service. Using 1–50 rule, you can start making profits within less than 24 hours.
So, outpace your competition and try the 1–50 rule out for your next project!
You can do this!
Thanks for reading, sharing, and following! :)
Appendix: More examples of application of the 1–50 rule
1. Medium Review Service
Given my experience writing on Medium, a lot of people were asking me for feedback on their articles. I would gladly do it provided I had the time. Because of all the stats I gather and the way I analyze stories, I’ve been able to find recurring patterns on what works best for getting curated or featured.
For this service, all I had to do was add a page on my website with a “Purchase” button. When the user makes a purchase, I reach out by email and we coordinate the review. I write a detailed report of ways to improve the article for maximum value.
Overall, because I had the website already, it only took about 2 hours to release this service. The original version of the website only took 3 hours to build using Squarespace.
You can replicate this on things you realize people ask your services on. Many people are willing to pay to dramatically accelerate their learning, on any topic.
2. Coaching Calls
I’ve been coaching people ad-hoc for about 6 months now without an actual platform. The one thing I hate about current coaching practice is the high barrier to entry. It’s expensive for something you’re not sure is going to work. Most coaches create plans over a period of time, which also ends up taking a lot of time.
Because of that, I didn’t make it official, until I heard about Magnifi.io. It’s a platform where you pay-per-minute, meaning it removes the barrier to entry from above. Many of us only have simple questions we’d like to get answered by an expert and now it’s possible.
Starting next month, I’m opening my services to the public, and all it really took was 1 hour to set up my Magnifi account and another hour to put the service on my website.
Much like the review service above, you can implement this on any topic you’re better than most on. You don’t have to be the best in the world. You just charge less per minute and promote your services on website, forums, FB, etc.
3. Headline Ninja
Headline.ninja was an idea I had for a while to get people to rate headlines based on a simple metric: would you click it? In my opinion, there’s no better indicator of the quality of a headline than actual people saying if they would click it or not.
The idea I had to implement it would have taken about 10 hours and needed a custom website. I ended up building it in 2 hours using a single Airtable base. It’s a little less intuitive than a custom website, but it delivers at least 50% of the results.