Don’t Mine the Gold; Sell Shovels to the Miners

I’ve been trying to start a business with the potential to change my life since I was eighteen. Four years later, and I’m still working on it. I’ve found success in some areas, and found lots and lots of failure in others. But from those failures, I’ve learned something valuable that I’m going to share with you today.

Think back to the Gold Rush of the 1800s. During this time, thousands upon thousands of people heard about the unfathomable riches waiting for them under the ground, and flocked to the West to go after it, especially to my hometown in Montana. Every one of them scouring as much of the Earth as they could manage, every one of them seeking to strike it rich.

While some of them did in a spectacular fashion, the vast majority of them did not. 

Here’s the interesting part: There was another group of enterprising individuals that came along with the miners. These people came with picks, shovels, lantern oil, camping gear, food, denim… everything the hungry miners would need while they turned over the Earth in search of gold.

These are the people who got rich. The sheep flocked to the lush, green grass, and the wolves knew right where to go for an easy meal. Even to this day, the wolves are the people who get rich.

Just look at dropshipping.

The Dropshipping Gold Rush

If you haven’t heard of it already, dropshipping is a business model popular with aspiring entrepreneurs. Its low barrier to entry combined with low maintenance costs make it attractive to people with low capital and no experience. When you combine that with the ability to run the entire business from a laptop, with no inventory, warehouses or retail locations, you get the potential for a really simple business that you can start with just an Internet connection and an idea.

Sounds appealing, right? People definitely seem to think so. 

It’s true that there are dozens of people who have found tremendous success utilizing this method. But for every one of the success stories, there’s a thousand failures and disappointments. I was one of the failure stories; I had an online store live for six months, grinded on Instagram promoting it every day, and didn’t get a single sale. Not one. I even paid $1,800 to hire a coach to teach me how to do it right, and I still didn’t sell a single pair of boots.

Even in my failure, there is a success story, though…

It’s just not mine.

Where to Find the Real Success Stories

I had the idea to hire a coach to teach me how to run an online store and make it profitable. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. I did a lot of research into my coach before I hired him; I wasn’t his only student. Not by a long shot. He’s a very successful individual who’s helped create some similarly successful students…

…Even though he doesn’t operate an online store. 

My coach is the businessman from the gold rush days: he saw people flocking to new territory in hopes of striking it rich, and he provided them with the tools they’d need in order to succeed. Success stories, failure stories, it didn’t matter: he got rich off of all of them alike.

Take a lesson from my coach, and from the miners of the gold rush days. There may or may not be gold where you’re planning to dig… but there are definitely other miners digging nearby. Don’t mine the gold: provide shovels for the miners.

Thanks for reading, please let me know your thoughts. I’ll be here, watching for the next gold rush.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *