There’s Gold in Them There Hills

During the gold rush of 1849, a gentleman called Sam Brannan became the first millionaire in San Francisco’s history. Sam was an entrepreneur and an extremely smart person.

So not a complete surprise that he became rich then you might think, given all the gold that was around at that time. What you may not know though, is he did it without finding a single piece of gold.

So how did he do it?

Well, he knew that hundreds of people were moving to San Francisco each month, as the lure of ‘gold fever’ was becoming infectious. And so Sam had an idea. Instead of joining the huge crowds of hungry gold-seekers, he did things a little differently.

He went out and bought all the shovels that he could.

He Didn’t Dig for Gold, He Sold the Shovel

As more and more people came to look for gold, the only store around that had shovels to sell was Sam’s, and so he made a killing. Pretty much everyone looking for gold who needed a shovel came to his store.

And so there’s a valuable lesson to be learned from this example of entrepreneurship, one we could all follow.

The lesson is that there is often more money and opportunity in selling the tools (information and tools) needed to do the ‘thing’, rather than just doing ’it’ for clients. Let’s look at a practical example of how this could work…

Imagine you’re an accountant who does a really good job at generating referrals and new customers from recommendations and by using social media. Do you think that this ‘skill’ could be packaged up in to an information product, such as a dvd or set of videos, and sold to other accountants?

You bet it could.

The Possibilities are Endless

You could produce ebooks, audio cd’s, and have them available on your site to sell. You could even hold seminars, and do Joint Ventures with other businesses. You see, there is more opportunity in teaching how to do something, than actually doing that something yourself.

And whilst to many this may sound very difficult to do, you’d be surprised. Do you have a blog for example? Do you write helpful, informative posts about your particular business? If you do, you’re half-way there.

And its nowhere near as expensive as you’d think either. A decent video can be professionally shot pretty inexpensively (even cheaper if you have your own camcorder). Putting that video on dvd is also not the expensive and arduous task it once was.

The ability to solve problems is a tried and tested formula for success, and by helping people to do this, you could create a useful additional income stream for your business.

Simon ThurstonContributed by special guest writer Simon Thurston

Simon Thurston is a business consultant, marketing expert and author of “The Death of Traditional Marketing – A New Revolution is Here“. He lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, in the South West of the UK.

He specialises in results generated direct response marketing, helping traditional “bricks and mortar” service businesses to improve their revenue, gain more clients, as well as very often reducing their marketing costs in the process.


4 thoughts on “There’s Gold in Them There Hills

  1. This is a really interesting and well timed article from my perspective.

    Recently I have found that I have been helping a lot of bookkeepers and new accountants with setting up of their own businesses. This has been done for free and very informally.

    However, I am in the process of setting up a mentoring programme where I can offer formal coaching/ training to this market! It will give the bookkepeers a support contact and obviously I will get paid for the time I have been utilising.

  2. I enjoyed this article Simon and it has given me food for thought.

    Just recently I have been asked to review a company’s processes and show them more efficient ways of working. Normally I go in to take on the responsibilities however this time I am passing on my knowledge. I have really enjoyed it and it is an area that I would like to grow in.

  3. I am one of the bookkeepers that Phil has helped and I have already intimated that I would be happy to pay for mentoring in this way.
    It’s not everyone that could do it because it’s also about attitude not just about knowledge.
    The great thing is that Phil’s got both!
    All the best.

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