Gold Digger v Shovel Seller

California, USA, 1849 – there’s gold in them there hills and almost every man, woman and child capable of wielding a shovel or shaking a pan sets off to seek their fortune.

But what most failed to recognise is that there’s a reason gold is so valuable – it is rare.  With thousands of square miles to mine and hundreds of miles of streams to pan, the chances of staking a claim to the right patch of ground, and then actually finding the gold buried there were incredibly slim.  Yet still they rushed.

Meanwhile, a few savvy individuals recognised the bigger opportunity – if all those people wanted to dig for gold, they were going to need the tools to do it.  So why not sell them to them?

And so while thousands lost rather than found their fortune, a handful of entrepreneurs figured out how to really make money out of the gold rush – by selling all the tools and equipment that the gold diggers needed.

So, when you look at your own business with an objective eye, are you digging for gold or are you selling shovels?  Are you doing all the hard graft or are you selling the enabling products and services so others can toil for themselves?

If the main income in your business involves you exchanging your time for money, I can pretty much guarantee that you are digging for gold.  Equally if you are the one taking all the risks, you’re probably digging for gold.

Here are some examples:

Gold Digging Shovel Selling
Recording songs and releasing records Running a website for musicians to sell their music
Being a photographer Running courses on how to take better photographs
Staging Homes for Sale Selling an e-course on how to start your own home staging business
Anything where you want people to pay you to do something for them Anything where you sell them your knowledge so they can do it themselves

Now there’s nothing wrong with a gold digging style business – as long as you understand that’s what you are doing and appreciate that you have to dig a lot of dirt before you hit gold, and that plenty of other people are also digging around you.

But transforming your business into selling shovels – or introducing an element of shovel selling – can have a significant impact on profitability, the ease with which you do business – and your overall lifestyle.

5 thoughts on “Gold Digger v Shovel Seller”

  1. Great post Michelle, and very apt for my latest venture which you know about!

    It’s one of those things in life that you spend so much time doing what you’re doing, you don’t realise what opportunity you’re missing out on, hence my audio shop now having been implemented from someone else suggesting it to me!

  2. Michelle McDines

    Yes Richard, we can often get caught up in the day to day operation of our business – and also be so close to it – that we can’t see the wood for the trees.

    We all know about working ON your business, not IN your business but when you are both the owner and the delivery mechanism, it’s easy to forget to play both roles.

    I think it’s important to set aside time to get in the helicopter and take a look at your business from a distance – and also to heed and value the feedback you get from others, who from a different perspective can see your business in a different way to you.

    Your new venture hits so many hot buttons for me – I feel inspired to write some more posts now!

    Good luck!!

  3. Great Blog post Michelle. I’m reviewing my business now, as I type this reply!

    I’ve heard about your new business venture Richard, and wish you every success with it. I know of you and your service from within 4Networking circles and I follow you on Twitter so I shall recommend you where I can.


  4. Michelle McDines

    Thanks Eric!

    This really was a massive light bulb for me and such a powerful strategy that I had to share it.

    Please don’t hesitate to ask if you want to bounce ideas around with me – always happy to help!


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