Selling the Shovel vs. Mining the Gold

Gold Mine Advice

Are you just starting a new business? Maybe you want to take your existing business to the next level? Then you’ve probably thought about hiring a coach or purchasing some sort of training to expand your knowledge.

Every day I get at least one email from readers like yourself asking about my recommendations for coaches, experts, training and/or courses. Sometimes you want to know if I have a course or training and other times you’re looking for my opinion on a specific “expert or their training”.

While I want to answer as many emails as I can, it’s not always feasible to go in details. That’s why I thought it’d be better to just share my vetting process that I use.

Now more than ever, you’ll find an expert on every corner of the internet. There are self-proclaimed social media experts, conversion experts, pricing experts, marketing experts, podcasting experts, webinar experts, business experts, etc etc etc.

Some of these experts are actually very well-read and well-spoken which makes your decision even harder.

If you’re like me and only want the BEST, then you have to skip past the bullshit.

The easiest way to do that is to sort the experts in one of these categories: Selling the Shovel vs. Mining the Gold.

What I mean by that is look at their experience and their business model.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does this person have experience in what they’re talking about?
  2. What’s their story? Have they succeeded on multiple projects or are they a one-hit wonder?
  3. Are they practicing what they preach?
  4. Does their business model revolve around teaching you to be successful?

Ideally you want to learn from someone who has experience, have a proven track record, practice what they preach, and coaching is not their primary business.

In my experience, the best coaches / mentors you can get are the ones that don’t actively sell their time or services. Often they’re too busy mining the gold themselves.

You can learn from them by watching how they operate their business(es) and if you’re lucky you can get an opportunity to talk to them.

You’d be surprised that a lot of these people are fairly approachable on social media. You can meet up with them at conferences (i.e take them out for coffee or breakfast).

Alternatively, you can book a call with them on services like Clarity (prices vary per person).

For example, if you’re looking to learn about building and promoting successful WordPress products, would you rather learn from someone who has a product that’s making less than $5k / month or someone like Cory Miller from iThemes who has a proven track record of building multiple successful products that generate millions.

There’s a lot of noise everywhere. But when you look past all that, you’ll find the do’ers, and those are the people I respect A LOT.

Those are the people I like to learn from.

In no particular order, some people you should consider following:

Before I get another email asking about this, no I don’t sell any courses or training. I might in the future, but right now I’m too busy mining the gold –> growing all of my businesses.

You can book a call with me on Clarity and I’ll do my best to share my experiences and lessons to help you grow your business.

If you liked this article, then please consider sharing it with your friends. Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

7 thoughts on “Selling the Shovel vs. Mining the Gold

  1. Excellent article about the importance of learning from authentic and successful people! The list looks perfect and will checkout those I don’t know yet as soon as I finished my 4 weeks of 4 hours Adobe video training per day to improve my crrative skills. Thanks Syed.

  2. While I appreciate the lessons from the 7-figure club, I also value the insights from the $5k a month business owner who’s sharing her story of the scrappy fight.

    She’ll be a millionaire one day, and I’ll be glad that I knew how she got there. :)

    • You should try to learn from everyone.

      But if I have to pick between the two, I will ALWAYS pick the one who has a proven track record and who practice what they preach.

  3. Hi Syed,
    Loved the article!

    It’s a no-brainier not learning from someone who has been travelling in the path you want to travel.
    I think it’s better to learn from someone far more experienced than you rather than figuring things out. This way we save tons of time and hassles and direct the energy saved to grow our business.

    Recently, Carol Tice had written something similar about not learning from so called newbie-turned experts because the ones that have not seen the climates turn can never teach you how to save your head in case of rains. :)

    Have a great time. And Congrats on everything good that is happening to you, personally and professionally. :)

  4. Hi Syeed,
    Worth to read your post.
    I agree to your point that hiring a Marketing expert can increases the traffic in your blog. They use many tricks to increase no of influencers on your websites.
    The knowledge and experience associated with the experts help to boost the business to a new level. This may cost a little but it will be beneficial for your business, as Experts have so much contacts and skill associated with them which will expand your business
    Thanks for publishing the post.

    With regards,

  5. Hello Sayed,
    So glad to see this post. :)

    Learning and inspiring from the successful person is the best way to enhance and increase our knowledge on particular subject. I often prefer to gain knowledge from trained and experienced person and that may help to boost my knowledge too.

    Before starting a new business, contacting from experts play important role. Glad to see the people in list whom you suggested to consider. They are brilliant minded and can easily instruct people.

    Thanks for sharing this post. It will be more helpful for newbie. :)
    Have a nice upcoming days.

    – Ravi.

  6. Hi Syed:

    Some really important points I got from this post:
    – People who have done it more than once aren’t lucky, they’re focused and purposeful
    – Be wary of those who have only found success teaching others to be successful
    – Successful people are usually down in the tunnels, mining gold for themselves
    – It’s easier to respect the practitioner then a charismatic non-practitioner

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