Finding Your Pot of Gold

Gold was discovered in California in the spring of 1848.  By May of 1848 reports were flying that “there was more gold than all the people in California could take out in fifty years.”  28-year-old Samuel Brannan opened a small supply store at John Sutter’s Fort, right in the heart of the gold rush.  Brannan purchased a little vial of gold and traveled the hundred miles back to San Francisco.  As he stepped off the train, he swung his hat, waved the bottle and shouted, “Gold! Gold! Gold!  By the middle of June, three quarters of the male population had left town for the gold mines near Sutter’s Fort.

Brannan never looked for gold, but selling shovels, picks and supplies to the wide-eyed miners made him California’s first millionaire.  His store was selling as much as $5000 a day (about $140,000 in 2010 dollars) in goods to the miners.

Did all the miners find their “pot of gold?”  Not a chance.  Most of them wasted time and meager resources only to return to their original homes, poor and discouraged.

So where are you looking for income opportunities?  In the last ten years thousands of people jumped on the computer bandwagon, believing that programming, web design and software development were the only real sources of wealth.  As you know, not everyone going in this direction has become wealthy?  But are there associated opportunities with this area of focus – absolutely! 

In the last ten years the number of massage therapists has quadrupled.  (Our massage therapist comes to our house every Friday afternoon.  People who work on computers all day are prime candidates for massage.

I have a friend here in Nashville who produced a red “panic button” that fits over any key on your computer keyboard.  She has now sold over 100,000 at $1.50 each.  A convent even ordered 10 PANIC buttons.

I have talented young musician friends who are not trying to be the next Alan Jackson but are generating significant income selling guitar straps, personalized drum sticks and a book on How to make it in the music industry.

Is it possible that in your own search for “gold” you are overlooking the opportunity to become a millionaire by selling picks and shovels?

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6 Responses to “Finding Your Pot of Gold”

  1. Marla Martenson Says:

    I love this post. Sometimes we have to go around our goal and circle back to get what we want. Use the skills you’ve got to become creative and come up with ideas in the same industry that no one else is doing.

  2. SonyaMac Says:

    I love this post, but … how can I share it on FB?

  3. Better Way Says:

    These are great examples of being creative and not just following the crowds to the job fair.

    Peter Bourke analyzes many very intriguing and unique stories like these that encourage all of us in today’s job market to stay out of the career trap, in his new book, “A Better Way to Make a Living… and a Life”

  4. Carrie Says:

    When I want to share something on FB (that has no “share” button) I copy the URL. Then I go where I would write a new post and select “More”–it’s listed under the box. Then I select “Link” and it’ll create an “Attach” box where I paste the URL. Then I hit the “Attach” button and viola! My link appears, usually with a description and avatar. Pretty cool.

    And a suggestion to Dan Miller: Have you thought of creating a Share button for those who want to tweet or Facebook your posts? Just a thought. 🙂

  5. Shirley Crowell Says:

    I am a visual artist and list my artwork on Etsy ( This site is extrordinary and has many helps for artists. There’s a place on the site called “Quit Your Day Job” which is so inspiring, as well as tutorials on business and how to set up your selling page, how-to videos, etc. ‘Just thought you might not have heard of it and thought you might like to check it out.

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