Lessons From The Gold Rush

There is a saying in the startup world that “you can mine for gold or you can sell pickaxes.” This is saying  inspired by the California Gold Rush where some of the most successful business people such as Levi Strauss and Samuel Brannan didn’t mine for gold themselves but instead sold supplies to miners  – wheelbarrows, tents, jeans, pickaxes etc.

No matter what you might be starting,  this lesson in history can open our eyes or even cause us to rethink how we are approaching  a certain project. One of the biggest challenges in starting anything I believe is getting individuals to get involved. In the non profit I work for  First Priority ,my job is to help communities start unified church movements that will  implement in their local schools with the gospel. Although the ministry is about helping students initiate ministry at their school it takes alot of support from the local community. Which takes a lot of vision casting and recruiting of individuals for support.  So what does the saying have to do with starting a ministry or starting a company?  Alot, the reason is once you find a need by a demand or a problem you can then create a solution to that need or that problem and then the profits and benefits will follow.

Are you frustrated with not getting individuals involved in your start up ? Maybe your solution is not being clearly communicated, maybe the demand or need is not there are clearly known. When looking at Levis Strauss and Samuel Brennan lessons are learned big time.


1. These guys did not create or recreate the solutions to the needs they just found them and then made the solution available.

2. They found the demand and went to it.

3. They gave the people what they needed.

Levi Strauss and Samuel Brannan did not have to make sure individuals needed their solution they simply relied on the  effects of mining for gold.

Whatever your niche maybe you may or may not have people running to you  like Levi Strauss and Samuel Brannan to purchase what you have to sell. Sometimes you have to be intentional in finding the needs that are out there. Once you find the needs or issues then you will be able to create a solution and communicate that to your audience.

With First Priority the non profit I work for we have clearly defined the problem before sharing our solution to communities and individuals. First Priority believes that our nation is in a crisis because from research we have found that less than 12% of the 26 million students in America  attend a church, and that suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. The teenagers in America seem hopeless and First Priority‘s  solution is to create a strategy that all students have the chance of hearing the hope of Christ.

What problems are needs are out in the world that are not getting meet  and how could you do something about them?



Originally posted 2013-10-16 17:29:18.