Don Crowther
Don Crowther

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

My father taught me many things as I grew up. But there was one lesson that has stuck like glue. That one lesson has probably made more difference in the lifestyle that we are able to enjoy than any other.

I was 13, a paperboy, hauling myself out of bed at ridiculous hours to throw papers on people’s porches.

I came home from school one day to discover a printing press being delivered to our front door. Two minutes later, I was helping to carry it down the stairs.

My Dad had just started a publishing business, and he wanted me to quit my paperboy job and learn how to run a printing press.

It sounded interesting, so I worked at it for an evening or two, but then, being 13, found that it was difficult and challenging work, so I went to my dad to quit and start back to throwing papers.

That’s when my dad taught me this lesson:

The amount of money you make in life is in direct proportion to the difficulty in training your replacement.

Now, that’s not easy for the typical 13-year old to understand, so…

He put me in the car and took me to a fast food joint. He pointed out the fry cooks slaving away at the grill, then told me that, other than the manager, there probably wasn’t a person behind that counter who was earning more than 25 cents over minimum wage. Why? Because it would only take an hour or two to train their replacement.

Then we discussed the guys who pumped gas (yes, they still did that back then), checked out groceries, stocked shelves and yes, threw papers on people’s porches.

Every one of them could be replaced with someone who could perfect 80% of the skills necessary to do that job within a matter of hours.

That made the people who do those jobs, quite literally, into commodities.
And commodities never attract a premium.

Then we discussed other jobs, careers that required more knowledge and skill to perform.

Jobs like engineers, architects, and ironically, running printing presses.

You can’t just pick someone with skills in those areas up off the street. It takes years to teach someone how to do what needs to be done to get their knowledge and skill to a level where they are proficient.

Those people are not commodities. They earn more, for a lifetime.

I taught this to my children. One of them listened, got an unusual and valuable skill, and paid her way through college earning twice the prevailing wage in that town. She and her husband (who also had a skill) graduated debt-free and even had enough in savings to pay the bills until a the right job offer arrived in this tough job market. All is well (and my grandson is darling!)

Another child ignored my encouragement. And, after many hours of competing with all of the other wonderful, dependable, talented, but non-skilled students, ended up with a minimum-wage job. A great, enjoyable job, yes, but the difference between minimum wage and double that makes a huge difference in a college student’s lifestyle.

Teach that to your kids. It will make all the difference in their life.

But there’s a whole additional level to this lesson. One that applies to you. And me.

What types of people do we pay the most?

There are the Lawyers, and CPA’s, but that money’s paid grudgingly.

Then there’s another group of people who we gladly pay lots of money to. We call them gurus, speakers, consultants…

…people who teach us how to build our business, give us knowledge we want to have and help us achieve our personal goals.

So, instead of earning a few dollars, even a few tens of dollars an hour, these people are pocketing hundreds, even thousands of dollars per hour.

What’s the key lesson here?

I could say that you get paid for your expertise, and that’s partially right.

But more important than that, you get paid more when people perceive you as an expert, as someone who’s worth paying more to because they believe they gain earn substantially more of whatever they desire by paying you lots of money than they’ll earn from keeping that money in their checking account.

That’s called positioning. And learning to position yourself as an expert is even more important than the expertise itself.

There are lots of people who know lots more than some people commonly perceived as experts, but because they’ve not positioned themselves correctly, they get paid much much less.

The net result of doing this is that you begin to achieve what we call expert or guru positioning.

When you become one of those you get to make lots more money.

And, you get to make a much bigger impact on other people and the world around you….

Which is even more fun than making lots of money!

How do you achieve expert positioning?

I’ll give you a hint – people don’t give you expert status.

You create it.

In their minds.

That’s the essence of positioning.

And learning to do that is one of the most important things you can do in building your life and your career.

This one area of study is probably worth more focus and study than almost any other if you’re truly serious about changing your future.

What are you doing to build your expert status and position yourself as an expert?

How do you feel about this? Let me know by posting a comment. Plus don’t forget to Tweet and Like it!

Related Posts

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  1. Don, I think your Dad was 100% right. Anything worth having is working for. I have been working toward a successful online presence though I think I’m where you were when your Dad brought home the printing press and asked you to quit your paper route. Learning online marketing is very very tough and I earlier today I felt like giving up as I feel I’m sinking. Your blog post has given me a bit of encouragement. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Don,

    I confess that this was an interesting read. I have been a quiet follower of your work for some time now and i can relate to this post for a number of reasons.

    I grew up dirty poor in England during the declining 60’s. My education was so so but my desire to escape the rat trap of my home town and make a life has proven to be very rewarding. I left school, and worked hard and after 15 years of that I was the chief Engineer of a Nuclear Submarine. A very exclusive club I am sure you would agree.

    And that’s because i realised at an early age that success come with hard work. I am now on my way to a profitable online business because it’s not easy, its hard and it’s a challenge.

    I enjoyed the read and the memories.

    Thank you.

    Kevin. SPF rocks.

  3. Don, I don’t think there’s anything you write that I don’t learn something. Personally I’ve started to accept that I can talk, give speeches, and blog about my experiences. My experiences make me an expert on what I know, and people acknowledge this with the questions they ask me. Thanks for sharing your experiences it shows your real life expertise.


  4. Don, you got an amazing dad. He showed you what truly matters in terms of generating the income you deserve! Unfortunately I’ve never met my dad and had to learn things the hard way.

    Still working hard on creating my own expert business online.

  5. It seems Iike I’m the only asian girl here!! I like your story and it reminds me to what my dad though me too. Anyway, I like your work and looking forward to read new article.

  6. Thanks you. It is very stupendous for me to identify what I am doing is leading to expertise level, while I am wanting to change my career path where I was in over 15 years, because this path is so rough and shorten my pace. Many thanks for your story to keep me stay back.

  7. u have great lessons coming from there.We just ended a youth empowerment summit i organized to help youths get the grind on their future and their destinies.maybe one of diz days we will have u in Nigeria as a sspeaker to realate your powerful messages to the next generation of African leaders….it will really be great to have you share some more ,Live.Next year,we are having another.perhaps if you will,we will love to have you here.thanks for the inspiration…..muah!

  8. Don, Lots of gems in your post. I’ll speak to your question, “What are you doing to work on expert status?”

    As an online marketer, it’s one thing to learn what I need to do to take the next step in a group coaching environment, where the lessons are broadly applied. It’s quite another to learn those lessons as a student of someone as skilled and successful as yourself…where the broad gets applied to a specific situation.

    Deb and I have learned greatly from you, as we’ve upped our game on the ‘Instant Video Mastery’ course that we’ve upgraded following your counsel. Thanks, and it’s a pleasure to work with you.

    1. Thank you Mynders. You and Deb have done a terrific job with that course too! I can’t wait for the rest of the world to get a glimpse of your creation!!!


  9. I read every single word of your powerful message. I really understand it intellectually, but putting it into action every day is the real challenge. I’m on the right path gradually. Thanks for knowing your market and sharing with us.

    1. It’s a daily process. Choose at least one thing each day and implement it.

      Plus it helps to have some good trainers and mentors in the process. Who do you know that’s succeeding at achieving an expert positioning? Mastermind with them, connect with them, you may even want to pay them for product or to be a coach.

      I can’t tell you how much my life has changed since I started actively hanging out with people with businesses like the one I’m trying to build.


    1. Good point, and while you’re at it – communicating the news without the need of a printing press is even MORE lucrative!


  10. Great article Don, I really like it, for the sole reason that that is what we need to do.
    We need to learn to position ourselves as experts in own particular knowledge.

    As always, keep your good work and God bless you

    Jose Lasa

  11. Don,
    That was well put.
    The 10,000 hour rule doesn’t always play into being an expert,
    in many cases just doing more,consistently will make you and expert.

    Many so called experts and gurus are just good sales people with very little proof
    of their expertise,example 100 ways to pick up a girl and they can’t get a date.

    That’s a bit extreme but I think you get the point.Constant persistence, doing, learning and making adjustments along the way,will without question make you an expert,it’s impossible to miss,most people have very little discipline,and quite way to early in their quest to be a guru or expert.

    I speak from experience,I have stopped and started more then one project quitting to soon, only to look back and realize that a little more persistence,I would be reaping the rewards.
    Thank you

    1. A great point!

      When it comes right down to it, positioning yourself as an expert is even more important than actually having the expertise.

      Now, don’t get me wrong – you still need the expertise. You can’t lie. People will rapidly figure that out. But, don’t enable your lack of success by saying that you’re still working on expertise acquisition, and not yet ready for the positioning part yet. The key is that if you know more than someone else does, you’ve got something you can teach them. That’s expertise at some level. So, start now to position yourself as that expert.

      BTW – I TOTALLY disagree with the 10,000 hour rule of thumb. That’s a great argument for never actually getting anything done.


  12. As you rightly said, there are many people out there who know more than the ‘Experts’, but are not perceived as such. So it’s not what you know but how you position yourself – great tip.

    Thanks for taking the time to share Don.

  13. Well said. I’m in the fortunate position of being seen locally as an expert already, but I’m too much of a good samaritan–giving my info/guidance for free. I’ve GOT to learn how to position myself to make money from this!!

  14. Great “Pearls of Wisdom” are shared by our parents, but you took it one step further and learned from it. A great life lesson for each of us. Thank you for sharing.

  15. The quality of a great mentor and teacher is not just the wisdom and knowledge that is passed to us the learners and students but it is also the quality of those others who listen and take the advice that is offered. Don, you have the great skill to take complex concepts and tell them in simple terms that are easy to understand and easier to internalize into actions.

    The amount of money you make in life is in direct proportion to the difficulty in training your replacement.
    The longer it takes to achieve your skills, the less competition you have (from Tom Nunamaker)

    These messages convey concepts that are complex but become easy to understand when related to real experiences. This is one of the keys to being the expert in addition to positioning yourself to provide these messages.

  16. Don, I would agree with the basic premise of your excellent post. This is the way we used to position ourselves and bring value; have knowledge that is hard to find, access, and duplicate. Things are changing. With the rate at which technology, markets, and economies are shifting, simply having the knowledge or experience is no longer enough. To remain an “expert” you must remain relevant to those you serve. To maintain your position of authority and value requires another skill set you did not mention. It is the ability to be observational and recognize which elements of change are at work.

    Simply observing isn’t the answer. The true answer is the ability to draw upon your knowledge and experience to synthesize new opportunities and solutions. This is an amazing time to be alive. There is so much disruptive change and technology around us. The current recession and underlying permanent unemployment are perfect examples. The economies that are recovering quickly are the ones with low cost labor that can do many of the things our own skilled blue collar labor used to do. This is true of white collar outsourcing as well as blue collar manufacturing and services.

    With rapid, pervasive change everywhere, we all have the opportunity to re-invent and redefine our value and skills. Our individual expertise comes from the ability to respond to these disruptive changes with innovative solutions that bring value to our customers and clients. As uncomfortable as change is, this is an amazing time of opportunity for those that can recognized and innovate new solutions.

  17. Just tweeted this post. Hopefully more parents will read it and teach thier children this life lesson. I just wish I had read it twenty years ago. Well my grandchildren will be sure to hear it. Thanks Don for sharing.

  18. Hey Don Great Story,

    Ironic, because my 15 year old son who has a list longer than his arms of things he wants decided to go get a job all on his own, he works at a historic burger place in my city, and is now going on his 2nd week, he came home last night and fell on my bed, his exact words were ” I’m to tired to take shower,” I asked him do you think you see yourself doing that for the rest of your life, he said no almost before I finished, then he started adding up how much it would cost for a car, gas, insurance etc etc and realized he was about 2000 grand a month short for everything he wanted, now he always sees me sitting in front of my computer in the AC and I have asked him a million time to sit down and start a personal blog with video and everything else involved, which I knew could be fun for him and without him knowing that he would really be learning, well to my amazement he asked me a couple minutes later if there was anyway for him to make money using the computer, I just just looked at him and smiled and said YUP so my first lessons was talking him to the beach with our little HD cam shoot a little video of him and I working out and than going back and making his first video, he thought that was pretty cool so far so good.
    anyway sorry to ramble but this post kinda hit home

    1. Cool – now THAT’s passing on a real inheritance to your child. Forget leaving them money – teach them how to create it themselves.

      Three cheers for Jeff!


  19. Cool article Don. I’ve been hearing a lot about becoming an expert lately. Something I have learned is that many of us can be considered experts in the things that we do on a daily basis, but aren’t recognized as experts because we don’t put ourselves out there.

    You and Jeff Walker said it in one word. Positioning.

    That’s the key with being an expert. Even if you don’t know everything in the world about a particular topic, you’re still more knowledgeable than 95% of people. Portray yourself as an expert and you will be one.

  20. You’re a lucky man growing up with parents being true guides for your life journey. That’s a precious gift and I’m grateful you share it with us less fortunate. Thank you.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family…

  21. Dear Don
    Just want to say thank you for all your genuine work and value that you provide us with…
    By the way…I’m 17 and live in a very rural part of Australia…
    I’m very interested in your work.

  22. Hi Don!

    Your post is an excellent eye opener. I love the way your father took you out and showed you first hand exactly what he wanted you to learn, and you’re right, we all need to teach our children this valuble lesson.

    Thanks and God bless.

  23. My later father always told me, when as a kid, that there is no such word as can’t!
    I have applied that maxim all throughout my life. I retired as Senior Mechanical Engineer from one the the biggest Engineering and Design Firms in South Africa – and that without even a University degree. I just worked harder than my colleagues to get myself informed and studied and learned from what others were doing – and asking questions on “how do you do this and that….” And to cap it all – not one of the other engineers ever knew that I did not have a University Degree. Just before my retirement I received a Special Certificate from the SA Government also recognizing my achievement as an Engineer. That proudly hangs in my home office wall. That is just one example of what has happened in y life.

    In the end I was recognized for my acquired knowledge and expertise gained from the “University of Hard Knocks” There is nothing like this University – ever!

  24. Hi Don,

    What a marvellous dad – straight out of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad vein.

    I will be using this with mykids for sure.

    I am currently building my credibility in the local online marketing niche. Hard gig as local business owners are very insular and protective of their knowledge but I am winning the war!!!

    All the best


  25. I like this article! It has really, really got me thinking.
    Right now am doing a Professional PR course becos I want to be an “expert” in something that is really worthwhile and fulfilling. And I do hope to use the knowledge soon.
    Thanks for the tip, Don! And thanks for the emails I get from u regularly. They would really come out very helpful when I start pratising my PR skills!!!!!

  26. While learning new things, skill, behavior …many mistakes are made.

    And, many people ball them selves out for those mistakes. Yes they do. Scold and chastise too.

    That was the way of the family, I grew up with.

    Generations later, I learned to smile, laugh, and say: “Oh Goodie!” “Now I get to learn what this new stuff will do for me.”

    Making mistakes just means …I’m in transition – and soon …will catch on …if I don’t let it get away.

    Seeing the glass half empty was how I grew up.

    Now, I love to see the opportunities that bloom from seeing the glass half full.

    Because, it’s like tunnel vision with that 1/2 empty glass. And full vision with 1/2 full.

    So the path to positioning my self to others …lies within me …and how I build value to them.

    All comes from finding the glass half full.

    Think about how this might be for you.

  27. Great post! Great father and great man behind this.

    As a single mother I attempted to do similar. Now my daughter is doing awesome. I am continually building on my expertise in all areas. It is about being committed.

    Thanks Don.

    In kindness

  28. “Expert status is created through teaching.” I’ve heard Brendon Burchard say this and I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

    I agree. You’ve got to establish expert status if you are going to command adequate compensation for your time. And the simplest way to do that…is to start teaching.

    The best part is we all have something to teach!


  29. Hi Don,

    An Air Force Colonel once told me to take any training the USAF offered to me because it was worth something to someone, sometime, somewhere. The point was to differentiate yourself from others as you said.

    I’ve also taught this to my children. My lesson was always the longer it takes to achieve your skills, the less competition you have and the more people have to pay for your skills. It’s a simple supply and demand curve!

    Great post. Thanks!

    1. I like the bit about, “the longer it takes to achieve your skills, the less competition you have …” It is reasurring. Thanks

  30. Don

    I hope a lot of young people get the opportunity to read your blog post. So many give no thought to the future. This is a great tribute to your dad by passing on his wisdom, as a lesson well learned, to others.

  31. Thanks Don,

    The very rare blog post that I was wowed by. Deeply perceptive. Experience begetting wisdom. I will pass this on to my 12 year old daughter and have a discussion with her. I think she’ll “get it”. I have a business as a jewelry designer that perfectly exemplifies your lesson.

    Thanks again for posting this. I’m not well positioned now to take Brendan’s training that you’ve been promoting along these lines but maybe next time around.

    stay sunny,

  32. Hi Don,
    Thanks for sharing one of your life’s lessons.
    This is the greatest thing about sharing experiences and helping others find their way in this world. There are so many paths one could take.

  33. You present an interesting and new perspective – time to train corrolated with job value, compensation, career opportunities. Thinking about the paper route jobs, (caddying, janitoring, setting pins and mowing grass) I would like to offer a moment of reverence for the first job, the early, labor intensive, low skill jobs most of us survive.
    Many young people coming into the job market from college want to skip the ‘hard-knock’ jobs and move quickley to the corner office. I find this is an amusing contrast to my observation that if you ask a number of successful people, those who have complex international and domestic responsibilities, the reason for their success they seem to point to lessons and values they learned on their first, hard-knock, jobs.
    Similarly, your paper route allowed you to contrast it with the less interesting but ‘harder’ work with delayed gratification.

  34. Dear Don,

    I can always count on you to give excellent advice and counsel. This one really hit the nail on the head. I will bring it up after dinner on Thanksgiving.

    My kids think I am always having “teaching moments” but learning life skills is one that should be shared and understood.

    Thanks for your important work.

    Judy Helm Wright

  35. Great article! I wish I had a dad like that. I’m not doing anything to build my expert status. I think I’ll read your article titled, “How to Become a Highly-Paid Expert in Any Niche”. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, I have a great dad! And I get to dine with him for Thanksgiving (I only get to see my parents a couple of times a year, so it’s a real treat.) I’ll pass on your sentiments to him!

      Plus, you should meet my mom – she’s an amazing woman too.

      Between my grandparents, parents, siblings, wife and children, I’m surrounded by an incredible batch of family!

      Gotta stop now – I’m getting all Thanksgiving-y, which if I’m not careful has the potential to rapidly approach blubbery!


  36. Don that was a seriously powerful lesson,what else can you say. There are times when you think to yourself so and so does not know squat but they positioned themselves with a book, well known JV’s ,etc etc and give the perception of expert status and they can command bigger fees.

  37. What a great life lesson. Boy when you put it in those terms you can’t argue with your boss 🙂
    Great article Don! I really appreciate how you tied it into our industry. Certainly it is the positioning that make the difference between getting more for your expertise or not as much. Wow!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Want to know the exact tools and technology I personally use and recommend?