Sunday, March 1, 2009

Making money after the crisis

I’ve been asked this a couple times and guess it’s time to go through a few things again.
I’m not even going to talk much about jobs specifically.
People will ask “what jobs”, but that’s not really what they want to know. They want to know how to make money to get by.
Problem is making money and working isn’t always related. As a matter of fact most people that have a LOT of money work relatively little. Just like a lot of people that work VERY hard ALL day many times barely make enough money to survive.
You want me to tell you what jobs you’ll be more likely to find after a crisis? Easy.
Security.

I can open the newspaper on the couple pages with job adds, drop my finger with my eyes closed and I can bet good money my super divination powers will tell me what that add is about.

I can even use my prophetic powers and tell you many of the words you’ll find in the add.:)
Serious, it’s a mathematic fact, since 50% job offers are the same:
Male, 1,75 height minimum, school diploma, CLU (gun license card)

Private security job offers are BY FAR, the most common adds you’ll find in Argentina or in any country that’s gone through a crisis.

Second most popular add is for the ladies. Would read something like this:
Young lady, excellent presence. Age 18-25. No Prior experience required. Full body photo required.

What’s this about? They want hot looking women for promotions and events.
When unemployment is so high, it’s been proved that hot looking women advertising and giving away pamphlets works. Usually its too expensive. But with a crisis you’ll have girls that look like models begging for work. With high unemployment they can afford to audition lots of them.
Then, there’s the ever popular telemarketer..
These are jobs you can probably get during the recession.
Salary? Well, they’ll border slavery. And the private guard gig is as dangerous as swimming with starved crocodiles.

Hmmm.. how about changing the question then? :)
How do I “make” money?
Now we’re getting somewhere.
I have no secret that will make you rich. What I can tell you is what I’ve seen others do that worked well for them.
There are several fronts from where you can attack the problem.

a)Do what you love doing/ What you are good at.

This is always recommended but people hardly listen. Parents and grandparents usually recommend it, but why?
Because it works. Because when you do something passionately you usually do it well, thus greater chances of making money.

Go to college or community college, or learn some craft.
Doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, lawyer or carpenter. Some lines of work do better than others during recession, but if you are good at it your chances are good.

Contrary to what many believe, when there’s really high unemployment, more people go study and hit the books. Why? Because there’s no job and it’s better than staying home depressed.

Then again, in some cases just being very good at something simply isn’t enough. Sometimes even if you are good, even the best, the economic crisis will hit you and hit you hard.
Blacksmithing for example. Many survivalists thought blacksmithing for some reason would be in high demand.
Why are the best blacksmiths in the country doing so poorly then?
Want to know why?
Because I don’t “need” a fancy handmade blade, certainly not when money is tight. If I need a knife I can buy one in a store for a fraction f the money and it will still serve me well.
Besides, competition is fierce due to unemployment, even among blacksmiths. The more competitive, the more they have to lower the prices.
Today I can buy a handmade knife rather cheap.
The handful that refuse to see these and still sell knives at several hundred bucks hardly stay afloat with thanks to a few high end customers, most of them from abroad. As the crisis spreads all over I fear they’ll be doing even worse.

b)Satisfy an unsatisfied niche.
This is where many have made real fortunes THANKS to the depression. I’m talking about a lot of money in some cases.
The cases I’ll mention are ones that I know of and that have had lots of success precisely because they satisfy a new need created by the crisis.

These aren’t my “guesses” or “estimations”. These are real people doing very real money.

1)Transportation business.
Owning a bus line is very good business. There’s more poor, fuel is more expensive, thus, there’s more need for public transportation.
Doesn’t take a genius to figure out why bus companies are making nice money here these days.
“But FerFAL, I’m not Bill Gates, I can’t afford this BS your talking about”
Well, that happened to some people here too. But they didn’t cry a river because they didn’t have that kind of capital.
What they did was offer another alternative: Combies.
For 5 bucks, this guy takes a bunch of people in his minibus from suburbia to downtown to work, everyday.
Pay another 5 bucks and they drive you back to suburbia at the end of the day.
It’s a bit more expensive than the ordinary bus but it’s faster, you travel seated, doesn’t smell like urine, and has working AC, and it’s still ½ the price of the fuel you’d need to do that trip with your own car.
These guys started with one or two minibus, then added more, hired drivers. Then started selling the “brand” people with their own buses using the brand name and logistics, for a fair %, of course.
Now that’s smart. That’s learning to exploit the needs of the new market. Give the economy Nobel prize to the guys that came up with “Lomas Express” and “Adrogue Bus”.


2)Security.
I’ve said it a million times. Private security will be the greatest gig once crime goes up.
If you want, becoming a cop will be an alternative given that USA cops are well paid and there’s WILL be a growing demand for them.
But for those with the vision, a private security company can mean a lot of money.
Offering security to some high end neighborhood. You set a guy on a few strategic corners.
It’s obvious that if you are getting paid by say, 3 blocks, and you only set guards on those 3 places, criminals will start hunting out of the “guarded” territory. Soon the word gets around and they’ll want a guard of their own to keep an eye on things.
Be serious, be professional, and as crime goes up a private security company will be a good money maker for you.

3)Education.
As public education goes down and the O indoctrination gets worse, you’ll want better education for your kids. Mom can’t afford to home school any more, she has to work now. As salaries keep going down, due to cuts or indirectly due to inflation, both parents working becomes more and more common.
A respectable neighbor that parents trusts can set up a private school. One that’s not expensive but offers good atmosphere and a good education level.
I’ve seen it done a number of times, and know of several people that did very well with their schools or daycare centers. (mom has to work, remember?)
This would fall both in the “market need” and “things you love doing” category, since making a school and teaching has to be something you love doing. Do it just for the money and chances are you wont be good at it.

4)Lending money.
There’s no credit, so lending a little money (usually 1000 or 2000 tops) is a good deal for some people.
The greatest problem here is that you need some “muscle” that will collect those that want to get off the hook. So this can be a bit “grayish”. Either that or have a collector’s company that are real sharks. Anyway, lots of new places lending money, so I guess it’s good business.

5)Home business.
This is a bit more tricky and I probably know more failure stories than success ones.
Starting a business during a recession is “risky” to say the least.

Some things are almost certain failures.

A computer shop that just sells hardware and software and assembles PC and offers network and repair service has a poor success rate.
During a recession people buy very little, they try to save as much money as possible, usually take the time and trouble to learn how to assemble stuff themselves.
The one or two successful hardware dealers that I know of operate with HUGE volumes of merchandize, and offer VERY low prices and publicize on line.
These are businesses that required capital, lots of “know how”, import contacts, and certainly not for amateurs. Try opening the friendly computer shop on your own and more than likely you’ll fail.
Small shops in general do poorly during recessions.
Video rental stores for example, they’ve closed by the hundreds and few survive.
People have little money and prefer to download the movies themselves to safe a few bucks. Before they didn’t care, but when money gets tight they do.
Running your own business requires a deep knowledge of the niche and market if you want to have any chance of success.

For example, I know a guy that made a good business with clothes.
He knew the are well, knew that there was still some people with money, middle class, but a middle class less powerful than before.
They couldn’t afford the fancy brand name clothing they once did, but he expected to do well if he offered good clothing, nice fashionable designs, but at an affordable price. The store had to look a mixture of cozy and high end, and a designer was required for the store, a professional graphic designer for the advertisement displayed and labels used in the clothing. This was how the “Snowball” brand was created. He ended up opening over a dozen stores in the southern suburbs of Bs As.
Need a present for someone? Most of the time women do the buying, and most of the time they buy clothes. Snowball is affordable and people like it.

There are many, many other stories and niches that were exploited.

These are just a few business ideas to think about.
Think how you can make money in your region by satisfying the new niches being created by the economic crisis.


FerFAL

2 comments:

A Mean Green Bean said...

FerFal,

This topic is timely as we are having a discussion on the Life After the Oil Crash Forum about starting micro businesses based on the top items needed after a crash. Can you give us an idea of what items / services people want the most post crash. Here's a link to the discussion. http://www.doomers.us/forum2/index.php/topic,40122.0.html.

Thanks in advance!

Oldfart said...

I met a man today that has found his "niche." He has made a plsce for himself in the local economy by frequenting garage and estate sales, buying up quantities of canning jars (many with perfectly usablwe food still inside, and then reselling the jars for a profit.

I was amazed at the variety of things he had tucked away in his garage. Everything from jars of perfectly potable pickles to kitchen utensils... and he had found them all at garage sales, yard sales and estate sales. He recounted one occasion when he had bought over 400 pounds of lovingly canned cherries for a mere 5 cents a jar.

There are opportunities to make a living out there, even after an economic collapse. We just have to look for them with our eyes open.