Monday, March 2, 2009

Reply:"Making money after the crisis"

A Mean Green Bean said...

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.,40122.0.html.

Thanks in advance!

Of course you have the basics: food, water, shelter and medicine. (Renting real estate will become a good business, by the way)

Problem with the food market is, it’s as old as mankind itself, you can hardly compete with the big firms.
The smaller producer will find himself out of his league unless he has a couple hundred acres.
It’s better to try to exploit the “small mom and pop” thing, find the marketing niche, organic food.
But this is very tricky. I mean most people I know that grow food small scale know well enough its for them and not profitable as a business idea.

This is a common mistake among the survivalist community if you ask me. What I started calling the “Little house on the Prairie “ syndrome.

Guys, the only way you’ll go back to 1800 is if you build a time machine.

Serious. Barrel maker, carriage builder, carriage wheel repairer, making horse shoes for a living… making a fortune selling candles. Even trapper was suggested somewhere.
What can I tell you? I don’t see that here. I’ve researched and talked to others on eastern Europe and Africa and nope, not the kind of thing that will get you serious money.

Some of the lists going around the various forums are simply lists of skills used a couple hundred years ago, very wild west like. But again, it’s wishful thinking, and not something I see reflected here or in other places where SHTF.

Even gun smithing. Gunsmithing is something that will certainly go DOWN, not up.
People will have guns for defense but spend as little money as possible. No more tacticool 2000 USD 1911 for many. Those are “nice to have”, and “nice to have” doens’t cut it for SHTF market. They wont spend what little money they have on something like that, at least MOST people wont.

This is the kind of subject that could go on forever. Serious, the dynamics of the post SHTF market could fill libraries.

My friend in USA asked for bit of advice regarding business ideas the other day.
He told me a bit about what he had in mind, and at some point he said he had a buddy that offered him a percentage on a car sound system installation shop, also doing tainted glasses and car alarm.

He said that he didn’t think people would want to spend money on an fancy sound system during the depression.
We talked about how car alarms and security film for windows would go up in demand. Also tainted for security reasons.

When we got to the sound system part, he asked what I thought about that.

I told him “well… there’s a few things people want when SHTF: “Booze, religion, drugs, prostitutes and gambling.. and a loud car”
I told him that its common here to see total rust buckets from the 70’s with maybe 1000 bucks worth of sound system. Maybe more expensive than the car itself.

Of course any business can fail, but if his friend does things right and is a smart business man, he has a fair success chance.

My friend say “Man, peoples are stupid”
I told him “YES, dude, they are”
But why, why would a poor guy spend his hard earned money, the little he has, on something like that?
Because that’s the way people are! Maybe the guy hasn’t got a week worth of food and water OR cash, but he’s gladly going to spend it on drugs, or a fancy sound system, simply because it makes him feel less miserable.

That’s valuable folks, ESPECIALLY when SHTF and getting depressed and feeling miserable is so easy.

It’s what I like to call “affordable luxuries”.
I see it here all the time, and you see it in other poor nations.
They can’t afford the fancy car anymore, but they can afford the expensive tires or sound system.
A loud sound system can be turned up the volume.. wake up everyone… everyone sees you have the fancy gadget … ego boost for our poor guy. See the mentality I’m talking about?

Something similar happens with cell phones. Selling cell phones is a pretty nice gig during depression. It’s an “affordable luxury”.
I don’t have a home of my own, or a car, “but take a look at my nice (toy) phone”. The guy/girl already feels better about himself.

Same happens for jewelry. Most women can’t afford the gold anymore, and it’s too dangerous even if they can. But there’s still silver, and “quirurgic steel” jewelry is becoming more and more popular.
Affordable, looks good, shiny, wont get stolen in 10 minutes. Research the market and promote it well and you have a winning combination.

Forget the old days, at least as business ideas. Recognize the new needs and the new society you are dealing with and what they want/need.
There’s how you start a real post SHTF business.



Shambhala said...

Great comment as usual.

Just one addendum: I work from home for a large IT company. In order to cut costs (rent, electricity, etc) I think more companies will give employees "permission" to work from home.

Quote marks on permission? That's because you will be expected to fund your high-speed connection yourself. You will be expected to troubleshoot many connection problems yourself. You may be refunded for paper, ribbons, and other small items.

On the other hand, you can take care of home problems easier (youre always home). Also, burglary during the day may end badly for the bad guys.

I've been asked "Isnt it lonely working from home? Dont you miss talking to your coworkers?"

Let's see: I have a 1997 model car with 94400 miles on it because I dont commute. I get up at 7 to be at work at 8, and am compensated as well as any employee that 'goes in' to work.

But yes, it does get lonely sometimes.

Don Williams said...

Some more ideas:
1) As Ferfal noted, vices of various kinds will be in demand. Unfortunately, the government knows this and controls/heavily taxes such businesses. The difference between the government and the Mafia is not great.

You disagree?

If you are a US citizen, Then realize that Bush paid for his 2001 tax cuts --which largely went to the rich -- by stealing the money out of your Social Security/Medicare Trust Fund accounts. Yep -- $3 Trillion. Of course, he gave you US Treasury bonds in exchange -- but those bonds aren't worth anything unless you cough up ANOTHER $3 Trillion in future taxes to redeem them. heh heh What would you do to a banker who borrowed $100,000 from you and gave you a note which said you would get your money back in the future --but only if YOU --not the banker -- paid yourself the $100,000?

2) Plus you should realize that this bailout of the five big US banks is not costing you a mere $350 Billion. No --while the politicans were diverting the stupid sheep by staging big quarrels over the $350 Billion, the US Federal Reserve was spending almost $10 TRILLION ! in loans and guarantees.

Ha ha. As they say in the poker games -- read them and weep, rubes.

3) So you may risk criminal prosecution if you pursue Unlicensed businesses that yield enough profits to be worth the effort. Taxi services. Making whiskey. Medicines --even though the medicines are badly needed by people too poor to pay for medical care.

4) And , of course, untaxed tobacco. A carton of cigarettes is running almost $40 with US taxes -- but you can grow the product for a dollar or so. Cigarette addicts will be happy to roll their own cigarettes instead of paying high prices for filtered cigarattes.

Don Williams said...

One interesting product is "reading glasses". Most people lose close range vision as they grow older and need glasses to read/sew/do detailed work close up.

The glasses they need don't require elaborate eye exams by doctors -- they just need the equivalent of magnifying glasses in frames. You can buy such "reading glasses" cheaply on the internet -- and they would be worth a great deal to people 40 years of age or older when SHTF.

DaSui said...

I've lived in 3 asian countries and I watched how people survived.
In order to evade taxes everything is done in cash.
People who can fix things have a job.
Renting out closet sized rooms with a common bathroom is common.
Sometimes an old couple would open their apartment for lunch- I would sit on their bed and eat for 50 cents or so.
Sometimes people were payed extra with cooking oil or milk by their employer.
A little bribe could cement relationships.
Think low overhead. A parking lot after hours becomes a bar and grill. A public park is where I got my hair cut.

CapnRick said...

Saludos. NOW yer talking, guys! This is the number 1 biggest problem when times get tough. Not trying to find a group of like minded folks to create an armed retreat... instead, making up your mind to get as many ideas as possible to be able to get a loaf of bread or medicine for your sick child after SHTF and normal commerce is gone.

DaSui said it best: quote

I've lived in 3 asian countries and I watched how people survived. In order to evade taxes everything is done in cash. People who can fix things have a job.


One of the best ways to get ideas is to keep seeking excellent advice such as ferfal's... real life success stories under bad circumstances. Also, I can personally recommend that you actively look for ideas on the web... such as microloan solicitation sites. People in incredibly poor places make a living with a single cell phone, a single internet connection, a single tired, run down, creaky old pickup truck to help their neighbors get to market with stuff to sell. I got a lot of good ideas from sites like that.

If you already have the well-stocked retreat, consider putting together a good tractor and various attachments. An old one without a solid state ignition (easy to fix) that runs on diesel and it's many imitators would be MY choice. You can get stuff you need from other folks needing their land plowed. It is amazing how a week or so of hot, sweltering, back-breaking labor with a hoe on their 40 acres will convince people to start looking around for alternatives.

Good comments and questions all... keep up the good work, guys.

Suerte -CapnRick

Lisa T said...

This is what we're planning to do. We're buying a Troy-bilt tiller as our Plan B because lots of people will be wanting gardens and won't have a tiller. We're having to build a bigger storage shed to have a place to keep the tiller and extra fuel. Since my husband lost his job, it will keep him busy building the shed and it's about 40% cheaper than buying one - and he can make it more sturdy and theft-resistant. It would be a good idea to buy a used tiller or two that needs repair for backup or spare parts.

Anonymous said...

Eh muchacho:

“quirurgic steel”

Surgical steel.

Que lo pases bien en linda Argentina, amigo.

We _do_ cry for you and all the other good folks over there, Ferfal.

J Brown said...

I live in FL and i'm a firearms instructor/competition shooter. I'm also an air conditioning tech (remember, FL), have training and experience in personal and property security, and worse case, i have a garage full of tools.

Your backup plan needs a backup plan.