Did you give some thought yesterday to who your friends are and what skills they have?  Are they doctors, lawyers, blacksmith, veterinarian, pharmacist, construction workers, etc?  How about yourself?  What skills do you have?  What skills can you teach, barter, or sell if had to?  Let’s look at several more primitive skills.  Do you have any of these?  Do your friends?  Some of these may look a little extreme, but please stop and think about each one for a moment because in a post SHTF or TEOTWAWKI world some of these may be the most basic of needs:

  • Shoemaking – All but a lost art.  Even here in NJ, I know of only one or two shoe repair shops, and the proprietors are elderly at best.
  • Thread, String, Yarn Spinning, Weaving – Clothing and cover are basic necessities.  In a post SHTF situation clothing may be at a premium, and the ability to make your own clothing will be a sought after skill.
  • Blacksmithing and Gunsmith – Today we go into a store, buy a knife or guy a gun.  What happens if the SHTF, and you can no longer go into the store and buy what you need?  Do you know how to reload your rounds, fix your guns if something severe happens to it, or forge a knife?  Honestly, I do not.  Where I live in NJ now, I would not even know who to go to.
  • Butchering – This is one of my biggest arguments about today’s generation of consumers.  Today we just go to the grocery store, buy chicken, turkey, beef, etc., and the kids think this is where all food comes from without understanding the circle of life that we need to survive.  If you had to hunt for your food, could you butcher a deer, bear, or other animal to preserve and feed your family?

This is just a VERY short list of skills.  Even if you are well versed in all of the above, hypothetically, could you tan leather if you had to?  Even if you are well versed in all of the above, do you have the resources and inventory to perform all of the above?  I am going to go out on a limb and say probably not.  I don’t.  I don’t stock enough cotton in my apartment to spin thread to weave a shirt, that’s for sure.

In the technology business, I routinely use the statement; “If you cannot build it faster, better, or cheaper, outsource it.”  It is not mine, it is my friend Doug’s and I have adopted it.  However, it applies to looking to your friends and family for the additional skill-sets you do not have or do not have and want to acquire and/or learn.

Now, over 20 years ago, I met and befriended a gentleman that told me that if I were to get into sales, that I needed to specialize in something to be successful.  I was young, and I wanted to learn everything.  However, in hindsight, Cam, the owner of a Xerox authorized sales agent, was absolutely right.  Specializing makes you more valuable.  You cannot be all things to all people.  It is impossible.  By specializing you become more valuable in the area of need at the time your customer or prospect needs it.  How does this apply to survival?  Well, I think that it is good to have a handle on as many skills as you can to minimize outsourcing.  Outsourcing a lot will deplete your resources if you are bartering more quickly than you would want them to.  By specializing in something, you will make yourself more valuable to those that need your products or services.

To illustrate think of the spaghetti westerns of the 60’s or 70’s.  You rolled into the small western town in AZ, and there was the saloon, blacksmith, grain store, etc.  Everyone had their specialty and you certainly didn’t go to the general store to have your horse’s shoes tacked on.

Today’s assignment, think about what skills you have that you could hone and specialize in if the SHTF, and you needed to market yourself.  What skills could you learn that compliment your friends skills that you identified in part one of this series.

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We’re a group of suburban preppers in the Northeast and live in the NYC suburbs that write The Suburban Survival Blog to talk about preparedness and self-reliance out there to help others prepare for what could be an uncertain future due to economic, weather, and other reasons.