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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