Preparing to Navigate Troubled Times Means Preparing for Success

Or, using a side hustle to; build income anti-fragility, create financial independence, develop a capitalist mindset and prepare yourself (and your family) for the coming political apocalypse.

The Coming Storm

I recently recorded a video on the coming storm. Not the coming last-gasp-of-winter storm that appears around Easter every year, but rather the once in four generations storm that we’re now solidly into.

What coming storm would that be? According to Strauss and Howe, authors of Generations, every four generations America goes through a traumatic, transformative time. Depending on whom you follow, this storm may be due to the end of a debt super cycle, it may be simply that periodically Americans redefine normal.

Once upon a time, normal meant working on the farm, until the industrial revolution moved 1/2 the population into the cities.

Living in high density cities, mere blocks from your factory job was normal, until the suburban revolution wherein a huge chunk of the populace moved to the suburbs for a single family home, on a small piece of land, and drove (increasing) distances to their jobs, which remained in the city.

A few years ago, the advent of high speed internet and the concomitant connectivity allowed some workers to reduce the time they spent in their offices. Instead, they began choosing to work remotely from the office, usually in a home office, but some became “digital nomads” living and working wherever they chose.

The COVID crisis accelerated this trend to the point where there are now major problems in the high rise office districts of major cities. No one wants to drive 2 hours to do a job he can do perfectly well from his living room.

But what does this have to do with the coming storm? Nothing. I point out these things simply to show you that the great resets (in Richard Florida’s phraseology) happen regularly and periodically, and that we are in the midst of one. In other words, these are symptoms, not causes.

The storm is the cause.

Every fourth generation, there is a confluence of events. Each event, on its own, would be traumatic. Together, they create the storm.

Generally, there is a financial crisis, a political crisis and a war. Strauss and Howe chronicled four of these crises since the founding of the American colonies. While the first crisis escapes me (and I borrowed the book from the library, so I can’t look it up), the second, third and fourth crises were:

  • Recession, Declaration of Independence, War of Independence
  • Long Recession, secession of the southern states, Civil War
  • Great Depression, Rise of Fascism, WW II

Today, something like half the American dollars extant have been created in the last 4 years. As I type this, countries around the world are beginning to trade oil and food in non-dollar denominated currencies, i.e. the American dollar is losing its reserve currency status. There hasn’t been this level of disconnect between the American political parties (and American people) since the civil war. And we’re seeing a land war in Eastern Europe that the usual suspects in Washington seem slobbering to enter.

Financial crisis, political crisis, war.

Parlous Times

In short, we are living in parlous times. We could see the economy collapse at any moment. We could find ourselves involved in a major war with a large, modern military. A war our woke dipshit generals and politicians are 100% committed to losing, by the way. We have no political consensus.

At the same time all of this is happening, for the first time in generations, our food supply is at risk. If you want to genuinely frighten yourself, go look at the increase in energy and fertilizer costs. The input costs for farming aren’t increasing in percentages, they are increasing in multiples.

  • fertilizer has increased 3 to 4-fold
  • diesel fuel has doubled

And this is occurring as weather patterns are changing, causing harvests to collapse. Yes, at the same time that critical input costs are doubling, tripling, quadrupling, weather patterns are reducing yields. And that little war in Eastern Europe? If the Ukraine doesn’t get its grain planted on time, Africa starves. Simple as that.

So while the cost of food is going to skyrocket all on its own, availability is going to plummet at the same time. The situation is so bad, Pres. Biden has even said food shortages are coming.

Are you prepared?

I don’t mean prepared as in, do you have a bunker in a compound in rural Idaho, with 3 years of food, fuel and ammunition laid in. Let’s be honest here, that particular solution is not exactly practical for 7 billion people.

No, I mean, are you prepared to ride out the coming storm? If not, what are you doing to change that? What are you doing to prepare for the coming inflation and food shortages? It’s not going to be just food, you know. Doubling fuel costs guarantees inflation in everything.

Ben Settle likes to point out that you are either capital, or a capitalist. That is to say, you either work for someone else (capital) or you work for yourself (capitalist).

Capital survives at the whim of capitalists.

We all like to refer to “our jobs.” I’m going to let you in on a little secret, you don’t have a job. Your boss has a job, which he lets you do, as long as you do it well enough to keep him happy. The only person who owns his own job, is he who works for himself.

If you want to be prepared for the coming storm, I strongly suggest you become as much of a capitalist as you can.

It’s not possible for everyone to become a capitalist. It’s not even practical for most people. Becoming a capitalist, becoming your own boss, requires a mindset that most of us simply don’t have.

I admit it, I don’t have that mindset. I’ve been trying for years to cultivate the boss’ mindset, and while I’ve made some progress, I haven’t been successful. I’m still human capital, an employee, someone generating capital for someone else.

But the problem remains, in the coming storm, it will be far better to be a capitalist than capital. So what to do?

The Side Hustle

I think the solution lives in the “side hustle,” that thing you do to make some extra coin on the side. Your side hustle can take one of two forms; you can have a second job, or you could create your own side business.

Having a second job comes with the benefit of reducing your income fragility. If one source of income goes away (i.e. you lose one job) you have a backup. The main problem of the second job is that you have simply increased your position as someone else’s capital.

It is in the small side business that true anti-fragility resides. In starting your own business you:

  • reduce your income fragility
  • begin to generate your own capital
  • become the boss, the capitalist
  • learn to shift your mindset away from dependence, toward independence
  • prepare yourself and your family for the coming political upheavals

So, what’s your side hustle. Dave Ramsay (syndicated financial talk show host) used to say, “You’re already doing it.” You’re doing something right now that other people will pay you for.

Danny Iny of Mirasee calls it “Your gift,” the thing you can teach others to do.

Richard Kiyasaki, of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame refers to “assets and liabilities.” Assets generate income, liabilities use money to support them. So what can you do to generate an asset?

Pick one of these. Or go find another way of looking at it, there are a million internet business gurus. Find one who speaks in a way that you understand, in a way that connects to you. Choose a path and, as Ben Settle says, sac up and do it.

Me? I’m working on becoming a content creator. I create videos, I create podcasts, and I write. I am focusing harder on the how-to’s of writing content which will be consumed. Why? Because I think my path is that of freelance writer. and online course creator.

So, everything I do now is in pursuit of learning how to write something people that people will want to read, and to finding someone to pay me to do it. I’ve chosen the form of my side hustle, now it’s time to pursue it.

What about you/