Making Money in a Post-Collapse World: Here’s What I Learned in Venezuela

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Today I want to talk about something essential: Making money in a post-collapse world.

I am the kind of person that makes plans…and EXECUTES them. This is something that has been keeping me ahead of many people I know. This localized collapse opened the windows for really profitable business operations that could be useful if a similar situation presents someday in the part of the world you are living in.

I had to limit the selection to easy-to-learn stuff, not especially advanced skills but producing processes that are all over the internet and anyone with some technical knowledge could safely perform. Of course, poultry production, fish, cattle, and stuff is intended and overseen. This is going to be a basic need. Part of our starvation is because people have not gone massively to the country or cultivated every available meter with something to eat.

The main failure was, the way I see it, I planned for an event too short. Won´t go again on that though.

There are ways to make money in a post-collapse society.

Let´s see how (in an ideal world where the right to NOT be imprisoned and your products seized, though) we could make some income in an economy like the mess is in my country right NOW.

One of the first and very important items that are scarce is energy. With the excess of energy (remember my obsession with oversizing everything in the designs?) available we could put to work some hours a day a small freezer and make some ice for sale. Pricing will depend on each one. Other products could be, if you have milk to spare and one of the neighbors produces honey, could be ice cream or some other dairy-derived without too much complication. Just make yourself a name and people will come to buy or trade. With enough space and some knowledge, a walk-in refrigerator with a proper unit can be set up, in a basement or similar facility. Renting a small space for medications that need refrigeration, or perhaps blood, plasma, albumin, you name it.

If you´re lucky enough to have a permanent stream, and can redirect and makeshift something similar to a dam and can install some turbines for hydropower generation, the energy excess could be very beneficial if sold. If the collapse was a good one (pun intended) there will be no authorities left to mess with you. And hopefully no politicians neither.

What kind of equipment do you and your neighbors have?

Perhaps one of your neighbors owns a workshop and needs to run the machines, or some other is an MD with hospitalization facilities. How this could be done, is something that technicians and engineers will have to deal with.

Energy provision as a business is not only electrical. There is plenty of innovation that perhaps has been laying around for some time, but with the abundance of oil and derivatives just had not kicked in. As an example, I have always trusted in the power of the tangerine peelings flammable liquid. Just see how that little droplets burn if you press one of those peelings close to a flame. I have to research but I am sure that good quality fuel can be extracted from this, and perhaps other natural products. I remember that the quality of that liquid as a solvent is so good that it was used for crude tank cleaning! Environmentally safe, and the raw material is practically endless. Just the equipment for the extraction is needed, and it shouldn´t be so complicated.

Perhaps your thing is gasifying wood. Do you have a pickup with a genset that both run on gas wood? Great. You could ride it to the place of someone who needs to charge their battery racks, and trade for some goods. Oh, the collapse was a good one and your 4 years old tires are busted? Install a tracks system and keep riding! Homemade, easy to repair, but practical, and will take you everywhere. Forget about getting stuck in the mud again. I´m a tropical, so I don´t know about snow because never drove on it. But yes I do know about mud and river. Long term collapse or something similar and one lives in a secluded place? Tires too expensive and scarce? Tracks for me, please. I know enough about metals for a good debate with any polymers specialist that wants to comment. If the terrain is hostile enough, perhaps makeshifting a tracked vehicle could be an option or pay someone to do it for you. I have seen some interesting ones that can float. If you have the means, and the time, it would be a nice addition. Or make one and with a rack to carry a boat so you can go fishing. Of course, diesel engines are preferred because of the biodiesel capability. Auto transmissions too.

Charging someone else´s battery pack or vehicle is a good business if things go to heck. They are charging 1$ for 10 minutes for your cellphone in Venezuela. It´s all over Twitter. And many people mad about this, too. They have offered to charge phones for free because it´s highly abusive to ask so much money for such a little time. Solidarity is a value that crisis has enhanced in many people.

Now please pay attention to this.

Health-related products are in demand after collapse.

One of the main products to be sold in any kind of long term disruption of the chain supply is soap. Those of you who know how to make soap and have access to the ingredients have one step forward and your troubles will be much less than with any other income. This is basic. Soap avoids us to get sick and allows us to remain comfortable. For plenty of us, truth be said. The scarcity has led to the appearance of all kinds of DIY soaps. I mentioned in a former article, now I confirm it. This is a first need product. Cleaning wounds and burnings are going to be the main issue if antibiotics are not readily available. Foods and herbs that boost your immune system are going to be a first need product too. I have been eating so much garlic (one of the most powerful antibiotics in nature but you knew that already) that I could kill Dracula and a few vampiresses just with a smile and talking to him from two meters away. One less threat for me to worry about: vampires.

Sanitary products are a great post collapse business. If you have access to a small mill, you could learn how to make toothpaste with coal. Daisy has some recipes around here.

Cleaning up is very important for boosting morale. Someone sweaty, smelly, starving and thirsty hardly will make good choices. And bad choices could hurt you or someone you love.

Of course, producing lubricants require a much more complete specialized knowledge, but I don´t doubt this can be made at small, local scale.

Even a small plant with recycled oil industry materials like pipes, flanges, and vessels can be made. This could be used to both produce derivatives or recycling used oil. There is already plenty of experience with this worldwide.

Post-collapse businesses are best started before the SHTF.

Engineering skills are needed for a safe operation, though, but the benefits for a long term recovery of the local economy is huge. And the moment to invest in such setup is before the event happens. Not after. Putting everything together while there is no power from the grid is going to be ten times more difficult.

Just imagine a moving oil recycling plant, installed in an overland semi that runs in biodiesel. Assuming there´s a proper supply of tires and spare parts for the semi this could be a business that could bring along lots of benefits for a small community, say in an area of 400 or 500 kms around. Everyone could bring their used oil and substitute it for the same amount and grade, only that new. Farmers could extend their usage of machines incredibly with this. I am sure that, nowadays, it would be possible to run small farming machinery just with solar. I have not done too much research about this, but modern panels and engines are much more efficient than those built a decade or two ago. There are generators that are now installed in a kite. There are plenty of possibilities. Thinking outside the box is what we need. You have energy to spare? Sell it to your neighbor so he can plow his field next to yours. Or use your equipment as it has been done since ages ago, and make some trade.

These ideas have been for some time in my mind, and perhaps many of them will be further expanded with adequate detail in one of my extended works to come.

Thank you.

Thanks for your much-needed assistance fellows!

And thanks you very much to those who have already contributed with our kids. It´s all about them.

We are just fighting for their future.

God bless you, people!

About Jose

Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country.

Picture of J.G. Martinez D

J.G. Martinez D

About Jose Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations:

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  • Good Morning Jose! I suspect making toothpaste out of coal was a misunderstanding of English. Charcoal the residue of incomplete burning of wood (NO Treated Woods please) makes decent tooth paste. Coal would give you an oily sulfuric mess in your mouth friend.

    Much can be done to thrive under a SHTF situation ASSUMING the stays out of the way and some sort of Rule of Law exists. Through out History it has always been easier to destroy than to build or create. Civilization came about when good laws and rulers enforcing them created a sense of CIVIL Law to occur thus allowed honest people to co-exist together to build, create and trade.

    Otherwise the “Takers and Destroyers” would ruin all your peaceful efforts.

    Restoring civil behaviors and a sense of community will be the greatest challenge of the recover from a full on SHTF event in America.

    BTW Jose, you should discuss just how long a socialist disaster can grind down peoples. Your SHTF looks a LOT like many of my friends for a short term, maybe a year of disruption etc. Every 3rd world SHTF disaster-war zone I worked in was a LONG TERM situation that got far worse than you might ever think.

    Stay out of the path of an enraged elephant, a protruding nail will get hammered, please stay grey and polite.

    • Michael, you´re right on the spot there. Coal has a mineral origin. My bad! Indeed the CHARCOAL I mentioned is made from the coconut shells being burned and finely ground.

      Yes I know how the wear and tear it generates is undermining people. I can see it in people´s photos in the SSNN

      And yes, staying gray and polite is paramount. Being a ghost is helpful.

  • The problem I see is, if people realize you possess a means of production, they will just steal it from you. Why pay you for the product when they can steal the means of production. So your product would need to require specialized knowledge, or be labor-intensive, so that they need you to be involved. In the end, people would always rather steal the product or the means of production. Why buy or trade if they can steal. So perhaps the best source of income is to possess a skill. That can’t be stolen from you.

    • They will steal only if they know where your exact location is.

      Therefore, creativity and concealment is going to be essential.

  • Jose, this was a most interesting post. I know that a lot of homesteaders here in the US make their own soaps and cleaning products. And some are working with biofuels. Your idea of being able to provide mobile energy sources is very creative.

    • Thanks Grammy, you´re very kind. Lately my creativity has experienced a boost, being so broke as I am :).

  • For those will to get your hands dirty and plan ahead 🙂 Starting seedlings and learning how to start plants from cuttings has from my Grand Mothers stories of the Great Depression paid the taxes and kept some spending cash for the family. Many a family that otherwise could feed themselves well enough LOST the home and farm to the Tax man.

    Did you know you can start tomatoes plants from the suckers you have to cut off anyway to prevent molds and fungus from destroying them. Air flow is GOOD for the health of your tomatoes. What is the price for a tomato plant from Bonnies?

    • Not just seedlings. You can save seeds from open pollinated varieties. A 6 foot row of bush beans will produce about 4-6 cups of seeds, each tomato fruit has about 200-350 seeds. If you’re a gardener or planning on gardening in hard times, learn to save seeds now. It’s not hard but like anything takes time to become really good at it. Also learn which vegetables have the most calories and nutrition, better to grow them than something low cal. Lettuce and celery won’t keep you alive, but dried beans, potatoes, squash, leeks, and kale might–but just barely.

      • Study the successes of the past to thrive in the future. We are not the first to suffer from rodents and such in the gardens. I am annoyed by critters enjoying my garden as their salad bar today BUT that wood chuck I ate last year was tasty. Chickens love whatever I don’t want to eat, they are Omnivores. I almost have pity when a vole or field mouse tries to outrun the chickens. They seldom do.

        American Indians used to have children pull all night guard duty in the gardens and extra praise was given for successfully bagging some protein during their shift. Rodents HATE your walking around and even breathing near them at night. You might think your quiet but not to their keen senses. I’ve never successfully fenced out a rodent from my garden, that includes rabbits. A garden shed/guard house sounds pretty good if that garden is IMPORTANT to my families food supply.

        Do you know that carrots, onions and beets are biannual? Here in New England I have to grow some in 5 gallon buckets as to overwinter them for seeds the next year. Buy a good book on seed saving and DO IT while you still can buy seeds.

        Are you aware that willow twigs soaking in water makes excellent root growth hormone. Make your success rate for slips and cuttings excellent.

        Much to learn from the internet aside from the stress of political nonsense.

        • For those who might be more of a Warrior in nature or by training, There is something to be said for developing and enforcing a New ROL system, once the old has collapsed.
          An individual or group that is willing to bring peace and stability (with fairness and Justice) would go a long ways towards rebuilding civilization.
          I say a new system, as the old one has gotten way out of hand and is corrupt, (yes, even in the US).

          You see you really can’t hide these projects forever.
          If someone wants to take them from you they will. A mobile setup can be ambushed. Or they can watch you till you go to your hidden workshop.
          Even something that is labor intensive that is not a problem, if they do not mind slavery and enslaving you (threatening your life, your families life, etc.), to get you to run it for them.
          It is something that is very common and done all the time by criminal gangs.

          So setting up a legal system or a justice system, is a essential to rebuild any sort of society or to preserve it in the long run. That means a Sheriff, Marshal or Police and maybe even a Military unit.
          If the good guys do not do this, the bad guys will, but it won’t be just or kind.

          Society will not exist in a vacuum, eventually someone fills the place of being the civil authority.
          Prepper groups, often have leaders but that might not be a qualification for being a law enforcer, they might be a better at being a Mayor or Judge.

          Just something to consider.

          • dunno. most preppers/survivalists will see their own selves as the new law, and they’ll be outright hostile to anyone else usurping that role from them.

          • We have already consider that quite some time ago.
            Had more than a few discussions about the topic.

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