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Wednesday, June 29, 2011


My sister has opened a plant nursery in her front yard, so this is a good time to mention the money making potential in plants.

For me, part of the idea of making money from plants is that I enjoy working with plants.  They're so kewl.   Seriously, it is quite relaxing work for those of you who, like me, are somewhat of a spaz when we're not working on something that relaxes us.   Whatever, the point is that working with something that makes you feel good is totally awesome, only to be out-awesomed by something you enjoy AND you can make money doing it.  That's the subject of a future post, finding that sweet spot where your talent, your passion, and financial viability come together ... stay tuned for, "Being on Mission!"

There's one drawback with starting a plant business though.  Plants take time.  It would really help if you plan ahead ... you know, like get started before you're dead broke.  I mean really, plants don't grow overnight.  So, start now ... fill that yard up with fruit trees and hardwoods and hedges and Seiko palms and ... all in pots of course.   Haha, I just got that.

... listening to YouTube channel .. I'm gonna just go ahead and pulse this a minute ... ah never mind  ...haha, never mind the mess.  That's definitely "yeehaw".  Wow, guess you had to be there ... it was a cooking show ... no, really, I promise.

I'm just throwing the idea out about growing plants.  It is a quick little business you can start up with the hardest part being to find wholesalers willing to work with you and get you stock for a price low enough for you to turn a profit.  That just takes leg work and research.  I thought it was interesting some of the suppliers that my sister found.  Houston is an amazing city in that it has no zoning laws.  So, right up in a regular neighborhood, she found this really cool high-tech, but family run, grower/supplier.

If you don't live where you can just pop up a business in your front yard, and I assume most of you don't, there's always the option to sell online.  You could root cuttings on the balcony of your apartment if that's all you have to work with.  If space is limited, try to specialize in something rare / niche market and then market your items online through eBay, Webstore, Amazon, etc.

There's already tons of great YouTube videos out there on how to do plants.   If you're too lazy to google it, here are some good links:

1.  Grafting fruit trees
2.  House Plants from cuttings
3.  Rooting tree cuttings
4.  Orchids
5.  Starting a Plant Nursery

I'm working on a video to show just how easy it is to get some plants going.  I have over 50 healthy hedge plants that I pulled up by their roots after a rain.  To keep them fresh, I put 20 to 30 of them in a 1 gallon zip-loc bag with some wet paper towels.  They kept fine for a couple of days like that until I could pot them.   Now, all I have to do is plant them in ever bigger pots and water regularly.

In closing, I have three tips on where to get free stuff you can use in your nursery:

1.  Free plastic pots from local landscape businesses.  They often have tons built up over the years and if you make friends, you might get a customer and a source of free pots to start your new plants.

2.  Free potting material.  It's a kill two birds with one stone idea; offer to clean out people's gutters.  The composted leaves in gutters is perfect potting mix.  I've also thought of offering a clean out service for parking lots and gas stations, but I haven't actually tried that yet.  The bonus potential of a parking lot drain is that there may be lost items in there also.  Of course, if you can't find free mulch, plan ahead and start a compost pile in your backyard now.

3.  Free tree / hedge / ornamental seedlings.  While you're scouting for places that you can get free mulch, keep an eye out for plants too.  Lot's of interesting things get started near streams.  Also, I've noticed that office buildings that back up to a wooded area often have a landscape dumping area.  These areas may have all sorts of cool plants that have been uprooted by the landscapers and tossed into the woods.  Sometimes these plants survive long enough for a watchful opportunist to benefit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Update, selling scrap

Whenever I see a discarded hot water heater, I pick it up.  I can't help myself.  In fact, I keep an old truck bed trailer just for picking up stuff like that.  I pick up small stuff too, screws, washers ... old ovens out in the woods. At $0.12 dollars / pound, any little piece of scrap steel is worth a penny or better.  And as for old appliances, to me they look like a $20 bill sitting on the curb waiting for someone to pick up.

It's not hard to get 1500 lbs of scrap iron in the back of a pickup, and that's enough to go home with $180.00 in your pocket.

Waste not want not.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Future of Banking, Finance, and Monetary Transactions

The vision has arrived, but the first implementors of the vision are dropping like soldiers on a D-Day beach head.  In a way, money doesn't really exist.  Most of our money is already in a bank account and represented by a few 1's and 0's in some computer.  Money is really just two bits of information: who has it, and how much.  Financial transactions are simply a bit of communication wherein the name of "who has it" and "how much" get updated in that record book in the sky.

Those darn people who control that money book in the sky should just give us all some money ... well, not really.  But, what they shouldn't do is get greedy, or lustful for power.  It seems they always do though, and us common folk get screwed.

Because of the repeated "screwings" many people dream of a financial system that is free from the abuses of the privileged.  Ron Paul is out there touting a return to the gold standard, but others have recognized that money is really just a form of communication.  It is an abstract idea that doesn't need a physical form at all.  Money has always simply been a representation of the "value" that someone has added to the world around him.  The only reason money needed a physical form throughout history is to combat fraud and dishonesty in the form of someone claiming that they have added more value than they ever actually had.  Gold is a good proof that you have added value ... at least you can't just say you have it (like the Federal Reserve); you have to start a war or something to get your hands on it.  What we need is "money" that has all the protections from fraud inherent in a physical amount of gold, but all the ease of transfer as a bit of information on a computer network.

Several companies have popped up and pooped out over the years while they made their attempt to solve the world's "money" problem.  Some of them, like eGold, had some help pooping out courtesy FBI.  They were like the 1st soldiers on the beach, and the governments of the world will protect their financial beaches to the bitter end.  But, the vision is in sight, and others will keep coming and coming with better and better ideas.  Eventually, someone is going to implement a solution that is so much better than what we have today, that no government on earth will be able to stop it.

The latest, most ingenious, solution is the BitCoin.  It is a first stab at some revolutionary new concepts on how to handle the "money" problem.  Here are some features of a BitCoin:

1.  No physical form
2.  Not backed by any physical entity
3.  Internet / computer / open source base
4.  Secure transactions
5.  Available to anyone with internet connection
6.  Predictable growth of money supply
7.  Complete records of activity
8.  Transactions are private

There are pros and cons of each feature above, but the ingenious aspect of this system is the method by which it automates the process of increasing the supply of money as the economy grows.  It takes people, with their bad judgement and selfish ways, out of the process.  (The FED system is an effort to remove decisions about sizing money supply out of the political realm because history has shown that common people don't know how to make good decisions on money supply).  Anyway, BitCoin takes the concept further and takes all decisions about money supply out of the hands of any people.  The odds of BitCoin having the formula completely right on the first try are low, but the concept is what's interesting.

Specifically, it uses a complicated scheme of encryption to produce a predictable level of scarcity to the money supply.  In the beginning, anyone could use their computer to "mine" for a new block of encryption codes that could be used for BitCoins. While more powerful computers are needed today, users are still given  BitCoins when they find a new block.  Wouldn't it be nice if the Federal Reserve gave out $100 bills whenever they needed to increase the money supply?

The value of the BitCoin is increasing as more and more people become willing to provide goods and services in exchange for BitCoins.  The easiest way to get some now is to sell stuff online on sites like Craigslist.  Just take the time to learn all about it because it is money, and money attracts thieves like flies to dead meat.

If you google BitCoin, you can find out more about it than you ever wanted to know.  Some people like the idea, some people hate it.  If it gets popular, the FBI / CIA / IMF / US Military / NATO will probably figure out a way to shut it down.  Hopefully, the BitCoin economic experiment lasts long enough for everyone to learn some better ways to handle money.  Hopefully, banking services and our global financial system will evolve into a system that is as cheap and fair as it can be.  One key to making this so is competition.  Governments have a monopoly on money, and that is the only reason they can get away with doing what they do to part us from so much of our personal "value".  Systems like BitCoin will eventually challenge government monopolies, and that is good for all of us.