Need a Tool. Just Press Print.

by Dave Miller

You are in outer space doing a space walk fixing a crucial part on the station. You drop your wrench. It floats out of your reach into the abyss. Now what?

Luckily you thought to bring your 3D printer.

I saw this technology at a trade show. It’s just plain awesome. Templates, prototypes and molds with a mere click of the mouse.

Now they are adding a resin to solidify the product making it fully functional.

Published in: on July 30, 2011 at 9:52 am  Comments (2)  
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Jack of All or Master of Two?

by Dave Miller

Take a look at your career path to see which of the three roads you are traveling. Will mastering one skill outperform becoming a jack of all trades? Should you master two skills?

Master of One

Gary North says, in order to move into the upper levels of your industry you need become an expert in one field. Learn the industry, study the trade, educate yourself, get in the top 4% of your field. If you can become better than 20% of your competition you will survive and do well. If you can get better than 20% of 20%, being 4%, you’ll become an expert.

By focusing on one area you can devote more time, thus getting there sooner. The compounding effect works in your favor here. The more effort you put in the more there is to compound.

In order to master one trade you need to devote 10,000 hours. This is a serious commitment. It will be your life’s work. Think long and hard before making this pledge.

Many college graduates think they know what this one area of mastery is. They change their mind. They lose precious time.

Look before you leap. Check how deep the water is before taking the plunge.

Jack of All

These people have amassed knowledge on many subjects. They are extremely handy to have around. Every business should have one.

A Jack-of-all-trades guy usually gets hung up in the details. He focuses on fixing the problem which must be done now and puts his effort into finding a solution for the problem. He isn’t happy unless he is fixing something, anything. Just give him something to fix.

There are exceptions but most of these guys fail to delegate thus limiting their leadership skills.

Master of Two

I call this the Dilbert method. The author of Dilbert talks about combining two skills.

Specializing and excelling in one area is better than being good at two areas that do not merge. Devoting more time to one thing rather than multiple will speed up the process and get you farther. Yet he says if you can combine two skills that you are in the top 25% in both you can do well.

“I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare.”

The comic, Dilbert, was born.

The Dilbert method creates a niche not easily matched. It creates a unique mix of two or three talents.

If I want to hire a mentor to teach me public speaking for an event on real estate, rather than hire a top 4% speaker, I would hire a really good speaker that specializes in real estate. The combination of the two skills is more valuable to me than the guy who is better at speaking but knows nothing about real estate. After I have mastered the basics for the mentor I hired and still want to elevate myself I may go hire the 4% guy.

What is your focus?

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My Barter List. You Want to Trade?

by Dave Miller

Here is my barter list. It lists the items and services I am offering then it lists the items I want. If it’s not on the list just ask, barters are usually flexible. By creating this list I have already saved myself 450 out-of-my-pocket dollars.

Craigslist offers a barter column to post items for barter.

Items Offered                     

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  • Kayak, Dagger Element 112 with accessories      Very good condition.        (Value $600)

Life Vest



Fishing Gear


Around $1000 invested

Used 10 to 12 times

  • Business Consulting

Business Coaching

Marketing Strategies


Bottom-line Improvement

Advertisement Writing (Ad copy)

  • DVD player (value $35)
  • Wind Turbine (24 volt) New $2700, trade or cash $1200
  • 23’’ TV (Value $75)
  • 12’’ DeWalt sliding double compound meter saw (Value $425)
  • Goose decoys ($25)
  • Lawn Boy 4.5 hp lawn mower (works great) ($150)
  • 3G iPhone with brand new screen (value $180)
  • 60+ wooden shipping pallets ($2. Each)
  • GPS (dash mount) paid $299.

Items Wanted

  • Exterior of Barn to be painted, mostly block.
  • ·         5 Maple trees to be trimmed
  • Taxi services
  • Make new flower garden
  • Fence in play area around child’s swing set
  • iPad
  • Patio dining set
  • Outdoor Kitchen to be built
  • Firearms
  • Gold and silver

It’s time to make a list if you want to save some cash. Make it, post it, save cash.

Related posts: Does Barter Work? How I made it pay better than cash.

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 7:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Does Barter Work? How I Made it Pay Better Than Cash

by Dave Miller

Two large maple trees loom over our house gracing our front yard. Sadly the one seems to have some disease and is dying. If we need to remove it, it would leave a gaping hole. It’s tough to think about removing a beautiful tree like this, planted by my father 43 years ago. It’s so large and graceful.

So I called in a tree doctor to analyze and diagnosis. His prognosis was that there is a 25% chance of saving it. That’s not what I wanted to hear.

He tells me they can trim the tree to maximize its chances. Looking at this tree and our 4 other maple trees in need of trimming, he proposes the cost to be $1900. Even though I really like my trees, that’s a lot of money.

So I called “Mr. Mow It All”. Yeah, that’s his company name. Two young men, clean cut and buff, survey the task. They leave a proposal for $1200 with my wife. We are heading in the right direction but I still cringe at parting with $1200.

My wife says it’s barter time.

To barter is to exchange goods or services directly without money or another medium of exchange.

When Sage from Mr. Mow It All calls me, he is professional yet eager for the work. We talk about the barter option. He wants to grow his business so we discuss ways I could help him by working as a consultant. Sage was reluctant to barter all his services for strictly my services. I can’t say I blame him. So we negotiate – 50% cash and 50% consulting in exchange for tree trimming.

My goal, which I think is attainable, is to provide him a service that will far exceed the cash value. To pay him in a way that continues to return profits for years to come. Sage made a remark that is true in bartering, he said “I feel like you are trying to give me something in return rather than just getting me to work for less”. That comment is the essence of bartering. Both parties get more.

A few months back Matt from J M Lapp, LLC asked me to do some consulting and writing for him. He was attempting to get his Master Plumber license in Lancaster City, a tough job. So we bartered my writing and consulting skills for his plumbing skills. We put together a presentation for the board, asking them to waive the apprentice requirement and allow Matt to take the test.

A few months later I received a phone call from a proud jubilant Matt proclaiming his success. He is a Master Plumber. He didn’t even need to take the test.

After he got his master plumber license I was working on a project in Lancaster City. The property manager’s plumber was not available. I asked if he is looking for another plumber. He said he is that it’s always good to have options. So I recommended Matt to the largest property manager in Lancaster City. I hope they partner in the years to come.

In barter cases both parties feel as if they received more. If your client feels as if he received more than he bargained for, he will more likely refer new clients to you.

Put together a barter list to help you negotiate when the time is right. List items or services you have available. This will assist you when the opportunity arises.


I recommend the skills and knowledge of these people:

Mr. Mow It All 717-598-9478, Tree Service, Lawn Care, Landscaping, Trash Removal, Snow Removal.

J M Lapp LLC 717-405-5718, Plumbing and drain cleaning, Heating and air conditioning, Water softeners and water treatment systems



Published in: on July 5, 2011 at 6:25 am  Comments (1)  
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