2021-12: Count Your Blessings

by Santa John McDaniel
The View from the Bridge is an opinion piece that explores how societal changes can/will impact the future, especially as these changes apply to the Graphic-Products industry and small businesses in general.

On the Pandemic Front

Reflecting on 2021, the pandemic’s second year, I have come to appreciate the people who make my life possible. I am grateful for food in stores and restaurants! Grateful for the farmers that grow it, for the harvesters who pick the crops, for the truckers who transport the food, for the processing plants and workers that cook, package, and freeze food. Oh, and let’s not leave out all the grocery-store personnel.

Over the last year, my wife and I have shopped in a number of grocery stores. We are so grateful for the cornucopia of products we have to choose from. We are so blessed.

And of course, a big shout out to all the healthcare workers who’ve been head-down tail-up throughout all the COVID variations. A big thank you to all of you working through the pandemic!’

Of course, on the flip side, we have over 800,000 dead from COVID, while at the same time, some people and companies have chosen to profit from temporary shortages.

I know that what you sow is what you will reap! Sow fear, reap fear amplified! Sow Love, reap Love amplified. The choice is yours.

Personal Testimony

Over the past several years it’s been my practice during the Christmas, New Year’s holiday season to consider the many blessings I’ve enjoyed throughout the years.

I’m 78 years old. I was born in 1943 at the height of the World War II.

When I was born, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. And the “Internet” of the day consisted of party-line telephones and switchboard operators (sorry no cellphones here).

For news and entertainment, we had radio and movie theaters. At the time most theaters ran news reels, a cartoon, coming attractions, and then the feature movie.  And of course, there was the ever-popular Saturday-afternoon matinees where moms could drop off the kids for a couple of hours. I was in high school before we had our first TV.

Looking back over the years, I can see that living on Earth has been a learning experience for me. I have seen so many changes.

I have come to realize the body I possess is a gift of Mother Earth. When my spirit leaves this gift (my current body) all I will take with me are the experiences of this lifetime.

What is it that the one who dies with the most toys wins? His or her body along with all the toys accumulated will ultimately end up as landfill, i.e., returned to the Earth. Perhaps what’s won is the experience of playing with all those toys. Recommendation – rent don’t buy.

Looking Ahead

As we emerge from this pandemic, we are prompted to assess the cultural and economic changes we have all experienced and observed.

Future Trends

We listed several trends we see coming post-COVID:

This Time:

Having some web-presence will become a business necessity.

If you already have a business, you may already have a website. If you’re just starting out, you may be able to get started without creating a website.

You can think of a website as an advertising medium, for example, the way most restaurants advertise their wares. You can also think of a website as an on-line store where people can order products you have available.

Over the years we’ve sold products via swap meets, trade shows, state and county fairs, kiosks, brick-and-mortar stores, and via the Internet. Most of what we’ve sold started with some face-to-face contact.

The products we sold either required education (fire safety equipment) or were complex (engravings). Neither of these product lines were suitable for the web at the time.

One option you may consider is an eBay store. We used one successfully when we were liquidating store stock.

Recommendation – proceed with caution. Pricing your product with all the competition on the web can be a challenge. And, how do you handle returns?

The concept of business, technology, the Internet and the network. A young entrepreneur working on a virtual screen of the future and sees the inscription: Trends

Future Articles:

  • Some businesses in the Graphic Products industry will become fulfillment centers. They receive orders from the web, produce product in-house, and ship it to the customer. No contact.
  • As we have mentioned before, transportation is going electric. Tesla is introducing the Model 2 sometime next year. Its rumored price is $25k. Every major car maker is planning electric vehicles. Who needs gas, oil changes, tune-ups, etc., etc.?
  • Electric generation will become local. You’ll see it in your home, your subdivision, your city, your building, etc. Solar panels and batteries eliminate the need for high-powered transmission lines and transformers, which have contributed to fires in the West.  The landscape will be much nicer once all those ugly power lines are removed for scrap metal.

We will cover these trends, and how they will impact our industry in future articles. Next time: Some businesses in the graphic products industry will become fulfillment centers.

Moving Forward

In the past, we at CorelDRAW Help were focused on creating scripts (step-by-step instructions) you can follow to produce products to sell, primarily using CorelDRAW.

Currently, software, equipment, and blank-product manufacturers have assumed the task of training for finished product production.

Going forward, we will focus our energies on how you can start and grow a business. We’ve had some experience starting and building small businesses. Our experience may be of some assistance in your efforts.

Creating – Your Future Life, Income Stream, and a Business

First, it’s important to understand some of the rules of Creation. We’ll cover each of these in more depth. This time – #4 – Life is terminal; you’ll never get out of it alive. 

  1. Each of us creates our future moment by moment.
  2. The past is history, the future is a dream, now is what matters.
  3. Life is all about experience.
  4. Life is terminal; you’ll never get out of it alive.
  5. There are two major forces in the Universe, Love and Fear (False Evidence Appearing Real)
  6. Karma doesn’t care. What goes around, comes around. You can count on that!
  7. My right to swing my arm, ends where another’s body begins.
  8. Like everything else in the Universe, Humans are drawn toward Love.
  9. After 78 years on this planet, I know that all the things I’ve experienced in this lifetime have been for my good, even if I didn’t see it at the time. I know that in this Universe, all things work together for the good of ALL.

The Experience of a Home on Wheels

Life is all about experience.

After moving from Arizona to Oregon, Holley and I have been considering a couple of options. (1) Purchase a manufactured home in a 55+ park. Or (2) Purchase a home on wheels.

Toward the end of October, for lots of reasons, we made the decision to purchase a home on wheels. The home we chose is a 41-foot 5th wheel that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 16,000 lbs.

Our experience towing with the Tesla Model 3 convinced us that towing our home with an electric vehicle is not currently possible. Some of the reasons include towing weight capacity, range while towing, charging infrastructure, battery capacities, and time required for recharging.

All of these issues will be overcome within the next few years. That said, today it’s all vaporware, i.e., currently not available.

We made the decision to experience traveling for the next few years. We have family in Oregon, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. To tow our home, we require a beast of a pickup truck.

To facilitate the experiences we wish to have in our immediate future, we traded our electric vehicles for our new beast of a truck, capable of towing 21,000 lbs.

We have had the experience of driving electric cars for the past 3 years. We are grateful for the experience of driving the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3.

In our view, swapping those vehicles for a Ford F350 Turbo Diesel is a step back necessitated by our towing requirements. As soon as a Ford F350 electric vehicle, or equivalent, becomes available we’ll trade out the Turbo Diesel.

Now, we are blessed with a new home and vehicle that can tow it.

– This Time

Life is terminal; you’ll never get out of it alive.

Question – do you know anyone alive today who is in a 500-year-old body? I know some might feel their body acts like it’s at least that old, but that doesn’t count.

I rest my case.

What is your interest in the Graphic-Products Industry?

In today’s world, most graphic products begin life as computer art. Some artists create and sell computer art for use on the web. Some create and sell physical products using their artwork, think t-shirts, mugs, awards, etc. Others create graphic products as a hobby or to help organizations to which they may belong.

 Answering a couple of questions might help you evaluate your interest.

  1. Do I have any interest in creating digital art?
  2. Does my interest in digital art include producing hard copies?
  3. Is my interest in creating personalized products for Fun or for Profit?
  4. What do I do, or does my business do? Are you an Artist or Commercial Artist?
  5. If I’m a commercial artist, who are my competitors?

In Short

Thank you for your attention. Keep in mind that we don’t know what we don’t know. So, don’t take our word for it. Meditate and find what is right for you.

As we’ve said before, working from home may become the norm. Commuting to an office, not so much or so often. (Great for reducing air pollution, not so great for oil producers and gas stations.)   

The economic transformations COVID-19 has initiated will last long after the dis-ease is brought into balance (i.e., suppressed). These changes will favor working people and small businesses that work from home.

For 2022 and beyond we pray for peace.

Thank you, see you next time.

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