You Are a Trapper… Lessons We Can Learn From Mountain Men

One of my favorite shows is “Mountain Men” on the History channel. The show profiles five men in different areas on the country who live different lives. They typically live in the wilderness in brutal conditions without the use of technology and most of the comforts we enjoy on a daily basis. My favorite is Marty Meierotto as seen in this video.

Marty’s bio on History.com is:

One hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle in the harsh Alaskan wilderness, trapper Marty Meierotto spends the sub-zero winters living in a primitive one-room cabin. During the brief daylight hours, he sets his trapline and must catch everything from minks to wolverines in order to support his family back home. He eats only what he kills and must survive in a place where few men have dared to make their home. This season, Marty rolls the dice on a new line in the windswept highlands of Alaska’s Revelation Mountains. The remoteness of the new area will force Marty to use only snowshoes and a tent as he builds a new trapline from the ground up.

Watching Marty and the other Mountain Men brings instant gratitude for how easy our lives really are today. We live very well and this show is constant reminder for me. Anytime I think I have something challenging to deal with, I think of these Mountain Men and instantly realize I’m extremely lucky.

Another reason I enjoy the show is because I view each person in the show as their own business. In order to survive, they have to catch what they eat. They are all extremely resourceful. To be successful in business, we must follow their lead. We must generate sales for our businesses in order to eat. When challenges come up in our businesses, we must be resourceful to solve them.

Probably my favorite part of the show is what we can learn about marketing.

Marty’s main source of income is selling the furs of animals he traps. Marty will travel to remote locations and setup trap lines. These trap lines run for miles and throughout each line he places several traps with bait. Each day he goes through his trap line to check his traps to see what he caught.  Most of the traps are empty; however, a few have animals trapped.

This really is what we do with our marketing. We setup marketing trap lines. These marketing trap lines have special offers designed to attract the target prospect. Most of our marketing traps are empty. However, if we are good marketers we’ll find eventually find the right bait and right trap line location to attract our target prospects.

Bait for us = specific lead generation advertisements (free report offer, free home evaluation offer, free list of homes, etc.)
Trap line for us = advertising media (newspaper, real estate magazines, Facebook, TV, radio, etc.)

If Marty finds animals trapped in a specific trap, he simply resets the trap with the same bait. If Marty doesn’t find animals trapped in specific traps, he will watch those traps for a period of time to see if they’ll eventually work. If the traps don’t work over a period of time, he changes the trap by moving it. This season, Marty’s normal trap line wasn’t working. He wasn’t able to catch any animals in his traps. So he left his trap line and went to  a completely new area and created a new trap line using bait he knew worked.

At first, his new trap line was successful. Then he hit a snag as a Wolverine began taking the animals caught in his traps. To solve this pesky Wolverine problem, Marty set a trap to catch the Wolverine. With the Wolverine problem removed, Marty’s new trap line began producing again. His entire focus every single day is the production of his traps and trap line.

This is exactly what we should be doing with our businesses. We should focus daily on our bait and trap lines to ensure they are producing for our businesses.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for most small businesses. Most small businesses set one or two traps and leave these traps sitting there. If the traps don’t produce, they simply leave them alone hoping they’ll get lucky sooner or later. This isn’t how things work. If a trap isn’t working, you’ve got to set a new trap in a different area, or you’ve got to change your bait. In other words, you’ve got to become a master trapper like Marty.

And in some cases, we must abandon a business, or niche in the business, all together if we cannot get our traps and trap lines to work.  We must find a business opportunity where we can be successful with our trap lines.  This is what Marty did by abandoning his main trap line this year. Marty had worked this main trap line for years and he simply walked away from it when it wasn’t producing. His resourcefulness was rewarded as his new trap line succeeded.

The bottom line is we are all Mountain Men (and Women) whether we realize it or not. Those who “see” this ultimately find great success in their businesses. Those who don’t “see” this find great failure in their businesses.

If you haven’t seen this show, make it a priority to watch. As you watch, pay very close attention to the Mountain Men who trap. See how they think and how they handle their trap lines. Copy their approach with your business.

 

4 Comments

  • Carlos Samaniego

    Reply Reply November 4, 2014

    Rob, great to have you back. I have missed your post here on the website. I watch quite a few shows on history channel. I didn’t realize this was on. Liz and I watched it together last night, great show. I love how you watch certain movies and shows and show us the business lessons we can learn from these shows. Keep up the good work. Carlos

    • Robert Minton

      Reply Reply November 4, 2014

      Carlos – Thanks for your comment! Mountain Men is a great show. I think we should always try to learn something from everything we watch, see and read. Hope things are going well for your family!

  • Tami Roberts

    Reply Reply November 3, 2014

    Hi Rob,

    Great to hear you are back in real estate. I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering what you are up to and how things are going with you and your family. Love the mountain men story and the idea of getting back to the fundementals of what really matters in making a successful and sustainable business.

    • Robert Minton

      Reply Reply November 4, 2014

      Tami – great to hear from you! I still remember many of our coaching calls! Things are good here! Keeping things simple and yes back to the basics! Actually re-reading many old marketing books and re-writing old advertisements. Kinda fun! Rob

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