So this might be totally not what you expected but I need a catalyst and there is really nowhere that compares more than 4SW. So here goes.
I am an author and literary strategist. When I first started out I did a lot of work for trade. Trade for editing, book covers, social media marketing, blog building, blog posts, content reads. You name it and I had a talent for it and I worked out a deal.
However, I don’t do that as much. There are several reasons why the number one being is the temporal needs of my family. But that isn’t the point of this rant. The real point is (and this can pertain to any industry) I want to share a few things about bartering.
1. Bartering has been around since man was created. No matter where you think we came from the realization is that bartering has been here since Adam and Eve. There was no overall way to recognize monetary value so the barterer and the barteree negotiated a deal of what they felt was an equal trade for goods or services. Now the point of the history lesson is the terms are set out in the beginning. That doesn’t mean later if things circumstances change you can throw a fit and break the deal. Nevertheless, renegotiation is always an option.
2. Terms need to be spelled out clearly in the beginning. This is one I suffer from. Meaning if you do a trade of services—find out how much those services are and figure out an hourly amount of time and rate or whatever so that it’s equal for both parties at the beginning. For example this one time I offered to stage a home for a client (back in my Realtor days) in exchange for some print work. The print work was about $300.00. After talking over what they wanted done initially I figured it would be an equal deal and take me about 10 hours to come up with a plan, present it to them, and they could go from there. Wrong! It was more like 100 contentious hours later I was literally hurting financially from the amount of time on the project. Because I had not spelled out what I was doing from the beginning, they misunderstood me and assumed I would be spearheading and following through with the entire staging of the home. So after prayer and speaking with my husband I approached them and expressed how sorry I was about not communicating fully. I also said this is how many hours I’ve put into this, this is how much I usually charge an hour, and I can’t afford to do anymore under the terms of our agreement. They were embarrassed and sad that I had done more. We renegotiated a deal and I was paid some money. I didn’t make a profit. In fact, I barely broke even but I learned and the relationship was still at a great place. On the latter I did the same thing with another person they had a fit and ended up bitching about it to any and every person they could. In the end, this hurt them more than it did me. If you do find yourself on the bad end of a barter accept what part is your fault learn and move on. Don’t be a baby about it.
3. Sometimes free is worth more than a dollar amount. I probably spend more time doing free stuff from consultations, speaking, workshops, and blogging than I do writing as an author or making money as a consultant. However, I almost make enough money for my family. When I started in this business, I sat down and said “How will I measure my success?” And I decided that a certain dollar amount made monthly was my ultimate goal. I’m ¾ of the way there in the first year. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I attribute this to the fact all my consulting business is done by referral. I am always happy to refer someone out some business if I am too busy to handle it. Or to just simply sit and brainstorm about their platform. It’s in this I learn and I serve and I’m very happy to do it.
4. It is not ok to take advantage of the novice. Too many times, I’ve seen people who have been around the block a long time or who are very shrewd take advantage of someone just starting because they see a lot of talent and not as much confidence. It is not ok to take advantage of that. If you have a deal from the beginning while it may not be the industry standard it still does not need to be for pennies or a crappy trade. While I can’t sit here and draw up a list of acceptable trades just keep that in mind. It hurts us all when good talent is burned and leaves.
5. Word of mouth contracts are still contracts. In Tennessee word of mouth contracts are not consider legal under real estate law. It’s like that in most states. However, for myself as a person who likes to think of honor and character I still do my utmost to honor verbal contracts as well as print. With that in mind, I also do majority of my work with written contracts now. Mainly so I know exactly what’s expected.
So that was my little rant. Thanks for letting me get it out. And if you could be so kind as to share with me any of your own experiences or ideas.