Many creatives find that bartering is a helpful component of their business, and some networking groups even make it possible to barter on the bigger picture — because bartering is the main purpose of the group.
Dawn Mitchell, owner at G4G Interactive, shares what she’s learned from being a member of a national bartering group, and gives suggestions for others to navigate one effectively. She says:
– It's not that expensive and opens doors to certain opportunities and meeting new people.
– I see it as a little hidden savings account. There is a massage spa in our group and I like to use my bartering money to spoil myself sometimes. It's money I'd probably not spend in other circumstances.
– The clients I've received from it tend to be cheap because they want something for nothing. It's mainly for small jobs and networking to meet other people.
– Make sure that there are other businesses in the group that you want to do business with. If you don't, you may make money that you can't spend. Remember that it's not "real" money in your account and you can't withdraw it. Make sure your account doesn't get too high.
– I give limits on how much I will accept on trade. For instance, I'm only accepting $500 total for any project. If it's a $5,000 website, $4,500 is cash and $500 is trade. You can adjust how much you barter at any time with any bartering group.
– It gives me an excuse to not do any other bartering if I don't wish to. If someone suggests bartering and I don't want to, I mention that I only do bartering through this service. If they join, I can barter, if they don't, I can't barter.
– Sometimes I'm busy with a lot of bartering clients and prospects and sometimes I'm not.
– I would recommend only bartering your time and not any of your out of pocket expenses. If you are working on a barter project that requires printing and you receive a printing commission, consider bartering the design portion only. It's a good way to make a few bucks on a barter project. Also, if there's a printer in the bartering group, consider using them for your printing for barter and non-barter projects. That's a good way to keep cash in your pocket for all projects.
Dawn’s bartering group is Velocity Trade Exchange. The website has a very creative video (featuring Dawn!) that shows how the group works.
Do you have experiences with bartering? Are you in a group like Dawn’s? Please share.