How Bartering Can Help Your Business

September 26, 2011

When you start your own business, money doesn’t exactly grow on the tree in your backyard. Every dollar you spend is one less dollar you have to pay your rent, which means you think hard about spending those dollars.

My business has a low overhead because a lot of the tools I use are free. Lately I’ve been pushing myself to spend money where it really matters, on intangibles that will help me succeed; for example, I just bought a ticket to Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit next summer. But in most cases I strive for frugality, asking myself whether I really need something for my business before I buy it.

So I was kind of squirming over the idea of paying a designer to create a cover for my next guide, How to Take a Career Break to Travel. Jade Craven, who has generously been working with me as a launch coach, convinced me to go for it, saying the cover of my guide to social-media consulting looked amateurish, that I needed a professional cover this time. She’s right. So right that I hired a designer to create a new cover for that guide, too.

But back to the squirming. I reached out to online friend Torre DeRoche, who you might have read about recently in this Q&A about overcoming your fears. Yes, she’s a newbie author, but she’s also a designer. A damn good designer, it turns out. When I mentioned I needed a cover for my soon-to-launch guide, she mentioned she needed help publicizing her book. An opportunity for a swap, right?

So I wrote some pitches and introduced her to some of my media contacts. In return, she created this:

Isn’t it beautiful? Perfectly fitting for my guide!

So yeah. Open to bartering anytime, y’all. Anytime. It’s a great way for all of us up-and-coming entrepreneurs to help each other — and help ourselves at the same time.

Have you ever used bartering as a way to get ahead?

P.S. If you want a heads up and DISCOUNT on the career-break guide when it launches next month, sign up for The Traveling Writer newsletter.

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