How Bartering Can Help Your Business

September 26, 2011 · 8 comments

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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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel September 26, 2011 at 9:04 am

I think bartering is really making a comeback. I use it in my restaurant business and I love it! More seats are filled keeping my staff going and I get useful things in return. I use mostly for looking for bartering opportunities. I think it’s a must for every (small) business.


Alexis Grant September 26, 2011 at 1:13 pm

So glad you added a website resource to this conversation! Love how you say it’s making a comeback.


Andi of My Beautiful Adventures September 26, 2011 at 10:30 am

I’m a HUGE fan of bartering! Torre did SUCH an amazing job with the cover, love it!!!
Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted…My Wedding & Honeymoon: Day 6-10 (Part 8)My Profile


Nicole Basaraba September 26, 2011 at 11:41 am

I LOVE the cover! Its totally fitting for your subject. I also like the sneaky world map in the clouds. Excellent creativity.


Alexis Grant September 26, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Yes, isn’t the map fabulous? I love that part.


Kim Kircher September 27, 2011 at 11:56 am

Nice looking cover art. Bartering is a way of life for me. I live and work in the ski industry, where if it weren’t for bartering we’d have no economy at all. Usually it’s a six pack of beer in exchange for a ski tune or borrowing an important piece of gear. But it makes the world go around.


Meg September 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm

love the map in the clouds! so clever!


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