Do you barter in your business?
If so, and you were to be brutally honest, did both parties to the transaction actually really want / need the service? Or was it a case of someone wanting your services and offered a trade and you reluctantly said “OK” to be nice, and accepted a service you really didn’t want or need in exchange?
Just because the government thinks bartering is a taxable transaction (oh yes they do!!!!) doesn’t mean it’s an appropriate business practice.
Thousands of years ago, people exchanged things like salt, cattle, furs, shells and even human skulls for other goods and services. These forms of payment were eventually replaced by coins and other forms of currency to speed up transactions, and today we live in a cash based society
This system allows us to put a firm value on our services, using a standard unit of measure, and then exchange it for dollars. It’s a fair trade. It is then up to us to decide if we want to exchange those dollars for other goods and services, or to save them.
Money gives you choices, and choices give you power to create the life you want.
Bartering doesn’t really give you the same choices or compensation. In fact, when you barter, you give away your power with money.
You can’t contribute to causes you care about by bartering, you can’t take your kids on vacation by bartering, you can’t buy hockey lessons or equipment, you can’t even do basic things like put food on the table or pay your hydro. And, the list goes on. The only thing you get from bartering is a service that may or may not be of equal value to yours, and that you may not truly even want.
If you are bartering right now, stop and ask yourself why aren’t you paying each other? After all, if it is simply a fair and equitable exchange of goods and services, paying each other should simply be a matter of bookkeeping, and bank deposits.
Oh wait! What? The trade isn’t even?
It is rarely ever a fair trade. Even if the time contribution is the same, which it rarely is, one person usually ends up short, either not wanting or needing the services they received, or not feeling they received back the value they gave out.
For example, if a lawyer from Ramsden Law gave one hour of legal advice to a nail salon owner that saved her thousands of dollars in a legal problem, in exchange for a pedicure that also took an hour, that is not a fair trade in terms of value received.
Often times in a barter there is no contractual agreement. With the lack of agreement absence of money exchange, the parties don’t take the arrangement as seriously as if they paid for it. It’s really a disservice to both of you.
Even if by chance the trade is somewhat equitable (and this would be an exception for sure) energetically when you barter you put the message out that money somehow doesn’t fully belong in your world. And this will keep your profits and business small and your impact minimal.
Remember, if someone wants and needs your services and truly values it, they will pay for it, if they don’t want to pay for it, it means they don’t want it bad enough, and do you honestly want a client who isn’t fully committed?
If you are in a bartering arrangement, I encourage you to stop, now.
It’s actually easier than you think, and it will be a great breakthrough for you in your business.
One of the best ways to transform this is to stop selling your time and charging by the hour, and rather instead to set up a pricing structure that accurately reflects the value and deliverables you provide to your clients.
Once you start to value yourself and your expertise, and set proper and healthy boundaries, you show the world that you treat your business a business, and that you really do value what you do. And when you do that, you will find others do as well!
With 25 years' experience leading 6-figure to 9-figure companies, she strategically partners with entrepreneurs to help them focus on sustainable & scalable business growth, so they can create a highly profitable and luxurious business and life.
Passionate about helping women earn what they are worth and build their wealth, so that they can realize all of their dreams and desires. She brings together her vast business knowledge with the deep inner work needed to help entrepreneurs identify blocks, step out of fear and overwhelm, raise their wealth consciousness, and move forward towards their goals with measurable, tangible results.
She is a featured Expert and regular contributing author for Today’s Innovative Woman Magazine, and is profiled in Canada’s 2014/2015 Distinctive Women Magazine
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I actually barter a lot and feel like it’s a win-win for both sides. I never barter for stuff I don’t want or need.
Kristie Nichols I think it can be done well — or it can go very, very wrong.
I have bartered for landscaping, legal services, and even a fancy $10k mattress! I was happy every time
Bartering is great if both people walk away feeling that they got something they need/want and that they’d have been willing to pay at least the value of what they traded to get. Otherwise, letting yourself be nice-guilted into the trade stinks, which is sort of the point here.
I think it’s ok when supplemented in an already successful business.