When you’re first starting out with your blog or business, you’re likely going to be watching every penny. Even after your income has taken off, it’s still good practice to keep your costs in check. Bartering is a great way to bridge the gap, saving you time, money, stress, and has the added bonus of making some great contacts and friends at the same time.
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One thing you learn pretty quickly as a blogger or business owner is that you can do anything but not everything. Even if you somehow have the time to do all the things, that doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy doing all the things, or that you’re the best person to do them. Outsourcing is great, but not everyone has the money to hire someone, which is where bartering comes in.
Examples of bartering could be:
- Writing blog posts for a photographer in exchange for exclusive stock photos for your blog.
- Providing a mindset coaching session in exchange for social media scheduling from a virtual assistant.
- Putting together a content plan for a web designer in exchange for Pinterest pin templates.
- Asking a web developer to make some tweaks to your website in exchange for writing some copy for their website.
- Reviewing someone’s SEO in exchange for them growing your Instagram following.
Basically, anything you’d like to offer and anything you could benefit from someone else doing for you!
Advantages of bartering
Don’t spend your time doing things you don’t enjoy, trying to learn everything in the world, or doing things that are outside your zone of genius. Instead, stick to what you like doing and do more of that in exchange for someone else doing the thing you don’t know about or don’t enjoy.
The beauty of the internet is that you can learn how to do anything. The danger of the internet is that you can learn how to do anything, and you feel like everyone can do it better than you, has been doing it for years, and has their act together. Even though that’s not necessarily true, it can be stressful looking at an endless to do (or to learn) list, or spend hours on something that still doesn’t work out right.
It doesn’t matter how much you love your blog or business, if you don’t have enough money to hire someone, you don’t have enough money to hire someone. And that’s fine. Even if you do have money, you may have it earmarked for something else, and that’s fine too.
Make great connections
Being available for bartering means you get the chance to network with and create relationships with a lot of awesome people. Sometimes these are people you may never have come across otherwise because they work in a different industry or circle.
Highlight other people (and get yourself highlighted!)
You can provide and ask for testimonials as part of your bartering arrangement, plus doing shout outs on social media is a great way to highlight your appreciation and show you’re a positive person to work with.
What to think about for a successful skills barter
Before you ask or get involved in a barter, make sure you’re super clear on what you’re looking for and what you’re offering. For example, if you’re exchanging a blog post for some professional photos, both parties should know how many words are involved, whether there will be keyword research done, who is responsible for the topic idea, what links should be included, whether the blog post will be written in WordPress or a Google Doc, etc. Equally, both parties should be clear on how many photos there will be, what format/s they’ll be provided in, what the subject/s will be, whether editing is included. And of course, the rights both parties have over what they’re creating and receiving, and the date everything is due.
Both parties should be aiming to offer a similar amount of value; for example if you would charge $200 to write a 1000 word blog post and your bartering partner would charge $200 for 20 photos, that’s a rate you could exchange at. You always want to respect the other person’s prices and valuation – if you don’t agree with them, it’s better to look for another partner than try to negotiate or they (or you) will be resentful before you even start. Equally, you need to be realistic about your own prices. If you say, “Oh, I charge $600 for a 500 word blog post,” but no one’s ever actually paid you that, it’s disingenuous.
Make sure you see examples of their work and get genuine testimonials before deciding to go ahead, just as you would if you were hiring or contracting someone for work. This helps you assess whether someone is the right match for you based on style as well as quality; you probably aren’t going to want to barter with a photographer if you’re after light, bright flatlays and their specialty is moody wedding photos.g
It may sound like there’s a lot to think about, but you can get a good idea of whether or not you can trust someone and work primarily off of that basis. Ensure you both have a clear agreement in writing before you start work. If you’ve never worked with the person before, it’s best to stay safe and not allow them access to anything that could harm your website or website. For example, you could ask them to email you an SEO report rather than giving them administrator access to your website to make changes.
Where to find people for bartering
We’re starting a bartering thread in our Facebook group, the Lyrical Host Blog & Business Squad, and you can also try other Facebook groups by searching for the profession you want to trade with, for example photography or SEO. We recommend searching in specific closed groups rather than doing a general public shoutout as you’re more likely to find opportunities with people who are experienced in what they do and in a similar position to you.
If there’s someone specific you want to work with, try contacting them directly – the worst they can do is say no.
What to watch out for
Go with your gut instinct, do your research by reviewing past work and testimonials, and if you’ve found them via Facebook groups, search for other posts they’ve written to get an idea of what they’re like. If it’s someone literally just starting out, try to get a character reference as a minimum. People who raise your suspicions, don’t seem too knowledgeable, are very slow to reply, or have a lack of enthusiasm about the work, are all best avoided. Make sure all parties are super clear on deadlines, and exchange work mutually rather than one party sending it over far earlier than the other.
Bartering has so many benefits it’s worth trying at least once. Hopefully you found this post useful, and you’re now inspired to find a bartering partner to save you time, money, and stress! If you’ve bartered before, please leave a comment below and let us know how it worked out for you.
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