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One of my favorite ways to save cash for my personal life and business is through the barter system. It started back in 1994 when I was an intern at a record label in the marketing department. I learned early on that it was about who you knew, and I made every little intern errand a networking excursion. Delivering interoffice mail, getting someone’s lunch, running some lowly gofer errand … that was all okay with me, because I was reaping the benefits of amazing connections – and of course, the free music and tickets to concerts didn’t hurt, either.

The promotion departments always had surplus CDs that they’d give away to staff. On each floor I’d run errands on, there was a beat-up cardboard box in the hallway marked “giveaways”. What I didn’t realize is that on the other side of the building, which was Doubleday books, they had the same giveaway box deal. I met a lot of friends in the cafeteria who worked there and would ask me about any music that I had.

“Hey, Simone, you got the new Toni Braxton or Wu Tang Clan?”

“Sure, I heard that new Stephen King came out. Can you meet me after work with it?”

And the deal was set. That was my introduction into the wonderful world of barter.

Do you really know what barter is? The basic definition is ‘the exchange of resources or services for mutual advantage,’ and dates back to the beginning of humankind. Bartering certainly pre-dates the use of money. Today individuals, organizations, and governments still use, and often prefer, bartering as a form of exchange of goods and services.

I was in love when I started to realize how many things I could get this way. Once I graduated from college, I was promoted in the company and had even more access to music. I also started my own side business as a marketing coach.

At that time, I would treat myself to a massage at a local spa to get the knots out of my neck from long hours on the computer working two jobs. My massage therapist and I became friendly and she told me she was leaving the spa to branch out on her own. Of course, the light bulb went off in my head. I said to her, “You’re definitely going to need marketing, and you know I love massages. So, let’s make a deal.”

She agreed to my proposition and we’d meet each week about marketing ideas and then after the meeting, she’d graciously thank me with a deep tissue massage. Ahhhh … was I in heaven or what? Since then, I’ve learned how to acquire things such as expensive magazine advertising for my business, acupuncture, holistic health counseling, one-on-one training at the gym, and, of course, even more spa services (pedicures, facials, massages) all on BARTER!

My friends jokingly call me The Barter Queen since I can spot a deal a mile away and, in 2002, I even launched my own organization for women based on networking in barter, called The Give ‘n’ Take Network. I love teaching others how to take advantage of their hidden talents. The other thing to keep in mind is that many barters can turn into cash clients or a barter and cash mix. Since, of course, your mortgage company might not take barter. LOL. So, of course you have to generate income. You have to balance it out!

Remember folks, it’s all about ACCESS. What do you have access to? Goods, services, connections? Think deep about your buried treasures, because you have something that WE all want. Just tap into it!

Keep Livin’ Good,
Simone

Check out Simone Kelly Brown on BlackPlanet here!

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