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It’s about time you tapped into your buried treasures, don’t ya think?

I tell my clients all the time: your list is GOLD. After years of networking and cultivating my contacts, I’ve been able to build a nice-sized mailing list. I developed my own event and women’s network, and although I didn’t know it at the time… it was the start of something big.

I started to see a demand to get in touch with my audience of women entrepreneurs and the resources I have access to. I finally realized what my buried treasure was. In addition, I have my marketing background that can help out many of my business partners. My podcast that can give them more exposure is definitely a plus as well. So, when I need something that I might want to spend the cash on, I dig into my pot of buried treasures and see if I can find a match for my prospect.

Now, I’ve seen many people shy away from the idea of bartering, because they don’t realize what their buried treasure is. They don’t realize that what they are sitting on is probably worth a lot more than they think.

Do you have something that you might not even realize is of value to the next businessperson? What’s your buried treasure that you haven’t tapped into?

Contacts: Do you have a healthy mailing list and address book? Do you network a lot and know who’s who. From business referrals to cool restaurants to dine in, you never know what you can offer people. If you can be the GO-TO PERSON for many, trust me, you’ll be a valuable asset to many!

Skills: What are you trained in? Are you an amazing presenter or chef? Can you design websites, teach Belly Dancing, make handbags? Are you a whiz in Finance, Art, or Producing Commercials? What are some things you do full-time and even in your spare time that is a talent that you can offer to the world?

Knowledge (insider secrets): I’m not talking stock exchange now, I don’t want you to get locked up. I don’t think you can barter bail. LOL! But maybe you were the first in your industry to do something different. Are you a copywriting pro for e-mail marketing campaigns? Do you know how to beat parking tickets? (True story¬¶ a woman at one of my events bartered these tips with another woman for business tips. She used to be a parking attendant.)

Spend a few minutes brainstorming and build up your list of things you have access too and I’m sure you’ll be very surprised.

Ask yourself: What do you have access to, what can you do better than anyone else you know? Ask yourself, what’s your buried treasure? What do you have that’s a pot of gold to someone else? What do you have The key is bartering smart is where you don’t have to use too much energy or time. It might be something you have right now collecting dust in your garage, something as simple as an overstock of inventory, maybe?

When you’re bartering with individuals on a one-to-one barter, here are some tips.

Some guidelines to keep in mind before you get started:

  • When working on projects for each other, our goal should be to MEET AND EXCEED the needs of that person.
  • We all have expertise in various areas and can do incredible things as long as we see eye-to-eye and are in agreement before we get started.
  • The barter can be considered a short-term partnership. You do your part, and I’ll do mine. Therefore, take the focus off of “me” and put it on “we”.
  • Don’t know the person’s work? Ask for up to three referrals of past customers. It’s up to YOU and no one else to do the research before you come to an agreement.
  • Do your best. Your work and attitude is a reflection of you. People make decisions about you based on your work ethics. Always remember, your reputation is your wealth!
  • Be professional. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
  • Be responsible. Manage your time and commitments. Confirm meetings a day before. If you are going to be late or can’t make a meeting, please be conscious of each other’s time. Missing meetings and being irresponsible doesn’t sit well with anyone and quite frankly you might not get a second chance! Don’t burn your bridges … you never know who can help you.
  • Pay attention, listen, and take notes, so that “we” understand what the job entails and “we” can deliver on the services. There may be details that are not included in the agreement.
  • Professionalism, sensitivity, consideration, respect, and integrity are key attributes to not only operating within a barter network, but in business in general. It’s important to be authentic and be true to our word. Our WORD is so important!

How Does It Work?

  • Discuss exactly what you are doing for each other. Describe services/products and expectations up front so that there are no surprises in the end.
  • Be clear about what you charge. It’s hard to barter with someone who doesn’t have a set fee structure or who can’t tell you how much they charge for specific services. Barter dollar for dollar. I’ll give you $500 worth of work for $500 worth of work. When bartering, keep a list of SPECIFIC deliverables for each barter session.
  • Put all details IN WRITING. What is the monetary value? What are you both delivering? What’s the deadline? Have both parties SIGN the agreement. It doesn’t have to be filled with legalese that no one understands! Contracts are highly recommended. If you’re not paying cash, that does NOT mean that you don’t have expectations of deliverables. Bartering is a valid business deal just like any other. If you start putting things down in a contract, the other person is less likely to behave unprofessionally.

After the Barter is Completed…

Don’t just end it there, keep the relationship going:

  • Provide each other with testimonials for your website and/or marketing materials
  • Refer clients to one another and offer a finders fee of 10-15%
  • Exchange website/blog links
  • Offer discounts to each other for future cash paying projects
  • Do a personal assessment. Provide them with a survey to get feedback on your performance. See where you are doing a great job and where you can use some improvement. You know what you did well and the areas that you need to improve. Make a commitment to do better the next time.

I’m sorry, but I can’t end without telling you that Big Brother is watching you. Good Old Uncle Sam does want you to tell him about your barter deals. In fact, the IRS offers no loophole whatsoever for bartered transactions. According to the IRS, the fair market value of bartered products and services must be included in income during the tax year it is received. Make sure you speak with your accountant to find out how to file.

Keep Livin’ Good,

Simone

Have YOU tapped into the world of bartering?

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