I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit over the past couple of years, and I’m thinking about it more and more since I’ve started a few of my own small businesses.
Our society nowadays is so focused on money money money. If you want something, you need to cough up some money. If you get penalized in some way (for example, a parking ticket or speeding ticket) you have to pay money. It has led me to wonder, what happened to trading for what you want? Why does money always have to be involved?
Of course, we have to keep in mind that we are a business and unless the entire social structure changes overnight we’ll still need some money in order to pay our bills and survive. However, that does not mean that if an opportunity presents itself that we can’t learn to embrace this ancient method of getting what we need and providing a service at the same time.
Here’s an example: as well as being a Virtual Assistant I am also a dance teacher, and as a dance teacher I am always needing costumes; unfortunately I am a terrible seamstress and I always struggle with my costumes, and often I end up just going out and buying one instead for hundreds of dollars (there’s that darn MONEY again!). Now, I have met a gal that would like to take some dance classes but she just can’t afford them all the time. As luck would have it, she is an excellent seamstress and loves to create costumes of her own. Hmmmm, this sounds like an opportunity! I have proposed to let her take my classes for free in return for the creation of a new and original costume, custom made for me. Problem solved!
Here’s another really simple example: a friend of mine recently traded some homemade canned goods for a wheelbarrow – it doesn’t get more basic than that!
Trading is a win-win situation for both parties – everyone gets what they want without having to fork over any of that darn elusive money. Hooray!
So, take the time to think about yourself and/or your business. Do you know anyone that has something that you need? What could you offer in return? If you keep your eyes and ears open you’ll probably find lots of opportunities to do a trade.
I’d love to hear any stories of great trades that you’ve encountered!