Tips for Trading Services

Tips for Trading Services

It was finally coming to town.

As avid lovers of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” my husband and I immediately wanted to jump on the chance to see the live show, “Whose Live Anyway?”

But there was one major problem: We’d recently made some strict budgeting goals, and $100 for a pair of tickets wasn’t part of our new money-saving plan.

Racking my brain to figure out a way around the issue, my thoughts turned to an editor friend whose freelancing budget had recently been significantly slashed. I knew his magazine regularly traded advertising space for tickets to the local theaters.

I quickly texted him:

“Hey, Steve! Want to make a trade? I’ll give you a feature story for half price in exchange for two tickets to ‘Whose Live Anyway?’ at the Colonial Theater.”

His reply was somewhat slow in coming, but it was worth the wait. We had a deal.

I live in a small city full of small businesses. While many of them need writing, editing and photography services, several of them don’t have the budget for professional work.

I want what they have to offer, and they want my work. So why not trade?

If you find yourself in a position similar to mine and decide to start trading services, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Only trade for what you actually want.

I once completed an extensive photo shoot for a restaurant that specialized in Indian food. The owner wanted to pay me through trade instead of cash. While I’d normally be interested in a trade like that, I don’t like Indian food very much, so cash was considerably more valuable to me in that situation.

A lot of businesses might be open to trade deals, but you are under no obligation to strike up a trade if you aren’t interested in what that business is offering. Only trade for services you want and will actually use.

2. Remember you still need money.

While I love trades, I need money. To keep it balanced, I have a monthly income goal I have to meet. I only trade services if I can handle the trade workload on top of the work I complete to pay the bills.

3. Keep trade agreements small and straightforward.

I’m inherently wary of trading big projects for big services. The larger the project, the more likely it is that something will come up that will unbalance our trade in one way or another, leaving at least one party with a bad taste in their mouth.

While I might avoid big trades, I certainly don’t avoid long-standing ones. I once had a trade agreement for a monthly blog post in exchange for Jiu-Jitsu classes. I was happy to write one post a month in exchange for the classes because we were both satisfied with the value exchange, and there weren’t many variables involved.

Have you made any good trades lately? Tell us about them in the comments.

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