She may get a $20-million-per-picture paycheck, but movie star Julia Roberts is still a die-hard bargain hunter when it comes to clothes. Instead of buying her three kids the latest designer duds like other celebrity parents, Julia prefers “gently used” threads from the local thrift store!
When Julia, Danny Moder and their three kids are at the family’s ranch in Taos, Julia often piles the clan into the car to head off to Santa Fe and Albuquerque in search of a great buy.
“Heck, she’s been known to travel all the way to Tucson for a weekend of shopping at second-hand stores,” the source continued. “She refers to the clothes as ‘gently used’, ‘previously owned’ or, her favorite term, ‘vintage.’ She’ll come home from an outing at a thrift store with her armful of clothes for the kids and happily exclaim, ‘Look what I got for just ten bucks!’”
And Julia isn’t above wearing secondhand clothing either. Julia once reportedly fell for a floral-print dress she spotted in the window of a thrift shop in downtown Santa Fe, but realized she’d left her wallet in the car when she went to pay for it. So the frugal gal took off her jeans and swapped them for the frock.
I recently had a meeting with a member at the office of a one of his business associates. This was a beautifully appointed office in a modern commercial complex. As we walked into the conference room the associate said to me:
It’s very nice to finally meet you. I understand that you got us that great hotel room last week and it only cost me $100 a night!”
I was a little confused for a minute and then I remembered that I had booked a few hotel rooms in Toronto last weekend for Rick. He is one of our more experienced barter members and he was employing what I like to call the ” in your jeans” business tripcash conversion.
When a business engagement came up in another city Rick took the opportunity to see if he could use his barter dollars to purchase the rooms for himself and his associates . Although there is never a guarantee that the rooms will be available in the locale requested, if successful a member has a chance to monetize their barter dollars by selling the room nights back to the associates for cash.
I see this kind of transaction all the time. It can be just a few room nights or it can be much bigger. Sometimes I will see a sports team in the mix. When it is a larger deal there is often a cash component but you can bet that the member is still monetizing a good chunk of barter change.
Unfortunately for Rick, he may not be tucking any more cash from this particular business associate back into his jeans. The business associate is a barter member now and we all know that barter members develop an aversion to using cash pretty darn quick!
When I approach business owners to do a barter analysis and determine whether or not barter can benefit their business, I often am told:
Barter is all well and good but what I really need is cash—cash to cover my overhead and to pay my staff.”
In fact, barter can help acquire and maintain reliable and qualified staff . Barter can create some real excitement at the office. Suddenly your employees will be able to elevate their lifestyle and access health benefits that previously were not available to them.
1.AWARD STAFF WITH BARTER BONUSES AND COMMISSIONS.Business owners are often challenged to both acquire and maintain good staff. Often there is no way that a small to medium sized business can compete in the job market with big corporations or government departments. By awarding staff with barter dollars, either by way of an incentive or as a top up to their salary, they can engage and maintain quality staff. Such awards to staff can be a legitimate tax deduction* for you and if the staff choose their purchases wisely it can make a big improvement in the lives of your employees.
2. USE YOUR BARTER DOLLARS TO PROVIDE AN INFORMAL BENEFIT PACKAGE FOR YOUR STAFF. In any barter exchange you will find a variety of professional health solutions available for you and your staff to choose from. Depending on your region, you could have dentistry available, chiropractic treatments, massage therapy, acupuncture, eyeglasses, and many professional therapists. The list goes on. Such health benefit purchases for staff can be a legitimate business expense* for your company and are often not taxable* for the employee. This is a win win for all.
3. Health and medical claims , whether the treatments are paid for using barter or for cash, are processed the same way. You submit a claim, including the receipt, and the insurance company will refund you all or a sizable portion of the treatment cost in cash. If you or your staff already have benefits you can STILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR BARTER HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, GET A RECEIPT, AND TURN THAT IN TO YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER FOR A CASH REFUND. Therefore, you can use your barter to provide a fully tax deductible benefit to staff, even if they already have coverage through their spouse, and they can turn that benefit back into a non-taxable cash bonus*.
4.BARTER CAN FUND YOUR STAFF EVENTS. A common way that members reward their staff is the summer BBQ or the Christmas Party.Using your barter you can have a spectacular staff event which employees will look forward to and appreciate year after year. You can cover everything from the hall to the catering to the decor and the door prizes.
5.KEEP YOUR STAFF FULLY BOOKED AND ENGAGED DURING DOWN TIMES. The rent is paid, the stove is fired up, or maybe the equipment is leased and the truck loaded. Your business is staffed and …..where are all the customers? Almost every business has down times and seasonal slumps. Nevertheless the overhead must be paid and the staff salaries have to be covered. Constant layoffs and lack of sufficient hours can lead to an inability to keep good staff. What better way to keep them motivated than to give them barter jobs during those slower times . If you are in the hospitality industry your staff will fight to serve barter customers. The orders are usually larger and the tips bigger. But no matter the industry, barter sales are typically less stressful to staff . Everyone wins!
Can you use barter to help cover your overhead and your staff ? Yes you can!
* Business owners and their staff should always seek professional tax advice when making allocations regarding barter sales and purchases.
My mother told me that when I was little people would stop her in the street to remark on my incredible Shirley Temple locks .
As I grew older I lost the curls and my hair became thick and wavy. At the hairdressers I would often get compliments about how extraordinarily thick and glorious my hair was. Of course, as was typical of most young people, I was never satisfied with the hair I was born with and wished it was curly when it was only wavy and sleek while it was flamboyant. I was either perming it or straightening it. I was also never satisfied with the colour of my hair. Over the course of about 10 years my hair went from it’s natural mousey brown to red, to blonde and to brown with highlights. I remember that at that time, in the eighties, I had an annual budget of about $800 for hair styling.Every hair was always in place. It was truly my crowning glory.
When I look back to those days , all I can think is how ungrateful I was for the lovely hair that I had been gifted with . And also, how thankful I should be to have had that time with my hair. I should have cherished every moment, making my hair feel special just the way it was. I should have never let a day go by without letting my hair know it was loved. I should have spent more time with my hair. In short, I should have realized that time is fleeting and what we have and what we take for granted can be snatched at any moment.
One of the last photos of my Beloved Hair, with me and my family, circa 1988.
For one day this hair was, without warning, taken from me, succumbing to a little known or understood condition called alopecia totalis.
What is this condition and what did this mean? I soon found that not very much has been discovered about what causes the condition and there is no known cure. Although the condition is not even remotely life threatening I have died of embarrassment more times than I can count. I remember once I caught my wig in the car door and left the car with my hair still in the driver’s seat. Another time I caught my wig in the entrance door on my way into a sales meeting and left a major part of my planned ” first impression” in the door jam. Then there was the time I was having a dance lesson. It was a waltz lesson, I recall. My wig caught on the instructor’s shirt button. We were locked together and –you guessed it–the hair remained in the locked position while I waltzed past.
There are thousands of people with my condition in Canada alone. I met a lady once who told me that she was in the pool with her children and as she was splashing around she saw her hair floating by. Me, I just say I don’t swim when the subject comes up . Even my children don’t know that I am a very good swimmer and diver and once , years ago, water skied in shark infested waters off Hong Kong Island.
Not too long ago I experienced perhaps the greatest humiliation ever. I was on the dance floor ( I guess by now you may have guessed that dancing is my passion) , enjoying a salsa with a gentleman who is fairly short in stature. He lifted his arm to twirl me and swiped my hair right off my head. The wig went flying across the dance floor and I had to go after it , bend over and stick it back on my head. All eyes were on me as I tried to do this as nonchalantly as possible and pretend that this was the most normal thing in the world.
And then there are the eyebrows. Unfortunately, I also lost my magnificent eyebrows. They were luxuriant, they were shapely and they framed my big green eyes perfectly. At least that is how I now remember them. When I had them I considered them to be a pair of pesky bushes that needed constant grooming. I challenge you to try to draw a set of matching eyebrows onto your forehead without any kind of guidelines. Try to get the eyebrows to stay drawn on all evening. Can’t be done. Once I was drawing on my eyebrows prior to an important sales meeting when I took a call and got distracted. Coming back from the sales meeting I glanced in the rear view mirror and what did I see? I had forgotten to draw on one of my eyebrows and I had given the entire presentation with only one eyebrow. No one had said a thing!
People may be shocked to know that alopecia totalis sufferers get absolutely NO FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE from the government when purchasing a cranial prosthesis to restore hair to their scalp. As well , there are next to no insurance benefits provided by private Canadian insurance companies . My doctor helped prepare the voluminous documents required to apply for funding through the Ontario Ministry of Health’s Assistive Devices Program, which provides grants for many types of prostheses. She was shocked to find out that I was not accepted, because , as she said, I most definitely needed a prosthesis. I also made a claim with my insurance company for a prosthesis and the claim was denied. I launched several appeals, all to no avail. If you have lost a breast, or an arm, or a leg, both the government and insurance companies have programs that will get you the funds needed to help with the purchase of a prosthesis. No one who has lost a breast, or an arm or any other visible part of the body need worry about finding the money to purchase a prosthesis–and they shouldn’t.
However, of you have no hair and require a cranial prosthesis, which is a specially fitted medical wig that will look authentic, fit snugly and comfortably, and NOT FALL OFF , you must find the money yourself. This goes for adults and children. Such devices are in the range of $2500+each per year, and two are required initially. If you do not have the money you have no choice but to wear a regular wig. These off- the-shelf products are ill fitting, uncomfortable and will be sure to let you down just when you need them most.
Without the assistance of the government or my insurance company, finding the dollars to purchase my own prosthesis was impossible. Imagine my delight when a promotion for a hair restoration company ,HRS Of Atlanta came across the barter desk recently from our affiliate in Georgia. It seems that this company, which provides various hair restoration solutions depending on the situation, is a very active barter member in Atlanta and is always looking to expand their barter sales.
You would expect that, because they are providing this service on barter, the service or the product would be sub-standard . In fact, nothing could be further from the truth in this case. The service has been superb and the quality of the end product has been beyond reproach.A very high quality unit was rushed to me as soon as I placed my order, ensuring that I would not be without some kind of proper coverage from day one. Right now I am eagerly awaiting a custom designed and fitted prosthesis which is being hand crafted for me to my exact specifications . I would never have found HRS of Atlanta if they had not been a member of our barter network of over 50,000 business owners throughout North America. And I would never have known of the wonderful service that they provide, helping sufferers like myself get their life back.
Janet Brown, A More Beautiful You
And those eyebrow malfunctions I used to have–no more! For two years now I have had my eyebrows semi-permanently inked by Janet at A More Beautiful You, a barter member right here in Ottawa. In fact, I like the results so much that I enjoy her other services also—semi-permanent eyeliner and lipstick.
Often, people say to me, ” barter is all well and good, but what I really need is cash”. Yes, I could have used some help from the government in the form of a cash grant that they give in unlimited numbers to others who need prostheses. Yes, I would most certainly have put any money my insurance company had awarded me to good use. But while cash can be great if you can get it, barter can have the ability to deliver for you when you really need it, and that is one claim that cannot be denied.
“Monetizing“–It’s all over the net these days and the terminology has made it into the mainstream. I was talking to a personal coach recently who told me that she specializes in helping professionals monetize their life. She takes them from simply being an expert to turning that expertise into actual money.
I found what she had to say to be very valuable for many reasons. Foremost, however, was because I realized that this is what I already do for my clients. I help business owners use barter to gain extra business that they wouldn’t have otherwise. And then I help turn that barter business back into cash.
For the last 20 years I have called this nifty thing that I help business owners do “cash conversion”. People would kinda look at me sideways when I dropped the phrase which is barter gobbledegook to them. So then I would have to explain it. But it seems that what I do has a name for it that people are now recognizing . It is called monetizing. Fine by me!
So what does “monetizing your barter” mean?—it means using this new found and often easily acquired barter money to buy something which will result in new fashioned money.You pay only the incremental cost of your product or service to start on this road .”
Business owners barter their goods and services for various reasons. Bartering to get more new fashioned money should not be the only reason. However, it is an easily achievable goal and should never be overlooked.
If you are unable to arrange a one-on-one barter with a business owner, you should seriously consider joining a barter exchange—if you are not already a member. When you are a member of a barter exchange you can accumulate barter dollars through sales of your products and services to business owners. These dollars are deposited into your account and you can use them to purchase from any member in the exchange.
The exchange operates like any other payment processor ( for example, paypal or a merchant credit card processor) and outside of the actual barter transaction you need only pay the exchange the payment processing fee. However,unlike paypal or a merchant credit card service, a barter exchange will work hard to drive sales of your product or service and provide ways for you to spend the resulting barter dollars.
Here are 5 ways to Monetize Your Barter:
1. The best and easiest way to monetize your barter is to use the barter dollars that you earn to BUY ADVERTISINGfor your company.This will drive new, regular customers to your business who will increase your sales volume. Your business will become more profitable and have an added resale value through an the increase in equity that added sales brings.
2. Another common way to monetize your barter is to BUY SOMETHING WITH YOURBARTER DOLLARS THAT YOU CAN TURN BACK INTO CASH through your normal sales and distribution channels. This does happen with the barter exchange arena, but seldom can you find this in a one-on-one barter. Example : Cottage Resort member who qualifies for toolinventory purchase.In a barter exchange there are often members with excess inventory and liquidation itemsthat they need to move, perhaps due to time sensitivity issues. You can scoop these with your barter dollars and resell them for actual cash.
3. PAYING FOR SOMETHING THAT YOUR BUSINESS ALREADY USES on an ongoing basis already is a common way to monetize your barter . In it’s purest form, you find a product or service that you need for your business, and you arrange with the supplier to trade your goods and services for their goods and services, one-on-one. I did thismyself and it can be effective. The reality,however, is that this situation does not always work out. This is because you would need a full time team out there on the look out for trading partners. And you would need a referee available to handle any disputes should one party feel that it wasn’t a fair trade. But once you are a member of a trade exchange you are able to use the exchange to earn dollars from one member that you can then use for what you need from another member.This guy does a reallygood job ofexplaining the process. And if you can use the barter dollars to pay for things that you need to buy anyway, you have monetized your barter dollars.
4. The old adage, PAY YOURSELF FIRST, applies in the barter world as well. Why are you in business anyway, if not to make money which ultimately lands in your own pocket? A friend of mine said that if you are not making a living then it is just a pass time. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with bartering for personal expenditures. Both Revenue Canada and the IRS have ruled that a barter transaction is to be treated just like a regular cash transaction. So you may ask,”Why should I then barter?” And I will always say” If avoiding taxes is the only reason you would want to earn money, then why are you getting up in the morning and going to work?” Barter made it possible for you to be able to get these goods and services by sending you extra business that you would not have otherwise and you are only paying the incremental cost to produce your product or service plus the exchange payment processing fee, if the barter was through an exchange.
5. MONETIZE YOUR BARTER BY GAINING NEW CUSTOMERSthat you wouldn’t have otherwise and use those new customers to expand your marketplace. When I was in the advertising industry I regularly bartered with business owners to gain accounts in business categories that I did not yet have . I then went to other businesses in those categories now filled by barter clients and was able to land significant cash sales. Since getting into the barter exchange business I have seen that concept expanded upon. I have seen contractors land cash business when they do a barter contract and place a sign on the lawn of their barter customer. I have seen SEO engineers and website designers get cash spin off when they do a barter deal. Invariably, if you do a professional job and treat the barter customer as you would any customer, the barter leads to cash referrals. I have lost members who said that they got so many cash referrals and spin offs that they had to stop bartering all together. They were now booked solid and did not wish to expand their business further. In fact, my first question to a new prospective barter member is ” can you handle morebusiness?”…….because that is what barter is all about. More sales and more referrals. If that is not a goal that you have , and it is not the goal of every business owner, then DO NOT BARTER!!
I know that there are many ways to monetize your barter, most of which fall into the categories above. However, I welcome any contributions that you may have!
Charlie’s company, a monthly local shopping guide, was a founding member with my first barter exchange, Barter Connection Inc. He bartered advertising in his shopping guide to our members who wanted to target consumers in the Ottawa area.
Charlie was a big bear of a man, and crusty to boot. He had big bushy eyebrows and a very generous covering of grey hair on his head. Years of enjoying the offerings of his customers’ dining establishments had endowed him with a sizable girth. In looking at him, and even in knowing him for all the years that I did, you would not take him for a softy.
Over the course of a few years Charlie had built up quite a balance in his barter account, despite using his dollars regularly for personal and business related expenditures, like dining out, travel and printing. Since the smallest sale he made to his advertising customers, even then, going back 15 or so years, was about $800, he could really earn dollars quickly.
One day I was over picking up a cheque from him–those were the days when they wrote cheques and the business owners fully expected me to drop over and pick them up!!–and I met his partner in life, Ida. She was a very sweet soul who appeared to be in her fifties and who didn’t have much to say but had a beautiful smile. It turns out that the reason that she didn’t have much to say was that she had recently suffered a stroke and was having problems communicating.
Soon after my meeting with Charlie at his place of business he started to show up from time to time at my office ,with Ida in tow, just for a visit . Those were the days when people did that. Just showed up. For no reason other than to say hi.
He told me in confidence that he had to bring Ida with him everywhere because he couldn’t ever leave her by herself. So Ida always came with him and bestowed her beautiful smile upon everyone in our office. We all got to know her well and enjoy visiting with her.
One day Charlie showed up by himself . He had arranged for someone else to stay with Ida so that he could make a special visit to our office . He had big plans, he said, and he was counting on using the balance in his barter account to see those plans through . His whole demeanor softened as he told me of his plans . He was no longer the crusty bear of a man that I knew him to be as he described his twenty year union with Ida that had yet to be sanctified . It was clear that she was the light of his life and that she meant the world to him . And finally he had decided that it was time that the world knew that as well.
His plans were to buy Ida a stunning engagement ring and prepare a magnificent wedding and honeymoon all without her knowing anything about it. On the big day he would get down on his knees and gift her with the diamond ring and lead her before a gathering of their friends and family who had been notified in advance. Afterwards he would whisk her off for a whirlwind honeymoon abroad.
And why was he telling us of his plans? Because his plans were to use the barter dollars left in his account, and maybe if that wasn’t enough, to also ask us for an advance, so that he could make all of this happen.
Charlie was a barter guy since the time barter was first invented, so I needed to do little more than give him a few pointers and make a few calls and he did the rest. Soon I was processing a transaction for a one carat diamond ring (that doesn’t happen too often but somehow the jeweler member came through for Charlie), and then all the trappings for the wedding itself, the hall, the rooms for out of town guests, the flowers, the limo, the catering, the photographer and many other things. At one point I had to extend him some credit because his tribute to his bride-to-be had eaten through all the barter dollars in his account.
I can’t even remember if we were able to get him the honeymoon in Europe . It was just too long ago, and if we did get it for him it would have been through one of our affiliate exchanges, known as a reciprocal . I know it happened though.
We regularly process barter transactions in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and we are working at many projects at a time . So I was not really following Charlie’ s project any more than anyone else’ s . So I didn’t really know when this private family event transpired or when the happy couple would be abroad on their honeymoon.
Therefore, when Charlie called me a few months after that flurry of barter account activity I thought it was to tell me about how the wedding went . Instead he called to tell me that Ida had died and he wanted to drop by with some things to offer to get his account up to date . His voice thickened as he recounted the details . He recounted that as he slipped the one carat ring on Ida’s finger there were tears in her eyes. At the altar despite her inability to speak she was able to affirm her commitment to him . After the beautiful ceremony and the lovely reception, all paid for from his barter account, they flew off to Europe . The actual country and city escapes me now. It was there in Europe, three days after he slipped the ring on her finger that she died peacefully in her sleep from a massive stroke.
I am afraid I still tear up when I recall hearing about this for the first time . Although Charlie was very shaken up he expressed his gratitude that we were able to help him give Ida that special day that could never be taken away from either of them . He missed his partner terribly, but she was in a better place now .
Weeks later Charlie showed up unannounced at our office with a bundle under his arms . He had that soft expression on his face that I had come to know meant that he had Ida on his mind. “Jane”, he said, ” With Ida gone it’s time for me to retire. I gave Ida’s diamond ring to her daughter but I have something else that I can use to clear up my overdraft with you. I have this beautiful ranch mink coat that I had custom made for Ida before her stroke and I would like to trade it back out.
Ida loved this coat and said that she had never had anything so beautiful and so valuable in her life. She was like that, always so appreciative of whatever I got for her. I paid over six thousand dollars for it and I would like this coat to go to someone who will love it as much as Ida did.”
We put the fur coat up for sale in our trading post and within days it was sold to a member who enjoyed it for a few years and then I saw it come across the trading floor again as it was traded to a member living in the United States .
Where is Ida’s coat now? I don’t know, but I like to think that someone in barterland is wearing it, and spreading love and comfort just like Ida did–even to crusty old Charlie.
..a key concept in economics, and has been described as expressing “the basic relationship between scarcity and choice“. The notion of opportunity cost plays a crucial part in ensuring that scarce resources are used efficiently. Thus, opportunity costs are not restricted to monetary or financial costs: the real cost of output forgone, lost time, pleasure or any other benefit that provides utility should also be considered opportunity costs.
Did that help you understand the concept? My guess is that it did not. Let me try to put this in layman’s terms that the average business person who is trying to run a profitable business and not bother with fancy titles after their name can understand.
As a Certified Trade Broker I am sensitive to the opportunity costs of my business owner barter members who are in a vulnerable position due to the time sensitive nature of their product or service. It is my role to make sure that their losses from forgone output are minimized.
What is a time sensitive product or service? This is a product or service that sells within a time frame or has a best before date. I will use the hospitality industry and the advertising industry as examples.
When the hotelier or the publisher wakes up in the morning, whatever room remained empty or whatever ad space was not sold yesterday is a lost opportunity never to come around again.
When combining this situation with the low incremental cost of bartering the products and services of hoteliers and publishers it is essential that members of those industries maximize their sales opportunities before the window closes and is lost forever. And barter therefore becomes a very attractive option.
There are many other industries with a similar situation. Here is just a partial list:
Hotels, B&Bs, Resorts,Advertising,Publications,Seminars and Courses, Fitness Clubs,Events–anything where tickets are sold,rentals of any kind–you name it,anything that requires “bums in seats” ( as we old folks used to say), so that could be restaurants, seminars,trade show booths.
Also any product which is quickly becoming obsolete or outdated falls into this category.If they are sitting on a pile of stuff that is going to become outdated or obsolete soon, then the incremental cost it took to produce each item is moot—the 40% ceiling I usually recommend for incremental cost to produce can be thrown out the window. I mean , even if their original cost of sale was 89% if it is sitting in a warehouse not turning back into something the business owner can use to grow their business it needs to be moved and fast!!!
I have just given a few situations. I welcome any added examples and be sure to send them to me in the comment box.
If you look at the list above you will see that all of the examples have 2 things in common–they have a low incremental cost and they are time sensitive. If you still are wondering what exactly I am talking about you would not be the first. You can always drop me a line and I will analyze your particular situation and give you an honest evaluation of the suitability of bartering your products or services. You can reach me at 877-799-3301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The real estate “in your jeans” cash conversion is really straightforward and it really works out nicely if you are scrambling to put together the cash to buy another property.
This is how it works—you list your property for sale with one of our members who is a real estate agent. You negotiate the commission with them as usual. However, the real estate agent offers to charge you in barter dollars for their personal portion of the commission, after the brokerage is paid their portion Their portion is typically 2-3% of the total commission .
When the sale closes the real estate agent will receive their commission as usual in cash . They will then process a transaction whereby they take payment of their commission in barter dollars. The barter dollars leaves the members account and gets dropped into the real estate agent’s account. At the same time the real estate agent cuts a cheque back to the member selling their property. This cheque can be for a very sizable amount and can really make a difference to the bottom line.
This same kind of cash conversion can be done if you are using a real estate agent to buy a property. They can also barter their commission on the buy.
A lot of barter professionals, when they decide to operate a retail barter exchange,were barter members originally. After bartering their own goods and services among members in an exchange and observing how an exchange works, and thinking of ways to improve things, they open up an exchange of there own. Boy, are they in for a shock!
Well, I actually was never a member of a barter exchange myself. I mean, I would have been, most certainly. However, there were no barter exchanges in my locality when I started my first business–A Val-Pak dealership that I brought to the area and which is still in existence. Now just admitting that I was around before there were any exchanges in the area tends to give my age away.
Not having a barter exchange to join suited me just fine, because what I like to do is create my own brand and my own market.”
You see it seems that the advertising industry, which is what I come out of, is prime breeding ground for barter exchange operators- to- be. And I got quite the experience, building up my Val-Pak business by trading for all kinds of things. I recall I traded for a side of beef, a freezer full of sea food and plenty of restaurant certificates. I got tile in my house and custom drapes on my windows. I even took a course to become a qualified travel agent so that I could help my then-husband in his travel agency(. By the time I completed the course I knew that that was not the career for me . That was before everything was fully computerized. Travel connections were completed and booked using a lot of calculating and paperwork. I could see my customers getting stuck somewhere because I didn’t fill out the paperwork or make the right calculation ).
It turned out that what I loved was this bartering thing. When you are building your business you need customers toget customers, and you need them in a variety of categories and locations. And they need to be in different social and professional circles and able to give you referrals from those different circles. So I found by making a barter deal I could then go and get a regular ol’ cash deal from another similar business. I had credibility in that marketplace. The only cost to me to barter with this business was the actual incremental cost of doing that one deal—for me the cost to produce that one coupon. Once the coupon went in the envelope with the other coupons the cost was the same for the envelope,the postage and the handling.
So the bottom line was that I could not lose. I spent a few dollars for the coupon, I got a new customer who would not have bought the advertising I was offering for cash and I had a chance now to go out and sell a coupon to a similar business in another area. Because the first thing they do is ask who I already had in their business as an advertiser the barter deals really jump started the credibility factor of my fledgling business. And on top of all this I could get some things that I needed or wanted and they only cost me what it cost me to produce the coupon.
The whole time I was doing these fun one-on- one barter deals, and building my business and fluffing out my Val-Pak categories with barter deals I had it in the back of my mind that I would some day, when I had nothing else on the go,open up a local barter exchange…. but that is a story for another day. I’ve got to get back to the barter trading floor.