Have you ever considered doing a service exchange to build your online business? More and more online entrepreneurs are using bartering as a way to build their business.
Building an online business can be overwhelming. Running a great online business requires you to:
- Create content regularly
- Have a good design for your website
- Build backlinks
- Create marketing messages
- A social media campaign
- Something to sell
That’s quite a list huh? Those are just a few things I came up with off the top of my head.
One of the many problems is that you can get overwhelmed as they manage their time
. You may be a great writer but have no idea how to develop a website. You could spend weeks trying to design a site and it might still look like crap. At the same time, you may not have the money to hire a professional. This is why you might want to consider bartering instead.
When I launched my first Drupal website, I didn’t have the first clue how to setup some of the plugins. I was still a broke college kid and didn’t have the money to pay a professional. Instead, I offered webspace on my site and some linkbuilding services in exchange for some assistance with developing the site. Both the web developer and myself were satisfied with the arrangement.
There are a variety of ways you can find a partner to barter with. However, they basically all come down to one of two forms: pitching yourself or using your existing contacts.
In my cases, I have always used existing contacts as a way of generating business. You are more likely to find loyal professionals if you have already been working with them before. You will also have a better idea of the quality of their services.
The first time I found a partner to barter with, I reached out to a personal friend who was an experienced web designer. Since he was determined to help me succeed, he was more than willing to step up to the plate.
I also found a writer for one of my sites through a client we both worked for. Since we worked together for a while, we both had an idea of each other’s quality of work. It was also easier to approach her and make sure we were on the same page with our expectations.
You can also try to pitch yourself to other professionals through their own websites or other social networking sites. The Warrior Forum and Young Entrepreneur are the first places I would start. Those are just my personal preferences. There are plenty of other services that may be just as good.
When you are looking to propose a bartering arrangement, there are a couple of different things you need to be aware of:
- Propose a mutual benefit. Show that you will both benefit from the services. No one else wants to feel as though they are going to be slave labor. At the same time, you need to make sure that you come across as geniune. If you tell them that you are solely interested in helping them out, they may not trust your motives. Show that you are a serious businessperson who is determined to give both of you a fair shake.
- Give something of quality. Don’t brand yourself as a leech. Nobody wants to work with someone who wants to get freebies handing off junk they hacked together. Put your heart into anything you offer as if you were getting paid for it. Karma will come back to you and you may get some good referrals from it later.
- Check referrals. By the same token, you want to make sure that you are getting something of value in return. The last thing that you want is to barter with someone who doesn’t follow through, isn’t good at what they do or isn’t trustworthy.
I have gotten burned bartering a few times. I asked people to review one of my products and never heard back from them. Lesson learned: check their reputation before working with them. You also need to be prepared for the possibility that they may not be able to deliver real quality.
People have mixed reasons for bartering. Some people want to save money on taxes or create more visibility for themselves. Others want to experiment a business relationship with bartering before committing to working together more closely. Those are perfectly valid motives.
The problem is that many people try to barter because they can’t get a paying client. This can create serious problems. You would be better off paying someone than working with someone who desperately needs a portfolio or testimonial.
Bartering services for your online business can be hit or miss. Make sure you do your due diligence on your provider before hiring them just like you would anyone else.