Advice abounds when you are starting your own business. You must have a website with working links and everything, a blog page; you must manage your social media, become a writer, editor and graphic designer. You must get a newsletter rolling. All of these to-dos are timely, too. And as soon as you start producing and posting, then you have to be consistent, lest you lose any ground you gained.
And that doesn’t count the back end of the business. At the ready should be your updated portfolio, contracts, NDAs, and all other legal documents, shared files with work samples, project management files, and everything else you could possibly imagine. Go ahead and put it on your mile-long list!
When you really get jamming, then you will be chatting all day long: pitching, networking, screen sharing, collaborating through the magic of the 21st century.
How can one person be expected to do it all? You either need deep pockets to dig into, or you can indulge in the beauty of the barter.
The barter created my website in exchange for social media management. My logo was cleaned up due to the barter in exchange for finding work for the designer. Contracts were crafted and paid for by the currency of consulting. I received red-hot business advice for a solid month for my editorial services. All of these endeavors have helped to push my business forward.
Give the barter a shot for these three reasons:
1. The obvious: the major components that your business needs will actually get created. No more sitting on the tasks you just can’t seem to get around to. No more wondering how you will teach yourself WordPress. The breath of relief you get to blow out at making traction toward your dream is priceless…literally!
2. Relevancy and bulk for your portfolio. You are updating your digital portfolio, right? Like every time you complete a project, taking a screenshot and pasting it onto a digital doc? Good, I thought so. Well, guess what, not only are you better prepared when you operate in an organized fashion, but you beef up your work samples, so you can send them to your prospects in a flash. I swear, this is one of the biggest reasons I’ll get a quick turnaround on contracts. Proof of timely relevant work in multiple mediums and a no-nonsense process underscoring the fact I am ready to get to work NOW. Demonstrating that you are currently working in your field better positions you as an expert and reinforces your reputation as not just a game changer, but a game smasher. (It’s a little ‘hulkish’ but you get the point.)
3. Sharing your work deepens network connections. I have edited product labels, audited websites, designed email auto responders, etc. and as a result have met people from numerous industries: motivational coaching and speaking, organic beauty experts, journalists, heads of multi-million dollar corporations, interior designers, authors, professors, visionaries, trainers, and a whole slew of people in-between. So guess what happens after you forge these connections? More business opportunities further down the pike. Working together tests the waters as one. You learn about each other’s working styles, their quality of work (or lack thereof), work style and project management skills. This information informs you whether you want to work together in the future. It’s like exploratory surgery for business!
The next time you’re facing a time-crunch crisis and wishing you had a cloning machine so you could get it all done, the next time you find yourself short on money and longer on hours, consider the beauty of bartering.
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