Trading Your Talents: When Does It Benefit You and When Does It Not?

Trading SerDo you do much trading with your colleagues and business acquaintances, exchanging your services or products for theirs? Prompted by a story that one of my clients told me, I have some thoughts I want to share with you. Last month, this client mentioned she was very pleased with herself, having provided more hours of service than she realized was possible. When I asked her how this played out financially, she looked somewhat sheepish and admitted that quite a few of those hours had been done as a trade or deeply discounted. The good news was her capacity exceeded her preconceived notion of what was possible and the downside was she wasn’t massively monetizing.

This client has a monthly financial goal that she is striving to reach in order to establish herself as an independent business woman. My thoughts on her behalf were that doing a large volume of trades was not serving her financial objectives and I asked her to evaluate what other benefits she was receiving when trading services and to make a decision about which were most important. Then, she needed to evaluate her financial goals, determine the maximum amount of trade hours she was willing to do per month and stick to it. If nothing else, the time she freed up could be used to market to paying clients or catch up on office work, both of which often fell to the wayside. After our conversation, she made the decision to limit her trade hours so once those slots are full, she will be calendaring into the future if the person is willing to wait.

I think trading can be beneficial if you are new in business and want people to try what you are selling. If you go this way, I suggest trades or deep discounts be a part of your marketing plan. Again, limiting the number of trade hours you want to do monthly will help you keep yourself in check and support you to focus more on how to get paying clients in other ways.

If you are an established woman in business, trading services or products should be minimal. When you are trading with other business people, why don’t you pay for the other’s services or products? Wouldn’t it feel better to get a check at the end of the day that you can then use to pay them for what they offer? Do we believe we are getting more by trading than we would be if we were paying? Why do we like to trade so much and what are the “real” benefits?

It is important to evaluate the benefits you receive when you spend your time providing services or giving away products that bring you no monetary compensation. I am not against the idea of trading, BUT, too many women do too much of it. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this topic; I would love to hear your insights.