Stories of Reciprocity
That’s how many small business owners, including creatives and freelancers, said they would pay in-kind instead of in cash.* The benefits are many and diverse, as you’ll see. But the top reasons for using the collaborative economy are:
2. A superior experience
3. Lower cost
4. Community connection
If that comes as no surprise, then me telling you that two thirds of businesses claim that cash flow is always or often an issue will be a complete no-brainer.
As peer-to-peer sharing, collaboration and the new economy takes hold, those who missed the train are left feeling…..
The good news? It is not too late to get onboard. Let’s look at how it works for other businesses, and how it can work for you.
Matt Gould has a distinguished career in economic development. Not so great with IT. He helped a friend who has an events business (www.marvel.events) with some business planning and strategy. That friend works part time in IT and in return he helped Matt out with some web and email assistance.”
This type of swap is extremely common. It’s informal and mutually beneficial for each party. The trick is finding someone whose skills you need at the same time. Graphic designer, Jef Tan from Agency6 also has experience in business barter. He received legal services and representation in exchange for a brand revamp and said, “I would recommend to spell out the scope of work intended and note all hours spent. Agree on a rate first and put a value down.” Great advice!
GiveGet solves both these obstacles. The GiveGet platform doesn’t rely on direct trading between two people. Once a Giver & Getter agree on an exchange, they complete a super simple agreement detailing the most important aspects to ensure a great experience. Using a credit-based system, we enable members to give to one person and bank the credits earned, then get something from any other person in the network at the time that suits you.
Commissions and the middle man are a tried and tested business strategy. A slight twist on this idea is providing skills in exchange for new customer referrals. “I do trade when someone wants my services but can’t afford it. So I do their SEO for free when they bring me 3 referrals”, says Abrar Patel of Melbourne’s #1 SEO agency, AP Web Solutions.
Mentoring is big business these days. Ongoing professional development can get costly. Both Nada and Joyce have found some clever ways to improve their own skills and knowledge through reciprocity.
Career Coach, Nada Matijevic, explains: “I did a member to member exchange with someone in a Business Women’s Network. Alison does Project Planning and helped me to put all my To-Do’s in a more meaningful and manageable format; a “Now, Soon, Later” Plan. I helped her with Myers Briggs Personality Type and strengths profiling and in planning how she could apply this strategically to be at her best in her business. It was primarily an opportunity for us both to refine our coaching style and content. A good way of practicing on each other while also helping each other. A win-win!”
Meanwhile, Joyce Seitzinger runs Academic Tribe, and needed to develop further digital skills. She exchanged with Bernard Schokman of UX Melbourne who allowed Joyce to sit in on his UX workshop (which she wanted to learn) in exchange for feedback on the learning design of those three days.
Artists are seasoned experts in the art of exchange. Brett Davies, artisan wood carver at The Art of Igmus, regularly puts his professional skills to work to save cash resources in very creative ways!
“I did a woodcarving to get my website done and I often discount my rent for work done for (my landlord). I did carvings for Happy Wanderer tickets, and I have many times done work for friends in return for whiskey.”
Another well established form of trade is the time bank. Global community exchange networks such as LETS use this system to encourage simple and equitable trade for mutual benefit. Strictly time banking is a swap of equal hours, but Tiro Swaby combined time and value to make a fair and advantageous trade.
“I was introduced to a developer a year ago and he asked me if I would be interested in some skill sharing, I thought it was a great idea so I agreed. So we chatted for a while and decided the best way to handle it would be to keep it simple and do roughly the same amount of work for each other.
So he had some branding work he needed done so I gave him my time estimate as well as how much I would normally charge for that, and he agreed to do around the same amount of work in return. I did the work and gave him summary of what I did with the price that I would have charged, to be used as a credit to the work I would/may need in the future.
That worked out pretty well.”
Tiro felt overall it was a great idea and would definitely doing it again in the future. He did offer some advice if two people are doing a direct swap using this kind of system. “I would recommend having both parties’ projects in mind at the beginning to avoid the potential awkwardness for reaching out after a time delay.”
As you can see, exchange can work in a heap of ways to meet both business and personal needs. It’s really only bound by your imagination!
“Biggest learning is to ‘pay it forward.’ Help people out, build networks and it’ll all come back to you. It helps to have a network of people around you who you can call on if you need specific help, advice or skills. Sounds like GiveGet!”, as Matt Tomlins from Covercard (www.covercard.com.au) said.
We couldn’t agree more!
If you’d like to join a community of entrepreneurs, freelancers and creatives collectively joining in the smarter way to do business, become a member today! www.giveget.biz
*According to a survey conducted by GiveGet of 75 business owners in 2015.