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3 Reasons Bartering Makes You Broke

You just met someone at a networking event who sells exactly what you need. And because she also wants what you offer, you’re seeing the beginning of a bee-yoo-ti-ful relationship.

You’re going to get what you need without spending a dime!

And she’s going to tell everyone how incredible your business is.

(Cue the music.)

At least that’s how it starts.

However, that’s not usually how it ends.

Keep reading for 3 compelling reasons to avoid bartering in your business if you want to be profitable.

#1: Humans stopped bartering for a good reason

After working with hundreds of women throughout my career, I can tell you bartering rarely works out.

Here’s why:

Money replaced bartering about 7000 years ago because even in such basic trading conditions it was challenging to set values.

And if you can’t set value, you can’t make a fair trade.

And if you can’t make fair trade, someone feels like they’re getting the short end of the deal.

And most of the time, that somebody is you...or her...or him.

It’s everybody feeling this way all the time because there is no common standard to go by.

No one is satisfied, even when they technically got everything they asked for.

We’re all bringing something different to the table and have specific expectations which we think are universal but almost certainly are not.

So to go into something as vague and undefined as a barter (especially a service type of barter which can last for weeks or months or even years) means you will seldom get what you expected.

And you’ll run the risk of ruining a relationship with your colleague.

#2: You went into business to make money

Since I am a cash flow coach for women and am here to make sure you keep more of the money you make, there’s an even more important point about bartering.

When you barter, you aren’t making any money.

Yet you have committed to giving away your valuable product or service in the hope that someone will give you something of equal value.

You’re also not spending any money, which is what drives the economy.

When you don’t pay for the services you need, you’re sending a message to other business owners you’re not willing to invest in your own company. And they won’t either.

I have seen this time and time again. It’s not a judgment call. It’s simply how the world works.

#3: Bartering starts from a place of lack

There’s only one reason for bartering these days: at least one party doesn’t have or want to spend the money.

This place of lack is what starts your relationship with this colleague. It’s what drives the work you do for them as well as the work they do for you.

Both of you are operating from a place of scarcity, and no prosperity blooms on that land.

As with everything I teach in my cash flow coaching practice for women business owners, your success starts with your mindset.

And a mindset of lack will not bring you the abundance you so richly deserve.

What to do instead of bartering

Now you know why bartering is almost always a bad deal for women business owners who want to increase profits. So what do you do when someone approaches you for a barter?

Here are some ways to negotiate for services instead of bartering:

  • Change the scope of the service to reflect the price you (or they) can pay

  • Create an installment plan to both deliver and get paid for the service over a longer period

  • Offer or request an entry-level offer to get started and then level up when you’ve grown your business

  • Compile a list of junior-level people in your industry as referrals and request the same of your colleague when you simply cannot afford their prices

  • Share the list of low-cost or free options you have available or request the same from your colleague (I offer 30 minutes of live free coaching advice every Wednesday in my Facebook group—there’s a lot of golden advice in there!)

The social and financial costs of bartering are simply too high if you are serious about growing your business.

Bartering went out of style for human commerce 7000 years ago, so don’t try to revive it in your business if you want 21st-century results.


Speaking of results, did you know my clients see 20%, 40%, 60% and even (wow!) 132% increases in profits after working with me?

With jumps like that, you’ll never have to consider bartering again.

If you’re interested in private coaching, I generally have 2 openings per quarter.

Email me now with the subject line “profit” to set up a brief chat to find out if this option is right for you...and to get your name on the waiting list.

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