7 Sites That Can Help You Barter Services For Stuff You Need

barter fruit and veg

One thing about being an independent, creative professional is that while your life is rich in ideas, relationships, and projects, it can sometimes be cash poor. We all have needs–dental care, house painting, hair cuts–that can cost a lot of money, and often we may put them on the back burner because the budget is tight.

Example: I was talking to a freelance friend the other day who wanted to know if there was any way she could trade her writing and editing skills for web development services (her website was woefully out of date). It got me thinking about how we often consider bartering and swapping something you do with stuff–your barely worn work boots for my collection of flower pots–but why stop there? Even the Better Business Bureau has discussed how bartering can help small businesses grow.

Currency isn’t only dollars and cents, thanks to the growing sharing economy, it’s easier than ever to turn your time and skills into currency as well. So, I decided to round up a few online platforms, some well known, some not, where you can let the world know that money isn’t the only way to pay.

7 Sites That Can Help You Barter Services For Stuff You Need

Note: There are some things to keep in mind when bartering as a business, such as risks and tax obligations. Forbes does a great job of discussing them here.

1. 5280 Barter – This network allows businesses in and around Denver to trade their respective goods and services with other businesses in the network.

2. Northern Colorado Time Bank – For every hour you help a community member you receive an hour of service from another member. You can save many hours for large projects or simply use your hours one at a time. Site looks old but new listings were created in the past few days.

3. Barter Bucks Banc – hundreds of categories and the ability to search by zip code and distance.

4. U-Exchange – a bartering website full of trade-able goods and services in a specific geographical area. The site requires a membership to post and begin exchanging, but it is a free service that is supplemented by banner advertisements.

5. BarterQuest – This site is easy to use because “services” has its own tab, and it geo-locates automatically to show the most relevant results.

6. BizXchange – Business-to-business barter website where members use “BizX dollars” to trade save money on goods and services. Includes a hefty sign up fee, so probably best for more robust companies with bigger trades in mind.

7. Green America Exchange – Socially and environmentally conscious businesses make trades using complementary currency instead of cash.

Do YOU know of other barter, trade, or time-banking opportunities in Northern Colorado? Or better yet, do you have a service you’d be interested in bartering? Please share in the comments!

Image © Copyright David Hawgood and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Overwhelmed? 5 Services That Make It Easy To Delegate

now hiring

I’m sure this will come as a revelation to you, while staring down the barrel of yet another Monday, but YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL.

If you’re in the happy predicament of having too much work and not enough time in which to complete it, you’ve reached the big moment. To delegate or not to delegate?

Subcontracting work out to another person’s heart and brain can be scary the first couple of times. As entrepreneurs, we’re ultimately responsible for the deliverable. We coax it with tender loving care into existence, and deliver it like a precious baby to its new parent, the client.

Initially, allowing someone else to get their hands on it feels wrong wrong wrong. But like I said, you can’t do it all. If you have dreams of growing bigger than a one employee show, you’re going to have to get used to it at some point. 

By now you all know at least a little about the sharing economy, and (hopefully) realize that coworking is a major part of this collaborative consumption trend that everyone’s been yammering about. Well, collaborative consumption can do a lot more than just give you access to a neat place to stay in San Francisco, or a bike in NYC.

It can also give you access to people. People who are eager to complete those tasks that you can’t or don’t want to. Below are 5 services that specialize in micro-labor: small jobs that pay a small fee. The brilliance is, you can cram lots of them into one day. It’s a win for those who are looking for lots of experience doing diverse tasks and those who have lots of random stuff to be done. (And if you’ve got extra time and are looking to turn it into extra money, these could be excellent communities in which to market your services.)

1. TaskRabbit

An online and mobile marketplace that connects neighbors to get things done. “Fully vetted, entrepreneurial professionals contribute their time and skills to helping people out, and those busy people find a little extra time in their days. Neighbors helping neighbors — it’s an old school concept upgraded for today.”

2. Fancy Hands

A virtual team of assistants ready to work for you now. For a low monthly membership fee, you’ll finally get the help you need. You can place your requests through the website, iPhone app, email, or ye olde telephone.

3. Agent Anything

Agent Anything unlocks the time, talent, and ability of a city’s university students. AA provides a platform where people and companies can post small jobs, tasks, and errands to a skilled and affordable workforce. “Agents can be hired to accomplish any task, errand or job you can think of. For the last two years, we’ve provided errand-runners for working moms, beta testers for startups, temp workers for small businesses, and street teams for major corporations.”

4. Gig Walk

The world’s largest on-demand mobile workforce connecting businesses large and small to their very own on-demand smartphone army. Since its launch in May 2011, over 300,000 Gigwalkers have completed temporary field work such as store audits, mystery shopping, competitive tracking, customer interviews, field photography and much more.

5. Swappin

Create a profile including what you have to give and what you need to get. Include skills and services you have to offer, and ones you’d like to receive. These can include anything from professional services to casual tasks and everything in between. You can even swap with old-fashioned cash if that’s what you have or need. After you’ve created your profile, Swappin will suggest people to swap with in your area. You can also browse other members’ HAVEs and NEEDs on your own and suggest a swap.

BONUS – The Second You

I know we said five services, but a fan of our Facebook page just reminded us that we have a local company providing these services to FoCo as well! The Second You is a personal assistant service that can help you shrink your to-do list…fast! Check ’em out on Facebook.

Sharing Your Work And (Co)Working To Share

Sharing Your Work, and Coworking To Share

As you all know, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the future of coworking. Right now, coworking is a dynamic entity–a movement–that’s growing rapidly and defining itself in slightly different ways all over the world.

Although it might not feel that remarkable, each coworker makes a direct contribution to the health and future of this movement just by buying a membership, attending workshops, and telling their friends about the benefits of coworking.

The coworking movement is becoming huge, but it’s only one part of something even bigger–something we’ve talked about before called “collaborative consumption.”

This larger phenomenon has introduced new way of living, in which access is valued over ownership, experience is valued over material possessions, and “mine” becomes “ours” so everyone’s needs are met without waste.

In a word, sharing.

Coworkers know a lot about the value of sharing. We share our professional talents, time, and work space. But what about sharing outside the boundaries of our businesses and work weeks? A truly vibrant community isn’t just focused on one goal: it’s diverse, flexible, and focused on total wellness of its members, rather than just one aspect of their lives.

When a high value is placed on sharing rather than claiming territory, members of the coworking movement are better able to demonstrate their incredible worth in the community at large. Being supportive and active in sharing groups (think CSAs, co-ops, car sharing, bike lending, tool sharing, yard sharing, online media swaps, and more) outside of the space actually helps coworking take its rightful place as a vital cog in the local business ecosystem.

What kind of “outside the space” sharing have you engaged in since joining Cohere? What kinds of collaborative consumption would you like to see incorporated in the future? Share your ideas in a comment!

Image Credit: Flickr – JW_00000

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