In the first year or so of your business it is easy to get into the habit of trading your services with other service based entrepreneurs. I know when I began my Health Coaching and Fitness business about half of my clients were on trade. I needed or wanted their services and they needed or wanted mine. It seems like an ideal start to get testimonials and to work out the bugs in your offerings. And it is. But unfortunately, we don’t always provide the same service to paid customers as we do trade customers.
I advise my clients to never trade services
Unless they do these 3 things:
1. Get a contract with dollar amount values for each service
2. Agree to separate the service you provide from the outside relationship you have
3. Agree to be honest and respectful
It’s all about boundaries. You both need to create boundaries so that you both get a quality service and are respectful and kind customers to one another.
Service based entrepreneurs put a lot of heart and soul into their services. Many times, they will over value their own services because of all that they put into them. But keep in mind that people buy for what they get out of them not what you put in.
You may have spent months researching, organizing, learning and editing the perfect online coaching program, but if your client feels like the are just getting 4 hours of videos and an online group that you pop into once a week, they may not value it the same as you.
I’m not going to say your work isn’t highly valuable. In fact, I will assume that you create an amazing experience for your clients. But when no money is exchanged you now have a service based entrepreneur who over-values her own product trading for a product you over value which results in what feels like an imbalanced trade on both parts.
Plus, if you are both heart centered business owners, you will gladly “take the lesser value of the trade because you love to give and can’t wait to hear about the amazing difference you made in the others life.
Bartering and trading services in the early stages of your entrepreneurship is part of the learning and growth experience. Be smart, honest and kind, and be sure to create boundaries.
One last tip; when trading services, go ahead and pay one another even if it is the same amount. Especially if the service received is personal, like a massage. I will pay for the massage out of my personal budget and accept (same cost) payment for the service I traded and deposit it into my business account. If you don’t actually pay one another, you could withdraw the value of the trade from your personal account and deposit it into your business account.