As a new freelancer, it can be hard to find clients. While you can spend time working on your own brand, you also need to gain experience working with clients. However, I don’t think you should ever work for free. If you can’t get paying work or you have some extra time on your hands, you could consider trading services.
How does trading services work?
Trading services is where two business people exchange beneficial services instead of cash.
First, think about what you value. Even while trading services, you don’t want to work for something that has no value to you. Perhaps you’d like to do social media work for a local gym in exchange for a free membership. Maybe a free membership wouldn’t be worth it to someone else.
Who should you approach to trade services?
Online business owners and solopreneurs
Small businesses owners and solopreneurs are usually handling a lot of the administrative and marketing aspects of their business on their own. Sometimes they try their hand at making a website or just set up a Facebook page and have no web presence. Depending on your skillset, you could offer the following trades:
- As a website designer, you may want to approach a copywriter to help you with your site. In exchange, you could spruce up their site’s layout
- As a social media manager, you may want to offer your services to a photographer in exchange for images you can us
- As a graphic designer, you may want to offer a new logo to a copywriter in exchange for a rewrite of some website pages.
- As a virtual assistant, you can offer to send invoices for a marketing company in exchange for social media postings about your business a few times per week.
Some local businesses could use help, but may not have the means to pay for your services. You could offer your services in exchange for theirs.
- You could offer your services for a monthly membership fee (like a gym or club).
- You could offer your services in exchange for goods or food.
- You could offer your services in exchange for displaying your business cards or an advertisement for your business.
Special events, conferences, summits
You could offer to do work in exchange for a seat at the conference, event or summit. There are many great online conferences and summits that you could have access to if you helped out with marketing, design, or administrative tasks.
How to get started
- Make a list of the skills you’d be willing to trade
- Figure out who or what would be worth your trade
- Create an email pitch to send to potential swappers
I’m a content creator/website designer/virtual assistant. I wanted to see if you’d be interested in trading services? I was thinking something like X for X. Does that sound fair to you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
You’ll never know what business connections you can make through reaching out and offering a trade. Trading services will add to your portfolio of work and could also lead to more paying gigs in the future. If you need more work, trading services is another way to get your name out there.