June 13, 2010
One of my earlier memories is that of my father telling me of a news story he had heard. The story on the radio was about a man who’s hobby was bartering. Apparently this man had picked up some worthless piece of junk in his youth and over the years he made many trades that slowly increased in value. Eventually he ended up with a small fortune. There was something about that story that stuck with me. Perhaps it was the entrepreneurial spirit of it. Maybe it was the fact that this man had done something that anyone could do; a business without any barriers of entry. Maybe it was the assumed shrewdness and savvy that that man possessed. Most likely it was simply the glimmer of my Dad’s eyes and his obvious approval as he told the story. Regardless of the reason, not only did I remember that story these 30 years later, but I just mentioned the story to my Dad and he remembered it as well. There is a warm spot in my heart for barter.
Many years have passed since I heard that story. I am now a sucessful business person in my own right. I’ve run my own online marketing company for many years and have hundreds of happy clients. I’ve managed hundreds of thousands of dollars of advertising on Google and other search engines. I’m certainly not rich, but I am supporting my family, own a home, and my wife is an (almost) full-time Mom. I definitely count my blessings.
All of that being said, back in 2009 my business took a big hit as the economy started to sag and I had to get creative to keep the work flowing. One idea to keep my staff busy was to start posting in the barter section on Craigslist.org. My ads were simple and stated that my firm built/maintained/promoted websites and I was interested in talking to anyone who had something of value they wanted to trade for online marketing services. One of the folks that answered my ads was a broker from a barter exchange. At that time I had never heard of such a thing. Within a few months of joining my first barter exchange I joined a second. I also started looking to do a lot of direct trading.
Very soon I was consumed by barter. I barter every day. I talk about barter every day. I probably drive my wife and employees nuts. I am constantly doing everything I can to learn more about barter, scouring the Internet and trading calls with my brokers to ask them questions. If I have had the privilege to barter with you, there is a very good chance that I stopped and talked with you for a while about your barter experiences. Although I know there are many people out there that have a lot more experience in barter than I do, I have to say that I would be surprised if there is anyone who has learned as much about barter (from scratch) as I have in my first year of participation
And that fact brings me to the point of this website. During my little journey I have found a very distinct lack of information available about how barter works, how to get the most out of it, best practices, etc., etc. It appears that most of the information is disseminated in the oral tradition from person to person and even in that case you really have to be motivated to dig this information out. So… seeing that I can’t help but talk about barter anyway, my thinking is that I might as well put what I learn in print where others can gain from it too. Please feel free to drop me a line if you have an idea about something that should be added/removed/changed on BarterFanatic.com.