Each and every one of us has something spectacular to bring to the table. It may not be something conventional, or even widely used, but I can guarantee you this: someone out there in this ginormous world has a use for what you’ve got…and that can be a very good thing for you in the long run.

Let’s say you’ve got dreams of owning a successful all-bacon restaurant. You plan on providing nothing but glorious bacon-rich menu items to everyone, featuring pigs you’ve raised, fed, and butchered yourself. You love bacon. No one does bacon better than you.
You’ve bought the property, hired the initial staff, and purchased your pigs. You’re all set, except for one thing:

A giant, chainsaw-carved hog, advertising your Bacon Oasis.

It’s the one thing you need to complete your vision, and you are tapped out on funds. What do you do? Wait until the business makes more money? Take out a credit card?

Nope. You look around yourself, take inventory of the people you know, and see if you can find a way to get your pig without owing money or compromising your creative vision. That’s called utilizing your resources, dudes, and if you can find a way to do that honestly and intelligently, I say, “Do it.”

So, instead of selling your soul to Visa, you sit down with your address book (or phone…or however you keep track of contacts) and see if you know anyone who can help you out. After a little perusing, you decide to call your friend, Beau the lumberjack.
As it turns out, Beau’s having a big lumberjack reunion, and is trying to figure out how to appropriately feed his guests.
And it also turns out that they just love to carve animals out of tree trunks.

That friends, is a savory, sizzling, salt-cured business match made in heaven.

Now, obviously, there aren’t many of you out there with bacon-flavored dreams…but I know you’ve all got something you’d like to achieve. Whether it’s a craft business, design firm, or even home-canned goods, you’ve got a skill with which you can barter…and I think that in this day and age, bartering is something we could all do a little more of.

Now, before you run off and starting trading your pigs all willy-nilly-like:

Be Smart
Know who you’re working with. Going into business with someone who just got out of county jail for turning lawn ornaments into bongs might not be the best associate.

Be Realistic
Is this something you can handle in a timely fashion? Remember, you’re both providing a service in this situation…is adding this extra task to your workload going to be too much? No one wants to do business with someone who cries every time they answer the phone.

Be Honest
The fact that you’re not getting compensated monetarily does not give you the excuse to provide a sub-par product. If the person you’re bartering with respects you enough to make a trade, you should show them the same respect. Besides, if you give them bad bacon, they’ll probably carve out a wooden pig with a butt for a face.

Have you guys traded goods/services with anyone lately? Did it turn out well? Badly? Comment away!