I just told Chloe, who is distraught that her brother pushed her out of the way to grab a bug, to come from a place of love in her heart and not anger. She sort of made a face at me and then did just that. She got the next bug, no problem. The sun was out, garden play, lots of bugs. Yep.
I have not been writing easily the last few weeks and when someone asked me a question today, I knew that I would be able to write my answer. The reason is that I love to explore topics from a place of love and present them to you that way.
The question: What are my feelings about barter in businesses, mine or otherwise?
My very simple answer is that right away you know if it feels right. If it does, barter with all of your heart, love each other up. If it does not, simply a 'no thank you' is usually enough. We get to say yes or no, intuition or policy, yours to decide. Barter is much larger than a trade in my eyes, it is an energy exchange just like the receiving and giving of money is.
Now want the longer answer? Read on friends.
I grew up in a world of bartering, Wisconsin, where my mother was asked to assist as a midwife at a home birth. This was not the norm in the early 70's. Without knowing specifics, I do know that she was paid in quilts and bread and jam and a whole lot of gratitude. Bartering is a beautiful word to me, it means community, it means love, it means sharing what we have. Often it happens without the word barter ever being mentioned.
I also believe in abundance, in being paid what we are worth, in women pricing things in a way that values their work and the enormous energy they are crafting into their businesses, their art. I know that the first time I was paid a dollar amount that I was afraid to even think, let alone create a pay now button for, my feelings of abundance tripled. The abundance was already there, but I finally understood the honor of another woman trusting me enough to guide her life and business by paying a large amount of money. Scary, but a sacred beautiful feeling. I also felt abundance when over 200 women joined me in the first Joy UP and paid what felt right to them. Some paid nothing, others were generous to the point of tears in my eyes. It changed my life.
I am a stay at home, well, I guess a work a whole lot at home mama to three gorgeous, sassy, busy little bodies of joy. I started my business with less than 100 people knowing anything about what I was creating and no one paying me anything. I have in three years built a platform where I teach change and joy and complete adoration for heart centered marketing and foster community while helping provide monetarily for my family and myself, buying groceries and gas and recently, new brakes for my van. This is a blessing.
One of the reasons that I was able to bring my business to this place of growing abundance (and this is simply the beginning point) is through the love of others. My focus was around building community, being steeped in connections that would hug my business and my life. I don't see a separation between my work and my life. I am what you get, the yummy and yucky bits, all of me.
I reached out in all sorts of ways to other women doing work of their heart, mostly through pure affection for who they were and what they were doing in the world. I offered my courses for free to people when no one signed up. I still offer my courses for free to about 5 people each time I run one. The barter is an energy exchange, just like it is with money. Sometimes the energy exchange becomes a barter of product as a thank you, mostly I know that the more women who are experiencing my programs the further they go out into the world, and being able to gift them enhances my joy. I am able to connect with women who I admire and support and in return they go out of their way to share their experiences with their tribes.
Here is a secret. Many of the businesses you think are making a ton of money, are not. They are simply in the very early stages of their understanding of abundance, and often are budgeting their groceries just as you may be.
These women and I, who have built inspiring connections through our online lives, have gifted each other with our services or products, not out of desperation but out of a joyful wanting to do so.
Remember my short answer, if it doesn't feel good, no thank you. Send a blessing.
Michelle and I often will suggest to our clients just starting out that they reach out to mom bloggers and offer a free spot in their program. This is an implied barter, I gift you with this program because if you adore it and me, you'll help spread the word, help me promote. Community building, not sleezy, pure loving intentions to continue the journey into abundance. I've had clients just starting out barter for babysitting, editing, meals, you name it. This allowed their businesses to flourish. This, just as with money is an energy exchange. Energy, this is all of us, all of our world. Currency pays the bills and helps bring us to freedom, but so does some babysitting or promotion from a big name blogger who adores you. Energy. We get to choose.
There is a barter happening each time someone sends an ebook or course for review. Please accept this book in exchange for some kind words that will help me promote it. You may not think of it as such, but it is. I prefer the words energy exchange, you can call it what you like. We choose our currency, words, promotion, connection, money, inspiration...
I choose to do work in a way that allows me to offer free spots or do some bartering with women I adore who have heart centered businesses. I run a popular pay what feels good program and I have e-courses that can hold hundreds of women. I also do work where I exchange my energy for money only, as in my private coaching.
One more secret. Not everyone is where we are on the journey into understanding abundance. Many of the women who join my pay what feels good program do not have any idea yet of how to feel abundant. Knowing abundance is not part of their experience. I love uniting with women in this place, I love being a teacher on their journey, one reason I do this work. Again, my choice, I love to be able to do work in this way. If it stops feeling good, I'll change it.
Most often I am asked if people can make payments, rather than pay all at once. I love that they ask, rather than just not joining. Same goes with barter, when we are motivated, we explore our options. I once asked to trade raw cheesecake, as in me making it, in exchange for a seat at a conference. I did not make cheesecake but ended up winning a free ticket to the conference. Motivation. Trust. Coming from a place of love in your heart.
These women who say, "I'm sorry I wish I could pay more" often do pay more later on, often for private coaching once they see how a shift in coaching changes their lives. I love this transformation.
As I wrote this today a package arrived in the mail. In it was something I had ordered from a beautiful mama artist. She included other treats for me as a thank you for the pay what feels good program. The package smelled of lavender and the connection we are making is pure loving energy.
I am led strongly by my intuition as I run my business. I am led by intuition when I coach my beautiful tribes of women. I am led by intuition when I start a new project, the one that is tingling inside and wants to burst forth.
These words I share now are not to imply that I am doing my work of the heart the way you should.
Quite the opposite. They are to say that we all have an intuition of how and why. It is a glimpse of my world. Wisconsin born. Energy lovin'. The things that don't feel right to us can be discovered from a place of love, a simple no thank you and then send our blessings knowing that we are all approaching our lives from where we are, from what feels good or hopeful or deliciously simple and beautiful.
Come from a place of love in your heart, in your business and tap into the intuitive person you are. Your passionate heart centered work guides you, so you know when to say no thank, or I would love to connect that way with you. Thank you.
And always send that blessing.