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Bootstrapping

You Can't Build Your Business on Bartering and Free Information

Don't come off as needy and desperate by offering barters that only make sense for you.
You Can't Build Your Business on Bartering and Free Information
Image credit: Thomas Barwick | Getty Images
VIP Contributor
Writer, Consultant, Lifetime Entrepreneur
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It’s common to bootstrap when you’re starting out in entrepreneurship. When you don’t have disposable revenue, you work with what you have. You might offer a barter arrangement with another entrepreneur who has a strategy or tool that can help your business grow. You offer what your business does in exchange for the service or tool you’re seeking. Value for value. 

You’ll also take free training that’s offered online. The internet and social media have created an opportunity for entrepreneurs to read blogs, listen to podcasts, watch instructional videos, attend webinars and participate in free local Meetup training. All of the mediums present learning moments for parts or direct strategy that helps grow your business. 

As entrepreneurs grow their business, they may barter and take free training. However, there comes a point where you should grow past relying on these two strategies as your primary way to learn and grow. What works, in the beginning, is not what will help you reach your major business goals. Whatever the next level is for you will require a shift in the way you think and act. Here are two things to understand.

Related: Why Bartering Can Be Your Untapped Revenue Source

1. Successful entrepreneurs level up their mindset and business through investment.

If you interviewed what we consider the top one percent of entrepreneurs, what you’ll find is that they are focused. They have done the work to win the chaos in their mind and work on their self-limiting beliefs. Even top athletes invest in personal development training and coaches. Just recently, the NBA champion Golden State Warriors brought in personal development thought leader Tony Robbins to help the players level up. 

The reality is that while you can get good training and information online, the best stuff will require an investment. After all, the entrepreneurs who put out the free information are also trying to grow their businesses. They can’t do so by giving away all of their in-depth strategy and training. They're using the good free stuff in their lead generation plan.

To become successful, you have to stop thinking about knowledge and training the same way you think of free demos in Costco. You can’t go from free sample size demo to the next hoping to get full. Eventually, you’ll have to buy a case of the frozen shrimp if you want to fill up on the good stuff. It’s the same way with free information. It’s just not enough to fill in the gaps.

More than that, a one-percent mindset is understanding the power and importance of investing in yourself and your business. To become the best, you have to learn from the best. That requires an investment to get the best training that’s not going to be offered as free content.

If you’re not in the position to invest in training and mentorship that could help your business grow, add that to your goal list. Don’t ruin a potential business relationship with successful entrepreneurs by asking for their premium information and strategies for free just because you have the ability to contact them. It’s an insult to the work they’ve put in to become who they are.

Related: 10 Free Online Courses That Can Benefit Every Entrepreneur

2. Successful entrepreneurs take their business and growth seriously. 

Successful entrepreneurs are serious about every part of their business. Whether it’s the free information they put out, or what they charge for, they put a higher level of professionalism into everything they do. That seriousness and growth-focused mindset would keep them from even looking at a barter offer from someone they’re not connected to personally and professionally.

Again, your simple offer to barter could ruin any potential future business relationship you could have with that entrepreneur.

You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The best business first impressions start with value, not demands. The truth is that you probably don’t have something that the other entrepreneur sees as valuable to their business. Barters only work when two parties understand the value of what is being offered.

While there will always be opportunities to barter and get free information, that shouldn’t be your strategy for growth. Treat your business with the seriousness and professionalism it deserves. Invest in personal development for yourself and invest the tools, technology and strategy that help your business.

Related: The Beauty of Bartering: A Smart Way to Start and Grow Your Business

Form relationships and connections by adding value first. Don’t come off as needy and desperate by offering barters that only make sense for you. Take your mindset and growth to the next level by not suffering information overload by taking too many free trainings. 

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