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Two Entrepreneurial Toolkits Get a Sharp New Tool

Aug 13th 2014, 15:21, by Swapsity

We love swap stories that illustrate how barter can connect two professionals and ultimately help them double their business or streamline operations. This particular story is about two talented Toronto entrepreneurs: Katie Shulist and Emily Schooley.

bartering for small business owners and freelancers in

Katie—a busy entrepreneur—owns an eco-friendly cleaning service called Dhyana Cleaning that creates sanctuaries out of messy situations using non-toxic products, aromatherapy and fresh flowers. Emily is the "CEO & revolutionary” of her own creative consulting and media production company, Laughing Cat Creative. When these two entrepreneurs met through Swapsity’s business community last November, they had no idea what kind of butterfly effect would unfold in the next four months.

It all started when Katie interviewed experts to help market her business. She expected to pay cash for their services, just like any other business might, but found the quotes to be “very very expensive” and “didn’t feel the value was there”. Katie's search eventually led her to Swapsity and, excited about our matchDhyana Cleaning swap barter Toronto-making service for Toronto entrepreneurs, she jumped right on board. We introduced her to Emily, a veteran swapper, who started her company after being inspired by her previous employer—a job she landed after bartering through our community for help with refining her resume. The two experts reached a win-win barter arrangement that leveraged their expertise and benefited the other’s business. Katie provided Emily with twice monthly eco-cleaning services in exchange for help with social media and marketing strategy. Katie’s team cleaned Emily’s home office, which allowed Emily to focus more on her business—freelancers working from home know what a relief that is! That simple swap resulted in the cash flow savings of $1500 to each of their businesses, and at minimum cost to each, which we love. But part-way through the nearly 50 hours of services the two traded with each other the partnership began to create a little magic.

Emily created a Dhyana Cleaning newsletter, some blog content, a better website landing page and then boosted its Twitter and Facebook followers. Then, inspired by a stroke of genius from Katie—and perhaps the clearer mind that her tidy workspace gave her—she tapped into a new revenue stream for Katie by contacting the folks at AirBnB, a social platform for renting lodging from local hosts. Now, to her delight, Katie finds her businesses constantly busy, serving the growing Airbnb market.

“My business has grown to a point where I need an admin assistant!” says Katie.

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“What I love about barter is that it brings out the best in people, transforming business relationships from a What's in it for me? mindset to How can I help?”.

By shifting focus from the chore of cleaning to finding new business clarity through meeting professionals via swaps, Emily was also able to make her own business spread its wings. Bartering helped her let go of those tasks she wasn’t interested in so she could focus on expanding her client base and doing awesome work without dishing out a fortune.

She continues, “Katie has definitely been my strongest and best experience. I have noticed that both Katie and I seem to be very giving people who want to support and make positive changes for others, rather than worry about how other people serve us.”

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“Having someone help me manage my live/work space really helped me reduce the time I spent dealing with everyday mess by creating a more focused environment for me to work in.”

“It’s great to connect with other experts and to benefit from each other's skills”, adds Emily.

The multi-talented and creative Emily ended up rebranding and streamlining her service offerings to focus all her energy on her core passions and avoid burnout. As of now, her main offerings are creative consulting and media production. She is no longer offering social media work, but is happy to advise companies on how to set theirs up for success.

Katie agrees.

“Bartering helped my business grow by delegating tasks I'm not good at and don't have time to do on my own. It expanded my client base as well, which keeps employees busy.”

small business barter torontoHow is bartering business service different from selling business services?

According to Katie “it is a more human experience” and “swappers are more creative in how they approach their work”.

Since unlocking the power of barter and it’s mutually beneficial properties, Katie has watched her business double and expand into a new market. She was touched by the ripples made from its butterfly effect and now considers it a “must have” in her entrepreneurial tool kit. Emily, on the other hand, was able to “get clear on what I wanted to offer through my business” and she has since redirected her efforts, with much more success.


Anna wrote on Aug 18th 2014, 14:57

Great story. Go Katie and Emily!

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