Many have asked how I got into bartering. It wasn’t intentional, typically I would be too nervous to ask, but becoming a single mom make me a bit more fierce on behalf of my kids. It started a little over five years ago. I was having such trouble with my son (the twins were not in the picture yet.) He was stubborn and inquisitive and determined like no one I’ve ever met, and this was at 4 years old!
I was seeking help, and stumbled up martial arts as a sport of discipline. So I started calling around and visiting martial arts schools with him in tow. Most wouldn’t touch him, he was just generally too young for their programs, but one school would – Baeplex Family Martial Arts. I had explained a little bit of the situation as I set up the appointment to bring him in to try a class. We walked in the door and I felt at home. The instructors were personable, high energy and super attentive to the kids.
We walked out of there with both kids signed up for a trial month. We could go as often as our schedule allowed, the classes were just the right length that I could sit and wait or even run out and do a quick errand (that was like manna to this single mom’s ears,) and the price for the month was perfect, something I felt I could keep up.
Now keep in mind, I was only finding this for my son, but my daughter had a month until her dance classes started, so I did the trial month for both, figuring that the Princess would quit after the month and go into dance. Needless to say…at the end of that month, she BEGGED to continue. And there I was meeting with the owner of the studio, anticipating paying for one child on an ongoing basis and seeing that it was really my daughter who wanted this. I was in tears…and felt I had no choice but to ask.
And that is how bartering began for us…my web design and technical support skills in exchange for a reduced monthly tuition. Four years later, the Princess received her black belt. (Little Gymnast continued for several years, but after he found gymnastics, it was over.)
I would never have had the courage to suggest it without the needs and wants of my kids bolstering me. And now five years later, I don’t hesitate to ask/offer. I figure the worst they can say is no, and it’s opened up so many doors for my children to experience things that they never would have been able to without it.
So my suggestion…ASK…the worst they can say is no, but I think you will find many are willing to work with you! Just today I sent an email to a new sport my daughter is trying to offer web design or registration form design services in exchange for participation or summer camp, etc. whatever they might need. Crossing my fingers that it might work out.