Use your skills for bartering

Have you heard of skill swap? A quick Google reveals it may also be called Skillswap, SkillSwap, Skill Swap or Swapaskill.

Essentially, you pass on your skills to someone in return for theirs – with no money changing hands.

I’ve done skill swaps on and off for a few years but just recently they’ve proved hugely helpful.

I’m currently involved with five quite diverse skill swaps and I hope a few words here about each will make interesting reading.

Skill swap one, which I’m doing with my Mint partner Alex Nicolaou, is with two guys who run a business selling online advertising such as Google Adwords.

They are real sales pros whereas my primary skills are in marketing.

So far, we’ve had a couple of half-day sessions where we’ve met and chewed over (for want of prettier phrase) a challenge that is facing each of us.

For me, it has been the sales process, particularly in relation to the Mint website, www.mint-tastic.co.uk.

We explored the customer ‘journey’ or sales process and, thanks to their highly focused sales approach, I realised that what Mint offered didn’t make sense if people just ‘dipped into’ the offerings on our website.

It only really made sense if they followed a three-stage process – and this wasn’t clear on the website.

It is now, with the stages one, two and three labelled clearly. From me they got the beginnings of a proper marketing plan – which they’d never had.

Next came a skill swap with Mark Oborn – well-known social-media-marketing-for-dentists guru.

In a whole-day session, he and I explored the process that clients go through when using our services.

That is, we identified what they actually wanted and what actual benefits we bring to our clients. Guess what? Whereas Mark and I tend to think in terms of marketing problems and solutions, our clients are more likely to say: ‘I need more patients’ or ‘I need to do marketing but don’t know where to start’.

Proving that skill swaps can be exchanges of quite diverse talents, I’m attending six Alexander Technique classes and in return helping the tutor with his branding and marketing.

If you’re not familiar with Alexander Technique it teaches us how to use our bodies in a more efficient and healthier way. It can also help relieve stress, back pain and RSI and I’m doing it because I have a fairly sedentary occupation.

I’m also swapping skills with a cognitive behavioural therapist who has the practical experience of structuring a business – which I don’t.

I was employed for many years by Orange before starting Meredith Marketing and then Mint so my business skills do not encompass how to ensure these companies have a value when I wish to retire and sell them.

In return, I am brainstorming some key business challenges which can be solved by marketing; helping launch a business, including creating a new brand and website as well as a marketing plan and a hugely useful client satisfaction survey; creating a regular e-newsletter and helping build a prospect database and creating a niche marketing strategy. Phew!

Finally, I’ve (sort of) swopped my skills for office space!

A client from the past has an office but her business partner is away having a baby and will work mostly from home in future.

Not wishing to work alone, the colleague offered me the vacant office space and it’s working well because we she helps me with financial matters (my weak point, her strength) while I assist her with client pitch presentations (my strength, her weakness).

So there you have it – a range of skill swap experiences all working well for me.

As a dental professional, you probably feel your oral healthcare skills are not ‘swappable’. But think more broadly. Are you good at cooking or gardening? Can you play a musical instrument or speak a foreign language? Are you a painter, skilled at DIY or dressmaking?

If you have skills you’d like to swop, want to pay for marketing expertise or have questions about this blog, email me at kate@mint-tastic.co.uk.

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