Will Write for Thai Peanut Salad

One of my clients is a caterer. (And a very good cook.)

Mark and I became friends through our love of good food and good stories. And when Mark needed new ways to communicate with his clients, we talked about how I might be of help. I helped Mark set up a Facebook business page, and now we are exploring the best ways—through social networking and the web—to get the word out about his business.

Once, early on, Mark offered to pay me for my help. I refused. Instead, we worked out an exchange: I help him for a couple of hours each week, and he gives us a great homemade dinner. Mark’s cooking is delicious, and we look forward to something new every week: Thai Peanut Salad or Hearty Steak Pie or Penne with Grilled Chicken with Broccoli Rabe.

But the real value is in the discovery. The reality is that we live in a struggling economy in very small town in a low-population state. By swapping food for services, Mark and I are adopting the age-old business model of bartering. It’s mutually beneficial. He gets the word out about his business, and I get good food and a satisfied reference for my writing services.

And although it doesn’t fall neatly into tidy columns of dollars and cents, the meal also offers me value in kind. Once a week we get an excellent meal, while at the same time I am freed up from cooking—giving me more time to write. And by opening myself up to alternative economic models like this, I can allow myself to continue to pursue my life as a writer.



Does anyone else have experiences with bartering writing services? How has it worked? Is it worth it? Any tales of good or woe?