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experimenting with exchange of service

July 21, 2009

In the past three years I’ve presented close to 30 seminars, and have worked with over 200 clients in nine countries specifically in the LOHAS arena. In the past nine years I’ve spoken directly with over 6000 wellness professionals about marketing. Somehow, along the way, I’ve become one of the most experienced commercialisation strategists in the LOHAS space.

My companies are frequently approached with offers to exchange service-or-product for service – something we have rarely agreed to because, in reality, once you find people and companies you trust, you’re unlikely to move away from them on the basis of getting something for free.

We have also discovered that there is a very real link between payment and value – and that those clients or friends with whom we negotiated ‘mates rates’ were invariably the ones who had the highest expectations and the lowest commitment to their business. In short, it was a painful and frustrating experience for all concerned.

As a result, we decided to only offer services for free in support – no strings attached – and have gifted over $100 000 in services over the past three years alone to charities, not-for-profits and NGO’s. They benefited, those in need benefited, and we have always felt good about this kind of work.

Our most recent pro bono client – the One Health Organisation – is a case in point; and if you’re a health care professional anywhere in the world, check out their model of Holistic Primary Health Care and consider supporting them financially (take the time to read the expanded version, not just the summary – it’s the most intelligent approach to health care i’ve ever seen!).

So now I’m in Boulder and am finding that there is a whole different way of doing business here. People collaborate. People offer free advice. People get together and think about how they can support each other through giving rather than thinking only about what they can get. Coming from Australia – where there is such a mindset of lack and competition – I feel like I can breathe again.

So I thought i would run an experiment and see what happens.

Every week I’m here in Boulder I will give away a 90 minute brainstorm to a LOHAS business.

No strings attached.

A couple of points worth noting:

  • my company typically charges $395 for this service – just so we are clear on value
  • there is no requirement for you to ‘give back’
  • sessions must be conducted at your premises or somewhere else where we can focus on the conversation (not over lunch)
  • you must commit to a full 90 minute session, with no interruptions
  • this is not a ‘group’ situation – it’s for an individual business (the only exception is for a clinic with multiple practitioners)
  • there is no obligation to do anything post the session – no product, e-book, seminar, workshop etc
  • it is your responsibility to take notes from the session – you can record, video or whatever else works for you (for internal use only)

Why am I doing this?

A fair question – it’s an experiment, I’m curious to see if Boulder really is as different as it appears to be. I guess I’m also racking up my karma points too.

I’m also on a semi-sabbattical (if there can be such a thing – seems a bit like being a weekend vegetarian) and have time on my hands, and might as well use it doing things I enjoy (other than hiking, and sleeping and reading and eating).

Finally, I’m interested in the possibility of relocating to Boulder (semi) permanently, and this seems like a good way to get to know the kind of people I’m particularly interested in connecting with.

So if this seems like you, leave a reply here on my blog (and if you’ve found this through facebook, follow the link so that everything appears in the one place). Take the time to tell me who you are, where you are, what you do. Provide a link to your twitter feed, facebook page, website or blog. Help me understand who you’re trying to help, and how I can help you help whoever they are.


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2009 19:58

    WOW! I offered LOHAS businesses in Boulder free marketing support and NOBODY responded.

    From the conversations I’ve been having since I got here, I’m pretty sure it’s not because all of those businesses are doing so well that they couldn’t do with a little additional input.

    So, since I enjoy a challenge, let’s make this state-wide – for any LOHAS business in Colorado. We’ll have to Skype it, or you’ll have to drive to Boulder to meet (if you’re nearby).

    If that doesn’t work, I’m going to take this national …..

  2. August 6, 2009 17:15

    hey that was a great read . Thanks for the great post .Loved every part of it.

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