Stop swapping your health and healing services!
I have been working as a professional alternative health service provider for 11 years now. And I’ve seen and done practices in business that I would not recommend!
Swapping is one of them!
Being a Feng Shui consultant, I assist many alternative health practitioners and clinics with boosting their businesses and creating spaces that assist in positive team dynamics, creating more harmony and abundance.
Basically, my main job has been to help the practitioner to increase their business’ financial flow.
But within the alternative health and healing community, I’ve also seen the very common culture practice of swapping services.
Many practitioners believe that swapping services with another practitioner is a good way to:
- get what you need in exchange for your skills and time.
- a great way to promote your services to other practitioners.
- showcase how unique you are, outside of others in your industry.
Recently, I’ve been approached numerous times, unsolicited, by practitioners wanting swaps for my Feng Shui services.
And I wanted to break down exactly why this is a bad idea for your practice.
Value your business
When people approach me and ask to swap my Feng Shui service for their service it touches on two main things, simultaneously;
- you don’t value Feng Shui and my time and skills.
- you don’t value you’re own skills and services.
It can be a bit of a shock to receive a message from someone in your industry asking you to help their financial opportunities, yet aren’t willing to pay cash for that service. It’s a strange paradox, it’s saying “help me increase my cash flow, for free.” Though, how can I assist you to increase your ‘money opportunities’ when you aren’t willing to invest in yourself or your business?
Not charging for services, underselling and service swaps are one of the main sabotages that I come across for women in the alternative health industry. (I’m also totally guilty of this in the past) On a conscious level, you may feel you’re being caring because you are sharing, but underlying this can be a lack of value you have of yourself and your skills.
Valuing the years of study, client experience and intuitive skills you’ve honed over the years is so very important.
And it’s time to step into your power and value yourself and your services.
Support Women in Business
As women, we have increased our presence in the business world only in the last few decades. Yes, you could say that there has been very successful and prominent women in business for a century or more and pluck out some world famous names e.g. Elizabeth Arden, but they are few and far between.
Most women have gone into the healing services due to their caring nature and with the wish to help the community as a whole, but that doesn’t mean at the expense of yourself.
There’s also a large percent of women who have started their business out of pure necessity, e.g. there are actually no ‘jobs’ for what you’ve been trained to do, and/or you require flexible hours for family commitments and traditional working hours aren’t an option.
But how do we support more women and their financial freedom if we’re not prepared to pay them money?
By supporting women in business, you are not only supporting the individual, but the community becomes richer (not just monetarily) as well. When women are supported, other aspects of the community thrives and becomes supported purely due to women spending their money on meaningful services and products. When women have more money, then other businesses are supported. If you don’t support these businesses (or your own) with cash, then the industry itself has the potential to become unsustainable and could eventually die out.
And you may have noticed this in your own healing modality associations too.
The illusion of Promotion
Promoting your business or other peoples businesses is not an incentive to ask for swaps.
This rarely works.
I was recently asked to give a talk at a convention for another alternative health body for their annual national convention. This was being held at a prestigious venue and it was a total unsolicited invitation.
I was told that I would be receiving the associations package, which I presumed as a numeration package. To my surprise, I received a ‘speaker sponsor’ package, meaning I was being asked to sponsor my time and knowledge for providing an hour presentation to an industry (that wasn’t mine own) and distant location (2 hours drive from me) for free, with the illusion of gaining exposure.
Exposure bucks does not pay my bills.
With the access to social media and ability to hold webinars, facebook lives and insta stories, you already have the ability to gain a much larger audience all on your own, without having to spend time creating a talk for someone else’s benefit, taking a whole day to travel and take valuable time out to attend.
If someone asks you to swap a service and promises to promote you afterwards, could feel like you are paying for a testimonial, which you don’t have to do. Every testimonial I have on my website are from paying clients who took time out to provide feedback on the service I provided them. I did not pay them for this. And neither should you, with your time, services or skills.
Business is not a hobby!
My bills are real, being able to put food on the table is real, specialist appointment charges are real, being able to keep our car running to drive our children to places is real.
These are not hobbies for the supermarket, the mechanics, doctors, specialists, and electricity companies.
And neither is your business! Or mine!
If you continue to hold the mindset that your business and time is negotiable and expendable then you may always view what you do as a hobby and act in accordance with this.
When you view your business as a professional, then you will charge, ‘own’ and run your business as a professional, by providing services in a professional manner.
Swaps are rarely an even exchange.
I recently did a swap with a business. Eek I know. BUT I was already using and paying for the services provided. I also knew that this service would be ongoing and necessary. So we swapped services.
BUT we did make sure that there was a time period to when the agreement returned back to monetary exchange. And in all my years, this occurrence was the first where I felt it was an even exchange of services.
But I still don’t recommend it.
Swaps can end friendships, business connections and reputation.
When you swap a service there may be someone who is less invested or doesn’t feel pressured to perform or provide value, than the other practitioner. Each person will come to the swap with their own set of boundaries, work ethics and intentions. If this is not balanced with yours, then you may be left with a negative experience.
Resentment then builds and things can become awkward. And rarely do you recover full trust in the person who didn’t provide the same level of service as you. Or even reciprocated at all.
People want to give.
Given the opportunity, people have an innate quality of wanting to help and give back. And if this isn’t achieved on an even exchange, then you are left feeling like the connection is still open and you haven’t completed the agreement. Ever.
I’ve found myself in a position where someone offered something, which I thought at the time was awesome. I took the opportunity, then was asked to provide a testimonial which I was happy to do and asked the person to send me some questions so I could answer them to help hone the testimonial for their purpose and service. They never responded to my email and so even now (years after) I feel there was not an even exchange and there’s a sense that I’ve been left being the one that had not given back equally, which just feels like shit.
And if people aren’t given the opportunity to give back for something they have received, it can feel like you’ve stolen or taken something without deserving it. And it hinders completion of any deal you’ve made.
Compounds your money sabotages
Owning and running a business will push and stretch you in ways you probably would have never thought of prior.
And one of the biggest sabotages in business, especially for women, is asking for money, pricing accordingly and receiving payments.
Asking for swaps is a way to side-step the payment process and you are doing a disservice to your business and your growth in your industry.
Part of owning and running a business is to understand how business works and to expand your knowledge. “Business is just business”, doesn’t mean you have to be cut throat, but you do need to create healthy boundaries around your money to create a viable business.
Too many women have a distaste even for the word ‘money’, let alone asking for it in exchange of a worthy service. And so asking for swaps will only keep you in the cycle of your money sabotages. And keeps you playing small in business.
Be the role model
As a woman in business it’s also important to role model what you wish to see.
By declining swaps and valuing your services, you also provide the opportunity for the other business owner to reflect on their worth and give them permission to say no to swaps too.
Women have had to find their own feet in the business world, and if we see more strong role models of women owning their power and self worth, then this will propel equality in business and community.
Be the role model for others. We need more of you!
Spiritual, health and healing work should be given for free.
Ah… the age old mindset that if you’ve been given a ‘healing’ gift, are able to help the sick or are spiritual or psychic, then you must not be paid for a service you were bestowed upon by the Divine.
I’m calling Bullshit!
This is just another way to keep women from having financial freedom. Intuitive or nurturing careers are held by a high percentage of women and thought to have been an extension to nurturing children and therefore not something that should have any or little monetary value attached to it. You just have to look at the nursing industry and their lack of support to see how this paradigm plays out in the mainstream industries.
Just because you are spiritual, or nurturing and caring, doesnt mean you can’t live a life full of abundance. And being able to support yourself financially is empowering for women and necessary in the 21 century. So anyone who thinks that using these aspects of yourself should not have that freedom, needs to get out of the dark ages and realise that even intuition needs to be exercised and honed and it takes time and experience to gain knowledge, in which you have every right to ask for payment when employed for service.
I have a few flexibility clauses to my guidelines.
If I can see that I can genuinely help someone and they are a friend or family member, then I happily donate my time. I have assisted in crisis management, break ins, and general support when Ive seen my friends and family in distress. And this is where I feel my skills can be there to provide support to those I love. I’ve also provided services for case studies, purely to integrate my own education in a subject. And is required for completion of courses.
BUT you still need to create boundaries around this.
It’s not all love and light and rainbows and unicorns. People come out of crisis and once this occurs then you need to set new boundaries around this.
Also if someone is always in crisis mode, (or drama mode) it’s important that what you are providing doesn’t become ‘enabling’ or something that a person relies on heavily. Ensure that you also refer them to other professional or community services.
I’m not perfect at this.
I’ve recently partaken in a community swap without actually being informed that was what was occurring and I endeavour to commit myself to fulfilling it. But, I have also noticed it has opened the door for others to feel it’s ok to ask for swaps. When it’s a group norm, then it can create a culture of swaps.
Saying “no” to swaps is something that I have started to ensure I feel ok doing. Previously, I’ve taken it personally when someone unsolicited (and a stranger) asks me to swap my Feng Shui service, as it has actually made me feel like shit. I have allowed it to make me feel undeserving and then anxious to have to have the uncomfortable conversation and potential negative ramifications of saying “no”.
It can also feel isolating when you see others swapping freely and forming networks and friendships with those in your industry or business community. You may feel scared of what others could say if you say “no”. And it could look like everyone else feels happy exchanging. This can create the potential of ostracising people from community groups.
But saying “no” to swaps is something I’ve had to learn in my years of practice and am dedicating myself to instil more in my business. If I said “yes” to every person that has asked to swap my Feng Shui services, then the integrity in which I hold my work, would be non-existent.
With every “Hi there, I don’t swap my services, but here’s my link if you would like to book in” is me empowering myself and becoming a more confident business woman in the community.
And I feel only instils confidence in the service that I provide you. And for other practitioners.