Stop swapping your health and healing services!
I have been working as a professional alternative health service provider for 13 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 and healing practitioner, I assist many alternative health practitioners and clinics boost their businesses and create spaces that assist with increasing positive team dynamics, creating more harmony and increasing abundance.
Basically, my main job has been to help the practitioner increase their finances and client base.
But within the alternative health and healing community, I’ve also seen the very common practice of swapping services.
And when I’ve thought about it, I can’t help to think it’s one of the only service industries that does this regularly!
Can you imagine doctors swapping consults with each other? Or tradies swapping a fence for a deck? Or artist’s swapping a painting for an etching?
Though in the natural therapy industry there’s a strong culture that encourages this.
Many practitioners believe that swapping services with another practitioner is a good way to:
- get a service what you need or wish to experience, in exchange for your service, skills and time.
- a great way to promote your services to other practitioners.
- showcase how unique you are, and to set you apart from others in your industry.
- Network to increase your client base
Recently, I’ve been approached numerous times, unsolicited, by practitioners wanting swaps for my Feng Shui and healing services.
And I wanted to break down exactly why this is a bad idea for your practice.
Here’s why swapping your services does not help you, or other women.
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;
- The other practitioner doesn’t value Feng Shui, my extensive experience, time and skills and is not really committed to their development.
- The other practitioner mustn’t value their own skills, years of experience and services either to give away their own time.
It can be a bit of a shock to receive a message from someone in the healing industry asking you to help their business finances using Feng Shui, yet aren’t willing to pay money for this service. It’s a strange paradox, it’s saying “help me increase my cash flow, for free.”
How can I, someone who assists many clients nationally and internationally with increasing their business, assist you to increase your ‘money opportunities’ when you aren’t even willing to invest in yourself or business?
How can I as a practitioner who helps support women in business, be the role model for another practitioner to help them increase their finances, without charging for my service?
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, when swapping, you may feel you’re being caring because you’re sharing, but underlying this can be a lack of value you have for yourself and your skills.
Valuing the years of study, client experience and intuitive skills you’ve honed over the years is so very important. It takes time, years of experience and money for your courses to become qualified to get where you are today. And you should be wildly compensated for that!
It’s also 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 as well. When women are supported and become financially abundant, other aspects of the community thrives and becomes supported as well, purely due to the fact that women in general spend more to improve their family and community in meaningful ways. When women have more money, then other businesses are supported and equality becomes a reality.
When we support women in business with money we have the potential of creating a better and more healthy society as a whole! When we barter it doesn’t allow the healing industry to prosper and could even mean closing doors of business for some practitioners.
Recently, a local health service announced they had to close their doors due to it no longer being viable. From what I understand this service provided a space where a very meaningful community of like minded individuals was created. Though looking at their website and noticing their payment options I couldn’t help but feel frustrated at the glaringly obvious reason why this business ended up shutting down. Their prices included things like pay ‘what you want Wednesdays’ or pay what you can. I can’t help but think that if this business had just put a sustainable price point for their business to be functional and abundant, how many more people over the years they could of helped and supported. Instead, their well meaning and false sense of inclusion, simply meant that it wasn’t sustainable.
We as a society need more people who are caring and community minded in this world, but if these people don’t support themselves first by creating an abundant life, they will not have the means or energy to help others.
And you may have noticed this in your own healing 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 on Feng Shui 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 was 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) at a distant location (2 hours drive from me) for free, with the illusion of gaining exposure.
Exposure bucks does not pay my bills.
With access to social media and ability to hold webinars, facebook lives and insta stories, you already have the ability to gain a much wider 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 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’s appointment fees are real, being able to keep our car running to drive our children to places, is real.
Services and business 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 real profession, 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.
I was obligated to provide a swap (I didn’t realise this was the case at the time) and even though I didn’t want to be placed in this position I honoured the intent. So I had the other practitioner book herself in for one of my healing sessions and come the time of her appointment, she no showed me! Twice!
When you are in the service industry you know your time is valuable, and both these no-shows meant I was unable to fill these appointments with paying clients. So I was actually out of pocket because of the swap practice.
People want to give.
Given the opportunity, people have an innate ‘want’ 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 out of the blue so that they could increase their experience and promote themselves, 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 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.
Do you want to see more women success in business? Yes!
Do you want to see your industry thrive and have some influence over decisions in our community? Yes!
Do you want more women to be wealthy? Yes!
Do you want to create a life for you and your family that have little financial stress and can create amazing opportunities for you to have an amazing life? Hell to all the Yesses!
By declining swaps and valuing your services, you also provide the opportunity for the other business owners 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.
Women through the ages have been the witches, the midwives and healers of the community but never allowed to own their power. So culture and society kept us small and powerless by making us believe we shouldn’t be compensated for these natural gifts.
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.
Money isn’t spiritual
For most of my life I’ve grown up with the belief that money is evil, creates inequality and is a dirty word. And that if you are a person of integrity you should not want more money than is necessary to survive. And the most common belief is that ‘you are materialistic and greedy if you want more money’.
Number one lesson…money is energetically neutral. It doesn’t have a say in how you make it or spend it. It’s about the person who has or hasn’t got it.
Money doesn’t corrupt people. People are corrupt.
So stop blaming money for the horrible deeds that people have done to our society, to our environment and our people!
As a healing practitioner, I know you care. That’s why you do the things you do. That’s why you have dedicated your life to learning and practicing your craft. And we as a society need you to become abundant and wealthy, so that people like you can create a healthier, equal and thriving society and culture.
By hating on money, avoiding it and refusing to receive it (swapping), you are not only doing a disservice to yourself, but also to all of us!
We need more people like you with power in our political systems, community, environmentally sustainable projects and caring roles to change our world for the better. And having money and more of it, is the way that we can achieve this together. And we can’t do this if you close your doors on your business because you are not honouring or valuing yourself and charging well for your services.
Creating an abundant life for yourself is not selfish, it’s the perfect way in which to create the society you long for.
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 feeling ostracised and judged 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 this in my business. If I said “yes” to every person that has asked to swap my Feng Shui or healing services, then the integrity in which I hold my work, would be non-existent.
With every “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 it also instils confidence in the service that I provide you. And for other practitioners.