Swapping services isn't a new concept — but now, ladies who hustle don't need to use octopus-like outreach across their various networks (Email groups! Texts! Facebook groups! Slack! Craigslist!) When To the Moon Social founder Tata Tickaradze was building her own digital agency, she turned to other women and traded her skills in exchange for branding, web design, legal, and copywriting services.
Ever the entrepreneur, she took her own business-building concept and created Barter & Be. After beta testing for the past year, the new female-focused service exchange platform officially launched today and allows members to connect with vetted collaborators. The curated network currently includes over 600 members, including web and graphic designers, copywriters, illustrators, photographers, social media managers, and other professionals.
At a time (ahem, a global pandemic) when small business owners and freelancers are strapped for resources, Barter & Be helps take the guesswork (and pricing) out of researching and hiring like-minded pros. Membership is $11.99 per month, or you can save 20% off and get an annual membership for $115; there's also a seven-day free trial so you can explore the network before joining.
We recently sat down with Tickaradze to learn more about her career journey, which of her own strengths she credits for her success, and the local spots that she's ready to return to when L.A. feels safer again. Read on below, and join Barter & Be here.
What was the exact "a-ha" moment/experience you had that got the ball rolling on starting Barter & Be?
My "a-ha" moment honestly came out of pure necessity. In 2016, I made a huge jump from the corporate world to the freelance world. It was nice controlling my own schedule, but finding business and having a digital presence came with a price tag that I couldn't always afford. I thought to myself, could I trade my skill set to get the things I needed for my business to succeed?
I looked to my creative network to start asking that same question and I was met with great response, so I started to trade my services for the things I needed, like a brand identity, graphic design, website, copywriting, and legal/accounting work. Within a few months, I had the things I needed for my social media agency, To The Moon Social, to succeed. I felt I had solved a huge problem that most small business owners encounter when starting their own businesses.
At that moment I knew I could help others and build a platform to connect like-minded creatives to trade their essential goods and services without utilizing capital.
What were some of your own skills that you feel were instrumental in allowing you to create the platform?
Communication, networking, marketing, and collaboration have always been my strongest skills. I applied those but also learned a lot of new skills along the way which made the process of building Barter & Be so rewarding for me. In order to run a successful business, you need to wear all the hats of each department to fully understand and implement the things your brand needs to thrive.
What local LA spots are you looking forward to enjoying when it's safe enough to do so?
So many amazing spots in L.A.! I honestly miss going to the movies and museums the most, it's where I find so much inspiration. I also can't wait to enjoy outdoor shopping at Westfield Century City, 3rd Street Promenade, and Abbot Kinney, plus restaurants like Giorgio Baldi's, Gjusta, or Superba Food & Bread. Yum!