First. Yes. I think I’m hilarious. Second – this post does have relevant information for you to connote. Ok. That was the last one.
Contra deals are simply trading your services for someone else’s product or services so that both parties are happy – and typically actual money is not involved in the deal.
Contra can help when you need something and might not be able to afford it. It can also help when someone else wants what you offer but can’t pay you in actual cash – but can do something for you that could be useful to you or your business.
Contra can also be good for connecting with potential partners which will help to grow your network.
We have had both good and bad experiences with Contra deals. We have had some deals that have worked out very well for both parties and we have also had experiences where we have felt that we didn’t get the best outcome or even what we had hoped to get out of the deal.
As a video professional – you have the ability to create some pretty awesome resources for just about anyone which is a huge asset for you. The important thing to remember with Contra is that you need to ask ‘what’s in it for me?’ You also have to ensure that ‘what’s in it’ is actually equally beneficial for your business as money would be had you charged it.
A very important part of the Contra process is to accurately value what is being traded on both sides. This is where you can get into trouble if you’re not specific. An example of this is if you’re getting something with a price tag on it – but creating a video in exchange without putting a price tag on it. The person you’re trading with may not understand that changes to your video equal more editing time which equals more value. And then you’ll be frustrated because you’re not getting more for the extra time you’re putting in.
The first example of Contra I can give you is regarding… diapers. My sister Jen is expecting her first child in February of 2012. She is very excited about cloth diapering. She showed me the website for a new company called Glowbug Diapers and I noticed the company had place-holders saying ‘video coming soon’. So I emailed and said – “hey – can we make you a video or two in exchange for some free diapers?” We set up a meeting and discussed what our videos were worth and the price tag of the diapers. In the end – we agreed on 5 sets of 12 cloth diapers – so now we have some ammo for future baby showers! Here’s the video if you’re interested. The owners of Glowbug recently had a baby trade show and said our video alone helped them sell 15 cases of their diapers and they were pleased! Everyone wins!
A more business oriented Contra exchange that has benefited us is with the organizer of a local high-end wedding show called The Wedding Co. The owner of the show recently announced that she was about to publish a high-end Toronto based wedding magazine and enter the world of wedding publishing in print. She asked if we would create a series of short teaser videos to promote the launch of the magazine in exchange for ad space in the magazine and on their blog.
We have worked hard on the four videos for this upcoming magazine launch – but being featured in this magazine and more prominently on their blog will really help us and only cost us our time.
Here’s an example of a contra deal that isn’t written in stone – but still works for us and is an example of relationship building as well. We have a relationship with a high-end wedding gown designer in Toronto where we will make videos for her in-store television as well as for her trade shows and website. Her end of the deal is not exactly tangible for us – but every single one of her clients sees our work and we have actually booked 4 weddings as a result of simply having our work play in her store. We have also received over 20 inquiries from this relationship. So we give a little but we gain a little too.
And finally- another form of contra can be creating a video for a charity. In these types of deals – you often don’t get money back – but you can get both charitable donation receipts for your work as well as the recognition from the charity as helping out your community. We have done that at times in the past – a good example is this video we made for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
So in conclusion – Contra deals are a good thing as long as both parties are clear about what they want out of the deal and providing you not only deliver – but get what you want in the end!
What are some examples of your Contra deals – those that have worked for you, and those that have blown up in your face!