Elisha: “Nothing to lose and everything to gain”

The following story is written by Elisha Helsel, a member based in Cadillac, MI. She majored in graphic design to pursue her passion for art, and to be able to work from home with her two babies. Elisha enjoys learning, drinking tea, and reading blogs, and hopes to start her own some day.


It was December of 2016. My husband and I just had our second baby. Our oldest turned two that same month. I was still six months away from completing a degree after making the choice to go back to school. We had been living on one income since October of 2014, when I decided to stay home full-time. We made ends meet, but with a new baby and a degree just around the corner, finding a full-time job, or even a part-time job, was not exactly something that fit into our schedule.

My husband had thousands of dollars in medical bills from a recent surgery and soon I was going to have to pay back even more from my student loans. Our lives weren’t terrible. We weren’t struggling to eat, and we still had money to spend on fun and going out to eat occasionally… but we had debt and a plan to invest in a home soon. We weren’t exactly making it rain with all of our excess cash.

That was when I discovered Simbi. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed on a very outdated smart phone when I saw an ad for it: a site where you can exchange services for… services? And there was no cash involved? No way. That couldn’t be real. Except it was.

I was very skeptical at first. I imagined it had to be some sort of scam because it just sounded too simple, too easy, a little too good to be true… So I joined, of course. I figured if there was no place to put payment information there was really no harm in joining. After all, besides my time, what did I have to lose?

The answer: nothing.

I soon discovered that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I started off doing a few deals and it soon became an addiction. I scour Simbi almost daily for new requests and services to see what I can find. There are so many brilliant, talented, hardworking, and kind individuals that make this community what it is. I have met many like-minded people with skills that I certainly lack. When I see a request for graphic design, I get so excited when there’s a possibility that I may be able to help someone using my own skill set and possibly receive something awesome in return.
I’ve told my family and friends about deals I have made and sometimes it seems as if they really don’t believe me. Sometimes I find myself reiterating that no, I really didn’t pay a dime, and yes, all I did was exchange my design services! Because of Simbi, I don’t have to save up massive amounts of money to get gifts for my loved ones.

As a young entrepreneur and new business owner, I use Simbi to fill my time between other projects as well as build my portfolio. Personally, I am looking to gain real life experience with clients who want professional work, and this community is wonderful for doing just that. I would love to be known as a girl who does amazing graphic design, and I am all up for receiving services in exchange for that.

Art and design are my passion, my life blood. The ability to do that all the time and help people out is really what keeps me connected to Simbi.

There is nothing like hearing praise from a satisfied client — especially one who didn’t fork over an arm and a leg to have work done!

For those just starting out, my advice to you is this: take it slow. Take something you are great at, very knowledgeable in, or extremely passionate about, and post it as a service. You never know who might need help with just that. Do a deal or two and see how it goes. Sometimes, if you aren’t careful, you may be the one who drew the short straw. If you’re lucky, you may be able to receive something wonderful in exchange for something extremely simple to you. You just never know!

I think Simbi is possibly the greatest community I have joined. It is way better than Facebook or any other social media. I dare say it even trumps Etsy and Pinterest – previously my two favorite things on the internet.

Simbi was founded on some very strong ideals, and I think that foundation will stand the test of time. I know I plan on sticking around. Everyone has something to offer.

I believe that as long as there are people willing to exchange work for what they need, there will be Simbi.

Elisha H.


Simbiotic Stories are real anecdotes told by you and other Simbi community members. Tell us about your Simbi deals and experiences with other members. If your story is published, we’ll credit your account with 150 simbi. Submit your entries by starting a conversation with us via this link.

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