Jess: “Barter is Better”

The following is a story written by Jess Woodburn, a member based in Binghamton, NY. Jess is an artist who loves working with people to make their ideas come to fruition with stunning visuals. As a freelancer, she loves to barter, and feels that the barter system is a great way to bring a new, affordable range of services to people.

When all your skills lie in creative fields, it can be difficult to make a living. “Starving artist” isn’t a baseless stereotype, especially since we’ve entered the digital age and everyone thinks they can do what I do. I’m a graphic designer, painter, sculptor, and writer. I don’t make a steady income because people would rather design their invitations themselves using some print site template, and no one has room for art that wasn’t made by their kids. It’s just not something you can justify paying for. Because of this, it’s been a struggle to feel good about having to go to my blah 9-5 job and leaving myself little time to create.

In the last 5 years, I’ve sold 2 paintings. I’ve had a smattering of design jobs here and there, but nothing steady. It’s just not realistic to be a full time artist. I love to offer my services on trade, but many times things have fallen through and I’m left in the lurch.

“Wouldn’t it be nice,” I’d often think, “if there were a barter system in place that was regulated?” And then I found Simbi.

The idea immediately appealed to me for all the aforementioned reasons, although I was a little skeptical at first. I wasn’t sure if Simbi was too good to be true and I definitely didn’t think I would get any work from it. Too many other people could flood the market and I’d get lost in the crowd. I’m so glad I was wrong.

Simbi is my new favorite thing. I joined the party only two weeks ago, and already I’ve designed 2 logos, proofread a short story, wrote this article, and I have 2 novels to edit. The jobs just keep rolling in! I was also able to find someone who provided me with a phenomenally written financial plan to move my family a little closer to our long term goals. Jennifer, the Simbi-er who helped with my new budget, was so friendly and approachable. I ended up venting a little bit to her about my economic situation and she assured me that the place my family is in now is normal. She worked the numbers more than I could have dreamed and gave us a financial plan that allows me to stay home with my son and still save a crazy (to me) amount of money each year. I would never have found such a personable, affordable financial planner locally, and definitely not one who works within a barter system.

I have already recruited a photographer friend to join and she loves it too. There is such a range of services available that Simbi makes it easy to find what you need. As I’ve browsed the offers, I’ve found whimsical things like “I’ll mail you a thrift store t-shirt”, educational offerings like “Social media marketing basics”, and spiritual avenues like “Tarot card reading” or “Life coaching”. I want to urge you, if you are an artist, a creative mind, or just have something unique to offer, give Simbi a try. I guarantee, at the very least, you’ll have fun! In my experience, I have read some really great pieces, met some incredible people, and received valuable feedback on my work. It makes my life that much brighter to know that I can help other people get what they need without breaking the bank. I honestly wish I’d known about Simbi sooner. I tell everyone I know about it, because with a system like this one, more is truly merrier!

Jess W.

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.



  1. kay Fletcher

    Love this article, as I find it inspiring. I am a Simbi Newbie, as of today and looking primarily for the skills of a writer as a “Ghostwriter”.
    I earned a 4.0 GPA in college, many years ago, yet I have always struggled with an Autism Spectrum Disorder that is truly “invisible” to most that I encounter. It makes communication, writing, hearing, etc. difficult in ways that are usually not noticed. Upon completing the last English requirement in college I thanked the Lord because I thought I would never have to write a document of importance ever again. Well, this is certainly not so . . . and besides to stay true to my own belief in a Bracelet of Life, I have found that I have neglected my “weak” link in the area of writing and that now I am paying for it . . .
    So, looking for a local writer (North Nevada) to do Ghostwriting for me in exchange for what I can offer. (I tired offering a room in my home for help with this last year . . . and got severely taken advantage of . . . so, not offering that now) I can offer Professional Gift Wrapping for those of you with two left hands in this department or that simply do not care for doing this yourself. I can offer Massage Therapy. I can offer Pet Sitting, as I am a animal lover.
    You may message/contact me at : Kay Fletcher facebook or Kay in Nevada 🙂

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