The following is a story written by Susan Bond, a member based in Kelso, WA. She has been in retirement for 5 years, but still loves to work on projects, and has been trading services to continue doing what she enjoys. She specializes in graphic design, editing, and desktop publishing.
My name Susan Bond and my grandson and his friends call me the hippest grandma around (my nickname is Bubbie). At 63 years old I’ve experienced many things and have done many things (not always good things), but have survived them all. I started dabbling in graphic design and started teaching myself different programs around 1995. Over the years, I had mastered none, but was damn good at many.
My health started going downhill when I was 55 but I kept working because I loved my work and I was able to use my graphic design background on many projects.
Around that same time, I started Den Mother Designs and began spreading the word that I was ready to expand my portfolio. One of my first jobs was redesigning and maintaining a website for a tattoo shop. It was a challenging project, but it lasted 4 amazing years, and the best thing was it was a barter job! That, and that I received free tattoos!
Right after I turned 58 it became apparent that I couldn’t work anymore, and filed for disability. I was devastated. Not only was I losing the connection with many great co-workers, but I was also losing my independence and the great income we were used to (my husband was retired and on social security).
I had picked up a few jobs here and there, but it wasn’t keeping my mind sharp. And truth be told, I was bored. In talking to a friend about my unhappiness, she asked if I had ever heard of Simbi. I told her that I hadn’t, and she suggested that I check it out.
When I first went to the Simbi website, I looked through it and thought it was a pretty cool site. But I’m a wallflower; I don’t do well with interpersonal settings. But after some time and convincing myself that I did have a valued service to offer others, I signed up.
I didn’t get my first ‘job’ for several months, but was thrilled when I did and even more thrilled when it was completed and I got a great review. And that was it. I was hooked. I think the biggest surprise is the amount of available work. I try to tap at least 3 jobs at a time; I currently have 5 jobs in the queue, which I don’t recommend—but I love the challenge.
When I talk to my friends about Simbi, the first thing they ask is why would I do something for free. Then I explain that I’m doing this for ME.
Since I can no longer work, I need to feel a connection with people who appreciate my work. I’m very articulate about my work and I thrive on surprising people with a high quality of work, beyond their expectations.
My biggest suggestion to potential Simbi clients is that when your barter includes a trade of services, specify what you’re expecting. I had an unfortunate instance where I was expecting a beautiful drawing and received a sheet of paper with poorly drawn images (images that I had requested), cut and pasted on the paper.
In the first year of being a Simbi member, I’m proud to have completed logo designs, business cards, worked on some document editing, and even completed a layout for a book! I am so excited to be a Simbi member and am excited to continue providing excellent services to those in need of great graphic design and editing.
I see great things with Simbi. For example, how it attracts more people in smaller communities, like where I live. I believe that bartering is our future and I’m proud to be in that community.
–Susan B. (aka Bubbie)
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.