Nominee for "2020 Contributor of the Year - Women in Tech." I write about modern culture.
Back in July, I launched Wisherie.co. It was a barter network rooted in the passion economy and improving mental health. My hypothesis, based on my own Great Recession experience, was that bartering during the Pandemic would provide the opportunity for professionals (mainly jobseekers and freelancers) to help small businesses while at the same time offering networking and professional development.
You might remember “How The Great Recession Led Me to Innovate Now," which outlined my motivation and strategy behind Wisherie.co. My goal was simple: 20 barter projects completed by Dec. 31. I built out the branding, website, marketing plan and virtual event schedule as well as conducted all outreach. The initial enthusiasm was strong and virtual events had a good showing on LinkedIn.
As time went on, I heard that some people had gotten jobs and were no longer interested. I also heard that people were focusing on their own health and could not take on anything more. I also heard from businesses who were hesitant to barter because they were not sure of what the future held. On the flip side, I was grateful for the partnerships and donations Wisherie.co did receive which gave some hope that this could work.
However, the biggest challenge for me was attracting users. It could have been the networks I was marketing to were not a good fit. Or perhaps the incentive to barter was not strong enough. Because, as someone pointed out, a very small number of people who were interested had previous experience in bartering. I also observed people talking about bartering at the virtual events but not signing up after the event. I struggled to convert them into active members.
By December, Wisherie.co completed two barter projects and I did both. I’m grateful for everyone who participated. I had invested my own time and money into this project and felt it was a good learning experiment while I continue to look for a full-time job and finish my fourth novel.
In conclusion, while I had hoped Wisherie.co would have helped more people and businesses, the six-month run is a little like Quibi’s.We just didn’t have subscribers. The Pandemic landscape continues to teach us what people will respond to and when quickly.
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