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Natural Awakenings San Diego

San Diego Natural Awakenings Publisher Thrives with ITEX Barter Network

Mar 31, 2014 11:41AM ● By Erin Lehn Floresca

San Diego Natural Awakenings Publisher, Elaine Russo, has always been an entrepreneur. “As a kid I set up Kool-Aid stands and expanded my product line with sticky pods from maple trees to adhere to the tip of your nose, apples from our tree, and other items that we loved and thought our neighbors would, too,” she recalls. She discovered back then that when people purchased what you loved, they purchased passion. “This is not something you can teach. I remember talking to so many friends who fell in love with a product but didn't want to sell it because they were not sales people,” says Russo. “But why would you hold back paying it forward to someone else? Sales provides a showcase of new products available to all of us and sharing your excitement becomes someone else’s joy, too.”

Russo never holds back. Sharing what she is passionate about is in her blood. “I really thrive on it. I actually couldn’t imagine not being a business owner and being able to share my enthusiasm with others.” Over the past few decades, she has successfully started many businesses from scratch.  “I understand how to start a business,” she asserts, “and most importantly, how to stay in business.” One of her biggest undertakings was developing and publishing a children's educational line that was received and distributed to mass merchants like Wal-Mart, Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond, and independent retailers on a national level. In addition to publishing, she has owned a women’s surf shop and owned and operated hotel pool and beach concessions and expanded distribution of related products and services to retail stores throughout South Florida. “I've had my real estate license in multiple states since college and continue to maintain my RE broker’s license in California,” she says. “Diversification allows us freedom, flexibility, creativity and an abundance of knowledge and connections to share within the community.”

In each of the above-mentioned ventures, Russo attests that bartering was a vital component to the success of the business.  “I’ve found that barter is instrumental in creating new clients, added revenue, new business opportunities and reducing business expenses,” says Russo. “And it doesn’t really matter what kind of business a person owns.  People mainly resist barter because one, they don't fully understand how it operates and two, because they have this preconceived notion that they will only generate barter sales and not cash sales. I know this because I was one of these people.”

Russo was first introduced to the ITEX barter network in 2010 by a coworker when she began publishing the San Diego edition of Natural Awakenings. “While it took me a couple of years to actually commit. I took the dive in and really found out what ITEX had to offer. Once I took the plunge, I never looked back,” she recalls. “My hands-on knowledge, experience and resourceful attributes have long recognized the need for barter.”

Russo believes that being an ITEX member should be part of every business owner’s working model. “Barter offers every business owner a way to add new clients, additional revenue, and incentives/bonuses for co-workers. It helps reduce expenses and extra inventory. It is fabulous for increasing sales!”

Russo notes that once a person joins a barter system, they have access to a whole group of new customers they might not have been able to access otherwise.  “It’s also a great way to save your cash because instead of paying cash for products and services that you want, you trade for those services, whether it’s for business or personal reasons,” she explains.

Elaines Top 10 Benefits of ITEX Barter Network 

  1. It’s an easy and fun way to find more customers. You’ll have access to an entire network of people to barter with.
  2. Make a profit in an inexpensive way. By trading inventory or services, you can keep more cash in your pocket.
  3. No direct, one-on-one barters which means no hurt feelings or anxiety about the trade.
  4. ITEX acts as the bank and takes care of recording all transactions. All members have their own accounts and all transactions are recorded in each member’s accounts.
  5. Members do business by exchanging dollar-for-dollar values for their products and services.
  6. Members can use their ITEX dollars with hundreds of businesses across America and the globe.
  7. ITEX loves to help members find opportunities to buy and sell. ITEX sends business to you by matching buyers with sellers. 
  8. ITEX is available to members, via phone and email support, on a daily basis.
  9. ITEX members want to trade and are eager to build relationships with other members.
  10. All types of businesses are welcome to join and there are always more opportunities!
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