When you sign up to join one of the exchange groups on the CES you will be given an opportunity to advertise your Offerings and Wants.
* Below we refer to Talents as the currency of the CES. We use this generic name for the multitude of currencies used by the different exchange groups that comprise the CES. Each group has its own name for its local currency, so for brevity’s sake we use the name Talents.
Q. What are offerings?
Offerings are what you can provide to the community of traders in the CES so that you can receive what others are providing.
Q. Can I offer both goods and services?
Yes, you can offer goods as well as services. You can offer anything that other traders will accept, the same as if you were trading in the conventional economy. You have even more scope in the CES because you can offer the kinds of services that wouldn’t be viable in the regular economy. Examples are companionship, personal assistance, advice, support, training etc. Of course there is no point in offering things that do not make sense in a small, closed community, e.g. astronaut, ship captain, airline pilot etc!
Q. I have nothing to offer!
This is a very common first reaction! Registering with the CES will help you realise that if you think outside of the framework of money, you do have things to offer and that you can be useful to others. Whether you are skilled or not, your time, energy or resources will be of value to someone. A few examples are shopping, answering the phone, dog walking, cooking, cleaning, gardening, child care, car lifts, home equipment or tool hire, to name a few. Start by asking yourself what you really enjoy doing, or sit down with a friend and tell each other what you are good at. Take a look at the Inspiration List below to get ideas. You will probably surprise yourself when you begin to think about it!
Q. Can I offer what I do at work?
You can offer absolutely anything you like, but always ask yourself if there will be demand for what you are offering in a small, closed community. If what you do at work is highly specialised and only meaningful in the context that you provide it then you are not likely to find many takers in the CES. It is not good enough to put down what you do in your professional life and then later say it didn’t work for you because no one ever came to you. If no one comes to you then there is obviously no demand for what you are offering. If you have to steal time from your employer then it is probably not a good idea to offer what you do at work. There are many other things to offer. But if you really think others will respond to what you normally do in the Dollar economy, then by all means offer it.
Q. How do I price my offerings?
Before even considering the question of pricing, remember that the CES is a platform designed to facilitate exchange. It does not specify which methods of exchange you should use. You may price your offerings in Talents* but you can also offer them for barter, for swapping or as a gift, or any combination of the available exchange options (see below). The CES is a broad spectrum exchange system that assists you to exchange your wares and services using a variety of exchange methods.
If you are using Talents* you should price your offerings in exactly the same way as you would in the regular economy. Price your goods and services in Dollars and then convert that into Talents at a 1:1 ratio. This can be a fixed price or a rate per hour/day etc. If you can’t think of a price then put ‘Negotiable’ or ‘Various’ or ‘Contact me’. If you want to attract custom quickly then reduce your price. When you have registered and you get your account number and password, access the site and check what others are charging for offerings similar to yours. If you find that you get too much custom too suddenly then raise your prices! If no one comes to you then probably your prices are too high.
Talents are not linked or pegged to the Dollar, and there is no ‘exchange rate’ between the two currencies. New members are advised to use the Dollar as a reference when pricing in Talents, that is all. We are all familiar with the prices of things in the regular economy so using Dollars makes pricing easier. However, should the Dollar hyper-inflate, the Talent can be ‘de-linked’ from the Dollar and ‘pegged’ to an imaginary Dollar that existed before the hyper-inflation took off. Talents can’t inflate like a fiat currency (e.g. Dollars) because it has no value in itself – it is information not a commodity.
Q. Can I quote prices in Dollars?
No, not on their own but you may include a Dollar component. Many traders quote Talents for the labour and Dollars for parts or materials. Talent-only offerings are preferred and you might find little interest in your wares or services if you quote a Dollar component. Many traders feel uneasy about receiving Talents-only when they have had to lay out Dollars. But remember, you get those Dollars back by having more Talents to spend on things that you would normally pay Dollars for. The more you get involved in the CES the more comfortable you will feel about receiving Talents even when you have spent Dollars.
Q. How do I barter, swap or gift my offerings?
Bartering differs from swapping in that offerings for barter are usually non-specific or less specific than those offered for swapping. You might have a 100 bricks left over from a building job, which you could offer by requesting “what offers?” or food. Your barter offering must make it clear that it is open ended and that you are prepared to negotiate with anyone who has something you might want. To make bartering easier, the exchange does not have to be immediate or take the form of a single exchange. What you can provide can be delivered at a later time, over a period of time or may consist of a variety of return items/actions.
A swap is more like an arrangement you have with someone to swap or exchange something specific. You could offer bookkeeping services for medical treatments, for example, or massage for computer lessons. Your swap offering must state explicitly what you wish to swap it for. The two sides of the swap can take place on an ongoing basis, and what is exchanged can alter with time.
A gift offering is something you are offering to anyone who wants it (i.e. it is ‘free’ and you are not expecting anything in return). Your gift offering should specify who would benefit most from receiving your gift. The idea behind gifting is that if there are many gift offerings then eventually there will be something for you!
Barter, swap and gift exchanges are not recorded like Talent exchanges are. They are ‘outside the system’, so to speak. The CES just provides you with a platform for advertising your offerings and requirements.
Time trading is another form of exchange offered by CES, where it is time that is traded; not specifically what is traded. For example, someone could create an organic veggie garden for you. You would record on the CES site how many hours it took to complete the garden, which would represent your obligation to the gardener. You could ‘pay’ for the hours received by offering a range of services in return. You might be a handyman and would record the hours you spend on fixing things at the gardener’s home. When the hours you have given equal the hours you have received, the ‘transaction’ is complete.
Q. How many offerings can I have?
The joining form only has space for three offerings but when you get your account details you can add as many more as you like. You can also put the same offering under different categories and advertise on other exchanges anywhere in the world.
Q. How do I describe my offerings?
Use a terse, descriptive offering title that makes it immediately clear to others what you are offering. In the Details field you can use as many words as you like to describe your offering. Think of your offerings as your personal advertisements. If your advertisement is poor, people will skip over your offering and choose someone else with a better description. Convince others why your goods and services are the best, why you are the best person to receive them from and how our lives will be better by receiving your offer! If you are providing goods, describe it/them in detail; if you are offering a service tell us something about your experience and what others will gain from having you provide it.
Q. Can I change my existing offerings and delete old ones?
Yes. Your offerings are fully editable. You can change the title, the description, the price and keywords that help others search for your offerings. You can also hide your offerings if they are not relevant at the present time. Offerings can be deleted if they are no longer relevant.
Q. How long do my offerings last for?
You can determine how long your offerings will display for. You can select anything from one week to one year, which is the longest an offering will remain on the Offerings List without updating. You can also continuously update your offerings so that they remain on the list forever. Updating also ‘refreshes’ your offerings, bringing them to the top of the list where most people will see them.
Q. Can I have pictures of my offerings?
Yes. When you access your account you can add additional offerings and upload pictures at the same time. Pictures can replace many words and draw attention to your offerings.
Use the list below to get some idea of what you can offer. This is not a complete list; it is just meant to provide some inspiration.
Car washing & cleaning
Writing, editing, proofreading
|Answering the phone
Shopping for others
Reading stories, storytelling
Fetching/taking children to school
Curtains, carpets, cushions
Toys, dolls etc.
Computers and peripherals
|Hiring/renting||Food||Advice & Tuition|
Garden tools & equipment
Cakes, biscuits, buns etc.
Preserves, pickles, jams
Pies, quiches, tarts
Herbs & spices
Colour and style advice
Wants are the other side of Offerings. You may advertise your Wants or requirements in the same way as you advertise your Offerings.
The joining form gives you the opportunity to advertise three Wants, but when you get your account you can advertise as many Wants as you like. Everything said about Offerings above applies to Wants as well.