Your Skills, Your Currency

Photo by Tara Winstead on

I met the old successful businessman from my hometown, in one of the events back at home. We had a brief discussion about my business developments. I shared my challenges in growing my business. He said the reason most of our businesses are not growing, is because money is the currency and most people do not have money. I asked what do you mean? The old men said I started my first business with the barter system. I trended my castles for the construction of my shop and vegetables to be sold in my shop. In our day, people have skills. I ask myself, why people are not trending their skills? Since that is the only thing they have.   

From what the old successful businessman said, I decided to look into this barter system idea.  In the olden days, the barter system was the way of doing business. People used to start and grow business, using a barter system preserves working capital to apply to your venture. This was kind trade, trade-outs, counter-trades or contra agreements, that was a process of funding day-to-day operational expenses without cash outlay. The 1st Source Bank article state that the definition of a barter system is the exchange of goods and services for other goods or services. They are research indicates that nearly one-third of U.S. small businesses use some type of bartering system (Barter News Weekly). Even so, some experts believe companies are not maximizing their barter possibilities.

Some expect believe that our skills are our currency. Some even go far as saying individuals are missing opportunities because they still believe in working capital to start and grow a business. The WITS digital campus says the word “currency” is associated with money or assets, something you can use to buy or barter with. Global business leaders find themselves in an interesting predicament – while they are geared to making more money and gaining more assets, they face a critical shortage of skilled employees to make it happen for them. These three global expert views confirm that skilled employees are worth their weight in gold. 

The Deloitte report indicated careers no longer progress in a neat line from learning to earning to retirement. Not only are people more likely to change jobs and even career tracks over the course of their lifetimes, but freelancers who contract out their skills rather than work for an employer have also become a significant portion of the labour market. The challenging aspect of this transformation is that many learning institutions and companies have still not adjusted to the reality that skills are the new currency. Acknowledging that requires offering working professional’s frequent opportunities to add skills on an ongoing basis throughout their careers. Effective training is key to helping people excel today.

After reading these articles, one question came to my mind. What is stopping us from starting and growing a business, if the barter system is available? In my hometown, we call this Stokvels but even at home we still using money as a currency. What fascinates me more in the Deloitte report is the technology impacts that change skills for currency. Technology is transforming the workplace and fundamentally changing the way companies around the world are hiring talent. Skills – technological and “human” skills – are quickly becoming the new professional currency, a benchmark by which managers and human resource leaders are evaluating candidates.

What is stopping us from using our skills as currency? Expect believes that we are fixated on the idea of money being a currency. Human nature forces us to embrace the status core and not challenging it. That may explain the reason, why we do not commit to a barter system for starting and growing a business. It also explains why many hometown stokvels still focusing on money as currency. If skills can be a currency, what is a skill or what is a currency? 


A skill is an ability to use one’s knowledge effectively, readily in execution and in a competent manner. Skills can be classified into three main types: Transferable/Functional, Personal Traits/Attitudes, and Knowledge-based


Currency is a medium of exchange for goods and services. In short, its money, in the form of paper or coins, usually issued by the government and generally accepted at its face value as a method of payment. Currency is the primary medium of exchange in the modern world, having long ago replaced bartering as a means of trading goods and services.

If the currency replaced the bartering system, this means the currency created uneven grounds for everyone. We live in a world where only individuals with capital can start or grow business. We sell our skills to these individuals every day and get paid in the currency of the day. 

Skills as a Currency

The idea of skills as currency moved, creates a world of opportunities. The idea of a software developer, engineer and marketing officer developing the engineering software by contributing their skills to make and sell the products. At the end of trading skills as currency, every individual shares the profits as per the contribution of the skills. I know this sim to far fetched but it an idea. If the freelancers who contract out their skills rather than work for an employer have become a significant portion of the labour market is possible. What is stopping us from trending skills as currency?  They say it’s only when you are pushed to a corner you start realising things can be done differently. I hope that day is coming soon as per the three articles mentioned above.

The PosetiveMind believes in Skills as a Currency and possibilities it possesses, that way we looked at both words in the positive lights illustrated by quotes. 

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on

S – Secure: The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain. Aristotle

K – Knowledge: Without knowledge action is useless and knowledge without action is futile. Abu Bakr

I – Inspire: “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” – Mary Kay Ash

L – Leaders: A Leader is a dealer in hope, Napoleon Bonaparte

L – Leverage: When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results. Warren Buffett

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C – Courage: Courage is grace under pressure, Ernest Hemingway

U – Unlock: When you are grateful – when you can see what you have – you unlock blessings to flow in your life, Suze Orman

R – Rewards: The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more, Jonas Salk

R – Results: Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort, John Ruskin

E – Enjoy: Simply enjoy life and the great pleasures that come with it, Karolina Kurkova

N – Natural: Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries, Jimmy Carter

C – Currency: The true currency of life is time, not money, and we’ve all got a limited stock of that, Robert Harris

Y – YOLO: You only live once but if you do it right once is enough.

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