By Rita J. Egan
Many in Suffolk County know Robert Borneman and his wife Joy as the owners of Diamond Jewelers in Port Jefferson and Centereach. Now the jewelry store owner can add author to his list of credentials with his self-published book, “Barter Your Way to Greater Wealth: Increase Your Income, Improve Your Lifestyle.” Borneman said he was planning to write a book for a long time, and with his 60th birthday on the horizon, this year was a perfect one to meet this goal. The eastern Long Island resident said the experience was an educational one for him when it came to both writing and publishing. “Barter Your Way to Greater Wealth” is full of informative tips on how one can be successful in bartering as well as advice on how to avoid pitfalls. Presented in an easy-to-read format, anyone interested in how to use his or her talents as currency will benefit. Recently, the author took time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his experiences with bartering as well as writing his first book.
Tell me a little bit about your background.
I started selling jewelry from a costume jewelry kit in 1977 that cost $40, which I borrowed from my mom. Since then, with help from my family, my wife and I have grown the jewelry business into a multi-million-dollar conglomerate of jewelry stores, real estate investments, film productions and most recently an investment in a local Port Jefferson Restaurant, The Arden. I began making independent films in 2009 as an executive producer and writer (“Snapshot,” “Rock Story,” “The Life Zone,” “The Great Fight” and others). I also set aside substantial time to do volunteer work and have supported the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Fund serving as the treasurer for many years in addition to other charitable endeavors. I have been a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary since 1996.
How did you get involved in bartering?
A customer in one of my jewelry stores suggested I look into it. He said it helped him build his business and was worth looking into, so I did, and I joined the exchange he recommended. Since then I’ve joined several trade exchanges and bartered millions of dollars in products and services.
Why did you decide to share your tips?
I have a strong desire to improve the lives of others, and I‘ve accomplished this in many different ways. Giving through writing is just another way of sharing the wealth of information I have accumulated in 38 years of operating businesses. The bartering I have done has improved my lifestyle so much that I think others can benefit from the experience and recommendations I have to share.
You write in the book that sometimes bartering can go wrong. What do you suggest to ensure things go smoothly?
As I outline in great detail within this book, working with a reputable trade exchange removes much of the risk and angst you might otherwise encounter when bartering. Having a third party manage bartering transactions ensures you get paid while offering a myriad of resources and products that you can barter for. If you’re trading on your own, developing relationships over time and dealing with people you know will minimize potential problems.
What was your most successful bartering transaction?
I purchased a two-family home in the Village of Patchogue by bartering a significant down payment with the seller. I then bartered for the repairs and improvements that were needed to maximize the home’s value. After holding the house for a few years, collecting the cash rental income, I sold the house. The sale transaction was for all cash, resulting in a significant windfall, which I parlayed into my next investment.
Your book is full of tips. Do you have a few favorite ones?
Be goal oriented, know what you hope to accomplish by trading and only make trades that help you achieve your goals. Use bartering to create cash flow and make trades that allow you to keep more cash in your pocket. Trade unproductive assets, products and your spare time for the things you need or want in life.
How did you balance running your business, Diamond Jewelers, and writing this book?
Writing time is easier to manage than a business because I use time in waiting rooms and while commuting that used to create anxiety for me. I started the book in earnest when I moved to eastern Long Island creating a two-hour commute each way to Manhattan once a week for business. I supplement that with writing in the early morning and late evening hours.
Do you have plans to write another book?
Yes, I’ve already started my next book about real estate investing that focuses on how to buy, rent and manage the American Dream: single-family homes. I may have taken a day or so off, but I think I started the day after I published “Barter Your Way to Greater Wealth.” I have a few more books in me, too. I’d like to write about the odd and funny experiences of 38 years in business, “A Citizen’s Perspective of America,” and then convert some of my screenplays into books.
Those interested in bartering can find “Barter Your Way to Greater Wealth” in paperback and e-book format at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. For more information on Diamond Jewelers, visit www.diamondjewelersonline.com.