Red Paper Clips are for offices, not this one.

This post is about the potential that one person has and can way more with way less. Starting off with an item that cost zero money and end up with a house is no less than amazing. I first heard about Kyle MacDonald trading one red paper clip all the way up to a house. I thought it was an urban legend at first, but after looking it up online I discovered it wasn’t. I learned about the one red paper clip project 4 years ago. You can red more about the story of the Red Paper Clip here.

Picture of a Red Paper Clip

The One Red Paperclip Project

 On July 12, 2005 I posted a picture of a red paperclip on my blog and in the barter section of Craigslist and asked if anyone wanted to make a trade for something bigger or better.  A few days later I traded the paperclip for a pen shaped like a fish.  Then I traded the pen for a doorknob.  And so on, each time trading for something bigger or better.  Once all the dust settled, I’d made 14 trades and wound up with a house located at 503 Main Street in Kipling Saskatchewan.
(excerpt taken from the One Red Paperclip website- by Kyle MacDonald)

Let’s look at why this story serves so much meaning right now.

We’re in a down economy right now. People are are having a real hard time making money. If they aren’t making money, then money means more. It makes perfect sense. When you barter and trade, and you remove money from the equation, then you have needs, wants, and emotions. It’s easier to work on making a deal if you can work on someones core needs, wants, and emotions and remove money altogether. To stay focused and pinpoint some lessons. Lets look at Four things I learned from Kyle’s unique story.

  1. Goal Setting
  2. Motivation
  3. Sales skills
  4. Documentation

Goal Setting

Kyle wanted a house and he set his sites on getting one. Kyle actively stayed focused on the end goal and strategically set out what trades would increase the value of his trade every time.


Kyle didn’t stay in his home town to make these trades. He branched out and traveled way out of his hometown and way out of his comfort zone. Learn to get out of your comfort zone. You will never get anything down, if you stay in your comfort zone.

Sales and Negotiation skills

I love watching people barter and trade, because it brings us back to the basics. You sell to the persons needs, wants, and emotions, when money is not involved. When you take money out of the equation, things get simpler. Your true negotiation skills will be tested, so I encourage you not to go into battle without some ammunition. If you are not good at negotiating, then I suggest looking up Roger Dawson and his books. He is a world-class negotiator, perhaps one of the best in the country and maybe the world.  Secrets of Negotiating is a fantastic audio series and it can really help teach you the basics when it comes to negotiating. You won’t be sorry if you invest in this book or audio.


Kyle documented his success and made it a public story. He did it way before was big too. Whenever I watch a “before they were stars” show, I notice how all of these stars have so much content to tell their story. Pictures, Audio, Video, friends, and family. If you want to tell your story, then you need to document it when you have a chance. Your memories will fade over time. You will forget names, and places will not be crystal clear unless you have some nice pictures to show. I suggest you document both your positive and negative experiences. People relate to the person who has failed, more often than the person who has succeeded. This is something I see infomercials play on all the time. So remember, if you are going to have a story worth telling, you need to press the record button now.

What will you do with a red paper clip?