How to benefit from the rise of sharing economy?
Have you noticed the impact of the sharing economy?
Sharing Economy? What is it?
Sharing economy also known in few other names, Peer Economy, Collaborative Consumption or Asset-light Life Style is all about sharing your under utilized assets through online or virtual markets.
Think of it this way; you want a lawn mower for a one hour job. Instead of buying it you rent it from an online marketplace. Once you complete the job return it and pay the rent.
Here, instead of buying an expensive lawn mower you rented it. You made a saving by not purchasing the lawn mower and the seller made an income by sharing his lawn mower when he was not using it.
Both parties are happy.
This is loosely the basis of sharing economy.
The sharing economy made it possible for companies like Airbnb, Uber, Lyft and many others to setup their virtual market places. Sellers who are people who own the asset offer it on these virtual market places. And buyers who are people who need these from time to time they rent it from these virtual markets.
This “Peer-to-Peer” sharing is gaining popularity among both sellers and buyers. A seller can now decide when to offer their service. And buyer has the option to accept it just for his job.
A uber driver was telling me the other day that he was out with his wife the night before and came home very late and slept through 11 in the morning. When he got up and was ready to work he switched on his Uber app. I was his second customer he told me. He added that “I like this life style. I can now decide when to work and how long to work. I could not do this when I was working for the cab rental company”
I know almost all of us have experienced the benefits of “Sharing Economy” may be without clearly understanding it. If you have used Uber or Airbnb service then you have already benefitted from the Sharing Economy.
How to use sharing economy to earn extra cash?
If you have unused assets in your possession, you can turn it into an income generating asset. Unused or sparingly used rooms, cars, boats all of this can be offered through the respective virtual marketplace. And you can decide when to position this for renting out.
Look at it this way. A few years back if you want to rent a room in your house, how you will get a customer? You put a sign in your yard or put an ad in the local papers classified section. And then there is no guarantee that the people who are seeing your ad are actually buyers looking for renting a room.
But today it all changed. When you place details of what you are offering on niche virtual marketplace, it is immediately visible to thousands or even millions of ready-to-buy customers. in the case your unused room, you can offer it on Airbnb. And the people who check Airbnb are people who are looking for renting rooms. If it is a boat that you have, then you offer it on Boatbound.co or getmyboat.com. In case you are offering your car then there is Uber.
The point is this is highly targeted marketing!
What if you do not have a room, boat or car?
Look around your home. See if there is anything that you can possibly rent; your lawn mower, power drill, your home painting sprayer; all of these are something that you can offer to someone who needs it.
Or if you don’t own any of these, may be you can offer your service as a child care, elderly care or pet care on care.com
The choice is endless.
What are some of the other sharing platform available?
Click here to see a list of sharing platform operating in various niche markets. Please bookmark this page and check this frequently as I keep updating this regularly.
Your location also plays a major role.
Some of these virtual market places are start-ups and may be offering their services only in certain cities. But don’t worry if the service you are looking for is not offered in your area. You can always talk to the sharing economy platform and offer them to support to opening their service in your area.
Is there any risk involved in participating the Sharing Economy?
The major risk when you build your business on a third party platform is that what happens if it goes out of business? Or what happens if they change their rules? You have also no clue when they are going to change their pay rate.
Uber has slashed its rates many times. Each time the drivers are left with only one choice; take it or leave it. And remember Uber has also tested its fleet of driverless cars.
Another area of concern with the sharing economy is legal and regulatory risks. Be wary of this as some of these platforms are performing in not very clearly defined areas. So far law makers have not done much to enforce penalties.
But please be aware of these risks.
One word about Sharing Economy
Sharing economy does not require you to have any specialized skills. This also means that just about anyone can get into it. And because of this, your earning will not be that great.
In other words, you are not going to be very rich participating in sharing economy.
On the other hand, if you have specialized skills, copy writing, web designing, developing mobile apps etc then it is a different story. You can earn many times more than offering your service on an unskilled sharing economy platform.
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What do you think? Share your story in the comments.