By Amiad Soto
Sep 30, 2015
The sharing economy is definitely on the move, with people sharing their beds, cars, food,clothing and even pets. Over the past few years, hundreds of companies have popped up that offer users a way to make money without buying anything, through using the things they previously acquire. Airbnb and Uber are probably the two most well known examples. Just like the rise of the ‘prosumer,’ the sharing economy allows you to be both the producer and the consumer.
The social stigma around sharing is receiving less of “who would do that…” and more of ‘sign me up!’ Some would even say it’s trendy. With the sharing economy on a roller coaster ride that’s only going up, the question that remains is: How do you join in and make a dime — or an impact?
There’s a multitude of things that you can do to join in the sharing economy. Whether you’re on the supply side or the demand side, there’s a lot of ways people can take part.
Casserole Club, for example, takes home chefs with a passion for cooking and matches them up with people looking for a nice hot plate of food. Or maybe you want to add your business to the mesh community, with 10,000 companies like Kickstarter and Groupon, to collaboratively share services without downright owning them.
New ways of doing business
The sharing economy has got us all thinking of new and innovative ways we can make money by renting different aspects of our lives. Part of the reason why Airbnb is so successful is because there are ample amounts of both supply and demand. Buyers know that there’s an abundance of high-quality options for their accommodations, and sellers can see the worth in return. Once there’s liquidity in the marketplace, the company can grow — and grow quickly.
The average person with a good idea knows that he or she can’t compete directly an entity startup like Airbnb. That’s why upstarts have become smarter by doing less and, in the spirit of the sharing economy, working collaboratively with established firms like Airbnb. It takes a creative and innovative mind to find new ways to tie your business into the already growing sharing economy. If you can find your niche of something that could supplement or build upon established businesses, pursue it.
Find your inspiration
Sharing-economy innovations range from Airpnp, an app that directs users to the nearest restroom — rented by homeowners or businesses, to Holidog, an app that connects dog-owners who are going on vacation with people who want to foster a dog.
Just a few years ago, it would have been absurd if people were talking about lending their dogs to complete strangers or going to an unfamiliar apartment to use the restroom. Today, it seems that if you’re not on the sharing economy bandwagon, you’re missing out on huge opportunities. There are a lot of ways you can take part and get involved — from renting out your apartment when you’re on vacation, to initiating your own platform to allow sharing of resources. If you see a large demand for something and you can find the equivalent supply, you’re on to something because today, as it seems, we’re willing to share just about anything.
The future of sharing
Comparable to online shopping, which has been around for over a decade, people were skeptical about security in the sharing economy at first. Today, sharing economy services like Airbnb or car-hire businesses encourage first-timers to try other offerings. They provide new opportunities for enterprise and push for an element of trust among random individuals.
The sharing economy is now large and disruptive enough for people who want to get involved. This is an indicator of its capabilities. It’s changed the thought process of our population. People now have amplitude to reallocate resources and lessen waste.