The Sharing Economy – Make Extra Money Through The Growing Trend
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There’s a huge amount of buzz right now about the sharing economy and how it’s disrupting traditional industries, by allowing people to create additional income. Yet for many people the phrase ‘sharing economy’ is a new one, leaving questions such as what exactly is it and how can I benefit?
With that in mind, meet Harrison Woods, Managing Director of UK-based online parking marketplace, YourParkingSpace.co.uk. Harrison has long been an advocate for the sharing economy, so we caught up with him to get his thoughts on the concept, and touch base on a few of its expressions in the US that have caught his eye.
What is the sharing economy?
The sharing economy aims to bring individuals together, to build trust and encourage people to collaborate to share resources and skills. Right now there are companies cropping up practically every other day, inspired by the likes of Airbnb and Lyft, aiming to connect people who have with those who want or need. It’s a movement making massive waves in the UK right now, and although it’s not as well recognized here as it is in the US, it’s appeal is growing. So much so that the UK government launched an inquiry into the sharing economy at the end of last year, to analyze and assess the current situation, and come up with practical ways to legislate for and regulate the services that form part of the sharing economy space.
Why are you so interested in it?
What really drew me to it was the notion that ownership is becoming less important, for example with streaming now possible for music, TV and film, actually purchasing this stuff is becoming much less common. The majority of companies involved are young, having formed in the past 5-10 years, and are willing to experiment (and fail!) in order to promote growth.
What are some examples of the sharing economy?
Many UK minds, myself included, have looked to the US for guidance on how to develop their model and grow their business. Here are my favorite US-based sharing economy ideas.
- Host a dinner – Eat With lets you advertise a dinner you design. You set the menu and name your price, and people will book in to come for dinner at yours.
- Rent out your home – It’s almost impossible to suggest the notion of renting out your house or apartment without mentioning Airbnb which is crazy to think about considering the company only launched in 2008. It now boasts over 1,000,000 listings on the site! You can earn serious money this way, and they’ll even send a professional photographer (free of charge) to your home to take pictures for your advertisement to make sure your house looks its absolute best.
- Arrange a tour for a traveler – The website Vayable is an interesting concept. You can sign up to become a “Vayable Insider” and design and advertise a unique experience, such as a street food tour, or a night out dancing. You set a price and people can book your experience, paying you for your time. It’s a nice option as you can spend your free time doing something you really enjoy, and meet new people all while earning some extra money!
- Rent out your parking space – ParkingPanda is a platform for people to rent out their own private parking spaces, and allows people to find guaranteed parking in their desired location. ParkingPanda has served as a model for us, as we share a similar vision for the industry, helping people to make use of their underused assets, and make parking easier.
- Rent out your car – The online car sharing service GetAround lets drivers rent cars from private owners, and lets owners rent out their cars to others. There’s a lot of flexibility – you can choose the hourly, daily and monthly rates for renting your car, and you get the final say on who actually rents your car. If you don’t need your car all the time it’s an easy way to boost your income.
- Look after someone’s pet – DogVacay lets you make money just by looking after someone else’s dog. This seems like a bit of a no-brainer, especially if you’re a dog lover.
- Rent out extra office space – Any company that has surplus space or extra desks in their office can advertise it for rent on PivotDesk and then individuals and companies can search their desired location for suitable spaces. I love this idea as it means small companies can be flexible about their office space and who knows what could come out of it – the possibility that relationships could form between two companies sharing office space is an awesome bonus!
- Lend money – make money – With peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club you can invest and get great returns. It’s definitely worth a try if you’re in a position to do so, but it’s well worth doing some research so you know the risks involved before investing large sums.
- Rent out anything else you own – Zilok lets you rent stuff like chain saws, trailers and PlayStations for money. Any items you have just hanging around the house, someone else might want to borrow for a one-off or more regular basis. This is a low-effort way to make some extra money, and you can list anything from evening suits to bouncy castles on the site.
There you have it – a few ideas on what the sharing economy is and how to make it work for you. Hopefully they’ll provide some food for thought, and inspire you to give it a try to earn some extra money on the side.
Photo courtesy of: Ben Grey