A type of flexible economic network is emerging in recent generations: the shared economy. In this economy the products, services, talent, and other resources are shared among users, often at significantly less cost than traditional commercial sales. Thanks to this, new ways to obtain profits (besides your 9–5) arise from the objects or spaces that you own.
Using what belongs to others
In this type of economy, things that belong to somebody else are exploited. The most emblematic example is the car. 96% of the time, your car is parked. And many times, it’s only for your use. What if you carpooled with someone else and made (or saved) money? Platforms like Uber, Cabify or Lyft are facilitators for users close to you to find you and get into someone else’s car. But if you don’t have a car, there is also a benefit for you, sharing a trip is cheaper, between 35% and 50%, compared to taxis.
The paradigm where everyone owns something in particular is changing. Millennials are no longer interested in possession, but in access to things.
Types of services in a shared economy
We can all participate in some way in a shared economy. Here are some of the best known examples.
1.- Selling and Re Selling
We all know Amazon, Ebay or Craigslist. These sites allow you to buy, sell, and sometimes trade in new, pre-owned, or used products, without the need to leave your home. There are other sites that specialize in a particular niche. Just by doing a search on Google, you can find a site dedicated to your most extravagant tastes.
If you know Kickstarter or Indiegogo, then you’re already familiar with Crowdfunding. Entrepreneurs, artists and people who want to start a project can look for these type of platforms to expose their idea to a community of potential investors and set an economic goal. There are many cases of projects that have been financed by thousands of contributors, reaching their goal in a few days or even just a few hours. Although it is understood that investors won’t get a return on their investment if the project is carried out, many times rewards of merchandise or services are offered to the investor depending on the amount they put up for the project. Additionally, this type of dynamic has been adopted in other industries such as solar energy or real estate developments, where a return on investment is expected. In addition, there is financing through cryptocurrencies that can help start innovation projects.
3.- Renting spaces to live and work
Sites like Airbnb, VRBO and Couchsurfing connect homeowners with people who need a place to sleep when they’re traveling. The owners establish the price per night and in which room or house is available. Potential guests can take a look at different options in the area they want to visit and choose the most suitable place for their needs and budget. If you want to explore the lesser-known parts of a place, these platforms offer you the opportunity to stay in districts far from the hotel area where tourists are concentrated. Another growing trend is co-working, office spaces designed for companies that prefer more remote workers and don’t need facilities at all times. Platforms like Impact Hub and other independent co-working spaces are growing. You can find out about WeWork, The Pool, Co-Work, etc…or simply do a search on CoWorker according to your city.
4- Sharing private transportation
Things as an everyday car ride can become public transportation where hundreds of users can benefit. This type of service offers the benefits of a car without the need to own it. You can quickly reach your destination without using public transportation. Apps like Uber and Lyft find drivers near your location to take you to your desired destination. This type of shared philosophies take advantage of the benefits or carSharing with applications such as Maven or ZipCar that allow you to have access to a vehicle, drive it according to your needs and pay by the hour. Or you can also take advantage of it if you own a car and want to make a profit while you’re not using it with platforms like Turo.com. To make the idea clearer, there are already startups that will allow you to rent parking spaces, for when they are not being used by their owners, get to know Rover Parking.
5.- Sharing talent and knowledge
If you have knowledge or skills that you are not using in your daily work, you can exploit it in the sharing economy. Platforms like TaskRabbit or Zaarly give you the opportunity to do housework in cleaning services, making furniture or running errands. Freelancing sites like UpWork and ShiftPixy allow you to share your skills with multiple employers, eliminating a single source of income.
Everyone wins in a Shared Economy
These new trends are obviously good for our portfolio, here are some benefits of the shared economy:
- Reduces environmental pollution and resource consumption by reducing the manufacturing of products. Something that we’ve previously discussed.
- Cheaper products or services because they are constantly reused.
- Increases the flexibility of working hours and wages for freelancers and independent workers.
- Fewer worries and obligations by having fewer material things. Remember that it is possible to live better with less.