As kid, most of us are taught to share with our peers. And while we may have been reluctant to share that shovel in the sandbox, in today’s economy, it is important to revisit this crucial childhood lesson.
The phrase collaborative economy has been gaining traction in our personal and professional lives. From sharing transportation and space, to more intimate things like products and money, people everywhere are learning the benefits of sharing their resources and possessions, and prioritizing sharing above owning.
So, if you are wondering how you can jump on board and be a part of a trending collaborative economy, here are some ways you can help make better use of the others’ (and your) resources…and maybe make extra income along the way.
Sharing a car may not be something you’re crazy about, but think about all the money spent buying and maintaining a car that loses value as soon as it’s driven off the lot. Now imagine those expenses being reduced as much as 50 percent (it all depends on how many ways you are willing to share).
Companies, such as Enterprise CarShare, are helping you share your car. By using those companies, they will take care of the fuel or any damages and you will be covered as the renter. By sharing your car when it’s not in use, you’re helping use an idle resource and helping others.
But cars aren’t the only shared transportation, as many bike-sharing opportunities are on the rise. Companies such as Citibike (sponsored by Citi Bank) are common in cities and allow you to rent a bike on the spot and just return it once you’re finished. If you want to rent your own bike, snowboard or skis, turn to Spinlister.com, which will list your product and renters can send requests.
Space sharing comes in handy if you have a small business and are looking to keep overhead low or just don’t need full capacity all the time. Companies such as Shared Business Space and pivotdesk are among some space sharing companies and allow you to scale up and down as your business grows and/or changes.
And, if you want to get away, there is a better solution to high cost hotels. Couchsurfing, Airbnb, and other companies offer a place to stay with little to no cost through shared apartments, a guest room, or just a friendly family with an extra couch. Sometimes, using these sites even provide a better experience as you get to meet locals and create relationships.
The goal of almost every company is to sell a product or service. Both consumers and small business owners are finding sites, such as Etsy or Quirky, where custom products can be made, bought, and exchanged. Other companies, such as Rent The Runway, offer services where individuals can loan their designer items, such as clothing, jewelry, and accessories so you can walk the walk without paying the price.
And if you’ve already made those big purchases on designer items, but are finished using them, other sites such as Poshmark and Tradesy give you the power to sell or trade your items to other shoppers (and of course, you can also buy others’ used goods).
There’s a new money lender in town and it isn’t your trusted, or not-so-trusted, financial institution. Instead of opting for the lengthy process of applying for loans, companies such as LendingClub or GreenNote are helping people afford the things they want and need without the extensive process.
Have a business that needs an extra bump in income to produce an amazing event or product? Check out crowdfunding or Kickstarter to rely on the support of others who can help you meet your business goals.
Sharing is caring
There are other collaborative ideas and companies out there making their mark in the collaborative economy, and they are quickly realizing that sharing resources and products are beneficial to everyone involved, and is changing the way companies do business and how we use natural resources. This is a revolution.