The sharing economy is about far more than sharing assets. It’s actually a whole new way of thinking and living. For many creative, open-minded young people, the idea of working 9-5 at an office desk is crushing to their soul. Eschewing tradition, they’re looking for new ways of working, connecting and communicating – all things that swapping, bartering and renting necessitate. Here are four examples of why the sharing economy seems to be here for the long haul:
The idea that the sharing economy is only for young people is a myth. For sure, it was pioneered by millennials but today everyone is using its services – including the older and more affluent. An excellent example of this is home swapping. Startups like CasaVersa offer people the chance to exchange their homes, making vacations not just more affordable but more authentic. It’s not just 20-somethings who are swapping their homes in a quest to see more of the world, anyone who’s sufficiently trusting and open-minded can partake.
Close to Zero Costs
Partaking in the sharing economy is incredibly cost-effective. In many instances, there are almost zero startup costs because you’re working with or using things that already exist. Beyond the obvious examples of Airbnb and Uber, there are endless examples of businesses that began out of someone’s living room (or garage!) with nothing more than a laptop and a kettle. Look at Roomer, a marketplace that buys and sells hotel reservations. Stuck with a non-refundable hotel room that, for whatever reason, you can’t use? Sell it. You make back some of your money and someone else receives a decent discount (and a happy stay away). Own a parking space that’s standing idly one week a month, when you’re out of town? Barter it with your neighbor. Have a wardrobe full of designer clothes that you barely wear? Rent them out for special occasions. No unforeseen overheads in any of these, because you own them in the first place.
Without a doubt, the sharing economy has a huge role to play in our conserving of resources and adopting a more eco-friendly approach to our daily lives. We own so much and consume constantly – and the adverse effect on our planet is evident. Startups like Rideshare and BlaBlaCar mean it’s never been easier to reduce your carbon footprint. By connecting people who drive to those who need a ride, empty seats are filled, drivers offset their costs, passengers get a cheaper ride and – hey presto – the roads are less congested.
An interesting example of this is the current collaboration between IKEA and ‘Rainmaking’ – a worldwide collective of entrepreneurs, funding new businesses that are committed to being accessible, affordable and having a positive impact on the planet. Their Bootcamps, that provide grants and free coworking space, give entrepreneurs the opportunity to explore the ‘big problems’ of daily life and build products that are both useful and sustainable.
Every day, more and more ventures are joining the ‘sharing economy’ world. Love food, and spend all your spare time whipping up new recipes in your kitchen? Sign up with Bonappetour – an at-home dining experience that connects budding chefs with those who love to eat but hate to cook. Local hosts open their homes to guests who have to bring nothing but their appetite. Not only food is shared but good conversation too – making it a far more authentic dining experience than that of a regular restaurant.
Alternatively, always wanted to take up sailing, or simply spend your weekend on the water but – like most of us – don’t have a friend with a boat? Problem solved with Boatbound. Whether for celebrating, fishing, sailing or just cruising around, rent someone else’s boat, and even a captain for good measure.
It also goes without saying that the social benefits of these ‘sharing’ startups are enormous – allowing you both to make new friends and have adventures that, just a decade ago, seemed unthinkable. And all this by doing nothing more than taking advantage of peer-to-peer networks on flexible terms. Just one more example of why the sharing economy is here – and here to stay.
Read more about trends in the sharing economy on TechCo