We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. - Sir Winston Churchill
Sharing has always been connected with emotional satisfaction and happiness. We are always told that the best way to share happiness is to share it with others. And we do it without any inhibition. But the same concept, which started out as a social movement is now poised to take over from the capitalist economy. This new phenomenon, said to be one of the biggest disruptors since the industrial revolution, is transforming the way we do business.
Consider the example of the giants in the sharing industry, Uber, AirBnB and Lyft. When it started around 10 years ago, we never expected these companies to scale to the heights that they’ve achieved now. But, today their combined valuation stands at a whopping $118 billion! But these are only a few companies in a field that has hundreds of thousands of start-ups. Are they all successful?
With all the talk of sustainability, environment friendliness, trust, frugality, affordability etc. the sharing economy is being seen as a saviour. One that will bring an end to capitalism, end poverty and save planet earth. Supporters claim that both the producer and the user profit in the sharing economy. But is the sharing economy really as useful as it claims to be?
In a word, yes. The sharing economy has proven itself to be a very useful one. Not only does it allow us to use resources more effectively, but it also allows people to benefit financially from these resources. Let’s have a look at a few industries, which the sharing economy has disrupted along with examples.
Space is something that is available in abundance, yet underutilized, for example, parking spaces. Imagine a case where you’re leaving the city you live in for a few days. You can share your parking space at home with someone who needs it. The same goes for storage spaces. If you have extra space in your garage, you can lend the space to someone who needs to store their goods.
Roost, a mutual assistance based service focussing on ecological preservation is a site, which aims to make more efficient use of empty spaces. The site allows you to do all that is mentioned above. Through the site, you can find free parking spaces and places for storing your goods. The company was acquired by Spacer, the Australian equivalent of AirBnB for space. Liquidspace is another such site, where you can rent out the extra space in your office and make money out of it.
Gridmates is a Texas-based start-up that plans to end the energy poverty in the world by crowdsourcing energy. The company, which is a peer-to-peer electricity exchange allows people to share their own electricity supply with someone else. As of now, instead of actual transfer of energy, Gridmates allows you to pay for a person on their website. The amount, which gets debited to your bill will be credited into the recipient’s account. This way they aim to help people who cannot afford electricity.
Another example is Ohmconnect, an app that helps you save on consumption of electricity. The app calculates the amount of electricity used by all the appliances in the house. Then it optimizes usage and costs by using only the required amount of electricity. The remaining electricity is sent back to the grid so that it gets redistributed. This environmental friendly app can help you save up to 10% on electricity consumption. Additionally, is the amount energy used is lesser, the amount spent on production can be decreased, thus decreasing tariffs too.
One of the things that our generation cannot live without is the internet. Imagine a world where you get free internet; that’s exactly what World Wi-Fi wants to create. The global project aims to provide free internet in all parts of the world. To get access to free internet through World Wi-Fi, all one must have a Wi-Fi router. Just install the World Wi-Fi software and then watch a short advertisement to get access to free internet.
Additionally, you can share your internet. With World Wi-Fi, not only do you get free internet, but you can also earn a little extra. This is because you’ll earn cryptocurrency for each ad that people watch on their network. Both advertisers and consumers benefit from participating in this project.
The cost of advertising on the platform is 15–20 times lower than other sites. And not only savings, advertisers also benefit from the platform’s specific targeting options. And the users benefit from the free internet as well as advertisements that are relevant to them. So everyone on the platform can save their time and money.
Earning through your savings
We all have savings, money that is set aside for a rainy day, don’t we? But what do we do with it, just let it sit until we need it? Well, why not put your savings to work, so that you can earn more? A peer-to-peer lending service in the UK, Zopa, lets you do just that.
The participants of the English Financial service can borrow and lend money without an official financial institution as an intermediary. Basically, it acts as an online service, which matches lenders to verified borrowers on the platform. You can lend your money to the borrower at a small amount of interest, for a certain period of time. So, through Zopa, you can now put that rainy day money to work and earn some extra money!
People of all professions and hobbies can utilize their resources wisely and earn a profit through the sharing economy. This is one of the main reasons it is catching on all across the world. Remember the saying, “Life doesn’t just happen, it requires our participation,” the same goes for the sharing economy! You don’t even have to invest in a project upfront, users can benefit from participation. The idea of making the world a friendlier, more convenient, clean and profitable place is always a good one. And this idea will drive more and more people to the sharing economy.