The sharing economy is one of the many recent business trends enabled by the rise of technology and the internet. It involves the sharing of resources between individuals for a fee, such as people putting a room up on Airbnb or renting a car through RelayRides. According to The Economist, the sharing economy is worth $26 billion - and that's just the peer-to-peer transactions between individuals, not larger businesses getting involved.
If you have something that another person could use, you may be considering joining the sharing economy. That "something" can be anything from an extra bed to your dog, bike, or even WiFi connection.
If you are thinking about joining the sharing economy, you probably know what it is that you want to rent out. Whatever it is, have a look online to see what your platform options are. Some sharing economy services are more common and have a market leader - Airbnb is an obvious example.
The benefits of listing your room on Airbnb rather than a competitor are that more people are likely to see it, and you can get more money. However, it is worth looking at alternatives, especially since there have been some horror stories from users. For instance, the website Airbnb Hell is entirely dedicated to exposing the issues with the platform. Approach cautiously and do your research, whatever you are offering and whatever platform you choose to offer it through.
Attention to Detail
Once you have chosen your product and sharing platform, you can start sharing. Most sharing platforms are incredibly easy to set up an account with, but you should make some extra effort if you plan on having any success.
Whatever it is you are selling, make sure your profile has good-quality photos. According to a 2016 study looking at Airbnb accounts, a more trustworthy photo correlates directly with higher prices and a higher likelihood of being chosen. Take your photos with a real camera (a phone is ok if it has a particularly good camera), and make your product look at good as possible. Here are some tips for a great listing photo from Airbnb themselves.
Include plenty of information, and make sure it is written in a clear, concise, and friendly manner. You could even get a professional copywriter to write you a great description for a small fee on a site like Freelancer.com or Fiverr.
Finally, you should make sure that potential buyers know how and when to contact you. Even if you are just using your sharing economy gig as a side hustle, never neglect your emails, calls or messages concerning it.
Treat It Like A Business
In fact, you should be treating your sharing side hustle as a full business. Set yourself office hours for the work, and stick to them. Depending on what you are renting and how much interest you have for it, this can be a few hours a week or an hour every day. Use this time to respond to queries, build your profile, and look into alternative ways you can leverage your resources.
You should also set aside a dedicated space as your home office. This way, you are far more likely to treat your sharing economy gig with the respect and attention it deserves. It also keeps you away from potential distractions that could draw you away from your work. Make sure your space has everything you need to work efficiently. For most people, this means at least a phone, somewhere to plug in a laptop, a printer, some basic stationery, and space to file receipts and other important documents.
The sharing economy is a great opportunity to make some extra income from things you already have and are not using, making it an easier alternative for some than other gig economy businesses. Proceeding with thought, caution, and care is the best way to ensure that your sharing economy business can flourish.