Starting a Small Business Via the Sharing Economy

Starting a small business or side hustle has never been easier thanks to the internet. In this guest post you'll learn how to use the sharing economony to start a side hustle!

Starting a Small Business Via the Sharing Economy

Starting a Small Business Via the Sharing Economy

Starting a Small Business Via the Sharing Economy

Bartering goods and services has been around forever, but the sharing economy is something different in our digital context. Since the term is contradictory – how can you share something that you buy and sell? – the language is likely still evolving. But most analysts seem to agree that “sharing economies” designate ones in which underused assets are “shared” as services. All this will be parsed out in time, but for now, here are some tips for those starting a small business via this sharing economy.

Just What is the Sharing Economy?



One way to distinguish sharing economies is that they designate transactions in which underused assets are “shared” as services. Think AirBNB. You can offer (share) a room in your house to others, and you can set the fee (economy) that you charge. A better example might be Getaround, an app that lets you rent out your car to other Getaround members. You won’t get rich off it, but that’s the point: People who have an extra car idling in the driveway rent it out for $5/hour, and generally stand to make a solid $10,000 per year. Plus, there’s no membership fee, and a $1 million primary insurance package should lay to rest any lingering fears.

How to Grow a Business

Now that you have a solid grasp on the sharing economy, how do you grow a business in it? First, guarantee transparency and accountability. Scandals in our era often center on data, whether the breaching or sharing of it. So, make sure you tell your consumers what you’re doing with their data. Then, as with any business, network. Go to conferences. Partner with mentors. Court investors. Also, you don’t have to shell out cash for advertising campaigns. Instead, growth often comes from starting out with a solid community of users that trust what you’re doing. Finally, keep learning. The sharing economy wasn’t really around as it exists now five years ago, and it may be gone in five more. Keep researching the market to figure out what it needs or wants, and adapt accordingly.

Mistakes to Avoid

For as many good ideas as an entrepreneur has, there are often just as many bad ones. Here are some key ways to avoid making mistakes in your business: 

  • Don’t neglect thinking about other people’s needs. You may have nursed the idea for your sharing economy gig since college, but if it doesn’t make the public’s life more affordable or more convenient, why would they use it?

  • Be sure to focus. Instead of attempting to fix a vast problem, pinpoint one common headache and find the perfect solution for it.

  • Keep thinking about other people’s needs. Even if your company is original and well-funded, if customers have bad user experiences, they probably won’t keep using you.

At-Home Workspace

Especially when you’re starting out in business, you want to cut overhead costs. Instead of renting out an office, spruce up part of your house into your at-home workspace. That could be a desk in the attic, a nook in the basement, or the guest room no one uses. Wherever it is, make sure you set your office hours so that you’re turning your computer on at 9 sharp and coming down for dinner at 5. Stick to a schedule so you don’t idle away a valuable week (or five), and pick out the right equipment you need to run your business effectively.

Many people are taking part in the sharing economy these days, and for good reason. Having one of these full- or part-time businesses can be a great way to make a living. By taking action to grow it, focusing on your customers’ evolving needs, and creating a productive workspace, you, too, can find success.

Image via Unsplash

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