We are living in exciting times. From spare bedrooms and cars to ski equipment, we’re sharing and renting out our own belongings more than ever. Technology is continuing to advance at breaking speeds, dramatically changing how we interact with our neighbors and complete strangers. Innovative startups have been able to take full advantage of these opportunities enabled by the digital era and change the future as we know it.
The Airbnb and Uber unicorns are among the fastest growing businesses in history. Their rapid success comes from well-defined business models that integrate trendy new technology. If we’re seeking role models that reflect the essence of the sharing economy, however, these businesses fall short. The foundation of the sharing economy comes from ancient bartering systems. The shift in how we relate to others and our possessions has opened the door to new ways of doing business and has led to the incredible success of the sharing economy.
What’s evolved are in today’s economic climate are business models that don’t foster any sense of true “sharing,” but instead highlight peer-to-peer marketplaces that connect buyers and sellers. That is where Near Me can support you with a new custom marketplace. In the future, the sharing economy will just be the economy and will naturally find its place within our day-to-day lives.
Freelancing is also a growing market for the sharing economy. There are more and more opportunities for micropreneurship and self-employment every day. These and similar sharing economy participants are creating millions of flexible jobs that are allowing entrepreneurs, stay-at-home parents, students and the un- or underemployed to find work. Right now we see these freelancers trading paid vacations, benefits and job security for the flexibility to do what they want when they want to.
The way I see it, as the demand for regular workers continues to increase, employers are going to have to adapt to incentivize these workers to shape their own future. A new form of benefits is already beginning to take shape. Only time will tell if this means a net increase in employment and long term benefits from the sharing economy.
From being good for the environment to more efficient use of assets and making some extra cash, the sharing economy is great for the consumer. There are risks for such platforms though. The new digital era is not a big fan of regulations, but different regulation standards, such as tax obligations, are slowly being incorporated so the sharing economy can work hand-in-hand with other businesses.
The sharing economy needs to have access to the top digital tools, simple search and smooth transactions. The economy screams for ways to activate underutilized goods, so the sharing economy has the potential to flourish. There is a unique opportunity to use our limited resources more efficiently, so the choice is obvious. Only time will tell how the capitalistic motivations will define the evolution of this movement. Either way, the sharing economy is being forced to grow up for the better.