The sharing economy has many synonyms: Tech-based capitalism, sharing marketplaces, collaborative consumption, gig economy, collaborative economy, 1099 economy, and the list goes on. Although we appreciate the complexity of this disruptive technological shift, for simplicity we will simply refer to it as the sharing economy.
The sharing economy is composed of hundreds of online platforms that enable people to turn otherwise unproductive assets into income producers. These include homes, cars, parking spots, clothes, consumer items, pets, hobbies, and many others.
The term sharing in the sharing economy is misleading. The term does not imply communal sharing, benevolence, or altruism. Although this is an aspect of many sharing economy platforms, it is not the foundation on which it is built.
The sharing economy is the fundamental shift between the scarcity principal to an abundance principal. This is about how we can capitalize on the abundance of the consumer generation.
The sharing economy is, at its core, self-interested. It is sharing in the sense that the idle capacity of cars, real estate, and consumer items are allocated to the public for a cost. That cost is often lower than traditional industries have charged – hotels, taxi’s, retail stores, etc. And this is OK. This principle is the reason the sharing economy has boomed and will continue to prosper in the decades to come.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), the estimated value of the sharing economy sector by 2025 is $335 billion. That same number for 2013 was $15 billion. So, in just over 10 years, PWC predicts that the value of the sharing economy will increase by $320 billion. As of 2015, Airbnb is already valued at $30 billion, which is almost as much as Hilton. Uber is currently valued at over $40 billion, larger than Delta Airlines, FedEx, or even Viacom.
This is why people are paying attention. So what does this mean for you? According to numerous economic studies, the sharing economy pays out millions of dollars every day to people just like you.
As the sharing economy becomes a new economic space and companies begin to thrive, fold or consolidate, the Casual Capitalist plan is for you to capitalize.
The sharing economy is the use of online platforms and communities to exchange underutilized assets.
This has many significant repercussions. Most importantly, it has created an army of micro-entrepreneurs and is redefining the traditional ownership model. The sharing economy is creating an entirely new demographic of people who are capitalizing on excess.
This is where you come in!
The old mentality of excess consumption is now moving more to access consumption. Instead of owning a car, you can use one only when needed. Instead of owning a thousand articles of clothing, you can rent them. Instead of paying for a taxi or hotel, you can leverage the excess of others. This process also allows you to connect with a community of selfish sharers. This new economic model is not sharing, it is access.
Remember, it’s OK to be a selfish sharer. You are providing value to a market willing to pay. This is the free market, and the sharing economy is a new economic space for old principles.
By old, we do really mean old. The post-WWII era ushered in a time of consumerism never seen before in history. Along with this new ownership culture came a shift from a community mindset to one of individualism. What’s mine is mine! I earned this! But now, with the internet revolution, the sharing economy is bringing back the community principal to daily life.
Communal living and strong community bonds were the mainstay of human history up until WWII. Communities were self-sustaining pockets where everyone had a role. Social and economic life revolved around the community.
This is exactly what the sharing economy is bringing back. With the help of social media, the sharing economy is bringing together people who are engaging in an economic exchange based on mutual self-interest and common ground.
Where there is demand, there is supply. The boom in the sharing economy is not difficult to understand.
And whether we want to admit it or not (yes, taxi industry, I’m looking at you), the sharing economy is here to stay and will only get stronger. In a decade, the sharing economy is expected grow to an over $300 billion dollar industry.
This is why we should embrace the sharing economy. It’s a good thing. It’s progress. The regulatory and legal difficulties currently facing the sharing economy are good as well. Any disruptive economic force is disruptive because there is no frame of reference for how society should handle it. Over the years, these things will sort themselves out.
In the meantime, people like you and other Casual Capitalists will be making significant amounts of money. Let’s all leverage our underutilized assets to make some serious side income.
Let’s talk soon!
Glenn Carter is a sharing economy expert and is sharing his passion for side income through new digital platforms with his readers.