The Sharing Economy: New Ways to Make Money

The Sharing Economy: Making Money in America

The Sharing Economy: New Ways to Make Money:  With the Internet expansion and as America has gone through a difficult period of unemployment, new companies have emerged to create a different type of economy in America.

These companies help people connect their talents and their assets to people who need them.

You can share your car (Lyft or Uber ).  You can share a room in your house or share your entire house (Airbnb).  You can share your talent and time (Elance, Fiverr, TaskRabbit, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk). You can share your time and car as a delivery service (Postmates).  You can share opportunities for consumers to buy your personal goods (eBay, CraigsList, and Krrb).

April 2014 unemployment is 6.3% compared to the December 2009 unemployment of 9.9%.

(Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The number of Sharing Economy companies has increased dramatically since the recession of 2009.

The Internet has made it easier to start companies without storefronts.

Social media and Internet shopping have made people more trusting on sharing websites.

Seventy-seven percent of the people in America use the Internet. Wikipedia

Smartphones have played a large role in the growth of the sharing economy.  The applications on smartphones connect users to websites instantly.  Getting share services just requires a few clicks.

The Gig Economy

Job seekers who use sharing sites for freelancing are in a sub-element of sharing, The Gig Economy.   They want flexible hours.  They want to moonlight for extra income.  They can’t find regular jobs.  They are different from part-time employees. Part-time employees work on-site at businesses.  They use the equipment that belongs to those businesses.  The people in the Gig Economy are freelancers.  They work with their own equipment.

Businesses in the Sharing Economy

A few years ago, my firm signed up with a Shared Economy recruiting site, Bounty Jobs.  Using a sharing service was different to the way my firm had always done business.

However, one of our clients, a Fortune 50 (fifty) company, began to use the site.  This company invited us to join Bounty Jobs.  The move was necessary to do future search work for them.

My firm did have an offer extended through Bounty Jobs.  The Bounty Jobs people were terrific.

In the end, the client who invited my firm to use Bounty Jobs quit using the site.

We found that for us the time invested in future searches was unproductive.  The companies using the website were signing up several search firms for the same search.

We cancelled our membership with Bounty Jobs.  When we do gigs (in our case, one time searches), we do them directly with the employer.

Is the Sharing Economy Right for You?

My recommendation is that you first get a job through direct application.  You are better off going directly to the client or consumer.  You will increase your chances of someone hiring you, because you will have less competition.  Sharing websites increase the pool of competition.  You will make more money going directly to the employer.  Remember, the third-party site is getting an override on your work.

The Sharing Economy: Not Always a Bright Picture

How well sharing works for you will depend on the demand for what you offer. Here are some of the more negative points of view.

“Pixel and Dimed On (not) getting by in the Gig Economy,” Sarah Kessler, Fast Company

“Freelancers in the ‘Gig Economy’ Find a Mix of Freedom and Uncertainty,”
Rachell L. Swarns, “The New York Times

“The gig economy is here, and it’s not a pretty picture,” Stowe Boyd, “Gigaom

“The Gig Economy…corporate America has started to feel like it’s on a permanent maternity leave,” Tina Brown,
The Daily Beast

“The Sharing Economy Isn’t About Trust.  It’s About Desperation,” Kevin Roose, NYMag.com

Positive articles on the Sharing Economy

“The Gig Economy: The Force That Could Save the American Worker?” Micha Kaufman, Co-Founder and CEO of Fiverr, a sharing economy website, Wired.

“Freelancers Spur Gig Economy by Tapping Online Exchanges,” Ben Schenkel, Bloomberg.com

Did Technology Create the Tech-based Sharing Economy?

Computer technology, including the Internet, has eliminated many jobs in our economy.

In addition, People play at work on the Internet.  According to two surveys (Salary and SFGate), 64% to 69% say that they use time to surf the web during the workday.  With nearly every worker carrying a smartphone, the number is probably higher.  A worker only has to swipe and click to connect to personal email or social media.

Workers who spend their time on the Internet do not develop new skills and products in the workplace at the level that they would if they focused on their work.  What the Internet has done to the workplace in terms of a place to play has not made American companies stronger.  People who play on the Internet are less likely to keep their job.  They may find themselves needing to join the Sharing Economy.

Image: Tax Credits/Flickr

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