Take Up Some Side Hustles by Participating in The Sharing Economy

In need of some extra money? Your car, your room, and even your ability to perform random tasks, can all become potential cash cows in the new “sharing economy.”

The “sharing economy” also known as the “peer-to-peer economy,” allows everyday people to earn money by sharing their assets and skills on apps like Airbnb, Uber, and TaskRabbit.

Gone are the days of making classified ads and hanging flyers. Technology has turbo-charged our ability to quickly lend wares and sell our labor to the masses.

But before you decide to rent out your resources for a little bit of spending money, be sure to use precaution. Below are some trustworthy apps along with their respective pros and cons to help you safely and effectively participate in the sharing economy.

AIRBNB:

One of the biggest and most popular of the share economy outlets is Airbnb, an app and website that allows you to rent out your home; from a single room to an entire apartment/house. Whatever your preference it is important to keep the following in mind.

Use it like a boss:

  • Take advantage of Airbnb’s free photography service. Not only will they send a professional photographer to make your place look its best, they’ll tag these photos as “verified” so users will feel reassured that what they see is what they get.
  • Ask for recommendations. Leave a note on a pillow asking your guest to leave a review online if they’ve enjoyed their stay.
  • Start out as a bargain, then raise your rates. You can snag those first guests by underselling the competition.

But be aware:

  • No landlord gets excited about someone else making money on the property he or she owns. Get permission before you list your rental or risk being evicted.
  • In some cities, renting out your entire apartment is illegal. Multiple cities are tightening regulations, including requiring the renter to be present during guests’ stays.
  • You can take your cell with you, but a landline is there for the abusing–talk to the phone company about blocking the ability to make long-distance calls.
  • While you might not have a problem with people coming and going, the family across the hall from you might–be sure to check with neighbors before renting your pad.
  • Theft, orgies, and guests that legally don’t have to leave? Yup–these are rare Airbnb nightmares, but they’ve all happened.

Bottom line: Just because you know people who are using the app, doesn’t mean you won’t run into trouble. Do your research.

UBER & LYFT

Explore your inner cabbie by charging people for a chauffeured ride.

Use it like a boss:

  • Trying to avoid the family this Thanksgiving? Tell ‘em you have to work on turkey day. Holidays are peak times for reservations and drivers can charge the highest fares.
  • People in town for conventions and events are often without cars – check calendars for schedules at local convention centers and stadiums.
  • Uber will give you $250 if you recruit a driver who completes at least ten rides!

Be aware:

  • Reservation, cancellation, repeat. Sound familiar? Expect a lot of fares to back out.
  • Thankfully, many people are using Uber instead of driving home buzzed. But this also means you should prepare yourself to deal with belligerent drunk people and the potential for vomit in your back seat.
  • Being alone in a car with a stranger is an inherently sketchy situation. While you can be picking up Conan O’Brien you could also be picking up Sir Creepy McStalkerson. Never accept a fare to a dangerous or remote location.

Bottom line: Consider vehicle wear-and-tear, gas prices, and the return-trip time before signing up. But if you’re driving a lot already, Uber and Lyft can be a quick cash source.

TASKRABBIT:

Perfect for the Ikea assembly ninja, this site lets you charge for tasks posted by locals.

Use it like a boss:

  • Don’t undersell yourself. Unlike Airbnb where people can see what they’re paying for, you have to communicate your intangible value. Consumers often associate cheap prices with poor quality.
  • Include links to websites or professional profiles you already have online, such as LinkedIn.
  • Use a “specialized” photo. If you’re offering website design, take a selfie in front of a computer. Running errands? Try posting a snap with you on your bike.

Be aware:

  • TaskRabbit has changed their model. You now have to list your hourly rates and the company sends the poster a list of suggested users.
  • You only have 30 minutes to respond to a request.
  • TaskRabbit charges clients a big mark-up. Customers often think you’re getting that money and expect you to do more work than posted.
  • Though rare, there are indeed horror stories such as the “four loads of laundry” that was actually ten cat-poop covered loads of towels.

Bottom line: Though the new TaskRabbit has reduced the amount of flexibility taskers have in choosing gigs, it’s still the most popular place to find done-in-a-day work.

None of these options are likely to make you retire-at-30 rich, so manage your revenue expectations. But for an entrepreneur looking to scrape up some cash for her start-up, it’s a great place to start.

 

More ways to participate in the sharing economy:

DogVacay – Airbnb for dogs

Vayable – create a neighborhood tour and be a guide

Click here for even more ideas on how to make some quick cash.

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