The internet has given us many things: unsurpassed knowledge at our fingertips; endless streams of movies and music; a cat GIF for every conceivable occasion. But most usefully of all, it’s given us new ways to make money.
A trend that started with eBay and matured through Craigslist, Gumtree and Etsy has now reached its zenith in the form of the shareconomy. And while you may not think you know what that little portmanteau refers to, chances are you’ve already taken advantage of it.
Ever booked a room on Airbnb? Then you’ve used the shareconomy. Hired a ride on Uber? Ditto. In essence, the shareconomy is the process of hiring – or hiring out – something that you own, so that others can get use from it when you don’t need it. Usually money changes hands along with the goods, but it doesn’t have to – some people lend their property to others for the sheer rosy-cheeked glow of being nice. Freaks.
The modern pressuresPersonally, the twin burdens of a mortgage and two Disney-obsessed daughters weight me down too much to be charitable, at least in that way. So the shareconomy is for me a way that I can supplement my meagre journalist’s salary (if you’re reading this, bigwigs, that’s a hint) by making money from my main assets. Ahem.
Those assets are of course my house and my car. Now I can’t see why anyone would want to rent a room in my three-bedroom semi in Epsom but the success of Airbnb would suggest I’m in the minority. Launched in 2008, it now offers more than 500,000 places to stay in 34,000 cities around the world. Right now, three of those places to stay are in Epsom, with prices ranging from £37 to £119 a night. So maybe my loft room with free Wi-Fi, TV and early morning child-related alarm call isn’t such a bad sell after all. Look out for it soon, £6 a night if you don’t mind sharing with the cat.
My car represents a more sensible money-making option. It’s only four years old, has less than 7000 miles on the clock and has a big enough boot to swing a cat in (so long as you’re prepared to get your arms slashed up). Ideal fare for Uber, then.
Money for your painYes, it’ll be annoying if I suddenly decide I need the car when someone’s hired it and yes, I’d expect to spend more on servicing as a result. But the lure of ready cash every month is too strong to resist.
Now, if only I can come up with a way to make money from the cat…