April 18th, 2013
5 Ways To Earn More Money In the Collaborative Economy
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**Today’s guest post is contributed by Fiona.**
These days, everyone is trying to save a little extra money. And while it’s not a bad idea to pursue a few simple money saving ideas, what we sometimes forget is that we can also improve our finances (and our credit) by finding ways to make a little more money. Pinching pennies and giving up our lattes only goes so far. Instead, take a look at the collaborative economy, where it’s easier than ever to earn more with what you already have. A growing number of people are providing services and short-term access to goods directly to each other – and you can take advantage of this new economy as well..
From renting out your car to sharing travel experiences, here are five ways to bring in more income through the collaborative economy. These sites help with one of the most difficult aspects of earning more income: finding people who want to pay for what you’re offering.
1. Provide accommodations
If you have extra space in your house, websites like AirBnB and Roomorama connect private hosts to people who are looking for a place to stay. You can choose to rent out your house, apartment, room, or even a couch. Hosts can choose to host guests for as long or short a stay as they wish, and vet them through social media profiles. One pastry chef even managed to avoid foreclosure by turning her home into a bed and breakfast and renting out rooms on AirBnB.
2. Rent out your car when it’s idle
Cars are said to be idle 23 hours a day. Why not make some money when you aren’t using yours? An entire industry has sprung up around providing short-term access to cars to people who don’t have one of their own. RelayRides and Getaround allow folks to rent out all kinds of cars, ranging from old beaters to luxury vehicles, for hourly, daily, and weekly rates.
3. Lend out what you already own
Just like cars, many of the tools, gadgets, and appliances we own lie idle most of the time. For instance, when I asked a former colleague a few years ago if I could borrow his power drill, he outright gave it to me because he never used it beyond the one time he needed it. It even came with the receipt. On Snapgoods, your rarely used items make money for you when you rent them out to other folks who need them. On the flip side, you can also save money by renting goods from your neighbors instead of making a costly purchase.
4. Share a travel experience
You love your area: you know the best eats in your area or have an insider’s view on a destination. Share your specialized knowledge with visitors who are looking for experiences beyond the usual tourist sites. Travel experience marketplace Vayable connects locals to travelers who are eager to go off the beaten path, allowing locals to earn extra cash by providing one-of-a-kind experiences to travelers.
5. Teach a class
If you have interesting skills, consider making money by teaching a class. Skillshare and Dabble connect teachers to communities of learners. Teachers offer classes on everything from blending tea to creating a rock poster to learning programming in a month. Depending on your skill set, you can also choose to offer a local, in-person class or an online course that can be taken by anyone around the world. An added bonus to teaching a class: beefing up your profile and reputation online.
In a time of financial instability, the collaborative economy provides people with ways to develop alternate sources of income. After all, we’re told to diversify our investments and lower our exposure risk – so why not diversify our sources of income?
When many of us are trying to avoid finding out what happens if we can’t pay our student loans or can’t pay our credit cards, it only makes sense to be prepared in case of emergencies that wreak havoc with our regular income. Our careful budgets and financial plans could be for naught if we have to face unexpected challenges like losing a job, health problems, or car accidents. Hopefully the tips above will help you take advantage of some of these new opportunities to make money.
Have you earned money through the collaborative economy? Share your experience below.
Fiona Lee is a personal finance writer at ReadyForZero, a site dedicated to helping Americans manage and pay off their debt – for free.
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