Ben Rogers, Co-Founder of Storemates.co.uk explains how technology and trust have enabled a new type of entrepreneur, making money from existing assets.
People have always found ways of making a few extra pounds within their community. Anyone who has woken up on a Saturday morning to the sound of scales being badly played over and over again in a piano lesson, will know that the idea of small-scale home ‘jobbing’ is not new. People have long been helping each other out with jobs that they do not do themselves, or have the skills or time to do in exchange for cash or another service.
So what is different today?
As the term ‘Home Earner’ or ‘micro-entrepreneur’ suggests, technology has allowed people to take this idea to a whole new digital level, connecting peer-to-peer services for cash in ways that would not have been possible when relying on word of mouth or community notice boards. The internet allows us to selectively include ourselves within a much larger ‘circle of associates’, strangers we can trust who share our tastes, interests and experiences.
Today we exchange comments about neighbourhood activities on forums, browse profiles of potential life partners on our mobile, and often book holiday accommodation with strangers online, all things that were alien to the previous generation.
Trust in strangers, through reviews and verification has evolved as quickly as the fibre optic technology connecting us together at all times of the day and night.
Why not tap this circle of associates for work?
There are a range of new sites through which people can offer their skills to others in their community who need flatpack furniture assembled, dogs walked, piano or language lessons, or even the car washed. (What will the poor Boy Scouts do now?) The smart ones are probably listing themselves on Task Rabbit as we speak. Thanks to services like Airbnb, Wimdu and One Fine Stay, people are now able to rent their homes to other people and make a reasonable income doing so. Got a driveway or a loft? Driveways and loft storage space can be rented out on Justpark.com and Storemates.co.uk. If not enough to cover a salary, these services allow their members to supplement their income and cover holidays, daily bills, or luxury extras. Savvy Home Earners even have the option of going part time in their day jobs, allowing them to spend more time pursuing other interests.
As people start to see the rental value of the spaces and things they own, then the idea of sharing assets with strangers becomes very attractive financially.
With the Government taking the innovative step to offer tax-free earnings for people using the sharing economy to earn an income from home in the Budget in March ’16, maybe it’s time we all became Home Earners. Storemates is convinced that once consumers catch on there will be no turning back.
Got space at home? Christmas and New Year are times when people look to declutter and make space so why not list your space and become a Home Earner today!