The term “sharing economy” may be a foreign word to you, but chances are you’ve heard of, or even participated in a sharing economy without even realizing it. Put simply, a sharing economy is when individuals sell or rent their product or service directly to another individual, interacting directly with one another. For example, you might rent out your car or home, or offer freelance labor. The great thing about the sharing economy is that anyone can participate. Here are the four must-haves in order to be a sharing economy success:

1. Flexible schedule – Whether you are pursuing this full-time, part-time, or as a way to make a little extra cash, you are at the mercy of your customers, and limited availability is not only a bad business practice, but a deterrent to those looking to purchase your services. While the sharing economy enables you to work flexible hours and be your own boss, you must be available to work. If your current schedule doesn’t have much room, you may find it difficult to find time to participate in the sharing economy.

2. Internet connection – Most if not all of the sharing economy’s success comes from the fact that users can purchase or rent services online with the click of a button, making an Internet connection a must. For example, before the Internet, renting a car required you to physically go to the rental company and pick up the car from the lot. Likewise, if you want to get a cab you have to hail it. With the advent of transportation networks, users can now rent a car and be picked up at their exact location without any added hassle.

3. Trust – As was mentioned above, most of the sharing economy takes place via online platforms such as websites or apps. Because of this, you will have to encourage reliance via positive reviews and ratings. If you have a stellar reputation, you’ll gain trust from customers, which will generate more business leads when satisfied customers leave a positive review.

4. Simple payments – The overall purpose of the sharing economy is make acquiring goods and services simpler, as well as at a reduced cost. A hassle-free payment process is crucial to the success of your business. The key is automation – streamline as much of the process as possible using automated payment systems, email/text verifications, and online performance reviews.

If you have these four must-haves, you will increase your chances of successfully participating in the sharing economy.

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