Many Americans are finding these days that their job either isn’t enough to satisfy them creatively or can’t pay the bills. For some, however, there’s not an option to leave after spending years building up a career, and others are simply curious about what else is out there but don’t want to take a big risk and end up regretting it. That’s where the sharing economy comes in.
While the term itself is fairly broad in definition, the sharing economy basically involves any business that can be done in collaboration with someone else. Ridesharing services like Uber, websites like eBay, services such as Airbnb, and any business that utilizes crowdsourcing or crowdfunding are considered to be part of the sharing economy. It’s possible to run your own business using this model, which would allow you to set your own hours and work for yourself, but it’s important to know how to get started and what to avoid in order to make it a success.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to do just that.
Figure Out What Your Needs Are
The type of business you decide to go into should be dependent on your needs. Think about the amount of time you’ll be able to put into it, whether you’ll need startup funds, and what the demand is in your area or online for your particular service. Do your research, especially when it comes to offering something to the public (such as a room in your home) to make sure you won’t be in over your head.
Keep Business and Pleasure Separate
No matter which business you choose to go into, it’s imperative that you keep everything separate when it comes to finances. Set up a separate bank account for your business, apply for a company credit card, and keep separate books. This way, there will never be any questions when tax time rolls around.
Whether you want to sell vintage clothing on eBay or start funding a project on Kickstarter, you’re going to need to know how to network and spread the word about your goods and services. Talking to people to let them know about your business will not only help you grow, it will connect you with important contacts who could help you down the line. Look online for conventions and other events you can attend and get support from your local community by sharing your business via fliers and word-of-mouth.
Have a Solid At-Home Workspace
One of the hardest things about working from home is finding a place to get things done without distraction and, as many entrepreneurs will tell you, there is always a distraction at home. Whether it’s your child who needs a ride to soccer practice or the siren song of your couch and Netflix, your home provides ample opportunity to put things off, which is a big no-no when it comes to working for yourself. The best way to prevent this is to create a workspace that allows you to get things done distraction-free. If you don’t have an office, use a room with a door and talk to your family members about the rules so you won’t be interrupted.
Entering the sharing economy can be hugely beneficial, but it requires a good plan so you can protect yourself, especially in the beginning. Being smart about your first moves and taking your time will help you make good decisions and, ultimately, help you make your business a success.
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