Earning income from the palm of your hand is booming as Australians multiply their sharing economy microbusinesses to earn extra cash.
They’re renting out things such as rooms, storage space, carparks, caravans and clothes, and offering services such as ride sharing, food delivery and job outsourcing — all through their smartphones.
Research by The Sharing Hub found that more than one-third of Australians used the sharing economy in 2018, and it’s forecast to grow to 44 per cent this year.
The Sharing Hub co-founder Mike Rosenbaum said many micro-entrepreneurs used several sharing economy platforms to generate income.
“We can now work completely from our phones as all we need such as website, platforms and even a camera is available through it,” Mr Rosenbaum said.
“Smartphones have especially encouraged multi-apping, allowing individuals to earn off several platforms at once,” he said.
Fashion rental marketplace The Volte’s CEO, Kym Atkins, said her platform launched in mid-2017 with 400 items listed and now had 23,000, with 100,000 monthly users.
Ms Atkins said the sharing economy had been going through a meet and greet phase as people became comfortable with the idea of sharing assets with strangers, and she expected the 2020s to be “revolutionary”.
“Now that people have dipped their toes into what these platforms have to offer both as lenders and as borrowers, we will start witnessing a greater majority of people truly embracing its benefits,” she said.
Ms Atkins said trust and responsiveness were vital ingredients for sharing economy entrepreneurs.
“Whatever you’re listing, make sure you have great images, very detailed descriptions and be clear if the borrower needs to do anything,” she said.
Kim and Claire McLeod have earned $15,000 in just seven months by renting out their family caravan, Cruze the Coromal, using sharing platform Camplify.
“Once you learn how it all works, it’s a great way to transform your potentially un-utilised liabilities to income earning assets,” Mr McLeod said.
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“The portability of a smartphone means that we can provide instantaneous communication to our hirers, wherever we are.
“I think a lot of our success also comes with our location. The Sunshine Coast could well be the best spot in Australia to hire a van.”
Meagan Wuchatsch, who runs behavioural consulting business Sullutions online, has earned and saved money using Spacer.com.au, and is also looking at hiring out her caravan and dresses.
“I can now earn money off something I own but hardly use, without having to give it up entirely,” she said.
“Using a sharing economy platform really is very easy — just upload images of the asset you’re sharing and often the platforms will help advise you on a price point and what to include in your description.”
Originally published as Use your phone to earn cash