Anyone in the world can take their financial futures into their own hands right now. Not just in terms of deciding whether or not they want to remain an employee or become their own boss, but also whether or not they can play a role in the sharing economy. Every person on this planet can do or offer some product or service that other people want or need, and there is no better time than now to become part of the sharing economy.
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The Sharing Economy: Not a Flash in the Pan
Whenever a new type of “movement” gains some mainstream traction, most everyday consumers think of it as just another flash in the pan. While this statement holds a lot of merit for most of the movements the world has seen over the past 50 years, the sharing economy is not going anywhere. In fact, more and more people are seeing the benefits of becoming part of this movement, and some of them even create new lifestyles out of doing so.
Participating in the sharing economy is not just about driving a taxi or making a part of your home available to people looking to spend the night. Granted, the idea of a sharing economy has gotten major mainstream attention due to these types of services, but there are so many more options left to explore. The sharing economy has no boundaries, other than the imagination of individuals.
No one is saying that individual consumers should quit their day jobs and become full-time, self-employed entrepreneurs in the sharing economy. In fact, the best way to go about this is trying to promote a service you can provide that does not interfere with day-to-day activities that much. Whether that is cooking, cleaning, making ceramics or writing, there is no limit to which services or products can be of use to other people.
Advertising a service or product as part of the sharing economy is a lot easier than most people think. As far as services are concerned, there are plenty of platforms or job boards where they can be advertised. Don’t expect an immediate influx of potential customers, though, as an economy is a market of supply and demand. While the individual user is the supply, there has to be a demand for this service as well.
Products are a bit easier to advertise, as consumers can rely on established platforms such as Etsy, Amazon, or even eBay. Each online marketplace can fill a specific niche, and if that niche is where the individual consumer plans to make a name for his or her self, more power to them for doing so. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb every now and then, as this is how success stories are created.
It is important to keep in mind that not all of these goods and services will prove to be lucrative in the long run. However, without trying, you will never know what might be successful, or how valuable your efforts would be to the sharing economy. Some people can turn their hobbies into full-time jobs, whereas others provide services or products as a way to pass the time.
Despite the potential offered by the sharing economy, there are still some issues that persist. Most people active in the sharing economy will provide a good or service and rely on traditional payment methods for invoices to be settled. Waiting for a check or bank transfer to clear still takes as long as it did before; Credit card payments, which are the most commonly used method of paying for goods and services, still take up to 30 days to clear in a bank account, which could cause uneasy financial situations.
Introducing Bitcoin Payments into the Sharing Economy
One way to settle payments directly, and without much hassle or effort, is by accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for goods and services. Rather than relying on a payment to clear in a bank account, Bitcoin payments are settled instantaneously. Recipients can opt to convert any incoming Bitcoin payments to fiat currency — deposited into their bank accounts the next business day.
As a person selling goods and services, setting up Bitcoin payments only takes a few minutes. Simply create a Bitcoin wallet address, or sign up for one of the many merchant solutions at your disposal. Complete the necessary steps to integrate Bitcoin payments on your website, and you will be up and running within minutes. For those people accepting payments in person, all they need is an internet-connected device with a Bitcoin wallet app installed.
The topic of payment methods is not the only thing to consider when getting involved in the sharing economy, though. Taxation is another important issue, as additional income generated through this “hobby” could be subject to additional taxes. Depending on where you live, and how much you earn, taxation may be enforced. Even if you are accepting Bitcoin payments, make sure to check with your local government if there are taxes to be paid on your Bitcoin revenue.
What are your thoughts on the sharing economy and becoming part of it? Do you know someone who is running a business in this “niche” market? Let us know in the comments below!
[Partial] Source: Telegraph UK
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