by Andy Mitchell (CEO/Founder, @Yardaroo)
The Entrepreneur vs. The Traditional Economy
As money and power continue to concentrate and remain controlled by the top 1%, the rest of us need to think about where we are in terms of self-sustainability. We also need to imagine where we’re headed in terms of opportunity and the network effect that will be necessary to generate more opportunity for more people. Innovations like the on-demand economy can help.
Being an entrepreneur (or at least entrepreneurial) is no longer a rarity, it’s the new norm.
Technological innovations and on-demand platforms like Uber, AirBnB and Yardaroo are readily available to masses of people around the world. As a result, people are working for themselves more than ever before.
People can sign up with an on-demand platform and collect fees from credit card transactions and have money sent straight to their bank accounts. All of this can be done without ever filing for a business license or incorporating.
Many people are moving away from the traditional economy for varying reasons. These reasons range from the desire to make a positive impact in the world to supplementing income to lack of opportunity. Because of this, the entrepreneurial spirit has never been so ubiquitous as it is now, and now is the time to capitalize on that momentum.
Where We Are
The movement toward alternative economic opportunities has been growing but is still in its nascent state.
Many people remain employed by big companies and governments. They work set hours and might enjoy benefits (when they’re offered) all while juggling family, finance and friendship.
Wages have stagnated and work/life flexibility is not always a given. There are embedded policy failures at all levels of corporate and government that create income disparity, gender inequality, racial inequality and glass ceilings.
Low skill jobs are being off-shored and automated.
Waiting for corporations and governments to address any of these challenges is unreasonable. They’re inherently slow to change due to bureaucracy, political gridlock and lack of will power. All too often their own self interests are in conflict with making any positive change in the first place. Because of this, many people are seeking out alternative, more entrepreneurial paths to self-sustainability, employment and happiness.
Whether it’s driving for Uber, listing a spare bedroom on AirBnB or hosting a sale event on Yardaroo, more people are actively looking for new technology and tools that they can use to master their own destiny than ever before.
Where We Are Headed
The future is connected, personalized and shared. Pooling resources makes for stronger communities both at the global and local levels.
Global governments and corporations have been doing this for decades. They centralize and concentrate their power, then leverage that power to make their business more efficient and predictable by circulating their own money back to themselves.
We need to take this same approach at the local and individual level.
Embracing a connected world and a personalized hybrid of online and real-life interactions is the future, and it will be powered by innovations like the on-demand economy. A future where our connections are managed online, but our relationships and transactions take place in the real-world.
When we see each other face to face, we feel a sense of humanity and compassion. That interaction lays the foundation to build trust and thereby a willingness to engage. When we combine trust with networked technologies, we create business opportunities that weren’t possible before.
It’s a future in which you no longer swipe your card for a faceless corporation.
You actually pay another human being directly for their goods and service.
The Network Effect
Building a strong local community that can support large numbers of self-sustaining and enterprising individuals requires a strong local network. Technologies that are relevant and available to a area will need to be introduced, and then these technologies will require widespread adoption by both service providers and users for it to become viable.
Platforms like Uber, AirBnB and Yardaroo become exponentially more valuable to consumers and communities when many people adopt and utilize it. This widespread adoption creates a network effect, where lots of people provide a service and lots of people use the service. The value this creates is evenly distributed to everyone using the platform.
Consider Yardaroo, for instance:
The amount of effort for one person to host and advertise a single sale event on Yardaroo is exponentially greater than if a dozen people are hosting sale events in the same area. This is because each sale event benefits from each other’s promotional efforts.
A dozen sale events in an area sharing on social media via Yardaroo is exponentially more effective than a single sale event trying to standout on its own because their network is sharing the burden of promotion.
Naturally, as more people provide the service in the form of hosting sale events, more people use the service to shop at local sale events.
This model interaction circulates money directly back into the community with additional benefits:
- The consumer pays the sale event host $10 for goods instead of spending it at a big retailer.
- Consumers save money by buying pre-owned items instead of buying items new.
- The environment benefits from responsible and sustainable consumerism via the reuse, recycling and re-purposing of used goods with less packaging and waste.
The network effect multiplies all of these benefits exponentially.
We can say the same thing of any on-demand business or technological innovation that moves us away from the traditional, unsustainable and inflexible economy that we have now.
The future is changing faster than we ever imagined. As a result, more people are embracing innovative solutions like on-demand services to make, and save, more money everyday. This in turn shifts our thinking away from the traditional economy and toward a new one that is sustainable, inclusive, local and environmentally conscious.
Leveraging these alternative platforms at the individual level is easy enough. However, thinking of innovations like on-demand business and how smaller local communities can thrive by embracing them at scale is relatively new territory for most people.
There won’t be volumes of support from governments or big corporations for local communities to adopt this new way of operating because it poses too great a threat to their own power and profits.
That is exactly why it’s so important that we press forward and make our hard-earned money circulate through our own local communities. We can achieve this by leveraging new technologies and on-demand platforms to both provide, and shop for, goods and services.
Because, when we think globally and live locally, we all thrive. Our environment thrives and our children thrive. Our future thrives.
When we use new technology to work for us, we create sustainable, inclusive and environmentally responsible opportunities for all.
The future is here, it’s bright and it’s ours.
Follow Andy on Twitter @HackMyYardsale
AirBnB – https://www.airbnb.com/
Uber – https://www.uber.com/
Yardaroo – http://188.8.131.52
Sage Business Researcher – http://businessresearcher.sagepub.com/sbr-1946-105131-2873217/20180108/the-on-demand-economy