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Collaborative Consumption big

The following is a guest post by Christopher Wallace.

Whether you’re flat broke or just looking for a simple way to up your income stream, chances are you’ve got more options than you realize. The concept of ‘collaborative consumption’ got a big leg up thanks to the recession. Suddenly, when people needed a new TV or refrigerator, they were turning to Craigslist before the big box store.

That tendency might not bode well for official job numbers and economic outlook estimates, but it’s a testament to the power of localized goods-based economies that continue to thrive even when the big picture looks bleak.

With the goal of helping local small businesses survive in a down national economy, the federal government created the Startup America Partnership. By compiling deeply discounted resources like payroll help and discounted office supplies from corporate providers, the feds have taken an unprecedented role in helping the little guy, including webinars and Q&A sessions.

Most surprisingly, however, is the recognition the government has given to collaborative consumption. Who would have thought that Washington would be encouraging people to rent out their video gaming systems, upping their income $200 per month?

This Startup America infographic is full of gems and new discoveries, even for people already tuned into sites like AirBnb.com and Freecycle.com.

Digging a bit deeper, here are a few of the favorites we turned up here:

  1. ParkAtMyHouse.com Seriously, this is money for nothing. Drop in your address on the front page, and they’ll immediately estimate the value of a parking spot at your house. My sister lives in a shack on the beach in South Carolina. Her view is great, but she’s always begging me for handouts. The site claims a parking spot in her driveway is worth $1,500 a year, smack in the middle of a vacation hub. I’m sending her this link the next time she asks for cash.
  2. Zilok.com “Rent anything,” claims Zilok. Need a mini backhoe ($193/day), a record player ($35/day), or a Fisher Price ride-on fire truck ($2/day)? They’re all here, including 4×4 trucks at far lower rates than you’ll find at a corporate rental car business. Seriously, you could sell that icemaker in your garage and make $150 once, or you could rent it out every weekend and make $50 day after day after day. This is the ‘clean out the attic and watch the money roll in’ site.
  3. NeighborGoods.net Need a chainsaw? Chances are, your neighbor down the street has one, and maybe he’s looking for a pressure washer (you’ve got one). NeighborGoods connects you, leaving you both with the double warm fuzzy of saving the cost of buying a chainsaw you only need for a day and helping out the earth by lowering your consumption. Win-win.
  4. Thredup.com Moms love to shop for baby clothes, despite the fact that kids grow like weeds and might wear a shirt twice before outgrowing it. Handing down kids clothes is a rite of passage in some families, but others simply don’t have the network. Enter Thredup.com — this share-based company will buy back kids’ clothes, giving you credits to buy other like-new outfits on their site. That’s what I call a ‘fair trade.’
  5. SharedEarth.com Everyone loves the idea of a garden, but most of us only get that far. It’s a lot of sweaty, knee-busting dirty work, day after day, to harvest your own veggies. Of course, it’s highly rewarding, but why not let someone else do it for you? Or maybe you are that someone else, but you live in an apartment and don’t have a yard. SharedEarth links you up. Grow a garden in someone else’s yard, give them a share, and make everyone’s happy.

Dig into that This Startup America infographic graphic and you’ll find even more ideas, from hiring yourself out for odd jobs to leasing your spare bedroom. The concepts make sense, and the successful ones integrate social media like Facebook so you can background check people before meeting up (or inviting them into your home). When it comes right down to it, there’s not much difference in renting out your video game collection and setting up a lemonade stand on the corner. It’s entrepreneurship at its very core, and it’s a positive sign that the federal government recognizes and encourages that.

Christopher Wallace, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, has more than 20 years experience in sales and marketing. At Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of logo
pens
and other promotional items such as imprinted apparel and customized calendars, Christopher is focused on providing quality marketing materials to small, mid-size and large businesses. He regularly contributes to Promo & Marketing Wall blog.

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Originally posted by Guest Poster on April 4, 2014 in Guest Posts.

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