Links: How to Make Money in the New Share Economy

Forbes has an article about how the share economy is taking off. The primary focus is on AirBNB, which lets you rent out a room in your home with ease and last year booked around 15 million nights of stays. I’ve written about some of these sites before, and while I mostly forgot about them, some people are going quite well with them. “Almost anything you can buy new, you can also rent from a stranger.”

One person lives off of income generated by renting his house out whenever he can (while he cordons himself off to an unattached area). One person makes more money dog-sitting from home than working at Starbucks. One person rented his car out part-time for more than the monthly payments, so now he has three cars being rented out. Yet another drives his car around ridesharing every night and is basically a taxi service. These people may be the exception rather than the rule, but is it proof that the next generation of millennials really don’t care about ownership anymore? Is it better to just have access to whatever you need when you want it? Peer-to-peer everything!

Here’s an infographic from the print version of the article that lists sharing websites of all types from around the world, with the data source being Rachel Botsman of

Here are links specifically dealing with sites that allow you to make money from your own stuff (US-focused only) – be it a room, a car, or your power tools:


  1. Thanks for a nice compile and introduction to the cool concept.

  2. There was a story a day or two ago on NPR about a guy renting his house or a room out to strangers via an online portal as like a B&B or something. He got fined like $30,000 for the one time he did it I think because his house is not up to code with what hotels require – fire exit signs on back of doors, sprinkler systems, etc.

  3. I think a lot of this is the informal economy and not fully priced. “J” has a good example. Another is the taxi industry, which is very highly regulated in most cities.

    What happens if someone falls in the shower while staying at your home, or gets injured in an accident you have while driving them around, or cuts their finger with a (perhaps dull) circular saw that you rented them? I think if all of these risks were fully insured, like they generally are in the formal economy, that a lot of the “rents” would be priced away. Or, to put it the other way, what if someone trashes your car/tools/house? How are you protected?

  4. (fixed)

  5. Andy, that’s exactly what i was thinking. This guy rents out 3 of his cars but what does he do if somebody wrecks one? However, i think “insuring yourself” is a competitive advantage over the formal economy since insurance companies take some of your profit.

  6. That is exactly why this only works to a point and largely only in an underground economy. It only takes one “incident” and a lawyer smelling insurance money and the hard work from hundreds of “rentals” is wiped out…

  7. Joshua, it’s not necessarily slimy lawyers smelling insurance money. There are plenty of legit corporate lawyers that want to take this stuff down to protect their legitimate hotel, rental car, and other corporate clients.

    All of this stuff is pretty clearly breaking the rules. Once it hits critical mass, the government will step in and shut it down.

  8. As others have mentioned, the lack of regulation/insurance is something that will need to be addressed if this is to go mainstream. What happens if you are driving folks around and maim/kill them in an accident? I have a feeling your insurance company is going to fight you to the bitter end on handling that claim, as they will insist you were involved in business activities (expressly excluded in most personal auto insurance policies).

  9. The article does talk about how the law and insurance hasn’t caught up to everything here (hotel taxes?), but many of the better-funded companies do provide insurance for your car or home in the event of an accident that is separate from your personal policies.

  10. I’ve heard of those offerings – example being Lyft’s $1M excess liability insurance – essentially umbrella coverage.

    Found this interesting blog post that has some analysis – based on the wording in the TOS, that policy doesn’t cover collision/medical payments etc. – which would leave those up to your personal carrier, who would probably rescind your policy on the spot, potentially leaving you paying out of pocket/personally liable.

    I’m personally a bit wary of getting big into things like ride-sharing until some of the insurance coverage and regulation catches up.

  11. Another great site that should be added to your list is

  12. You may want liability insurance, but the talk of “regulation” makes me sick. Why should the government regulate how I use my own house or car if I’m not going anything illegal like drug trafficing or running a prostitution ring. Not everything needs regulation.

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