social-sharing-button

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 10 years since Netflix and Zipcar changed the economy to a shareable consumption model that has become a compelling alternative to traditional forms of buying and ownership.

Now many consumers are choosing shared access over ownership.

The effects of the global economic crisis, environmental issues and the expansion of a globally connected social web have created a new generation of businesses and jobs that are changing the “world of work”. In the job market, the world is going from “having a job” to “doing a job”. Companies are essentially “renting” employees as contractors when they need them instead of “owning” them as full-time employees.

Take a look at how even businesses are changing to reflect this ”renting mentality”.

Consider AirBnB. Back in 2007, Gebbia and Brian Chesky were recent graduates in need of extra cash to pay their rent. On a whim, they built a website offering attendees of a design conference a place to stay in their apartment on an air mattress and included a home-cooked breakfast. Encouraged by the experience, they decided to build a web platform where booking a room in a person’s home anywhere in the world was as easy as booking a hotel room. AirBnB is now in more than 8,000 cities and rents houses, castles, cars and yachts.

Zipcar, now owned by Avis, convinced people that they could avoid car ownership and enjoy the perks of access without inconvenience. Now companies like Uber, RelayRides and Getaround don’t own any cars like Avis, they simply enable the sharing of autos owned by individuals. Essentially they have “re-purposed” products/services by enabling them to be shared via web access.

German car manufacturer Daimler (they make Mercedes) is also developing this new business model into a part of its core business. Daimler AG distributes 100 vehicle models in 200 countries worldwide. Its Car2Go service is similar to Zipcar’s, except that it doesn’t require a reservation or a two-way trip. Car2Go’s mobile app allows a person walking down the street to locate a Smart car and access it immediately via a windshield card reader and PIN number, drive it anywhere locally, and leave it there for someone else to use. Daimler has also started developing apps that work for any car, not just a Daimler-made vehicle to capture this new model of transportation access.

  • Why buy a second home when you can rent a chateau in France on Airbnb for $300?
  • Why hire a chauffeur when they don’t come with an Uber app that tracks their relative location to yours and can be used for a quick pick-up for a 2-mile trip to the dentist?
  • Even owning the music of your favorite music artist is a lot less appealing when you can stream it immediately on or offline with Spotify and without taking up any space on your hard drive.

These business examples make a compelling case for why you to need make yourself a web-enabled personal brand. Many employers are evolving their businesses model where shared employee access makes more economic sense than employee ownership. This is not a niche trend led by web-based companies. It’s quickly becoming the new way of doing business using the globally connected social web.

To ensure your income security and marketability, take time now to assess how you can become a part of this rapidly changing business mindset. Study the tools of the Internet that essentially offer you the capability to reach an “income market” beyond a reasonable commuting distance from your home.

As a Boy Scout, I earned a marksmanship merit badge demonstrating that I could safely use a gun and hit a target. However the most valuable lesson I learned, has changed the way I think about business and my career today – To hit a moving target you have to LEAD the target and anticipate where it’s going. Flexibility to change course, accessing the power of the Internet and looking for what lies ahead have become the key factors in ensuring your economic security as it relates to your job. Perhaps the word job should be changed to “income stream” to highlight the importance of having multiple income streams coming from many customers (employers).

Changes are coming quick and they are inevitable.

Start NOW to make yourself a SHAREABLE web-enabled personal brand.

The opportunity of a lifetime is right in front of you. Go for it!