The Rise of Collaborative Consumption and the Emergence of the Rentrepreneur

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Rob Baedeker wrote a fantastic article in Newsweek Magazine recently titled “How to Make Money When the Economy is Failing.” The article chronicles two weeks in the life of Rob taking on a new role as “Rentrepreneur.” In short, Rob uses new and innovative start-ups to rent things out ranging from an empty room in his house to the usage of his backyard BBQ, to  even renting out his dog to a park-going stranger looking to play fetch. In two weeks, Rob earned a total of $654.85.

As Baedeker writes, “Call me a rentrepreneur, one of the growing ranks of Americans who, in a postbinge economy, are finding creative ways to make a quick buck by hiring out their personal belongings. The movement is being fueled by a slew of new startups catering to what some are calling ‘collaborative consumption.’ ”

BeenVerified was founded on the belief in this new economy. The future lies in services that provide the necessary tools for consumers to bypass traditional businesses in providing all kinds of things, including both goods and services. As the author points out, collaborative consumption not only benefits the person making some extra money. It benefits everyone including those on both sides of the transaction, the environment, and society as a whole. That’s what makes this movement so incredibly exciting.

For example, let’s say someone needs a cake for their child’s birthday party. In the past, a consumer would have no choice but to purchase a birthday cake from somewhere like Baskin Robbins. Now, we are moving to place where anyone with a kitchen and the desire to fulfill that service can do so, replacing a reliance on places like Baskin Robbins. In all likelihood the end product will probably be something more special and valuable provided at a cheaper price. The cost of that cake can go directly into the pocket of the baker instead of  a mega-corporation that  only trickles down  part of that fee to its employees.

As we all know, there are millions of capable people looking to earn a living and contribute to the economy. However, this is clearly more difficult than ever before and may only get harder. Collaborative consumption opens up an incredible opportunity to change the way our economy works. In the process, we will improve the environment by getting more utility out of resources that are currently sitting idle, like a baker with time on their hands and a kitchen. It will strengthen community and add to quality of life because this new “economic event” (neighbor pays neighbor directly for awesome homemade cake) makes everyone better off.

It has been a tough couple of years for a lot of us, but the emergence of new cultural trends like collaborative consumption is reason to think tomorrow will be better. As you may already know, BeenVerified was built to support such transactions by eliminating the one major roadblock to allowing this to take off:anonymity. BeenVerified builds trust between strangers online in the hopes of making collaborative consumption as common as going to the mall. In essence, we believe an easy and affordable way to trust those we are transacting with will provide an even faster adoption of collaborative consumption.  BeenVerified will continue to innovate on ways to help support this imperative progress. How will you?

Now that you are hip to the collaborative consumption scene, take a look at a few of our suggestions on how to try it this holiday season. What do you think? Do you have any suggestions on what we can do differently in order to realize our goal, as well as fully embracing collaborative consumption?

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