Discover the sharing economy, as a new way to do business. The COVID-19 epidemic has left many people on their knees financially, but people have also rediscovered a community spirit, that likely was always there in the first place. These ideas take community out of the box and into the realm of using the idea to replace ‘go to shop, buy stuff and throw away’.
- Little Free Libraries & Tiny Sheds is a book packed with carpentry projects, to bring retired dads and granddads out of hiding! This worldwide sharing movement shares books within communities, left in handmade boxes (they look like those US postal boxes in cartoons). Set up your own, then add your Little Free Library to share with 80,000 others worldwide. If sharing food or plants, see toxic food and toxic plants to avoid near pets.
- Streetbank is the main sharing app, already used in thousands of neighbourhoods. 50 people on a street can share one lawnmower (only used a few times a year). The average power tool apparently only gets used for 20 minutes in its entire lifetime.
- Bla Bla Car is a good European car-sharing club, founded by three French men who could not find a lift. There are safety tips (they verify everything, you leave reviews). You can also list your profile as Bla, Bla Bla or Bla Bla Bla. This way you don’t end up with an awkward situation of a nosy motormouth traumatising someone who is pathologically shy, on a long car journey!
- Co-Wheels (a social enterprise) buys modern cars to rent by the hour (they pay for cleaning, MOT, road tax and often leaves petrol and breakdown cards in the glovebox. Each car is in use daily by around 20 people, so takes 19 cars off the road, and free ups thousands of parking spaces.
- Timebanks were thought up by a US entrepreneur, recovering from a heart attack. The software is downloaded by an administrator and skills are added (dog walker, shopping for food, decorating). You ‘spend’ your earned hour on anything you like. You can also donate hours to those who can’t earn (disabled people, carers).
- Read The Coworking Handbook (by the founder of a co-space in Brussels). This enables people to rent beautiful workspaces by the hour (work from home, then pop in to send faxes, hold meetings, have phone calls etc). Most contracts are short and cheap. If you take your pooch to work in a shared space, remove toxic plants (like lily or sago palm).