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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 11 Noteworthy Businesses Monetizing the Shared Economy

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 11 Noteworthy Businesses Monetizing the Shared Economy

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

Shared economy is big business. Name one sharing service that’s catching a buzz among your fellow business owners for making life easier.

1. SittingAround for Mompreneurs

    Babysitting coops is a concept that many mompreneurs find interesting in the early stages of startup when you can’t justify paying a babysitter or nanny, but you also can’t justify not. Sharing the responsibility with other trusted parents is a great way to work around the expense of childcare while building your business. Services like SittingAround makes it easier to manage!

    Jennifer Donogh, Young Female Entrepreneurs

    2. Soar With SurfAir

      SurfAir

      is getting a lot of buzz, despite not having launched or owning any planes yet. The concept is simple — “all you can fly” short-haul routes on small, private planes for a flat monthly fee, without all the hassles of big airports or the TSA. I’m hoping they succeed; it’s a great and very disruptive idea.
      Matt Mickiewicz, Flippa and 99designs

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      3. Exec Offers Assistant

        Exec

        , a new startup, allows you to hire an assistant for $25 per hour. A few of my startup friends use the service when they need to quickly increase temporary staff (i.e. during a big sales day). Another uses Exec staff to run personal errands, thereby freeing up the entrepreneur’s time to run her business. Sharing an hourly assistant provides incredible flexibility for startups.

        Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

        4. Carpool Through Ridejoy

          Collaborative consumption meets carpooling with Ridejoy, an awesome service that helps you find and share rides with friendly people across the country. Sounds scary, maybe, but it disrupts a market that too many people trust to Craigslist and opens up an entirely new one.

          Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

          5. TaskRabbit Gets It Done

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            TaskRabbit

            , the site that helps you get tasks done efficiently, is part of the collaborative consumption economy. Anyone can post a task that needs completion, and other people on the platform can bid to complete the task. Whether someone needs a courier, an editor, or someone to help set up IKEA furniture for the office, TaskRabbit is used a lot by business owners.

            Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

            6. Overnight With Airbnb

              Business owners today are more mobile than ever, and sometimes we feel like we don’t have a home when going from hotel to hotel. Airbnb still allows us to stay in a home in the cities we’re traveling to and do it for rates that often trump the best deals you can get in a hotel. In the next few months, I’ll be in NYC a lot, and I’ll use Airbnb and the reviews there to locate where I’ll stay.

              Shaun King, HopeMob

              7. Coworking With Regus

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                Shared office space is great for small business owners who don’t have the money for an actual office, or for those who simply don’t need one. I used a shared space via Regus for several meetings with local clients. Also, sharing office space can provide you with a professional network, as you work side-by-side with like-minded individuals.

                Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

                8. Settle Down via DeskWanted

                  DeskWanted

                  helps you find coworking spaces all around the world, which is fantastic for us entrepreneurs who are always en route. It helps you find coworking spaces that you can work at for the day, or meeting spaces to meet with clients or partners in the city you’re in.

                  Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

                  9. Drive Anywhere Wtih Zipcar

                    Owning a car can be expensive for an entrepreneur trying to save money and stay lean. With Zipcar, I don’t have to worry about parking, gas, insurance, or maintenance! I can get to all my meetings and save money!

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                    Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Test Prep

                    10. SnapGoods for Gadgets

                      SnapGoods

                      allows you to easy and safely rent/borrow gear or gadgets for as short as a day. It’s a great way to try out a product before buying it or rent a bike for the day.

                      Josh Weiss, Bluegala

                      11. Hire Help Through Zirtual

                        My Zirtual assistant saves me a ton of time each day. Given the excess demand for the service, you can’t sign up unless a current client invites you. If you message me, I’ll gladly help!

                        Kevon Saber, Fig

                         

                        (Photo credit: US Dollars with Coins in Front via Shutterstock)

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                        Last Updated on January 2, 2019

                        How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                        How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                        Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

                        Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

                        Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

                        This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

                        Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

                        What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

                        Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

                        When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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                        How It Leads to Financial Improvement

                        It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

                        Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

                        Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

                        It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

                        Types of Personal Finance Software

                        When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

                        Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

                        For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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                        Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

                        When to Use Personal Finance Software

                        So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

                        Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

                        1. You Have Multiple Accounts

                        There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

                        If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

                        Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

                        2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

                        Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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                        There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

                        With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

                        3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

                        Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

                        Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

                        Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

                        4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

                        Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

                        You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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                        How to Get Started

                        From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

                        Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

                        It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

                        When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

                        Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

                        In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

                        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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