“If you are a driver for Uber or ride-sharing platform Lyft, a host on AirBnB, or a “tasker” doing odd jobs on TaskRabbit, you may consider yourself what has been recently labelled a “micropreneur”.
Making money from your idle capacity – be that time and skills, or assets such as your spare room, car, or driveway – is made easy by firms offering platforms to connect supply and demand in the collaborative economy.
Such platforms, many initially based on connecting neighbours and communities, and/or driven by a social purpose (hence the earlier label of the sharing economy), have also led to the emergence of global giants, some with capital valuations of over US$40 billion. Their profit-driven business models are also disruptive for traditional industries, such as transport, accommodation, and logistics.
Suppliers are often referred to as “hosts”, members of a “community”, or “partners”; even their logos are co-created and “belong to everyone”. The main attraction for suppliers, or rather “workers”, on these platforms, is – unsurprisingly – the flexibility they offer in earning extra income. And it’s not just basic services that are supplied. Recent reports suggest these types of platforms have the capacity to enter more specialised industries such as professional services, for instance, online marketplaces for legal services. Here, the average supplier is highly qualified, often providing niche legal services. Interestingly, anecdotal reports suggest that large firms may be using this flexible supply option to scale up and down their internal legal services as needed.
Read the full story at Uber ‘micropreneurs’ signal the end of work as we know it.