‘I’m reaping the benefits of the sharing economy’

Nov 15, 2018
Jay Novak, driving, makes extra money thanks to the sharing economy. Source: Jay Novak

One in 10 Australians boost their income through the sharing economy. For most, this is a part-time activity; for me, it’s a full-time job.

Being an innkeeper is in my DNA. My grandmother ran a boarding house in Brisbane and my mother took in lodgers. This income would prove the difference between meeting the rent or not, this meant my single mother was able to keep us all afloat.

Now I’m in my 70s and live off my earnings from the sharing community. I have a few rooms in Newtown, Sydney that I let through Airbnb and three car spots that are listed with Spacer. I also use Car Next Door to rent my car out when I am not using it. This is a boon to the local neighbourhood and to me — win, win!

Being in a big city means there is little need to own a car. It’s so easy to jump on the train or bus, walk or cycle to where you need to go. Parking is expensive and scarce. A lot of the time my car sits idly in the garage. However, now it has a life of its own! The earnings I’ve generated are enough to meet all on-road costs, whilst my popularity with the neighbours has been given a shot in the arm. Being a member of this car sharing scheme also enables me to use other vehicles if I need to. For example, if I need a ute or a van for transporting goods, there’s bound to be a suitable vehicle within a 5-minute walk.

Then there is the money I make leasing my three unused car spots. This is my personal favourite as there is zero work involved. How hard can it be to lease a slab of concrete? This equates to $50 per week, per space resulting in a windfall of $150 per week. With a click of a mouse, there’s my weekend spending money.

I had been successful in London, where I looked after international backpackers for 20 years. I had timed my London life very well, riding the wave of the property boom in the 1980s. Then I returned to Australia keen to tap into the market locally. Knowing that there is always a need for short-term accommodation in a big city, I focused my attention on Newtown. With the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as neighbours, the project was greenlighted.

With all the pieces in place it now seems an appropriate time to hand the reins to the next generation. By year end, my daughter-in-law will be knee deep in the sharing economy and continuing the family tradition.

The guests are sleeping soundly in their beds. The car is out and about and three little vehicles are safely tucked up for the night. Three cheers for the sharing economy!

Have you found ways to make extra money? Share your success with us.

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