Uber has not only revolutionized the transportation industry by providing an easier and cheaper service, but has caused a ripple effect that is enhancing lives all over the country.

Here's an example.

It's an old cliche that every waiter in Hollywood is an aspiring actor and ... well, yes, many of them are. You have to make money while you're working on your dream. And the tough part about having a "day job" is that it's generally not flexible.

What if an actor gets a last-minute audition during work hours? He better be able to find someone to take his shift. If he can't, he may have to forego the audition to keep his day job. If he does decide to go to the audition, will he really do his best job considering the constant pressure he faces of having to make special arrangements with his boss, or of getting fired to pursue a dream? Probably not. This leads to a sometimes-depressing cycle.

Many aspiring actors are happily turning to Uber. I've talked to quite a few who love contracting for the company because they can set their own hours without having to answer to anyone. Some actors have also told me they do a better job at their auditions because they're not pressed to get back to their job for fear of losing it. Think of all of the other people who need a flexible schedule whom the shared economy business model could help: parents with small children, entrepreneurs, independent contractors, students--you name it!

The business world is getting wise to the fact that we need a good work/life balance to be happy. In fact, it's one of the criteria for the "Best Places to Work" awards each year. The shared economy model takes this to a whole new level and is enhancing the lives of consumers and independent contractors alike. Uber has inspired similar business models in a plethora of industries. Those who need a little extra cash can choose from contractor jobs they actually enjoy. Like these. 

Wag is the Uber of dog walking. Download the app and you receive a map showing all Wag!-certified dog walkers in your area. You can meet and choose the person you like (and yes, it's a great way to meet cool people).

Once your dog is on the walk, you can track its location in real time on your phone. At the end of the walk, you are emailed a report card with a photo, the distance traveled, a bathroom update, and information about how your dog behaved.

Many people really want a dog, but have to work late from time to time and don't have a way to get their friend walked. Because this business exists, more people are adopting dogs from local humane societies. Very cool success stories from the shared economy model! 

This home cleaning company utilizes local, independent contractors who can choose to accept or not accept a cleaning job based on location or timing. The company has an excellent system for booking and marketing their services. This gives their independent contractors a strong marketing platform with which to gain more work.

I talked to one contractor who began cleaning houses in her spare time to lose weight, while making extra money for her kids' education. And it worked! All the movement she did while cleaning houses caused her to lose 60 pounds and because of her great personality and perfectionism, she is requested from clients frequently. She says that working for Handy has made her life better because she has extra money and feels healthier.

If you have small children or are just really, really busy, running out to the store can seem like an enormous task. It's also a big problem if you are a senior citizen and have trouble carrying heavy bags or are not able to drive to the store. Food delivery services don't usually come until the day after ordering--which doesn't really help in certain cases. 

Urbery is a same-day grocery delivery service that uses crowd-sourced personal shoppers to deliver the customer's desired items in under two hours. Customers of this service love it because they are able to spend more time with their families after work, rather than running around doing chores. Independent contractors love it because they can make supplemental income while they work on building their dream career.

The overwhelming response businesses with shared economy model are receiving is that people are able to connect with one another more, to make a better income, and to feel like they're making a difference. Perhaps the future of business involves the obliteration of the traditional 9-to-5 in favor of a more enjoyable, efficient existence.

Published on: Mar 5, 2015