In recent years the sharing economy has been making a comeback. Technology is helping us to revive the once common tradition of sharing what we have with our neighbours. Sharing helps more people access what they need, often in a more affordable way, and enables us to make better use of our planet’s resources.
Sharing can mean borrowing a party kit, a tent or even a car. But the sharing economy isn’t just about sharing stuff - we can share our time too.
Kesero makes sharing our time easier. A peer-to-peer skills sharing platform, it enables more people to connect, sharing knowledge and time to help others.
So in return for helping someone prepare for an interview, learn to crochet or walk their dog, the sharer earns an hour’s credit. This can then be redeemed for one of the many skills others are offering via the platform.
Seeing the value in sharing
When I first discovered the Kesero platform I instantly thought of my late grandad. A Yorkshireman who turned 18 at the start of WWII, Laurie was from a time when communities were close - they shared and were encourage to 'make do and mend'.
Laurie was a practical person. Originally an engineer in the RAF and later at IBM, my grandad built his family’s first television, he laid a patio which would probably have survived a nuclear attack and he could still be found up a ladder replacing the shed roof well into his 80s.
He was retired for 30 years and was actively involved in local clubs and political campaigning. In later years he would often moan of not having enough to do - not having enough purposeful things to fill his time.
While I realise that not all elders are as comfortable using the internet as Laurie was, I can see the value that sharing skills via Kesero would have brought him. It would have enabled him to reconnect with his community and to feel useful again. And the potential recipients could have benefited from both his experience and time (even if there's now less need to build our own TVs!).
But it's not just the older generation who can benefit from skills sharing.
Benefits of sharing for sharers and recipients
Lots of people have skills to offer which others need but might not normally be able to access. By trading in time there are multiple benefits for both the sharer and the recipient.
The recipient gets the help they need, perhaps getting a small job done or guidance to learn something new. It could be an introduction to a new hobby, getting that thing finally fixed or help setting up a new business. And because the transaction is time-based rather than financial it opens up access.
The sharer gets the opportunity to feel useful and perhaps share a passion. By helping, the sharer can earn time credits which then can be redeemed for access to skills they need. For those just starting out with a new business or getting back into work after a break, skills sharing offers the opportunity to gain experience and feedback in a safe space.
And because it’s more than a straight skills swap, the platform’s community enables access to a wider range of expertise.
Joining in skills sharing
Now that I’d discovered Kesero it was time to take the next step on my sharing economy journey and join in.
Signing up to the platform was easy and didn’t require a lot of information - just a bit about me to help potential partners see if I might be a good fit. Then I needed to add my first skill. This is where I initially panicked that I didn’t know anything that others would find useful!
Panic over, I decided to start with a professional skill. Before my children were born I worked for a variety of ecommerce brands. I felt that offering even an hour of my time might be useful enough to a small business or start up to help improve their website or mobile app experience. I created the skill on my profile and added a bit about how I could help.
While I waited for people to take up my offer I took a look at the skills others had already listed.
Wealth of knowledge on offer
When you sign up to Kesero you receive two hours free credit so you can take up an offer straightaway without waiting for someone to need your particular skill.
I had a browse of the skills others were offering; there was a mix of professional skills, practical skills and knowledge sharing. Many could be delivered remotely so I wasn’t restricted by who lived locally to me.
There really are all sorts of skills available. I found offers of skills you might expect like graphic design and help with social media, but there was also holiday itinerary planning, body confidence coaching, how to play chess, thrifty cooking, guidance on decluttering, creating a household budget or even help to plan a cocktail menu for a party complete with a bespoke shopping list. And I could have used a professional copywriter for an hour to make a much better job of this blog post!
It was exciting to know that there’s such a wealth of knowledge out there that I can benefit from and I will be redeeming my credits soon - just as soon as I decide which of the many amazing offers to take up.
Sharing knowledge is powerful and by using time credits more people can get help otherwise not accessible to them. Sharing skills offers the opportunity to keep traditional skills alive. It offers a valuable learning experience that is perhaps more useful than just reading a book or watching a YouTube video.
Sharing skills offers the opportunity to feel good about what we can do - (or in my case, dust off dormant skills and be reminded that I do actually know something aside from the right dosage of Calpol for an 18-month-old). It offers the opportunity to unblock things which are difficult for others but easier for you. If I’d known about this platform before spending several weeks trying to resolve an email issue I bet I could have found someone to have help me fix it in an hour.
The environmental benefit of skills sharing isn’t perhaps as obvious as with other forms of sharing. However, by sharing knowledge we can fix more things, keeping them out of landfill. We can learn new skills to help us reduce waste - such as knowing what to do with leftover food. We could find an expert to help us get started with composting at home. The possibilities and impacts are endless.
The potential to reconnect and share knowledge has multiple social benefits and, like with many sharing economy initiatives, we will wonder why we weren’t doing it before.
Get sharing your skills at kesero.com
And if you have a website in need of some help, you can take up my offer here…. https://app.kesero.com/skill/64677a154edd4c798d025642