Last night 40,000 people rented accommodations from a service that offers 250,000 rooms in 30,000 cities in 192 countries. They chose their rooms and paid for everything online. But their beds were provided by private individuals rather than by a hotel chain.

The sharing economy is running into some backlash from established hotel chains, which is to be expected, because it challenges the status quo. It creates new opportunities that were not easily accessed prior to the ubiquity of the Internet. It changes the game.

It reminds me of the reaction to network marketing I received 20 years ago when I started. It was a new way of thinking and working together, so the idea often met with skepticism.

The network marketing business model was a game changer, one I believe is at the origin of the sharing economy.

In a working world dominated by corporate jobs that resembled a contact sport, a team sport emerged in the form of network marketing.

This original sharing business is based on the idea that each of us has the right to create our own economy through entrepreneurship. This entrepreneurship is based on the idea that I share my contact list with a company looking to connect with customers. This company in turn shares profit with me for successfully turning these contacts into loyal clients by sharing the company’s products and opportunity. Additionally, the company will share more profit if I share my time, talent, and resources to teach and train others to build loyal clients. Those I teach and train can do the same, so their opportunity is equal to my opportunity.

Ultimately, the more people I help to become successful, the more success I experience. It is in my best interest to share everything I know with those whom I have shared the business with to give them the best chance of success. By sharing my time, talent, and resources with others, I build relationships into lifelong friendships with loyalty to the company. This builds the success of everyone involved. Everyone wins.

The goal of a sharing economy is to provide win-win solutions for those who participate. Network marketing does this in spades. Not only does everyone who participates have access to entrepreneurship, but the win-win model allows for benefit beyond income. To me, network marketing is the original sharing economy.

DANA COLLINS has been a top earner in her company for over twelve years. She lives in Savannah, Georgia with her three children. Her proudest achievement is to have been fully present in their lives while building her network marketing business.