Imagine you are going to travel overseas. You go online, find a website that specializes in short-term rentals, and research homes available in the area you want to visit. You read the feedback on what the host, the accommodations, and arrangements were like, and seeing that all is good, you book it. This is the sharing economy in action.

Now imagine you are interested in losing weight. You go online, find a company that specializes in weight loss supplements, and research what is available to meet your needs. You check with your friends on Facebook to see if it works. Seeing that all is good, you order it. This is what network marketing is like for many of us today.

If we think about it, we can see that network marketing really is the forerunner to the sharing economy. Here are some common elements in each:

Further similarities include the necessity for a good reputation, solid trust, relationships, and positive feedback.

Both models foster the individual as an entrepreneur. Network marketers must be self-motivated, have strong work habits, and have an unshakable “why” to push them to success. Networkers understand personal development and personal responsibility and make both a priority in their businesses.

These are also key characteristics of individuals in a successful sharing economy. Both models focus on the individual for the exchange of goods and services. Just as network marketing cuts out the middleman in the supply chain, the sharing economy is developing more niches that operate at the personal level—cars, rooms, appliances, tools, or even movies and music.

Both models leverage the ever-advancing communications technology to drive business transactions. It’s helpful to have a strong social media presence, have your cell phone in hand, and not be afraid of new technology to make your business work.

Humans are created to be part of communities, to be connected with each other in multiple ways. Network marketing, the sharing economy, and social media are reflections of our deep desire to connect. The unique and wonderful aspect of networking and sharing is that we reap incredible benefits as we satisfy each others’ needs. We are rewarded financially, with better health, or with a valuable service that we love and others want.

Network marketing truly is a fundamental driver in the paradigm shift the sharing

economy is ushering in. The simple act of sharing what works for you with your friends and family is expanding into the global market place as the sharing economy. It is only going to get bigger and better—and we are on the front lines making it happen!

JAY and CINDY JENKINS reside in Slidell, Louisiana. They are in business with their daughters and lots of awesome friends. They have ten fantastic grandkids that keep them young and happy.