eConsultant

eConsultant - Sanjeev Narang - writes notes on technology, personal growth, personal MBA, productivity and time management.

Kottke on CraigsList

kottke.org :: home of fine hypertext products

"Craigslist and cottage industries

In NYC, when you don't have a car and you need to move stuff that won't fit in a taxi and isn't enough that you need an entire huge moving van, you call a 'man with a van'.** I recently used the services of a guy named Paul, recommended by a friend of a friend. After packing the back of his truck with my things, we set off for our destination, chatting along the way. He asked me how I'd found him and we eventually got to talking about craigslist.

Paul told me that these days, he got most of his jobs from CL and only one or two a week from personal referrals. I found that surprising and when I pressed him further, he told me that because of CL, he's been able to do pursue moving (which he really likes doing) as a full-time career. I can't remember the exact quote, but Paul said something to the effect that he can't believe he's getting away with starting a full-time business on CL without it costing him a single dime.

I'd never really thought about it before, but in some ways, CL helps lots of people build businesses cheaper and more effectively than more 'robust', complex, and expensive enterprise software solutions. Movers are just one example. CL can help you find employees for your business. If you've got a van, you can pick up free furniture and electronics around the city, fix or refurbish, and sell it. You can start a business doing computer troubleshooting, piano lessons, buying and fixing up old motorcycles, or escort and sensual massage services. And if you need something done for your business but don't have the money to pay for it, you can always barter goods or services in exchange. These are just the obvious examples. Does anyone know of anyone using craigslist in more creative ways to make a living or other examples of people succeeding in business using CL?

** Don't know how this evolved, but folks in the "man with a van" profession like to rhyme the names of their businesses. My guy was "Call Paul to Haul", but you will also probably find "Chuck/Buck with a Truck", "Cory with a Lorry", "Schmuck with a Truck", "Call Jack to Pack", and so on. (Oh, I'd recommend using Paul if you need a man with a van...contact me if you'd like his info.)
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