What a year. What a time to celebrate.
We owe Airbnb & the Airbnb community more than you can possibly imagine. Yet after hearing that statement, you’re probably going to be more than a little surprised when I say that we didn’t want to get into Bed & Breakfasts. Not. At. All. Interested… that was us.
Imagine this, you’ve worked hard all your life and lived as humbly as possible. Living within your means, being practical and sensible. You have raised your family and watched them leave the nest, travel and settle happily.
Life has been what it has been for most people; hard at times, sometimes extremely so, yet good at others, even wonderful. Challenges have arisen, and you’ve weathered them and then some.
Then something truly amazing happens. Completely out of the blue, and totally unexpected.
Imagine an opportunity arising. One that you bravely take up. I say bravely because quite frankly, this opportunity takes you and your partner completely out of your comfort zones.
The outcome, completely amazes you both.
Then just to top that off, your dream home - you know the one, the one that you and your better half have built in those times where you share your dreams and aspirations over the years? Well, it appears as if by magic.
Unbelievably it’s everything you imagined. Right down to the bathrooms and the colour of the walls.
You can’t quite afford it though - you were going to buy a place, but you also wanted no part of a mortgage.
But this dream home appearing now, at this time when you are financially able to buy a nice home, must have happened for a reason, right?
Life hasn’t been that fabulous, and you know that you could be happy anywhere, but… this is your dream home and it’s almost attainable.
So, you go to the bank. And the banks approve of your dream and assist with the small amount of funding you require to obtain it.
You move to the country and settle in.
It’s everything that you thought it could be and more. Your life has certainly turned a corner.
At first, you cannot believe your good fortune. You walk around your new domain with a silly grin on your face for months. That grin has a habit of following you around wherever you go.
Life isn’t just good, it’s fabulous and you continue to pinch yourself and tell yourself it is real. Everyone around you tells you that it’s karma and well deserved.
Then, one of the financial wheels you believed was set in stone, falls off.
Then another one falls off too.
Life begins to look a little less certain.
But then, you’re used to this. You’ve weathered storms before.
So you do what you're good at. You make the best of it and you battle on. You do this for two years, but the hole you are now in keeps getting deeper, no matter what you do, no matter what you do.
Despair sets in.
You look at everything possible to try and ensure that you don’t lose your dream home. That you don’t lose everything that you have worked all your lives for.
One of the things that I looked at doing was a Bed & Breakfast with Airbnb.
I'd heard about Airbnb - who hadn't. You'd have to be living in the boondocks not to have heard of Airbnb.
Subconsciously, I realised that it might be the answer we were looking for.
But…I'm a very private person. I didn't really want to have my private space 'invaded' by strangers.
Then there was the whole 'guesting' thing.
Making strangers feel welcome - how does one do that?
On the surface, none of it appealed to me. Quite the opposite.
I'd worked in a Motel. I knew what guests could be like at times. Those memories I had of that time were less than appealing.
The idea that I'd have to clean up after total strangers also didn't appeal.
Notice how all my thoughts on this were all very negative? I really, really didn't want to do this.
I love my family and friends. I love making them feel welcome in my home, but total strangers? No, that wasn't for me.
Our Dream Home also came with just under five acres of land, a winter creek lined with Flooded Gums and a two-bedroom cottage that was a mini-me of our Dream Home.
With the cottage empty, bit's and pieces of furniture were placed there for storage and in some instances, to help out a family member when they were moving and needed somewhere to store something safely.
Anything that was placed into the Cottage was done with the knowledge that if friends or family members wanted to come and visit, that they would have somewhere to stay that was warm, dry and cozy; and it was, even if the furnishings in the cottage were a little on the sparse side and completely mismatched.
Every one that did stay loved it though.
They all said the same thing.
It was cosy.
It was relaxing.
It was serene.
When push comes to shove
It was coming up to the end of the financial year - for us here in Australia, that's 30th June.
I was quickly grasping at straws for us to stay afloat.
One night, unable to sleep, I opened up the free Airbnb application in the Apple Store and had a read.
I closed the Apple Store down.
Half an hour later, as my husband lay sleeping by my side, I opened the Apple Store up again, and this time downloaded the Airbnb app.
I was just going to have a look at what was required…as soon as I read that I could create a listing for a 'space' and that it wouldn't be live until I hit publish, I began to have a play.
It was so easy to do.
I just followed the steps on the screen.
I already had photographs of the cottage from two years ago when we moved in, So I loaded those up, just so I could see what my listing would look like.
In a very short time, and before I knew it, I had this lovely looking listing with photographs and everything.
It looked professional.
I was so impressed.
I didn't hit publish.
I did close my iPad, laid down and went to sleep almost instantly.
The following night, I pulled the page up again and had another look.
Yes, it still looked as good as I remembered it. I hadn't been fooling myself. There were a few typo's and being a tad OCD about some things, I tweaked it just for fun.
I swear my subconscious knew where I was going with this, even if I didn't realise it at the time.
Still, in 'play-mode' I moved from the 'hosting' side of Airbnb to the 'guest' side of Airbnb.
Airbnb wanted to know where I wanted to go.
Now, don't forget, I'd not used the site before, so I had a bit of a play. I ended up looking at unusual places from all over the world.
My first thought was, I needed to win the lottery. Some of those places! Ooh, la la!
Half an hour later, I wondered what else was available closer to home.
Then I wondered what sort of money people were getting in my area.
So I decided to have a look.
I looked at similar properties to mine - so, like to like.
What I discovered shocked me.
I'd been sitting on a little gold-mine and hadn't realised it.
What other properties in the area were asking for per night just blew me away. Not what they were asking per night that would add up to how much you could get for a week. No. It was what they were asking for per night!
I did the math.
I only needed to book out two nights a month, and my mortgage would be paid for every month.
I was shocked.
I closed my iPad down and went to sleep.
The next step.
It was the night of 30th June, and with my husband asleep beside me, I did what now had become a habit.
I opened up my iPad.
I opened up the Airbnb Application.
I looked at everything.
I checked and double-checked everything that I had entered against everything on the website.
I had also been perusing the forums and gleaning information from there.
At midnight, exhausted, stressed and desperate. I did the unthinkable.
I PUSHED THE GO LIVE BUTTON ON THE AIRBNB APPLICATION.
I then looked at my husband, rolled over and went to sleep.
1st July 2016
I woke up to a sound pinging on my iPad.
It was Airbnb telling me that I’d just received my first booking.
I literally pooped my pants. I hadn’t discussed anything with my husband and I hadn’t actually believed that we would get a booking.
Frantically I told Brian what I had done and what the outcome was. I also told him of the possibilities.
Long story short, we honoured that booking, and the next, and the next…
I listened to all of our guests. I heeded most of them. We always improved whenever we could.
I can honestly say that all those doubts and fears that I have about our privacy being infringed et cetera were all for naught. Airbnb has made an app that you can specify your interaction time with your guests. They know what they’re getting when they get here - yet always seem so surprised too, which we love. We’re honest in our statements. We lead no-one astray and promise nothing that we cannot deliver, and yet still people come.
For us, it’s a miracle.
Happily Ever After.
One hundred and sixty-two reservations and three years later we’ve not only made SuperHost but we didn’t lose our home.
We now make enough money to pay our bills.
I’ve also replaced all the mismatched stuff in the cottage with nicer things. Not flash, just new manchester et cetera. All the furniture is still all second hand and most of it still belongs to family and friends (who get to come and stay whenever they want with no cost to them).
But the biggest thing of all… we now OWN OUR DREAM HOME.
That’s right, as of two weeks ago, we own it. It’s ours. There is no longer a mortgage.
If it were not for Airbnb we would not have been able to say that.
I’m sitting here in tears as I write this. They are indeed happy tears just in case you’re wondering. So our celebration this year is without precedent for us. We are, without a doubt, exceedingly lucky.
I wish you and yours as much success in your endeavours as we have had in ours.
I hope my story will inspire you to continue on in your journey. May it be as fruitful and as fulfilling for you and yours as it has been for us and mine.
Hi Deb, in many ways your story mirrors mine!
We lived a good comfortable life, but there was always a darkness hanging over it in the form of MS. When Ade was finally positively diagnosed in 1994 I wound down my business and we turned our lives around....those things that we had, that nice house in the hills, the 2.7 mechanical injection Porsche 911 Targa in the garage, didn't have the same meaning.
We traveled and we traveled, we went all over the world. We bought a motor-home and we started living life.
Our retirement nest-egg dwindled away to the point where we had to do something I vowed and declared I would never do....unable to go out and support us any longer, we went on a government retirement pension.
In 2014 I first heard about Airbnb! Deb you know as well as I do, down here in Oz we are a bit slow on the uptake and my reaction was.....'Take strangers into you own property, why would I do that, my home is my castle, and if I want to walk out into the rear garden and drop a f*rt when I feel like it......I will bloody well do it!"
In 2015 I mellowed. I got council occupancy on the work I did here, and relations of one of my neighbours wanted somewhere to stay close by when this neighbour required serious heart surgery.
That stay went well, they loved staying here and we loved having them! All of a sudden the prospect of having strangers in your property wasn't quite so daunting!
And, we got paid for it!!!!!!!!!
As we bordered our local high school, they asked us to homestay international students....once again, for a fee, and once again we enjoyed the experience to the point where it was incredibly sad letting one of them return back home to Italy....We still to this day have her name on the cottage wall......
By the end of 2016, Airbnb was rolling through Australia like an express train and we decided to hitch our carriage to the train.
The lifestyle Airbnb has given us is amazing. I would have to have close to 2 million dollars invested to earn per month what I do out of Airbnb and Stayz.
And the lovely guests we mostly keep on getting are the icing on the cake!
If I could have my life over again, would I turn my back on Airbnb.........I don't think so Deb!
Oh Rob, how beautiful.
I’m so glad you found Airbnb too, and yes, being able to be yourself in your own home is so very important. Otherwise, how can you relax?
I really believed having an Airbnb would be like taking your work home with you. I’m so glad we couldn’t have been more wrong.
Thank you for sharing your journey.
Thank you @Deborah82 for telling us your celebratory story! It was such a joyous read.... and I do like a happy ending!
By the way, you reminded me of the nerves when I hit the “publish” button. Oh, and that first notification “ping”.....
I know right? My heart was in my mouth both time, but when that ‘ping’ went off. Lol. Seriously though, I never believed that I would wake up to a booking. Let alone one from the other side of the planet. Nancy from the US - at least, it’s not until September. I had months to prepare... or so I thought. A couple of hours later, I had a booking for the 6th of July, by that afternoon I had a booking for the 2nd of July.
It was a case of ‘all hands on deck’ and Don’t Panic! Lol.
Yes, that was a day I don’t think I will forget for a very long time. 😊
@Deborah82 @Robin4 @Jennifer1421 @Helen427 @Sarah977 @Cathie19 For someone like me who just hopped on the Airbnb train these stories are very inspiring. I hope hosting will help me in the long run. I still have to polish my business skills and learn what matters most in this business.
i know what I don’t want: I don’t want to be a “Motel”, I don’t want to hava IKEA furniture and I don’t want to have any bad experiences.
Any ideas are highly appreciated.
Thank Giuliano’s, and a warm welcome to the Airbnb Community, even if it is somewhat belated.
Sounds to me like you are already on the right path. Knowing what you don’t want to do is just as important as knowing what to do.
My top tips would be...
*hugs* and all the very best in your endeavours.
Thanks for your advice Deborah. I didn’t follow my gut feeling and I blindly trusted the guest without reading his reviews. Big mistake. Turned out he keeps repeating his offences. Then he did something so I couldn’t write a review about him. Many hosts give up at this point but I kept calling Airbnb till my case was rectified.
Again, thanks and Merry Christmas and a happy new year!