Shampoo and Booze Episode 26: Being Airbnb Guests Rather Than Hosts For A Bit

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We've been on the road for work and fun for the last two weeks. Our first stop was beautiful Bellingham, Washington where we stayed in a basement (bachelor style) apartment of a very nice family. Next we drove about 400 miles to Bend, Oregon to immerse ourselves in some Northwestern hipster-ism, complete with bespoke coffee and beer at every corner.  We thoroughly enjoy being Airbnb and guests, rather than hosts, every once in a while. Back home, our friend is successfully running our Farmhouse, checking people in and cleaning. Thank goodness for people you can trust!

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24 comments:

  1. I'm obsessed with the idea of owning an Air BNB. And not just a regular one but one that some how makes the most of the first home that we'll buy. I'm brainstorming different ways to make create separate spaces if we're unable to buy a house without an additional dwelling unit. Maybe build a garage out to make it a studio apartment or build a tiny house in the backyard. Then I debate whether I'd like to live in the small space or the main space. I'm leaning towards the small space to have a higher earning potential. $$$

    Me and my husband are transitioning into getting full time jobs. It was a huge decision after 3 years of self employment. I just want to move forward faster to getting a house. Ebay will still be our thing but not our only thing.

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    1. what are your jobs? i don't think that's a bad thing, you need to do what works for you. it's exciting you're looking for a house, you guys are in the Dallas area? should be a great place for Airbnb for sure.

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    2. We are in Dallas.

      I start training tomorrow at a falafel shop that's about to open in the bar/music district downtown. They give employees unlimited amounts of free food (on or off the clock) which blows my minds. I got my ideal schedule of M-F days so I'll be in sync with my husband's schedule. That alone will keep us moving forward with ebay more easily. Plus no uniforms and the overall vibe seems like the brand has a good sense of style. When I sent them my resume the owner emailed me back saying that he & his business partners are also self employed referencing my self employment :)

      Mark is essentially getting paid to learn amazon. He's listing on amazon for a gentleman who owned one of the main cd/record shops in Dallas for the last 20 years. About a year ago Mark helped close the store since the guy was looking for temporary help while their permanent employees transition to their next job. After the store closed down he offered Mark to work in the warehouse helping him get everything online. Mark turned it down so we could focus on ebay. Mark emailed him a couple weeks ago and already started learning the ropes.

      We've been averaging $4K-$5K monthly in sales during the last year but the amount of money I want to save requires trying new things..... like getting a job. <--- I debated about this for months but there's no need for me to waste time debating when I could be hustling. So jobs for now, not forever.

      Side note: the owner of the food shop causally mentioned that he'd be open to sharing the profit and loss statement with anyone who's interested. Dude, my ears totally perked up. I love talking numbers. I would love to learn success for others, like the shop owners, and apply it to my future.

      By the way, I love Shampoo & Booze podcast. I can't tell you how much I appreciate hearing the ins & outs of your experiences. So inspiring!

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    3. I retract all statements about getting a job. I'm back to full time self employment. I do have a few more tricks up my sleeve before giving another crack at getting a job. Years of pushing myself to work more 50+ hour weeks while waitressing has created some interesting plantar fasciitis foot pain. I can stand 8 hours but doing it 5 days a week is not an option. Good to know. Well, the break from doing ebay full time has refreshed some ideas I have to make $$$ on our own. Full speed ahead. If I can't scale a wall then I'll go around.

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    4. why take a break from doing ebay full time? that's where the money is at.

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    5. The break from ebay was specifically from the erratic training schedule before the shop opened. The intention was to continue to do ebay while working a job since ebay isn't even 40 hours a week for us to sell $3,000-$5,000 a month.

      For the past month or so before looking for a job I felt major burnout. You guys talked about changing things up to avoid burnout in the past but glossed over the mental pain of burnout. Have you guys dealt with any mental burnout drama before transiting out of clothes & shoes and into all your random stuff?

      I was feeling so much mental and emotional noise and didn't know it was burnout until I described it to a friend who makes adult videos online. She explained that burnout is a huge thing in her industry. And that folks can feel major guilt about having burnout when they "should feel lucky to have such a great job" & that "they chose that to be either job so why complain". I want to do more research on it in general. It's so overwhelming it's hard to pin down what the actual problem is.

      Do I burning out because I hit a temporary rough patch with sales & inventory or does it just feel like a rough patch because I'm burned out? Burnout just feels hopeless. I feel like once or twice a year I hit different degrees of burnout. It always resolves itself and doesn't last as long as it feels. It's slows everything down. It's the worst.

      2 weeks into a job and I'm magically renewed with ebay. I'm putting together a costume to try a hand at busking as a living statue. 7 years ago we busked in Dallas and didn't make a cent. I'm hoping for the best while expecting the worst. Plus we're designing shirts to sell on etsy. Again hoping for the best while expecting the worst.

      I'd love to hear about any sort of internal struggles either of you had while doing ebay these last 8 years.

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    6. Burnout is the biggest pitfall for anyone self-employed. Those of us who are successful on our own have figured out different strategies to keep things interesting.

      For us, we like to travel. Every six months, we take a big trip for at least 2-4 weeks. In between, we like to explore our region of weekends. We turn them into scavenging hunts.

      This is also why we started an Airbnb rental to diversify our income from just selling on eBay. (People who don't know of our other business can find us at Scavengerlife.com)

      There's no easy answer to void burnout. All we can do is know ourselves well and change things up way before it happens.

      I also try to remember what it's like to work full-time for someone else. That's a feeling worse than burnout. It;s a felling of suffocation.

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    7. Yeah, when I listened to your second before last SL podcast I thought, "traveling must break up the build up for any burnout for them."

      I agree, I'm learning the cycles and observing the signs. After 3 years of selling online I'm just now starting to see a pattern in my ups & downs. Overall ebay is good and drama free.

      I second what you're saying for that last paragraph.

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    8. Jay, thinking about what you said over the last few hours "All we can do is know ourselves well and change things up way before it happens. " is brilliant. A total lesson in mindfulness. I'm measuring a pile of clothes and it's getting late in the evening. There's a reaction to just power through to get the listings up tonight but I think too much powering through may trigger burnout later down the road. That attitude was the absolute wrong approach when I was waitressing. I'm going to observe the signs, "powering through" may sometimes be a red flag.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    9. i think the whole idea that 'people who get no sleep, get a lot done' is a myth. that approach has never worked for me, not even in my 5 years of art college. it might work for some people (no one i know), but it's a sure way to get burned out. we're naturally home bodies, so that helps, but we like to stop working early, watch movies and then sleep late. we do fill the day with work, because we enjoy it. but why have this lifestyle if you're tired all the time? slow and steady wins the race.

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    10. I super agree. I feel like I've better taking this lesson in in other areas of my life. I very glad we talked about this.

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    11. here's a quick example. we got home from traveling for a month. i had about 110 things to pack for ebay. it can really turn into a grind if you don't take a break. it feels endless. yesterday i packed from 7am with a food break, up til 2pm. then i stopped for the day and we did some stuff in town. today i packed from about 9am til 1 with break for food. then i worked another hour, got tired, watched a netflix show, then started work again for a bit. but really i could have stopped there, but i'm packing hats so it's pretty easy. you really have to take breaks to refresh yourself. even if that means several short breaks a day. or just ending early when you start to feel tired. it really makes a huge difference.

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    12. So I've been thinking about this conversation for days. It's kind of a big deal. It's all about success & getting out of my own way. The number one thing I'm getting from this conversation is that I can set my time up to either flow or crunch. When I do shit last minute I still want to get stuff done before the day is up....and power through. Seeing the connection between that and burnout is huge. I'm going to tweak my hours and get on the ball earlier.

      My story of the self has always been "I can't get up early, etc". And it felt compulsively true up until I got a gym buddy. We committed to being at the gym by 10-ish so I easily get up at 9:20. 9:20 is early for me but I truly want to be at the gym so it's easy. And now a habit.

      I'm getting out of my way. Fake it till you make it. "I'm the type of person who wakes up at 7am to knock out 3 hours of work before the gym". This is my mantra. I will do this.

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  2. I'm completely obsessed with this idea, too. We're keeping it in mind as we look for a larger place to move into with my 92 year old Memaw. I CAN'T WAIT to start employing some of the tricks I've picked up from years of reading design blogs! Black chalkboard painted accent wall in the dining room? Probably not in my actual house, but that would be *so fun* in a rental. My mind is buzzing with stuff like this right now haha. I'm so glad I live in a touristy area (Asheville, NC) that has visitors year round. ^_^

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    1. Ashville is a great area, you'll be booked like crazy.

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    2. Exactly! We really really REALLY enjoy scavenging material and cool stuff for our rentals. Design blogs are the perfect place to get ideas.

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  3. I've heard you two comment many times on the cleaning fee issue, and I think that it is important to remember that not all consumers have the same mindset as you two do. I for one, in addition to most of my friends, have no problem with a cleaning fee, as long as it is reasonable for the property booked. I assume in most cases that my hosts are having to hire someone to do the cleaning.
    I run my airbnb in half of my duplex and have always charged a cleaning fee, and its on the lower end of cleaning fees in my market for a 1bd/1ba ($55)-I consider it paying myself for my time as well as compensating for the cost of washing & cleaning products (I have no W/D so towels & sheets are taken to the laundromat).
    Remembering that all consumers do not think the same can be considered accross many arenas-for example while I consider the airbnb platform easy to use, but not without certain glitches that I've adapted to, some older or less tech saavy people using airbnb for the first time consider it difficult to book, the verification process strange, and the added fees confusing.

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    1. this is good to hear. this is also something we say about ebay when we sell weird or very expensive items "i am not my target buyer". so we need to think of that with our Farmhouse too. thanks for the perspective.

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    2. One other thing to consider-as our guests often search at or below a certain price point, 'absorbing' your cleaning fees into the nightly rate could make your listing invisible in some searches. You could be doing yourselves a disservice because its seems your listing is one of the best in your area-I would consider that sometimes just seeing how awesome your place is, then seeing a nominal but reasonable cleaning fee, I as a guest would still want to book. But if I never saw the the listing in the first place, because of price filters...

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    3. april, that's a great point. something to think about.

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    4. Another thing is you have mentioned that other owners of cabins in the area require guests to bring their own bedding, Since you don't and then have to clean the bedding as well as the cabin a cleaning fee seems appropriate. Even if it's just for the convenience of not bringing their own bedding and then having to take it home and clean it.

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    5. this is a great point. however i believe that the influx of new airbnb users/millenial parents who now have jobs/money have never experienced the old school "bring your own sheets" rentals. so they expect sheets and towels no matter what. i had never heard of that until we met other cabin owners and was shocked. but we're tweaking our cleaning fee as we feel comfortable for sure.

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  4. I'm curious what your friend does as he's able to take care of the Airbnb for you., Is he retired? Or just has a very flexible schedule? 80% of profits is still better than 0% if you didn't hire him. It's so cook having listened to both of your podcasts since the beginning and seeing you guys evolve into such awesome business people! :)

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    1. He's about 50. But like many people living in rural areas, he's self-employed and makes a living in a variety of ways. Because of the lack of job opportunities (and low cost of living), rural folks are forced to be creative with their time.

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