My 100K+ side hustle


I want to preface this by saying this isn’t for everyone and even though it was a side hustle for me, it is not exactly passive income, but you could make it more passive with a couple things in place! The income noted is from last year, since obviously this year isn’t fully realized yet. So without further ado let me share my little income maker…

I mentioned in a blog post a little while back that one of my goals was to have a hotel, of course that has not happened and to be honest it is no longer on my goal list, because I have had a taste of the hospitality industry now, albeit in a less daunting form than I originally imagined. When I was pregnant I decided that I was going to start an Airbnb. I had stayed at some pretty awful ones cross country and a really great one in Seattle. The last one, I picked the hosts brain about their experience and how it worked and they gave me feedback from their experience. They were renting out rooms in a wing of their house that was not currently used by them and it became a way for them to help pay their mortgage. I also knew of a couple friends that were doing VRBO and having a good experience with it. Three years ago, there wasn’t a huge amount of competition in Seattle for Airbnbs and the ones they did have were constantly booked (I knew this from us trying to book one when we moved here).  I decided I wanted to have an Airbnb that I would feel comfortable staying at and I wanted it to be a single unit not something we were living in. I looked around found a property in a happening neighborhood and set up shop.

The beginning stages of an Airbnb can be the hardest, if you are starting from scratch like I was you will need to furnish an entire apartment. I had a unit on the smaller size, think more hotel suite than mansion, but it had all the amenities one would need for a comfortable stay. I will go over in another post some of the big pieces of furniture I bought and little details on what you should buy to have a fully stocked Airbnb, but for today I will get into my experience. Once I had the unit furnished I looked for a good housekeeper, I actually found two,( I wanted two in case one wasn’t available I would have back up). You could of course save a heap of money by cleaning yourself, but I was super pregnant and bending wasn’t physically an option.  I found my housekeepers through a service called Task Rabbit, but is another place to look, or Craigslist. I took the photos for the unit (Airbnb now offers to send a professional photographer out to shoot your property), carefully filled out the online listing and set my unit to available. I was booked two months ahead right from the start! Seattle you see is going through a huge relocation boom and people need to come in to interview etc. The unit was conveniently located next to two of Seattle’s largest employers. If you are thinking about doing this think about what major attractions are close to your home or rental, it makes a huge difference. Even if you are in the middle of nowhere, I think someone could make a small fortune doing an Airbnb off the cross country driving route, some of the places we had to stay in were downright frightening!  For my Seattle unit I set up a lock box with instructions on how and where to access for self check-in so I wouldn’t have to go back and forth constantly and guests could check-in as late as they needed without us having to go let them in. This system worked out really, really well for me, but others might find they enjoy greeting their guests in person. I did rent out an entire apartment but I think where this could be great additional income would be to rent in your home, especially if you have a guest house, re-finished basement or attic, or like one of my hosts a separate wing to their home (that sounds much fancier than it was). If I was younger without a family I would have no problem renting out my office or even my sofa. Airbnb definitely feels more community driven, so if you have wanderlust this is an awesome opportunity to meet some interesting individuals from around the globe! Again, this isn’t for everyone but for the right person it can be an excellent way to meet people and earn an additional income with little financial and time commitment. There are now services available that for a nominal percentage of your rental fee will do everything from greet the guests, to doing the housekeeping and marketing across multiple platforms. I haven’t tried a service like this yet, but it is something I am very intrigued by. Is it all sunshine and rainbows?  No, not at all, it is a learning process and some things like having your first guest lock themselves out in the middle of the night and not having a spare key option in place is truly a nightmare. Have I had bad guests?  Yes, I have had some bad guests that were loud or smoked in the unit, but really those are the minority and you do have options with Airbnb to request additional funds for deep cleaning or any furniture replacement, etc. I would have to say that in my own experience I have truly enjoyed this program and that it affords me the luxury of working from home, with a toddler that to me is a huge luxury!  I think having the additional income for someone that even decides to do this on a part-time basis would be a great way to earn extra cash, put away savings for a nice trip (or college), give yourself a little breathing room if you are in flux and want to maybe leave your day job and finally take that leap into solopreneurship. My only regret with Airbbnb is that it didn’t exist sooner, I feel like this could have made some of my early business struggles so much less and I could have really done some serious saving, alas that was not the case so I am enjoying myself as much as I can now.

If you are interested in becoming a host or have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will be happy to answer. Also, I must make a note here that my income was reflective of having two Airbnb’s, that’s right I enjoyed it so much and had so many reservation requests that I opted to open a second one. My advice though would be to start small, try it in your own home before committing to a separate property, unless of course you have a separate property that is just sitting there empty and could be generating an income instead…


Become an Airbnb host

Find a handyman/housekeeper

Angie’s List

Vacation rental management

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

6 thoughts on “My 100K+ side hustle

  1. Hi Tristan
    I have always dreamed of having a B+B, so when I found a dilapidated farmhouse in Pocahontas county, WV, I jumped at the opportunity! I an right at the beginning, and I have not been as excited about anything in a long time. The house is on the Greenbriar Trail, one of the 10 best trails in the USA, and of course, the river.
    I have stayed in numerous B+Bs over time and have always enjoyed the personality of different hosts and the spaces they create.
    What would you say is the most important thing in marketing? aside from fabulous pictures…
    Also, what little things do you suggest that makes one stand out?
    I have a vision of a Scandinavian farmhouse, lots of pale grays and neutrals, combining with natural wood.

    I will appreciate your feedback!

    Heloise Swanepoel

    1. Hello Heloise, gosh that sounds BEAUTIFUL! So, firstly, I am doing Airbnb (link below in post under ‘resources’ for host info) in doing so you have built in marketing + visibility. On Airbnb the most important thing people look at are reviews which is sort of a catch-22 when you are starting out since you won’t have any. I offered a discounted intro rate to my first month of guests so I could get reviews and my visibility within Airbnb went up immediately with the good reviews. I also added a TON of photos even detail shots like the inside of fridge and shower, because cleanliness was paramount for me (I stayed in some disgusting Airbnb’s) and I wanted to show guests before hand what a lovely experience they would have. I would list all amenities and have as many as possible, ie. internet, cable, TV, bed (is it pillotop, etc), will there be air or a wood burning fireplace, list what you are close to etc. Airbnb does offer you the opportunity to add a guidebook to your listing for guests so they can see what attractions are in the area. I hope that all makes sense, I haven’t tried a traditional B+B but I have found Airbnb to be a really seamless experience!

  2. Wow that sounds great! Have been toying with the idea for a while now.. Curious, do you rent the places you are offering on airbnb? How did it work out with the respective landlords?

    1. Hello Natalja, they were both rentals. The first one was a large corporate run building, they had their own program in place for short term rentals and there were actually many, many units in the building running Airbnb’s. I had decided to go down to one Airbnb and when I stopped is when a new company came in and halted all the other Airbnb’s in the building. My other was a very small family owned building that I had a long standing relationship with the owner. It’s important to find out if you are allowed to ‘sublease’ most landlords will not allow this, so there needs to be very clear in your lease and with your landlord. I recommend starting with in-home rentals if you can before looking for alternate freestanding property, the market is becoming saturated but where I think one could make a nice additional income would be to rent in their own home whether it be their sofa, an extra room, guest house, etc.

      Some things to consider if you are allowed to find a property that allows you to sublease is can you cover the rent if you are not booked or if someone cancels at the last minute for extenuating circumstances? Some of the expenses will include rent on unit, utilities (if it’s warm where you are air may be running ALL the time with guests), sundry items like toiletries, your maid service, taxes and insurance. In the link below in resources it allows you to get an ‘estimate’ of your rental in your area from Airbnb so you can get an idea of what you could make and you can estimate expenses and see if it’s worth it.

    1. I need to write a follow-up post as I don’t recommend opening something as a free standing just to do an Air bnb but for added income on an existing property that would sit there? Yes, it’s awesome! And you never know! When we were looking to NC we couldn’t find anything in the area we were interested in, we lucked out and stayed with friends of friends but it would have been awesome to stay with awesome creative folks like you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *