A New(er) Business Model
This week I wanted to share a technique I’ve been using that allows me to live ‘rent-free’. It has to do with a company that’s been around since 2008, but has seen exponential growth these last couple years: Airbnb.
This is a stark contrast to the traditional ‘top-down’ model of business used by governments, big business, and other institutions. Their model often employs ‘one size fit’s all’ solutions and carries the mentality that a central authority can make the best decisions, irrespective of the local situation.
The Sharing Economy turns this concept on its head. It allows the free market to make decisions; in other words, individuals can make their own individual choices at the local level, eliminating bureaucratic inefficiencies.
This brings us two excellent benefits: more choices and lower prices.
Airbnb embraces this new business model. Rather than researching what cities would be good locations to build a hotel in, they’ve simply created a platform that lets individuals offer their available room(s) or even entire properties for rent by the night.
This is how you can find a place to stay even in a small town, even one that’s too small for a hotel or motel to build in.
Now enough of the back story, I’m sure you’re more interested in how this lets me live rent-free. Let’s start with an infographic I pulled from Jumpshot that shows some basic metrics, and then I’ll talk about how this helps both the guests and the hosts..
How This Benefits Guests
Aside from Airbnb helping create rooms for rent in small towns, there are more benefits to guests that choose to stay with an Airbnb host vs a traditional hotel, motel, hostel, or bed & breakfast.
For starters, you typically get more for your money. Often, you’ll get access to a full kitchen, rather than a mini fridge. Full as in real plates & flatware, small appliances, and maybe even some food for your breakfast.
How about an actual bedroom and not the ‘studio apartment’ feel of a typical hotel room? Done. You may even have a laundry room with a washer & dryer available.
How Hosts Benefit
The main benefit to Airbnb hosts is income. At at average of $80 per night, this can add up quickly.
Do you have a spare bedroom? I’ve read estimates that more than half of homeowners in both the US and UK have at least one extra bedroom. That bedroom could be bringing in several hundred dollars (or more) each month.
There are some other benefits such as meeting new people and the social interactions it brings, learning about other cultures, running a small business, and so on. Most hosts, though, simply utilize Airbnb as an income source to cover their living expenses and supplement their other income.
I first heard about Airbnb and the idea of hosting on a Side Hustle Show podcast episode and decided that I would give Airbnb hosting a try. I was already planning to travel in the future and thought: “How better to learn what to expect as a guest than to start out as a host, right?“.
In just a short time, I was able to go from earning a few hundred a month up to making low four figures monthly as a host, which covers our housing costs. If you’ve read the post about my journey toward location independence, the income from Airbnb was very helpful as I was shifting from offline to online income sources.
Once I became an Airbnb ‘Superhost’, I thought it might be a good time to start compiling everything I’ve learned as a host into a little guide or book.
Having hosted well over 100 guests while maintaining a 5-star rating in all available categories for my listing, and having done all of this with just a few minor changes to my life, I finally felt credible enough on the topic to publish my system.
I’m calling it The Airbnb Superhost’s Field Manual, since this is the exact system I used to become an Airbnb Superhost and live rent-free.
I’ll be releasing it on the Amazon Kindle platform soon as the 2nd book in my Double Your Income series.
I tend to follow a pattern of learning a new skill, mastering it, teaching others what I’ve learned, and then moving on to a new skill. In an upcoming post, I’ll explain how I can work on several projects like these without chasing too many rabbits and accomplishing nothing.
Next week, though, I’ll be giving you a ‘personal update’, where I’ll tell you about my progress towards becoming a location independent digital nomad. Until then..