1. Hello! Who are you and what is your business?
I started my career as an accountant which led me to the finance team at Airbnb where I worked for two years – until they fired me. At this point, I decided to ditch the traditional accounting desk job and move into a more business development role for a vacation rental property management company where I thrived.
After a year there, they also fired me. But during my time here I noticed a trend in the Airbnb algorithm. I changed something, I got a booking. Part of my salary was bonus based on the performance of the company so it was in my interest to keep the income high for all properties.
So I decided to simultaneously start an Airbnb property management company while also providing Airbnb listing optimization services designed to increase your search rank in Airbnb. Since then I’ve focused on Airbnb optimization, written the best-selling book for Airbnb hosts, and offer additional services. My first Airbnb optimization was sold for $5 and took me about 5 minutes. Nowadays with all additional services including the book and the property management I make anywhere from $12k-$22k per month.
2. How do you attract and retain your customers?
My first customers came from a promotion I did with an existing blog in the space.
I set up an affiliate program for this reason. Since the beginning, I focused on high-quality, content-rich, actionable advice for the Airbnb host. To this day, my articles come up before the company if it’s a review.
I do not use SEO. I also have relationships with many of the companies in the Airbnb space. Customers find me through my blogs, book, or my partnership network. My fees are one-time and never recurring so I don’t do customer retention. I do have an email list for future promotions that I do.
3. What were your challenges and obstacles of growing your business?
I’m fortunate in that I found a need, or maybe I’m a good marketer.
Or maybe it’s because I used to work at Airbnb and it gives people more trust.
As soon as I started I saw growth from month one and it never stopped. When I started I had one direct competitor, but they have pivoted and no one else has entered the space directly in the past 3 years. I’ve always framed my business as an investment. You spend X today and you see a return of X, on average.
I’ve never pivoted, I’ve only advanced the services I offer and created more products, both higher and lower end.
4. What has been helpful to help you to grow your business?
Poco a poco, as they say in Latin America.
I never started a business, but I started one that I was passionate about and felt my knowledge was deep. I wrote really solid blog posts, I create a really professional website, I created an email list, I signed up for social media accounts, I experimented with promotions and paid marketing, I wrote a book (this turned out to be a HUGE marketing tool as people who otherwise wouldn’t have found me, read the best book on Airbnb they ever have, by far, and purchase my premium products from me. I’ve also gotten property management clients from my book), I reached out to relevant websites to feature me on their partner’s page or post my blog, etc.. Finding a great developer is key who can improve your website as needed!
5. What is your advice for those that are starting productized services?
I don’t feel qualified to answer this one.
I really feel like I got lucky. I didn’t do any research. I started with a website and grew it from there. Luckily people need/want my service. If not, I’d probably be doing the same thing, just struggling more.
My business is super unique. It’s the first time anyone I talk to has ever heard of it. I say ‘I make Airbnb hosts more money’. That’s the easiest way to explain it. People ask me all the time what they can do. I don’t know. This hit me organically, naturally. Wait until something hits you. I have and had a deep passion for Airbnb before I started this company. I knew I had more experiences than anyone else. I knew my knowledge was better than anyone else. I thought I could communicate this information better than anyone else.
6. What are your plans for the future?
I work on average 1.67 hours per day. This depends on if I’m growing the business or not. If not, there are days with no work. If yes, I’m working more.
I’d like to get to a point where it’s even more passive income. I’m considering creating an online course. I’d like to get my Optimization revenue up to $10k per month and get my website traffic to 100k visits per month. I have no future products on the horizon as I view this as a lifestyle business.
I’m not forcing it. Something will hit me in the future and I’ll create that product. The last thing that hit me is an Amentiy checklist for Airbnb hosts. I created it this year and have sold exactly $810 worth of it. This is a really low end, supplemental product. It’s bonus money and 100% automated. My best seller of these supplemental products is my message templates which have sold over $8,000 to date since late 2017.
I’m going to write an update to my book in 2020 before the anticipated Airbnb IPO. I’m also going to try some Airbnb outreach to see if they’re interested in helping me promote my information to more Airbnb hosts.
7. Where can we learn more about you?
Get in touch with me by the above links or my Instagram or YouTube. As far as my personal life, I live in Airbnb’s (almost 1,000 nights) and change countries every month. I have started my personal website with a blog, books I’m reading, bucket list, and notes on all my travel destinations including cost-of-living price tables. Plus I have a personal YouTube.
You can also follow my personal Instagram account. As far as community discussion, as most of your readers probably are not Airbnb hosts: why not yet?