How I Made My First $1,000 as an Airbnb Experience Host!

Yes that’s right folks! I have hit the $1,000 earnings mark as an Airbnb Experience Host. Well what do you host Krystle? Well, I’m glad you asked :). I host a two hour Atlanta City Mobile tour.

Photo Credit: Airbnb

On this mobile tour I take guest to the following world renowned destinations in Atlanta, GA:

Mercedes Benz Stadium -Home of Super Bowl 2019

Centennial Olympic Park – Home of the 1996 Olympics

State Farm Arena – Home of the 2003 NBA All Star Game

CNN Center

World of Coca-Cola

Georgia Aquarium

College Football Hall of Fame Museum

Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home

Hank Aaron Drive featuring the 1996 Olympic Torch Statue

The Varsity – The World’s Largest Drive-in Restaurant

Fox Theatre

*And other bonus locations (pending time) such as:

Jackson Street Bridge (*photo opportunity of Atlanta Skyline!)

Jimmy Carter Presidential Center (39th President of the United States)

I offer pick up and drop off for most locations which is highly convenient for those arriving at the airport. I know for a fact the Uber alone would probably cost someone darn near the price of my tour altogether. So why wouldn’t someone want a quick tour of the city before face planting from the plane ride into their hotel bed?

One of the great things about doing this tour is that I get to meet people from all over the world – literally. I’ve toured people from London, Canada, Bermuda and Chile! All while sharing with them the city’s sights, sounds and history of “the city too busy to hate!”

So how did I make my first 1k?

Well, I’ll tell ya…it took some time…about five months. Now I started off doing this full time right after I got fired for the first time. While I was looking for other work, I decided to test the waters to see if I could make a little bit of side money from hosting. I previously purchased an experience tour for myself when I traveled to Costa Rica and thought to myself …hmmm I could probably do something like that. When I looked through the list of offerings in my city’s category and saw that no one was offering anything as it pertained to a mobile vehicle tour. I said to myself – “that’s it!” This revelation had also come at the helm of my 5 hour, 1 day Uber/Lyft driving debacle. No I didn’t have a horror story about an accident or crazy rider, but you can read all about my experience here.

Circling back to the good stuff – how did I even get this Airbnb “experience” thing going?

Well, for starters, you have to submit a written proposal through the Airbnb experience portal. If you want to get started you can click here.

Photo credit: Airbnb

In the portal, they ask you basic questions that you must either type in or select. Airbnb wants to simply know who you are, why you want to do want you want to do and what makes you qualified to do it. Simple as that. They will also want to know what makes your experience unique. They are looking for a unique service that new people to your location cannot easily duplicate themselves. You’ll also need to think about what things you will provide, length of the experience, location, what guests should bring or be aware of and of course what is a good price! You want to stay competitive but also make a profit…after all this isn’t a volunteer project. Keep in mind Airbnb takes a 20% cut off the top; so please factor this in! And yes for those of you wondering if my first 1k includes the aftermath of the Airbnb debo money heist :(….it does. Oh how much more I could have netted! Oh well…hey I figure it this way…that 20% is their fee for marketing; because guess what, it would take quite a bit of time, money and SEO finger magic to gain the reach they so easily and readily provide.

Photo credit: Airbnb

Now, as an fyi I did not market the tour anywhere else outside of the Airbnb platform. I simply let the bookings come to be on its own. Now some would disagree with this passive approach, but because I am really not a social media person (except LinkedIn and WordPress) and just wasn’t ready to jump on there at the early stages of this new venture. I also had quite a few other things going on in my life, so I did not put as much energy into promoting the tour elsewhere. I even picked up another full time job during those five months, which led me to only offering the tour at night or on the weekends. But for those you following my blog, you will see that even that second job did not last for long. After I was fired from the second job, I filled the calendar dates up to offer tours during the day which allowed me more flexibility and a greater offering. Ironically though, I still received bookings for just the weekends. So for those of you thinking that you won’t make enough money because you can only offer a tour on the weekend, think again. There is still money to be made!

So after you submit your proposal, it takes about a week to hear back from Airbnb if you’ve been approved or not. Once you’ve been approved, your listing goes live and it’s t-minus countdown before you get the first booking. Airbnb recommends certain pricing discounts and strategies to gain the first couple of bookings, but I steered away from doing this as I did not want to reduce my cut anymore than that 20% fee that was already going to eat into my take home.

Like anything, getting your first booking is the most nerve racking. But once you do, go out of your way to make sure that the guest leaves without question that they will be giving you a 5-star review. 5-star reviews are crucial to the continual booking game. While you can’t please everyone, at the very least you can do your best to make it so that there is very little to complain about. Aim for the personal connection! As the famous Maya Angelou says: “people will forget what you say, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.” I can honestly say that this is one of my strongest areas for reviews and really the whole point of the Airbnb platform; which is to make strong, immediate and impactful connections with people from around the world. So if you’re not into doing that at the very core, I really believe people will pick that up and your experience will not go as far as it can.

So with eight bookings down for a total of 30 people hosted. My total earnings to date have been $1,492. Now throughout these five months I’ve played around with the booking price and have fluctuated the price between $50-65 per person. I’ve landed on $65 as the go to price and will be sticking with this number going forward. I’m looking forward to more bookings and seeing where this will take me over the next six months. Who knows I may hit the $5,000 mark by then!

If you’re interested in earning some extra cash in your city sign up to offer an experience here. Based on my quick research, the demand is high for any animals experiences; but any good local offering will certainly draw in the attention! Happy hosting!

Am I the Only One Fighting for True Friendships?

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Photo by Hian Oliveira on Unsplash

In the age of social media we’ve cultivated an era of virtual interactions that serve as a poor attempt at true friendship. The fight against this has been slow. Despite the fact that there are a remnant of people who have brought awareness to what this “virtual activity” is doing to our relationships with people. It has been said that we shouldn’t look at the past through rose-colored glasses and develop unrealistic nostalgic conclusions. But in some instances, including this one, I think an honest look at the past is in order with understanding the current state of today’s definition of a friend. In the past, you would often here of lifelong friendships that endured many difficulties but that they kept the friendship through the difficulties for decades. Don’t get me wrong, there were still some Judas’s amongst the crowds and pretentious people in the midst. But the percentage of efforts for real connection I dare say were higher than they are today. If one had an issue, they would either fight it out or calmly talk about it. But the issue was brought to the light. Today we have the exact opposite. Most people run from any confrontation or conflict. They would much rather take the easy way out and delete and block someone from their phone or social media page.

The other thing is that people would rather stay to themselves than to let someone know they are going through something instead of completely going silent and not returning someone’s text or call. What happened to telling your friends you’re having a tough time? What’s with the social shame? Have we truly allowed culture to shame us into our corners to hide our vulnerabilities with one another? We’ve certainly allowed culture to make “busyness” an excuse for any efforts of friendship. Now-a-days this is the number one answer or lack thereof for people to be self-serving and self-centered. It allows people to take what they want from a person and not give back in mutuality of effort. I cannot even begin to tell you how much “ghosting” has jaded my view, cares and efforts for building relationships with people. The concept of chasing someone down and constantly reaching out to them due to their lack of communication back to you is not only tiring but it makes you feel worthless. Like wow – they really don’t care and I’m not important to you. You know people make time for what they want and what they feel is important or desirable to their lives. We all have the same 24 hours. So to have the excuse of work or just plain “busy” is just that – an excuse. If the president of the United States can have friends – as busy as they are then that everyday person can too. But this idea of friendship is still very loosely used because oftentimes people think they are very successful in that area. While, i suppose, that would be determined by what definition that person ascribes to when it comes to calling someone a friend.

During a time when I was extremely jaded by people and their lack of effort for intimate friendships – I had a conversation with someone and they told me they have three good friends and they speak to each one of them once or twice a year. I then replied to them – “I’m sorry, that is NOT my definition of a friend.” To only speak to someone once or twice a year seems surface level. How can anyone develop a long-term closeness by only interacting a few times a year. But for some – this is preferable. This is friendship. To others, such as myself, it is not. I desire both intellectual and emotional intimacy with a person I call my friend at the very least. I desire that person, to keep in contact with me at least a few times per month if not weekly. We may not get to talk everyday – but to consistently go weeks and months without conversing feels like a conjugal friendship visit.

But I realize this is where we are in our society. We created the monster of distance when it comes to any true connectivity with people. So why would friendships be any different? For those of us who desire the type of friendship connection that I’m speaking of – you may have to resolve within yourself that less is more. Maybe you will only have 1 or 2 people (literally) who desire the same and connect with you. And this may only be for a season in your life since people’s desires change. Continue to be your authentic self and be okay with staying in your lane and not trying to force people to change and be what you want them to be. Work out any bitterness or resentment you have with past relationships and your current feelings about people. It’s not easy as people will still continue to let you down; that’s a guarantee. But at least you can be self-aware of what you desire in a friendship and you can articulate that to individuals you come in contact with.

Living in Another Country and Moving to Another State

Today’s blogpost is about living in another country and moving to another state for which I have done both. People always ask/assume that I’m prior or current military when I say that I lived abroad or that I live in a few other states. I emphatically but graciously always respond with no while thinking to myself: “why is it that people only think military personnel are capable of this lifestyle?” As I chuckle and shake my head to myself, I then proceed to answer any questions they ask which almost automatically begins with “so what’s it like to live over there?” Depending on the mood and amount of time, I then go into as little or as much detail as possible. What people don’t realize is that everyone’s experience is different because there are so many factors associated with the living condition. Now my experiences to live in another country or state were all done by choice. I can only imagine what it’s like to live as a refugee, military personnel, or any other arrangement where it was not necessarily my planned decision to go and live somewhere else for an established amount of time.

Many people think that it is so cool and so much better to live somewhere else besides where they were born and/or raised. Having said this, there is no denying that there are some places where the environment is terrible and the need for escape is necessary. Yet, what I’m speaking to in this conversation starter is the notion where I think people reach a point in their lives where they are “over” there familiar surroundings and just want to see what else is out there. I honestly think its great when people want to explore! I champion exploration and curiosity of the unknown – of course with a balance of calculated risk. I learned the latter part the hard way as I jumped into a few moves sight unseen.

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

I now encourage people when they are considering moving to either another country or another state to try and consider a few things. First, visiting that place to get a feel for the land and the resources is good, but at the end of the day it almost always won’t be the same as when you actually live there. There are many places that on the surface are great places to visit, vacation, and retreat to but when you get down to the day-to-day nuances of your routine things you would have never considered or been aware of will surface. And these things aren’t always the pleasantries that seem to go unnoticed when you visit. I think we have to dismantle the fantasies we carry in our heads about these other places; knowing that over there isn’t necessarily the promised land of riches and gold. While you may be leaving your existing environmental challenges moving to another state or country will still present it’s own set of challenges. I wrote an ebook entitled “The Simple Life” which outlines these challenges and the harsh realities of living abroad. It’s a quick read and if you want to learn more about my findings of living abroad you can download a copy from Amazon.

The other thing I encourage people to consider is to balance the preparation with the outcome of the decision. I have moved to several places with varying levels of preparation. For some moves, I prepared for it for over a year. For others, only a week or two. For each move whether I was more prepared than the other, it still wasn’t enough in regards to how well I enjoyed the location, where I landed and how much (or less) I was prepared for the climate conditions. You don’t know what you don’t know – right? Also people can tell you “oh it’s hot in Arizona” or “boy it rains a lot in Seattle” but you really can’t fully grasp how well you’ll respond to the temperatures or even how true it is until you actually experience for yourself. Don’t go into it thinking oh well – I lived in a hot environment before so I’ll be fine or I like the rain so this will be great! While I appreciate the optimism – just don’t set yourself up like that. Throw out your badge of “abilities” and go into the new environment with an openness to see just how well you truly can manage it.

If you are considering a move, do some research in regards to access to certain types of food and transportation. I talk about the pro’s and con’s of each in my ebook and provide some more detailed things to weigh out.

While I’ve never purchased a home before, I cannot speak to doing that in another state or country (if allowed). What I can say is that I’ve seen where not limiting yourself to only buying a home before you move there can help lessen the shock, disappointment, and most of all feelings of being stuck. Maybe consider renting for a year to decide if you like that area or even if you like the state or country for that matter. This way you get a better feel for the location than you would by just visiting and making a decision to purchase something in that area. You can get to know the property laws, community, access to amenities and transportation situation better.

All in all, my best advice to you is to be open. Throw out your expectations and do the best you can. You really don’t know until you try and even if you are privileged enough to do that appreciate the move for the life experience that it is.

Podcast Episode – Faith, Travel & Missions **Interview**

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Click here to listen!

Faith, Travel & Missions…a 3-headed engine that often gets steered in a precarious manner. In my previous podcast entitled the Insult of Charitable Auctions I talk about the balance between foreign partnership and local development…and how if not careful our seemingly well-intentioned actions quickly turn into toxic charity. Charity that does not accomplish what it ultimately set out to begin with. For more on this, listen in to today’s episode where I bring in guest Kristina Smith to discuss this dynamic.

To contact our guest today:
Kristina Smith
www.gethype.org
Instagram: gethype_inc

 

Podcast Episode – Cultural Immersion will not give you the Kooties – Interview w/ Special Guest!

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Click here to listen!

 

Oh yeah – I said it! The kooties…yuck! you know that thing we used to tease each other about in primary school as the imaginary contagion that would lead to the zombie apocalypse. Yeah…Many of us think something of this nature will jump on us when we travel to a foreign country….and Heaven forbid we even decide to move there permanently! Well one brave soul has done just that… Catarina Gutierrez has decided to take the bait of cultural immersion by moving from the U.S. to the unicorn land of New Zealand.

Take a listen to today’s podcast episode to hear more about her journey and what it’s like to live and work abroad.

Podcast Interview – Travel 101: What’s It Like To Fly? Inteview with Pilot Robert Barkers

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Click here to listen!

Happy start of the Labor Day weekend! As this is one of the most traveled times of the year many of you will be taking flight. But what’s it like to actually be the one literally taking the airplane into flight? Well here to talk about their journey to aviation, the perception of pilots and how others can pursue their interest in becoming a pilot is Robert Barkers. Listen in to hear his story!

To contact or learn more about our guest:
Robert Barkers
Instagram: Mr.barkers_r
Twitter: @BarkersRobert

Functional Exercising

Is it more effective to run or walk? What about lifting weights….should you use fixed machines or utilize free weights like dumbells? What about cross fit or boot camps? How intense and to what frequency should you engage in this level of activity? Well of course the short answer is – it all depends. Depends on what you say? Well, the obvious answer is your previous and current health condition. What works for one, does not always work for another. For those that want to bypass a personalized assessment and trainer having an understanding of functional exercise is key. It’s not only key to your immediate results but long term sustainability. While doing something is better than doing nothing- one should still seek to maximize that “something” to aid in every day functionality; which is what functional exercise is. That is doing exercises that edify, promote and build up muscles that correspond with your everyday movements. This primarily stems from your core; which consist of your back, chest and abdomen.

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Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash

Secondary body parts that support everyday functionality are hips, arms and legs. So when you think about how to support the primary core parts of your body re-enact those everyday movements within your exercise routines. If that exercise does very little to replicate a day-to-day functional movement, I would question the purpose of why you are engaging in that exercise activity. If you are rehabing an isolated body part then maybe…or if you are building a specific pyramid in your workout plan then maybe…but to blindly sit on a fixed machine and try to max out weight lifting on that machine to me doesn’t see as effective. Additionally, fixed machines tend to support compensation. Meaning, it is easier to allow one stronger arm to compensate for the other weaker arm. If you were to duplicate that machine movement, you’d be much better off using free weights such as a dumbbell or kettle ball.

I’m no exercise science major, however, i did spend four years working alongside them during my undergraduate studies. I worked at the gym on campus and learned about proper form, routine structures and anatomical groupings of exercises. Having been active for the majority of my life, I’ve seen the differences between fixed movements that limit range of motion and exercises that increase and support functionality. I’ve been encouraged to focus on the latter; especially as it relates to supporting my core. When my core is struggling, it’s almost always because I have lapsed in provided targeted strengthening movements during my exercising. I’ve seen how by doing this, I have better sleep, support while sitting at my desk at work for hours, and when bending down or making sudden movements. It’s not easy to keep it up by any means, but I know if I at least continue to do “something” – it surely is better than nothing.

Lastly I’ll say finding functional exercises that have low impact to your knees, joints and hips will also supercharge your way to a more well-rounded support system. Exercises such as rowing, swimming, water aerobics, and bicycling are all low-impact functional activities. Doing the latest cross-fit fad or boot camp isn’t always the safest or lowest impact to your body. In fact, many of these are not sustainable long term and if not careful one could truly do damage to the body permanently. Focus on function and become a true winner both inside and out!

Victoria, British Columbia….Colorful Peacocks and Friendly People

If I could live anywhere in the world my #1 choice would be New Zealand. Coming in a close second would be Victoria, Canada. What a beautiful and serene place!

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Now I’m sure every city has it’s “not so pretty” streets and places to wander near…but I tell you what…I didn’t find many up in the pristine location of Victoria, British Columbia.

Between the Fisherman’s Wharf and the drives in and around town, the experience for me as a visitor won me over for sure! Certainly more of a nature feign than consumeristic, I enjoyed the mountainous vibes, ocean breeze and fresh air. The fresh seafood at the Wharf (although pricey) was tasty and it was cool to meet quite of few friendly locals while on the boardwalk.

When I visited Victoria a few years back, my main goal was to check out Royal Roads University. A family member of mine, told me about their tourism program and I flew up to check out the school grounds, community and program. The Hatley Castle and grounds are certainly beautiful and looks just at it appears in the Johnny Depp movie Richard Says Goodbye. I ran into the most color-filled peacocks I had ever seen! The richness of these peacocks wings and body where nothing short of stunning. Of course, I’m not a peacock geek but it was a welcomed surprise as I was touring the campus.

While, I believe Canada just got Lyft, for the most part it’s still not widespread. So traveling to Canada largely means being forced to rent a car. Which is not cheap by any means…in fact I spent more on a two day car rental than I did on my Airbnb and food combined. This was the only downside to traveling to Victoria. Other than that, I cannot think of anything else that wouldn’t cause me to return to the beautiful land of Victoria, BC.

P.S. I”m told Vancouver or any where in the BC area carries a similar sensation as Victoria. So if you’re looking to visit the Pacific Northwest, take a quick shuttle flight from Seattle to visit either of the two cities.