Reasons for Airbnb:
We all do Airbnb for different reasons. And WE ALL have our reasons for sharing our home.
- To pay our mortgage (if you could see me now, I’m raising both my hands here. If I had more hands, they'd be raised).
- For extra income to pay for additional expenses.
- To pay for a vacation.
- To help with our retirement fund.
- Some people decide to be digital nomads and travel while Airbnb supplements their lifestyles.
- Others are creating side businesses.
- And nowadays, a lot of people have made it into a very lucrative career. They started with a single listing and began creating their own empires…Even if they’re mini-empires with 10 or 20 listings.
Your reasons are your reasons.
In the world of Airbnb, what isn’t really discussed are some of these questions:
- What if you’re ill?
- What if you have an unexpected health issue?
- What if you’re a caregiver?
What do you do when Airbnb is your income to supplement that lifestyle? That’s what this episode is about…
A Healthy and Happy Host Makes for Happier Guests:
I get it… An Airbnb life can sound glamorous and carefree to folks who don’t know a thing about the hosting life.
We know it's not just about providing a bed or a place to stay. It's hard, hard work, especially, if you want to be a successful host.
Those who have no clue about what we truly do are only thinking about guests and having an adventurous vacation (After all, for some people Airbnb still represents an adventure). These folks have forgone the Holiday Inn to ¨holiday in¨ a stranger's home. To these kinds of people, ALL we do as hosts is to provide a place for them to stay. PERIOD. Funny, huh?
Here’s what they don´t think about: The calls we answer at all hours when:
- I’m locked out
- The toilet needs to be plunged…. AGAIN
- There is a leaky roof….
Airbnb is a 24-hour service. Plus, let's not get into the countless hours of laundry, cleaning, and responding to messages that goes into being a host (a good host, that is).
Keeping it Real:
To keep things honest, you might have your ¨A team.¨ If you listened to Episode 33: “How to Build and Keep a Team for your Airbnb” you might have put together your own team so there are people to help you take care of everything at your Airbnb, especially during an emergency or if you go out of town… and that's great! But the truth is, if you’re just starting out and you’re a small operation, normally, it's just you.
Yes, being a host can be rewarding. I love it, especially when I know my guests are having a good stay, they appreciate my home, and they find value in what I provide. It is these moments that make it worth the 24-hour service. And my time.
On the flip side, being a host can be extremely exhausting, particularly if you have multiple properties or listings. The added responsibilities can really wear you down. As they say, “More money, more problems. Added duties can be overwhelming… and can create host fatigue… Host fatigue is real, my dear hosts… For reals.
So, you decided to become a host for your own reasons… Well, hosting is like any other job. You can get overworked and overwhelmed and then experience hosting burnout.
Well, on today's episode were getting into that. I want to talk about self-care. We tend to always be talking about our guests and their needs, but now it’s time to talk about us… Let's discuss creating a life where we can be Happy Hosts.
Because a Happy Host makes… Go ahead, say it with me: a Happy Guest!
Create a System:
You may already have your listing up or you’re in the process. If you are still brand new, my Airbnb 101 class, which debuted this past winter, is relaunching again soon to help you get your listing from an idea to money in the bank.
If you’re already part of The Hosting Journey, let’s talk about getting systems in place.
On Episode 22: “How to Best Communicate with Your Guest,” I spoke about how to create saved messages on Airbnb. I shared messages from “thank you for your inquiry” to “thank you for your booking.” Yes, it will take you a minute to write them but once you’re done and have someone proofread them, you’re done.
Remember to personalize every message for each guest. It helps to create a template so you don’t need to re-create every single word every single time.
Make sure you have a cleaning person who knows your home. You never know when you might want to take a week off, and you don’t want to have to train them on how to fold your towels.
Hey, I’m particular about it as well. No shame!
Guests Messages (phone):
I have my phone on “do not disturb” during the night. I know many hosts will wake up to the ping of a text from Airbnb messages, but a few years back I decided my uninterrupted sleep was more important. An inquiry can wait until I wake up in the morning.
And if there is an emergency, when someone calls a few times the call will eventually break through the “do not disturb” message and ring.
Block Some Days:
If you can afford it financially, you might want or need to block some days in your calendar. I know of some hosts in The Hosting Journey facebook group who usually give themselves 24 hours off between guests. They don’t want the stress of the same day turnaround.
I understand. It can be stressful if you have a job, other responsibilities, or you don’t have a cleaning person, etc. You need to do what’s best for you!
I’ll recommend a self-check-in process with either a lockbox or keyless lock.. Because you might not be available for an in-person check-in. You have a life, too, and it is an important one. It’s ok to prioritize yourself and your own health. You can always send guests a text or email and stop by to meet them in person later.
Being a Caretaker:
What if you’re doing Airbnb to earn extra income so you can take care of a family member or you have children, etc.? Having a vacation rental can create that extra income and provide you the flexibility to take care of your personal life.
This is the reason you need to create the system I outlined previously (having an A team, for example). If for any reason you’re caught in a situation where you have an emergency in your personal life, communicate with your guest.
Let your guest know that you have a personal emergency. You don’t need to get into details unless you want to. That’s up to you. But make sure to let them know what’s going on.
I remember one year I sprained my ankle pretty badly. It was during one of the hurricanes that hit NY. I was on crutches, and I really couldn’t go up and down the stairs in my house. Of course, I had guests. My cleaning person was making sure the house was running smoothly, and guess who was taking care of me?
They would check up on me and make sure I was ok. It was so sweet. After all, we’re humans having human experiences. And for the most part, guests understand.
So I’m going to get into what happens if you get Sick… my personal journey.
Since the beginning of 2017, I have been dealing with some chronic migraines and a few herniated discs. I sometimes mention it on my Facebook Group.
Due to these health issues, I was going to a lot of doctors… a LOT. One of them was actually a guest. She had stayed with me when her apartment had a gas leak, and her family stayed in my upstairs apartment for over a month. She is an MD osteopath, and I’m so glad I found her. She then became one of my doctors.
There were weeks when I had 3 or more appointments, from physical therapy to acupuncture to osteopath. Some days were better than others, but it was definitely a struggle.
Luckily, I’m able to work out my appointments around my guests’ schedules… And if it gets too complicated, I have my A team.
If I’m in pain, I take a nap. Naps are nature’s rechargers. They are really a good thing. I take them, and I highly recommend that you do, too. No judgment, no pity. Just self-care. I could sometimes hear my guests pitter-pattering around the house. They were fine, no emergencies. Just vacationing. And it’s ok.
There were times last year when I thought that if I had any other kind of job I would have been fired. Oh dear… I would have used up all of my sick days, all of my vacation days. I know that I would not have have been able to produce at 100%.
My treatments are working. Simple things, folks. I’m not in pain all the time. Pain sucks! It's obvious but it bears repeating. During this period, knowing my bills and my life were being handled was one less worry… It was a big one to not have to stress over. and frankly, a blessing as well.
For that reason and so many others, I’m grateful every single day that I have Airbnb as a source of income. Is it a glamorous life? No. Is it a really good life? Hell YES! And I wouldn't change it for the world. Well, maybe. Perhaps a bit less laundry.
The Last Few Weeks:
In the last few weeks, we have heard about Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s suicides. And you’ve probably heard so many people talking about reaching out and getting help if you feel depressed. It sounds so easy, but it's so much more complicated than that.
During some moments last year, things got dark. No, it wasn’t the first time in my life I went to that dark place, but I was on this particular medication with some interesting side effects… I couldn’t put sentences together, experienced extreme fatigue, weight loss, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
And being in pain didn’t help.
I remember crying during a phone call with my business coach. Forget crying, make that ugly sobbing. I was crying while walking back from the gym. Yeah, crying was another nice side effect of the medicine. I reached out to some friends, but they had their own lives. Plus, sometimes people don’t know what to say or what to do… It can be awkward.
Between the physical and the emotional pain, all I wanted was to disappear.. to start again. Hey, I don’t have kids, no husband, not even pets! No ties. Easy peasy.
A do-over is a very tempting thing to do.
But I’m old enough to know that these thoughts will pass. It’s just a moment. Yes, it might feel like an eternity… But I take a breath. Take a moment.
During that time, I found a post from Derek Sivers. Derek is an entrepreneur I follow, and he has this post about getting out of a bad place. If you want to read the entire post, you can find it at sivers.org/bad but here is a summary:
- #1. “What’s wrong right now?” — this very second. Am I in physical pain or danger? Well, I was in physical pain but I could survive it and I was taking care of it I love this line…) Of course, the mental anguish is still there, but it’s a nice reminder that it’s all in my head.
- #2. Observe now. Act later.
- #3. Raise standards. Say no to anything less than great.
- #4. Focus on my goal/mission/path
- #5. Do all the daily mundane stuff
Mind you, at the time I was just functioning in the daily mundane stuff. Forget goals and mission. I was in minimal production, survival mode, Making sure my guests were taken care of because the bills needed to be paid. Making my doctors’ appointments because I needed to take care of my health. Eating healthy, taking a walk, talking to friends who were positive.
No judgment, no self-pity. Tons of self-care, including those naps.
Eventually, they gave me another treatment and they reduced the dosage of those pills. Finally, the cloud lifted, and I began to feel a little better every day.
Life is rarely perfect. There are moments and days of sadness prevails. Not every day is perfect.
But life goes on… One moment, one minute at a time. I’m not trying to diminish your pain or your sadness. Never. We never know what anyone is going through at any given moment in their own journey.
If you have experienced any of the challenges I have described (or others), I recommend calling a professional. YOU matter
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