Dear hosts. Have you started thinking about 2020? Do you have a clear vision? Are there big projects you want to tackle, like developing your own website for your vacation rentals so you’re not dependent on the Airbnb and Booking dotcoms of the world? Maybe you’re hoping to update your House Manual to go from outdated and blah to rave-worthy and 5-star. Or upgrade your rental space with a paint job or a new bathroom. Before you start your honey-do list (even if you’re the honey), let’s look back at 2019 so we can move forward into a productive 2020.
As Steve Jobs said, “You Can't Connect The Dots Looking Forward. Only Looking Back.”
How Donna Does It:
I was talking to my friend Donna about my upcoming Getting it Done Masterclass, and she was saying, “Ohh, I plan for 7 days, not for a year.” Donna has about 6 vacation rentals as well as a very busy seasonal restaurant. I doubt that she plans for just 7 days. Because she knows that during the summer she is going to be in that restaurant.
Donna’s currently working on 5-Star House manuals for each of her properties. That is a big job. She’s also planning to buy another property in 2020. But here’s the thing: Donna made this decision because she has taken the time to look back at her 2019 hosting year and realized she had to turn down too many people. (One of her properties is now long term.) So let’s take a look at how we can do the same.
That’s how Donna did it.
How do you analyze your 2019?
It’s simple. Let’s start by talking finances:
How much you made and how much you spent.
Finances, easy, right? Only if you have a checking account and a credit card dedicated to your business. This is why I recommend you do this since it’s a simpler way to track your expenses.
Macro or Micro?
You can do a bulk of expenses or go micro, which I recommend, by breaking it down by your mortgage, utilities, maintenance crew, welcome basket items, linens, towels, repairs, subscriptions, and, much more.
Under subscriptions you could split:
Also during your look back at your financial year, think about how many times a maintenance person had to be called to the property for something that could have been easily avoided with a little advanced planning. Like dead smoke detector batteries or burned-out light bulbs.
I want you to write all these things out. No emotion! Don’t beat yourself up about them, because they’re lessons. Sometimes costly, but you’re learning from them, so you win in the long run.
Now what about the REAL wins…the stuff you did RIGHT?
You priced your Airbnb correctly because you knew about the concert or conference scheduled for that weekend.
Charged the guest for the damage they had done, because you had the photos from the cleaners and you kept all the documentation. Yay, you! Just look at you, being all prepared!
Yes, I know this step is going to take a while but it will also help get you ready for tax season, which is coming right around the corner.
I also like to keep track of the nights that I’m booked and nights I might be closed for construction or maintenance. I did a big renovation job in 2019. I’ll be doing a major home improvement project in 2020.
Not only am I spending money during those times, but I’m also NOT making money. How much is that renovation job really costing you?
Soo… How are those numbers?
Better than the previous year? I hope.
Number don’t lie. They tell you whether you’re doing a business or a hobby. No emotion. There’s no right or wrong answer. I just want you to look at your numbers and think, ”How can this be better?” Does it need to be?
Did you break down your income by month? That can help you decide whether you might want to do your maintenance during the slow season or take on a long term tenant or a traveling nurse. (On Episode 60 The Travel Nurse Market Everything You Need To Know Donna and I talk all about it.)
If you’re not making a profit yet, it’s an absolute necessity that you look at your numbers. Do you have a financial strategy? Do you have a number in mind that you must hit every month? Are you attached to the idea that “I can’t rent for lower than this amount because I’m a Superhost?”
During the winter I slash my prices by almost fifty percent. What’s my financial goal? To pay my bills, my mortgage, utilities, and cleaner. I’m not too fancy.
I had to let go of the idea that “Well, during the summer I rent for all this money, so how can I just give it away during the winter?”
You know how? Because mama needs to pay the mortgage, that’s how! Or I do renovations and close the house down for a period during the winter like I’m planning to do in 2020. Yes, Eveland will be closed for 6 weeks; and I’ve been planning it since last August.
I had to have a plan. I had to block the calendar, work it out with the construction crew, and plan it financially. But when the plan comes together, it’s gonna be amazing, and Eveland will be better than ever.
What's Your Vision for 2020?
What do you want for your business in 2020? Yes, I get it–you want to make money. You want growth.
But what kind?
Do you want more properties?
Can the listing you already have become more profitable?
Can you cut costs without sacrificing value?
Even the little things count. Are you spending too much money on certain items like the Welcome Basket? I always go back to episode number 52 Numbers that Matter: Is that Welcome Basket Worth It?
How many hours did you dedicate to your business in 2019? Did you take a vacation? Or is your business 24/7, where you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel because you don’t have a team?
Yes, I’m going to go deeper into this during the Masterclass, Getting it Done in 2020: Making a Plan for a Profitable Hosting Year, because there is such a thing as work/life balance.
And now that you’ve taken a look back and looked into your numbers from 2019, can you detach? Can you not beat yourself up about it?
That was the past, it’s gone.
We learn. We learn to hire the right team.
To buy better products. To create better systems. We learn from our past. Deal?
Ok, now comes the fun part… what do you want for the next year?
What kind of life do you want?
Dream! Because anything is possible. And join me for my Getting it Done in 2020: Making a Plan for a Profitable Hosting Year Masterclass, so we can talk about making that dream a reality. Go to the hosting journey.com slash making it happen to find out all about it.