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'How has the new 'sharing economy' changed your life?"

Many posters have mentioned here and there how having a listing in Airbnb has indeed changed their life, financially. Perhaps be fun to hear such stories anew or for the first time here.

You all know my story, what has been your experience?

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If I may, not to hijack the thread but…my life was changed by the peer-to-peer sharing economy, not Airbnb per se. (my platform was DogVacay). I was able to retire 2-3 years earlier than planned and to be much happier overall in my life and lifestyle. I was selected by a group of fellow DV hosts to be on a Host Council and was able to go the HQ in Santa Monica and meet the executives, staff and 5 other hosts. I took another trip to meet 3 other hosts from different parts of the country. So I didn’t just retire from teaching to withdraw into a home business environment, I met new people, IRL and joined a new community. I basically doubled my world and maintained my income while working half as much. Also @Mearns I’m not sure everyone knows your story. Every week I see a new poster who doesn’t, you should share it again.

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Ah K9, good point: yes the ‘sharing economy’ which encompasses Airbnb.

My story: In 2012, I build a mini-storage facility in Placencia, Belize (3rd one in the country). In 2013, my lady and I started slowly filling a little sand shoal with a few trees 6 miles from town, for a personal camping spot. In 2014 we started taking it it a bit more serious because we fell in love with the whole experience; sold the mini-storage and then had the money to finish the basic island (Fall 2014). Renting was the furthest thought in our minds.

It went from 1 building to two, five-fold as to amenities, totally new boat, docks, decks, solar power, etc. ‘Hey maybe we can rent this place, and afford to go further’. Started renting January 2015. By Fall had many bookings, based on the superb reviews, also that is when WSJ included it in their ‘Private Islands you can rent’, then NYT, Yahoo Travel, etc; they all mentioned Airbnb as the agent. December 2015, Airbnb called and used the island as lead spot in their ‘Like This, Live There’ ad campaign. It was already booked half of 2016, but their impact booked it into 2018. The island been featured in 30+ newspapers and magazines since.

Socially, the island has had an impact on the local economy; and brought me into contact with people from all over the world, which to me has been the most fun aspect of the whole thing.

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I never knew, thanks for sharing.

I wanted to do this from 6 years ago, when stayed in my first Airbnb in Switzerland, and then Copenhagen. It saved me tons of money to not stay in hotels, and i thought to make couple K a year would be cool. But then my puppy was still with us, and he was not a well behaved dog, so i postponed it.
Then my husband kept on saying he needs his privacy, and he does not want any people around. I was trying to convince him that he is at work anyway 6 days week, and he wont even feel that there are people here, we have a nice size house. Finally he gave in to just try. Then the first week i made 1400$ , and he did not mind after that:)

Now i cant even imagine not doing it. I made quite a salary between 2 houses. I can not even imagine now to go through all the stress living on just 1 income from another small business we have, and we did it for years doing well during winter, saving and then spending it all during dead summers.

I guess it “changed” my life giving me a piece of mind that if anything happens with first business we can survive with AIrbnb, and that is pretty comforting. Plus more money in a bank, thinkg of buying another property

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I first heard of Airbnb in spring of 2013 and had just agreed to take in a friend as a room mate so I couldn’t do it. (I started DogVacay in Aug 2013, I’m sure the ads just popped up because I was searching Airbnb so ABB did lead me right to DV.) In winter of 2014 she agreed she’d move out and in May 2014 I listed and booked my first guest a few days later and he stayed at the end of May. I very much wish I had started sooner but am grateful to have a 2 year head start on most of the listings here.

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I wish i did not listen to my husband and started 5 years ago. I stil look back before March 2015 and can’t believe i did not have this income then and my own little business to run. And all these people that i met and hosted almost 250 guests.

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I went to France a year ago to study and stayed in a family. I was very apprehensive when I went there: how it’s going to be. I’m forty something, a mother of two, how will it be to live in someone’s home for several weeks… will it be like back in the University? And it was perfect: I became friends with the family. I had a very tight schedule there, but we talked a lot when I was at home and I went to the theatre with them. They even invited their friends to meet me and got their son to my daughters French penpal :slight_smile:.

I needed some extra money and suddenly I thought about my experience in that lovely family and we started hosting in May. I don’t have much to say about the financial benefits yet, but at least we’re going to Paris with the Airbnb money in autumn. And some of the guests have been just wonderful. We’ve had people from U.S, South Korea and Russia who wanted to speak only French and it has been really nice, because I can’t practice that very much in my country. (I still struggle with some rules and boundaries and having someone in our personal space, but that’s a different story. Maybe hosting will teach me some flexibility?) If I hadn’t stayed in that French family, I would never have started Airbnb.
And as I’ve mentioned earlier, this sharing economy gives free English lessons to my kids.

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WHat country are you from?
We all struggle with rules and bondaries in a beginning. This is why this forum is so helpful.
But we dont need to suffer. Noone should suffer:)
Guests new to Air dont know the system, they dont know how to behave in a certain house. Though we would think everyone has common sense on how not to be invasive and every guest realizes that its not their home and hosts live here their everyday life, but its very far from truth. Thats why we need to tell them and be persistent. And if they dont like they can move on to the next house. But in noway we just must suffer.

I’m from Finland… And yes! YES! This forum has been a big help!

I was close to Finland last year, in Estonia. Met lots of fins.

Oh, did you! I go very often to Stockholm, Sweden. Estonia is very close, but I don’t go there as often. But in fact I’m going to Tallinn, Estonia tomorrow for a day and to Stockholm for the weekend. (That’s why I asked help here - I’ll be away when my guest arrives.)

Hi @Mearns,

I don’t mean to be (more) nosey, but it sounds like there is quite a lot of detail missing. Is this what is sometimes called reclamation? And does the “little sand shoal” correspond to your island? I’ve never been to your island, but isn’t it miles offshore?

Not sure what to ask here, exactly. Signed, yours respectfully - Puzzled.

Not reclamation, but settlement (aka 1800’s Homestead Act in the US); the process is to improve a land no one owns, apply for lease, then purchase from Government (title). The island is only 6 miles from the main town. The ‘little sand shoal’ is the base of the island yes, it was only about a size of a lot, and still is really, but the island could eventually be increased to 1.5 acres in size in the future.

Hi @Mearns,

Thanks for the clarification. The water must be really shallow where you island is, then. And it sounds like it was a lot of work. Unless you’re really, really handy. And even then…

I loved Talin. I was away once when my guests arrived, everything went smooth.

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Hey @Mearns how much does an island that size cost to buy if you don’t mind me asking. I love it :slight_smile:

@Mearns [quote=“Mearns, post:3, topic:7120”]
WSJ included it in their ‘Private Islands you can rent’, then NYT, Yahoo Travel, etc; they all mentioned Airbnb as the agent. December 2015, Airbnb called and used the island as lead spot in their ‘Like This, Live There’ ad campaign. It was already booked half of 2016, but their impact booked it into 2018. The island been featured in 30+ newspapers and magazines since.
[/quote]
Fred, I had no idea that you were a media darling!! I loved reading about your story, thank you for sharing! How very exciting!

Raquel, at this point in life, it has been all in fun. I don’t take it all too serious, since by sheer luck some of us do get ‘15 minutes of fame’, but only 15 minutes, if that much. :wink:

@faheem Extremely shallow water, you can’t fill anything deeper than 2 feet. I have had to be very handy; construction, cabinetry, electrical, plumbing whatever I need to learn, but still it was a LOT of work; 1.5 years.

@Paul_Janaway The land is ‘free’ till you want title, then not so ‘free’. Still a fraction of what it would cost to buy from another.

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My family and I have been living tight for years as a single income family so that I can stay at home with our 4 kids. We barely survived the housing bubble and have a tiny house that we still couldn’t sell which we turned into a rental, and after living for 2 years at our friend’s house we bought my huge family home. We spent the whole winter rehabbing the house and the apartment above the garage, and were really disappointed when the city said we couldn’t use it as a long-term permanent residence for someone who wasn’t immediate family.

So thank God for AirBnB and the short-term rental, a legal way we can make that space pay for itself and help us as we maintain a large house and property. I was really considering going back to work at least for the summer and have my family watch my kids, but it was so timely in being able to cover the summer utilities, our first year with a pool, and all the expenses that go along with your first year in a big old place.

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