In this episode, Dave is excited to welcome Zeona McIntire. Zeona is the poster child for the new economy, the shared and gig economy. She was an earlier adopter of AirBNB and owns a number of properties that she rents through the site. She also created a niche for managing property for AirBNB owners and manages dozens of properties throughout the world for owners. She teaches others how to invest in properties with AirBNB in mind and create automated businesses. She spends half the year in Denver, Colorado and the other half traveling the world as an international pet and house sitter.
Zeona may be part nomad, but make no mistake, she knows her business. Dave’s asked her to hold nothing back and give you every secret she has for succeeding in the new economy in this interview. Zeona started working with AirBNB 6 years ago when a friend of hers introduced her to it. At the time, she was in school, so she didn’t act on moving forward. That was until she found out her friend made $50k off their condo. She then dove in and started with her first property and went from there. She now have 5 properties of her own and manages dozens worldwide.
What should people know about AirBNB?
- Don’t think of it as “just a rental”
- With AirBNB it is more like hospitality and like having your own hotel
- And there can be a lot more profit. Instead of making a few hundred bucks, you can make a few thousand, so you have to run things at a higher level and look at it that way
- Her strategy is her passion, which is creating a great experience for people…a great stay.
- The money is good, but if that is all you are focused on, you won’t be as successful
- It’s not just collecting a check, but you can earn more than a job in working just a few hours a day
What should people do to get started? How do you get first property and set up your business?
- First, look at what you have available. You can start with a spare bedroom
- Next, if you don’t have your own bedroom or place, you can work with a friend or family if they do. Maybe somebody you know travels a few months out of the year. You could rent their place and run it for them and split profits.
- When it comes to finding a property, you do have to understand that each market may have laws or rules that you need to follow
- Cities that have a big draw are always good o Zeona focuses on the Midwest and buys her places near colleges. She looks for high profit margins by purchasing lower priced properties in lower priced markets.
- She also invests in quaint –single family homes as they give her the most control and freedom
- Zeona says she hasn’t had many, but a few times there have been some damages, but as she says AirBnB has a really good “host guarantee” program that insures up to a million dollars, so all things have been fixed easily.
- She says it is common sense, but if you are renting a place you live in, make sure to put away or store personal things you don’t want people to access or see.
Tips to Make an Experience with Your Rental?
- There is so much you can do here
- Make sure to under promise and over deliver – for example, leave them a bottle of wine and ideas for their stay
- The little things matter and the attention to detail – for example, coffee and tea out for them, lotion along with soap, a hand written note welcoming them, back up supplies like toothpaste, etc.
- Realize that the more memorable their stay, the more likely they are to tell others and come back again
How much does location matter?
- It is very important, but there are places that surprise
- Before you buy a place, you need to know “why” people may come there
- For example, Zeona likes college areas, but they must have more than 14,000 students she has found to make sure traffic is good.
- Uniqueness around the location is also important
- Is the property near a walking street or where annual festivals are held?
- Hospital areas are very good as well because of traveling nurses and the traffic coming in and out to them. They are a good niche.
What should people know about management?
- You can do it yourself, but there are services that can help do it for you and manage everything
- What is important if you are going to manage it yourself is having the right team. You need a good dependable staff
- The two biggest areas of management are:
- Cleaning – this is biggest area for work and for making an impression. People do not like a place that is not clean
- Maintenance – make sure that things are in working order and keep them up to date. Do not let them sit.
- AirBnB’s cut is only 3%, most others take 10% or more, so it is the most reasonable.
Other opportunities exist around AirBnB. Companies do everything from AirBnB signage to pricing consulting and everything in between.
Tips for Staging a Property?
- Be unique – make sure your furnishings have a theme, but are fun and colorful
- Photos are also important – get good photography done. This can really sell a place o Put as many pictures that make the place look good on the site – don’t do the minimum
- You can even have a house theme that you can tout online
Things that you do to be successful?
- Zeona loves to build networks and connect with people
- She constantly asked herself, “How can I help?”
- She is always looking for ways to bring people together and help them succeed
How do you stay organized while spending half the year abroad?
- Zeona has taken the time to build a team that she can rely for each of the needs she has
- Zeona has built systems from cleaning to guest communication
- She recommends www.properly.com as a service to manage cleaning, etc.
- She used assistance for guest communication needs
- She also has a manager on the ground in each of the areas she has property
- She has set it up to manage everything virtually and with GoogleFI
- She has strived to make herself obsolete
Best Quote: "You can design your life anyway that you want. You don’t have to subscribe to the way that “everyone is supposed to follow.” You can do it differently."
Zeona's Misfit 3
- Make your bed in the morning. There is an energy about having a clear space and it gives a clear mind. Making your bed is like a gift to your future self. It’s something you get to unwrap at the end of the day.
- Make better friends. Seek out people that make you better, inspire you, and challenge you. Don’t settle.
- Find you why. Create your own mission and vision statement for your life so that you can refer back to it and make sure what you are doing is staying true to the mission and vision.