If you’ve been looking to get into property management or to take a gander into the popular Airbnb market, but just don’t know where to start, our guest today has all the answers for you, in her own words, “there is more than one way to skin a cat.”
We are joined by Julie George who has many accolades, she is a leading expert in Short Term Rentals, has had incredible success building a property management portfolio, recently selling her business “Host My Home”, for seven figures. She has authored a bestseller book, “Million Dollar Host” and has done the ‘full circle’ of the STR Industry – starting with one bedroom, growing up to 130 properties.
She is a true legend in the STR space and is going break down the strategies that worked for her and how they could work for you too.
There are many angles from which to bite into the cake that is property management and Airbnbs. Our guest today is eager to let you in on the industry secrets of running a six figure Airbnb enterprise as a property manager in the shared economy. Julie shares her experience from being a real estate agent during a flat market in Cairns and how she was able to speed past the competition using Airbnbs. She breaks down the strategies that worked for her and how they could work for you too. Julie Gorge, has many accolades, she is a leading expert Airbnb, she has had incredible success building a property management portfolio, recently selling her business “Host My Home”, having built it from the ground in only 2 years. She has authored a bestseller book, “Million Dollar Host” and has done the ‘full circle’ of the STR Industry – starting with one bedroom, growing up to 130 properties. She has managed to retire at a prime age of 45 and she is currently touring the world, speaking, mentoring and consulting on ‘Airbnb’ and building a business on the back of the sharing economy.
Listen to the episode here
Watch the episode here
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What does it take to become a property manager? [08:47]
Different models you can use to utilize the sharing economy as a property manager. [09:28]
Approaching landlords for Airbnbs and short term rentals [09:36]
If you can’t beat them, join them: How to work alongside real estate agents, instead of working in competition with them [15:25]
Tools Julie used in her journey as a property manager
Thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative ideas to list more Airbnb homes [14:00]
How to grow and market your STR management enterprise by helping hotels get into Airbnb [22:43]
Becoming a property manager without money, job or expertise. [22:53]
Establishing your brand, building credibility and becoming an expert in the space. [23:55]
Embracing controversies surrounding Airbnb and using them as opportunities. [25:07]
Adopting flexibility to go with what the market is at that moment [30:08]
Identifying gaps in the market and figuring out what works just for you [33:10]
Giving guests an amazing experience in your property [36:52]
Thank you so much for listening to the show. You can find us at theaccommodationshow.com where you can find all the show notes, links to resources we have talked about and transcripts from the show. I appreciate you listening and if you would like to support the show then please subscribe, leave a comment and share it with others.
Bart: Hi and welcome back everybody to the accommodation show. I am joined today by Julie George who is an absolute legend in the STR space. She actually started a business in 2016 with one property. She grew it to 130 properties then before the pandemic she had the foresight out of nowhere to figure out of nowhere that it should be sold and she managed to sell it before the worst hit. Welcome to the show Julie.
Julie: Hi Bart. Thank you for having me. And yes, if I had that foresight more often. I could probably sell my services as a psychic.
Bart: Yeah, that’s right. Or you could just be placing bets on different things happening and making millions and millions.
Julie: It sounds good.
Bart: Beautiful. Thanks a lot for coming on. Today we’re going to cover off how you built your business, how you went down the journey, what it takes to do what you did. We might talk about teams and processes, things like that. But really I want people that are listening to really figure out how they might go about building a business from scratch or if they’re already started, bought a few properties and they’re like, “where should I go to next?” or if you’re a bed-and-breakfast owner if you’ve got a small business, but you’re thinking, “I want to do more, but I don’t know what,” you can use your existing resources to go and build your business bigger and stronger. Those are sort of different things we want to talk about today. Before we go into it, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your story?
Julie: Okay, my favorite story to tell. Back in 2016. I was working as a real estate agent, sitting in open homes. The Cairns market was flat for the last 15 years. I love Cairns. I love real estate. It just wasn’t moving. You know, we were sitting in this flat market. Here I am trying to sell properties, property investors were banging their heads against a brick wall. Either selling for a lower price or having to rent their properties out to tenants, maybe just covering their mortgages. They had to be a better option. Right?
One of my properties, a one-bedroom apartment became available, the tenant moved out. I just had to pop in some linen, I had to connect the Wi-Fi, I took some photos and I wanted to find out what all this fuss was about with Airbnb. I popped it up on Airbnb and within a couple of days. I had my first booking. I went from 240 a week, to 600 a week and that’s when the light bulb went to chi ching! It wasn’t that moment that I went to chi ching for myself because I was like, “oh my gosh, I’m making all this money.” There’s a reciprocal review system. They’re on their best behavior. I’m trying to impress them. It was kind of a cool set up and I loved it. The chi ching moment came when I was showing a property investor around who had flown out from Sydney. They came up looking for that elusive unicorn of a positive cash flow property. Right. Now I too used to read books about positive cash flow properties. They just don’t exist anymore. I said to this lady, “I’m sorry, we don’t have any on the books, but let’s create one. Let’s go out and find a property you’d like to holiday in yourself. First of all, let’s find one that you like.” She found one. So I sold it to her chi ching, income stream number one, it needed furnishing. I put my hand up and I said, “I can do that, after hours. I’m going to go to Kmart. I’m going to go to Target. I’m gonna put this flat pack furniture together, and I’m going to charge you a fee,” number two income stream. Then we came with the challenge that she lived in Sydney. This property was in Cairns, I suggested that she needed to do what I had just done and put it on Airbnb. How is she going to manage it? Well, I’m going to put my hand up again, right? There we have the third income stream and ching ching, I’m charging 25% commission on managing the process for her.
Bart: There’s the Airbnb fees and you’re taking 25% on the side?
Julie: Of the payout, yeah. I would always say, “I’m taking it from the payout figure,” because we all know Airbnb changes, one minute they’re 3.1% next minute. They’re never exactly right. I would always take 25% from the payout figure. This woman had such a great experience going through this process with me, that six months later she rings me up and she says, “Julie do it again.” Go ahead and find me another property, I did. She still to this day hasn’t seen that second property. But what I was able to do was establish a business called “Host my Home”, Airbnb Property Management, giving investors an alternative to what was already out there in the marketplace with their properties, better return on investment using the properties themselves and just a great experience all around, it was a win-win, but grew that property management business to 130 properties, eight million dollars income generated through Airbnb, full circle, sold the business, wrote a best-selling book and now I get to hang out with cool kids like you Bart, all day every day talking on podcasts, educating others and hopefully inspiring somebody that might be listening right now that it is possible to scale up from not owning any property at all. Well, I did own my first one, but not having to own any property at all right through to a multimillion-dollar business and if I can Inspire just one person today, jobs done.
Bart: The first property that you had was the one that you put onto Airbnb to prove your concept and to prove whether it’s going to work and that’s the one that brought you a lot of revenue and then you got your investors in and you created a product there.You were targeting investors mainly or was it a bit varied.
Julie: Property investors to start with but to be honest when I first started this business I saw there were so many different target markets out there. One of my very first clients was a school teacher, he was in his 60s and was desperately wanting to go backpacking in Africa. How random is that? And had this really kind of plain-looking, three-bedroom, one-bathroom house in the suburbs. I think he just wanted a house sitter to be honest. He came to me saying, ”Julie. I’ll give you my house. I would like you to collect the mail, I’d like you to regularly clean it. I’d like you to make sure it’s secure.” If you want to put some Airbnb people in there, go ahead. Now, the funny thing was that it was such an unusual house in the rainforest. It was in the suburbs but we have green tree frogs coming in, we had stags coming in which was kind of scary, but what it was, was that it was unique enough that visitors from overseas wanted to stay there. All of a sudden it was so popular. We were earning so much money for this gentleman while he was backpacking around Africa. I had to keep messaging and going, “don’t come home. I need to have your house booked for the next month.” He got to extend his trip. We made a lot of money for him. And that was kind of cool too. It was people that were putting their homes with us while they were going on a vacation themselves. Property investors, yes and property investors were I guess, how many property investors have ever stayed in their own homes, in their own houses that they have purchased for an investment? They have probably never even used the toilet before in those properties. It was kind of cool to reach out to those people and say, “look use your property yourself, get a better return on investment and try this new Airbnb concept,” but yes mum and dads who had their own furnished property looking for somebody to look after it while they went away, or perhaps the other option.
Bart: That makes an awful lot of sense. You are picking up different clients here and there and it just kind of was snowballing and through the way that you are, you’re probably doing a lot of talking to different people and becoming a bit of an educator as to how it works. And then by the time you’ve educated everyone they’re like, you know what this all sounds too difficult, I can get you to do it for me. There’s two sides of it. We could have people listening to the podcast that are investors and that might want to team up with someone like yourself, so a property management company and use that as an investment vehicle for their funds or they might want to become a property manager and build out a business.
I know there’s two routes to building out a property manager business at this stage. Do you want to talk us through quickly what the landscape looks like? Let’s say we want to become a property manager. What would that take?
Julie: There more than one way to skin a cat as they say. What Airbnb has done, it’s given us this amazing platform and I talked about Airbnb. There are other operating platforms. There’s booking.com and there’s a whole bunch of other Home aways. I just love airbnb and I’m sure that if one day Brian Chesky wants me to have a facial tattoo of his logo, I’m sure I’d probably be talked into it because I just think it’s just an incredible platform, you’re recording this right so that could come bite me one day.
There’s a couple of different models that people would look at if they want to get into this space and put together a third party business utilizing the sharing economy and utilizing this platform of Airbnb. The most popular one is one called Arbitrage, which is leasing and subleasing. It’s convincing a landlord to lease your property putting it in your name, but really you need to be putting it in your business name and we’ll come to the reason on that in a second but putting that in your business name and then leasing it again on Airbnb. You’re setting up, you might be furnishing the property you’re setting it all up. But you’re taking the risk and you’re making that commitment to the landlord that you are going to be the tenant that will pay the rent on that property and then you’re going to lease it on airbnb. Couple of little issues with that, you have to get permission to do that. That’s super important. You don’t want to be dodgey with this. It will come back to bite you. If you don’t fully disclose what you’re doing, but you’re also risking putting that money up front and furnishing that property.
Pros and cons on this. Yes, you can scale up a business like that super easily and super quickly. The con, I’ve just seen so many horror stories and at the moment I’m working with the gentleman in Seattle in Washington, America who had a hundred and fifteen properties that he scaled up in just the Arbitrage model. Unfortunately with covid, it really put the cracks on how many people were coming and staying in those properties income stoppe, all of a sudden he owes three hundred thousand dollars to his landlord for back rent on these properties that he has committed to. The next problem is, he’s going to lose furniture, even if he gets rid of these properties, all of a sudden he’s got all this secondhand furniture to sell. I’m actually at the moment helping this guy get out of that tangle that he is in, that’s Arbitrage.
The other model, which is the one that I jumped on very quickly was one of management. It’s just like a long-term property manager. We’ve got plenty of those in Australia who have already got it sorted out how to or look after tenant, how to put a lease in place, all that type of thing. What I saw was that there was an opportunity to not only lease a property per week or per month but per night and if you can come in and just put that hospitality spin in. If hospitality and real estate came together, that’s exactly the sort of concept that I came up with, offering an instant hotel using other people’s properties. Getting a fully furnished property, getting a property ready to list on Airbnb, but managing the process and then just taking a cut and having it as a win-win situation that the owner gets 75%, I take 25% and I just kind of like using other people’s money. If I’m going to get rich, give me somebody else’s property and give me someone else’s money to take that risk with.
Bart: I might be a property owner. I’ve got one place that I’m running at the moment. I might have five beds. I’m a Airbnb and then I’m like, “well, I actually do want to expand, I want to grow, and I want to do it fast,” then I might just look at the local area. “You know what? I’ve already got some cleaners. I’ve got my processes sorted. I can check people in, I can do all these things. Maybe I just talked to local operators and local people with property and say, “hey you want to come on board with me look at real estate agents. Where would I find these people?”
Julie: When I first started, I faced that exact same dilemma. I knew it worked. I tried it on my own property. I found somebody, my first client, but then I wanted more, I wanted more properties. How the hell was I going to do that? And I figured well, I can either go out and chase those properties or I could get those properties and those property owners to chase me and the way that I finally established that was to become an expert on Airbnb and to create that brand in my community. Like you said before, I just put it out there. I kept getting so much free information whether it’s on social media, whether it is in press releases and talking to television cameras. For me I had a glossy magazine that would go out to all the property investors of Cairns and I knew if I could get in that magazine, just once and I got in there four times in a row, I could actually hit the target market that I was chasing. What I did was I wrote a full page article and I did a whole bunch of different topics.
One was how to make money while you are vacationing yourself. How to make money through your house. The other one was a top ten tips to managing your property yourself on Airbnb. One was about top Airbnb properties in the area, how much they earned. I was able to put all this information together in these articles and put a full page article together in this magazine, but it was always accompanied with a full page ad right next to it for “ Host my Home”, my property management business. I gave people the insight and the concept and really made them think about it, but it also showed that look, “it is probably better to get a professional to do this for you,” because it is a 24/7 gig like we all know it’s a lot of work, get a professional to do it. You’re probably going to make just as much money or more money than doing it yourself, but you’re also going to get a professional to manage the process for you. It was about building that brand. On top of that it was the strategic relationships that I was able to form in my community. It was working alongside real estate agents, not working in competition with real estate agents.
That’s a really interesting concept too because a lot of people think, the real estate agents are probably going to go, “boo here comes the airbnb property manager.” What you’ve got to do is you’ve actually got to work in with them and approach the real estate agents. The ones you want to approach are sales only agents, the ones that don’t have a management portfolio attached to them. You want to approach the real estate agents that are selling the overpriced furnished luxury properties in your market. And if you can see that they’re holding open homes there each week, trying to flog this amazing property, but it’s just asking way too much money, get your arse into that open house, get in front of that agent and say, “can I help you?” And when they say, “what the hell are you talking about?” You need to be able to explain to them that you can put together an appraisal, a report on what that property might be worth on Airbnb. Put some comparable properties in there, show its worth because of that then can become a sales tool, that that real estate agent can show property investors.
Next level is to actually tell the real estate agent. “How about we partner for the next until you sell the property? How about I list it on Airbnb, we try to get some income for your existing owners. I will clean this home on a regular basis. I will block the calendar for your open homes and your inspections and we can promote your property investors, try before you buy so they can come and sleep in the house before they make the commitment of signing the contract with you.” I can tell you nine times out of 10. Every agent I approached with that strategy absolutely said yes, and we became firm friends.
Bart: That’s incredible. I want to start taking notes myself and start writing them down.
Julie: You should listen to his podcast.
Bart: Agents are a great way to get in and there’s lots of strategies there and I’m sure that a lot of this stuff is in your book. Is that right?
Julie: It just happens to be there. It’s a great book “Million Dollar Host” available on Amazon and leading bookstores. Anyway, thanks for that Bart.
Bart: I had to Right? There is a lot of depth you go into in terms of different strategies and I don’t want to leave people hanging and looking for a bit more. But if it’s all in the book, it does give people a reference point to go to, “I like that idea, I’m going to do that,” that way we don’t have to spend the extra time covering if they are talking to different people. It is in the book.
Julie: In fact, there’s a whole bunch of more stuff in the book. Anybody who’s listening in am going to give you an interesting new model that hasn’t really been taken up in Australia. This model has been taken up by somebody over in America and it has meant that they now have 2 billion with B, 2 billion dollars worth of property that they are now listing on Airbnb with this model. The model is a booking agent model and this is simply where you’re looking at typical accommodation that is already out in the marketplace, hotels, motels, caravan parks. Anything that really isn’t a typical accommodation, that is not on Airbnb. A lot of these accommodation providers are probably thinking, “boo he’s a little bit like,” I was saying before, looking at it as competition, but if you can’t beat them join them and if you can go in and approach the holiday apartment that is down the road that you know is not on Airbnb, you go in there as the expert and you say, “hello, I would like to help you and I would like to create a listing for you on Airbnb and I’m going to manage the process for you. I’m going to be your reservations department and I will be the middleman who will sync our calendars together. We will promote your properties on Airbnb.” Let me just backtrack a little bit. The reason they’re not on Airbnb is that a lot of the channel managers, that hotels or holiday apartments are on, do not sync with Airbnb. They’re syncing with all the other channels. They’re syncing with the expedia’s or the booking dot-coms, but they’re just not getting to Airbnb for whatever reasons and I could be wrong that may have changed in the last few months, but I guess there is an opportunity now to come in and say I am an expert in Airbnb. Let me list your property. Let me take 11%, that’s what I was doing. On every booking coming in. We’re going to create a profile under your name, under your details, what you do here Bart and this is exactly step by step on what I was doing. I was using the affiliate link from Airbnb, creating a new profile for this hotel owner so that when they first got their first guest, I was getting a couple of hundred dollars. Thank you as a kickback from Airbnb.
You can actually offer this service for free to the hotels because you know you’re going to get paid eventually from Airbnb. Creating a profile, you’re helping them set up their listings and then you co-host yourself onto their profile, they don’t have to run it at all, they don’t have to see it. You put their bank account details, so they’re getting paid, but you’re also making sure that every time a booking comes through, you get your percentage paid out to you at the same time and all you can invoice at the end of the month, whatever is easiest for you. Basically you become a reservations department for the hotel, you are doing all the booking, you’re doing the guest inquiries, responding to the messages, but then they are looking after the hotel or the owner is looking after the cleaning. They’re looking after the actual day-to-day operations. They’re getting the bad reviews if there is a bad review, fingers crossed that doesn’t happen, but it works beautifully in that, that is a model that you can scale up, not only in your own hometown or nationwide but internationally as well.
You can start tapping into some of the biggest hotel chains around the world and actually offering the service and this gentleman and if you’re very welcome to have a look at this website folks if you want to. What he’s created is called “plenty of Villas.com”. He calls himself Mr. Airbnb which is kind of cool on Instagram and social media. I suppose with two billion dollars worth of properties. He’s doing that right and I think he drives his fancy Lamborghini as well but some but “plenty of Villas.” This is just a concept that I just wanted to throw another one in there for your listeners Bart and I just think there is more than one way to skin a cat if you can see that there is a opportunity out there in the marketplace where you can come in and solve a problem and the problem here being that hotels don’t know how to get onto Airbnbs, go on there and do it for them, and charge a little bit for it. There you go, no money needed to start a business like that. No real expertise needed, you just need a bit of gusto and a bit of oomph and just that willingness to give it a go.
Bart: It’s brilliant and I’ve actually encountered the Mr. Airbnb chap myself, and it’s an interesting model as well. And I think that getting that pitch that you’re going to present to a potential caravan park or owner is the crucial part because there’s also a lot of politics which are involved with this. Some people don’t want to be on Airbnb, might not see the benefits and all of that. Definitely check out Mr.airbnb and you can get those tips, if that’s the sort of model you want to go down, if that’s the market you want to target. And as you said the barrier to entry is low and you could actually do it on the weekends, probably or after work and then start on this journey and really understand it. Establishing the brand is the biggest learning that I’m getting from this particular session is that what worked for you is becoming the expert in the space and leashing yourself into airbnb, more or so than the other platforms and you understand the other platforms but you’ve got airbnb as well, people are just going to know that I can get good returns for using this particular thing. It does expose you to a bit of risk if anything goes wrong in terms of policies and Airbnb but that’s business right? You just keep on trying to innovate and evolve.
I want to go a little bit controversial or push you a little bit and the other direction and there is a lot of flack that Airbnb gets, there’s they’ve introduced a lot of problems for example if you want to rent a place in certain areas now it’s an increasingly difficult because now everyone is renting the places out, everyone is airbnbing them out and now rents have gone up. Well, that’s what the media is saying. There’s a lot more competition a bit like when Uber came in for the cabs and that sort of thing. Where do you sit and what’s your philosophy about this? Because obviously it’s great for us if we’re running a business. If you want to do it this particular way, but what about the consequences?
Julie: It’s very controversial and depending on where you live. It could be even banned or it could be restricted. I know in Sydney and they were looking at bringing in the 90-day policy. Sometimes there can be a lot of resistance in the community. And unfortunately the media only reports about the parties and always associates it with Airbnb, even if it’s not in a
property that’s listed on Airbnb, might be a Booking.com party, but you never hear any of it as a Booking.com party. Unfortunately Airbnb causes a lot of flack but I’ve got to tell you of the thousands and thousands of people that I have had through my properties. Any one given night, I would have four to five hundred people staying in Julie’s properties. We were one of the biggest pseudo hotels in the Cairns region. In fact, I think it was only ourselves and maybe like the Hilton or The Ridges Plaza that was able to offer so many people a room for the night, it is kind of cool, but I can tell you that I have only got about five memories of scarred party issues of any anything happening in the two-and-a-half years that I was managing those properties. I’m sure the Hilton or The Ridges would say that there’s a lot more that you know bad events that they have experienced.
First, I just want to reassure anyone listening to our podcast today that it’s not all bad. In fact, it is so freaking great. The experience has just been absolutely mind-blowing in that there’s the reciprocal review system, the host guarantee so that if something goes wrong and yes, there are things that go wrong, like I said, I have five scarred memories of different parties, but guys honestly, I would do It all again in a heartbeat and I just think that even with the controversy, even with body corporate legislations or changes to rulings in the areas or the communities, even with that 90-day policy, I was looking at you know operators in Sydney and thinking, “all right, what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to then be flexible,” and you’ve got to look at your properties and go okay for a part of the year. I need some permanent longer leases. I need to be able to offer some flexible leases, but then when it’s really busy, let’s say Christmas time, I’m going to Airbnb the hell out of that property.
Bart: You’re taking a bar into the peak seasons, which is you’re probably 70% of your revenue anyway, and then also if it takes that much heat out of the market, it means that you will be able to command a higher price when those times come around, because there won’t be as much availability or stock of property.
Julie: Don’t be don’t be scared of it, just embrace it and look at it as an opportunity and it will pay off.
Bart: If we’ve got an established business, we’ve been running for five or ten years and now there’s all these competitors and there’s a changing landscape around us, especially big companies coming in and sort of throwing their weight around, which they absolutely do and we’re seeing that happening more and more now and it’s more pushback from politicians, which is great. These things are going to keep on changing and evolving but the consequences for business owners that have been around for longer through all of this, If you do have a hotel or an airbnb and those business models are starting to get pushed, what advice do you have for that cohort and that group of people.
Julie: It’s probably the same sort of message, don’t fight it, just figure out a way to make it a great opportunity for yourself and open your eyes up and be flexible and look at other options, do you need to get some students in your properties for a little while. I’m going to be honest and at the moment in Cairns, so I sold my business. However, I’ve still got a number of properties that I own in Cairns, and you know that we’re on Airbnb. I am actually going to admit today on your show that I have taken them off Airbnb at the moment. I have put doctors and nurses in them on a flexible lease, some of these nurses and doctors have come up to work at the hospital here during covid now, they don’t necessarily, they don’t want to sign up for a six-month lease, fair enough and that’s what a lot of real estate agents were offering. I had put in my advertisement that I put out a gumtree on facebook and I’m actually about to do it again. Anybody who needs a property let me know because I know that people don’t have a six-month contract. They might have a three month or a four month or a you’ve got to be flexible with people and you’ve got to be able to be willing to go with what the market is at the moment and at the moment I’m just happy to say look, “I can offer a furnished property. I can put the Wi-Fi on for you and if you need to take it for three months. I’m going to give you a certain price for 3 months or if you’re going to do a shorter, I’ll probably give you a higher price just to make it worthwhile because I’m going to have to turn over,” but I would just say, be flexible, open your eyes up, don’t look at the restrictions to hold you back. But look at it as an opportunity and just figure out how you can be a problem solver with the resources that you have.
Bart: Ultimately having lots of flexibility, understanding of the world is going to keep on changing around us, if it’s not Airbnb today, it will be somebody else doing something else which is innovative in the future. The one thing that I know is that Airbnb is not driven by Airbnb, Airbnb is driven by consumer demand, and that’s what the consumer’s demanding. You can find Airbnb and we can fight all these different platforms and I don’t want that here. The problem is it’s not them that are dictating, it’s the consumers that are applying at the end of the day. Unless we’re targeting the consumer, “oh we don’t want any consumers,” it’s going to happen right? And if it’s not then they’ll be someone else, if it’s not Airbnb, Google will jump in or apple will jump in, someone else will jump in and fill the consumer demand. One of the biggest reasons why I’ve got you on Julie is because I want to help to educate everyone as to what’s happening out there, the strategies that you have to grow your business so that if you’re not on that side, everybody knows what you’re up to. How it works and then they can make some strategic decisions as to which path they might take for their business, how they going to potentially find it, how they’re going to strengthen their businesses to get through to the next stage or as we said if you’re smaller, then you can you can start on this path and grow.
Picking up books, making the right networks is key to starting on this particular journey. Let’s just finish. Let’s pretend that this is the first time I’ve heard about this sort of strategy or this sort of thing. I might not have decided which strategy I’m going to go down, heard the podcast, what do I do next?
Julie: You can’t make the assumption that everybody already knows about Airbnb. Bart, you and I connected through the amazing platform of Clubhouse and people still figuring out what the hell clubhouse is. If you don’t know, if you’re listening in and you’re not sure, it is the best thing since Facebook that has come my way. My advice for anybody who’s just listening in and has had their interest piqued by anything that we’ve discussed today is to keep researching, educate yourself and whether that is to go and find a course, to read a book, to listen to more podcasts, but keep educating yourself before you decide which business model is right for you. I have a lot of people that I sit with and they put their hand up and they go, “I want to do exactly what you’re doing,” and I will always say to them. All right, but tell me about yourself first and I had a lady the other day. I was doing a Zoom interview with, and she said well, “I’ve got two little babies and I’m a former teacher and I want to do what you’re doing.” And I said, “no you don’t, sorry love”. You do not want to do what I just did because it’s a 24/7 gig. I remember one day making 17 beds in a row. You can’t do that with two babies strapped to your back and I said, “but you’re an educator right? How about we talk to you about becoming a consultant and helping mums and dads set up their own airbnb’s and doing it via Zoom, so you can have your babies next to you at all times and that you can work from home and you don’t have to clean”. and all of a sudden, you could see her eyes light up and go. “Oh my God, so I don’t have to do it the typical way that everyone is promoting.” And I said, “no,” look at your own strengths. Look at your own situation. Look at how you can work best in the sharing economy. And and so suddenly she’s gone from thinking that she needs to be a property manager to now wanting to be a consultant to help the mum and dads out there to set it up to do it themselves. Keep researching, keep talking to the Julie George’s of the world and join us on clubhouse when you figure out what the hell Clubhouse is. My other thing would be just do it because what’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work. It doesn’t you know and you’re stuck in that job forever? The freedom that you can create by getting into the sharing economy creating a business for yourself is freaking amazing. Just do it.
Bart: There’s one last thing and it’s a big topic, but I wanted to just mention it. The one thing that we always talk about the numbers and Airbnb and strategy and real estate agents and money money money, but the beautiful thing is not only is it the sharing economy, which I fundamentally believe in. I think it’s always been necessary for a long time. I share my cars, I’ve got a few cars there in the sharing economy. I don’t mind if people are using it, I don’t have any personal…It’s not mine to begin with anyway. The beautiful thing about this is that you’re trying to make money and all that, but you’re also trying to deliver an unbelievable experience that could make a big difference for someone and if that’s something that excites you, you’re genuinely trying to make someone’s day or week just that much better. It’s a great space to be in because you can do so much to really make someone’s day. What do you think about that?
Julie: It is rewarding. I couldn’t agree more. The money is fabulous. Don’t get me wrong having that money to burn and being now retired at 45. I can actually say I’m retired because thanks very much to Airbnb and Brian Chesky and that facial tattoo. What is more rewarding than the financial gains is to actually see guests that are having an amazing experience in the property that you’re providing. You meet some beautiful people from all around the world and people that I have become friends with. We even had a lady give birth in one of our airbnb’s, don’t ask me about the cleaning fee, I charged for that. We’ve had situations where people’s lives have changed because we’ve provided this amazing accommodation platform. We’ve got guests, we’ve got our own lives that have changed but then property owners, property investors who I’ve gone and I’ve said to them, let me help you make almost twice as much money as you would by putting a long-term tenant in, by allowing me to manage the process on Airbnb. I’ve got property investors suddenly making more money than they’ve ever made before, utilizing their own properties, staying in their own properties and then having this win-win experience. They just get such a thrill out of reading the reviews coming back from the guests and seeing that people love their homes that they’re staying in. It’s a bit of a warm and fuzzy all around by guests, property investors and myself.
Then also, the business that I created, I ended up employing 18 people in the community. So hello, all of a sudden all these team members of mine are out getting new cars or being able to upgrade their own homes because they’re suddenly making a lot of money and it’s cool. It’s a super cool industry. A little warm and fuzzy with this whole airbnb experience for sure.
Bart: Great. Thank you so much Julie for joining us. You have given your time, you have given us your knowledge. It’s super rewarding. I appreciate it. And I’m sure that everyone listening does as well. Is it anything that we can do for you?
Julie: I would just love any feedback, positive feedback, welcome, negative feedback, keep it to yourself. I would welcome anybody to connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m on Facebook , Instagram, I’ve figured out how to use Instagram. Thank goodness, finally. Make contact, don’t be intimidated. Yes. I’ve done very well in this space, but I’m human. I made my mistakes. I’ve learned from my mistakes, but I’m willing to share my secrets, help other people and I would just say it, please connect.
Bart: Great and we’ll include everything on the show notes. Jump up to the accommodation show.com and everything will be there with links to the book and websites and everything else that you need, if you want to learn more, thank you.seven