airbnb design tips

Styling an Airbnb Property to Maximise Returns

Just over a decade ago, simply offering an extra room in a major city for less than the cost of a hotel was all you needed to do to attract interested Airbnb customers. The vacation rental market has since exploded. Today, hundreds of rental properties are available for both short- and long-term rental in just about every corner of the world.

For those seeking long-term lodging, this means more choices and incredible value in many cases. For those renting Airbnb properties, it means higher expectations and more competition. Here are some ways that you can use style and décor to maximise your investment at your Airbnb property.

Play To Your Strengths

Not every Airbnb property can serve every traveller’s needs. As a property owner, you’ll want to think about your ideal customer. Is your property perfect for a retired couple looking for an extended vacation? Are you equipped to serve families with children that may need to stay a month or two? Or are you ideally located for travelling business professionals looking for a temporary residence and working space?

Once you know who would love to stay at your property, style the place and beef up your offerings to serve that audience. For example, if you decide you have the perfect spot for families who need to relocate to your area for a few months, be sure you have child-friendly and durable furniture as well as a well-stocked kitchen for meal preparation. Offer comfortable lighting for family space and quality window coverings in the bedrooms. Invest in some extras like play pens, electronic entertainment or high chairs.

On the other hand, if you want to grab the attention of business travellers, be sure you have reliable, fast WiFi connections, ergonomically correct furniture, and common office equipment such as a printer, scanner or fax machine. You’ll want lighting that is ideal for working extra hours as well.

Select Unique But Tasteful Decor

Airbnb décor can always be a bit challenging because everyone has a different opinion of what is beautiful, comfortable or attractive. Pick a theme that either corresponds to the tastes of a large portion of your target audience or select something that’s unique to your local geographic area, culture or region.

Try to select furniture, artwork and other décor that complements your overall look. It may be worth the investment to talk with a professional interior decorator, a property management company, or at least a friend who had a natural flair for style and décor.

Choose Quality, Durable Furniture

Remember that as a property owner, you’ll be hosting different people over a long period of time. Although long-term Airbnb customers are probably not as hard on your furniture as a rotating number of weekend travellers, you’ll still want to invest in high quality, durable furniture to withstand high usage and still look attractive and relatively new over time.

Invest in the most important pieces including quality, comfortable beds, sofas and reclining chairs. A sturdy dining room set with easy-to-clean chairs would be a worthy investment as well.

Opt for Common Kitchen Appliances

For those guests seeking long-term Airbnb rentals, you’ll want to have a well-stocked kitchen. Be sure you invest in quality appliances that are easy-to-use and clean. You don’t have to have many obscure kitchen gadgets but make sure you have plenty of commonly used items such as a coffee maker, microwave and an assortment of dishes, pots and pans, cutting boards, and utensils.

Skip The Blinds

The windows of an Airbnb property offer a great area to spruce up. Heavy curtains can add a great deal of warmth to a room, both in terms of appearance and temperature control.

You may want to consider investing in room-darkening window coverings or blackout curtains in the bedrooms to help ensure a great night’s sleep for your guests anytime they want to sleep.

An extra layer of sheer curtains can be a nice touch when customers would like natural light and privacy at the same time.

Incorporate Fabulous Lighting Options Throughout

Light has a wonderful way of changing the entire mood of a property, individual room or even marketing photography on your listing. Select your room lighting carefully.

Lights that hang from the ceiling can add a customized look for any room, often becoming a centerpiece. Simple warm table lamps can add much to the ambiance of any space. Consider well-lit desk spaces if you offer a work area as well. A reading lamp near beds is a welcome addition for those who enjoy a good book before bed.

Be sure to utilize those lights when you’re taking your photos for your Airbnb listing. A professional photographer can help you position lights to make your property the most attractive online.

Don’t Forget The Details

Although having the right large pieces of furniture, lighting, flooring and window dressings are all important, don’t forget the small touches that will make your place unique and cozy.

Fresh flowers and plants, although they require some care, are well worth the investment. Place them near natural light sources and scatter vases with fresh flowers throughout the home for great photo opportunities. Even if your guests do not want to keep them long-term, they certainly make a great welcoming gesture at the very least.

Incorporate tasteful décor in candles, knick-knacks, paintings and artwork to make a house feel more like a classy home.


Enhance Room Through Color Choices

Minimize the number of your stark white walls. Instead, use colors to enhance the feeling of particular spaces at the property. For example, warm paint colors can make a room particularly inviting or a dark color scheme can add coziness to a small nook area for private conversations, quiet reading or a cat nap. Consider painting the ceiling to change the ambiance of the room even more.


Select Flooring Options Fit For Each Space

Thick, lush carpet may be a great option for bedrooms, which don’t see as much traffic in a long-term rental as many areas. It can add warmth as well as sound insulation, both welcomed properties in a bedroom.

Hardwood floors or faux hardwood floors are classic, attractive and relatively easy to clean and maintain in main living areas. You can add a touch of style in a particular room with an area rug that complements the design of the room.

Durable, easy-to-clean tile may be the best choice for kitchen and dining areas as well as bathrooms. Many inexpensive yet durable tiles are available if you can’t afford ceramic options.


Get Professional Assistance

Many Airbnb property management companies, Airbnb itself, and independent designers and consultants can offer a helping hand when it comes to styling your Airbnb for maximum profit. Look into the services they offer and consider the return on your investment. It may be worth hiring a professional who can help make the large and small decisions to help you property be as appealing and as attractive as possible for potential customers.

By following these suggestions, you can style your Airbnb property to compete successfully against others in your market.


freelance mom working at home

10 Best Work from Home Jobs for Moms

You can be a stay-at-home mom and still make good money from home. Many mothers today use their spare time doing work from home jobs. While some will get you a few extra bucks on the side, others can provide a full-time income. Some mothers even create their own home businesses and become mompreneurs.

It isn’t difficult, either. There are tons of work from home jobs available online that are perfect for moms. You can also carry out freelance work or even create an online store to make money from home. Here are 10 of the best work from home jobs that work especially well for moms.

1. Social Media Manager

Do you spend a lot of your time coming up with the perfect Twitter post or Instagram caption? These skills are more valuable than ever today. In fact, businesses will pay you good money for your social media expertise.

You can find a lot of jobs as a freelance social media manager, writer or marketer online. Most of the time, all these jobs require are some social media marketing knowledge and creativity. Build your own channels, then look up social media jobs on Indeed and Monster.

You could even offer your services to businesses directly. If you can create creative content for different channels and schedule social media posts using Hootsuite and Buffer, you can get paid for it. It’s a fantastic job for anyone working from home.

2. Freelance Writer

If you’re good at writing blogs, articles or even stories, there are tons of opportunities out there for you. Freelance writers, with a little experience, can make enough money to do it full-time.

You can find many freelance writing jobs on regular job sites like Indeed. You can also look at Craigslist. Some take their skills to freelance sites like Upwork or Freelancer.

If you can build up a solid portfolio of writing, you can charge anywhere from 5-10 cents a word and pitch to bloggers and businesses directly. Experienced freelance writers with a lot of clients can make even more.

3. Babysitter

If you’re good with looking after kids, why not get paid for it? Plenty of other moms are looking for someone experienced and trustworthy to take care of their children while they’re working or away.

The best thing about being a babysitter or nanny is there’s really no entry requirements. You can simply ask your friends if they need someone to look after their kids, set your own rate, and turn your time into money.

You can also sign up with agencies or professional babysitting services for extra work. Be warned- looking after children all day can be extremely tiring. However, if you’re up to the challenge, you could make a solid income.

4. Tutor

Being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean you can’t put your education and skills to work. If you have some skills or knowledge to teach, then make money from them as a home tutor.

Many parents look for well-educated tutors to help their children with their grades. You can set your own times, rates, and advertise online. If you’re musically inclined, you could offer to teach piano, guitar or singing to locals.

You can also become an online tutor through sites such as You can work on your own schedule tutoring people through the internet and make money from it.

5. Virtual Assistant

Many offices now look for work-from-home virtual assistants to help them with daily tasks. This generally involves all the same kind of tasks you’d do in a real office job.

You can help with creating spreadsheets, sending emails, completing sales, and even bookkeeping- all from home.

Virtual assistants are becoming more and more common from businesses. You can often find these on regular job sites or sites like FlexJobs. It’s a fantastic way to make a full-time income while working from home.

6. Proofreader/Editor

Just like with freelance writing, there are many opportunities on the web for proofreading and editing.

These jobs often require a degree in English or experience in a related field. Freelance writers often get paid for proofreading and editing services as well.

If you’re good with words, then this can be an ideal work from home job for you.

7. Run an Online Shop

One of the simplest ways to make money from home is by selling online.

There’s really no limit to what you can sell. Many people start by selling valuable items around their house on sites like eBay and Amazon. Build up your feedback rating and you could have a legitimate online storefront on your hands.

Some people make money by buying items in bulk from wholesalers and reselling. If you have an interesting product idea and some money to invest, you could even get in contact with manufacturers. This can become a whole home business in itself, so the money-making possibilities are endless.

8. Customer Support

Much like with Virtual Assistants, many offices allow their customer support workers to work from home.

This usually involves answering customer queries online and sometimes on the phone. You’ll have a script and guidelines to follow, so it’s simple to do and you can easily gain a few bucks.

Customer support can be a grind. Still, it’s a lot more enjoyable when you can do it from the comfort of home.

9. Web/Graphics Designer

If you have skills in web or graphic design or you’re willing to learn, you can make it into a full-time home career.

Businesses and websites are always looking for designers to help them. You can offer your skills to companies personally or check out freelance sites like Fiverr.

The best part is there are now tons of free courses for these skills online via sites such as If you have some spare time, you can learn everything at home and start building up a portfolio to sell your services.

10. Arts and Crafts

If you have skills in woodworking, jewelry making or even knitting, you could sell your crafts online.

Etsy is one of the best places to sell your homemade crafts. People come up with all kinds of ideas on here, from homemade hemp jewelry to customized picture frames.

You can work on request or create a bunch of items to sell directly in your online store. It can take some work, but it can also be a fun hobby and make you a lot of money.

Final Word

Staying at home doesn’t mean you can’t make good money. In fact, many work-from-home jobs pay just as well as your regular office job, if not better. If you’re willing to put the time and effort in, you can even build your own business.

These are some of the best work from home jobs for moms. They can also apply to practically anyone who wishes to work from home. Even if you just want to spend some free time making extra money, these opportunities can work for you.


working at home freelancer

Freelance Freedom Exposed: 5 Ways to Rock the Gig Economy Lifestyle When You’re New to Freelancing

 According to a research study from MBO Partners on the #futureofwork, by 2027, 58% of American workers will have become part of the independent worker economy ( When you consider this freelance freedom statistic is only for workers in the U.S.A., you realize how pervasive the movement to the gig economy truly is. Workers are flocking to employment opportunities that allow them to work on their own terms. Data from SoftChoice ( indicated that 74% of workers would quit their current job for an employment opportunity that allowed them to work remotely. ‘Working for the man’ is changing; today’s version is often more about working for yourself and building a formidable financial future than toiling away for a corporation for your entire working life.

But wanting to enjoy the life of a freelancer and actually succeeding as part of the gig economy are two different stories. It’s one thing to want to work from home or from a tropical beach and quite another to successfully transition to a profitable career with an abundance of freelance clients. Understanding how to make the most of the gig economy lifestyle is crucial for those who want to succeed long term as a freelancer. If you want help learning how to make the freelance life work for you, following are a few crucial truths you need to face.

1) If you don’t know how to (or are too introverted to try) market yourself, your chances of succeeding as a freelancer are limited. Marketing yourself and your talents is critical for business success in the freelance world, even if all your income comes from gig economy platforms that connect you with clients. You must be able to sell a potential client on your talents if you are going to land well-paying gigs on a regular basis. The key to success as a gig economy worker is to build a roster of happy clients and you’ll only land those clients if you can convince them of your talents. If you do only one thing to improve your odds of success in the gig economy, start learning how to build a brand around yourself and how to market your expertise.

2) Market research is another essential component of long-term success as a freelance worker. If you are new to freelancing, one of the smartest moves you can make is to focus your talents on business sectors with deep pockets and a shortage of talent. Rather than trying to compete with millions of global freelancers all chasing the same type of ‘economical’ clients looking for the cheapest freelancer, focus your efforts on building a solid reputation in a high-paying industry desperate for talent. Use a search engine like or to investigate global companies offering top wages in a sector related to your talents, and then start to hone your reputation as a freelancer within those sectors. Whether it’s freelance technical writing for writers or UX designing for global oil-and-gas corporations, the key is to combine your talents with high-paying business sectors. You can easily become a six-figure per year freelancer if you focus on top-tier clients instead of bottom feeders.

3) Another essential truth new freelancers need to understand is that connecting with high-paying clients isn’t going to happen on a continual basis if you are using freelancer-for-hire platforms. Whether you’re trying to make a living as a housekeeper, a writer, a driver, or a designer, banking your future on a freelancer-for-hire platform is a pathway to nowhere. While these on-demand worker platforms are an option for those wanting to investigate the types of jobs companies are hiring gig workers for, they’re not a sound option for those wanting to build a thriving freelance business. The sooner you realize gig worker platforms are a good business research tool and not a good client connection tool, the sooner you’ll start to increase your income as a freelancer.

4) Your reputation is everything when you are trying to make a living in the gig economy. What you say on public forums can come back to haunt you. How you behave on social media will influence the type of clients who will hire you. If you want to build a long-term, profitable future as a freelancer worker for hire, it is imperative you start thinking of every online action as a reflection on your business. Start thinking of your services and your talents as a brand and not just as some random freelancer trying to make a living online. Switching your mindset from ‘freelancer for hire’ to ‘solo-entrepreneur service-based business’ and you’ll find you start behaving like a professional online.

5) Being new to freelancing doesn’t have to mean toiling away in the low-paying gig sector until you’ve earned the right to ask for higher-paying gigs. Understand from the beginning that you’re running a business and you decide what your services cost; clients don’t get to tell you how much they’ll pay.

Learn these essential freelancing truths early on and you can totally rock the gig economy lifestyle as an on-demand worker. Fail to face these tough-love truths and you just might find freelancing freedom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.


Didi Chuxing Third Party

Postmates Drivers Demand Higher Wages & Didi Chuxing Opens Up Platform

This Week in Mobility― June 21, 2019

This week, Postmates are the latest gig economy workers to protest lower wages, Domino’s experiments with using robot cars to deliver pizzas, and Didi Chuxing begins allowing third-parties to offer mobility services via the Didi Chuxing app.

Postmates Drivers Joined Together With Working Washington in a “BlitzUp”

Your Postmates deliveries may have taken longer than usual last Saturday. That’s because Postmates drivers banned together with worker’s rights group Working Washington to protest a reduction in wages that occurred last May.

Over 2,500 Postmates drivers signed up to participate in a “BlitzUp,” where drivers refused to accept any jobs accept ones in Blitz Mode. Blitz Mode deliveries pay better because the app charges more when there is a short supply of workers.

Working Washington is a worker’s rights group that’s fighting to help on demand workers earn higher wages and access to benefits. Their Postmates BlitzUp was created to help Postmates drivers receive a minimum wage of $15 per hour plus expenses, as well as tips and complete transparency into how much each job is paying.

There’s no word on last week’s results yet, but Working Washington has done a great job of gaining media attention and negotiations with on demand companies so far. Wage cuts have been fairly common across all on demand platforms this year, especially with the current and upcoming IPOs for Uber, Lyft, and Postmates.

Domino’s Pizza Signs Deal to Deliver Via Autonomous Vehicles

Houston residents can now get their Domino’s Pizza delivered via an autonomous robot vehicle. The pizza delivery giant announced Monday that customers can order online and receive a PIN to unlock the Nuro N2 delivery vehicle once it arrives at their home.

Domino’s is also testing another delivery model with Ford’s Argo AI self-driving cars in Miami, but those cars still require a safety driver behind the wheel.

This new program represents a huge leap forward in the application of autonomous vehicles. While experts estimate fully automated cars without safety drivers are still years away, in the meantime “robot” deliveries provide valuable data to help the industry overall.

Uber and Lyft Suggest Alternative to Proposed California Worker’s Rights Bill

Even though the US government has said that rideshare workers are contractors and not employees, a new gig-worker bill passed the California Assembly last month and is awaiting approval by the state senate.

California’s Assembly Bill 5 would reclassify gig workers as employees instead of contractors and cost companies like Uber and Lyft billions in taxes every year.

Executives from Uber and Lyft banned together to write an op-ed in The San Francisco Chronicle which proposed an interesting alternative. Instead of classifying drivers as employees, the companies suggested “amending existing law to allow for a system of worker-determined benefits — from paid time off to retirement planning to lifelong learning — could deliver a measure of security that independent workers currently lack.”

The proposed California legislation sets a dangerous precedent. If passed, the already delicate finances of the world’s largest ridesharing services would be at risk. Ridesharing solves important environmental and logistical problems, and until these companies find a way to be profitable, legislation like this puts the entire industry at risk.

New Legislation Equates Car-Sharing Services to Rental Cars

The state of Maine recently passed the Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Insurance Act, which requires car sharing services to comply with the same laws as rental companies, including insurance requirements. The law still requires the governor’s approval in order to be active.

Because the new law doesn’t limit car sharing service operator’s liability, Turo has already threatened to pull out of Maine entirely if the law goes into effect.

Legislator’s nationwide are keeping an eye on this proposed law, as there are 33 proposed laws in other state legislatures.

The ramifications of this proposed legislation are similar to that of California’s Assembly Bill 5. If this law goes into effect, it could effectively kill an industry that’s just getting started.

Didi Chuxing Begins Offering Other Mobility Services Via Its App

If you can’t beat them, let them have access to your customers — for a fee. That’s what rideshare giant Didi Chuxing is doing in China.

The country’s largest on demand ride service released a new feature on its app called Third Party. This allows smaller players in the nation’s burgeoning mobility industry to advertise their services on the app in exchange for a small commission paid per trip. Didi Chuxing hopes this idea eases vehicle shortages during times like rush hour.

The move is a smart one, and it will be interesting to see if this can help similar companies in other countries become profitable.


side hustle tips

10 Ways You Can Increase Monthly Income by Several Hundred Dollars

Almost everyone could use a few hundred dollars more per month to pay bills, save for vacation or to stash away for a special purchase. If you already have a job, most income increase options will require time beyond your regular work hours. However, there are a variety of enjoyable options to achieve a little extra cash and which require little upfront investment.

1.         Be a pet sitter or walk the dog.

If you are a pet lover, this is a fun and easy way to earn $35-50 a day. Pet owners going on vacation often need responsible adults to watch their cats, dogs and other family pets. Kennels charge $25-35 a day to board animals plus extra costs for playtime, food, giving meds, walking the pet and more. The growing trend is to leave animals in their familiar surroundings at home and a have a paid pet care provider visit the animal once or twice a day to provide personalized service and attention. This also allows the home to appear inhabited while owners are away. Pet sitting and dog walking jobs can be found on internet job sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor, or you can market your services in nearby neighborhoods.

2.         Become a part-time nanny.

If you enjoy children and have experience with them, there are many opportunities to spend a few hours helping a busy parent. Even work-at-home parents often need extra help to watch the kids early morning or after school. A typical morning nanny job may involve working three days a week from 5 a.m.-9 p.m. with responsibilities to get the kids up for school, make breakfast, help make lunches and ensure they get to the bus stop on time. Night nannies and after-school supervisors are also frequently sought after.

3.         Sell household goods on eBay.

Most people don’t even realize they are sitting on a small treasure chest of unused or unneeded household goods. Gather things you no longer need, such as books, records, DVDs, clothing, kitchen items, old toys and games. Take digital photos with your phone and list the items for sale in eBay. Small volume sellers can list for free. Boxes and packing supplies can often be found for free or low cost on Craigslist.

After you develop a system, offer to sell items for relatives and friends for a percentage of the final cost. If you have a little up-front cash, scour thrift stores and yard sales for items you can turnover for a quick profit. It’s often very easy to obtain a return four to six times greater than you paid for the item.

4.         Sell artwork and craft items on Etsy.

If your hobbies tend toward arts and crafts, list your items for sale on Etsy, a site similar to eBay but which focuses primarily on handmade and vintage items. This popular site is like selling at a neighborhood craft fair, but the neighborhood here is the whole world. If you love to knit, embroider, crochet, quilt, make clothes or small toys, Etsy is a great outlet with low listing fees.

5.         Drive for Uber and Lyft or become a courier.

If you have a newer vehicle and a good driving record, this is a great way to earn a few bucks on your own schedule. Uber and Lyft are always looking for drivers, especially for the busier evening and weekend runs. If you prefer not to carry passengers, there are dozens of job opportunities to deliver food, merchandise, groceries, medical supplies, newspapers and more. Search job websites using the term “driver” and you will discover that they are in high demand.

6.         Tutor a student or an adult.

You don’t need special teaching credentials to help someone else learn. Parents frequently seek tutors to help a child with math, science, music, reading, writing and other subjects. If you speak a foreign language, you will find opportunities to help an adult learn English as a second language. Seniors may need someone to teach them basic computer skills to send e-mail or use the internet. If you play an instrument, consider music instruction for aspiring musicians of all ages. You can tutor a few hours a week or more depending on how many students you want to take on. Schedules can be as flexible as needed.  Tutoring can often be done online making this even more convenient for all involved.

7.         Use your skills to start a freelance business.

If you have skills in writing, illustrating, graphic or website design, cooking, computer programming, personal training or other areas, then put those talents to work. Create a simple website, write an introductory letter and print up business cards on the home computer. Before long you are ready to go into business doing something you really enjoy. You can charge by the hour or the project. Find job opportunities on Craigslist and employment websites or market your services via websites such as Fiverr. Eventually your part-time effort may develop into an enjoyable full-time vocation.

8.         Take paid online surveys.

If you love sharing your opinion and, even better, getting paid for it, this is a perfect side gig. Sites such as Survey Junkie and Vindale Research will pay you via Paypal or with e-gift cards for completing surveys in your areas of interest. A website called Inbox Dollars will pay you to watch videos, play games and read e-mail in addition to taking surveys, and you’ll get a $5 bonus just for signing up. Activities can be completed anytime, so you just work them around your schedule.

9.         Conduct Marriages.

While state laws may vary as to who can perform a marriage ceremony, almost all allow an ordained minister to do so. You can become a legally ordained non-denominational minister online in a matter of minutes and at very little cost. This often allows a favorite family member to conduct a ceremony, but there is no reason to limit this to family. Market your services as a marriage officiant via Craigslist and offer low cost, simple ceremonies. You can conduct the ceremony in your home or at a location of the happy couple’s choosing. Make your service convenient and friendly and you will quickly attract customers. You can easily make $75-100 for a simple ceremony and more if a rehearsal is involved. This is a job where everyone walks away happy.

10.       Ask for a raise at work.

This is the one option that will probably not add to your work hours as the previous items will do. Before you go into the boss’s office to pop the question, outline a plan in your mind. Have a valid reason to ask. If it has been a long time since your last pay bump or you just completed a particularly involved task with good success, point that out. If you have been putting in extra hours to get the job done or receiving great reviews from customers, now may be the time to cash in on those efforts. The worst that can happen is the boss will say no. At least it will put the boss on notice you are looking for more which may help you ultimately achieve that raise sooner than later.

The ability to increase income is limited only by your time availability and creativity. Visit a well-known job website and do a random search on topics mentioned in this article. You may be surprised at the variety of interesting opportunities out there.


airbnb tips

How to Make Money with Airbnb – Even if You Don’t Have a Property to Rent!

Airbnb is a website that allows people with extra space – whether it’s a bedroom, a guest house, or an entire house – to directly connect with travelers and others looking for short-term rentals outside of the traditional hotel realm. In just a few short years, Airbnb has become big business. Many travelers swear by it and prefer staying in Airbnb rentals over hotels everywhere they go. And property owners have found it a great way to make anywhere from a few extra dollars each month to full-time living.

“That’s great if you own a home or other property,” you might say, “but I don’t own my own place, so how can I make money from Airbnb?”

The truth is, there are so many people renting out their space on Airbnb and other short-term rental services like VRBO or HomeToGo, that you can make money by providing much-needed services to both the people who list their properties on Airbnb AND their guests! Some of these ideas could be a source of occasional extra pocket money while others could scale up into full-time businesses.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Housecleaning Services

This one is obvious. Each time guests depart from a short-term rental, the property must be “flipped,” i.e., thoroughly cleaned, restocked, and made ready for the next guest. Rental periods can vary widely, even on the same property. It’s possible to have three different guests in one week or have the same tenant for several months. Also, you may have a window of just a few hours between one guest and the next. For this reason, it’s difficult for AirBnB owners to contract with a regular cleaning service, because those prefer customers that can be scheduled for a definite time slot each week.

If you are skilled at cleaning thoroughly and efficiently and have a flexible schedule, you could offer cleaning services specifically to Airbnb operators through an app like Handy. The best approach would be to provide a fixed set of services at a flat rate, perhaps with an a la carte menu of add-ons for special touches. For example, a basic turnover service may include a thorough cleaning of the bathroom and kitchen, a quick touch-up to other rooms with dusting, sweeping and vacuuming, changing bed linens and tidying throughout. After a longer-term stay or messier guests, a property might require a more significant effort with mopping, multiple loads of laundry, stain or spill removal, and other services. You could also offer a periodic deep-clean service where you clean windows, baseboards, and walls, and launder items like curtains and small rugs.

2. Property Management

Short-term rentals have become profitable enough that investors are purchasing locations to operate as full-time Airbnb properties. Some even own and rent out multiple properties. Keeping up with a full-time property takes more time than people think – there are guest inquiries and reservations to handle, getting guests into and out of the location, handling complaints and questions during stays, and taking care of all the cleaning, property maintenance, repairs, and monthly bills for each property.

For investors, it makes sense to hire someone to keep track of and handle these day-to-day responsibilities, particularly if they live any distance from the rental property. Having someone nearby who can respond to middle-of-the-night calls about the heat not working or the wifi going down is a service they will readily pay for, especially if you can provide top-notch and reliable responses to requests.

3. Marketing Assistance

There is a knack to getting your property seen and rented on Airbnb. Getting started includes a learning curve as you figure out the best ways to furnish and decorate your rental location, take the most flattering and attention-grabbing photos, and write descriptions with keywords that will show up in searches while seizing the imagination of potential renters. If you already know how to do any of these things, you can sell your services to novice and experienced short-term rental operators alike.

Airbnb makes frequent changes in the services and amenities they require their property owners to provide, and it will push for rental rate increases and decreases that may or may not make sense for a particular location.  Getting good reviews and ratings from guests is critical to success as well, as these significantly affect where your property appears in searches, and that can require skill in following up and communicating with guests before, during, and after a stay.

Keeping up with it can be a massive headache. If you have experience with renting your own property on Airbnb, helping someone else do so, or even using the site frequently as a renter yourself, you will have some knowledge about what attracts people to a listing. If you know nothing about Airbnb, but know how to write good marketing copy, stage a room for flattering photographs, or take and edit excellent pictures and video, you can find property owners hungry for assistance in marketing their listings.

4. Concierge Services

One of the things that Airbnb guests love and rave about in reviews is a personal touch from the property owner — or someone the owner hires to provide those touches. Concierge services for guests can include arranging airport transportation, coordinating a location for family or friends to meet up, delivering meals or recommending restaurants, arranging tours or tickets to local attractions, and anything else that can make a stay memorable for the guests.

People rent locations on Airbnb and other services for so much more than just travel. Guests have used these rentals to host events, to provide a “base camp” for wedding preparations, to film movies or television shows, to recover from medical treatment or surgery — even to evacuate from hurricanes! Anything you can do to assist property owners in providing thoughtful services customized to a renters’ specific needs can be a source of income for you.

How do you find customers for these services? Local advertising through free venues like social media or Craigslist is a great place to start. Look for sites where short-term rental owners might gather, like Facebook groups. Look for hashtags on Instagram and Twitter that people use to talk about their AirBnB experiences and use those hashtags for your own tweets or photo captions.

If you are a student, retiree, or anyone else with a flexible schedule and some self-marketing skills, you have an excellent opportunity to cash in on the booming short-term rental market, even if you don’t have a home of your own to rent out!


Freelancer working on branding

10 Personal Branding Tips All Freelancers Should Embrace and Use

More and more people have taken to freelancing as their path to financial independence, and for good reason. They get more control over their lives, while simultaneously avoiding the pressures and issues of leading a company. However, there is a task that both companies and solo freelancers must accomplish well – building a brand.

The fact that you’re doing this alone doesn’t mean you can ignore the development of your personal brand. It’s what will make your name stick in the mind of clients, which will help them remember your name if they need more of the same work, or if they’re asked to recommend a freelancer to another business. Fail to do this, and you’ll fail to create any sort of consistent income. Here are ten things you can do to make sure your personal brand is top-notch and memorable:

1.    Make a Personal Website

Personal websites are a dime-a-dozen, yet many freelancers opt out of making their own. This is a tremendous missed opportunity. While you’ll get most of your jobs through direct application, you can get just as many by having a website with your portfolio on it. Not only will it generate organic job opportunities, it’ll give referrers something to point potential clients to that can show off your skills.

2.    Price Aggressively

One of the most interesting quirks in selling a product is that setting a low price isn’t always the best call. You might get more sales, but the amount of money you make for the hours you work will be middling – and money isn’t made by spending a lot of time making little money. It’s far better to sell a small number of products for a high price than vice-versa. Using this approach will mean you don’t get the rush of constant acceptance from companies taking your offer, but it will also mean that you’ll make the most out of your time.

3.    Ask for Reviews

As a freelancer, your reputation is your life. Much of the reason developing your personal brand is so important is because it gives you more control over how you are perceived. That’s why you need to ask clients for reviews, and not just on the site they found you. If they can put in a good review for you (that you deserve) across multiple sites and platforms, you’ll greatly increase your exposure and improve your reputation with every well-done job.

4.    Pay to Develop Your Brand

There is only so much brand development you can do for free. Eventually, you’ll have to pay for something you can’t do well, whether it’s copy for your website or a great logo. The gig economy is only going to get bigger, and you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. Winging your brand simply will not do. It’ll cost money to professionally develop your personal brand, but it’s money well spent, as a good brand will make you more money down the line.

5.    Focus on Good Work

Freelancing isn’t for everyone. The lack of consistent income can send stress levels skyrocketing and compromise your decision making. This can cause you to try to sell your work just so you can make rent. While difficult, it’s often better to stifle this instinct and to focus wholeheartedly on making sure the customer gets what they want.

When you work for someone, you’re not just building a relationship with them – you’re securing referrals and future hiring opportunities. While you shouldn’t sell yourself short, keeping your focus on good work and serving customer needs will help ensure that you have a semi-steady stream of income heading your way.

6.    Collaborate with Other Freelancers

If your skills are good enough, you’ll find someone to hire you. However, projects are not completed through a single skill-set alone. Most companies will hire swaths of freelancers to accomplish a task no single worker can do. While some freelancers may see this as a sign that they should expand their skill-set, you should take this as a sign that collaboration cannot be avoided.

Collaborating with other freelancers not only gives you a network, it will help you secure more jobs. When they get work that requires skills they don’t have but you do, they’ll recommend you – and vice-versa. If your collaborators have websites of their own, put links to those sites on your own page and they might do the same for you, expanding your reach and brand.

7.    Develop a Strong Portfolio

Much like the standard hiring process, potential employers will first check out your history and portfolio before ever considering an interview. Consider a good portfolio the metaphorical foot in the door. Without one, doors will close before you ever have a chance to make a good impression.

It doesn’t matter what your field is. You can make a portfolio of your work. Graphic or web design, management, writing – get your work up on your website, and make sure any job applications you have point towards them.

8.    Find Your Niche

Talk to two experts in a single industry long enough, and you’ll realize that even people who went to the same school and studied the same things have their own specializations. The same should be said of your freelancing career. You may be among millions of designers, but each one caters to different people.

Think about your skills and the problems they can solve. The companies and people who have those problems are your primary customers.

9.    Invest in a Network

No man can do it alone, even freelancers making their way on their own. You might be the sole member of your team, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from allies and a network of compatriots who can help you find work and improve your skills. Unfortunately, this is not something that often comes together naturally. You’ll need to get out there, visit websites, attend seminars – go to where your people are and start bonding with them. You don’t need to bond with everyone, but you do need a network. So work at it.

10.    Guest Post

One of the challenges facing your freelancing career is developing your authority. Unless you’re a recognized expert, you’ll need to do something that gives your name and personal brand a quick starting boost. A good way to achieve that is to start writing or working on projects that show off your knowledge on reputable sites, but that’s only the start.

You can and should promote your guest posts on your own site, as well as on your social media platforms. A guest post with a reputable company or outlet lends you their reputation and credibility, so the more people you get to see your creation, the bigger the impact it will have on your standing.

Crafting your personal brand is time-consuming, difficult, and sometimes boring, but your success as a freelancer depends on it. Gone are the days when you can just work well and rely on word of mouth to keep your one-man business afloat. Competition is fierce, and you need to be fiercer to succeed.


Uber driver renting apartment

Meeting Rental Application Requirements As Rideshare Or Delivery Driver

Trying to rent an apartment as a young Uber, Lyft, or Doordash driver can be quite tricky. If you’re on the younger side, you likely do not have an extensive rental history. So this means that you do not have a lot of previous landlords that you can list as references when you’re applying for rentals. Younger people also have little credit and minimal credit history.

A lot of younger people are also single, which means they are going to be the only names that the landlords look at on the application. When two people are applying for a rental property, such as a couple, their dual income often makes it easier for them to meet any specified income requirements. Doing so can be more difficult with only one income to report.

No matter where you are in the US, most landlords require some income verification and a credit check at a minimum. For the income verification aspect, landlords mainly want to see proof of a consistent and reliable income. Many property managers expect evidence that you are making two-to-three times the rental cost monthly. Many freelancers have slow months, so showing a consistent income similar to that of a W-2 employee can be difficult. While proving that you have a reliable income as a freelancer can be difficult, it usually just takes a bit more creativity and a bit more effort to meet the property owner’s rental requirements.

Gather Your Information

If possible, gather up all your old check stubs and the last several months of invoices from your previous freelancing jobs. Feel free to black-out any private customer information. Make copies of the past year’s tax returns. Print out your current monthly bank statements. If your freelancing income has slow months or is somewhat sporadic, you can show the landlord several months worth of statements rather than have them focus on one month only. Providing three months worth of bank statements is often standard practice for rental companies.

Be sure to cover-up any private and unnecessary information on the bank statement print out. If you operate a business bank account, be sure to print out a monthly statement for these accounts too. You can also print out any relevant transfers from your business bank accounts to your personal accounts as well.

The key is to stay flexible and work with the property owners to clarify all of the proof of income that you can provide. Sure you might have to get creative, but there are usually always several ways to show that you make enough money to pay the required rent. Aside from considering traditional income verification methods like showing bank statements, tax returns, and recent invoices, there are other ways that you can prove your income to rental companies.

If you do freelance work for clients in addition to driving rideshare or delivery, one thing you can do is show any recent deal memos or any signed letters from clients.

Consider An Apartment Broker

Preparing all the relevant personal financial documents and presenting them to local property management companies can take a lot of time and effort. As a freelancer with a unique situation, you may want to consider having a broker assist you. The broker will prepare all of your financial documents and put them together in an attractive presentation. Brokers will communicate with local landlords about your situation, and they will find out if all of the papers that you can provide as a freelancer will be acceptable or not. While paying for a broker can be an unexpected rental cost, they can save you lots of time and money on things like visiting tons of different properties and paying multiple rental application fees.

Even with all this extra work and creativity, some landlords will not give you the time of day simply because you don’t have a signed letter from a company that proves steady employment. At least now you know you’re not entirely out of luck if you are trying to rent an apartment or home as a freelancer. In any given area there are usually plenty of rental options available to Freelancers. Freelancers may not always be able to get every apartment or house they want. Unlike W-2 employees, Freelancers do not usually have the luxury of renting from whoever and renting wherever they want.

Perhaps the one tip that most people in the freelancing business world will tell you is that you should always try to work with private landlords first. Large property management companies usually have stricter rental requirements than private landlords. However, finding private landlords can be difficult in specific areas.

Another final thing to consider would be offering to pay for an extra month or two in advance. Landlords might feel more confident and secure renting to a freelancer who can do so. However, this involves the tenants taking a bit of a risk on the rental property. Many things can go wrong in a month, and it may be difficult to get that money back that you paid in advance if you have to move from the apartment area suddenly.