passive airbnb turns 3

Passive Airbnb is turning 3 years old!

Exactly 3 years ago, I launched Passive Airbnb.

The goal was simple. I was tired of finding half-ass information on how to start an Airbnb business while having to pay for bad and outdated advice from these so-called Airbnb experts.

While some “experts” were definitely more informative than others, but the niche market on ‘how to start an Airbnb business’ lacked behind… What irked me was that some of these proclaimed experts didn’t even have skin in the game anymore.

I started PA with one goal in mind – to provide valuable and updated information on becoming an Airbnb entrepreneur. The idea of “passive income” from Airbnb turned out to be quite popular because while passive income is general, but passive income from Airbnb is very specific.

Specificity finds people that are interested. And this coupled with detailed information grew Passive Airbnb to tens of thousands of readers a month.

Everyone I talked to likes the idea of generating passive income from Airbnb. We want to hang out with our friends. We want to get off the grid for a few weeks (or months) while making money traveling the world. We want to help provide for our family and not worry about picking up the tab.

Today, I’m going to share 3 lessons that I’ve learned in the last 4 years since starting an Airbnb business and teaching my students around the world on how to start their own profitable Airbnb business.

And before I share my lessons, I’d like to acknowledge the elephant in the room and that is COVID-19. Traveling has changed. Airbnb has changed.

Life changes constantly and so should your business. This is one of many reasons why Passive Airbnb readers are so loyal to my blog – I update my readers with honest, up-to-date, and valuable emails regularly.

Lesson #1: Accept and be open to change

Did anyone see COVID-19 coming? Maybe someone who’s really smart saw the warning signs… but I certainly did not.

I thought this “flu” was something that will pass within a month or two. But what it has done left a deep crater in our economy. I’m humbled by how something like a small virus could change my life and the lives of millions of others.

This was the biggest change I had to adapt to in 2020. And I don’t think this will be the last one either.

I always want to hold myself (and you) to a higher standard than the usual stuff out there. And this means constantly challenging ourselves and growing.

Along the way, you’ll notice my business has grown and changed. I didn’t do this alone.

  • I hired really good people to help me run my Airbnb business and my blog.
  • I created new courses and templates to help more people.
  • I expanded my blog to talk more about “real” struggles of starting a business. It’s not always so “rosy” as some influencers paint it to be.

Lesson #2: Staying true to myself means saying “no”

I love Japanese food, especially Ramen.

I was inspired by this new Ramen place in San Francisco where you have to stand in line for at least an hour because they don’t accept reservations. And if you don’t get there right before 7 pm, you can forget about eating there.

When I finally sat down at a 4-top table with 2 other friends, I started analyzing their business. I was really critical and thought: “wow, they could easily fit a few more tables and increase revenue… and who doesn’t accept reservations nowadays… if they could do this…”

My friends told me to shut up and enjoy the food. The fact was, the owners didn’t care about maximizing their revenue. They wanted to run their business their way, and they put all of their love into their ramen bowls. Once you taste it, you understand.

But this takes incredible courage to say “no” to the world, which pushes you to be like everyone else.

Here are some of my NO decisions:

  • Saying “no” to a buyer who loves Passive Airbnb, but wanted to split the e-course payment into 10 months. If I gave him this benefit, this means I’d effectively open up the floodgate and do this for everyone else. I didn’t want this trouble and lost thousands of dollars.
  • Saying “no” to people who wanted discounts to my consulting offering or my hourly rate. My time is the most valuable resource in the world and I protect it religiously.
  • Saying “no” to people who wanted me to create videos and put them on Youtube. I have no interest in making videos even though I know it’d make me a lot more money.

Where do you set your boundaries? What do you say NO to?

For every no I say, I open myself up to a yes. I said yes to building a marketplace where I connect Airbnb operators to landlords. The hardest part about Airbnb Arbitrage is finding a permissible unit from an agreeable landlord.

Lesson #3: Be brutally honest to yourself

I always wake up around 8~8:30am. I tried for years to wake up earlier like at 6 or 6:30 am, but never could. It took so much effort to force myself to sleep earlier. I’d wake up around 7~7:30am even on my best days where I’d go to sleep around 10:30 pm.

I started to question myself: why do I want to be an early “bird?”

It was because of all the successful people that I read about would wake up at 5 am and start their “productive” day. It wasn’t until I stumbled on a book called “Why We Sleep” by Matt Walker that I learned why it was hard for me to go to sleep early.

I finally stopped stressing about going to sleep earlier and accepted that I operate on a different biological clock.

Sometimes, I’d get emails like, “Hey Sam, how do you make big money from Airbnb?” This type of email is ridiculous for two reasons:

  1. They never read any of the free information I put out (I give away 80% for free). This tells me they are just not serious enough.
  2. They are looking for shortcuts. The truth is success has no shortcuts, but success is also not complicated, it just takes real work.

I used to spend a lot of time on them, but now, I stopped responding and delete them immediately. I realized that there is nothing I could do to help them if they didn’t want to help themselves first.

I love my journey of evolution. Of course, I want to thank you for reading and being a fan of what I write about.

To the next 3 years!

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