Many people get started as Airbnb hosts unintentionally. It’s known as “hosting as a side hustle.”

Take Pam and Eric*.

They had a mother-in-law suite attached to their home that they used for the occasional guest, but which stayed empty most of the time. With 3 kids in college, they were feeling financially strained and decided to tentatively dip their toes into the short-term rental waters. Pam had a knack for hospitality and Eric was all behind it. As long as he didn’t have to do any of the admin stuff…

They had a blast getting the space ready. The painting, furnishing, getting good photos taken, and setting up their Airbnb account – with my help 😉 – was all an adventure. In no time flat, there was a steady stream of retired couples, business travelers, and traveling nurses gracing their home. They were hooked.

On the other hand…

…there was Donna and Tim*.

They had a beautiful finished basement with an outside entrance. It wouldn’t take much work to get ready to rent and it was in a desirable neighborhood. They had 2 little ones at home and were concerned about security, so I worked with them to screen potential guests. They were looking forward to building a small business that Donna could manage from home while caring for their young children. What could go wrong, right?

Well, after 6 months, they called it quits. Issues came up that neither of them was prepared to handle. And having strangers “traipse in and out of” their place just proved to be too stressful. It just wasn’t worth the income to them. Lesson learned.


What do both couples have in common?

They discovered that hosting (or good hosting, at least) is hard work. This is particularly true when you’re hosting a space that you also live in.

An STR side hustle doesn’t mean you’re making money using the easy button!

You have to do all of the normal things, of course. Take care of linens, clean, make a welcome basket, etc. But if you live there, you also have to be on all the time.

You have to be friendly, welcoming, and available. You often have to interact with your guests, even if they’re in their own space, and even when you just want to sit down by yourself in front of the TV with a glass of wine or bowl of ice cream. It can be exhausting, especially if you’re an introvert (like I am). 

If you’re hosting as a side hustle, it’s hard to say no to the extra cash that guests will bring in. You’re saying no to hundreds, potentially thousands, of dollars, depending on how long you decide to block off your calendar and the inviting and unique characteristics of your place.

But if you find yourself feeling like Donna and Tim, please remind yourself that money isn’t everything.

You must make sure to take care of yourself, as well. No amount of extra income can make up for you destroying your sanity and mental health. Plus, if you’re tired of people, you won’t be a very good host anyway! 🙂

We have two spare bedrooms in our home that we rent out. We have wonderful memories of many of our guests and have become friends with some of them.

Yet, I’ve been known to turn off my Airbnb account for months at a time. And I don’t turn it on again until I’m itching to host, so I thoroughly enjoy the experience when I do. (And I’ve actually built a business from my str side hustle!)

But don’t allow guests in your home just for the money. If you resent their presence, they’re going to be able to tell. It’s just not worth it. Make sure you’re creating an environment that both you and your guests can enjoy. 

Happy hosting! 🏡✨

(* not their real names)

We’d love to know – how did YOU get started with Airbnb? Did you go the “side hustle” route or full-fledged business? What was your biggest challenge?