How To Rent Out Your Guest Room On Airbnb (And Make An Extra $1,000/Month)

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I have said it before (just last week, I believe!) and i will say it again: motherhood is one of the busiest, most challenging, yet most rewarding things you will ever do...

...and not only is it all of the above, but it is also pretty freaking expensive, seeing as though kids like to outgrow their clothes every week, eat multiple times a day, and eventually have the gaul to leave you to pursue their future at college.

Speaking of college, did you know that as of this publication, the average cost of school per year is $10,000+, which will only go up more and more by the time our kids and grandkids are ready to go? 

Now that I have got myself both worked up and freaked out, you are probably wondering why I am going off on this irrelevant tangent... well, one of the reasons I wanted to work on the side while staying home with the boys was to put more money into both their savings/college accounts and ours, and I know that I am not the only one, which is why I am constantly on the prowl for potential money-making ideas for busy moms like you. 

Enter Airbnb.

For anyone unfamiliar with the company, Airbnb "uniquely leverages technology to economically empower millions of people around the world to unlock and monetize their spaces, passions and talents to become hospitality entrepreneurs." 

In other words, your spare bedroom becomes a hotel of sorts and you take home the cash.

Obviously, this approach to making extra money is unconventional and not for everyone, but if renting out your spare room, home (if/when you are out of town), or second home sounds like a financial path you would be willing to explore, read on: 

How does renting your space on Airbnb work?

I'm so glad you asked! The first step in the process is to create or log-in to your account, in which you describe your space and location, and receive an instant estimate on how much Airbnb thinks you can earn by consistently renting it out.

Airbnb’s estimate if I rented out our entire house consistently.

Airbnb’s estimate if I rented out our entire house consistently.

Estimate for renting our guest room.

Estimate for renting our guest room.

Obviously, this is just an estimate and at the end of the day, you get to name your own price (also remember that Airbnb does take a 3% cut), but keep in mind that it's a competitive market, so you will want/need to price it fairly.

Once you have your Airbnb account set up, it is time to get even more in-depth about both yourself and your space, which is where you get a chance to tell potential guests a little bit about you (their host), build trust, and then explain the space even more in depth, including amenities, (towels, internet), perks (in-room snacks, breakfast in the morning), and nearby activities/attractions.

One of the great things about using a platform like Airbnb is that you have complete control over how often you rent, so if there is a particular time that does not work for having guests, you can simply block it out on your calendar! Another bonus? You can have as little or as much interaction with your guests as you would like, making this the perfect side gig for introverts and extroverts alike.

Now that you know the basics of renting your space on Airbnb, here are a few do’s and don’ts for getting the most out of your listing.

For visuals sake, the following are pictures of our downstairs guest room… if any of you reading this have an eye for design, please give me your tips for sprucing up this space!

Do: Make the space as clean and comfortable as possible

Whether you hire a professional cleaner or do the deep cleaning yourself, it is vital that your space be spick and span, as it may reflect on both you and your Airbnb rating! (You would hate to walk into a hotel room to find used sheets, dust, and an un-vacuumed floor, so don’t expect that to fly with your guests.)

Don’t: Make the space a shrine to you or your family

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As you can see, we display A LOT of old family photos on the guest room dresser, which is obviously fine when our parents visit, but may not be the best when Airbnb guests are using the space!

Do: Spruce up your space

Not the greatest shots/angles of our guest bathroom, but bear with me!

Not the greatest shots/angles of our guest bathroom, but bear with me!

A pretty shower curtain. Some art deco prints. A colorful bedspread. These little touches can add so much to a room (and are really affordable, if you look around!), and can make your guest’s experience all the more enjoyable!

Do: Add extra amenities

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As I previously mentioned, extra amenities are always a good thing in the world of Airbnb, so get creative with it! One idea: Our basement (where the guest bed and bathroom are located) has a really nice theater room, so I would advertise that as one of the perks of staying at our home.

As you can see, renting your space on Airbnb is a great way to make extra cash, so if you are comfortable with hosting, I highly recommend you look into it! (If one of your reservations is safety — as it would be with me — check out what Airbnb does to keep you, your home, and your guests safe.)

Now I want to hear from you: Would (or have) you host on Airbnb? Let me know in the comments!

How to Rent Your Room on Airbnb

5 Free Apps That Will Pay You Get In Shape

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Can I be brutally honest with you for just a second?

Promise me you won’t judge?

Okay, good. (And thank you.)

I have never stepped foot in a gym.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m intimidated, cheap, or lazy, but I have never had a real desire to go work out with equipment. Nevertheless, I do still have a desire to be fit and healthy, so I try to get in as much walking, toddler chasing, planks, lunges, dancing, etc. as I can each day. To track my steps and movement, I had been using the Health feature of my iPhone, but felt I wasn’t getting an accurate reading (seeing as though I had to have my phone on me at all times, which hardly ever happens at home).

Enter my awesome husband gifting me a FitBit wristband (affiliate) for Christmas!

I love my FitBit. It tells me the time, tracks my footsteps (though I do feel it is a little off from time to time), and even monitors my sleep — it’s like my new BFF! Come to find out, not only does FitBit track my every movement, it also pays me to get active.

Really!

Here are just a few of ways it (literally) pays to get fit:

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1. Walgreens Balance Rewards: This one is a little in-depth, so I will share exactly what Walgreens says: Get 20 points per mile when you walk, run or cycle. Plus, get 20 points per weigh-in, blood pressure test, blood glucose test, and earn points while you quit smoking/tobacco with Balance Rewards for healthy choices. As a Balance Rewards member, earn 5,000 points and receive a $5 reward to redeem on your next purchase. The more points you earn, the bigger your reward.

2. HealthyWager: Losing weight and getting fit works so much better when you have someone both cheering you on and holding you accountable, which is exactly where HealthyWager comes into play! To play, simply determine your weight loss goal, whether you're participating in a group wide pot or with your friends/co-workers, and then make a bet on how much weight you'll lose and in what timeframe. Depending on your group and goals, you could make up to $10K. Cool, right?

3. Achievement: AchieveMint lets you earn rewards with the health and fitness apps you already own, use, and love. From sleeping well to eating healthier to taking the stairs vs. the elevator, you will earn rewards just by making better choices. The more you do, the more you earn (via Paypal, gift card, or Visa gift card). Cha-ching! 

4. Ebates: As if you didn't have enough reasons to love Ebates (remind me to tell you about the time I used their link for less than a MONTH on my regular Amazon, eBay, and Groupon purchases and received a check in the mail for $43), the FREE cash back app will also give you money back on purchases like Nike, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, GNC, and more. 

5. Commit: "Have a goal? Commit to it" with the new Commit app, which "eliminates all of your excuses and encourages you to follow through on commitments and become the best you." Whether you are looking to hit work goals or start living healthier, Commit will both hold you accountable and reward your favorite non-profit for your productivity! 

Do you use any of these apps? Let us know what you think in the comments! 

Mom Boss Interview: Celia Reeves from Medical Coding Mama

Alright, mamas (and papas, students, friends, et al): I am so so so SO excited about today's mom boss, as she runs a business that is unlike any other we have ever featured (which just goes to show that if you have a passion for something, you can/should run with it)!

Meet Celia Reeves: Celia is a Medical Coder and mama who has made a business out of studying the gibberish the doctor's office bills you for (Come to find out, it isn't just gibberish -- I'm just not as smart as Celia in terms of deciphering the lingo). Her website, Medical Coding Mama, is a GOLD MINE for all things coding and consulting, and I am so excited and honored to have her here today! 

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Celia, I love how unique both your story and website is! Can you tell us a little about your background? 

I have been a Medical Coder since 2006. I fell in love the profession quite literally after my 1st husband died of cancer. Seeing the bills and stuff I didn't understand, I went to the doctor office and had them teach me what the papers said because it was all in medical codes and I didn't know how to read any of it at the time, it was like reading Greek! I also discovered I was a natural medical coder because I took to it like a duck to water. As my friends say, I eat, drink, sleep, breathe and bleed medical coding pretty much. I am now on speed dial for most of them when they need a medical question answered! 

What inspired you to take your knowledge online? 

After seeing so many people struggle to understand what goes on behind the scenes of the doctor's office, I realized all the stories i'd witnessed over the years of being in the back office as a medical coder/medical biller made for some great teaching material, and I share the patients stories and lessons they learned. I want to share all that knowledge with the world because I firmly believe an informed patient makes better health choices for themselves and their families. The stories I share come from my own life, the patients themselves, news stories i hear on the news that can spark a blog post and can be funny, sad, and sometimes a story can make you go oh yeah...why didn't I think of that?

Tell us a little about Medical Coding Mama and just what the site entails. 

Medical Coding Mama started quite by accident actually. I had gotten a phone call from a logo place asking for money. My now ex husband( i had remarried a few years after becoming a young widow) and he had ordered a logo and had given my number as a call back. When I explained he was my ex husband, the place was furious. When I offered to pay the designer for his time and effort, even though that logo would never be used, the CEO was touched I had cared enough to make sure the designer was paid for their time and effort. The CEO asked me what I did for a living, I told him I was a Medical Coder...and a single parent.The CEO then asked if my friends had a nickname for me, I laughed and said yes, my friends affectionately called me the Medical Coding Mama because my two great loves were my daughter, whom I'm raising on my own, and medical coding. The CEO laughed and asked if I had ever wanted to do my own business. When I confessed I had thought about it, they offered to make a logo for me and charged only a small amount so I could afford it since I was a single parent. The logo you see on the website is what they came up with after asking what else I loved, besides my daughter and medical coding. It's a simple logo, kinda southwest looking and teal colored. They were just tickled when I raved about my simple logo. I love it. And two weeks after getting my adorable logo, I started the blog that became Medical Coding Mama.

What doors has MCM opened for you? 

Definitely the community. I'm thrilled that people from all over the world are reading and learning from the stories I share. I honestly think and believe an educated and informed patient makes better choices. If I can help even one person, I know I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I'm not in it for the money. I love what I do for a living, and I truly love and enjoy educating the public on stuff that goes on behind the scenes. Many people honestly don't realize all that goes on behind the scenes after your doctor visit is over, or what we do with all that lovely paperwork you have to fill out. I like opening eyes on all that stuff. I have seen many a light bulb over the head moments from these patients when I explain what exactly goes on.

What advice would you give other mompreneurs trying to start their business/find their niche? 

Three pieces of advice I share with you. 1. Write about what you love and are passionate about, it will come through loud and clear to people who read/buy your stuff. 2. Make a memorable name, something catchy and easily gets stuck in people's minds so you're easy to remember. 3. DO NOT compare yourself to other people. You are unique in your own right. Show your true colors, don't worry about competing with everyone else. Make your own light shine and people will easily find you when they search for your topic.

Can you walk us through a day in your shoes? What does your work/life balance look like? 

My day is kinda spread into three parts. I get up early and do some medical coding and look over charts over a secure format to make sure all the documentation is there for insurance to pay medical claims.  then mid-morning/afternoon then I do the single mom stuff like errands, do homework with my daughter( year round school), I do a lot of dinners in the crockpot or we do make your own salad nights or breakfast for dinner,  do an outline on 5 or 6 blog posts and then flesh them out when I feel it's time to do a particular topic.  After my child is in bed for the night,  then I read a lot online for new medical breakthroughs at night before heading to bed (yes, I'm a medical geek and proud of it).

And for my favorite question: What is a Medical Coding Mama-related memory that sticks out in your mind as being the best?

 It's three way tie on favorite memory...1. My former boss whom love dearly calling me up on my cell and screaming with laughter because she knew EXACTLY which patient I was referring to in a story without mentioning their name. 2. Realizing the blog had gone international when I got linkedin.com requests to connect from all over the world. 3. Having people tell me they love my website and content.

Amazing, right? Be sure to connect with Celia by visiting her website.