What Airbnb Has Taught Me About Success

Allison Burney

It’s funny. I always thought it would be writing that would show me what’s really possible in life.

But something else beat it to the punch.

I’ve recently been through a very different entrepreneurship experience that has completely opened my eyes to the way things work and to the laws of the universe.

It’s really been the first time in my life that something has been so clear, so obvious.

As it’s still fresh, I’m finding it all hard to believe. I have to pinch myself every time a new instant booking comes in through Airbnb, because it just seems surreal.

I keep asking myself, Did we really manage to pull this off? How is it possible that this is really happening?

In case you’re lost right now, let me give you a little backstory to help catch you up.

Last August, my husband and I bought an old farmhouse in a small town located in Ontario’s cottage country. We got it for what we thought was a screaming deal considering house prices at the time, but we also understood why it was priced so low: it needed to be completely redone.

The value of the land accounted for the majority of the sale price since the house was in a state of disrepair, more of a shell than a functional, liveable house. The bones were relatively good, but the rest was a write-off.

Knowing this, we had a decision to make.

Do we go for it, assuming we’d likely run into many surprises along the way, and knowing full well that it would be an extremely challenging project and difficult period in our lives? Or do we keep looking and hope that we can find something in our price range that requires a lot less work?

We considered our options, discussed how we would approach this challenge, and ultimately settled on leaping into the unknown.

We figured that in a sense, it would be better to take on something like this, where we would essentially be able to start from scratch and design it ourselves. This way, we could create exactly what we wanted rather than adapting to what was already there.

Being the dreamers that we are, we allowed ourselves to get fired up about all the possibilities our new home (aka massive project) held.

We thought about what we could do with the big, beautiful, private backyard with all the greenery and the willow tree that swayed in the breeze.

It appeared to have been a duplex at one point, as there was a separate entrance to the loft. We considered turning it back into a duplex so we could live downstairs and rent out the upstairs to long-term tenants.

This was a model we were familiar with. We’d already been landlords for about 5 five years at this point, and more or less knew what to expect. But then our contractor planted a new idea in our minds during one of his site visits.

Suddenly, a whole new world opened up before us — one that was all new to us. We were intrigued, and despite feeling that it was a much riskier route, we couldn’t get the idea out of our minds. No matter what we talked about it, we just kept coming back to it.

Before long, we’d committed to a plan: we were going to live on the main floor and turn the upstairs into a short-term rental.

Now, all that was left to do was create the entire thing, going from a vision and plans to the final product.

How hard could it be!?

As it turns out, the answer to that question is very.

This decision would test us in ways we never saw coming. It would bring us to our breaking point on several occasions. It would make us cry, scream, slam doors, lose sleep, stress over money, and wonder how on earth we were ever going to make it to the end of this marathon.

There would be several days where one or both of us were ready to throw in the towel and give up altogether. We just didn’t think we had the energy or drive to keep going when it still seemed like we had so far to go. There were days where it felt like scrounging together the money and the energy to finish this project was nearly impossible.

And yet, somehow, through it all, we found a way.

We didn’t give up even when we desperately wanted to.

We didn’t stop partway through this renovation, when the gravity of what we’d undertaken threatened to take us both out. We didn’t even quit when we felt so exhausted that we both could easily have slept for a month and still woken up feeling tired.

Somehow, we managed to persevere through ten long months of grueling work, late nights, lack of sleep, entire weekends spent working on the house, and near-constant decisions, planning, scheduling, and shopping.

And you know what?

It was all worth it.

You see, the universe rewards persistence. It rewards decisive action. It rewards consistent hard work.

When you give something your all, the universe notices.

And if you do it for long enough, the universe can’t help but throw a little sunshine your way.

Luckily for us, we’re finally starting to feel the warmth of that sunshine.

It’s been less than 30 days since we first listed our 3-bedroom apartment on Airbnb and Vrbo.

In that time, between the two platforms:

  • Our property has over 2,000 views
  • We’ve gotten 17 reservations
  • We’ve hosted 6 stays so far
  • We’ve gotten 5-star reviews from all 6 bookings
  • We’re set to earn $9,455 between now and mid-September
  • On average, we get a new inquiry every other day

…And we’re not even a month in yet!

These results are what make that period of struggle worth it.

I have no idea what the next month will bring, but I’m excited to find out!

If you’ve been considering some form of entrepreneurship, I urge you to get started today.

All you have to do is decide what you want and then keep going. Keep working at it—even when you don’t want to.

Hold onto the vision of what you want to create, because that’s what’ll keep you going when nothing else will.

Keep putting in the work.

The universe will take care of the rest.

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Freelance writer & proofreader. I love travel, reading, coffee, and exploring nature. On a mission to keep learning, growing, and enjoying this adventure we call life.


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