Starting a “side business” is still a ton of work. I suppose if it’s not your main source of income that it could be done on the side but for it to succeed it’s a lot of time and resources. Business can be scary as it is and adding one to life can be quite nuts.
Just over a year ago my wife and I had the opportunity to purchase a waterfront property that had been in the family since the 1930’s. Plenty of memories are intertwined in this house and lake. It was far from our budget, but we realized we could convert it to a vacation rental to offset our costs and possibly profit down the line. So far it has worked.
This spring we realized that even though we have a company maintaining and marketing it, we could do quite a bit of the promoting ourselves. With the property being 5 hours north of us there’s little we can do in any event but while we are sitting at home there is plenty we can do in showing off the community.
We decided to build an experience out of this house. We created an Instagram and Facebook account that visually documents all the things we do while spending time up there. Something else we did was create a Yelp account that shows the places we go and visit. We have photographed the heck out of the area and made it known to businesses what we are up to. Farmers Markets, restaurants, retail, hikes, rivers, etc., we are promoting them at the same time which is free advertising, essentially it’s word of mouth. We are invested in this little community and want our friends and hangouts to benefit from our excitement of having a home there. This has been an all-or-nothing campaign as we are continuing growth and able to increase renters. We encourage guests to follow us.
Something else we quickly realized is family involvement. Since day one our kids have seen the hard work that went in to renovations and the excitement of seeing the calendar fill. They have also taken part in our writing of reviews and suggestions, along with photography. Being able to include them is something that is important to me as I cannot include them in the Smarty Design Co unless it’s tracking receipts (no takers).
Is it a “side business”? Perhaps but we are on top of it every day monitoring the calendar and now social media. Most importantly we still have to be available. We have to be available for questions and troubleshooting. It’s still a hustle.
If you are interested in seeing what this is doing, you can check it out here.