• Sianna M. Simmons

How to Diversify your Income with Short-Term Rentals and The BnB from Scratch

Nana Alice Nyarko, Founder, The BnB from scratch

There are a few innate characteristics of successful entrepreneurs; creativity, curiosity, motivation, passion, optimism, resourcefulness, persistence, and just flat-out hustle. Nana Alice Nyarko, founder of BnB from Scratch and Bed & Roses Short Term Rentals, has all of them…and then some.

For Nana, entrepreneurship has always been in her bones; even as a sales and marketing agent, attorney, and realtor. But, despite all of her successful traits and professional accomplishments, Nana admits to being a “horrible employee.” For Nana, new ideas were constantly dancing around flirtatiously coaxing her to get out of the mundane role as an employee to try something new. But as a first-generation Ghanaian-American, the only new roles on the table were those being cast for a doctor, lawyer, or engineer.

Nana did become an attorney, which she credits as critical to her business mindset, but also knows that “I did those things because they were expected of me…even though I knew in my gut that law school wasn’t my path.”

Even as an attorney, Nana would find the time to not only lease out a room in her unit but help manage short-term leasing for other friends and acquaintances. Eventually, Nana turned her side hustle into her own business doing just that --- helping others create a short-term rental business without even owning property. Now, Nana has hosted over 20 Airbnbs, done over $20,000 in bookings in one month, and over $250,000 in bookings in one year.

The work-from-anywhere flexibility, the changing getaway goals to remote hideaways inspired by COVID-19, and the recent blockbuster appearance of Airbnb on the public market, have brought new life and accessibility to short-term renting. I got to speak with Nana about how she grew her team, bnb’ing during COVID-19, the importance of Atomic Habits, and how anyone can get into bnb’ing from scratch!

What is BnB from scratch?

I love creatively helping people by sharing what I’ve learned. So, I’ve taken my 10 plus years of lessons in the rental and real estate industry and distilled them into a 6-step fluff-free, get it done program to get your first short term rental WITHOUT buying property or furniture. I know for a lot of people the hurdle of ownership is too large and the fear of short-term renting is too daunting. But, owning property isn’t the only way to get into the rental market anymore. Whether you want a side hustle or to create your own business, I’ll give you the cheat codes to understanding your market, effectively designing your space, pricing yourself dynamically, and systemizing your business as it grows to be hassle-free.

You went from leasing a room in your apartment to a full-time business? How did you decide to grow your team to respond to your business success and create efficiencies along the way?

Good systems, great tools, and smart delegation! I want to keep a lean team and these practices allow me to do so. Even before COVID-19, my whole administrative team was virtual. I have guest specialists that manage communication, calendar management, and pricing across platforms. I automate things like guest messaging as much as possible not only to save time but more importantly to create consistency. On the ground, I have a house manager to help with site logistics and a cleaning team. The cleaning team especially now is the most crucial and one of the first things you want to establish when you start. Not all cleaning services are equal and you may have to kiss a lot of frogs to get this part right!

We all saw how much of a hit COVID-19 had on the travel industry. How did your business adjust?

I quickly pivoted to mid-term stays. I’m glad that even before COVID-19, I did proactive marketing for people to attract those who needed somewhere to stay for a month at a time. With mid-term stays, there’s naturally less turnover which leads to really good value. This took some stress off the immediate loss with the shorter-term stays.

I know you’re into business essentialism and Atomic Habits? How does that show up for you?

I love the book Essentialisting by Greg McKeown. He talks about using a set of criteria when making any decision that has been really helpful. When making any decision about my business I try my best to filter what I’m looking for by asking, what are my top 3 ‘must-haves’, and my 3 ‘nice to haves’. Anything I select must have the top 3 ‘must-haves’ and at least 2 of the ‘nice to haves’. This helps me be more intentional with whatever I decide, and having these criteria set up before I get started helps me be more focused and not get distracted by things that may be ‘nice’ but are not really what I’m looking for. So this has helped me with selecting the right Airbnb units, clients, hiring the right people for my team, and even business partners.

Atomic Habits by James Clear has been great at just determining what are the crucial habits for whatever goal I am working on and figuring out how to build those habits into my daily routine. First by figuring out what habits are really going to move the needle forward towards my goal, and then by doing my best to ‘do them daily’ as much as possible.

What are some important lessons you’ve learned that have strengthened your business?

  1. Rental arbitrage/Master Leasing – You rent a property from a landlord and with PERMISSION sublet and use it to rent on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites and platforms for a profit.

  2. Co-Hosting - When You help to manage and 'co-host' someone else's property for them for a % of the Bookings Revenue.

  3. Don’t rely on one platform --- there are more platforms than Airbnb!

  4. Partner with the right people even in something that seems as casual as bnb’ing. Set the same expectations you would from a business partner.

  5. Base your prices off of the market demand. Don’t let your stubbornness make your business stagnant.

I know you read a lot of self-improvement books, what are your favorites?

  1. The One Thing by Gary W. Keller

  2. Atomic Habits by James Clear

  3. The Richest Man in Babylon

  4. The Magic of Thinking Big

What’s next for you?

I want to continue to help more people start a new stream of income utilizing Airbnb with the BNB Quick Start Bundle, and the BNB From Scratch course. I’ve also loved spending more time on the interior design side of the business which has become my favorite part!

As everyone looks to “get away,” even if it’s a ‘staycation’ now is the perfect time to get into the bnb market. Now you can with Nana’s BNB From Scratch Program. Get 20% off by sharing this post on social media and tagging @nanaalicenyarko.

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