Why I Became An AirBNB Host

In 2015, Aaron and I took a quick trip to Chattanooga to explore, eat, and hike since it was only 2 hours from our home in Nashville. Aaron had heard about Airbnb through a friend and mentioned it to me. I was intrigued so I thought we should give it a try. If you have never heard of Airbnb, it is basically a platform where guests can find places to stay that are listed by people who host their homes or unique spaces for rent. All of the listings, pictures and descriptions of places, and bookings are done on that platform. If you have never signed up you can earn a credit on your first stay by clicking this link and setting up your account from here. I am not sponsored by Airbnb or affiliated with them in any way I just began using the platform many years ago as a guest, loved it, then became a host.

Now, back to the story. I found a small house with a private studio space that was super budget friendly and we adventurously gave it a shot. Now that I have used Airbnb many times, I realize that my very first stay was not a truly spectacular listing. However, it was clean, safe, and had the basic amenities we needed. I remember at the time that Aaron and I decided that if that space could be listed, then we could list a space, as well. So, we came back to Nashville and started off our first listing called “Cozy Bedroom on Mini Farm” in late 2015. Aaron wanted me to test it out first before he wanted me to expand to our campers. I think he was worried that folks might tear up stuff or not be safe. As I explored the platform I realized that it was a community based on reviews from guests and hosts. It is very important for both guests and hosts to leave honest, accurate feedback so that future travelers or hosts can decide what is best for them as far as staying in an Airbnb or hosting guests. We gave the bedroom a shot for $49 per night for two guests. Sometimes if I was not booked I would lower the pricing to $39 a night and we began to have our first guests.  People who came to stay in our shared space listing had access to their own small private bedroom and shared bathroom, kitchen, and living area. Guests who tended to stay were single travelers or couples just looking for a place to crash. We did get a few guests that stayed longer periods of time to visit family members or do internships and that sort of thing. I loved meeting new people, showing them around the farm, and giving them good ole southern hospitality. I did not like that the rest of my whole house had to be clean and that when we had guests that Aaron and I could not walk around in our skivvies. So, I told Aaron it was time to list our old camper that we already had. This 2008 Outback Camper had a queen bed, 4 bunks, a fold out couch, dinette, kitchen, and bathroom. I overhauled the interior to make it not floral ugly mess and instead it became the “Shabby Chic Camper on Mini Farm”.

This second listing began in 2016. Folks loved traveling to Nashville, visiting the sights and sounds of the city, then coming back to the mini farm and having a country style retreat to relax away from the hustle and bustle. Our home is only 15-20 minutes from downtown so it is still in the city to me, but compared to being downtown it truly gave guests that down home, farm style, unique stay. It surprised me that people would choose our listing over closer, more modern listings. Another unexpected aspect of listing this camper was the income produced. At the peak of the camper and room listings, we made 16k gross. We were able to pay the camper off. Since we were doing so great with our camper, we slowed down and eventually stopped the bedroom stays in our home. This gave us our privacy and less stress.  The challenge now was that we did not have a camper to use to camp and travel in as we had planned. So, we invested in a 2015 Heartland Pioneer camper thinking that as long as we could make the payment with the income from Airbnb that we would be ok. That camper became our 3rd listing in 2017 although at that time we only used the two listings “Shabby Chic Camper on Mini Farm” and our new listing “Music City Camper on Mini Farm”. This camper was more for couples or couples with one child whereas the Shabby Chic camper held lots of people and larger families. I kept very busy cleaning both campers, doing laundry, and changing out bedding after all stays. I loved it though and was blessed to meet so many people, show them love, and share the farm with them. We even had some songwriters write some songs about our piggies and chickens! So neat! With both campers being listed, I was able to pay off my student loan debt!! What an awesome accomplishment. That is even with campers that cannot be rented out during the Winter months because they have to be winterized.  

They say all good things come to an end, well I do not really agree with that, but in this case our camper Airbnb’s came to an abrupt end one day in 2018 when we were visited by the codes department of our county. Apparently, campers are not permitted to be used as short term rentals. We did not understand and were never given a real reason why. We also saw several other campers still being listed that had not been given a warning. Our lawyer reached out and still did not get a firm answer on anything so we kept renting it out thinking that until we had a reason why we could not list it that we could keep listing it. In the meantime we had stayed at an awesome tiny cabin in the Smokies since we go there a lot. We LOVED it and thought this is what we would love to have. We picked up one of the listing magazines around time and I started browsing. I found one in there and got super excited. The name of the realty company was Above and Beyond realty and their ad had an ichthus, representation of a fish, Christian symbol for the Greek word ichthys interpreted as the initials meaning Jesus Christ. I took this as a nudging from the Holy Spirit and was excited when Joy answered the phone. She was the realtor for that particular cabin and told me it was already sold but that she had one coming up on the market that was not even ready yet. I was excited to see it and she gladly showed it to me shortly after on another weekend visit. I knew that was the cabin for us. Thankfully, we were able to make an offer on it, work through hurdles of buying a park model/tiny cabin with the mortgage company, and get it ready to list in November 2018. If I had not connected to Joy before the cabin was even listed, we would not own it now. She said those are so popular that when she did list it for formality, she had 13 calls! God is good. Plus, I made an awesome new friend who is also a believer and sweet lady. Well, wouldn’t you know that at the same time, our neighbor got an officer who showed up at his house with a warrant. He was like, um, that’s not me, that’s my neighbors. So, we then got a warrant. Technically Aaron did which we thought was interesting because my name was scratched out on it. We get tickled, at least I do, thinking that here I am doing this Airbnb business and then my husband who just supports me doing it, gets in trouble. Haha! Sorry honey. The warrant basically said that we had to appear in court for our short term rental and were fined. We then were told we could not use our property for short term rentals for 3 years. Isn’t it interesting how God gave us provision in purchasing the cabin and being able to list it to compensate for the income and joy lost by not being able to list our campers? I am so thankful that I was able to continue being an Airbnb host.   

Who would have thought that the first, let’s give this Airbnb thing a try, would turn into becoming a property manager and making a living that allows me the flexibility to still spend time at home with my son? I often say to God, why did I get a Master’s Degree in Child Development just to manage properties? Haha, but His plan is greater than mine and I just keep walking by faith.  Just as I did when we stayed in that very first property that then sparked our passion to try it out ourselves. I am so thankful we took the chance, were adventurous, and worked hard to become awesome Superhosts ourselves! If you have ever considered hosting your home, a space on your property, or even somewhere else, the hard work is worth it when you get the hang of it.  Check out my future blog posts on how to get a property Airbnb ready.  Use this link to start hosting now.

Why ‘Glory Be! That’s Me.’

Many folks may wonder why I would start a webpage and blog spot. I wondered the same thing when this journey began because I do not like to be connected to technology all the time nor do I like troubleshooting how to work certain technology. My big brother Nathanial can testify to that last statement.  

Well, while out and about doing what all I do, I started hearing my family, friends, and even strangers say to me “You should have your own channel”, “Do you have a tutorial on that?”, “I would watch you online just doing your everyday stuff”. I thought to myself, why would anyone want to know more about canning, don’t most people already can foods? I would get a resounding “No, they don’t!”. Ok so then I said, “Who wants to see a bunch of baby chicks and how I feed and water them?”. They would respond to me and say “I do and I know lots of other people do to!”. I had already secretly thought about starting a blog, website, and more because it would allow me to creatively express myself but then of course the enemy creeps in and causes doubt. I began to worry that I didn’t know what I was doing. Then, I figured that I know a lot about other things that I can share, and the technical aspect will work itself out. So, HERE I AM.    

I commented to those around me that I have no idea how to start a webpage, blog, social media networks, etc.  I just want to record what I do live and if people want to watch it fine! Forget a bunch of editing or making pretty videos with music and all that.  Somebody else would have to help me do that part.  

I prayed and asked God if this was a direction I should go to help inspire, encourage, teach, and just love on others. I began to feel joy in my spirit and knew that this was the time to act. As my husband can testify, I say this to him often, “thinking’s one thing, and doing’s another”.  In my Appalachian accent it really should be written as it sounds, “thankan’s one thang, doin’s another!” That should be on a t-shirt, haha!  

So, I began to DO.  

My creativity sparked and I thought the page should be similar to my mini farm name as it represents what I believe in. Glory Be Mini Farm. I want to do “all thing to the glory of God” as it says in 1 Corinthians 10:31. To honor who He created me to be, share the gifts He gave me, and thank Him for becoming a man in the form of Jesus Christ to give me salvation and forgive my sins. That is where the “Glory Be!” part of the name came from.  The “!” is to ensure that the power and focus are on God. Then I thought the site will be a lot about me. So, that is where I got the “That’s Me.”. I believe in being myself and that what you see is what you should get, period. I value authenticity and being true to oneself. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

I hope that is what will excite you about this blog and website. That you will see an authentic lifestyle that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I hope that my stories, posts, and daily happenings will bless your life, encourage you, and let you know that you are loved. With love, Marinda. 

The roots. This is me!

Hi, I’m Marinda and ya’ll will get to know me more as I get a chance to post more blogs and share more about all the things I do. I hope to get to know ya’ll better, as well, throughout the days and years to come as we journey together.  Be sure to check out the ‘About Me’ section to learn more about my family and me.  

As you may have read already, I wear many hats. I am a wife, toddler mom, homestead manager, Airbnb Superhost, and am into this or that most of the time. I am hopeful that these blogs and this website will encourage you to laugh, learn something new, find joy, and feel connected. I look forward to writing and sharing stories from my everyday happenings and life experiences with ya’ll.

Because of how I was raised, activities like growing my own herbs and organic vegetables, preparing food, raising hens and farm animals, and finding new ways to make what I need from things that I already have come naturally for me. Many of these things were passed down from the older generations of my family to me and the rest are things I have learned over time.  

I am originally from the Appalachian Mountains of Southwestern Virginia in a small trail town called Damascus. I am proud of my hometown because it is a place that brings back fond memories of front porch sitting, spending time with my grandparents and the older generations, and being loved by some awesome neighbors. My favorite part of my hometown is the mountains where seven nationally known trails intersect, and nature abounds. The mountains are where I feel closest to God and most connected. I am blessed to have spent many years of my childhood in the best playground a child could ask for… nature. 

Now that I am in Nashville, I am making my little “patch” of land a place that provides what we need and offers sweet memories along with the hard work that we’ve put into it. Thanks for exploring my webpage and reading my blogs. I won’t share everything about myself and my life all at once, because I have to save something to write about later, right?!? I’ll talk to ya’ll again soon. From the bottom of my heart, I love you bunches!