How to Make $58 an Hour from Your Home in the Sun

The breeze is gently swaying the hanging bed, perched over a terraced hill, with views of three islands in the foreground. The South Pacific, an intoxicating mix of jade, turquoise and cobalt, is just a few steps down the stairs. Behind me is the pool with a mosaic, blue starfish in the bottom and lounge chairs—farther back, a three-bedroom, three-bath house…each room with its own view of this unspoiled paradise.

I have the privilege of staying at Starfish Blue—my vacation rental on Fiji’s Suncoast—for free a couple of times a year. The rest of the time someone else is staying there…and paying me for the privilege.

You can do this anywhere in the world. I chose Fiji but what about Costa Rica…the south of France…or Ireland? The world is full of wonderful places for you to go. Vacation rentals are popular worldwide, so investing in one offers you a good return on your money.

I’ve made profits that I never dreamed possible—and that’s because I’ve learned a lot in the last decade about how to get the bookings.

The latest HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report reveals that owners generate an average of about $26,000 per year in rental income. But more is possible…I bring in between $50,000 and $60,000 a year.

The owners surveyed for this report spend an average of 8.6 hours per week marketing and managing their vacation rental properties…that works out about $58 per hour.

Not bad for a part-time job.

43% of the owners said they use the income like a salary…for everyday living expenses, discretionary spending, and savings for the future.

It’s nice to have that kind of financial cushion behind you.

There are methods to maximizing profit and I’d like to share them with you at the Fund Your Life Overseas Conference in Phoenix in November.

For example, travelers are 83% more likely to make an enquiry of a vacation rental with 20 or more photos—but only 6% of vacation rentals have over 20 photos.

And 64% of web visitors are more likely to make an inquiry if you have a description of 2,000 characters or longer, but 39% of listings have only 500 characters.

And yet it isn’t all about profit. When I go to Fiji twice a year, I can genuinely say that it’s for business and use it as a tax write-off. But when I fill out the immigration form, I’m not sure whether I should check “Business” or “Pleasure.”

Honestly, my business is a pleasure.

Last week, I took the staff and their families to the Hibiscus Festival in Suva—the capital. Even though it’s only two-and-a-half hours away, I found out that one of the families had never been. It was the highlight of the year for them.

Then I designed a new entertainment center and saw it delivered…hired a local woman to make outdoor pillows with the fabric that I picked out in Asheville…shopped in Suva for new chairs and enjoyed a lunch with my manager…did some banking, and followed up with my accountant on some issues.

In the 10 days I was there, I also went to a deserted beach and took photos of my daughter—a 17 year old dancer—that will be part of her senior photos. We grooved to Jack Johnson on the indoor/outdoor sound system, and hired local band boys to help celebrate a family friend’s 18th birthday.

I snorkeled and lounged in a hammock.

Business or pleasure?

You can have both, my friend.

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