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How to achieve AirBnB success with your property - even if it's in the hood!

by Martin D. & Sahil M. | DYEH Podcast

Think you need fancy properties or be located in a “rich” or “wealthy” area in order to make serious money with AirBnb properties? Think again! In today’s episode, Martin chats with Aja McClanahan about how she’s able to make an amazing side hustle income with properties that are located in more “urban” areas of a city or state.

This is exactly the kind of “outside the box” thinking we love to hear about! So if you’re thinking about using AirBnB as a side hustle or simply want to know how hosts actually make money (hint: it’s not as easy as it looks), then be sure to tune in!

Marc Andre Vital Dollar Hustle Podcast

Guest Bio: 

Aja McClanahan is a personal finance writer and a licensed real estate agent with over 5 Airbnb set-ups and management under her belt. Her work and personal story of paying down over $120,000 in debt have been featured in publications around the web, including sites like,, Business Insider, Inc., Experian and many others.

Resource Links For This Episode


Show Notes & Episode Guide

  • 0:50 — Aja’s back story; why she moved to “the hood” in the first place, and how that helped her become completely debt free!
  • 1:30 — How Aja actually acquired a home in the hood and the benefits it had a over a property in suburban areas
  • 2:45 — The amazing travel benefits that Aja was able to provide for her kids due to the result of becoming financially free
  • 3:15 — Aja’s tips on how to transform a neighborhood to become more family friendly. Due to this, there is a famous chain of stores that moved into town.
  • 5:30 — Martin asks Aja about the risks of being in the hood such as shootings, crime rates, break ins etc. Her answer about statistics is very interesting and a great perspective to consider
  • 8:00 — Martin asks Aja her top tips to instantly become street-smart when visiting sketchy neighborhoods. These tips can actually save your life or prevent a tremendous amount of hassles. Something every hustler should know!
  • 9:30 — We talk about Aja’s thought process on setting up an AirBnB in an urban area and why she believed it would work as a business. Her insight on the potential clients that would rent the property is actually genius! You’ll definitely want to hear this.
  • 13:10 –– Aja talks about how she educated her audience and customers who may not be used to the process of short term rentals and the back end work required such as keeping thigs clean, managing noise complaints and so on. Like any business or opportunity, there is always more work involved than you have been lead to believe. If you’re thinking about getting into AirBnB, this is something you should definitely listen to!
  • 14:14 — Aja talks about the realistic income she was generating with one of her properties.
  • 15:55 — Aja talks about what it was like when a famous influencer stayed at one of her properties (don’t worry, they weren’t scammy and nor did they try and get a free ride. They paid for their stay which we fully agree with)
  • 17:00 — Aja talks about the importance of having an HONEST listing and being upfront with potential customers. Based on our experience with AirBnB, this is quite contrary to what we’ve experienced (lots or promises and slick pictures but the actual property under-delivers). We firmly believe the way Aja sets things up for her potential renters is the BEST way to do it.
  • 23:10 — Aja talks about the lessons she learned so that she could set up an AirBnB in Puerto Rico, which is a challenge all on its own because you have to do everything remotely AND you’re dealing with a community that speaks a whole different language. Definitely not for the feint of heart.
  • 24:10 — Martin talks with Aja about the realistic math you need to do in order to run an AirBnB business and see if it’s actually profitable.
  • 25:15 — Aja talks about how she dealt with the challenges of acquiring a property right before COVID hit. Talk about unfortunate timing!
  • 28:10 — How to deal with city’s laws and restrictions that have been placed on landlords due to the relatively recent rise (and popularity) of AirBnB and short term rentals in general.
  • 29:00 — Aja talks about where you can find her on social media and the AirBnB course she offers in case you want to shorten your learning curve and start making money from short term rentals or simply give it a try as a side hustle. We always recommend courses and content from those who are actually living their hustle and practice what they preach, and Aja is a prime example. Definitely be sure to check out her stuff from the resources linked above.

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