Episode #88: What We Learned From Our Airbnb Biz Experience (And Why We Closed That Chapter)

Hi everyone! This week, we are diving into the FULL story of what happened with all our bnb properties. But first, a huge thanks to this week’s sponsors! We love sharing about these brands and the offers they have for our podcast! Check out Issuu, JuneShine, BetterHelp and Curtsy for their exclusive ABM listener offers. And if you’re ever looking for a podcast sponsor code, check this page.

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

Show notes:

-Here are some posts and episodes about our past bnbs, and here are the Harry Potter tours!

-In Episode 5, we initially shared our bnb plans and experiences.

-The “holy trinity” of money books are: I Will Teach You To Be Rich, The Simple Path to Wealth, and Work Optional.

-The Vanguard website. If you call them, they’ll walk you through the process of getting started. The specific fund we do is called VTSAX and you can learn more about it (in detail!) in the book The Simple Path to Wealth.

-Linking Epicbnb—the best str managers ever (in Nashville).

Guilty Pleasure Treasures:

-Liberty of London prints on Etsy

-Linking the Liberty Of London swimsuits (and other items) from J.Crew.

-Emma’s recent favorite romance novel, Reckless by Selena Montgomery, which is the pen name of none other than Stacey Abrams!!!

Please call our **new hotline** to leave us a question! 417-893-0011

Episode 88 Transcript

Emma: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast over the past few years, we purchased several properties to use as Airbnb rentals. We shared our journeys of renovating, decorating and listing them for rent. It was a fun and really exciting season of life. In 2020, things began to shift for us and we made the choice to sell our properties. Today, we’re sharing the full story of why we sold them what we learned from our short-term rental business and the advice that we have for anyone interested in short-term rentals. And we’re also going to be answering a listener question about staying motivated.

Elsie: Ok, I’m so glad we’re doing this episode because I feel like it kind of like a little bit too much time went by without us giving these updates. And a lot of people always ask us questions like what’s going on? Can we still rent your rental here or your rental here? And also, people are always asking me advice for getting into it, because I do think it’s a really appealing investment opportunity. That’s kind of an exciting one, like a sexy one. And a lot of people are interested in doing it. So we’re hoping that in this episode we can kind of just like put it all on the table, give you all the information we have, and if, you know you can make whatever decisions you want. But we’re just here to help.

Emma: Yep. So for whatever it’s worth, here’s our story of the last few years. (laughs)

Elsie: Yeah. OK, so let’s start off by kind of sharing the story of why we got into it.

Emma: Yeah, OK. Which I think ours are slightly different, although similar, too. So for me, I own a long term rental. So the first house I ever bought, which I talked about in a previous episode, it was $89,900 And I talk about saving up my down payment and living at my parents’ house. So that first house that I bought, we kept it when we moved and it became a long-term rental and I still own it to this day. It’s actually kind of sentimental in a way to me, although I haven’t been inside it in more than probably six years because it has it has renters and we let people paint, and we also have to fix things from time to time. And there’s been repairs. So it doesn’t really look like the house as I left it. But anyway, owning that long term rental kind of opened my eyes to rental properties generally. And I think that’s what made me interested in trying short term rental was I had a good experience with that. It’s been very manageable. We use a management company to get the renters and as we need repairs. They kind of take care of that. They collect the rent. You know, we don’t really do very much with it at all. We just own it. And yeah, so I was like, OK, it’ll be kind of like that, but probably more fun because I’ll get to decorate and be a little bit more involved. So that was kind of for me why I was interested. And I’ve of course, stayed a lot of short-term rentals over the years. So I had that experience. So that was kind of it for me, was I was like, OK, rental properties are cool, I own one. So maybe I could do a different version of that.

Elsie: Yeah, I think my story is somewhat similar. I think I, I was drawn to it because I would like dream of decorating a BnB and it’s always been one of my old lady dreams to own a real like a real bed and breakfast, a true bed and break — bread and bek. (laughs) A bed and breakfast like where you like, wake up really early and cook everyone eggs, that…

Emma: I would stay at a bread and bekfast too, just like extra bread, I would totally stay there. (laughs) Bread and bread and bread and breakfast, I’d be like I’ll stay there! (laughs)

Elsie: So it’s just always been one of my dreams too. Like besides my little gift shop dream, I have my bed and breakfast dream and those are just my, like, totally silly, like Hallmark movie-level dreams, fantasies. And so, yeah, the idea of decorating really made sense. And when I started to do my first one, it gave me a chance to try a new style. I remember in my first one I used a lot of like black hardware and we did black appliances and that’s stuff that I wouldn’t have picked in my own home. But it was a style that I was interested to explore in different homes. So I did. Each of my BnB is a little bit of a different style that I wouldn’t have done in my own home. So that was exciting. It fits in with our blog. A lot of people thought we just did it for content. I wouldn’t say we just did it for content, but that was definitely like a very big bonus. Is that anything we do in life that we want to share can be a blog post. And we know that obviously because we’ve been bloggers a long time. So it was something that really fit in and made sense. But we were spending like just to be clear, we were like spending our own money on the down payments and stuff and like buying these houses actually as an investment. And then maybe the blog was like helping out a little bit because we would have sponsors or something. But really it was a personal, like investment, a responsibility of our own, not a responsibility of the blog’s. So yeah, I think I got into it with a little bit too much stars in my eyes just because I was so excited to decorate. And also my friend Ting who’s been on the podcast, he owns lots of short-term rentals and lots of like investment properties. And he was really encouraging me to work on my net worth by buying houses. And that was like one of the things that…and I can’t say it was bad advice. It was very good advice because it helped my net worth quite a bit, even though we didn’t keep doing it. And we’ll share why in a little bit.

Emma: Really I would take pretty much any any advice Ting would give. I would do it. (laughs)

Elsie: Yeah. He’s like really, really a good person to learn from. And I think buying properties is…it’s an obvious opportunity, like to make money. But some people also lose money. So like everything else, it’s good to be realistic about it and also to be honest about what market you’re living in, because our houses in Nashville when we sold them, made much, much, much more money than our houses in Florida. When we sold them, like markets were very, very different. So that’s…there’s so many little things we’re going to try to share it all.

Emma: Yes. So we’ve linked the past episodes where we talk about them. But if you’re like, I’m not interested, just give me the run down.

Elsie: Yeah, a run down.

Emma: Elsie and I each owned a house in Florida and then we also owned a duplex in Nashville. So she owned one side. I owned the other side. And then we jointly own a house in Springfield, Missouri, which is our hometown and where I live, which we tend to call the Holiday House. So those were all of them. Those were the well, you you had a Nashville short term rental originally, and then you sold it.

Elsie: Yeah. So I had a first Nashville one and then the second one was the duplex, because I lost my permit on the first one, which we shared in a previous episode. So we will link to all of that if you want to know, like the history. But you probably don’t.

Emma: Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. It’s there. But at any rate, we’re not going into that today. So this past year, we both sold our Florida houses and we also just sold the Nashville duplex.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: So maybe let’s talk about those properties first, like why we decided to sell those ones.

Elsie: Yeah. OK, so from my perspective, to start with the Florida House. Emma first proposed to me the idea of buying houses in Florida when we were in China adopting Goldie. And I like can’t believe that I was…

Emma: My timing was great. (laughs).

Elsie: Yeah, this is like my classic seven FOMO, because when we got home from China, it was summertime. And in the fall we bought these houses in Florida and we were really excited. They were like twenty minutes from Disney and kind of just in a suburb of Orlando where there’s lots and lots of short-term rentals. The laws are very friendly to short-term rentals there because it’s a big part of their economy. And so we were excited to do a Disney-themed and Emma did a Harry Potter-themed BnB. And so we got those houses. And I will say, like for me, it was like such a bad decision. I shouldn’t have done that, because the reason why is because I took on way too much during a time in my life, when I shouldn’t have taken on anything with a brand new baby in our life and so, yeah, I basically immediately was like, I don’t really have time for this. And I know we’ve all had that experience in life where you take on too much. But mine, unfortunately, had consequences of a mortgage and stuff. So I was like, OK. And also Colin was having a baby around Christmas that year. So I was like, OK, we can’t go to Florida while his wife is very pregnant or right after his baby’s born. So we’re going to go in March. We’re going to go to Florida in March of 2020. That was our plan. (laughs) And so…we pushed it back when it started coming closer, we were like, OK, well, I guess we shouldn’t fly. Maybe we’ll drive. And then we were like, OK, I don’t think we should go. And then, you know, for the rest of the year, Florida was not one of the states where you wanted to travel to. I know a lot of people did, but it wasn’t like for us, it wasn’t in our comfort zone to travel there and just do remodeling, because when you’re remodeling, you’re not really isolating. There’s no way to remodel without going to a lot of stores. Just be honest, like that’s not possible. We would have been at Home Depot and other stores every single day and it just wasn’t right for us. So we had one renter who stayed for a few months. And then as the months went by, I started to feel like we weren’t going to be able to go in 20200 at all, like we were kind of just pushing it back and back. But as more information came out, I just finally was like, you know what? I might have had a breakdown. I can’t remember. I probably did because I’m, as you guys know, a big crier. But I had a moment where I just let it go and I was like, we’re just going to sell the house. We hadn’t even owned it for a year. And I was like, we’re just going to list it and sell it and make back the money that we spent on the down payment. And that’s it. I wasn’t expecting to make a profit or anything like that, and I don’t think we did. But she’s kind of like a break-even situation. And after that, the weight of getting it sold felt so good that I wanted to sell the Nashville one, which also it was renting a little bit, but not very well due to covid. And I just decided that the biggest priority with a little kid — with two little kids (laughs) was to just have a simpler life. So that’s really why I made my decision. Also, I will say that Ramit’s book and the other I read, you know, the three financial books last year that influenced me quite a bit to try to create a simpler financial situation. So tell us what made you make your choice?

Emma: Yeah, so it’s funny because my Florida house, which is in the same neighborhood that Elsie’s was in, like they’re walking distance to each other because that was kind of part of the appeal for us, was like family vacations where we all go!

Elsie: It was so cute.

Emma: Yeah, it was cute. It’s a very cute neighborhood. Anyway, that’s actually the last place I was like that’s the last traveling I did before the pandemic happened because I was there in late February and I remember on my way to the airport, I had to stop somewhere to eat lunch. And I remember sitting nearby like a stranger and she was talking about covid and like just, you know, it was like starting and we were just kind of chatting like we didn’t know each other anything. We were just near each other at a restaurant. But and, yeah, it was it was just weird. I was like, this is very strange. Something’s happening. And I you know, it was late February, I got home and then obviously I’ve been home ever since. (laughs) So but yeah. So that was the last place I was, was at our Florida house doing some projects that I shared on the blog shortly after, like adding a little more to the Ravenclaw room and just a few other little things that I wanted to do there. And for us, we actually did make money selling our Florida house and our Nashville duplex, just to be really honest. And I think for us, the reason was I did get the opportunity to kind of finish my Florida property. We did quite a bit to it. We weren’t intending to flip it. We were intending to keep it for a longer…longer than we did.

Elsie: Oh, yeah, you did new floors and stuff.

Emma: Yeah, we did all new floors. We did quite a bit. And it was it was not that the house was in terrible shape before. I don’t want to give that impression because I think people had lived in it. It was like a nice house. But we did do quite a bit. We redid basically all the floors in the house and just a bunch of things. And the people who bought it after us, I believe, kept it as a short term rental. So they had bought it furnished and it kind of already had a theme and, you know, all of that. So we did make some money, but it wasn’t like crazy or anything. It was just fine. But it’s because I got the opportunity to finish it, so that was nice, and then the Nashville duplex, Nashville is just a crazy market, so, just owning it for a year…

Elsie: Yeah, it’s hard to buy a house in Nashville and not sell it for a good profit.

Emma: And then lose money.

Elsie: Yeah, it’s…

Emma: Exactly.

Elsie: And we didn’t do a lot to those properties, but we did make them cute. So they were decorated really cute when we listed them and we sold them furnished.

Emma: Yep. And yeah. So and again I wasn’t intending to, I never really plan to be a house flipper, so that wasn’t really something we intended, but it worked out fine. But I think for me the main thing I learned was, like I said of like why I got into it was I owned a long term rental and it was easy. We used a management company like I haven’t even been there in more than five or six years. Like, I just, you know, I don’t have to do very much for that property. It’s a pretty passive investment. And the short-term rentals, it is passive, but not as much at all. And I think I was just feeling like, well, Elsie selling hers. And this turned out to be a lot more work than I was wanting. And I’m not feeling, although I didn’t have a young child at the time, I didn’t feel like that was something I necessarily wanted to keep on my plate. So that was…and like I said, if I hadn’t been able to sell them for at least some profit, which again, I don’t want to make it sound like I got rich from these because I did not. (laughs) But if I hadn’t been able to sell them for at least a little bit of profit, I probably would have kept them. But I did have the opportunity to do that. So I went ahead and took it and just made my life a little bit more simple, which is…yeah. So that’s what happened with our Florida house and our Nashville duplex. And now we’ll take a little break and hear a word from our sponsor.

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Now let’s talk a little bit about what we call the Holiday House, which is a house that Elsie and I jointly own in Springfield, Missouri. So the idea with the Holiday House was for it to be a short-term rental. It’s in one of our favorite neighborhoods in Springfield and it’s also the place…

Elsie: We got the permit.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: It’s decorated…it’s it’s so cute.

Emma: Yeah. And it’s a place where Elsie could stay with her family when she visits from Nashville to Springfield, which of course, once again this past year, she wasn’t able to do as much as she had envisioned.

Elsie: Well we still stayed there a few times.

Emma: Yeah. You still stayed. Yeah. Because you can drive.

Elsie: Yeah I think that…I know a lot of people think it’s like so ridiculous that we want to have like a special house to stay in when we’re in Missouri. But it’s not to me, like I think. It’s really, really special, like you have to remember that our kids, like Christmas mornings of their whole life, are going to be waking up away from their home. And I think having like a consistent place to spend those and a lot of people stay with their parents and our parents’ homes, both just aren’t quite right for staying with a family of four. We do still sometimes. But anyway, to really spread out and spend a few days and let our kids be wild, let our kids be kids like it feels good to have our own space. And so, yeah, it was something we were like extremely, extremely excited about, but we could never find a manager. So for me, this is one of the big pieces of advice that I always share with friends when they want to do it, because they always ask me, like, can you can I just manage it myself? Like, is that a big deal? Very big deal. Very, very big deal. You don’t…unless you don’t have a full-time job and you would like one like you don’t want to manage your own property because it doesn’t mean you’re going to have to do work for it every day. But it does mean you’re going to have to be on call every day. And that is a big commitment. Anyway that’s one of the reasons we couldn’t make it a rental, is because we could never find a manager. So eventually I was like, OK, well, maybe I’ll just buy it because Emma I own it together. And I was like, maybe I’ll just buy it and we’ll just use it for our family. And then…

Emma: Yeah. And then I went through a separation and so I moved into it for a while. I’m still living in it

Elsie: And now she’s attached to it. She wallpapered it. So it’s really hers.

Emma: Yeah I’m into it. Well I’ve made my nursery here, I’ve been nesting so. Yeah. And recently Trey moved in with me. We’ve been going to a lot of couples counseling and he moved into what we call the Holiday House with me. So I’m thinking we’re going to buy it and live here for some time and maybe we’ll keep it and still turn it into a short term rental again one day. Resurrect that idea. If we could find a manager, maybe not. Maybe it’ll be a long term. Maybe we’ll just sell it. I don’t know. But I do love this house and love this neighborhood. So it feels like a great place. It’s definitely going to always have a very special place in my heart because this is where I’m going to have my son, my first child. And yeah, it’s just been a really weird year for lots and lots of reasons. So I think it’s always going to be a very sentimental house to me. But yeah.

Elsie: Yeah. So it’s had a long journey, but for now it’s it’s Emma’s house and she’s going to buy it and she’s going to live there. So I don’t know about our family. If we’ll…for I think for now we’re going to actually stay in AirBnBs when we come to Missouri, like for next Christmas. But I still do dream of buying a home in Missouri just as a holiday house for our family. And you guys know I have my bucket list item of buy a house in cash. If you listen to our podcast from the beginning, I talk about quite a bit.

Emma: Springfield might be a good place for that because it’s more affordable than Nashville.

Elsie: Springfield might be the only place I could buy a house in cash, so if I ever do, it’ll probably be from there.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: So, so yeah. So that’s the story. So we’ve sold both our Florida houses, sold the Nashville duplex and Emma is probably going to buy the Holiday House.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: So that’s, that’s the update.

Elsie: Yeah I think for us it just wasn’t…I’ll speak for myself actually. Like I don’t want to speak for you. For me it wasn’t enough of an investment. It was more just like too much work, you know, like. Once I read the books and I will link to them, I Will Teach You to be Rich, The Simple Path to Wealth, and Work Optional. Those are like my little holy trinity of money books that I just loved and learned a lot from. So I decided to follow Ramit’s plan. And I’ve been following it. I’ve been doing the steps for like a year now because there’s a lot of steps. And I had to like change a bunch of things the way we did things. You’ll see if you do it, it’s not like something…he kind of makes it sound like you can do it in like a weekend. And I for me, it took like a whole year anyway. So I started my Vanguard account, which is like a big part of their thing. So that’s kind of what I’m investing now instead of BnB is in those accounts. So when we sold the houses, I put the money that we made from those into those accounts. And that’s our plan for now. And I think it’s a good plan for people who are in the busy mom season of life like me. I do want to be investing and I still dream of doing a BnB in the future. I think I always will. I hope I get another chance to. But for right now, I learned the hard way that that would be not a smart decision for me.

Emma: Yeah, and I’m in a similar boat now because like I’ve mentioned, I’m expecting my first child here in the next month or two, any time, according my doctor, (laughs) so I’m going to be entering that season of life and I love investing, I love my career, I love all the things that Elsie and I have built and that we’ve done over the years. And I think we have a lot more in us. But I do think these next few years might be a little more focused on family and just enjoying our kids when they’re little. So, yes, I’m excited for that too. I still, though, like you know, have my long term rental. I actually own a couple of long term rentals at this point. I have a 401k through our work, which has a match, which we also have for all of our employees. And yeah, I also have a Vanguard account, just like Elsie. I love the books that she’s recommending, so you should read them if you have any interest and you do not have to be a financial person, quote unquote, to enjoy that kind of thing.

Elsie: Yeah, I’m not a financial person! People email me quite a bit and ask how how do you start a Vanguard account? And honestly, all you have to do is just like look up the website and call them and ask them to walk you through it. That’s all you do. It’s really easy.

Emma: I actually did it wrong. And then I called them and they fixed it for me. It’s fine. Like, you’re okay, you could do it. Any idiot can do it. I did it.

Elsie: So yeah, I think I was intimidated. But you can do it.

Emma: Well, I did it wrong. So you probably don’t want me to help you, but you could call and they will just be like, I think I did this wrong. Help me. And people will always help you. Like you don’t have to be scared of things like that. I know it’s intimidating. So I just kind of really want to put it out there because I think so many people think, oh, well, you guys are business owners or you’re some kind…and I’m like, look, I can’t even do simple math. I always use my phone calculator and I mess things up all the time. But if I can do it, you can do it. So don’t be scared of stuff like that. But also you can keep your life and make it simple, too. And that’s kind of what Elsie and I are doing in this season. So that’s been a big part of the short term rental change in our lives is trying to make our lives a little bit more simple. Less paperwork.

Elsie: Yes, I’m all in for the simple life right now to answer the question, would you ever do it again? I think my answer would be yes. I like to keep that door open. But it would be when my kids were older and if certain things in our career were a little more calmed down, I think that right now our plate is full. And I had to like get it to full to where I couldn’t handle it, to really see and then scale back. And now that I’m scaled back, I’m very committed to not adding. Like, yeah, I dare you ask me to coffee and I will say, no, I am very committed to like having this simple chill life and it feels good. But I, I do think it would be so fun to do it again. Maybe like when we’re in that empty nest phase, you know, I am already planning my projects ahead for then. So there’s lots of different seasons in life.

Emma: Oh yeah. And I’m the same. If you were like, do you think you ever do it again? I would say probably yes. Just I’m not planning to do it any time in this next season. Maybe we’ll wait until our kids are old enough that they can, like, help us with it. I would love to learn about investing, learn about house decorating, learn about, you know. Yeah, yeah. Elsie was kind of she’s thinking about I’m not going to say if she’s committed or not because I don’t know if you want to share that, but she’s thinking about a Girl Scout…

Elsie: Oh my god, sharing my big news!

Emma: So you should have Uncle Ting teach the troop house flipping skills so they can have a house flipping badge. (laughs)

Elsie: If I really do, if I really do commit to it, I’ll do an episode about it down the road because it’s like a big commitment right now I’m just like researching and I’m thinking about starting one in the fall. Our daughter is starting kindergarten and I have another friend whose daughter is starting kindergarten also. And I don’t know, I think we might become Girl Scout leaders. (laughs) All right, let’s take a 1uick pause for a sponsor break,

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Elsie: So let’s hear some advice for people who are wanting to get into it. I know so many people, either you want to own a second home in a certain cool location and then this is like a way to earn money from it. Or you want to own another home in your in your own town and where you can earn money from it. We’ll give you all these details. If you have a chance, always do it in your own town where you can, like, decorate it and like kind of run the errands and stuff and do it all, like easily on the weekends. Like when we were doing our Nashville BnB, I would like take Nova to Target on a Saturday and buy a bunch of lamps, you know, and it was just so much easier than trying to do the one in Florida. Another important detail that I always tell people is to know the local laws before you ever even shop for a property. Every place is different. The little suburb where I live right now, my personal home has like a no AirBnB law. It’s illegal. You cannot have one single AirBnB under any circumstances. Inside of Nashville, they have very, very strict AirBnB laws. So a lot of people think you can just buy any house and make it an AirBnB. That’s not true. It’s illegal. And then there are other suburbs around us where their laws are very loose. So even within, you know, 20 or 30 mile radius, you might have different laws. So be aware of that and call your local, I don’t know who (laughs) and ask them a bunch of questions. Who would you say like…

Emma: I think zoning?

Elsie: Ok.

Emma: Yeah. Zoning or your county department.

Elsie: Yes. The hardest thing, when we got into the Florida house, they sent us like this pdf of like of getting permits like a like a huge you remember that? And I got so overwhelmed and a little bit freaked out until later on I realized that my manager would do it for me for a fee, which was awesome. But yeah. Always, always ask that. I think having a good manager who really knows the local laws and can guide you on certain things like taxes is important. If you lose your permit you like, you might not get it back and then you might not be able to rent this house that you own. Like that was the situation I was in in my first BnB and it was not a great situation and I wouldn’t want to be into it under different circumstances. So really know those laws. Another important thing is to find a property that can be a short-term rental, but also a little bit of a flip in case you need to sell it fast. So I think don’t get a property that is maxed out on price or like a little bit of a fixer, like a hopeless fixer-upper, where it needs, like a ton of money that you don’t have, like on hand. So get something that you can really handle and don’t bite off too much. I think when you don’t know for sure, like your circumstances might change as ours did, and you might decide that you just kind of would rather sell them and you want to keep that option open. And then the last thing I will say as far as advice is just because I wish I would have, read those financial books that I recommended before you jump into this and just make sure that it’s the right next step for you, because there’s like so many different levels. Like I always thought when I was growing up, if you are debt free, you’re good. Like, that’s like the ultimate goal that I feel like the Dave Ramsey type of culture teaches you is like just be debt free, you know what I mean? And like maybe invest in retirement or like. But there’s so many more steps you should do besides being debt free and investing in retirement. So I think getting educated even just a little bit, even just three books that you could listen to them as audiobooks, you could finish it in two weeks. I think you’ll be more educated about whether or not this is the right and a wise decision for you. Did you want to give any advice for people starting off?

Emma: My only thing was I feel like you kind of covered it, which is like just be prepared for a more involved investment. Yeah. And if you’re not in that season of life, then maybe you do a mutual fund or or even a long term rental can be easier as far as like there’s just some paperwork up front and then that’s it for a long time basically. But yeah, short term, even with a great manager, which we had a great manager at our Nashville duplex, Epic BnB, best short term rental manager ever. But even with that, there’s still like just more to it than you might think. And if you’re just not in a place in life where you want to deal with that, then I don’t really recommend it as an investment. Do something easier.

Elsie: Yeah, I do understand why it’s so appealing to bloggers, though. So if you’re a blogger and you’re listening, I get it like it makes great blog posts. Great Instagrams, you get to do lots of new before and after. I love renovating, so I’m never going to like, see a house on @cheapoldhouses and not fantasize about it a little bit. And I get that. So I guess if you’re going to do it, make it super cute and branch out from your typical style and like have the most fun. Like, I almost wish I would have decorated mine crazier while I had the chance, so.

Emma: Yeah. I don’t regret doing a Harry Potter house at all. That was very fun. I wish I had a bigger budget for it. But, you know, you always wish you had a bigger budget. (laughs)

Elsie: Right, I mean Harry Potter is an expensive theme. I don’t think I realized it when you first started. Like, I don’t think The Lion King is really that expensive of a theme because it’s like, what do you need? A little animal print wallpaper. A couple art prints from Etsy. But for the Harry Potter theme, it’s like to make it look like that rich like, vintagey castle-y…like that’s expensive.

Emma: Yeah. That’s why I went more like modern Harry Potter with mine, because it was like, oh, I can’t afford. And also I think you need more time in order to get that look the kind of vintagey, you know. So anyway, you need to be like local. So you can go to flea markets, all that.

Elsie: I have to have a Harry Potter marathon now. Now that you mention it. OK, so we have a listener question that we are going to do from Marie and her…we actually get this question a lot in different ways. The question is, how do you motivate yourself for necessary evils in your schedule?

Emma: So I’m assuming Marie means something you don’t want to do, but you have to do it.

Elsie: I think she means like, taxes, dentist, gynecologist like, you know, things that are like, okay, I should probably do that.

Emma: Ok, so my main tip is, if at all possible, do that thing first, if you can. Like it as far as like starting your day or starting your week or whatever it is, the reason is for me and everybody’s different. But I tend to work like very much with momentum. Yeah. Like I either have a day where I get a ton done, I get so much done, like I am so impressed with myself or I have a day where I felt like I got nothing done and I’m like, how did I get through this day? Trying, trying, treading water. And I got like one thing on my list done and I had ten things. Great. And I just that’s what I’m like. I’m very momentum-oriented. So if I have a thing that’s on my list that I really don’t want to do or that’s going to be hard or whatever, if I can get it out of the way first, it gives me this like momentum of like rolling down a hill where I’m like, yeah, I did that. Now it’s time for the easier stuff and I could just keep on rolling.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: So that’s my…but you can’t always do that. Like if you have a dentist appointment, you can’t always schedule it for first things. So, you know, this tip is like if you can but if you can’t. Yeah. Good luck.

Elsie: Yeah. I honestly don’t think I have any great advice, like it’s nothing groundbreaking, but like if I need to do taxes. Or something like the AirBnB permits I was mentioning earlier, I would set aside a whole day for it, I think it’s worth it to just make it a whole calendar day. You probably won’t actually have to spend the whole day, but you’re not trying to do anything else on that day. You just get your coffee and you go in there and you start working on it, especially taxes, you know what I mean? And just like finish it, just try to finish it in that day and whatever buy pizza at the end. I don’t know what more I can I can give to you. (laughs) Like there’s certain things in life that just are not like fun. And that suck!

Emma: I think buy pizza at the end is a good tip. Like some kind of little reward. (laughs)

Elsie: I’m like very motivated by food rewards and guilty pleasure shopping. Like if I think I can buy like a yoga set, like, that’s one of my rewards. I give myself a lot. But, you know, sometimes you need…I’m motivated by reward. So if that works for you, then buy yourself that yoga set.

Emma: Mm hmm. Cute pajamas.

Elsie: I love the matching pajamas. Yeah. And the matching sweatsuits. Now, it’s like all everything’s matching. I love it.

Emma: OK, let’s close it out with a guilty pleasure treasure if you have one.

Elsie: OK, I’m so excited about mine. So a few weeks ago it dawned on me I was shopping on Etsy and I like searching the Liberty of London patterns. It’s like just search it if you don’t know what I’m talking about. But it’s just floral print fabric and there’s tons of different collections through the years. J.Crew recently had one. They have — oh I got like a swimsuit with it and a matching mask, it was so cute. They have so many amazing colors. And so I had an idea to get some kind of like the quilting cotton sample packs? And make a framed gallery wall of all Liberty of London prints. So it’s just all different floral prints. One of them has horse shoes, but they’re mostly like just florals and different colorways and a little bit different scales. And it’s something so special. I think it’s going to turn out like really, really cute. Like one of those things that gets a lot of reposts, you know, like the colored glassware collection. It just feels like special and it’s easy.

Emma: Where are you putting it in your house?

Elsie: I can’t decide. So I have two like stairway areas that have like big walls to do. And then I have the big wall leading to our guest room. And somewhere I need to do a family photo wall and somewhere I need to do this wall so I just can’t decide what to do where. But I have been gathering all my family photos on my dining room table and thinking like the time is now I need to start putting these up so it feels like it’s imminent. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Emma: Well, I haven’t talked about a romance novel in a minute…

Elsie: Ohhhh yes! Here we go!

Emma: So next up on my list is a book called Reckless. It is by an author who goes by the name Selena Montgomery.

Elsie: Oh, yes!

Emma: If you know, you know.

Elsie: Oh, my gosh. Everyone should we can’t spoil it? We’ll make them Google?

Emma: OK. Yeah, you have to Google it. That’s actually a pen name, but just Google it if you know you know, and if you don’t know trust me it’s worth the google.

Elsie: If you don’t know you’re about to be in for a very big treat.

Emma: I’ve been a lot slower on reading lately. I think just sitting in one position isn’t working for my very pregnant body, but so I’ve been reading less. But I keep like getting excited for my next read. I’m definitely one of those book collectors where I, like, have five books like this one’s next. This one’s next. This one’s next. But Reckless is the next one on my list by Selena Montgomery. And it’s it’s a romance, but it’s also I read the synopsis and I think it’s going to be kind of like a suspenseful romance. So it’s not like just a bodice ripper. I think it’s a little bit like lawyer-y, like political intrigue, like something like that has to do with the legal system. So, yeah, I don’t know, I haven’t read it yet, but so yeah. That’s my next guilty pleasure treasure.

Elsie: Oh, that’s a good one. I love it. Thank you so much for listening. Be sure and follow us on Instagram. You can follow us @abeautifulmess, @elsielarson, @emmaredvelvet. And you can call in to our new hotline and leave us a voicemail with a question. We would love that. I’m planning to use these all summer long. So please leave us a juicy question. The number is 417-893-0011. Have a good week!

Emma: Bye!

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  • great episode!
    Is Emma still part owner in The Golden Girl Rum Club? I remember an old blog post about that bar.

    • Yep. I am. The bar is still doing well, obviously it’s been quite a year. But the folks who work and manage it day to day are awesome and crazy hardworking. 🙂

  • Love all your financial and business advice episodes! You ladies are so smart! 🙂

  • Great episode (as usual!) I totally understand simplifying your investments. I imagine vacation rentals could quickly turn into a lot of work.

  • Hi! Your phone number at the bottom of the transcript (not the top intro) is wrong. FYI, I just called the wrong number but it is correct at the top. What a cool idea

    • I loved this episode, it was so interesting and I loved how you guys kept mentioning seasons in our lives and to know when to take a step away from something if it’s not a good time for you. (Sounds so obvious but yet not!)
      I needed that message today!

  • My favorite part of this episode was hearing that Emma and her husband are cohabitating again !

  • Yes me too Emma. You have been showing such dignity and tact when sharing with us what was happening in your personal life. I am delighted for you both especially with new Bub very soon. What has happened to the house you lived in before?

    • We are planning to list it soon (our last house). Been fixing a few things like the gutters had a few repairs they needed a couple small things like that.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience with short term rentals. They are a lot of work! Do you think it something you’d do again when life is less chaotic?

    • I probably would, but life is long so we’ll see. For now, aiming for a slower paced life (outside of ABM and our app companies) to spend more time with our kids while they are little. 🙂

  • Omgeeee! I just ordered “Reckless” by Selena Montgomery and I think I squealed out loud!!!

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