Achieving Early Retirement through Airbnb | Zeona McIntyre

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In today’s episode, Cody and Justin are joined by Zeona McIntyre who is an absolute boss with Air BnB rentals.

Her story starts by getting a degree she’d never use and $50k in student debt.

Fast forward to 2011 and a roommates exit opened her eyes to the possibility of Air BnB.

Today she owns six homes and manages over 20 more that are all making huge profits on Air BnB.

Listen and follow along with the summary below and make sure to check out the links at the bottom of the page.

Episode Summary

  • She grew up in a family that wasn’t good with money and included moments on food stamps

  • Finance was always an interest to her and she started digging deeper into studying it around 18

  •  She actually grew up in Maui

  • There was always a deep interest with her in entrepreneurship and hustling

  • Her dad didn’t believe in college but she ended up going even though she admits she didn’t use her degree and a lot of people go into debt for it with no benefit

  •  When she graduated she came out with $50k in debt after getting a fashion marketing associates degree in Los Angeles

  • She realized her degree was pointing her towards a corporate environment that wasn’t appealing to her

  • After college she bounced around fun jobs like being a tour guide

  • She was able to save money even with these fun jobs

  • With the tour guide jobs, they were living on the road so she didn’t have housing costs

  • During this time she was trying to pay student debt but only the minimum

  •  After 10 years she realized she had barely lowered her student debt at all because of interest

  • She moved to Boulder in 2011 to become a massage therapist and discovered Air BnB

  • Because she already had experience with Couch Surfing, it felt comfortable to her

  • She had a two bedroom apartment she was renting but had furnished it all herself

  • After a roommate left, she decided to just Air BnB out the extra room

  • It wasn’t steadily rented, but enough to cover the rent

  • After it started being successful, she rented another apartment

  • Yes, she was renting two, two bedroom apartments for Air BnB!

  • At a point she started cleaning the places herself which allowed her to quit her $12/hour job

  • We talk about how to give your Air BnB a unique touch to make it more desirable

  • She feels like Air BnB is way more interesting and profitable than long term rentals

  • Her first real introduction to financial independence also came in 2011 via Mr. Money Mustache

  • She was 25 and wanted to retire by 30

  • When she started the focus was just on the large nest egg

  • It eventually pivoted to a cash flow mindset when she saw the success of Air BnB

  • She became cash flow FI at age 28 and began buying homes

  • Now she owns 6 homes and manages over 20 properties at age 33

  • It’s important to remember that anyone can try this

  • All you need is a couch or a backyard with a tent to get started

  • Remember though things like towels and sheets!

  • Then we talk about managing other people’s Air BnB vs posting your own place

  • Rates range from 20-40% (Much higher than long term rentals)

Key Takeaways

  1. Weird Works: Who would ever think to rent a second apartment just to put on Air BnB? It sounds weird but it’s high profit and low risk!
  2. Build Habits: Zeona didn’t have much money at first but she started good habits even if it was just $50. That allowed her to handle her money when she actually had a lot of excess coming in.
  3. Mix Business and Pleasure: Zeona has found a way to travel and support her business. By owning Air BnB’s across the country, she can visit them to check up and get a vacation at the same time.

Call to Action

Look around your house or maybe a family members house and if you have a room or space that goes unused, pop it on Air BnB. Just get started!

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Learn More About Zeona!

Zeona’s Website

Contact Zeona:



Learn More About Your Hosts:

Fly to FI (Cody’s Blog)

Saving-Sherpa (Justin’s blog)