Business Mogul Daniel Pottinger Shares His Blueprint on Airbnb Automation

Entrepreneur and owner of Money Heist Academy – a lifestyle brand that shares the blueprint for creating multiple streams of income – Daniel Pottinger is well on the way to creating his empire at just 25 years old.

With several businesses under his belt, Daniel has found great success with Airbnb, securing over 40 properties amongst himself and his business partners that rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars on a yearly basis. Daniel is here with us today to share his journey in the business and valuable insider knowledge on navigating the Airbnb industry from someone who has mastered the game himself.

Daniel, let’s start off with a little introduction into the Airbnb industry. Can you give us some insight and an overview into how the business works?

Airbnb in short is a shared service. We’re in the 21st century and the biggest expansions in the market have taken place through sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, where you don’t necessarily have to own a car to participate. That’s created a new idea that maybe you don’t have to have a home in order to travel and stay at different places for long periods of time.

So airbnb essentially provides a housing solution that’s a two-way street: it gives people that actually own a home a way to earn an income, and then for people who are looking to travel and live away from home, it gives them a different experience than staying in a hotel. So there’s definitely innovation behind it, sort of coming from the same idea that Netflix put Blockbuster out of business.

Ultimately it’s about being able to create the same experience without actually having to own. Everybody focuses on that unique home experience, whether you’re looking for a house, an apartment, a condo, but now you’re able to use someone else’s space for your convenience. Convenience is key in the 21st century.

Thank you for that enriched description of Airbnb’s business model, Daniel. Tell us, how did you yourself get started in this business?

I was living in New York City before the pandemic started. I had a two bedroom apartment and I was always traveling, so I figured why not use my space to earn another source of income by renting it out during the months that I’m away.

I started renting my place on Airbnb and people would book it and I remember thinking it’s so crazy that I can get paid rent on my apartment in New York City without even physically being there. When the pandemic happened, that put a stop to a lot of things and I thought it would put a stop to Airbnb, but after moving to Houston I realized that there are still people traveling who don’t want to stay in hotels anymore; they want to stay in homes.

People want to be able to go to different cities and stay for a long period of time, in a place where they have access to the same amenities that they have in their own home. That gave me a new perspective in understanding how lucrative this business can be because people need three things when they travel: a place to stay, food to eat and a vehicle to transport themselves. Those are the necessities of the average person in the 21st century.

So after I moved to Houston into a two bedroom apartment I was still traveling frequently and I decided to put my apartment up for rent through Airbnb again. As I continued to do it more and more often, I learned different ways to make my apartment more hospitable and attractive to potential renters.

For example creating a theme for it and getting furniture that really created an experience that matched with the location of the apartment which was in the center of Houston. I promoted it on my social media, told all my friends about it and pretty soon whenever people in my network would come to Houston they would ask if they could stay at my Airbnb. I never really realized how much money there could be in this industry.

I decided to keep my apartment in Houston available for rent and then get another apartment and another one and so on, as I was turning such great profits. Your profit comes after your expenses and your different rents are paid, so if you can make your monthly rent in profit, that’s the best business model because now you have something that’s producing tax free income. Of course there’s the added benefit of your credit that you’re building because you’re paying your rent on time.

It sounds like you’ve created quite a business for yourself with your rental properties! How is investing in an Airbnb different from investing into traditional real estate with the intention of buying and flipping?

What it really comes down to is numbers and capital. If you’re buying a property, let’s say it’s an investment property, you’re looking at anywhere from 20 to $50,000 but nine times out of ten in a highly populated area, you’re not going to find a property for under $100,000. With Airbnb, you can make money right away. If you have the right solution, the right location, the right algorithm and the right marketing, you can start making money the same day you list your property.

Obviously with real estate you have to worry about contracts, a buy period, a closing period; there’s so many different things that go into buying and flipping property. Yes, you can make a large amount of money, but you also have to put up a large amount of money as well, and not everybody is able to do that. So I kind of call Airbnb a guide for the different communities that can’t afford to put 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 thousand on buying property. There’s also the age barrier to consider; someone who is 18 years old is not necessarily going to have the resources required to get into the buying and flipping business.

There’s a process for everything, but Airbnb kind of cuts down that overhead and allows it to be quick. So for example, when discussing Airbnb versus real estate from an investor standpoint, there’s two ways to look at it; you can buy a property and put it on airbnb, or you can take another route called rental arbitrage which is basically when you’ve taken over a property owned by someone else.

With rental arbitrage, you’re paying the expense of the property but you’re generating profit, this can also be called subletting or subleasing. Ultimately it’s a short-term rental so it’s less financial commitment, but you can make more money passively through consistency – people are always looking for a place to stay, but they’re not always looking for a house to buy because there’s a lot of other factors that go into that.

You need credit, you need capital, you need a down payment. Compared to getting started with airbnb where you can simply invest a few thousand dollars you saved from bartending or from your job. A friend of mine actually was a barista at Starbucks and after 6 months of saving they were able to get a one bedroom, put it up on Airbnb and within their first month they got a booking for 83 days for $7,398.

That’s a huge amount to put in your pocket and if you’re consistently getting bookings, you’re continuing to make a profit and you can travel the world or do whatever you want. The reality is if you buy a property, flip it, then put it on the market but no one wants to buy it, you’re stuck with that property and that money and investment just sits there.

With Airbnb you can keep reinvesting month over month; after one property makes money, you can reinvest it to another Airbnb and create your own compounded interest in real estate.

That was a great differentiation between Airbnb and traditional real estate investments, Daniel. If I wanted to get started with Airbnb, what would I have to do?

So it’s definitely a process, the first step is to get started with Money Heist Academy to get a solid background knowledge and an understanding of how Airbnb works and also some guidance throughout the entire process. Of course you have to do your research, you can find information on Youtube or Google, but the key is having the right organization, system and community that can help get you where you want to be faster and more efficiently.

I would recommend to someone who wants to get started with Airbnb to go through the course with Money Heist Academy, join our community and become associated and involved with people who have firsthand knowledge and experience in the industry who can give you a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of the business.

You’ll also gain valuable information like how to run an Airbnb business, how to scale your profitability, how to increase your income potential, and how you can go about everything from determining pricing to finding properties, guaranteeing bookings and understanding your high and low seasons based on your location.

This is a beautiful process. For example, one of my friends was telling me I needed to look into going international, so I decided to see what’s out there and ended up getting started in Tulum, Mexico. When we got there we were able to secure one property and then another and then another, and now within our community we have 15 properties and it’s extraordinary to me that I’m from the United States but I have international properties making money daily.

That’s a different type of passive income. I don’t even have to physically be there to make money on those properties. So definitely the first and most important part of the process is education. Educate yourself – the more you learn the more you earn. You want to know the pros and cons, in and outs. You want to understand how to do a SWOT analysis, which is a deep dive into your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

You need to understand how to analyze the market where your property is and put all of this information together. Tapping into a community that can give you advice and help you along the way will be your best bet in figuring out the most efficient route to take before you make that capital investment to actually secure your own property and get started in this business.

How much capital would someone need to get started with Airbnb?

Initial capital required is determined as part of your SWOT analysis. There are alot of different contributing factors, starting with where you are located. For example, buying property in New York City can be way more expensive than property in Pennsylvania. So all the numbers vary, but on average for a one bedroom, one bathroom you’re looking at anywhere between 5 to $6,000; a two bedroom would go between 8 and $10,000; a three bedroom would be $10,000 and above.

And this cost should include furnishing, first and last, security deposit, broker’s fee and all the different components involved with getting the property up and running to list on Airbnb. The good thing about it is you can see that initial investment returned back within a matter of months through your first few bookings, sometimes even weeks depending on the type of property, the location, and the time of year or season for rentals in the area.

So like I said, it doesn’t cost a lot, 4 or $5000, that’s a down payment on a car. So instead of putting a down payment on a car why don’t you start your Airbnb business, get that up and running and then use your earnings from the Airbnb to pay for your car. It’s simple but you have to have a plan and continuously reinvest – keep recycling that rental income to get another property.

Have a system in place so that you cover all your monthly payments. You can continue to grow and build a credit profile for yourself and establish it under a business, so you’ll have business credit established that you can use to start looking into business funding. There’s so many ways to get money and secure the capital for this. Shoutout to Platinum Credit Club, we literally created an overlapping blueprint on how to leverage credit to create more passive streams of income.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the profitability behind the business aspect of Airbnb, tell us a little bit more about Money Heist Academy. What services do you provide and how do your consumer’s benefit?

My company, Money Heist Academy, is essentially a luxury lifestyle. We’re teaching people how to create multiple streams of income using your day to day methods. You don’t need a lot of money to make money, you just need the right system and the right process and that’s what we focus on with Money Heist Academy.

So one of the things we cover is the educational aspect which is the hands-on course that’s going to teach you step by step from A to Z, how to find a property, how to set everything up in the initial phase, how to go through the process of becoming a host and how you can expand on some different platforms. It’s not just Airbnb, there’s also HomeAway, VRBO and many other platforms where you can list your property to get the most exposure.

In the course you’ll also learn about marketing and analytics so you can bring more engagement, whether it’s launching a website, getting a marketing team and photographer to create a video content package for your property to really capture that experience digitally before your guests book your property.

Then of course there’s the postmarketing after you get your first booking, how you advertise it, how do you continue to get more reviews, how to become a superhost; so we’re really teaching you step by step how to handle every part of the process.

Our community is composed of different individuals. One of my business partners, Rhonda Hosey is really good at coming up with ideas for expansion and creating a sophisticated stay that allows us to acquire properties all across the United States. Right now we have about 40 properties in several different states, from Houston, Atlanta, Colorado, Arizona,and 13 international properties in Mexico, Colombia, and now the Dominican Republic.

This is something that we teach and constantly expand on daily. The greatest teacher is someone who’s experienced, and all our educators, including myself have been through the process, we know what it takes. So we’re not going to teach you just a theory, we’re going to show you hands on how to get actual results. Results driven and passion-fuelled is really the model we go with at Money Heist Academy.

Your dedication to guiding novices in the Airbnb industry towards success through Money Heist Academy is amazing! You’ve highlighted the benefits of listing property on Airbnb, but is it possible to fail in this industry?

You can fail with anything, that’s just how life is. If it was easy, everybody would do it. There’s two types of hard and you just have to choose your hard. Airbnb is not easy, and yes, people fail. It can be for a lot of reasons, most often it has to do with a person’s willingness to work hard. The time and energy you put into this determines how much money you’re going to make. It’s an investment strategy at the end of the day.

You have to ask yourself questions like why is your location different from others and what specifically about your property makes it stand out? Anybody can find a property and put it up on Airbnb, so how can you distinguish your property from the others to guarantee your bookings.

Looking at the calendar, we’re looking three, four months ahead; we’re only in December, and we’re filling up all the way till March. And it’s because of how we put our advertising together and really convey the experience through our marketing. At the end of the day, to you this is property but to a guest, this is their home for x amount of days or months. They want a unique experience and that’s what you have to bring to the table.

That’s where people go wrong because they just focus on money; if you focus on the experience the money will come. Something that distinguishes your property is how you distinguish yourself. It makes the biggest difference. Think about that. Nobody has reinvented the wheel here, everything has been done the same way but why does a potential renter like this property better than that property?

It’s always based on that feeling and experience for the guest that makes the biggest impact and once you recognize and understand this it’s going to make it easier for people to make a decision on why they should stay with you.

Then you’ll become a Superhost and then you’ll be a host on other platforms and next thing you know this short-term rental business now becomes a long-term investment plan across the board for you to help create financial freedom and residual, passive income.

Thank you for that honest and concise information about potential pitfalls when renting property, Daniel. Can you give us any other tips for those who are just starting out in the Airbnb space?

First, you have to understand that real estate overall is a billionaire factory. There’s a lot of money in it but there’s also a lot of competition. My first tip is that you have to be willing to be different. Being different in the sense that you don’t want to just go for any property; be selective, don’t go for what’s traditional, go for what’s trending.

Don’t focus on the past and don’t focus on the future, focus on now. My next tip is to have a plan to scale. I started my Airbnb in June 2021 and in less than six months I generated over a hundred thousand dollars.

By the time we reach June of 2022, we should be almost at half a million dollars based on how many international properties and investment properties we plan on acquiring. So you should always ask yourself, what is my next step? After you tackle the first problem that arises, what is your next step? How fast can you get it up and running? Once it’s up and running, now it’s about reinvesting.

That’s where people go wrong, they just consume the profits. You have to tackle real estate from the investment standpoint, reinvest, reinvest, reinvest, so that all of the assets, which are your properties that you don’t even have to own because of rental arbitrage, are going to now produce income. It’s all about duplication; if I have one property producing a thousand dollars, imagine if I had 10 properties producing $10,000 a month. Then 50 properties producing $50,000 a month.

My next tip after scalability and understanding how important being consistent is different, is to determine what your end goal is from the beginning. What is this going to do for you when you get to the next step? For example you can have 10 rental properties, and then you eventually buy a building or you buy your own house, and you can now have your house paid for through your rental income. So on the first of the month, you’re getting paid versus you having to do the paying.

Having that end goal allows you to really factor in how you can scale your profits, because Airbnb is literally a million dollar industry, but people just don’t understand that yet and that’s where education comes into play.

Which brings me to my last tip, constantly educate yourself. Join communities, go to events, really get involved in understanding this craft, because it’s not a complicated skill set, it’s probably one of the easiest things in the world. You don’t have to really do much, it’s just about figuring out how to make yourself different and how to continue to shift the notion and the norm of how people think. That right there, habitually will give you the success that you want in this business.

You’ve given us some extremely valuable information and advice, Daniel, thank you for sitting down for this interview with us! In closing, please share your plans for the upcoming year. What can we expect to see from you and Money Heist Academy?

First & foremost connect with us on social media so you can see what is up and coming. Instagram @moneyheistacademy & @platinum.dp. One of my main focuses is really to get solidified with Airbnb automation. Everything I do, especially with Money Heist Academy, is about automation. How do you get something automated so that it’s able to run on it’s own so you don’t have to be as involved with the day to day.

The first step with that is creating a system that people can duplicate. So my friends can duplicate, my family can duplicate and they can start their own businesses and be able to generate six figures in six months. I’ve created the blueprint and I’m showing people how to understand and leverage the blueprint for their own benefit.

Right now we have about 54 units on our hands, we’ve had over 2000 guests stay with us over the last six months. I want to duplicate that. I want to have a full year, January 1 to December 31 where Money Heist Academy has expanded into different countries. Right now we’re in Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic and we have plans to expand into Europe and Asia and of course Puerto Rico, Brazil, so really tackling Central and South America first then expanding overseas. The next phase would be expanding into Europe.

That type of global expansion will help us to tap into any network across the board which means we can essentially show millions of people how to use Airbnb automation through our property management company, P&R Management at Money Heist Academy. Using automation means that people don’t have to worry about the day to day, they simply approach their property management company and say, ‘I have a property, I’m looking for this type of return on investment, I want to expand into these other properties, can you help me put a plan together?’

So it allows us to not only work hand in hand with individuals, but they can also invest into themselves and then we’ll help them from the property management standpoint. Then of course the last step is the concierge service, where not only do you have the experience from the management side, but now you have things like the personal driver, a personal chef, creating that luxury lifestyle whether it’s in Mexico, Colombia, Houston, Atlanta, New York, wherever you are, there’s a concierge perspective that can be used to enhance and enlighten your experience unlike any other. That’s what’s going to keep customers coming back. Once you take care of the customer, everything else is gold.

This is a Contributor Post. Opinions expressed here are opinions of the Contributor. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and cannot investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the Contributor to disclose. Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles may be professional fee-based.