Well, I've been unofficially barely open for a year now and I cannot believe how far I've come. What I initially started with was rooms to rent and then I branched out to workshops when the travelers stopped in the slow season and they were fun. I even got to meet some of my neighbours finally.
Next, I started renting out my place to others having their own workshops, having cast parties and even a backyard music jam.
I still advertise as a bed and breakfast with Airbnb, my biggest payers of my bills, but the other online booking companies are starting to help out some.
My Trip Advisor rating went from near 60 down to 15 and getting better with each review. I even had my first inquiry from a Trip Advisor seeker. I find myself today hosting a family for a week from war torn Tunisia and helping them find everything from furniture, to cars and maybe jobs.
I wear many hats from counselor, and chauffeur, to cook, cleaner, gardener, party planner, and bucket list inspirer. I have had so many 20 somethings see my wall of achievements and places I've been and they are so excited to try all the same things I was so fortunate to have my friend Melissa do all the hard work on.
I knew all my hard work had paid off when I received a phone call from a woman across the country who had read the Ottawa Tone magazine and seen my workshops, highlighting another person who had rented my space. She too wanted to rent when she was back in Ottawa. I have already been referred to a few people and just waiting for the follow up. I can almost feel the return client coming soon.
It's been a roller coaster ride but the melting pot of people I have met has made it all worthwhile. People from Belgium, France, Tunisia, Denmark, Canada, of course, the states... and all for so many reasons; Race weekend, FIFA women's soccer, business trips, and the Tulip festival. My favourite reason was two families from Hamilton area had their son and daughter in Orleans just deliver a baby so they came for the delivery...and you know what that means? Along with the siblings, the grandparents will be here every year after, competing for their grandchild's attention until I can afford to travel again myself.
Just got a call from France asking if I could accommodate a small group attending a bridal party in the area. Yea, my name is getting out there. I would soon find July would be slow and give me a summer break, but August is looking to be a madhouse and wonderful.