Meet Chelsey Bingham, a onetime real estate developer who this week is launching Wiseling, an Internet marketplace for vintage clothes. Can her niche approach fit into an eBay world?
In 2010, Johna’s husband lost his battle with lung cancer. To make ends meet, she converted her home of 20 years into two separate units, and began renting one of them on Airbnb. The extra funds allowed Johna, who retired in September 2011, to keep her home without returning to full-time work. “It was my husband’s dream to use our property as a trade,” Johna says. “It has changed my life completely. I know my husband would have been proud of me.”
In 2008, Latasha discovered she had an enlarged thyroid. Even with insurance, the medical bill for treating the condition clocked in at about $6,000. “I funded my surgery through Airbnb hosting,” she says. Latasha also credits conversations with her guests with encouraging her to live a healthier life. “Knowing how super-fit I once was and seeing how healthy and active my guests were, the conversations I had were a real turning point for me.”
In 2007, Maria’s husband was murdered, leaving the unemployed nanny to raise and support their then-13-year-old daughter alone. “I was rather desperate and then one day I found Airbnb through one of those little ads on the side of the Facebook page,” she says. Within a week, she had her first guest. “I have to admit I was rather nervous about letting strangers into our home, but our first couple was really nice and so have all of the people we’ve had since.” The site has since become her primary source of income, and allowed her to make money while going back to school. “Airbnb has been a life-send for us. We couldn’t financially make it without it.”
After 30 years of marriage, Liz’s husband ended their relationship over email, leaving her to deal with a mortgage she couldn’t afford. At age 55, she decided to move to London, enrolled in acupuncture school, and discovered Airbnb. The extra income gave her the money she needed to pay her mortgage and start a new career.
Airbnb has proven a way to fight off foreclosure, ride out unemployment, and even pay for life-saving medical procedures for some renters. Here are ten of the most dramatic Airbnb stories you’ll ever read->