We love the sharing economy here on The Work at Home Wife. And, we love featuring those sites that help side hustlers find and connect with potential clients.
I recently came across Vayable, a site that connects local tour guides with travelers. As an Insider, you can create your own local experience and earn a few extra bucks doing what you love in your favorite surroundings.
David is a Vayable Insider and has been kind enough to stop by and share his experience as a local guide listing his tours on the site.
Tell us a little about yourself. What was your motivation to become a Vayable Insider?
My name is David and I am a New York based music photographer and sharing economy participant. I was formerly a Federal office worker with all the benefits and security I could ask for. Having what many people would describe as a “great” job, I couldn’t figure out why I was so miserable, but I was. A situation came up where, for family reasons, I needed to relocate, but this “great” job would do nothing to help me, even though they were fully able to. At first, I was mad at them for treating me badly after I had given them most of my adult working life. Eventually, I realized, that it was me that I was mad at, for allowing some employer to treat me in a way that I didn’t feel was right. The tipping point was when my uncle passed away and, standing at the side of his grave, I truly understood that life is a fleeting moment. Before long it was going to be me who would be mourned. It was in that lightning bolt of an instant that I decided I had to change my life. A few weeks later I still hadn’t broached the subject with my wife, but one day she just looked at me and said “Why don’t you just quit, this is no way to live”.
I moved to New York in 2010 and had no idea of what I would do to make a living. I reasoned that if over 8 million other city residents were finding a way to support themselves, then so could I. Through a strange twist of events, We started sharing our extra bedroom. At that time no one was talking about home sharing and the names that have come to symbolize home sharing were foreign to most ears. Once I was exposed to the people that use online sharing platforms to make and save money, I was hooked. These were truly good people that I was dealing with and I used common sense and good judgement to ensure that there would be no problems.
Getting a taste of what this sharing revolution was like, I became a big advocate for it. I was raising my hand and talking about it all the time. I did research on every new platform that I could find, and that’s where I found Vayable. It seems to me that Vayable is the perfect incarnation of the sharing economy. The only thing you need is what’s already in your head. You don’t need to own a car, or have an extra bedroom to be a part of this. I crafted a few walking photo tours around midtown Manhattan where I would photograph guests with many iconic city landmarks as a backdrop. I thought about all those tourists that are here for the only time in their lives. For two hours I walk around all these great places with my guests and shoot professional portraits, while giving them a brief history of places like Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park. At the end, they have a number of great options of photos that they can print out and maybe put on the wall. I know, what a strange thought in the age of the selfie and camera phone, but I have found that people love the idea. I make them feel like professional models for a few hours, and it’s always a fun time.
Please share your success on the site. Are you able to meet your income goals?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions that people have, when you tell them about listing on a sharing economy platform, is that you work for that platform. That is thinking with an old economy mindset. The reality is that I am my own business, and the platform is a tool that I use to connect with customers. It allows both parties to have a safe and secure place to conduct the monetary end of the transaction. Everything else is up to me. When I first started, I put my listing up and expected the business to roll in. It didn’t, because I didn’t do what I had to do to promote my business. Eventually I printed out a postcard and added a QR code to bring people directly to my experiences page. That really made a big difference.
What’s the process like getting listed on the site? What are the requirements?
Well, The first step is to create a profile. Part of that is the usual information data entry, but then you have to make a short video about who you are, and what your experience is like. It gives you a chance to sell yourself, as well as allowing potential clients to get a sense of who you are. Your profile is then reviewed by the team at Vayable and, after being approved, you can go to the experience listing template that the site provides. You then set the basics of your listing and write a description of what you will offer. Next you add photos, between 5 and 10, and either set a schedule or, leave it blank and discuss scheduling when someone inquires. The last step is to add your payment info to receive your payout. As Vayable is worldwide, the banking options can vary from country to country, but In most places, the best bet is to connect a bank account, although they do offer Paypal and a few other options. That’s all you have to do. Once again, after your experience is reviewed, it gets posted to the site.
What’s the normal sale like in terms of booking a tour and receiving payment?
Like other sharing economy platforms, there is an initial inquiry from a potential guest through email. I talk with them and explain what I offer. We then discuss schedules, and if we match up, at that point the guest books the experience. I then have the option to accept or decline the request. Once I accept, Vayable takes the fee from the customer’s credit card and it is held in escrow. With a few exceptions, a day or so after the experience is concluded, the money is released to whatever payment channel you have set up.
Does the site take a commission of each sale or do you pay a flat listing fee?
Creating a profile and putting up an experience is free. When you get a confirmed booking, Vayable collects a 15% commision that is automatically deducted. The person booking is also charged a 3% booking fee. It’s pretty much the industry standard rate.
What tips do you have for those getting started on Vayable?
I would say to just be creative in your offering. Think about the coolest things you do for fun, then invite friends you are meeting for the first time along with you. It’s that simple. What do your friends from out of town always ask you to do? That is an experience you can list, and people will pay to do it with you. It’s free to list, so why wouldn’t you?
Tell us about your favorite programs or resources for getting started? Any must-have tools of the trade?
First of all I would say to study Vayable itself. You want to be unique in your experience and knowing what else is being offered is key. Other than that, I would say my most used phone app would be Flipboard. It allows me to follow certain subjects, like travel, sports, or photography, and get the latest stories from all over the web in a quick and easy to navigate form.