Woman earns $250k a year with no job
JAY Novak has never had a "proper" job.
She's never worked in an office and never had a boss. But she works seven days a week and along with her daughter earns an annual income of around $250,000.
Ms Novak, 73, started out running backpacker hostels in London in her early 20s.
Now she owns seven properties - five apartments and two terrace houses - around Newtown in Sydney's inner west and rents all of them out on Airbnb.
"There are five units that we let out on Airbnb and within my home I have two spaces to lease and my daughter also has two," Ms Novak said.
"Renting the car out covers all its expenses, so I say I drive a car cost-free and to have a cost-free car is a real saving," Ms Novak said.
The car spaces are all attached to the apartment buildings she owns.
"Our three car spaces are in the apartments and we lease those for $50 a week, so that's $150 a week or $7500 a year," she said.
"Because the people in the apartments are visitors, they don't really need a car space so my car spaces were just sitting idle. Now the car spaces are earners in their own rights.
"We tapped into them a couple of years ago and I wish I had more, because there's a real demand for them. We can let those very easily."
But while Ms Novak doesn't earn an income the traditional way, she still works hard around the clock to keep her businesses afloat.
"We work seven days a week because people stay with us on the weekends," she said.
"Plus, we need to be able to respond quickly to an inquiry. If you leave an inquiry overnight, they'll go somewhere else. They want instant booking. They have an hour to book the holiday or apartment so you need to really monitor your inquiries. That's critical.
"They have to be able to reach out to us 24/7. If they drop their keys down the grate at 11pm, it's not good if they can't contact us. You're a slave to your phone. You really are on call."
Competition is fierce on Airbnb and consumers now expect more from their hosts.
Everything must be professionally cleaned and hotel-style hygiene and service standards offered.
That means Ms Novak has to work harder to maintain a good Airbnb rating and ensure guests are satisfied.
"The standards get higher and higher the more that people are travelling, so the more pressure it puts on the host," Ms Novak said.
"We have to offer the same standard that the hotel industry offers. They will be in there looking to find that hair in the basin, because you're reviewed and they're in a position to claim a refund or say it's not up to scratch."
But Ms Novak says 50 years of working in the hospitality industry means she works hard to please her guests.
"It's a very rewarding job. I'm happy to please people. For every narky guest you get, there are 50 amazing ones," she said.
One in 10 Australians like Ms Novak are boosting their income through the share economy, according to estimates by the Sharing Hub.
Most earn on average about $1100 a month and work just five hours a week, using the extra cash to pay bills, debts and their mortgages.