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Meet Sue Hoyuela of Sterling Vacation Rentals in San Gabriel Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sue Hoyuela.

Sue, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
It all began in 2011. My husband and I were looking for a way to make an extra $100 a month to pay off our debt faster. We clipped coupons, recycled aluminum cans and sold stuff on Craigslist. And then one day I happened to hear about a website that allowed you to list a room for rent, and people could pay you to stay overnight in your house. It sounded fun, like having a sleep over when I was a kid. And my husband was skeptical, but indicated that he was willing to try it by saying, “Show me the money”. Well, we had a shed in the back yard that my husband had intended to turn into his “man cave”, my son wanted it for his band room, but in the end, we fixed it up, put a couple of beds in it and turned it into the “Cozy Cabin” and rented it on Airbnb.

All we were hoping for was an extra $100 but instead, we made an extra $1,000 in the first month. We were shocked, and pleasantly surprised, that anyone would want to stay in the shed in our backyard in the suburbs of Los Angeles. I mean, it doesn’t even have a bathroom. And after our first guest stayed, we continued to have a steady flow of guests from around the world. So the next thing my husband said was, “What about your laundry room?”

It wasn’t too long after that that our children moved out and went to college so we put two more rooms on Airbnb. I soon discovered that I was making more money renting the four rooms in my house, than I was making in my full-time job as a manager. And it was only taking me about ten hours per month to run my little side business. So just nine short months after starting to rent rooms on Airbnb, I quit my job and started exploring other ways to use this wonderful tool called Airbnb. That process led to building a business that allowed my husband to quit his job a year later. We paid off all of our debt in just three years instead of twenty-three years. And it has allowed me to follow my passion of teaching people how to use Airbnb to maximize their rental income.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Once I quit my job and began to explore other ways to grow the business, one of the biggest mistakes I made was by trying to list my property on many websites that were similar to Airbnb. I thought that by diversifying, I would reduce my risk. But I quickly learned that, even though they look similar on the surface, they are NOT all alike. In fact, we almost lost our house. And in the end, I realized that Airbnb is the only website that truly has your back. I discovered the hidden pitfalls the hard way and was able to learn the ins and outs of the short-term rental business to position a property for success.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Sterling Vacation Rentals story. Tell us more about the business.
Sterling Vacation Rentals began as a favor to help out a friend who was a landlord that had just gone through the long and painful eviction process. He had already lost six months of rent and. when the sheriff came to escort the tenants out, they didn’t go without a fight, so he had the additional expenses of repairing all of the damage they had done as well.

As he was fixing the house, he was seriously contemplating leaving it vacant rather than renting to long-term tenants again. That’s when he decided to try this “vacation rental thing” as he called it. So I advised him on setting it up and I began managing the reservations for him.

By the third month he was making three times the rent he would have made from long-term tenants. He was so delighted that he didn’t have to deal with tenants or evictions anymore, the money was great, and the best part was that he could come and go in his own property whenever he wanted. It wasn’t long after that that he started referring friends and family to me plus adding more properties of his own.

Today, Sterling Vacation Rentals specializes in helping busy entrepreneurs, landlords and property owners trade their long-term tenants for short-term guests and enjoy increased rental income without the headaches.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
They say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I believe I was open to hearing about Airbnb because I was actively looking for an opportunity to find a way to make extra money. If I hadn’t been looking, I wonder if I would have seen it at all.

I was also extremely lucky that my husband was willing to try it. Many people I talk to about making life-changing money with Airbnb love the idea, but they come back saying, “My wife/spouse/significant other won’t let me.” There are many fears that hold them back: Fear of the unknown. Fear of loss. Fear of trying something new. Fear of Risk.

I believe it comes down to a question of risk management. My husband and I have learned the hard way over the years how to take calculated risks. Without taking a risk of some kind, you will always stay in the same place. However, trying something new comes with a high risk of failure because of the learning curve. That’s where we’ve learned the value of having a coach, someone who has figured it out the hard way and who can help you skip the long, painful and expensive learning curve and go straight to profits. Unfortunately, we didn’t have someone to show us the way. We were the pioneers. I call it, “Failing forward.” And from an excessive amount of past failures and business ventures, we learned how to protect ourselves and limit the risk as we grew our business. This guiding principal of taking calculated risks has served us well and it has translated into how I run my business today. I use Airbnb to position my clients to avoid as much risk as possible to guarantee their long-term success.


  • Property Evaluation and Fast Start Strategy Recommendation to determine if Airbnb is right for you – $97 Application Fee.
  • Reservation Management Services – $500 start up fee + 20% monthly management fee. Start Up Fee includes an on-site vacation rental strategy session to position your property for success plus the furnishing checklist to save time and money when setting up the property, photography and account setup. Your $97 Application Fee can be applied toward the Start Up Fee if you choose to hire us.

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Image Credit:
Sterling Vacation Rentals

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