We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica James and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Erica, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Systems and Automation! These have been a lifesaver for me in both businesses that I have created. I once heard that SYSTEM stands for: Save YourSelf Time, Energy, and Money — it is SO true! I also know my weaknesses, and I can be really scattered and also forgetful. So, I know that with solid systems and automations that my businesses can run almost entirely without me, which is amazing!

With my Airbnb business @GoEPICstays, I have almost every single thing automated for me so that I hardly have to do anything to manage them. Let me give you an example of 1 automation that saves me so much time: All of our guest messaging is completely automated. Thats about 7-10 messages PER GUEST, that I don’t have to remember to send. Every single guest raves about our customer service and hospitality, and most of it is all automation. It makes my life easier and their stay smoother. I can’t imagine having to remember to send messages at the right time for every guest at our homes. The crazy thing is that the software only costs us $18/month! Most hosts I talk to still send these messages themselves, and it kills me inside when I hear that!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Right now I am focused on my 2 businesses EPIC Stays and BNB School.

EPIC Stays is our short term rental business. We have multiple short term rentals in Southern California, and plan to expand to new markets this coming year! We don’t just have homes that people stay in. Have you seen the Airbnbs where it looks like someone just threw some random furniture in there, and put it online?…. Not us! We create EPIC homes for people to experience! EPIC stands for:

Experience – Our homes are created to be a unique experience

People First – We are always thinking about our guests and putting them first

Intentional Design – Designing the house with everything someone needs for an amazing stay

Connections- Creating connections with friends and family that will last a lifetime

If you have ever stayed at one of our homes, you will understand why an EPIC Stay, is the best stay!

I share a lot on social media, and people really started taking notice. People started asking me a lot of questions and for advice after seeing our homes and success. I also have a background in course creation, and so this organically led me to start my second company called BNB School, where I teach people of all backgrounds and experience levels, how to become a successful Airbnb Owner like we have been. Including every single automation that I use to work less than 1 hour a week! And pro tip – you do not have to own a house, in order to Airbnb!

I have a free masterclass where I go over our numbers, and I share how anyone can start a successful Airbnb business without owning any property, working on average less than 1 hour a week!

Our Airbnb properties have been such blessing to our family and our finances, and I know it can be such a blessing for so many other people. The most rewarding thing for me with BNB School, is hearing my students success stories, and also how much an impact it has made for them.

There are going to be challenges with anything you do. I was always told to choose your hard, and for me the positives with these businesses far outweigh the hard moments. And when challenges do come up, I am creating a system or strategy right away to try to avoid it in the future. Again, I am a total systems nerd!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I feel like I should whip out our San Diego guidebook that we have at our properties! We have a ton of recommendations for every type of mood and person.

If my best friend was visiting the area I would probably try to do a mix of things in different areas each day so they could see all of the pockets of San Diego. I am definitely a foodie so there would be lots of food involved!

I would staRt out the first day going to Old town and eating at Coyote Cafe, then hop on the orange and green trolley tour of San Diego! It is actually so fun and you learn so many facts about San Diego! Plus, you can get off at different stops and get back on at your leisure. It might sound like an “old person thing to do” but as a 30-something year old, I think it is really fun – even for locals!

Once we explored the different areas on the trolley tour (Downtown, Seaport Villiage, Coronado, Little Italy, Old Town) I would see what areas my guest might be interested in spending more time in, and go from there.

Another must do is a day in Mission Beach. We would hang out at the beach, walk around, ride bikes, and eat some Sushi at Cannonball. We would make our way down to Pacific Beach and eat dinner at JRDN and watch the sunset. If we were feeling like drinking I would bar hop around Garnet street.

I would definitely do a little brewery tour around town! One of our favorites is Half Door downtown. But there are SO many!

Another must is food in Little Italy! You really can’t go wrong with any of the places down there!

Our favorite restaurant is Cesarina in Point Loma! That is a must.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my fiance Rafael. He believed and invested in me from day one. He has never doubted any of my crazy ideas, he’s been a mentor in a lot of respects, he’s my numbers guy (I’m much more of a creative, than a numbers person), and he has also been a shoulder to cry on while I ride the inevitable ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

We truly are better as a team, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him and his support! He deserves just as much credit for this business as I do.

Website: https://www.bnb.school/masterclass

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ericamariedaily

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.