What It's About
A how-to guide on living in NYC rent-free!
Words of Wisdom
But what happens when Jen doesn't have something lined up? Well, worst case scenario, Jen budgets money for nights where she doesn’t have anything booked and needs a hotel, which is usually only between five to ten times a month.
Did you know? “Three dog night” is an Australian Aboriginal saying meaning it’s so cold you’d need to cuddle with three dogs to keep you warm while you sleep.
Notes from Chris
Episode 726Jen Tserng’s rent-free living is made possible by busy New Yorkers and their pets. Originally a burnt-out physician from Seattle, Jen has now called New York City home for the past three years just by living in other people’s houses and taking care of their pets when they’re away. This is all thanks to one app, a love of animals, and a desire to earn extra money. Jen had pets for most of her life. When she wasn’t rescuing small dogs, she was saving them from puppy mills or giving foster dogs a loving home. When she stumbled upon Rover, an app that offers on-demand dog walking, as well as other pet-related services, she saw the opportunity to get paid doing what she loved: hanging out with furry, four-legged friends. So, to supplement her income as a medical examiner, Jen signed up as a freelance dog walker and pet sitter on Rover. One afternoon, with a cup of coffee in hand, Jen created her Rover profile. Because she had lots of experience with pets, she decided to set her rate at $45 an hour. The requests trickled in slowly, but that was all she needed to get started. It took her a while to become established as the go-to freelance dog walker in Seattle, but she quickly began to gather five-star reviews, and, eventually, referrals to other clients off the platform. Demand increased, and Jen noticed that she was enjoying her life outside of work more than she ever had before. A year later, she decided that the alluring pull of the freedom of being able to set her own hours (and get out of the stressful career she wasn’t exactly enjoying) was too strong. So, she quit her job, packed her bag, and set her sights on New York City. Living in New York City can be a serious financial burden. But through house and pet sitting, Jen has been able to earn between $60,000 to $100,000 a year and save $40,000 of that. All without worrying about rent, bills, or whether she forgot to buy enough toilet paper. She just needs to cover her food and cell phone bill, which runs her under $600 a month. And all she needed to get started with Rover was an initial background check that cost her $25. She usually makes around $180 a day while working seven days a week. Slower days net about $120, while holidays like New Year’s and Memorial Day see spikes to upwards of $350 a day. Since holidays are so lucrative, she has to be strategic about when she takes time off. But all that income, combined with a very frugal lifestyle, means Jen can build a serious stash of savings. Last year, she managed to save $45,000 and still take 10 weeks of vacation. While it might sound like fun, games, and fur, Jen’s side hustle turned real-life hustle isn’t without its challenges. Her income is steady now and she doesn’t have to pay rent, but that comes with also not having a ‘home base’ of her own. Jen is the first person to admit that her hustle might be stressful to some people but says that it is perfect for where she’s at right now. She’s single with no kids and doesn’t have a ton of stuff to cart around, so she doesn’t mind packing it all up every five-ish days. Jen says it was initially scary to move from side hustle to full-time pet sitter, but she’s glad to went for it. Her goal is to save $500,000 and retire early. She’ll live on her savings (frugally) by making her way around the world for free using international pet sitting sites. The paws-ibilities are endless!
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Rover | Jen Tserng: Learn more about Jen and what she's up to over on her Rover page!
- Rover: The platform that Jen used to find people to pet sit for
- "Airbnb for Dogs": Woman Hosts Pets at Her Home for $200/Day: After moving to the states to be with her new husband, a nutritionist from Spain decides to host other people's pets in her home
- Social Media Strategist Bakes Pawfect Dog Treats: A dog lover learns to bake and sell superfood dog treats, earning $3,000/month with just $3,000 in startup costs
- Dog Lover Fetches $250,000 in Canine Clothing: A Minnesota woman turns her design hobby into trendy duds for the whole family, including furry companions
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