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How I Went From Smuggling People To Becoming A 7-Figure Airbnb Entrepreneur

Written by: Jorge Contreras, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


My journey to becoming a million-dollar real estate entrepreneur and Airbnb coach has been one heck of a ride. If you’re looking for a great read ‒ something to inspire you on a dull day of working your butt off just to get a paycheck ‒ you might as well read on. Because it’s a story of how someone can go from zero to hero making his dreams come true. I was born into a poor Mexican Immigrant family. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories was when I helped my dad sell drugs.No, you didn’t read that wrong.

But I didn't know what I was doing.

We lived in a tiny apartment in Orange County, CA where we had to make ends meet while protecting whatever little we had against monthly break-ins. It was like a cruel game show where only the strong can survive and everyone had to do something.

But that was what felt normal. Do you know how they say that “the fish doesn’t know it’s in the water”? That’s how it was for me.

Selling drugs was what other kids were doing and waking up to hunt for our next meal was what regular life looked like.

But everything changed when my dad passed away.

When I turned 7, the doctor told my dad that he needed to stop drinking. My dad was a good man, but he was too dependent on alcohol most of his life.

And although he stopped drinking, the damage was already done. So just a few years after his diagnosis, my dad passed away. He couldn’t see his little Jorgito grow up.

Sometime after my father’s death, my mom also abandoned me. I was 13 at this time and I had to live with one of her friends.

Then at the age of 16, I had to start looking out for myself. Going back to square one was hard for a 16-year-old. But it did awaken my basic survival instincts and developed one of my greatest drivers. I got a job as a photographer at a water park and began renting a bedroom.

I needed to do something to survive.

I graduated high school with 4 F’s and 1 D then I went to a community college for 3 semesters. While I was there, I started taking Salsa lessons. Then I was introduced to Bachata which eventually became my first business venture.

I taught myself how to improve my dance skills and started teaching people how to dance. I even had to borrow my friend’s backyard just so I could have a place for my dance classes.

Fortunately, my classes were well-received and became so successful that I had to expand and start teaching at a dance studio.

This is where I met my dance partner, Leslie, and together we started the very first Bachata dance company in the United States. We also created the first Bachata dance festival in Los Angeles and the first Bachata nightclub in the US!

We thrived in this business, and I was making over 200k a year and traveling to 25 countries. These are already pretty good numbers for someone who came from nothing.

But at some point, I got tired.

I realized that I was trading time for money because when I wasn’t dancing, I wasn’t making money.

Now don't get me wrong, I still love dancing, and I still dance the Bachata today at family gatherings & such.

But it came to a point where I realized that if I wanted to build a more stable income, something that doesn't need me to be there 24/7 for it to work, I needed to find some other sources.

So, I decided to start educating myself in Real Estate Investing.

They say that one of the most important things you can do to become a good entrepreneur is to learn. So I became a student at the Rich Dad company. I also took personal development courses.

This picture was during a rich dad training once I became part of the team. I purchased my first property in 2012 and wanted to pay it off quickly, so I rented out 3 bedrooms to long-term tenants & I lived in the master for free.

When I became a student at the rich dad company my mentor told me that I shouldn’t be trying to pay off my house, as I would have my house paid off but would still be stuck in the rat race. Instead, she showed me how to leverage the equity in my property. So, I did a cash-out refinance, pulled out $160,000 tax-free, and went and purchased 2 more houses and turned each house into 2 units through house-hacking.

Then in 2017 I decided to put 4 of my units on Airbnb and went from making 1,500 each per month to 3,500 each per month. I went from making 6,000 to 14,000 per month.

This is how I became financially free because the money I made in my sleep paid for all my monthly living expenses.

Then in 2019, I discovered the subleasing strategy where I could rent property, get permission in writing, and then launch them on Airbnb (there’s a lot more to it, but that’s the quick overview) this strategy allowed me to grow fast because I didn’t have to buy the properties, no payments, or closings costs.

All I had to do was pay the rent, deposit, and furniture, this business model allowed me to go bigger faster. Thanks to this strategy I was able to retire my wife.

I began to share my journey on Instagram & people began to ask me how I did it, they showed interest in learning.

So, I decided to start my next venture: a coaching business to help people learn my methods and to help them achieve their financial freedom goals with AirBNB WITHOUT owning property.

And guess what?

Now I’ve helped over 3,000 people become Airbnb entrepreneurs themselves! If you want to watch my full story, click here.

You see, I know I had a rough start, but I also know a lot of people who had it tougher. And the point of my story isn’t exactly to say that I am special. The lesson here is that even with all the negative circumstances thrown at us, we can overcome & thrive. Things don’t happen to us; they happen for us!

If I can do it, so can you.

Poverty isn’t exactly a great place to be in. But if you push through it and take massive action, you can also arrive at a successful place like I did.

Like grass growing in between the cracks, you can be a source of inspiration to somebody else. But you do have to be careful with whomever you listen to because the biggest saboteur of success is limiting beliefs and being surrounded by people who keep you from becoming the best version of yourself.

As for me, I have thrived and am ready to continue spreading the knowledge that I have gained to anyone who wants to change their lives and achieve time, location, and financial freedom.

And that could be you.

So if you want to learn more about Subleasing and how to start your Airbnb business from scratch, you can also download my free eBook here.

Follow me on Instagram, YouTube, Podcast, and visit my website for more info!


Jorge Contreras, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

From poverty to a million-dollar business, Jorge Contreras is a real estate investor and coach. He started his real estate journey over 10 years ago, and he launched his Airbnb business 5 years ago. Before that, Jorge was overworked and underpaid. He barely had time to spend with his family, and his business wasn't exactly thriving. Once he got into real estate, he realized the potential, especially with Airbnb and short-term rentals. When he became a millionaire, before the age of 30, he decided to share his knowledge with all the people who have the need to spend more time with their families and less time working. Jorge has already helped over 3000+ people reach their goals with Airbnb.



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