Housesitting Expert Ian Usher Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Housesitting Expert Ian Usher
House Sitting expert Ian Usher is our guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business podcast.
Today’s guest has a fascinating story of struggle, acceptance, madness, love and finding the path to a life that he never dreamt possible.
Following on the from his previous appearance on Join Up Dots on episode 138, our guest has built upon amazing, headline making life changes, whereby he suffered a relationship break up, sold his entire life on Ebay, hit the headlines, sold his life story to Disney, bought a tropical island, found love and tackled a bucket list of amazing experiences all within a a period of a few years.
But it is what he has done since these crazy fun times that inspires me more.
You see so many people will do so much, in a short period of time and then start to settle.
They will find themselves back in a routine, where the images of adventures past, haunt them like a character from a Charles Dickens novel.
Our guest today however has done the opposite.
How The Dots Joined Up For Ian
He has saught out opportunities, conversations and experiences across the world and constructed a life that is on his terms.
As he says “I did my last interview with Join Up Dots while I was in Texas, house sitting for a friend there as part of our US RV adventure.
Since then Vanessa and I studied to become English teachers, then spent a year in China working as teachers in a private business, topping up the travel funds.
Since then we have become full-time nomads, using house sitting as our accommodation, and teaching online for a Chinese company as our primary income source. As our accommodation is basically free we only have to work a few hours per week to make ends meet.
It really is the global semi-retired dream lifestyle. We can live absolutely anywhere as long as we have a decent internet connection.
We have become very well known in the house sitting community, and have been very successful in securing some very sought-after luxurious house sits.
So how has he managed to build something from scratch, when right from the very start he was out of his long established comfort zone?
And could he ever go back to a life that was controlled by the decision making of someone else?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Ian Usher
How he has to credit his parents, especially his Father with instilling a self reliance and creativity of spirit of doing things his own way.
Why he loves tackling challenges, and gets bored after a couple of years, so asks “Do I enjoy doing what I am doing today?” and if he gets a “No” too often, then changes direction.
How the ability to house-sit first came to him, which has allowed him to create a roaming income, and develop a global business on his own terms.
How he looks back on his previous adventures in the spotlight, as a fun time, but knows that it was just part of his journey and not his defining period.
Why he realised that it was time to sell up and move on from his fantasy tropical island, and has no regrets about saying goodbye to this small oasis.
How To Connect With Ian Usher
If you enjoyed this episode with Virginia Jimenez then why not listen to some of our favourite podcast episodes such as Fabian Dittrich, Sally Armstrong, Fiona Sampson or the amazing Yuri Elkaim
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Full Transcription of Housesitting Expert Ian Usher Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello there. Good morning, everybody, and welcome to Join Up Dots. This is a podcast. This is inspirational. This is motivational, and it’s one of those kinds of conversations I really don’t know where it’s gonna go. And that’s the beauty of creating a show like Join Up Dots because not only do we join up the dots, stories of guests, we can also join up the episodes as well and we can bring guests back on for numerous times. And today’s guest I was delighted to have him on the show. Back on episode one, three a and he’s come back, he’s come back for a second helping, could it be better? Well, let’s give you a bit of information. Bellamy’s ama is a guy who’s had a fascinating story of struggle, acceptance, madness, love, and finding the path to life but he never dreamt possible. Following on from the previous appearance on Join Up Dots on episode one pre as our guest has built upon amazing headline making life changes whereby he suffered a relationship breakup, sold his entire life on eBay hit the headlines sold his life story to Disney bought a tall tropical island, found love and tackled a bucket list of amazing experiences or within a period of a few years, but it’s what he’s done since he’s crazy fun times. that inspires me more. You see, so many people would do so much in a short period of time and then start to settle. They find themselves back in a routine where the images of adventures past haunt them like a character from a Charles Dickens novel. That’s a bit good a bit. I like that. Our guest today, however, has done the opposite. He sought out opportunities, conversations and experiences across the world and constructed their life but is on his terms. As he says I did my last interview with john Join Up Dots while I was in Texas House sitting for a Friend Bear as part of our US RV adventure. Since then Vanessa, my partner and I studied to become English teachers, Ben spent a year in China working as teachers in a private business, topping up the travel funds. And since then, we’ve become full time nomads, usually how sitting as accommodation and teaching online through a Chinese company as our primary income source. As our accommodation is basically free. We only have to work a few hours per week to make ends meet brilliant stuff. It really is the global semi retired dream lifestyle. We can live absolutely anywhere as long as we have a decent internet connection. We’ve become very well known in the house sitting community and have been very successful in securing some very sought after luxurious house. It’s so how has he managed to build something from scratch when right from the very start? He was obviously out of his long established comfort zone and could he ever go back to a life that was controlled by the decision making of someone else? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining us. With the one and only by their second time, Mr. Ian Usher, how are you?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [3:06]
I’m Fantastic. Thank you, David, what an introduction. Is that me? It sounds absolutely fantastic.
David Ralph [3:12]
If I put this sort of second most attractive UK guy that could have been you that could have been you, sir. But I let that one bit out that I’m always fascinated by this, when you have that sort of thrown back at you. And it’s kind of like your story within two minutes. Do you go? Yeah, yeah, I remember that. I remember that. Or is it like the last week you remember to do this all the other bits of drift into a world that could almost be like somebody else’s dream?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [3:40]
They do a bit sort of tend to drift into the background and you’re sort of two minute breathless introduction. There does make me sort of go wow. Oh, wow. Yeah, I do remember that because I’m, I’m the sort of person who’s always looking forward and trying to enjoy the moment and people refer back back to some of the things I’ve done in the past and it does feel like that sort of another part of my life that’s put behind me because I think I know that you talk about joining up the dots and looking back but a lot of life is about enjoying now when and looking forward to where you’re going as well. Yeah, but
David Ralph [4:19]
you say that but so many people will be looking forward they’re looking forward to retirement they’re looking forward to their two weeks holiday each year. But you’ve kind of created a lifestyle that is work obviously you’ve constructed it yourself, but is is a kind of wears holiday and where’s work Where’s life? Is it utopia that you’ve got?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [4:42]
It’s getting pretty close to it. It’s been a long term development and a long term learning process from the day I decided I was gonna sell my whole life on eBay, which you covered in the previous interview through to now has been decided long term step by step process. The lines now are very, very big blurred between what is holiday and what is work and what is life. They all seem to run together. And when you really enjoy the work for a better word that you do in the life that you live, it’s, it’s very hard to pin down exactly what his work and what you’re doing because it’s your hobby or it’s fun, or it’s the thing that you’re passionate about.
David Ralph [5:24]
It’s a brilliant way of life, isn’t it? I absolutely adore doing this show. It’s it’s the thing that I look back on it now. And I think, how could I have not wanted to do this? How could I have not pushed through it earlier? But of course things have to find their place. don’t know yet. It might be right at this moment. But five years ago, maybe I couldn’t have done it.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [5:45]
Do you think do you think it has changed you? I am I always imagine you have this sort of almost daily input of positive inspiring people that you were chatting to and researching on a daily basis has it has it changed you Over the years that you’ve done this,
David Ralph [6:01]
I think that’s a brilliant question. I love this. It’s being thrown back at me, I think where I was very lucky when you build something more often than not, they say, you know, surround yourself with people who are doing similar stuff. Now I couldn’t, there wasn’t anyone, even now if I say to somebody, I’m a podcaster. More often than not, I get what, you know, they just had no idea. Now with me having conversations with you, and all the other sort of nearly 600 people, and building up relationships and friendships with them. I’ve surrounded myself in a bubble of possibilities. So I think I always had that spirit inside me. But it can’t be denied when you constantly are surrounded by people that are actually doing it and they’re ahead of the curve. And they’re doing the impossible. They’re making it possible. So I think it has changed me but it’s just kind of ramped up what was already there if that makes sense to you?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [6:55]
Yes. Yeah, I think I think you must have had that in you, of course, to sort of go down this road go, I want to talk to more people like this. But But
David Ralph [7:05]
you were in a sort of in, you know, you grew up in the 70s. I grew up in the 70s. And it was, it’s kind of a great time, although I remember it’s always been Sunny, which he probably wasn’t. And we was always running around words and playing as kids. There was a big sort of, like, a kind of spirit of conformity in the 70s. You know, it was almost like dads went out to work, mom stayed at home, kids played around until they had to grow up and I go on. Now you’ve kind of got to that point now. But I love your story. And I, you know, I like to say to people, there’s this bloke I know, but he’s doing these nutty things. Because it’s kind of play you’ve almost regressed to a child somehow. But you are running around, but you’re doing on a global sense, is there a sort of connection now, more than But with the younger you
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [8:02]
said, Yeah, there certainly is I do I think have to credit my parents, particularly my father, with a lot of my outlook on life he, he was the sort of the traditional English parent who had a long term job and, and worked and saved and we had the regular family holidays but his attitude I think was much more you know, you can get up and do things for yourself and he sort of instilled that independence in me. I’ve got to pull you up on the on the term nutty. I don’t think you know, it does sounds nutty to people who are living the, the more normal course of life, but if it’s something that everyone wants to do, either many people aspire to sort of to gain the freedom and to break out from the system really for wonderful, better word. I certainly don’t, it doesn’t strike me as an IT. It strikes me as the most Same thing I’ve ever done. Now,
David Ralph [9:02]
I agree with you. I agree totally, because you and me are kind of in that environment. But the guys that are listening to these podcasts and they’re sitting in cubicles, hey, they will see that as nutty because they’re so ingrained with you go into a path that your parents did. I did the same for many, many years. I did jobs literally because my mom pushed me on a path but I kind of didn’t know any different and people kept saying to me, right from the early days, oh, you should be in radio. You should be doing this. You should be doing that. But it takes a long time to join it up. So what do you think most people do think it’s not a year?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [9:39]
Yeah, I think that there’s a sort of bigger picture you can look at to that we are sold this dream and and a lot of it. When I look at things now from my position is driven by consumerism, and we’re told that you want the three bedroom house and two cars in the driveway and you need to have a big deal. V and all of the beautiful furniture and then two kids and you’ve got to send them to college because they’ve got to get a degree in a better job. And all of this is tied up with taking on massive levels of debt, which forces you into that cubicle. I have to sit for 40 or 50 hours a week, trudging away at your job to pay the bills for the things that society has told you. You’ve got to buy to be successful.
David Ralph [10:26]
Now, well, you kind of broke free from that big time and you bought an island, which now I believe Graham Hughes owns. Yeah,
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [10:33]
yeah. Our introduction came via Graeme, you interviewed him, I think first and then then he sort of said, Oh, you should speak to me. Yeah, absolutely.
David Ralph [10:42]
Yeah. And I had him on at eight. He’s the only two parter I’ve ever done. He can talk. He can talk. And I just let it run. And I thought, oh, there’s two shows here. So I think it was 116 and 117. Now, on the island, you created a lifestyle for yourself and you build the house from scratch and stuff and you created a you know, you created a business from that that point. Has that was that a wrench to leave that or was that just part of your journey? Did you have to sort of reinvent yourself somehow to find the real Ian?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [11:18]
No, there was there was no real wrench at all to leave that it was part of the story. It was an amazing adventure. Three, three years on a sort of deserted Caribbean island building your own home is, is the sort of boyhood Robinson Crusoe adventure. But I’ve found throughout my life, I do realise that I am inspired by new challenges. And at the island after three years, I’d pretty much overcome all of the challenges in life had become somewhat easier. And for me, really, I sort of get bored with things after a couple of years. I want to do something different. So it was the perfect time to sell up and move on. And Vanessa, my partner had come into my life during that period, too. And she together we had adventures, we wanted to follow and continue. So it was like a natural thing to do was to sell up and move on from there.
David Ralph [12:19]
And she a partner that actually softens your edges or does she wrapping you up? Are you stronger by being together when you have sort of flights of fancy? Can she pull you back? Or is she somebody that goes, Yeah, brilliant. Let’s just do that.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [12:34]
No, she’s she’s, she’s the one that sort of pushes us both on a bit. We were both so similar. And when I say oh, we could we could go and travel around Cuba for two months. Yes, I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba. So there’s very little sort of pulling me back in there. The ideas that I came up with are the possibilities that we could do and she’s 50% of the motivation for what we do. So we’re pretty much on the same page, as As to what we want out of life and where we’re going with it.
David Ralph [13:02]
So let’s sort of frame your life. And because the spirit of adventure and travel is prevalent across the world, people will say, Yeah, when I retire, I want to see the world. But you’re actually doing it while you’re a young man and you’re taking your business with you. Now, in the introduction, we said, you know, you can live absolutely anywhere as long as you have a decent internet connection. Is it as simple as that? Can people literally pick up a laptop, travel the world and create a business as long as they can get internet connection?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [13:35]
I think it takes a while to create that lifestyle, but you certainly can create it and anyone who really feels motivated to do so. I certainly think can do so. It certainly isn’t the life for everyone. There is a sort of freewheeling aspect to it means there isn’t that sense of security of having a home base But we do with the house setting we just to us, it feels like we move from one home base to the next and we settle in and make a new arm in the new place that we’re looking after for a while.
Unknown Speaker [14:11]
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [14:13]
I figure there’s sort of three parts that go hand in hand to to enable this lifestyle is one, getting rid of the debts and the mortgages and the burdens that society expects us to take on, too is creating a credible house sitter profile, which is reasonably easy to do, so long as you don’t have anything dark and hidden in your background. And three is finding some form of online income, which in the modern world, the modern connected world is probably easier than most people think, you know, you could, there’s always something you can find to do. That will create an income online. And when you’re house sitting and have no debt, you the actual amount you have to earn to pay for things We literally need to earn enough to cover food and flights to the next location. So we get by in about 10 hours a week of work, which is more than enough for my liking.
David Ralph [15:10]
Oh, yeah, I think it’s more than enough for anyone’s I’m actually. Well, when I created the show, it literally was 20 hours a day, and it almost killed me at the beginning. And now I’ve got it down to a point of doing basically one day a week on Join Up Dots. And that’s it. And I’m now structuring it because I realised that I’m gonna pose this to you as well. When I created the show, obviously, I transition from a corporate gig to doing this. And there was a point in my life there, there was no income coming in. So when income started coming in, I started sort of grabbing it everywhere. Oh, yeah, I’ll do that I do. But I got to a point where a lot of the income that I was producing from the show, I looked at my calendar each morning and so it didn’t sort of light me up. I I describe it to people as it was the wrong type of money. Now the people I say that to they go, now there’s no such thing as the wrong sort of money because they’re still ingrained that I go every day to do a job that I don’t like doing just because of the money. But have you had that situation where you look at it and you go, yeah, I’m comfortable now. Basis really good. But actually, I think I need to break it up again and go again. I think I’ve kind of slightly done done a detour that wasn’t right for me in the long term.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [16:28]
Yeah, definitely. I think life is always about reassessing and looking at what you’re doing. And for me, I think one of the biggest questions you need to ask yourself is do I enjoy what I’m doing? And as you say, when when you are enjoying what you’re doing, the income is the right sort of income, but when you when it is a struggle to get up and you were only motivated to turn on the computer or go to your workplace or whatever it is you do, then I think that’s a great phrase. That’s the wrong sort of income. No sort of money because life just doesn’t have that sort of glow of enthusiasts of it. When you get up and go right, ready to get on with this stuff. And when life is like that, when or when your income is like that, it’s it’s no longer a job. It’s like your hobby, but you’re getting paid for it because you get up and do it almost for free anyway,
David Ralph [17:20]
to kind of can it be too much of a hobby, I’ve got a mate. And he’s brilliant at computers for years and years and years if our computers went down, and I don’t believe he’s gonna listen to this. So he’s named Phil, Phil, if you do listen to this, which is a weird thing, actually. Because my mates don’t listen to the show. They kind of almost like me as I used to be. So they don’t want to hear this or knew me, which is a completely different thing. But I always say to him, why don’t you do it for a living? You know, you make a fortune. You’re brilliant at this. And he says, No, but I don’t want to ruin it. It’s my hobby. If I’m making money from it, the enjoyment would be gone. And I go to him, I’ll don’t talk stupid. You know, don’t talk stupid. You’ll just love it even more because you’re doing it on your own terms can kind of help you be too much of a hobby, but you can’t actually make it into a business. Can you understand what Phil was saying that here? I can, I can actually, I equate that to I used to do quite a bit of skydiving. And many, many other guys who go skydiving say, Oh, well, you know if I was a tandem skydiving instructor actually being paid to do the thing I love. And yet six months into that that’s how you know it’s just a routine you weren’t you were back into your routine. Every day at work, you’re doing the same thing and saying the same
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [18:35]
jokes to the customers making the same video and doing the same thing. You look at that from the outside you think wow, that would be awesome to be a skydiving instructor. But, you know, you see the guy sometimes and you think he looks like he’s working hard to maintain his enthusiasm. So I think you I think your friend has a very good point there that you do have to find a balance where you don’t spoil it. a hobby and turn it into a job and stop enjoying it.
David Ralph [19:03]
So when when did you sort of really believe that it was doable? Were the kind of the early days, hustle and effort started to just disappear somewhat because it does. It does. And I will say to anyone, first year is basically you trying anything to get things going. Your second year is the killer, where suddenly you’ve created success for yourself, oh, this is why I did it. I created success, but I didn’t have the structure to sort of hold back that success. And I was just being engulfed, left, right and centre buy stuff. Now it’s a lot easier, as I say said, When did you realise actually what you were creating was right for you, not just financially But personally, it’s sort of satisfied your soul.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [19:50]
And I think there’s two points to that one one when I actually after the eBay sale and I set off and started on my two years of goals got Which even travels, I really did think at that time. This is the life this is this is what what life is about for me. But more recently, I would say maybe around the time two years ago when I last spoke to you was when it all started coming together in terms of looking coming across housesitting as a real lifestyle possibility. And then sort of shortly after that was when the teaching English online came into the picture as a possibility and then all of a sudden put two and two together and and a year later we’ve got it This is it. You know, we’ve we’ve created a life and it really does seem at the moment for sure that we’re sort of living the dream and, you know, I feel almost sort of evangelical. Found this then I wonder, I want to tell everyone about it. It’s amazing. So yeah, it’s around the time I last spoke to you. I guess was was when light bulbs are starting to come on and things were really starting to fall into place.
David Ralph [21:04]
So have you hit that point, but I talked about constantly when you are the most boring person in a place where you are so passionate about it people out there, for God’s sake, don’t ask Ian about how sitting just just keep him away from them.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [21:18]
I think the only thing in my favour is because we move around so like, I don’t get the time to bang on too much to the same people about Yeah, but my enthusiasm, but yes, I think you know, get me in a bourbon and ask about how sitting and well, you know, have is a big question here because he ends up on it. So yeah, I am pretty passionate about about the life I live in the possibility is it can offer other people. So yeah, careful, careful what you ask me in the pub.
David Ralph [21:48]
Well, I’m gonna ask you now because this is a kind of Join Up Dots thing because Graham Hughes, as we mentioned, introduced you to me and then you introduced me to Nat and Jody who was Ladies doing how sitting and amazing, amazing couple. Now, you obviously connected with them. And I believe there was some kind of transition between what they were doing online handing it over to you. Now, was that a opportunity that you were seeking? Was that something that just fell in your lap? How did that come about and tell the audience what you’re actually doing? Well, it
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [22:21]
yeah, that just really fell in our lap. We, Vanessa and I made we, when we sort of got the passion for house sitting, we made an online video course which we were sort of promoting it as a way to help others and introduce others to this amazing new possibility we’d stumbled across, and Nat and Jody were one of the early connections we came across. They’re pretty big in their house sitting world and they they run I think the biggest Facebook group online with regard to house setting, but they, as you say, they’re an amazing couple and they have all sorts of other ideas and businesses and very similar to us. They’re travelling the world by how sitting and looking to create a sort of roaming online income. That gives you the location freedom. So they started up an online magazine housesitting magazine. But then they’ve sort of started groaning academies in Greece to teach people and show people about how sitting and then they started the business on on roaming income and online income and got sort of sidetracked by they sort of have all these different projects going. And then out of the blue there, contacted Vanessa and I and said, Look, you know, we were not as passionate about the magazine and we’re not very skilled at putting together sort of written content. And they said that we thought the magazine would be a perfect fit for for myself and Vanessa, you know, and they said did, dude we want to take over the magazine and we thought, now wait a minute, that would be perfect for us with both Right. We’ve both done editorial stuff. We both have business backgrounds. And Vanessa just said that is what I want to do. I want to be editor of a magazine and introduce and and inspire other people with without sitting and the life we live. So yeah, we thought about it for a day or two and pretty much got straight back to them and said, Yes, we’re the ones to run the magazine. So that’s our next project. Really, it’s what we’re just sort of in the process of getting ready to launch now.
David Ralph [24:30]
Well, let’s play some words. Now. That’s gonna take us to the second stage of our conversation. Probably we didn’t play you bees back on the last time that he was here. But this is Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [24:38]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail What you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [25:05]
Now looking at that magazine, does that tie into those words, but Jim Carrey said, Are you taking a chance on doing what you love? Or do you think that the true love will come out of doing it that the did the people actually have to just do stuff to find the love? Or do you find the love and Ben do it?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [25:22]
Oh, bit of both, I think, isn’t it? I think that’s, that’s hard to say. We’re certainly doing this because we’ve found the love for what we’re doing. And it seems a natural progression then to move on to promoting that and, and inspiring others with what we do. Something that he said in that little bit of that that’s a great thing, he says is a safe job. And I often think or talk about safety. And that that so many people say oh well what about the future? And what about the security and what about the same In what about your retirement and so many people won’t take chances to do the things they love because they’re they’re frightened about losing their security or not having safety. But I think a lot of the time that safety is more of an illusion than than a real thing and you can lose your job tomorrow or you know, illness or anything can happen, which knocks your life completely off track. So, what’s the loss in chasing after something you love doing rather than slogging away at something you don’t love doing just because you think it’s a bit safer?
David Ralph [26:34]
Yeah, I agree with you. Absolutely. It’d be for years and years and years it was, you know, the 18th 18th of each month was payday and get my check. And that was it. You go into my bank account. And then you know, I still remember my very first pay packet I got I started at NatWest bank, when I was 16, Head Office 41 locally in London. So it was a big grand office and I started on the 18th and on the very First day, I walked in and they paid me I hadn’t done any work I just walked in. And I got 476 pounds 22, which was like winning the lottery,
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [27:09]
that’s a good job
David Ralph [27:10]
paid on the first day. I know it was brilliant. And I didn’t do much work after that from From then on, really. And I’d gone from like a paper round basically, to VAT. And that kind of, I think that was one of my dots. Really, when I look back on it, I got paid before I did any work. And so I didn’t realise that actually, what they’ve done is kind of handcuffed me somehow. So you know, the next work week will come in the next month. And I always used to do a clever thing, but you’d kind of think Well, okay, I’m gonna leave Oh, no, wait for around Christmas bonus, we get a bit of money. And then Christmas would happen and then the weather would start getting better and so you’d sort of living a better life because it’s always nicer in the summer. And then oh, well, it’s August. I’m gonna lay out notice Christmas bonus and you kind of just went around in circles and circles. Now I look back on it and I think What we’ve created what you created what I’ve created, unless I decide to unplug it, it can’t be taken away from me. It just can’t. And it’s going to be income. I’ve actually got a house as well in our house. I keep on getting people’s clothes away where the location of it is, it’s prime to get to London. And so a lot of people rent around here. And I’ve got a four bedroom house, which people say, you know, you can rent out for 1600 pounds a month. And I look at it and I think God, if I took that 1600 pounds, and I’ve got this business, I can transfer, I could live like a king anywhere across the world. Now, unfortunately, I’ve got young kids not unfortunately, but you know, you’ve got to wait until I go through school and stuff. But still, once you get into that entrepreneurial mindset, you see opportunities everywhere you say, Yes, I can rent this out, or I could rent that room out or I could, you know, allow people to park in my driveway and that’s 40 quid a month and that means that my mobile phones paid whatever, there’s opportunities everywhere isn’t there but once you’re in when you’re an employee You just see the next paycheck and you don’t look.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [29:03]
Yeah, homeschooling homeschooling, David you could you could if you have a house that you could rent for 1600 pounds a month, take your kids and take them for a year and put them into homeschooling do some online stuff and take them and see some of the world I think it’s the best education kids can get.
David Ralph [29:21]
Now that’s why we’ve got schools we’ve got schools so we don’t have to pay for babysitters. Yeah, every parent thinks right knowing knowing to half three where we it’s our life, you know? Yeah, imagine having them all the time and I don’t know. I’ll get one of the questions I’m going to ask you because I have really fascinated this. How do you actually teach English when the people can’t speak English? I can’t understand how you actually tell them what to do if they don’t actually understand you.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [29:48]
There is what we did a TEFL, a teaching English online, teaching English as a foreign language teaching certificates. And there is a system that they sort of teach you where you start with showing people things and you start with the words and my name is and this is that is, and so on. But we’ve been very lucky when we’re teaching for a Chinese company and when we were teaching, actually in China as well, most of the Chinese people already have a good level of English from school at all taught English in school. So Chinese people are so modest and you say to them, I hope you’re very good English No, no, no, and that they are great. They can you can have a conversation with them. So a lot of the time you’re you’re simply polishing up their English rather than teaching them the basics. And the company we work for a grade two, they give us sort of their grade students from level zero to level 12. And usually that as a foreign teacher, they give you level four and above and Chinese speaking teachers do the groundwork so it’s probably shouldn’t say it but it really is money for old rope. You know, we were chit chatting a lot of the time. Got one students.
David Ralph [31:01]
And so for so the listeners out there if they are looking because I get a lot of emails from people going, Oh, I’m gonna go to Thailand for three months, they always say, Thailand that people want to go to. And when you get out there, I know that a lot of the people I speak to then start working in classrooms and stuff. And they will say to me, oh, it was a car crash. It was terrible. You know, I hated it. Because it is a sort of live teaching environment. Is yours a kind of first step? What can people contact, say your company that you work for, which then leads into confidence and understanding of how to do it instead of being in front of 30 Kids looking at you wanting to learn English?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [31:42]
I guess you could. There’s there’s I think our company has about 60 or 70 foreign teachers and many of those have probably never set foot in China and maybe never set foot in a classroom. I don’t know. You can certainly with the right qualification which which is a bit of sort of online study for your TEFL certificate. Because then you can pick up a job as an online teacher. For us. We found it a lot better having actually been in China and been in classrooms and stood in front of Chinese people. I think we had a better understanding of the culture and the learning challenges and the things that interested in entertain Chinese people. I think it’s made us better online teachers. But yeah, certainly there are plenty of people who become online teachers who’ve never set foot in a classroom before.
David Ralph [32:33]
Because I used to be a trainer. I used to be sort of a financial trainer, and I look back on it now. And it’s quite funny because I used to think, yeah, I was good, and I was good. You know, there’s no getting away from it. People still say to me, 30 years down the line. I love that training course you did. And I had to go and train in a store once. It was a kind of work experience so people could see what we do in an office environment. And it was dreadful that the kids wouldn’t leave Listen to you, it was just like a free for all. And I used to think to myself, Oh, my God, I’m doing something in the perfect environment for me because at least adults in a business sense sat there and pretended they were listening even if they weren’t, you know, do you have to control yours? Or do they, you know, start playing Xbox while they’re talking to you,
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [33:21]
our students, similar to what you’re talking about, we didn’t teach in a school we taught in a not an Adult Learning Centre, but a teaching centre where the customers are paying customers, they’ve made a decision I want to improve my English for business or for a school or to study abroad. So they are very much self motivated and tend to come and come along and pay attention because they’re paying pretty good money to do so and to to improve their English and online the same the students are there because they’ve chosen to be there. So really, there’s no no concern at all at all about discipline. Now. The worse you get is someone sending a text message on the phone in your lesson. And that’s just the Chinese way of doing things. And you just sort of ignore that and get on with the lesson if, if they’re not paying that’s that’s their problem. If they’re not paying attention, they’re still paying the money. So it’s up to them really what they get out of the lesson, I suppose. But
David Ralph [34:19]
I suppose the lesson that we’re getting from this This interview is the fact that you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket, you’re creating multiple income streams that will support because there is that fear from so many people. I think that it’s feast and famine. One month, you’re doing really well and then suddenly all dies. Does that sort of is that the safety mechanism you’re building or is it just how it’s happened?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [34:45]
It’s sort of how it’s happened. But we do see it as as that that safety mechanism we we aim to do 40 hours a month of teaching and that a Sabra is a backstop safety that will cover all of our costs. If you It’ll just keep us ticking over with food and travel and the occasional bottle of wine or something. But it does give us the time to look then at other possibilities and allows us to expand into the house sitting magazine and actually have this the time to be able to put into that to to sort of be creative and make that how we want it to be so and
David Ralph [35:24]
and what does that give you that magazine Ben is is it you know is that gonna provide income is did not and God sort of throw it totally over to you or a getting sort of affiliate rates? How how’s it working?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [35:37]
No, it’s it’s totally ours. Now. We took it over from them made sort of led it pretty much fall by the wayside. We are going to produce it as a free subscription. So that our sort of goal is to inspire people in terms of of house sitting and overall lifestyle. It’s sort of, although it’s called housesitting magazine, we’re looking Have the whole lifestyle that’s how sitting and other things based around house sitting can can afford someone or can offer someone. So we’re going to offer it free. Yes, you know, affiliate income will be part of what we’re looking to to create out of that we do. We do sort of have to fund our lifestyle. So that that’s the way we are currently looking to add on it, as you say, an extra stream of income to what we do, which gives you that bigger margin of security and if one does fall by the wayside, then you can just look at the other one and and look at adding something else to your portfolio of income.
David Ralph [36:37]
Did you didn’t do you know what i would i don’t know if it’s on your mind, but you know what I would add in this this is this gonna shock you rigid by ready? Yeah, housesitting podcast podcast that
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [36:49]
I sort of knew you were going to suggest? Yeah.
David Ralph [36:52]
And have you Have you thought of creating a podcast because literally you turn the tap on and we’re laser targeted. information, you can create, you know, a rocket power to your business that you can’t believe and you’re very good, you’re very natural, I think that you would, would deliver the content that people want. And it doesn’t have to be hours of content. It can be 10 minute bite size, little tips that people get three times a week or six times a month or whatever.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [37:20]
It’s funny enough, it’s something that Vanessa keeps sort of suggesting. And I keep saying, Oh, I don’t know. It sounds like a lot of work. If only David I knew someone who could teach me podcasting mastery.
David Ralph [37:31]
There you go. You see that? That is a seamless way of doing it. But no, I was on the show last night, actually. And we were talking to life coaches, about podcasts. And literally all of them were they been kind of brainwashed by the techie guys who have been around for so many times, and they will say, Oh, you’ve got to have this set up. You’ve got to have that you’ve got to do this. And we sort of just showed him my setup and all of them were blown away by Well, is that it? Is that is and we were saying, Yeah, is if you can talk on the telephone, and you can press record, you can do it. It’s like, do you remember when you was loved up here and as a young man, and you were making mixtapes for people, and you’re doing all your cassettes and stuff. But it’s no more than a technical version of fat which the world get to listen, but I think on the house sitting, there’s a laser targeted audience for you. And I think it would be a great way of expanding that into areas. But maybe the magazine won’t reach.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher[38:32]
Yeah, interesting. Okay, the magazine is a is a sort of a digital digital format in which you can actually, we can embed video or audio files. So it might be interesting to look at sort of sitting a podcast or setting some audio material within the magazine. So as you browse it, oh, just please press play and listen to that little interview or snippet of information.
David Ralph [38:57]
Absolutely. Now I’m going to play some words now. But I really think we’ll tie into what we’re doing at the moment because what we’re doing, we’re talking about possibilities. We’re talking about the next step. And more often than not, those next steps don’t really make themselves clear to us. They just kind of niggle away for a while. This is Oprah,
Steve Jobs [39:17]
the way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, Oh, I got all of this stuff. What is the next right move? And then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move and not to be overwhelmed by it? Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment. You know, you’re not defined by what somebody says is a failure for you. Because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [39:49]
Profound words, how do you how do you decide on your next right move? How do you listen to that little voice?
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [39:57]
Ah, I really don’t know it. It’s, it’s, um, I think that’s such good advice. As she says one step at a time, really, I think you’d be it. A lot of it is intuition. And often, you don’t quite know where that comes from, but something just feels right or doesn’t feel right. And you know, if you feel enthusiastic about it, I think that’s a good a good indicator, you’re right, you’re heading in the right direction. If you feel, oh, I don’t really want to do that. Maybe it’s that there are sort of difficult things you have to do, but maybe it’s not the right path. And it’s, you know, certainly if you can have to keep doing that thing you don’t want to do endlessly. It’s certainly not going to be the right path. So it’s sort of, it’s not really for me, it’s not like there’s a little voice inside saying what to do, but there’s certainly an intuition and a feeling about it of Yeah, that’s gonna work for me that’s going to be quick to do
David Ralph [40:55]
because I’ve realised that when I am struggling, I think allow things to float. And I realised looking back on it, there were certain times that was just too hard. And I liken it now to trying to get through a closed door, when I should have just walked two feet to the left and use the open door, you know, it was the sort of the easy approach, but I wasn’t going for. And so now if I’m struggling to get something going, I just kind of let it flow and I don’t do anything. And I just sort of come back to it. And more often than not, in those three or four days of not doing anything. It comes to me and I’m running up and I do it and it’s done. And it’s it sort of moves. And I was talking to a guy in the episode before, who was in Berlin as we were talking about and I listened to this podcast with Paul McCartney the other day and it’s it really struck home to me this when he was talking about right at the very beginning of the Beatles trying to get a record contract trying to get going and living in crappy vans and bed sets and stuff. And they used to get really depressed and they used to say, you know What’s gonna happen, you know, how are we going to make it work for us? And somebody would always say something will happen. You know, as long as you’re doing stuff and you’re trying your best something will happen and I’m a great believer in that but in a way it’s kind of the wrong advice as well because it’s not easy what you’re doing is it is not a you know, a walk in the park. There has been effort has been struggled has been hassles, there’s been, you know, times when you think what a bloody hell am I doing? But once you get to that point of allowing things to just happen, it’s literally life’s way of saying Yeah, okay, Mr. ATIA, you put in a bit of effort. I’m gonna throw you some scraps here and then make what you want out of them.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [42:42]
Yeah, I think it’s it’s that that that thing of the being a tipping point isn’t there and there does have to be that hard work and that effort to set up what what you’re working towards and put in that effort and, and I think most successful people will, will quite happily tell you, not a bit as It has come particularly easy arm. You used a word much earlier on in the interview and you’ve said about yourself I’ve, I’ve been lucky. And often when people use that, I’d say, wait a minute, have you been lucky? Or have you put in a lot of hard work which is has positioned you to finally be successful. So many people say, Oh, he and you’re so lucky to have done this, done that and done the other. And you think well, if you look behind the scenes, it’s it’s like a duck. There’s a lot of fast paddling going on beneath the surface that people don’t say, yeah. But you know, for someone to say to you, David, you’re so lucky to be to be number one on iTunes in podcasts. I don’t think there’s any luck at all involved in that.
David Ralph [43:44]
I think where the luck is bow I think Yeah, what you’re saying is absolutely true. And it was a lot of hard work to get there but i think but luck was accepting my sweet spot. Do you know the the thing that I can naturally do well, more than Done, the knot will bypass you because you don’t think there’s a value to it. And I think my lucky point, if anything, was the fact that I listened to one podcast one day and thought to myself, I think I could do that. And I think that one thought coming through my mind, that was my lucky ness, you know, cuz I could, I could have just pushed it away.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [44:20]
Ah, but is it? Is it still lucky, though? You did, there must have been things you did before that, that positioned your mind in such a way as to be ready to accept the message. So choices you’ve made before that set you up to hear that message at that time. And if you’d heard that podcast a year earlier, or a year later, it may have passed you by and it’s not luck. It’s choices you’ve made have prepared you to be ready for that moment.
David Ralph [44:48]
Do you know what I think we’re talking about here? I think we’re talking about joining up your dots. Do you know? I think we are. I think that’s a brilliant metaphor for a show. I’m going to create a world dominating show based on Yeah, yeah, we can, we can take it anywhere. So seamlessly. I’m gonna bring on a guy now who he talks about joining up dots and he does it a lot better than me. This is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [45:13]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [45:48]
So obviously we sort of touched on that in the last episode, but do you look back over your dots aren’t as it were? That the headline making stuff the sexy stuff? Is that all passes Now, are you happy where you are? Or do you kind of look at the TV appearances and the sort of the eBay stuff was the sexy stuff? It was, it was a kind of silly thing you did, but it is a benchmark in your life, isn’t it? Did you miss all
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [46:13]
that? Um, Ah, yes. And no way. You know, as I said before, I look back at the eBay stuff. And I think well, like that’s over and done. You know, it’s, it’s, as you say, sort of a sort of slightly silly adventure in the past and but it worked out well. And it certainly has propelled me onto this path. And we did we did a when we were on the island, we did a TV show with Ben Fogle. He came and episode of, of new lives in the world wild. And that was an absolutely fantastic experience. We both sort of enjoy the, you know, microphones and the helicopter coming to film aerial shots and all that. So I do enjoy that aspect of sort of being in the spotlight a bit and I guess, you know, Are we launching a magazine, we were still aware that we have to go looking for publicity and connections and, and press to sort of launch magazines. So we do still sort of embrace that, that kind of slightly public persona, I guess. And you have to not just accept it, but I guess enjoy it in a way to when and it leads to experiences like this, you know, it’s the doing this is a lot of fun to come and come and do shows and chats like this and hopefully inspire other people to change their lives a little bit better.
David Ralph [47:35]
So the question that we always ask and I probably asked it to you last time, but you know, what is your big dot has your big dot changed since the last time that we spoke? Are there times now that you look back and go, Yeah, actually, I think this is it. I think that was the moment. I thought it was the one before but now I can see definitely
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [47:53]
no, I think I think that there’s nothing really stands out. Other than the eBay auction. That’s a sort of big deal. When I when I look back, but there’s a long series of smaller dots all of which connect in a fairly random fashion most of the time to, to finally put my where where I am today and I know I’m sure there’ll be a, an ongoing series of fairly random dots that who knows where they’re going to take me in the future.
David Ralph [48:21]
But you could do your own TV programme, couldn’t you? It’s easy to do get a little sort of handheld camera, get it on YouTube, do your little videos, you know, it’s easy to do so that sort of experience in the the limelight. You create
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [48:35]
your own line right now you Yes, you do. But I think you you as you appreciate having having done what you’ve done, it has to be a full time thing for a good period of time to really kick it off and have the success that merits doing that. Unless it’s a hobby that you’re happy to do in your spare time in your spare time for nothing. It’s so for us. Currently the focus is the magazine but then you never know where that’s going to lead or, you know, if we become the number one contact point and inspiration point for house house citizen homeowners, then where that might lead us because housing really is a fast growing business at the moment. And, you know, who knows it’s not gonna lead somewhere else beyond that.
David Ralph [49:26]
It’s not going to be if you will be the number one. Well, yeah, but let’s be positive Mr. ATIA,
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [49:31]
let’s be positive, yes. When when we become the number one source for inspiration. Perhaps it isn’t homeowners. Yes,
David Ralph [49:37]
because I do believe if you have that vision, you know, after I released episode one or two, I used to look in the bathroom mirror every morning brushing my teeth, when no one was listening. And I said, I don’t care when it’s three years, five years, but I will be the number one show in America. And it was always the American market because it’s kind of slightly more glamorous. Yeah, but that was always in my head and I I’m still working towards it, you know, and I’ve hit number one in Australia, and I’ve hit number one in England. And I’ve kind of got to number 10 in in America, but that last 5% is the big push. But I know in my heart of hearts, but if you’re consistent, and you believe in it, and you’ve got that vision, so it’s not something that you’re making up, it’s waiting there for you. And you’re just got to keep going for it. I think it’s just totally doable. And I think a number one,
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [50:25]
and for you as well, like the sort of success breeds success, it has to, you know, hitting number one in Australia or UK has to really give you that confidence that yes, I really truly have got something here. That is a number one show and it’s just a matter of time and consistent effort to get me there.
David Ralph [50:45]
Oh, it’s exciting times. I can’t wait to you come on the show. The third time, Mr. Show. looking looking forward to it. Yeah, we’re booked we booked you in. But this is the end of the show. And this is the bit that we call the Sermon on the might when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your young yourself And normally, we leave it up to you. But this time I want to send you back maybe the last two years. So like, but different Ian, who appeared on the last show, so I’m going to play the theme tune and when it played Europe,
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [51:14]
Funny enough, David, that was that that was that, as I was gonna pick to speak to was the guy who you interviewed two years ago. So perfect choice.
David Ralph [51:23]
Absolutely. So here we go. I’m gonna play the music and when it fades you up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [51:36]
Unknown Speaker [51:37]
with the best bit of the show.
Unknown Speaker [51:42]
Unknown Speaker [51:44]
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [51:53]
Hello, he and I’m talking to the show over a couple of years ago. I think probably around June or July 2014, who is in a house in Austin in Texas, doing one of his very first house, it’s a and I’ve just got to say to you, I know that you think at the moment, things are going great, but they are improving. It’s just a matter of staying the course continuing on the path that you are you’ve chosen to follow. I know when you look back, some of it has been pretty hard. Some of it’s been pretty Rocky and there been challenges along the way, but just have faith in yourself that you’re on the right, the right track, you’re doing the right things, you’re making the right choices, and the place you’re going to possibly sooner than you think is gonna put you right where you want to be living the life that you’ve, you’ve dreamed about all these past years. So just stick at it as you’re doing the right thing.
David Ralph [52:53]
In what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [52:58]
I think the best thing would be To visit they have sitting magazine website which is very simply house sitting magazine calm. There’s a contact page there. The magazine launch is 15th of July issue one will be out 15th of July it’s going to be available on iTunes as a download and on the Google Play Store for Android to get get yourself there’s a contact form on the website you can join up to be notified when the magazine comes out. And if you want to get in touch with us, maybe you’ve got something to contribute to the magazine. You need some help you need some information, shoot us an email and we get back to everyone who writes to us
David Ralph [53:39]
and I’ll tell you why. When you hit number one I’ve always I’m gonna be featured guests. I don’t know how it’s gonna happen. But I’m gonna squeeze myself in as the featured guest on the number one not podcast magazine.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [53:51]
You are you were there as the number one feature guest you want once once you start your house sitting journey with your kids homeschooling them with the 1600s pounds a month coming in from the rent, you’re going to be a number one featured guest, David,
David Ralph [54:05]
I will be on there. I just need to convince the kids to leave their Xbox and stuff behind their their, their very routine with their house that they can’t see the freedom is what they’re leaving behind.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [54:16]
Yeah, I think that’s a good analogy though for everyone, isn’t it, you you, you don’t see the freedom if all you focus on is the stuff that you’re gonna leave behind the freedoms there for the taking. But you do have to, there are sacrifices, you do have to leave something behind whatever that may be. But I think the payoff on the other side of the equation is much bigger than you probably appreciate. Appreciate. It’s gonna be,
David Ralph [54:41]
I think, in cocktail in the Tom Cruise filming cocktail. There was a line that said something else is something always better or something along those lines. Yeah, I think that’s a good way to leave the show. So Ian, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots again, please come back again. When you have more time. Dr. Join Up Dots. I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Ian Asha, thank you so much.
Housesitting Expert Ian Usher [55:08]
Thank you very much, David. I look forward to chatting again sometime soon.
David Ralph [55:14]
Yeah, not sure why fantastic story. He took so much traction and he’s still building on that he it’s a sort of tidal wave and he’s kind of surfing and sometimes he might have to put his arms over the side and paddle a bit. But then the next wave comes in, it takes him to where he wants to be. I love that guy to base. I think he’s brilliant. He’s everything that I think we can all be. He’s somebody that started something without an idea, a clue. But little by little by little he’s building it up. And not only is he building up, he’s having amazing experiences at the same time. Hope you enjoyed that episode. I certainly did. This was Episode 541 of Join Up Dots and I have got some amazing guests coming up. So please Tell your friends about it, tweet the world chat as much as you possibly can. Or if you just want to turn up for the next episode, I’ll be here waiting. Cheers, guys. Thank you.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.