Designing Websites From A Remote Island – The Inspiring Story Of Ian Usher

Today I wanted to write an article about Ian Usher, the reason for this is after watching a documentary on Channel 5 about him here in the UK there was a little something that caught my attention which I found inspiring.

ian usher ebay

Well the whole story is inspiring, Ian is a big adventurer and I will get into the story shortly but there was one part that I wanted to focus on as the inspirational point of this article for the people who are maybe thinking that they cannot do things online very well or that there are plenty of obstacles preventing them from becoming a success.

I have in the past discussed that success is different for many people, for some people bagging an ideal partner for marriage is a success, and for those then, I guess divorce is a sign of being a failure.

Well in 2008 Ian Usher’s marriage dissolved and he was divorced, did he feel a failure? Had his world come to an end? At that time he might have felt it but in truth it was just the start of an incredible journey!

Ian is English and originally from County Durham, as a child his parents took him and his brother on many foreign holidays and he developed a strong bug for travel, adventure and the outdoor life. I shall not go into great detail of his earlier life, you can read that here: About Ian Usher .

Ian and his then wife to be Laura moved to Perth in Australia in 2001 (A lovely city btw) and started a new life down under. After spending seven years doing the usual stuff like working, getting married, having a house in the suburbs etc, Ian’s marriage collapsed and he soon found himself divorced.

It was at that time he decided to have a complete change of life and he sold his life on eBay for £100,000

When I say life I do mean his whole life, all he wanted at the end of the auction was to be left with one set of clothes, his wallet, his passport and a nice little bank balance.  His home, all of its contents, his car and even his job position was included in the “The ALife4Sale Auction” sale. The eBay auction caught the attention of the international media and he was interview on all of the major networks globally like the BBC, CNN and ABC.ian usher book

While the auction was live Ian had another idea, he created a bucket list of 100 things he wanted to do in 100 weeks funded from the proceeds of the eBay sale.

He managed to do 93 of the experiences in the 100 weeks; he kept a record of everything he did over that 100 weeks using a blog and then published his experiences in a book called “A Life Sold – Whatever happened to that guy who sold his whole life on eBay?”

Walt Disney Pictures have also bought the rights to his story and plan to make a film about his life called “Life for Sale”

The next part of the story is that Ian wanted to go ‘off grid’ and he went searching for his own paradise island.

He found an island in the Caribbean Archipelago of Bocas del Toro Panama which he bought for £18,000. He has been living on the remote 2.2 acre Panamanian island with no mains electricity a few goats and chickens as his company.

ian usher island arial

It had no buildings so Ian spent 6 months and a further £30,000 building his home from scratch; the island is a 20 minute boat ride away from the nearest jungle town. There are other islands neighbouring his which are habited by other people wanting a more ‘off grid’ lifestyle.

ian usher home

During a trip back to London a brief meeting with Vanessa Anderson turned into love and she dropped everything to join him on this remote paradise island. Ian has written a book all about his experience of living on the island called ‘Paradise Delayed’ also available on Amazon as a print book or Kindle book.

The celebrity UK adventurer Ben Fogle met up with them for his documentary “New Lives in the Wild” which is what I saw and you can watch it here New Lives In The Wild Episode 4.

ian usher vanessa anderson ben fogle

So what is it that caught my attention and made me think it would be good for a post on the bizzebee site dedicated to online businesses? Well for starters there is the fact that he kept a blog which resulted in him having enough content to write two books which he has self-published.

That wasn’t the main point though, for me it was the fact that while him and Vanessa lived a frugal and cheaper than normal existents, to generate some extra money to help buy building materials and fuel for his boat Ian and Vanessa would design websites for paying clients online.

This might not sound much to you, but remember for a minute, they are  living on a remote island in a Panamanian archipelago miles from civilisation with no main electrics and yet here they are generating money working online.  They charged £300 per website.

Ian generates electricity using solar panels and batteries, he has also set up a wi-fi  internet connection to Bocas town.

This internet connection is vital for Ian and Vanessa for keeping connected to the rest of the outside world. What I want you to think about is this:

If a couple living on a remote island can still connect to the internet and make money by offering services then what is stopping you?

I am not saying they run a big successful website design company, they are successful in many ways but the fact they can design websites from a remote island and generate money online I think is incredible and something to remember when you think you are having it tough.

It kind of throws all of the excuses we have out of the window doesn’t it? Time and funds in our expensive and busy lives are biggies, I accept that and unlike Ian, many of us are forced to work long hours and we need more money to live, he has taken himself out of the crazy rat race but I still think it is incredible that people living on remote islands can still use the internet to generate money.

Ok so this isn’t the remotest island in the world but there are villages in the UK that are not connected to mains gas and we have an established network and society. This is an island miles away from the nearest town in a relatively poor Central American country.

When Ian needs fuel he doesn’t get it from a drive through petrol station, no he gets it from a water side shack which is possibly the most un health and safety workplace I have ever seen!

ian usher petrol station

Since his big lifestyle change and publishing three books Ian has given a TED Talk and is currently doing a tour across the USA with Vanessa stopping off to do more inspirational talks. Ian has sold a 3rd share of the island to a guy who will be taking care of the island while Ian and Vanessa tour the states.

He has his own website where he helps to inspire people to get more out of their lives which you can access here Ian Usher

I shall draw this article to a close and I suggest you watch this documentary; it really is inspiring, if inspiration is not what you need from this, then you will find it very interesting at least. Watch it here: New Lives In The Wild Episode 4

Sources: Daily Mail, Ian Usher

Images: Copyright  Vanessa Anderson, Getty Images, Channel 5

3 thoughts on “Designing Websites From A Remote Island – The Inspiring Story Of Ian Usher

  1. Hi Andi,

    I must have missed this program as I haven’t heard of Ian Usher before, but I found his story really inspiring. It must take a lot of guts to give up everything and the way of life you have been living to start afresh. I should think many people dream of doing the same thing but bottle it in the end and remain living the same way.

    I totally agree that this is a great example for people reading who want to make money online. It can be done as all you “really” need is an internet connection and a bit of passion. Anyone thinking otherwise should read this post again.

    Great post!

  2. Thanks Matt, I dream of dropping out sometimes but the reality isn’t always as easy as our imaginations would have us think and as you know this is one reason why I started as a writer and learning WordPress stuff so that one day in my little corner of paradise I too could be earning without the need to have a full time day job that I would need to leave the house for.

    Not sure I am ready for the extreme remoteness that Ian has lived but the isolation from the world and its petty squabbles and issues is very appealing sometimes 🙂

    I am glad you liked the post and found it interesting and thanks for sharing it with Ian tagged in it on G+, he has commented and shared which is nice. 🙂

  3. Hi Andi,
    Great article – just stumbled on it yesterday. Thanks.
    Glad you liked the “New Lives in the Wild” episode – it was a lot of fun to film.
    As you say, when living costs are significantly reduced, you don’t have to earn too much to stay afloat.
    Our internet connection is simply from one of the mobile phone companies via a USB dongle. It costs us $15 (USD) per month.
    I’m always flattered when people are inspired by choices I have made, and this is one of the things I talk about when I speak for organisations.
    Life is meant to be an adventure – I’m just trying to enjoy mine as best as I can.
    Best wishes,
    Ian

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