Achieving Goals With Ian Usher Who Sold His Life On EBay

In this podcast, we explore goal setting and achieving with Ian Usher, who you might remember from mass media coverage when he sold his whole life on eBay, and then set off traveling to attempt 100 goals in 100 weeks.

I have also added a new segment to the show which is more about what I’ve been up to in the last few weeks (Thanks to David Farmer for encouraging me to do this!). You can email me with comments or questions: Joanna AT

Ian Usher is the author of “A Life Sold” which tells how he sold his whole life on eBay. Ian went on to attempt 100 goals in 100 weeks, traveling the world for two years, eventually achieving 93 of the goals on his list. Publishing a book was one of the goals and ‘A Life Sold‘ has also been optioned for a movie.

In this interview you will learn:

  • How Ian came to sell his whole life on eBay and how the story was picked up by media all over the world. The auction ran in June 2008 but didn’t quite work out as planned. He then thought about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He wrote lists of goals and set a timeline and then set off to make it happen.
  • We discuss traveling on a backpacker’s budget and how was fantastic for helping meet people and also traveling cheap.
  • The book ‘A Life Sold’ goes into the journey from selling his life, through 10 x 10 week segments of the trip. Ian did blog about it on the way but kept the more personal and life changing details for the book. How it’s hard to place this type of book on the bookshelf. It’s a mix of travel, memoir and self-help/inspiration.
  • Some of the life lessons Ian learned. You can live without all the material ‘stuff’ and they can stop you doing what you want to do. It’s incredibly liberating to get rid of all that stuff. Wherever you put your backpack down is home. There are few practical things you need in order to experience life to the full. Another lesson was how good people are all over the world. Despite cultural or religious differences, people are the same, they laugh and love just like us. Getting away from the portrait of the world that TV paints is a great idea!
  • Some of the goals. Riding a motorcycle on a wall of death. Riding up vertical walls in a barrel so centrifugal force keeps the bike on the ground. Getting to the Taj Mahal turned out to be a bigger deal than expected but resulted in Ian spending the night with an Indian taxi driver in a tiny house on the outskirts of Delhi. This became one of the best stories as it was a slice of real life instead of just a tourist attraction. On itchy foot disease!
  • On achieving goals. Writing a book is like achieving any goals. Find out what it takes and then make a start. You’ll find out new steps along the way. Adjust and continue. Research and planning is key. Looking at it before you start it looks huge. But looking back you wonder what you were worried about.
  • On publishing and self-publishing. How Ian did have an agent in London but the British publishing industry wasn’t taking a chance on a new writer. In learning to self-publish himself, Ian found it to be a brilliant process. He also realized that the author has to do the marketing anyway, so DIY isn’t such a bad thing!
  • On conquering fear and changing perceptions of what is difficult to achieve.
  • Marketing ideas from the original selling his life on eBay to his $100,000 competition to help you achieve your goals. Ian does credit some friends with the original thoughts but he actually put them into action. Ian is holding a competition to win $10,000 to help you achieve your dreams. He has sponsorship for the first draw in July next year. You can enter by taking a picture of you with the book or book cover and submitting it. (I’ve just entered the competition here!) We discuss some of my goals, Latin dancing in South America and walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
  • On list building, Ian started gathering emails early in the process. He blogged for over 2 years so regular blogging is key. He now offers a free ebook on travel tips which helps to build the list as well.

Joanna Penn with Ian Usher’s A Life Sold

‘A Life Sold’ is available on Amazon all over the world. You can find Ian at his website

The competition for $10,000 to achieve your goals is available on this page, and you can also go to the Facebook page here.

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  1. says

    Cool! I’m a friend of Ian’s (featured on pages 91-93 of his book!) I also have self-published a book called, The Laptop Dancer Diaries. I’ll have to subscribe to your blog as it looks like it’s a great resource for writers!

    Good luck with your book!

  2. George says

    Hey, really great blog post… I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog because of the great style and energy. I actually work for the CheapOair travel blog. If you’re interested, we would love to have you on as a guest blogger. Please send me an e-mail: gchristodoulou(at)cheapoair(dot)com, and I can give you more information. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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