HOW TO BUY A PRI­VATE IS­LAND ON A SHOE­STRING

Start-up FOUNDER Ma­neesh Sethi SPLIT the cost of an is­land with 10 OF HIS FRIENDS. Here, he ex­plains HOW…

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start-up founder Ma­neesh Sethi split the cost of his slice of par­adise with friends

SET THE GOAL. When I was 16 I de­cided I wanted to buy an is­land. So, when my friend Ty­nan called me four years ago and said he was look­ing for nine other peo­ple to buy a cheap pri­vate is­land with, I said yes im­me­di­ately. Along with a group of 10 or so peo­ple, we split the cost, so we each own one­tenth of it as an LLC (a Lim­ited Li­a­bil­ity Com­pany). The en­tire cost of the is­land was less than US$100,000, so it was less than US$10,000 each.

SHOP AROUND. There is an on­line mar­ket­place for is­lands called Pri­vate Is­lands On­line, but ev­ery­thing there is very over­priced, rang­ing from around US$250,000 to US$5 mil­lion. In­stead, we looked on Ki­jiji, a Canadian ver­sion of Craiglist. Our is­land is lo­cated in Nova Sco­tia in Canada, and it’s two hectares across, which feels big for us. Peo­ple ask why we didn’t choose some­where hot­ter, but it can be [too far to] travel to get to trop­i­cal is­lands – and it’s a lot more ex­pen­sive.

POOL RE­SOURCES. Be­cause there are 10 of us, de­vel­op­ing the is­land isn’t a lonely task. And the peo­ple in our group are en­gi­neers and van-dwellers – peo­ple that ac­tu­ally do things. As an en­tre­pre­neur, I don’t have the band­width to plan build­ing a dock or land­scap­ing. [On] our first visit we only had an in­flat­able raft to get there and I was wear­ing my nice clothes, clear­ing trails.

CRE­ATE RULES. You can get voted off our is­land! We have a con­sti­tu­tion. We’re de­vel­op­ing a con­sti­tu­tion through a Face­book page that lets us dis­cuss plans for the is­land, or­gan­ise trips and de­bate if we should have goats. I have a goat­pho­bia so I am very much against goats on the is­land! We’re build­ing one big com­mu­nal struc­ture, and then each [will] have our own pri­vate plot to build on.

MAN­AGE EX­PEC­TA­TIONS. As the co-founder of Pavlok, a wear­able de­vice that helps you to break bad habits, I’m busier than ever. Although we have 3G cov­er­age on the is­land, I haven’t ever tried to work there. In fact, I haven’t been there for a year. At least I’m as­sured that my is­land is be­ing cared for by some­one who treats it like his own – be­cause it also be­longs to him.

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