Episode 037 – Untold Stories, Homes Under The Hammer, Property Investing, Hitchhiking through life, Being Fearless and more – with Martin Roberts
Show Notes – Episode 037 – Untold Stories, Homes Under The Hammer, Property Investing, Hitchhiking through life, Being Fearless and more – with Martin Roberts
It is a time for inspiration when we are at a time when we feel uninspired. And it is a time for a change when we are at a time when we feel unable to change. We have an incredibly special guest today who embodies both these characteristics and has continuously demonstrated them in his career and life. On observation, something that stands out is – his ability to a balance passion, purpose and contribution – something we can all aspire to achieve. And wrapped around that is, being able to fulfil that through understanding wealth and wealth vehicles, in particular property investing. So be prepared to take in this inspiring wide-ranging conversation, which will no doubt leave you hungry to achieve what you want in your life.
Our guest on the episode is:
Martin Roberts is one of the UK’s most respected Property, Travel and Lifestyle TV presenters and journalists.
Over the past 25 years he has appeared on BBC TV and Radio, ITV, CNN and Satellite TV Worldwide. He was a regular presenter on ITV’s top-rated travel show ‘Wish You Were Here?’ For eight years and the travel editor of ‘Woman’ magazine for 15 years.
For the past 15 years, he has written and presented the hit BBC property auction show ‘Homes under the Hammer’, which is shown on BBC1, Satellite is now in its 23rd series, with over 1450 programmes produced. He is a respected UK and Overseas Property expert, appearing as an expert guest on programmes such as ‘BBC Breakfast’, ‘BBC News 24’, ‘Sky Sunrise’, the Jeremy Vine Show and BBC Radio 2, 4 & 5 Live.
He is a regular guest presenter on Radio 2 in the Jeremy Vine slot from 12 – 2pm, presenting DIY specials, answering listener’s questions live, and chatting to celebrity guests. He has been a celebrity contestant on Eggheads, Celebrity Mastermind, Pointless, Ready Steady Cook, Masterchef, Through the Keyhole, Hole in the Wall and Martin entered the Australian jungle on ITV’s flagship entertainment show ‘I am a celebrity get me out of here’.
Martin is also author of the best selling book ‘Making Money from Property’, his most recent title ‘The Property Auction Guide’ and the children’s book series ‘The Villes’, including a dedicated version, ‘Sadsville’ – in support of the NSPCC and Childline. He has also set up his own charitable foundation to help with child education and safeguarding issues.
On this episode, Martin Roberts talks into the following topics and questions:
- Martin discusses his childhood and his philosophy for life.
- Martin shares untold stories from his career not shared anywhere else.
- How did he go from graduate in electrical engineering to well-known television star.
- What advice does Martin have for younger listeners about pursuing their dreams and passions.
- What has been his mindset when taking on these new adventures?
- How did Martin first get into property investing and how did it grow into Homes Under The Hammer and sharing his property knowledge in other areas such as his own ‘Making Money from Property’ training and radio slots.
- What are the most common mistakes he sees people make when ‘trying out’ property investing?
- Martins top tips for someone who is thinking about getting started in property investing and is it too late to invest if you are in your 50s+?
- Martin discusses his charitable mission through the Martin Roberts Foundation, writing children’s books and more
- Martin expands on his children’s book series, what inspired the creative ideas for the book and the greater vision surrounding the book series.
- As we go through a challenging time, what characteristics can people embody in order to grow and thrive in the coming decade?
- Final words of wisdom for listeners to take on board.
- And so much more…
To find out more and follow Martin Roberts & to support his foundation please explore the below links:
Disclaimer: On this episode, we talk on the topic of Property Investing. What is discussed is a snapshot of one person’s story. When starting any business you must do your own due diligence.
Affiliate disclaimer: NO links on this page or products discussed during the episode have an affiliate or advertising association with The Growth Tribes Podcast. Please support us via the supporter programme if you wish to help.
Harms: Hello it’s Harms here and welcome to another episode of the podcast. It is a time for inspiration when the reality is we are at a time when we feel uninspired and it is a time for change. Again, the reality is we are at a time when we feel unable to change that is the reality of the global feeling right now.
However, for you, the listeners, we have an incredibly special guest today who embodies both these characteristics and has continuously demonstrated inspiration and continuously changing throughout his life and career and demonstrated them both in his career and life. On observation, something that stands out is his ability to balance passion, purpose and contribution, something we can all aspire to achieve and wrapped around all of this is being able to fulfil that through understanding, wealth and wealth vehicles.
In particular, property investing. So be prepared in this episode to take notes, to absorb an incredible amount of growth information in this inspiring wide-ranging conversation.
Hi Ro, over to you to introduce our special guest today and let the listeners know who we have.
Dr Ro: Thanks Harms, and again, thank you for taking the time to come listen to the podcast. I am pumped, the gentleman that you’re about to get introduced to without us both realising it, have actually known each other for probably 30 years or more. Because we were both at the same university together albeit a year or so apart, and he was presenting a radio show I used to listen to.
We only discovered that a couple years back, so it’s quite a journey. Martin Roberts is someone I’m going to introduce formally as I like to do on these podcasts, and then I’m going to put a personal spin on it.
Martin is one of the U.K.’s most respected property travel and lifestyle presenters and journalists for over 25 years. He’s appeared on BBC TV, radio, ITV, CNN and satellite TV worldwide. He is a regular presenter on ITV’s top related shows Wish you were here for eight years he was the traveller editor for woman magazine for 15 years. The past 15 years, he’s written and presented the hit BBC property auction show Homes under the hammer, which is shown on BBC TV. I believe it’s probably their most viewed TV show. Is it the 23rd series now you’re on to Martin?
Martin Roberts: It just moves on. 25 mate.
17 years and here I am still doing it.
Dr Ro: For anyone to be that long with that much success is crazy and I think if I’m right, it’s over 14, 1500 programs something along those lines.
Martin Roberts: Yes it’s extraordinary. There’s been over 3000 properties I’ve visited and most of them are down in Stoke-on-Trent.
Dr Ro: But no properties to invest in Stoke-on-Trent. He’s a respected UK and overseas property expert.
Many of you if you have watched you know that already. But if you are tune in and watch it when you can. Appearing as an expert guest on programs such as BBC breakfast, BBC 24 news, sky sunrise, the Jeremy Vine show and the BBC radio shows, two, four and five live. Regular guest presenter on the BBC radio, Jeremy Vine slot from 12 to 2. If you haven’t listened to it. Have a listen because it’s a really great, honest, direct conversation piece that goes on there as well. DIY specials answering listener questions live and again, this is a characteristic of someone that knows their stuff because a lot of people like prepped questions, whereas Martin, and I’ve known him for years will just take a question and smash it out because of that depth of experience.
He is a chatting celebrity guest, celebrity contestant on egghead celebrity mastermind,m Pointless, Ready steady Cook, MasterChef which my daughter loves. Through the keyhole, Hole in the wall and it goes on. November 2016, Martin entered the Australian jungle. I remember what he looked like afterwards when he came out. He took part in the TV flagship family entertainment show I’m a Celebrity get me out here.
Some of you might have seen it, watched nightly over 12 million viewers his script for beans and rice, love of trees, talcum powder and fun, which I know very much engaging in his spirited character which I can vouch for knowing him personally made him hugely popular with the viewing public. Ended up surviving all but two days which is serious and I saw Martin when he came out and actually it had an impact on you on a deeper level.
Just to wrap up the formal instruction Martin is also the author of the best selling book making money from property, which by the way, when I read it, Martin and I sat down 10, 12 years ago and that creative from that something amazing which is a set of trainings, which I think we’re going to talk about as well.
The most recent title property auction guide and the children’s book series The Villes which my 11 year old loves, including a dedicated version sadvilles which those of you that have got kids, you have to get access to this as quickly as possible in support of the NSPCC and ChildLine.
He has set up his own charitable foundation, which again we would like to talk about today to help the children’s education safeguarding issues. This is a huge resume and we’ve compressed it. Martin, you are an amazing human being.
I’ve tried to compress that down on a personal level this is just me expressing Martin for those of you, and you know I’m straight about this is, if I were to talk about the qualities of the man we are about to hear from integrity, honesty, passion, humility, a real kindness towards other people.
A great father and genuinely somebody that brings fun into what he does and is very selective about who works with, who he deals with and also who he represents and just a lovely human being. Wears his heart on his sleeve, sometimes I know. Does stuff for people often beyond his own physical and energetic capabilities runs himself to the ground. You’re in for a treat. We have Martin Roberts.
Please take us on a bit of a journey, take us back to where you started and just how did you get to where you are today and become the person you are?
Martin Roberts: Looking back and I think you can use this to help where you are right now, wherever you are, however you feel. Sometimes, you know, as you said at the start Harms especially now, we are feeling what is going on in the world and is this the right turn?
When I look back at my career and some of the twists and turns that it had and some of the things that happened were so random and so on the face of it, just irrelevant to where I ended up, and yet they all played their part in getting me to where I eventually got to. In fact it inspired me to write a book which ‘m going to publish at some point as I’m quite passionate about it. I likened my journey to hitchhiking.
I used to do hitchhiking quite a lot when I was a student and I have written this book which is all about taking the principles of hitchhiking and applying it to life.
Basically, you’re standing at the side of the road and when you set off it’s all a bit daunting, you don’t know if you’re going to end up where you need to get to. Sometimes it starts to rain and then a car will turn up and they’ll say I can’t take you that far down the road but I can take you to the next junction on the motorway.
So you say okay it is better than nothing. Then you have a little journey down the motorway and then you’re standing again in the rain and you think will I ever get to where I need to? Then another car turns up and it actually takes you about four stops down the motorway but you’ve still got 250 miles and then this happened to me on so many occasions. I got the two or three duff rides and I’m standing by the side of the road a car pulls up and I kid you not he said where are you going? I said Warrington.
Where abouts in Warrington? I said Stockton Heath where I was born.
The guy said I’m going to Hilson Crescent which is around the corner from Cranley place. I get in this car. The car then takes me 235 miles from where I was standing in the rain in this petrol station to exactly where I wanted to go. The food for thought on that is, if I haven’t had those two previous rides, those ones which at the time felt like a complete waste of time. Very frustrating, very pull your hair out. What is it all about? If I hadn’t had those two rides I wouldn’t have got that perfect ride. I think you can use that as a bit of a life message really.
Sometimes you get stuck in things but if you do believe and I am quite spiritual as well. If you do believe that things will end out right and end up well then you can live those duff rides, it’s just that journey. It’s part of it and it will get me there.
Dr Ro: What a great frame for this podcast, fantastic and by the way that book has to come out.
Martin Roberts: I really want to self-publish it and I’m really proud of it. Sometimes if a car pulls up you get a gut feeling that actually that isn’t a car you should get into.
Again, you can relate that to life sometimes you’ve got a gut instinct. It looks like a ride I’m a bit wet, a bit desperate, but actually that right is not the ride I should be taking.
Dr Ro: I know it doesn’t go on so much today, but you’re right during that period it was the thing to do. If you wanted to go somewhere you just went for it.
Take us on the first ride.
Martin Roberts: The first ride starts with that point of trying to decide what to do with your life when you’re far too young to make those decisions.
I had a friend from the family. He was into electronics and I just loved the electronics and the things that he made. It was in the early days of electronics, so I got into electronics. At school I did lots of science subjects and when it came to deciding what I wanted to do I’ll go do electronics. I applied to do electronics at university and ended up getting a scholarship to Bradford University and it was sponsored by a company called Thorn EMI that at the time made televisions.
I really enjoyed the little periods I had. It was a thin sandwich bus. I went to work in industry but I thought it just doesn’t feel right. When I was at university one of the things you quite rightly remember is that I got involved in the University radio club and media society, and I really loved that. When I was growing up as a very young child my granny always said you should be on the television. I don’t know what she saw in me, but she saw something.
Dr Ro: Where were your family originally from?
Martin Roberts: I grew up in Warrington which is just halfway between Manchester and Liverpool. Working class family mum, dad, dad was a scientist mum was a scientist both from working class families.
We had a nice house alongside the Bridgewater Canal in Stockton Heath. I had a happy childhood. I was bullied at school and that had an effect on me, but in general I had a very loving family growing up. I’ve got a 13 year old son who is trying to decide what he’s going to do. I said you haven’t got a clue. I started with electronics and now I’m a TV celebrity.
Harms: Many people who are 18, 20, 25 years old get obsessed with this life plan, they’ve already planned their life out and they’re really getting disheartened that it’s not going to plan, as they thought.
Your example is amazing, just ride one, ride two, actually ride three might not be for me. Ride five takes me close to where I want to go to what is a message for them based on what you’re describing now?
Martin Roberts: Yeah, it’s very easy to say but try to believe that you know that things turn out okay in the end and it’s really hard when you’re waiting for that ride in the rain, but actually, you know, you do need to believe that you will end up in the place that is right for you in and it might take a while, but you will eventually get there.
The number of people I know who went to university or started out in certain careers and whatever it is, the universe pulls them back to where they should be. Now clearly if you are embarking on, or if your dream is to embark on some kind of professional career like a doctor or a vet or a lawyer then you do need to have a bit of a rigid life plan early on.
But you often find people who are dedicated and want to do that already know that. They seem to know at a very early age that life plan is easy for them but for the rest of us we can do whatever you know, you could just allow for flexibility and you know, really try and live in the moment.
Make the most of the journey, not where you think it’s going to end. My heart does go out to quite a lot of young people who do their part of the bargain they go to school, they get their O-levels, they go to university, they study hard, they say there you go world I’ve done my bit and the world goes it’s not that simple and you see a lot of disillusionment.
The reality is, you know, sometimes it’s tough, so the more you can increase your life experience I think the better. The more you can ground yourself as a human being and not just get your head stuck down into the books, life is a gift. We are lucky to be alive and healthy and when you’re young you take that for granted basically and you know, just enjoy it. It is a gift.
What is your wildest dream and what’s stopping you doing it?
Dr Ro: By the way, for those of you listening even if we stop now there’s so much.
Keep us going on the hitchhiking journey electronics was something that you kind of went into it and thought is this is really for me?
Martin Roberts: It’s interesting how things happen.
Here’s a little bit of a why in the road of life and you don’t really realise it at the time. I decided, okay, fine I really love the idea of working in radio a couple of pivotal things happened. During the time I was at university I was doing the radio show and absolutely loved it, but never really thought you could do that as a sort of job.
The people working on TV and radio must be superhuman beings and we went as part of it on a road trip to BBC radio York and I’ll never forget the man in charge saying there is always space for people who were good. That was like, oh my god it’s actually a possibility that I could actually do this. I applied for a job in engineering at the BBC, so I went down to broadcasting House in London.
I travelled down there for an interview in some laboratory down some corridor and halfway through the interview we were just talking and it was a panel of four or five interviewers and me and they made me do a thread reel to reel tape recorder that puts the timescale on it. Halfway through they said you don’t want this job do you?
Bearing in mind I’d already got down from like 3,000 applicants to 30 it was for an apprenticeship. And I said actually no.
It could have gone badly but we all started laughing and they said we can see that you’ve got so much, but you probably want to be in front of the microphone, rather than behind it. They said well you’re in the BBC building why don’t you go down to the front entrance there is an internal telephone and pick up the internal telephone and dial this number and it’s a mate of mine who heads up BBC local radio.
So I did and said hi it’s Martin here a friend of yours said I should give you a call. He said where are you? I said I’m in the reception and he said I’m in the building opposite come and see me. I literally went across the road and started talking to this guy. He headed up BBC local radio and he said where do you live?
I said Warrington and he said Liverpool is probably the nearest and he said I’ll ring my friend he’s the Station Manager at BBC radio Merseyside and will see what we can do.
In short I ended up getting a chance to go into BBC radio Merseyside as a tea boy and just started doing a few little bits and pieces. Started doing some recordings and I was noted as I was imaginative and creative, and so it progressed from there.
At the time I remember my mum and dad were very concerned because I wasn’t being paid any money and bearing in mind by this point I’d turned around to people who had sponsored me to go to university and said, I’m sorry about this but I want to follow my passion and my dream and the man in charge who by this point invested about 30,000 quid in terms of fees said to me, you go for it, you just follow your dreams and we shook hands and he was really great. Also said I’ve been conned by one of the best in the business.
Dr Ro: I want to try and decode your mindset as I’ve noticed about you when you see something you want it. I’ve known you for 10, 11, 12, 13 years and it’s like you have a certain way you approach things.
For the older generation I represent them as you’re still doing it now Martin, you’re still pursuing new things, but the ones in their 50s right now I’m finding a lot of people fear locking them down.
What do you do when you’re faced with an idea that you’re like and screw it, what do you see in your mind that takes Martin Roberts to make the step to overcome maybe a possible block that’s going on?
Martin Roberts: In my mind what stops most people from achieving their dreams’ is fear of failure and the sort of shame of failure and I just see it as a learning curve. It hasn’t always gone right for me.
There’s been times when it’s been pretty awful and things have gone really badly, but you know, when I was being badly bullied at school backed into a corner being beaten I would laugh. That got them even crosser but my way out of it was just to almost go, this is happening, but I will disassociate myself from the outside. I would just laugh and I think if you can take yourself to the worst-case scenario, which is a place people don’t really like to go and you honestly ask yourself, could I cope with that?
Let me go to the worst place but I’m not talking about personal stuff here. Not talking about people being ill or losing family members, I’m talking about business or with an idea. What’s the worst that can happen?
And then honestly ask yourself can I cope with that? Suddenly you demystify this ogre, which is, things go horribly wrong and you being you cast out as a failure. I also look at all those people in the world who people would say they are the most successful at what they do and all of them have failed numerous times before they got to that point.
I don’t think of myself as bombastic, or I’m going to get my own way. I just have this thing where I go. I’ve got to make this happen and do myself to make it happen and do my best to make it happen.
Dr Ro: If you took yourself back to that scenario where you are telling this person who has helped fund a lot of this education to this point and actually they turned around and said no, Martin don’t pursue your dreams that’s a bad idea. How would you have responded because there must be loads of people facing that conversation.
We know that from our training Martin people that come through your courses sometimes they’ve got somebody outside trying to put them off relearning the subject.
Martin Roberts: I would say, I respect your point of view, but this is my life so goodbye.
Dr Ro: Great message.
Martin Roberts: This is a prison sentence mate.
I didn’t go into it with this intention, but things change. You’re not going to stop me fulfilling my dreams, but actually I don’t think it’s outside influences that stop people from their dreams. I think it’s their internal blocks, the little devil on the shoulder which puts people constantly in doubt of their own abilities and will always throw in all the negatives.
The human brain is so well developed that it takes the tiniest little bit of negativity and it can find a thousand million things to back up that train of thought. If you feed it may, if you give it the opportunity it will absolutely come up with 10 million reasons why you shouldn’t be doing what you do, but you’ve got to recognise that’s just a process that the brain goes through.
Recognising the difference between that and the gut instinct of this is wrong is really important, but I think you will pretty quickly learn to notice a difference in between. Something which is just a fear of failure, a fear of change and something inside going this is wrong.
All the times when it’s messed up for me I look back and I knew it was going to mess up.
Dr Ro: Especially in modern times we’re so forced into our head with technology. You have that in you. I think that’s what’s very endearing about you.
For anyone listening, by the way, I’ve written this down to Harminder this is very rarely shared stuff from Martin. He gets so interrogated by what he knows about tv, but we want to get into who Martin is, because there’s so much wisdom in here. Keep us on the journey because I’m fascinated. so pure university radio show. you then go get this opportunity will work.
Martin Roberts: I go and work for BBC radio Merseyside. Living at home and loving this opportunity and funnily enough the only person who gave me a hard time about it was our next-door neighbour who I called Uncle Eric.
He peered over the garden fence one day and said, why have we wasted all that money educating you? I was like Eric for a start this is my dream, so I’m sorry if you feel like that whatever. Here’s some funny stories.
Word got around as people go on holiday, fall ill, so the local radio network in the north west was quite small and somebody called the people at radio Lancashire and they called radio Merseyside and said we’re a bit short staffed. I got in contact with them and I went to radio Lancashire and started doing some stuff for them and that was a bit more on the production side.
I was going out and interviewing people and going out in the radio car and starting to help put together packages. I learnt so much in that period about interviewing and about the skills of communication in the media and how one of the biggest things you can do is shut up and let people speak. It drives me mad these days when you see interviewers who I consider to be fairly inexperienced, and they just want to talk and talk because they don’t want to have any silences. That means the person being interviewed doesn’t have a chance to tell their story. I’m not interested in the interviewer; I’m interested in the person speaking.
I went to work for Radio Lancashire and I almost ended up presenting the match of the day. For a man who isn’t really a football fan and doesn’t know a lot about football this would have been quite an interesting thing.
One of the things I had to do when I filled in for people who were ill I had to fill in for Dave who was the sports producer. We’re now in radio Lancashire, which is very much football and rugby, Blackburn rovers a real hot Preston North end. I went to visit Dave in hospital and I said I don’t know anything about football, I know a bit about rugby. He said I’ll tell you what to ask these people and you just stick the microphone in front of them and say harry how did it go? Harry will say, in the first half didn’t go that well, I had a few problems with the midfielder. The next question you ask is what’s the line-up for next week?
He’ll say I’m thinking about dropping Charlie.
And that’s it, nobody will know you know nothing about it. so I started filling in for him and it went really well and one day the station manager called me and said you made a bit of a slip up in last week’s broadcast. You were talking about the league and he said that they won the fa cup match so that gives them three points and there was a slip up. I looked at him and said what do you mean? He said, you don’t know the difference between the fa cup and the league?
I said is there a difference?
He turned white as a sheet, but anyway I got away with it. So Merseyside phoned asking how I was getting on and they said I was filling in on the sports show, he’s really good. Well we’ve got an opening on our sports show at Merseyside, you’ve got Liverpool and Everton. This is the fantasy bit I imagined myself 20 years forward in the BBC studio match of the day, I’m there, behind the desk going, what the hell is the difference?
So I started working for local radio work with radio Merseyside and then I had what was probably my most significant break where I followed this group of people who came from London on a bus to see what the north was like.
Bearing in mind this is now 30 years ago, they were going around the markets in Blackburn and these people had never been north of Watford gap and one of them said, the girls wear dresses. I did this little report about all these people who came up from the south and I thought, this is really good and at the time there was a radio show on radio four, radio four was like 10, 15 steps up its national radio station highly respected.
I thought this was a really interesting story so I sent this reel tape down to breakaway, which was the travel show on radio four and I didn’t hear anything. Then I’d start working for some other shows on radio four, one of which was like a disabled person show and various other things.
I was in the BBC building some months later I was walking down the corridor and one of the doors said breakaway so I went in and there was a woman in there on her own. I said hi I’m Martin I sent some tapes the other day and I didn’t hear anything and she said oh really? And then there on the desk was like a mountain of tapes.
Mine was buried under the bottom and she found it and said let me listen to it now and she played it and it was this story of the people from the south to north and eating black puddings at bury market, and she just cried laughing all the way through and she turned out to be the editor of the programme and two weeks later she said would you go to New York state, Niagara falls, and do a story for us?
The hitchhike there I could have carried on walking past that door, but instead I stopped.
Harms: Martin, this is what Ro has written down on a piece of paper, he just does it, he is fearless.
Martin Roberts: That was one of the days when I thought that was a really important thing I just did there and sometimes you don’t know, but I thought that was really significant and I ended up doing lots and lots of reports for six or seven years for radio four and their travel show.
Which paid no money, but I got to live this most amazing life travelling around the world seeing places and reporting on all these lovely holiday ideas and it was quite extraordinary.
Dr Ro: To me that the underlying theme is, there is a passion here so you’re not losing sight of that. It is not like you’re just doing it because it feels like a job there seems to be this thread that’s pulling you.
Martin Roberts: I’d honestly say apart from the time in industry at university working in design labs and working on a production line in television I felt really, really like that was a job.
I’ve never really felt like you know, I’ve got a traditional job.
I see this as just my lifestyle and I love doing it and I count myself very lucky there. When I grew up I worked in Quick savers stacking shelves and I’d done all that and I have huge great respect for anybody in any job stacking shelves, putting boxes of hair gel into other boxes, and working on production lines.
If it weren’t for those hard-working people we wouldn’t have a society that functions but I am really lucky, I feel that I had an opportunity to follow my dreams. At the start it was a huge risk. One thing Covid has taught us is sometimes actually when you freelance and self-employed, it would actually be quite nice to have a job.
But in general I just feel very lucky.
Harms: One question Martin if someone young is listening to this, did you pursue these projects, these missions, the tv shows based on the financial reward or was it because you’re passionate about it?
Did money play a factor?
What was your feeling and thinking there because a lot of young people from the conversations I have are chasing the money first and then they realise 20, 30 years down the line that this was not their passion or purpose.
Martin Roberts: I think 100% not chasing the money. There was no money in it, it literally was 25 quid a week working on the radio show but at the same time as I was doing the radio show I had the opportunity to buy my first house.
My grandma passed away and she left me money inheritance and I put that into the deposit of my first house which was in Stockport and I bought it for £23,000. My dad had been heavily into DIY so growing up that’s what I did.
Naturally, I helped out and when I got my first house the natural thing for me to do was to replace the kitchen and sort it out and knock down a few walls. So at the same time I was doing the radio show I opened up this house and two years later came to sell it, I sold it for £56,000 and more than doubled my money.
At the same time, I probably had about 2,500 quid from following my passion, which is doing the media stuff. And people won’t believe it but the media stuff even now doesn’t pay a lot of money, but I love doing it.
That opened my eyes to the idea of property as something which can help you do your dreams at the same time; you do unfortunately need money to fulfil some dreams. But if you can have the property creating you a way to make money it buys you the freedom to do whatever you want. If you want to go and help orphaned children in Africa to do charity work, or if you want to visit every winegrowing region in the world a solid base in property can give you that kind of freedom.
That was where the sort of property stuff has always been playing along at the same time as the media career.
The next thing that happened was the transition from radio to television which was quite a big leap.
Dr Ro: One of my burning questions is to ask more about property as we go down the rest of the interview, so take us to the journey where we got to tv homes under the hammer and the present time now.
Martin Roberts: The journey into television is probably the most bizarre story of my career I would probably say looking back.
Again you don’t realise quite at the time, but I was working by this point I’d done radio Merseyside, radio Lancashire and I got picked up by radio Manchester again, in the north west. I started helping on their various radio shows and doing packages about interesting stories, local stories and it was all amazing.
One day, radio Manchester at the time was based in Oxford road in Manchester and it shared the same building as BBC tv in the north-west and we shared the same cafeteria. One day I left my shift working at BBC Manchester and went to the cafeteria and I’m standing in the self-service cafeteria queue with my tray and got to the bit where the desserts were and there was a lemon meringue pie and it was phosphorescent yellow. We’re talking if you turn the lights out it will be glowing. It was just super hyper yellow.
I was just laughing about this with the guy who was next to me in the queue and it was a conversation that lasted 20 seconds and as I took my tray to pay and as I’m walking away he said, by the way what do you do?
I said I work downstairs for Radio Manchester. He said okay, ever fancied television? I said no.
He said if you ever fancy it give me a shout, Peter fifth floor. I continued my shift, but my curiosity at the end of the day got the better of me and I phoned reception and said is there a Pete who works in the fifth floor and they said only Peter the head of television, so I phoned him up and I went to see him.
I said is this for real?
He said yes there is something about you. I started working for at that point, the kids tv that was produced in Manchester, you might remember during the summer holidays every Saturday, basically, there was a show on BBC and ITV called Saturday morning swap shop. And on ITV it was the anarchic tiswas which was amazing, but during the holidays that was all produced in London and in the holidays they had the regions produce a kids tv show.
One holiday would be Manchester the other holiday home Newcastle, Cardiff and so these secondary kids tv shows came out of the area and I ended up working for the Manchester Saturday morning tv show, kids tv show.
One was called up to you and I did some reports about all sorts of different things. Travels, reviews of films that came out, history so it was just learning the art of being on telly and then at the same time I was doing the radio stuff to round off the story, I was doing some stuff for breakaway on radio four and on the trip doing some research with a guy who’s the series producer of wish you were here.
Wish you were here at the time were two major travel shows one was called holiday and that was on BBC and other one was wish you were here and that was presented by Judith Chalmers. In it’s day it was massive on Mondays at 7.30 and it had 25, 30 million people watching it.
So he saw me do my stuff for the radio show and said I like what you do, you bring the journalistic style which is I think we’ve got to get a bit more like that, would you do some reports for wish you were here for me? I ended up doing the stuff for wish you here which carried on for eight, nine years. When wish you were here ended one of the people I worked with
one of the directors left and started her own production company and wanted to do a property show and she knew that I’d done a lot of property in my own time and asked me to audition for that and help her come up with a bit more of a format for this show, which was homes under the hammer. you know it all.
It all begins with tv with a bit of lemon meringue pie.
Dr Ro: What do you think has made Homes under the hammer so endearing, why has it continued so successfully?
Martin Roberts: Me.
No not me, I like to think I have a large part to do with it. I tell myself in a jokey way but I do know what I’m talking about. I think there’s a lot of television which you can see through the fact that the presenter’s don’t know what they’re talking about.
From the start I have been very ad lib, I make my own stuff no script is all what I see and what my feelings are and I think people have commented that that’s really refreshing and they respect what I have to say. The show itself is aspirational but it’s realistic.
You could actually physically go to the auction by yourself and a lot of people having seen Homes under the hammer do exactly that. It’s not just the big developing types it’s mum and pop first time developers who give it a go. The format of the show is very appealing. Everything is linked to music that sort of fits and the fact that you see the start of the project at the start show and you have to wait until the end of the show to see how they got on, it’s all really good.
But you can’t take it for granted to have a format that survived 17 years and we’ve just been commissioned and in the process of making series 25 which takes us basically until 2022, that will be a 20 year run on the television show and to still have the kind of viewer figures that we get seemingly, the great outpouring of love for the show that’s something which I’ll never ever take for granted.
I’m very, very proud of it.
Dr Ro: I do believe that the UK public have a love for property, there’s this natural passion for it and I think secretly people want to do it and they don’t necessarily know how to do it and you bridge that gap as a starting point on the show.
Because your shock and your reaction to some of the things that people do is lovely and it’s like as you say it’s ad lib. It’s Martin’s reaction instantly to somebody doing a cracking deal or a crappy deal but people love that.
They want to get into your head and see what he’s thinking.
Martin Roberts: I have to be diplomatic but if you know me you’ll notice the eyebrow and as the years have gone by I’ve got less and less diplomatic.
The time I call people muppets is when they do something which could have gone terribly wrong for them like when they don’t read the legal pack, when they don’t visit the property before buying it.
I think, why did you do that because it could have gone so badly wrong and cost you so much money and in those instances, I don’t wish them bad but if they do well, which some of them do still manage to make a profit or do okay, I almost don’t want them to be successful.
I want them to fail because I want to discourage people by showing them what can happen if you don’t do those things as I don’t say them to be annoying, I say them because you really need to follow that advice.
Don’t buy without reading the legal pack, don’t buy without visiting the property beforehand.
Harms: That’s fair, because it gives people false confidence the next deal they do may be double the profit they’re aiming for but double the loss instead.
That’s a heck of history just as an investor yourself, just maybe, to help those listening that aren’t familiar with property as a vehicle for creating security or wealth.
Why in your mind is it such a because there are other ways people can make money, but why do you see it as such a great vehicle for creating security for families?
Martin Roberts: I think there are numerous other things that pop into the psyche on regular occurrences. Is it bitcoin? Is it gold, silver or its ostrich farms? Is it oversee property, car parking spaces?
I’m sure those people who get in quick and get out quick and make a killing on all those things however, for the majority of people by the time you hear about them it’s too late and you are probably being sucked into something which will all end in tears.
The thing about houses and we take it for granted, but we have a really strict process in place for the ownership of property and land. Other countries don’t have that you can absolutely and legally say you own that bit of land and that house that sits on land and before you buy it, your solicitor will have checked that you can actually be the owner of that said absolute right to that land or that bit of property.
So intrinsically you are investing in something which the price may go up or may go down, but intrinsically it’s safe, it’s a real physical thing. At the end of the day people will always need places to live so as a fallback if you strip away everything people don’t need ostriches, but they do need places to live.
Your commodity is something which will always have an intrinsic value and couple that with the fact that we live on an island where there aren’t enough houses for the people who want to own them or rent them. If you pair it all the way back, investing in an item, a product which there is a huge demand for, but not enough of. That’s got to be okay, you don’t need bitcoin, but you do need a house to live in.
Dr Ro: So true and as a father there’s that opportunity to leave some form of financial security for the kids in the future should they want to pick it up. It’s something you can start now but handover in the future.
Martin Roberts: Yes and I really like it when families get involved in development projects, when you see the father or the mother or the significant carer or whoever might be involving their offspring with them.
Talking about what am I going to do with my life, if you’re being taught how to put up a stud partition wall or how to design an interior to maximise the potential for somebody to buy that property afterwards or, if you’re learning what subsidence is. Or you’re learning how to tile the bathroom or just simple DIY projects and you’re doing it with your family, you’re passing on something which I believe is so much use to those future generations.
One of the things which I have done in lockdown I feel very passionately about DIY and how youngsters in fact even the older generation in the middle 30s and 40s they don’t know how to do basic things.
One of the things I did was working hard on my YouTube channel, which is Martin Roberts property, titbits, and one of the elements is that we have a DIY section and I’m teaching people basic DIY skills. There’s also a section on there which is DIY for kids. I’m not talking about re-rewiring the house or putting tiles on a roof but learning simple skills on how to use a drill safely. How to build a bike ramp or a swing ball, or a guinea pig hutch.
As I don’t want those DIY skills to disappear because trust me when you’re doing your renovations and you take on a project a lot people say how can you help me, I’m a first-time buyer? I always say buy something you can add value to you because one thing you’ve got endless amounts of is your time.
If you can actually learn some skills and you don’t have to know it right now you don’t have to be able to class, you don’t have to be able to do carpentry, but you can go to night school.
Or go online and do an online course and then you can put those skills to use and, yes, you’d love to own a house, but let’s buy something a bit smaller which you can add value to. Let’s put our own effort in, and if you’ve got DIY skills then we can really keep the costs of that renovation down and then we start building a little nest egg of equity which a few years down the line will end up being able to live exactly where we want to live. I think those skills.
Whenever I see people doing it as families I’m thinking they really are passing on teaching how to fish and not destroying fish.
Harms: Amazing, talking about teaching how to fish and not just giving someone a fish over the years you have seen hundreds and even thousands of people not only watch your show, but also attend your training programs.
Not many people will be aware that you have training programs that show people how to catch their own fish so as part of that one of my questions is with the show, or people who maybe don’t take your training programs, what are some of the common mistakes that you see people make in property when they don’t have the right knowledge?
Martin Roberts: I decided to write a book containing my experience. It’s like 101 what you need to know about investing in property, taking you through the whole process and then I followed it up with a property auction guide. Which is all about buying at auction again assuming you know nothing and teaching you why you should be doing it and how to do it most effectively.
I really felt watching it on telly is one thing, reading the books is one thing I really needed to teach people face-to-face as much as possible or a seminar online or webinar environment. The things that I’ve learnt and the strategy that you can adopt which will help and they can’t guarantee success, but it will stack things massively in your favour, which is why I started making money from property with Martin Roberts which has been running for 15 years or so now.
We take people and we teach them how to become property investors and seeing people go through that process is a bit like when I meet people who take my advice from the show and go onto success. Seeing people who have been to the training courses ending up with their dream portfolio of properties or lifestyle that they want, or whatever it might be.
I think to answer your question about what mistakes people make. I think to assume that you can just stumble into it and make a success of it, it always amazes me that people view property and property investment differently than any other career.
If you wanted to be a doctor, you wouldn’t just pick up a scalp and start stabbing away at someone who came to the door. If you wanted to run Eddie Stobart’s home haulage business, you wouldn’t say that the fact you can ride a bicycle, it’s not good enough experience. People will say I bought a house that makes me a property investor, yeah in the same way riding a bicycle means it’s a form of transport but you can’t run Eddie Stobart’s haulage business.
I think the biggest mistake that people make is not realising that you need to invest in yourself and your training.
You need to learn how to do it, to do it properly. You can buy a house and get away with it but if you want to run things properly and maximise profit and safeguard yourself against things going wrong, you need to learn how to do it properly and learn from people who know what they’re doing.
I think the biggest thing is, is not accepting that there is a lot to know and we do three-day training courses and by the end of the first day your brain is spinning because you literally did not know how much you didn’t know.
If you invest in yourselves and you believe in yourself enough to say I’m worthy of investment, then that’s something you’ve really got to do, you’ve got to say I’m worth this investment because it will enable me to fast track myself to success.
Not reaching out for support, not investing in yourself and unfortunately getting into those duff cars where the guy says I can take you wherever you want to go.
Not thinking and not checking things out before you throw money at things, there is no getting rich quick.
Dr Ro: I’m smiling listening to you because occasionally I get the occasional text or photograph from Martin and one that was nicely sent last year was, I think you’re out filming Homes under the hammer and you actually met two of the students that had been through one of your training.
I think I might have trained them as part of that process, but you were just over the moon to see that what they learnt in the training had now manifested into success as property investors out on the street.
Martin Roberts: Absolutely.
They were very glowing about you Ro and quite rightly, they were there living proof they were actually doing the Homes under the hammer story, but they were buying their fifth or so buy to let property and were living proof youngish couple. Mid to late 20s who had both got to this position by that point where they had given up their day jobs and they’d taken it on as a full-time thing. Really lovely to see that.
We were filming in Liverpool in penny lane and this black BMW top of the range rover came whizzing down the road and blacked out windows. There was a screech of brakes and high-speed reversing down the roads to where we were filming. This bejewelled hand came out the window and said Martin I had absolutely nothing until I started watching your show, I followed your advice and now I’m a multimillionaire thanks bud. And then zapped off into the distance.
That makes me feel fantastic.
Dr Ro: What an amazing journey you’ve come through to a point now where you’re not just inspiring people on the television, but you’re also educating people on how to do it properly.
What tips would you give someone thinking we’ve been watching for years we’ve been thinking about doing this we want to get started in property.
What would be the first tip you give to them? Behind that for anyone, maybe 50, 55, 60 thinking it’s too late for me it’s alright for people like Harminder in his 30s, but what about for me in my 50s can I do it?
Two questions, one for newbies but also for the older ones slightly nervous about starting now is it too late for them?
Martin Roberts: I don’t think it’s ever too late if it’s something you want to do.
If you’re comfortable in your lifestyle and you want to go and travel the world and whatever, property can provide a way of doing that. The reasons why people do it are many and varied.
We’ll talk about charity, which I think is a really important part of my journey and my belief in giving back, but you know we have met people on the show one couple who bought and they were in their mid-50s, and they supported an orphanage in Africa.
They wanted to think about the best way they could support the orphanage and they both shared a passion for property so they literally bought this property at auction. They were doing it up and they were going to give every single penny of the profit they made when they sold to this orphanage in Africa.
That was their driving force. You might be well off, you might be comfortable but it can be a way of generating funds to do that extra-thing you want to do or to give it away. I mean how amazing is that?
To answer the first part of the question, the steps I really do believe you need to get advice to get help from people who know what they’re doing. You need to invest in yourself in terms of training because otherwise there are so many pitfalls for the unwary and I do the training courses and so of course I’m not just going to say that, I do the training courses as I want to give people a safe route to achieving what they want to achieve.
My first point has to be just learn, learn, invest in yourselves as that’s a great starting point and then believe that it’s possible. Believe that with the right support and the right encouragement and the right knowledge, anybody can do this and that’s the great thing about property.
You don’t have to be like a prima ballerina. You don’t have to have some God-given talent; you have the ability to do this with the guidance in the right direction you have the ability. Again coming back to that thing which stops a lot of people doing anything and that is fear of failure, understand that that’s what’s stopping you, not the ability that you have with the help that you can reach out and get of doing it.
It is possible.
The only thing stopping you is you.
Harms: Just take Martin’s fearlessness that inspiration from when you walk into the office, but his tape at the top spoke to editors then spoke to tv head of television, it’s that fearlessness that we need to absorb.
I’m personally taking from Martin’s message here as well.
Martin if someone is sitting here super curious what is Martin’s preferred strategy.
Martin Roberts: A few things.
One of the most important things that I was told years ago when I was doing hospital radio and this is a principle for life. I went around the various wards and the ones where people have got a limited amount of time to live and I was talking to this one guy and he said I want to pass on some life advice. I’ll give you three words you should run your life by do it now.
Do it now because the number of times we shuffle paper or thought processes we never get around to doing it.
Do it now. Get it done and actually if you can adopt how much time do we spend worrying about stuff rather than doing it?
How much time do we spend proliferating moving that piece of paper around the desk four times in a row rather than just getting on with it and it will free yourself up so much. I would say my strategy has been wherever I can to try to do due diligence to try to make sure that I have found out as much as I can about the opportunities and has been as careful as I can, but there comes a point when you’ve just got to do it.
You’ve got to get on with it.
In terms of strategies I also believe in diversification because some would say it’s really good to focus and there are people who just purely focus on buying bits of land and get planning permission and then moving on.
Or people who just focus on HMO’s, houses of multiple occupation or people who just focus on social housing and that’s absolutely brilliant.
My strategy is a bit more of a diverse portfolio so I’ve got holiday lets, I’ve got commercial property. I’ve got to move on and flip on the kind of projects that I take on and I quite like the excitement of that mixture so I sort of adopt a more broad strategy, although, I would say it’s really good to focus on areas.
I’ve got a cluster of investments which I do around Plymouth, Derby and then you can build teams of people who can support you in those areas.
My strategy is don’t splatter gun geographically and try to stick to a few areas that maybe you can focus on for those reasons, but my personal strategy right or wrong is to throw in a bit of diversity.
Dr Ro: I love that. I’d say do go out and read the books.
I think the books are going to be made available on the podcast. One of the great things that he’s got inside of the training is this diversity, the importance of accommodating when the market conditions change, not being a one trick pony having a range of strategies in place to allow for that.
The fact he practices it and teaches it I think is important. I’m going to change direction Martin something that’s more personal to you and that’s to do with your foundation, the books, actually.
You were very kind. I think it was an event I spoke about two years ago in Bristol or Bath from memory and I was there. I met your lovely other half and she gave me a set of your books and you signed them. I took them home The Villes and Herman and his stories took over our house for a period.
I saw your books all over the bloody house Savannah was loving it and she was just so enthralled by that journey. I’ve always known you as an author of instructional information about real estate and suddenly this pops out of nowhere, take us on a journey. What was behind the books?
Why were they so important to you and what’s the big picture behind because it’s not just about creation of books.
Martin Roberts: It is diversified into a really important angle which I again I didn’t see coming but has become a really important part of the journey. If we fast forward to the fundraising for the charity about that sometimes the journey can be very frustrating and actually you get a ride you weren’t expecting.
But to take a step back when I was working in the early days on Homes under the hammer we had a sound recordist called James and whenever something went wrong or hot, or whether he would say I’m hotter than the hottest person in hotsville. Or I’m really hungry I am more hungry than the person in hungryville. Or I’m so bored I’m the most bored person in boredsville.
I liked the idea of the lands where something’s gone wrong and everyone was bored all the time, everyone in hotsville was always hot. I didn’t have kids at that point but I am creative. I started writing a series of books called the Villes.
Where there’s a whimsical, silly reason why everyone in hotsville is hot all the time or everyone in boredsville is always bored. I found writing the books just really flowed and then I found an amazing illustrator Jackie and she just really brought these stories to life.
There’s a central character called Herman who gets on a double-decker bus every morning and doesn’t know where he’s going but he turns up in one of the lands. He turns up in windyville and it’s always windy. He works with the locals and because they’re in it they don’t realise that it shouldn’t always be windy because they’re in it. it’s a metaphor for life.
They’re so busy digging or trying to survive that they don’t take a step back and say why is it always windy? He then steps in and he finds out the reason.
For instance in windyville there is a wind farm but the guys who built it is colour-blind, so he wired the wind turbines the wrong way round. So instead of absorbing the air they’re on blow so it is actually blowing all this air through windyville.
In hotsville the man who installs the boiler is Bob he unfortunately didn’t realise that the boilers he’s got are made in Sweden, so they’re calibrated in degrees Celsius as opposed to degrees Fahrenheit.
He turns them to 80 and of course it’s 80 degree Celsius, not surprisingly everyone’s houses are slightly warm. But what the books do is they encourage kids to think laterally and problem solve and I really like the concept of the idea and the books. I’ve always been a lifelong supporter of the NSPCC and my mum was heavily involved when I was growing up and I’ve done urban charity stuff for them. I thought, what else can I do?
I wrote a book called sadsville, where everyone is sad. Again, whimsical reason, the man making the crisps is putting real onions in the cheese and onion crisps so everyone is crying all the time so they appear sad, but they don’t realise it so they’re locked in this world where everyone is crying all the time.
So Herman turns up and works it out and they replace the seasonings. But the bigger metaphor is that if you’re sad, let’s try and look at why you’re sad and so I wrote this in conjunction with support of the NSPCC and child line and at the end of the book, it says, if you’re sad for any reason first of all check you don’t have real onions in your cheese and onion crisps, but after that, let’s just try and analyse why you’re sad.
And sometimes it’s okay to be sad, I call that good sad. Your pet dies or your holiday ends or your best friend moves away, you’re going to be sad and that’s part of life. It’s really important children know that that is if you like not pleasant but it’s okay.
The other end of the spectrum is bad sad I call it which is where you’ve been abused or you’re being neglected, being bullied and then you need to seek support and help and protection. It’s getting kids to recognise that difference and so I set out on this challenge and again talking about not being phased by challenges this has certainly been a fairly major one.
I decided that I want to give a free copy of Sadsville to every single eight and nine-year-old in the UK. That’s the age at which the NSPCC said that children really start to develop their emotions and if you can get to them at that stage and give them some guidance, then you can push them in the right direction rather than picking up the pieces afterwards.
So that’s 760,000 children every year so I needed about half a million quid. I set about this challenge to raise half a million quid to do this and set up my own charity, which is the Martin Roberts foundations the sort of vehicle for doing that and we raised enough money to do Bath about 7,000 copies to the kids in Bath.
Then we raised more money for Somerset, with another 14,000 in Somerset then Hampshire about 24,000 copies in Hampshire. I was slowly working my way through the country just trying to find donations and whatever and then Covid came along.
One of the things coming out of the analysis of what’s gone on to us all, is actually primary school children, the children who my book is targeted at or in danger of suffering more badly than almost any other age range.
If they’re younger than primary they don’t know what’s going on and don’t care, if they’re older than primary they’ve had some life experience, so they can put it in perspective. But this age range six to 10-year-olds have life experience to say there is a life prior to wearing a mask whenever you go out you into a shop, there is a life before mummy and daddy were crying at night because they can’t afford the mortgage.
There is a life when it wasn’t this silly old world that we live in at this time, so we really need to access those kids and to try to get them to talk about their emotions and open up that conversation.
I decided we need to get it out there soon, so I enlisted the support of Basil brush. He read the book for me and so we filmed him in his bedroom, reading the book. We put it together with simple animation and we released this video version of the book of Sadsville which is available for free on YouTube and we released it in June, along with some study materials to every single primary school in the UK.
We put it out there, we emailed every primary school in the UK. Running parallel to that I just happened to be at an event and I talked to this gentleman and I told him my story and sadly you’d be amazed things that come out of the woodwork you learn afterwards how many people have been abused or have been neglected or have had a difficult childhood, and he was one of them.
My story of what Sadsville really struck a chord with him and three weeks ago he gave me 50,000 quid for the charity, which will enable us in October to send out a free copy of Sadsville to every primary school in the UK along with all the study materials and along with a link to Basil brush.
We’ve also linked up with an organisation called Feneti who are producing a read along version of Sadsville where the kids read it will correct them and help them to read the book properly. In October to coincide with world mental health day hopefully October 10th we will be distributing this copy of the book in 24,000 schools and all the other resources and make them aware it’s all out there.
To a degree I’ve fulfilled my promise of trying to get this book to every single child in the UK, although not necessarily in the hardcopy format that I anticipated but in a digital version which they can have access to for free.
Dr Ro: That is amazing and I still remember those early conversations with you, hats off to you because you’ve persisted through some difficult times.
Martin Roberts: That is one where I have to say my resilience. I have noticed my resilience because there are a lot of very worthwhile charities out there, and when you’re battling against other people and those charities for funds and people have got limited resources it is really tough.
I’m not saying we’re there but we’ve done some fantastic things which I’m really proud of as that is a legacy. If as a result of what I’m doing one child is saved from abuse or neglect, then that’s my job done. That’s priceless.
Dr Ro: I agree. I think this subject is worthy of a bigger discussion.
Martin Roberts: Absolutely.
It is not just in children it’s in lots of areas of society and I think people need to address it and recognise it’s happening because it can cripple your life.
There’s subtle bullying and unfortunately, one thing people will encounter, which I ask them to just put in perspective when you go through this process becoming a property investor you will encounter jealousy.
You will encounter people who will be negative at you and they’ll criticise you for spending money on training or criticise you for making money out of property and say it’s going to go wrong.
But in this country we don’t really celebrate people who are successful, but I say that is a form of bullying. Stopping people doing what they could do by psychologically bullying them into feeling embarrassed about being successful. You could be a multimillionaire and you could have 10,000 in the bank and give away five point nine, nine, nine million of your money to charity.
Harms: That whole section was beautiful to listen to.
In the introduction listeners when I said Martin has the ability to balance passion and purpose and contribution now hopefully that should ring true and makes sense why that is the case.
The Martin Roberts foundation you described part of how it’s come about but what is the bigger vision?
What’s the bigger mission for the Martin Roberts foundation, what do you have in mind and your heart?
Martin Roberts: It’s charitable objective written on the charity website and is to support safeguarding and education initiatives for children and young people.
At the moment we’re supporting the Sadsville project and that’s a great place to start but moving forward we will look at just providing education or helping in educational safeguarding initiatives to help young people get what they deserve, which is a happy life. That could be doing more to teach young people about money and property investing, whatever it might be. It could be helping any charities other charities who are heavily involved in safeguarding.
We deliberately made the remit quite, quite wide so that we can support other things in the future, let’s see if I can get somebody who would give me enough money to be able to provide a hard copy of the book to every single year four pupil in perpetuity.
Because I know we live in a digital age and I know that having a book on iPad is a great thing, but having given out the physical books to children some of whom, of which this is the only book they own, to see the look on their faces when some stranger cares enough about them to give them a book which has a price on the back I think that is I can’t quite put into words why that is a great thing to strive for.
The main thing is to get the message out.
If I can end up saying I managed to give every single year four pupil in the country a copy of this book for free that would make me very happy bunny.
Dr Ro: I agree.
I think the beauty of it is that when you receive that gift it gives it more meaning when you open up and read the pages it’s an unconscious thing, but whoever is reading it will really attach a lot more meaning to it as well.
I think it will have a deep-rooted message which is fantastic.
Bearing in mind where we are at the moment we’re still not by a long shot out of Covid-19, and the impact of it. I think we’re going to see that over the coming months and over the next year or two ahead.
There’s been a lot of stress as you’ve said mums and dads, possibly losing jobs, kids not being able to get back-to-school, stress in the household.
From your journey, hitchhiking, your curiosity, fearlessness and all the characteristics that you’ve developed, evolved, and nurtured through the ups and downs what would be Martin’s message to people right now at this point in time?
Martin Roberts: Sometimes life is shit and we all go through it. I think the reality is you come out the other side and we will all come out the other side.
One of the things which has been, really touching in all this is that the world has been through this. I spoke to somebody in a call centre in the Philippines and I was asking how his family was and he was talking about their own lockdown.
So try and make the most of what is a terrible situation which coming back to the book sometimes things don’t go to plan. But it is about bouncing back and making the most of the circumstances you’re in. What I tried to do in lockdown rather than think of the 10 things I couldn’t do, I tried to think of the three things I wouldn’t have done had it not been for the situation I was in.
I look back to my mom actually and one event which I don’t know why it had such a profound sort of effect on me, but she had a car and one day she turns up in the back of an ambulance, she’d been driving down this road and a tractor pulled out of the farm gate without checking. Totally written off her car but had pushed her into this layby and when she came out the ambulance I said this is terrible and my mum said, I was so lucky because it happened right opposite a layby.
I was like mum you could’ve been killed by a careless tractor driver your car has been written off, you’ve come home in an ambulance and your spin on this is weren’t you so lucky that it all happened opposite a layby.
I don’t know if that when in somewhere and I’m not saying you can always be that positive, but if you can at least try to focus on the three things you can do or have been able to do rather than the 10 things you haven’t.
I think that hopefully helps cope and also the fact that we’re all in it together and that I am a great believer in things that happen for a reason.
This is a really dodgy ride, but the next ride you get wouldn’t have happened if it had not been for this.
Dr Ro: I’m getting goosebumps here. I wrote down at the start of this interview when you started describing your early life. I wrote a question which was what were the values that he got from his parents?
Because as you are describing you’ve already described something you took from your mum. I think we sometimes forget that if we’ve got great parents around us put the stress aside but impart a message upon us it stays with us for life. It sounds like one of those things that you took from your mum, are there any other things, great qualities, or values that you picked up from your parents in that early stage of your life?
Martin Roberts: That was a really big one.
My dad was just a rock and mum was the flamboyant, active, out there and he was just a real stable character and I think he taught me to respect everyone’s different and everyone has different qualities. They might not be you but actually sometimes the combination of those characteristics works really well, especially in relationships. If you’re both the same then it necessarily doesn’t work but if you have a combination of characteristics and personalities that can be a really good thing.
Harms: Amazing, as we wrap this up Martin, do you have any final parting words for our listeners?
Martin Roberts: I love this story of these people looking for the magic trick, looking for the quick fix, the magic bullet. I’m reminded of the story of the American tourists who visited one of the stately homes in Britain and they are standing there looking out across acres and acres of beautifully manicured grass and perfect design and this grass is utterly perfect and they happen to have the opportunity of speaking to the head gardener and they said, what’s the trick of making your grass so perfect?
He said it’s simple you throw down the seeds and you roll it and mow it for 200 years.
The reality is sometimes there isn’t a trick you’ve got to keep doing it and doing it and doing it and in the end you’ll get there.
Dr Ro: Your story has been the personification of that and I wrote another word in there alongside fearlessness, but curiosity seems to be one of your great qualities as well.
Curious about people, life.
Martin Roberts: I am genuinely interested in people. Everyone has a story to tell whether it’s the man sweeping the street or a professor at the university.
If you can find that story and ask them about that story, then you’ll make them feel good about themselves and you learn about them.
Dr Ro: Amazing as a personal friend thank you so much for coming on and sharing I think parts of your story that most of us weren’t aware of actually.
Martin Roberts: I have told you things I’ve never told anyone.
Dr Ro: I loved it. Thank you so much.
Thank you Martin for joining us on today’s episode.
Martin, thank you so much from myself, Ro and Martin. We shall see you in the next episode. Take care.
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