When people ask Stephanie Perry what she does for a living, she answers, “as little as possible.”
Of course, that’s not really true. Stephanie travels the world and runs her own small business. But she still feels like she really lucked out.
“When I first started house sitting, I felt like a genius,” Stephanie told us. “I thought, ‘I have hacked life.’”
Stephanie uses a website called TrustedHousesitters.com to book gigs in locales all over the world taking care of others’ homes, plants, and pets.
She also runs a Youtube series called “House Sitter School,” offering advice on how to travel the world just like her.
“I haven’t paid a rent, mortgage, or utility bill since 2015,” Stephanie said. And the best part of this lifestyle is that you can live it too.
Becoming a world traveler
Before becoming a professional house sitter, Stephanie used to work at a pharmacy. She always felt a burning desire to see the world, but she just didn’t know how.
She started by taking a short break from work in 2015 to travel around Southeast Asia and Australia. When she came back, she was offered her old job at the pharmacy– but she just couldn’t bring herself to return to a life of drudgery.
“We’re told to spend our early years while we’re still young and healthy sitting in an office or wearing down our body at work. And then we’re told to somehow enjoy life in the process. It’s a scam!”
That’s when Stephanie discovered TrustedHousesitters.com. “I literally typed, ‘How do I travel with no money?’ into Google, and the first thing that came up was this blog post by a blogger called the Professional Hobo.”
She started with a local gig, supplying a letter of recommendation, and TrustedHousesitters.com conducted a brief background check as an insurance policy for the homeowner. Then, once she had successfully completed her first housesitting job with a 5-star review, she officially joined the company as a professional house sitter.
And she hasn’t looked back since!
So what does a house sitter do?
As a house sitter, Stephanie has looked after large estates and small city apartments. Here’s some of the wisdom that Stephanie shared with us about the house sitting hustle:
- House sitting is mostly about the pets: The most common reason people hire a house sitter is to have someone around to take care of their pets. But Stephanie has also done her fair share of yard work and plant care, too. “Mostly people just want their pets to be loved and their house to not look like it’s abandoned,” Stephanie explained.
- House sitting can be a long-term gig: The gigs can last anywhere from a few days to 3 months, but some homeowners will hire a house sitter for an even longer amount of time. Over the years, Stephanie has established relationships with regulars who trust her, and even recommend her to their friends.
- TrustedHousesitters.com is the safest route: While Stephanie has been doing this for years, it’s not a good idea for new house sitters to start booking gigs on their own without a vetting process. Working with TrustedHousesitters.com allows both the homeowner and the house sitter to know that the person they’re partnering with is trustworthy and can be vouched for.
- House sitting can take you all over the world: “My favorite job was one of the shortest I ever worked– it was in the countryside outside of Amsterdam during Easter. The flower farms were in full bloom, and it was the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen.”
Stephanie’s travels have taken her from the Netherlands to the UK to Mexico, and all over the United States. And working from home (or homes) has given her time to pursue work that she really wants to do. She started out by forming her first small business as a virtual assistant.
But in recent years, she has been devoting her energy to her passion project: House Sitter School.
House Sitter School
The spirit of Remote Hustle really shines through Stephanie when she talks about House Sitter School.
“I’ve always wanted to make a living out of what I really wanted to do, and teaching other people how to house sit is a perfect way to achieve that dream. Do your thing and teach your thing!”
Stephanie’s main course is available for free on Youtube, where she covers topics ranging from how to book your first gig, to what apps and tools are most valuable to the traveling house sitter.
You can also check out her blog to sign up for an intensive video course that will teach you everything you need to know about house sitting.
“House sitting allows you to have a truly well-rounded life, not just centered on your job– and it’s something you can put into practice yourself. That’s why I want to make sure everyone is able to realize that potential and live their best lives.”
Is house sitting right for you?
Although it may seem like a dream come true, house sitting poses some difficulties newcomers may need to overcome.
The most pressing question on many people’s minds is whether house sitting is safe in the era of COVID-19.
“House sitters are usually just sitting in an empty house,” Stephanie responds to this question. “Most of the time you won’t even see the client you’re working for.”
Every experience is different, she says. Some homeowners are pretty nervous and want to check in frequently, while others might leave a key under the mat and never even meet you face-to-face.
Beyond the risk of COVID infection, there are some other aspects of the job that can make it difficult or stressful for some. “You have to be pretty self-reliant, and you can’t ask a million questions.”
On the other hand, not asking enough questions can get you into trouble. Stephanie recalled one job where she worked for a homeowner who didn’t have any reviews or recommendations from previous house sitters.
She ended up fairly uncomfortable around the dog because of an issue with his collar that she wasn’t warned about. “I definitely should have asked more questions,” Stephanie admitted.
Still, if the responsibility doesn’t seem like too much for you, then house sitting is the perfect opportunity to satisfy your wanderlust.
Although Stephanie is beginning to settle a bit, and is working hard to build her new business, she says she never wants to give up the life completely.
“I always want to mix in house sitting with whatever I’m doing. It’ll always be my first go-to if I want to travel somewhere. But I do enjoy staying longer in one place these days.”
Whether you’re a lifelong globetrotter or you’re just looking for a short opportunity to travel, house sitting can get you where you need to go.