Maeve Maguire was the first guest featured on the “Obstacle Course” podcast. (File photo)

From Eco Lawn to Obstacle Course, Cowichan entrepreneur is branching out

Lush Eco Lawn owner John Close is branching out.

With a decade of working in lawn care under his belt, Close, from the Cowichan Valley, finally feels the time is right for a passion project — helping people. Together with friend and co-host Andrew Langford, Close has started producing a weekly podcast, an audio program they’ve dubbed Obstacle Course.

The show runs roughly an hour and a new episode is published every Wednesday.

“For right now it’s just a passion project that we both believe in,” Close said. “We love being together. We’re talking about this stuff anyways. We love hearing stories from people. It really wasn’t a leap for us.”

Podcasts are free digital audio programs that can be accessed on demand online, from either an app like iTunes, or from various other websites and/or services. Listeners can subscribe and have them delivered to their device, or they can browse at their leisure.

Podcasts take on all shapes and sizes and subject matter. The variety is limitless.

“We just wanted to focus in on sort of the everyday obstacle,” Close explained. “Yeah it’s impressive that a guy can swim across a lake with one arm but that’s not necessarily the obstacle that the everyday person connects to. They connect to “How do I raise young kids and keep my job?” or “How can I leave my job and start a business?” There are so many obstacles out there. It’s an endless subject and there’s a million stories.”

Obstacle Course is in the social sciences section on iTunes and has made appearances on Apple’s “New and Noteworthy” list as well.

“It’s kind of cool. It’s not like we stay there for days at a time but we crack them,” Close said of the podcast, which just began publishing in March. “It varies wildly depending on: did you have an episode that was just released? What day of the week is it? What time is it? Typically we stay in the top 50, but we were ninth a couple days go. They just show the top 200 and there’s thousands more, so we’re still happy with our first month.”

Close said it was never his intention to make lawn care his life’s work. He’s always felt compelled to help people who are stuck in their life or to help people change mindsets or change their lifestyles.

“The challenge is how do you find a way to do that in a unique way that’s you that people respond to,” he said. “I’ve tried a lot of things. I write blogs, I offer coaching services, I do speaking here and there and that arena is just so saturated, it’s hard to stand out. With the podcast, it just kind of came to me and I talked to my buddy about it, who is also interested in the same stuff, and it’s sort of taken off finally.”

Close and Langford record at a studio in Victoria and, thus far, their guests have been mostly from the Cowichan region. Their first guest was former North Cowichan councillor Maeve Maguire.

“Maeve Maguire was a good first one,” Close said. “I’m close with her and she was a great first conversation.”

Maguire had nothing but praise for the podcast and its hosts.

“John and Andrew have created a brilliant new podcast about ordinary people who have made extraordinary choices and are better for it,” she said. “I’ve listened to them all and each story inspires me for different reasons. The common thread is that they make me challenge assumptions about myself. I love it. I look forward to every new episode. I think they’ve landed on something very exciting.”

The duo has also talked with Jason Storie, the Duncan resident who was trapped in a cave and almost died, and Heather McLeod, the beloved Cowichan farmer who lost her husband to cancer.

“We’ve got some guests coming up that are probably going to launch us into the next level for sure,” Close said. “It’s pretty exciting.”



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s West Coast Rangers hold rendezvous

Three-day event featured historical re-enactment

Port Alberni Port Authority talks logistics for cruise ship visit

Some restrictions for pedestrians, boaters will be in place

Port Alberni’s ‘Army of Problem Solvers’ to the rescue

Facebook group gathers people who just want to help their neighbours

Hurricane Katrina inspires Alberni author’s new novel

Jacqueline Swann brings message of climate change to life with story of fictional journalist

Port Alberni RCMP searching for missing teenage girl

16-year-old Lasheena Seward was reported missing from a group home on May 9

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Most Read