“Eh… So where does your money come from?”
Hands down, this is the question I get the most often… And if people aren’t asking it, I can tell they are thinking it. 😉
First off, let’s clarify a few things:
Like I mentioned in my homestead myth-busting post, becoming a modern homesteader doesn’t necessarily mean you head for the hills, go completely off-grid, and live off the land entirely. (Although I suppose you could go that route if you wanted…)
For me, modern homesteading is a magical concoction of old-fashioned skills mixed with our modern-day conveniences. Although we raise a lot of food on our property, are obsessive DIYers, and try to be as self-sufficient as possible, my husband had a “job in town” for years, and there are times when I’m quite thankful for the local grocery store. It’s a balance.
That said, I think most of us homestead-folks would agree: the sign you’ve officially “arrived” as a modern homesteader is the day you create an income exclusively from your land. It’s something definitely on our list of goals, and we are achieving it in our own way (more on that later). However, we didn’t start out this way, and we limped along for several years before we found what works for us to support our homestead and grow our dreams.
Thankfully, the ways of making money while homesteading are endless. Here is a list to jump-start your entrepreneur juices—>
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UPDATE 2021: Want to LEARN ways to make money from homesteading? Check out my new course Self-Funded Homestead which contains specific frameworks, budget spreadsheets, and lots of details and knowledge to help you learn how to make money from home through your favorite homesteading adventures.
39 Ways to Make Money Homesteading
Selling Food Products
The downside to selling food you’ve grown or made, is dealing with restrictive food safety laws (especially in regards to meat and milk). Do your homework first and looked into your state’s regulations extensively before proceeding. One strategy to help avoid red tape is to sell the animals themselves, rather than the food product. For example: if you are raising meat chickens for profit, you can often sell the bird without as many hoops to jump through, as compared to selling cut and wrapped chicken breasts.
1. Sell eggs — someone is ALWAYS wanting farm-fresh eggs!
2. Sell extra milk from your goats or cow.
3. Start a cowshare or goatshare program — This is one way to work around raw milk laws– just do your homework first.
4. Sell cheeses or other homemade dairy products.
5. Sell broilers or meat birds (Joel Salatin’s book, Pastured Poultry Profits, will give you the scoop on this.)
6. Raise and sell grassfed steers for beef
7. Raise and sell heritage turkeys, ducks, or geese.
8. Raise and sell tilapia or other farmed fish (This is actually something we’ve looked into extensively, believe it or not! It’s my husband’s dream to own a fish farm.)
9. Grow extra vegetables and herbs to sell at your local farmer’s market
10. If you have an orchard, berry bushes, or fruit trees, sell fresh fruit
12. Make and sell homemade jams, jellies, and preserves
13. Keep bees and sell local honey and beeswax
14. Become a mushroom farmer, and delight the ‘shroom lovers in your area.
As interest in modern homesteading increase, more and more people are on the lookout for dairy animals, heritage-breed chickens, and other options for increasing their self-sufficiency. If you plan to breed animals, please become knowledgeable in the bloodlines, breeding practices, and desired characteristic of that breed. Do not breed just anything that comes along–know your stuff and strive to create the best progeny possible.
15. Incubate eggs and sell day-old chicks to other homesteaders
16. Raise worms — either for fishing purposes, or raise red wigglers to sell to other people interested in compost worms
17. Breed, raise, and train family milk cows or dairy goats to sell to other homesteaders
18. Breed sheep or meat goats
19. Keep a ram, buck, or bull and charge for stud services.
20. Start a dog boarding service or pet-sitting business.
21. Raise bottle calves, sheep, or goats.
22. Keep fiber animals and sell wool
Homemade Products & Services
Have skills? Put ’em to use!
23. Make and sell homemade soaps, lotions, and balms
25. Put your knitting or sewing skills to work and create homemade hats, gloves, scarves, blankets, and more
26. Use your carpentry skills to create rustic handmade furniture or other wooden items
27. Use metal-working skills to create personalized signs or horseshoe creations
28. Have land that needs clearing? Cut and sell firewood.
29. Rent out your pasture or land for others to graze their livestock on
30. Become a compost-master and sell the best garden fertilizer for miles around
31. Use your greenhouse to grow and sell bedding plants and seedlings
Create an Experience
People are enchanted with the idea of farming and homesteading right now. Share your unique lifestyle with them!
33. Turn your house into a Bed & Breakfast and give your guests a first-hand taste of homestead life
34. Grow a pumpkin patch, and create the ultimate fall farm experience in October.
35. If you live in an especially picturesque location, rent out your pasture, barn, or land for weddings, parties, photo shoots, or other events.
36. Start a Community-Supported-Agriculture program (CSA).
Many aspects of homesteading are not second-nature to most people, and they’ll happily pay you to show them the ropes.
37. Start a blog or website — This is near and dear to my heart, as it is the income stream which has allowed us to create a full-time income while I stay at home to raise the kids. Blogging is HARD work and takes a lot of time, but it’s also very fulfilling. This post explains how I’ve created my blogging income, and I also have an online course where I’ll teach you my “secrets”, if blogging appeals to you.
38. Teach classes — Cheesemaking, fiber arts, meat processing, soap making, candle making, beekeeping… If you have mastered an aspect of homesteading, there’s a good chance others will pay to learn from you!
40. Teach natural health solutions — this is what I’ve chosen to do in my essential oil business, which comprises the bulk of our income, and has made things like our crazy home remodel possible. I tell more of my essential oil business story here and how it has completely transformed our homesteading goals & dreams.
The main thing all of these ideas have in common? They all take time and effort. Starting your own business or becoming an entrepreneur doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll have to make a plan, overcome obstacles, and push through the times you want to give up.
The reward for the blood, sweat, and tears? Massive satisfaction, and a well-deserved income. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy, but it’s absolutely and totally worth it. 🙂
And, of course, don’t forget to check out my new Self-Funded Homestead course to learn how to make money from homesteading.
My Favorite Homestead Income Resources:
- How to Make Money Homesteading by Tim Young – A fabulous resource which will help you formulate a business plan and find inspiration in your homestead business ventures.
- Pastured Poultry Profits by Joel Salatin – This book will give you a detailed plan of how to raise and sell meat birds for profit.
- You Can Farm by Joel Salatin – The entrepreneuer’s guide to start and succeed in a farming enterprise.
- Blogger Blueprint – My 6-week online course where I show you exactly how I make an income from my blog (and how you can too).
Listen to the Old Fashioned On Purpose podcast #52 about 4 Ways to Make Money On Your Homestead HERE.