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Everyone who has a little bit of land typically has dreams of using that land to make some extra income. A big fancy home won’t help you financially, but the land that it sits on can! There are so many ways to make your own homestead income. You just have to figure out what would be best for you.
Let’s talk about how to make that sometimes elusive homestead income!
How To Make Homestead Income A Reality
When you’re trying to make an income off of your homestead, you need to take a lot of things into consideration. Homestead income, while doable, doesn’t usually come easy. If it was, we would all be doing it, am I right? Here are the steps you need to take in order to make a good homestead income.
Decide what you enjoy doing, and what you’re good at
What are you good at? What do you like to do? In order to make your dreams of a good homestead income come true, you need to decide what you enjoy doing.
Take some time to do a “brain dump” of all the things that you enjoy doing on your homestead. And another “brain dump” of what you’re good at. If you find there are a few items that show up in both categories, write those down! Those will be the best fit for you to start looking at making an income with.
Explore the homestead income possibilities
Can you make an income from your desired product or service? You need to do some serious research. Google will be your friend here. Type in “making money from _______”, and see what comes up. Read those articles! Then go to YouTube and do the same. Are other people making money from your desired product or service? If yes, chances are you can too.
After you’ve determined you can make money at this, go to Facebook and join groups specifically about your desired product or service. FarmBuilder Entrepreneurs is a great Facebook group for learning to improve and market your homestead business. The more specific groups you can get, the better. Read, interact, and learn!
Assess the viability of your desired product
How much land do you have? Land availability can be a limiting factor. Can you make a homestead income off of 1/3 of an acre? It’s possible, but it may be very difficult. If you love cattle and are good at working with them, but only have an acre or two, that’s not going to give you the income you’ll likely need. If you’re able to get more land, do so only if you’re pretty certain that your homestead income idea is viable.
Another thing to consider when determining your homestead income goals is saturation. Does your local area already have enough cattle ranches? Is the local farmer’s market already stocked to the brim with honey? This will need to be investigated as well, but it doesn’t have to necessarily be a game changer. There are lots of online opportunities as well. If there is already too much local competition, can you expand to an online operation?
Research legal limitations on your desired product
Can you realistically, legally, produce what you want to produce? A lot of homestead income ventures are very regulated by the USDA. Make sure you do lots of research on legal limitations that you might have on your desired product. If you want to sell eggs, do they have to be in new cartons and labeled? What are your state’s restrictions on milk sales? What are the cottage food laws for your state?
You have to be certain that you can legally sell what you’re wanting to sell. No use in investing money into something that you aren’t allowed to sell, right?
Consider the money you have for startup costs
How much money do you have to invest? Some homestead income ventures will cost A.LOT.OF.MONEY to start up.
With cattle, for example, you would have to buy lots of land, lots of cows, and install lots of fences. Nurse cows (depending on the breed) will be around $1,000 USD each.
There are, of course, some homestead income ventures that don’t require as much investment. Soap making can be a good source of income, can be marketed locally or online, and has fairly minimal startup costs. And goat’s milk soap would be a great option if you already have some dairy goats!
Figure out how much homestead income you need
How much money do you need to make? You probably already have an idea of how much income you need to survive. Now you need to decide if you’re going to go all-in and make this homestead income your main income. If your homestead venture is very time-intensive, you might not be able to have an off-the-farm job. However, if you can do your homestead venture as a side-gig, this is definitely a safer option.
Especially when first starting out, you shouldn’t rely on your homestead income as your full-time income. Homestead income can vary so dramatically, depending on the season, the market, and your marketing abilities.
You should also consider lowering your household expenses as much as possible, at least while the income isn’t steady. Reducing your food budget can go a long way in cutting household expenses. And most of the time, the food budget is where we have the most wiggle room!
Set realistic homestead income goals
Is your potential homestead venture going to give you the income you need? Some ventures will obviously give you more income than others. Will you make $30K/year selling eggs for eating? Probably not. Best to use that one as a small side venture to offset the cost of feeding the chickens. Can you make $30K/year selling hatching eggs, pullets, or laying hens? That’s a little more doable, provided you have the space and resources available.
Setting realistic homestead goals will put you on the right track. If your goals are set too high, you’ll be disappointed and give up before you realize your full potential.
Write down your goals, and the steps you need to take
In order to make your dreams a reality, you need to write them down. Write down your income goals, as well as the steps that you need to take to achieve those. Please keep in mind that building a business is just that – building! You’re likely not going to make a lot in your first year. Or maybe in the second. But if you keep going, keep building, you’ll eventually get it down.
Take note of any infrastructure projects that you’ll need to conquer in order to build this business. Are you going to need a big milk barn? Or fence your whole 20 acres? Or can you get by with just makeshift shelters? Think about all of these things in the steps you need to take. I have a download that you can print off to write down your goals. It’s not editable, but it’s totally free, and it breaks it down to 1st year, 2nd year, and 3rd year homestead goals. You can get it here.
Make a homestead business plan
What is a business plan? According to investopedia.com, “A business plan is a written document that describes in detail how a business—usually a new one—is going to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a written plan from a marketing, financial and operational viewpoint.”
Every successful business has a business plan in place. It’s what guides all of our decisions, our purchases, our
marketing, and our day-to-day operations. Sit down with your family (or business partner) and set out a business plan. This is a great article from the U.S. Small Business Administration on making a business plan.
That’s right, NOW is the time to start! Buy those cows, get that equipment, build that barn. Don’t procrastinate. It’s never going to feel like the “perfect time”, but if you don’t just start, you may never do it!
Homestead income ideas
- Breed and sell cattle for beef or milk
- Raise and sell meat or dairy goats
- Sell chickens for eggs or breeding
- Raise turkeys for meat
- Raise ducks for meat or eggs
- Sell pigs for meat
- Raise and sell sheep for meat and wool
- Make soap for craft fairs or online
- Make crafts to sell at craft fairs or online
- Sell compost
- Raise and sell rabbits for pets, meat, or fur
- Tap maple trees for syrup
- Raise honeybees and sell honey
- Spin your own wool to sell
- Sell produce at the farmer’s market
- Sell seedlings at the farmer’s market
- Save your heirloom seeds and sell them
- Start a fruit tree orchard and sell saplings
- Pick-your-own fruit farm
- Build a corn maze
- Hold workshops at your homestead to teach
- Sell rabbit manure
- Can and sell jams or jellies
- Bake bread or cakes for sale
- Grow and sell herbs (fresh or dried)
- Start a CSA
- Build chicken coops
- Grow flowers for sale
- Raise and sell worms for fishing or gardening
- Raise mealworms to sell to chicken lovers
- Sell milk
- Make cheese
- Sell butter (herbed butter sells well)
- Make yogurt
- Grow and sell hay
- Make and sell jerky
- Make and sell sausage
- Tan and sell hides
- Grow and sell mushrooms
- Sell firewood from your property if you have a wooded lot
Are you inspired to make your own homestead income?
I hope I have inspired you to work towards your own homestead income! Do you have more ideas that I didn’t include? Help me out and leave a comment!
This post may be shared on Family Homesteading and Off The Grid Blog Hop, Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Farm Fresh Tuesday, and Old Paths to New Homesteading & Self-Reliant Living.