There are a lot of good reasons to live a homesteading lifestyle. For many, it’s about ensuring their family has healthy food on the table. For others, it’s about resisting consumerism and reliance on large corporations. And for parents, it’s often about raising their kids in a way that fosters life-long learning, happiness, and resilience.
For anyone first entertaining the idea of homesteading, some of the more appealing potential benefits are working for yourself, not being tied to a 9-to-5 job, and spending more time with family. So, often, a major question that needs to be addressed early on is, “How will we make enough money?” The reality for most homesteaders is that there will always be a need for some level of earnings to pay for things that cannot be bartered for or created from materials provided by the land. Even if you become a super productive, off-grid homestead, there are always taxes to pay.
How Do Homesteaders Make Money?
So, how do homesteaders make money? Frankly, it depends on the homesteader. Some families continue to have dual income from off-homestead jobs and treat homesteading as their main hobby, some families have one off-homestead earner and one who primarily runs the homestead, and others attempt to run productive, profitable farmsteads that earn their family enough to live a comfortable life.
On our homestead, we have one full-time, off-homestead earner, plus my freelance writing work. Because I work from home as a freelance marketing content writer, I am able to take care of general homesteading chores, to have a large enough garden to sell vegetables at a roadside stand, and to sell our duck eggs. I also run an offshoot business selling apparel and home goods that I either design or curate specifically for homesteaders, gardeners, and home cooks.
Because no two people have the exact same needs, life circumstances, or skills, earning money as a homesteader means figuring out what works for you and your family. That being said, if you’re in the midst of trying to figure it all out for yourself, there are a number of great resources that can help. There are more people out there living the homesteading lifestyle than you might think, and they’re sharing their ideas about how to create an income from a homestead all the time. In the next section, I’ll give you a few quick tips and ideas followed by a list of other incredible resources.
Coming Up with Ideas for Making Money as a Homesteader
The first thing to do is take a good look at what your skills are (or what skills you want to acquire because you can always learn something new). Can you make extra of something that can be sold (e.g. bread, vegetables, eggs, jams)? Can you provide a service within your community (e.g. fixing cars, plowing snow, farm sitting)?
Then, look at what your homestead can offer. Is your land good for grazing animals, growing vegetables, or producing wood? Do you have enough land for a U-pick operation or renting sites to campers?
Below is a simplified checklist that gives you a broad view of what you need to do to offer a product or service in your community.
Homestead Income Idea Checklist
- Assess your skills and assets
- Decide whether and how the work to produce your good or provide a service fits or could fit into your life
- Evaluate whether there is a market for your product or service and how much to charge (look at the competition, identify opportunities where there is a need not being filled)
- Research local, state, and federal tax laws, business laws, and safety regulations related to your offering
- Make your product
- Market your product or service and tell everyone you know about it
10 Ideas for Earning Money from Your Homestead
If you need a little inspiration to get started, here are 10 of the most common ways to earn money from a homestead:
- Sell farm-fresh eggs
- Start a roadside stand to sell fruits and/or vegetables
- Make specialty cheeses for sale
- Keep bees and sell the honey
- Sell firewood
- Create handmade soap and candles for sale
- Set up camping sites for rent
- Knit, sew, or crochet apparel and home goods for sale
- Make custom wood furniture
- Sell culinary or medicinal herbs
It’s worth noting again that you should always check local, state, and federal laws and regulations regarding the sale of whatever items you choose to produce and sell. In some cases, you may need to be registered as a business or home-based business, have a sales tax certificate, or follow safe handling and packaging regulations. It isn’t usually too hard for a farm to sell directly to consumers, but there tends to be a little more government oversight when it comes to food and value-added food items, such as eggs, jams, baked goods, and canned goods to ensure public safety.
For even more inspiration, check out these extensive lists by a few expert homesteaders: