How To Homestead For A Living

If you’re looking for ways to homestead for a living, I’ve got a few ways you can do this, alongside other useful tips as well.

Homesteading allows us to be entirely self-sufficient, without the need for money or other luxuries such as cable, electricity, and the internet. Yet, we can still do most of this while off-grid.

However, it’s still nice to have some money to take care of business, so I’m going to cover a few ways proven to make money by homesteading. These include livestock and gardening.

I think the number one point here is to be patient. While you can certainly make money the first year, it will be just a small portion of what the income will look like long-term.

It’s also imperative to have a solid plan, as not having one can leave you at a standstill when business isn’t rocking initially.

Last but certainly not least, be diverse. This means you shouldn’t stick with just one or two options. Make sure you have multiple sources of income in case one slows down.

5 Best Ways To Make Money On A Homestead

Chickens

Chickens are a must-have for novices wanting to make money on their homestead. I say this because chickens are so easy to raise, and they’re straightforward to sell. 

The first way to make money with chickens is by selling their eggs. Chicken eggs sell like fire, so you’ll be able to sell just as many that are laid, whether it be ten or a thousand. 

You can also sell poultry meat, which also sells very well, but in some areas, you may need a license first. Breeding is another way to make money and maybe even among the best.

If you’ve never been to an auction before, you should know that chickens do not stay on the podium very long. That means, as, with eggs, you’ll be able to sell as many as you can raise very quickly. 

Keep in mind that you will want an area to process the poultry and store it correctly as well, which is going to cost a pretty penny if you do it the right way.

Peacocks

I’ve raised, bred, and sold peacocks and their eggs several times, and they can net an excellent income. However, it’s far easier if you have connections, which can be made at auctions. 

A fully grown peacock can sell for up to $250-$500 depending on the breed, which is a decent amount. Their eggs, however, can net you up to $100-$250, so pick your poison. 

The best part about peacocks, though, is their beauty. You’d be hard-pressed to find another bird as beautiful as a peacock. 

You can also sell their feathers. While they won’t make you rich by themselves, if sold alongside the eggs and birds, too, it adds up.

Feathers can sell for around $10 for the eye feathers, while the shorter ones sell for roughly $5, give or take. Raising peacocks is not hard at all; as long as you make sure to provide them with all the proper care, it will pay off in the long-run.

Honey Bees

Beekeeping is a very financially rewarding business if done correctly. I can say from experience that honey sells very quickly.

I’ve had nearly 100 hives at once and essentially never had any honey in storage due to it being so in-demand.

I remember having to harvest a hive just to meet a request, so to say it will be easy to sell is an understatement. 

You can also make money by selling beeswax, which can be used to make candles, candies, lip balm, and more. Plus, the wax and honey can be combined to create tasty sweets too.

A prevalent option on my end was strawberry chews. Most shops will gladly post your honey for sale. Some of them do demand a fee, but many will happily do this for free. 

One hundred hives can net you up to twenty-five thousand dollars per year, so do the math to your liking.

Turkeys

Turkeys are an excellent-looking bird when it comes to business. They are one of the easiest birds to raise; I’d say they’re just as simple to raise as chickens are. 

Though the highest number of turkey sales happen during the Thanksgiving holiday season, they sell very well during other times of the year too. That holds even more true when they’re locally raised, a plus for many buyers.

Plus, their eggs are surprisingly popular at auctions, which can be used to cook or hatch and raise if they’re fertile. 

Bourbon Reds are one of the best turkeys to start with, as they’re usually very healthy birds and can sell for up to $40 each. 

Local butchers and taxidermists love to buy locally raised turkeys, as they commonly have connections to call when turkey meat is available. 

The only negative is that turkeys need much more room than chickens. If you are smart with pen design, however, then you can easily condense and save space.

Gardening

If you don’t want to mess with livestock and all of its daily responsibilities, then another way you can make money is by gardening. 

There are several ways to approach this, so you’ll have a free-range as to what you’d like to do. You can plant crops such as tomatoes, okra, squash, or peas, just to name a few. 

If you play your cards correctly and make positive the crops grow into healthy and mature plants, then you can quickly sell them at farmers’ markets or by posting them online, which I’ll cover shortly. 

People love to feast on locally grown food, whether it be livestock, vegetables, or fruits, so it should prove easy to sell them. 

However, you can’t expect to make money as quickly as you otherwise would with livestock. 

Gardening takes time, and you probably won’t have the garden you hoped for the first year or two. If you stick with it, though, you’ll have a steady income in no time.


Where To Sell The Product

Online

An excellent place to post your product for sale may not be where you’d expect, it’s undoubtedly not traditional, but it works.

Start by posting in local Facebook groups that you have a whole turkey’s for sale, or you’ve just harvested 500 pounds of squash; I promise they’ll flock to you right away with high demand.

Lastly, try posting the fertile peahen eggs on eBay. These can net you a few hundred dollars, and from my experience, they sell very fast. Imagine selling just one egg per day for $250.

Farmers Markets

It should be no surprise that I’m mentioning this, and that’s because it works. Farmers’ markets, more often than not, have regular visitors. 

The great thing about farmers’ markets is that the buyers go there for a reason: to buy local food. 

This gives you an edge already because every customer is going there for a specific demand, and since you’re selling locally farmed food, you already meet their needs. 

I’ve sold at farmers’ markets many times, and I’ve had buyers walk up and grab a quarter of my entire stock, so to say it’ll go quick is an understatement.

Auctions

Finally, auctions are going to be your best friend. This is the best way to sell livestock as everyone who visits an auction has only two possible goals: buy or sell. 

This means that just about everyone is a potential buyer. I’ve sold livestock at auctions more times than I could count, and I’ve seen 50 birds be sold in 30 seconds, no joke.

Auctions aren’t always the best place to sell produce, but some auctions have dedicated time for this or simply allow it to be mixed into the livestock window. 

Don’t forget that attending auctions regularly will gain you many connections, just as important if not more so than selling first.


Some Helpful Tips before you Start

Test The Soil

If you’d like to make money by growing and selling crops, then the first thing you should do is test the soil

If you’re unfamiliar with gardening as a whole, some areas just aren’t suitable for growing crops due to low soil quality. 

In most cases, the soil is probably going to be okay for your purposes, but it may save you a lot of precious money and heartache if you test before you plant for the growing season. 

Some areas are too dry or contain too much sand, not to mention the necessary minerals it may not have. 

You may even find that a different area on your property is much more suitable for gardening.

Protect The Livestock

If you want to opt for livestock as a money source, you should make sure they’re protected. 

This means that the shelters should adequately shelter them from the sun, snow, or other dangers, such as animal predators, like coyotes. 

Predators can dig underneath the fence, so I suggest burying the fence up to a foot to prevent precisely this. 

If you have netting above the bird pens, place metal fencing over this to prevent a predator from tearing the net and falling into the pen.

Determine The Expenses

The number one reason why countless individuals do not make it past the first year is that they did not factor in the expenses. 

This can include things like feed, medicine, pen repairs, and processing equipment. The garden will also need maintenance, such as natural pesticides and tools, to name a few. 

If you determine what your expenses will look like in advance, then your chances of being successful will skyrocket. 

It’s an excellent idea to put back a few months’ worths of expenses, just in case something unexpected and unaccounted for happens. It will save you from falling under; this is just as critical as any other factor.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does The Average Homesteader Make?

If we look at the average income of a homesteader, meaning that all income is sourced from within the homestead, it’s typically roughly $250 per week.

It’s low for a few reasons. The biggest and most common cause is the maintenance and buying of feed for the livestock and any pesticide and other essential additions for gardening.

Most homesteaders do not raise livestock or sell products for the money alone, but if they did, this number would be much higher than $250 per week.

Can I Homestead With No Money?

Homesteading without money is entirely possible; that’s the primary reason why so many people opt to homestead.

You’ll have to pay the upfront cost to build the homestead, such as the home, equipment, and tools. This also includes livestock, pen-building material, and other aspects.

However, this can be done for much cheaper than it sounds, as you don’t need everything you may think to jump into it.

What Does It Cost To Start Homesteading?

This is a question you should try to answer for yourself, but why? Starting a homestead can vary greatly across the board, from $2500 to $100,00 and beyond.

A homestead with all essentials can cost as low as $5000 before you need to start sacrificing things, at least generally speaking.

If you buy cheap land, such as out west, then it can be done for even less, but the reality is that it’s better to save and wait than to buy now and need more later.


Verdict

If you’ve been debating on starting on a homestead just to make a living for yourself, I’d suggest looking elsewhere; however, if you’re passionate about the outdoors, then go for it.

Homesteading is a lifestyle, and it requires immense dedication to be successful, especially when you bring farming into the equation.

It’s certainly a lot of work, but if you put in the hard work and dedication, it will pay off. You can’t expect it to pay off the first year, but during year two, if you’ve played your cards right, everything will begin to prosper.

I’d suggest chatting with homesteaders who live a life similar to what you envision yours to be like, and perhaps even ask if you can visit to have a first-hand look.

Finally, I’d suggest taking your time and not rushing things, despite how exciting it may be. If you’re patient, though, then you’re going to have a much easier time putting everything together.



Written by Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. Recently, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide and Paracord Projects For Camping which is scheduled to be released March 2, 2021 Read more of Bryan's articles.