Let’s not waste any time on motivational speeches and wishful thinking… Making money from home is difficult. Period. No matter where you live. Very few people are fortunate to be employed from home.
When you live off the grid, way out in the country, and you’re trying to make money from your homestead, earning a full-time income at home is no exception. If anything, it might be even more challenging. Sure, you probably have plenty of land, which is a valuable resource, but how do you actually make money from it without selling it?
For most homesteaders, there is not going to be a magic-bullet solution. In other words, no single source of income that takes care of your whole family. You’re probably going to have to employ a variety of these methods to create a substantial income.
You should also know, many of the ways you can make money from your homestead are contingent upon where you live. For example, our state of Arizona imposes certain restrictions on us that take some of these options off the table. The specific land you own is also going to play a role in whether or not you can use some of these methods. Size, topology, proximity to infrastructure, and zoning are all factors that determine what you can and cannot do to make money from your land.
Now, without any further ado, let’s dive into many of the ways you can start earning money from your homestead…
It might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but blogging is something anyone can do from home no matter where they live. Even though the learning curve can be steep for beginners, once you get the hang of it, it’s a good way to earn extra passive income every month.
Of course you can blog about your homestead, but don’t think you have to limit yourself to just that. Technically, you can create a niche site about any subject that interests you. We’re currently working on three niche sites, including this one.
However, we want to be completely honest with you: it takes a long time to start earning money from a blog or niche website. You probably won’t earn anything significant in your first year; but if you stick to it, you can eventually start earning several hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars every month from work you already did in the past.
When it comes to making money, Youtube has a high barrier to entry: you need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time before you can be eligible for monetization. However, if you can break through that barrier, Youtube can be another good way to earn passive income.
If you’ve been homesteading for a long time, and you’re not camera-shy, you probably have a lot of useful information you could share on Youtube. If you start posting a video once or twice per week, in a year’s time, you might find you’ve built up quite a large audience, and you can now monetize your channel, and start earning passive money from the ads.
You don’t have to be a Youtube star to make money, either. Once your channel has been monetize, you only need a few hundred views per day to start earning a little bit of money from the ads. If you can work your way up to a few thousand views per day, you’ll start earning a few hundred extra dollars per month. Over the years, we’ve paid a lot of bills with the monthly earnings from our monetized channels.
Selling Homemade Goods
Do you have a knack for knitting? Are you the world’s best strawberry jam maker? Have you ever won a chili cook-off thanks to your secret hot sauce recipe? You might be able to make some extra cash selling your homemade goods at farmers’ markets and/or online. Depending on what you’re making, you may even be able to strike up some consignment deals at local shops.
While very few homesteaders get rich this way, many do make a steady side income selling their homemade crafts and goods.
Farming is a popular choice for many homesteaders; however, it’s a lot harder than it sounds, and the profit margins are razor thin. You’ve maybe heard stories about people making $10K per month on a 1/2 acre farm, or other wild claims like that… While that may be true for a small minority, that’s not the reality for most small farms.
Most small farms make very little money from their farm, and the bulk of their household income comes from off-farm sources – i.e., having a day job. That’s not to say, however, that if you really enjoy farming, it can’t be a good source of extra income. It can, but it takes a lot of hard work.
If you are serious about having a successful family farm business, you’re going to need a lot of startup capital, infrastructure, and equipment. Your typical backyard garden isn’t going to cut it. It might have low overhead, but it won’t produce enough to generate a substantial income.
You’re also going to need to do a lot of business planning and research. You need to make sure you actually have a market for your crop(s) before you start. Simply going to one or two farmers’ markets per week, won’t bring in a good ROI. You’ll have to sell your goods to local restaurants and stores to get enough business, so make sure you’re selling something they actually need/want.
We don’t want to discourage you from farming, but so many people who go off-grid, and try to homestead fail in their first year or two because they focus too much time, energy, and money on gardening for themselves or starting a commercial farm. We all get into this lifestyle because we have fantasies of being a farmer, but turning that fantasy into a practical, let alone lucrative, reality takes a lot of time, planning, preparation, and know-how. Proceed with caution.
If farming’s not your thing, but you have a lot of good farmland you’re not using, you might be able to lease it to a farmer. And don’t just limit yourself to large-scale operations; there are a lot of people in the world who want to be farmers but don’t own any land. In fact, many of our favorite farmers on Youtube actually lease their land.
Solar Farm Lease
Another kind of lease you might be able to do is a solar farm lease. How this works is, a solar energy company sets up an array of solar panels on your land. The power produced by those panels gets fed to a grid, the company gets paid for the energy, and in return, pays you a monthly fee for hosting the panels.
You’ll need to have at least 20 acres of free space in an area that gets lots of sunlight. You’ll also need to be reasonably close to a power grid, though you personally don’t have to be connected to one.
The amount of money they pay you primarily depends on how many acres they lease from you. You may get $1,000 a month, or you may get $4,000; it all just depends on how much land you’re offering, and how desirable it is to the solar company.
One of the biggest upsides to a solar farm lease is that you’ll never be responsible for maintenance of the panels. You literally do nothing, and collect a check every month just for letting the panels sit there. It’s important to know, though, these leases typically last at least 20 years or more. It’s a longterm commitment, so think it through carefully before signing the dotted line.
Wind Farm Lease
If you have at least 60 acres of flat, open land in a windy place, you might be able to lease your land to a wind energy company. This works the same was as a solar lease, but with wind turbines on your land instead of solar panels.
Cell Tower Lease
You might happen to live in an area that’s perfect for a cell tower, and in desperate need of one. If so, a company like AT&T or Verizon might be interested in paying you to put one of their towers on their land. Unlike other leases we’ve mentioned, this one only requires a small amount of space. Rather than having to give up acres of land, you’ll only need to rent a few hundred to a few thousand square feet.
Do you have a large house that would be perfect for running a bed and breakfast; or maybe a spare tiny house or cabin on your property; or even just bare land you could let campers pitch a tent on? If so, any one of these could be an easy way to earn some extra cash on the side. Many property owners list their rentals on AirBnB, Hipcamp, and Craigslist to bring in a steady flow of residual income.
Is your land covered with mature hardwood trees? If so, you might be able to make some decent money during the winter processing a few trees, and selling the logs as firewood. You could also invest in a wood chipper, and sell the chips as smoker wood for barbecuing. Just make sure you lookup your state’s laws and regulations on selling firewood before you start.
As for finding customers, you can advertise your wood on Craigslist, sell it roadside, or find a dealer who will purchase it from you in bulk.
We save all of our recyclables – aluminum, glass, plastic – and periodically sell them to a nearby company that collects and recycles them. You’re not going to make a lot of money doing this, but if you’re not saving and selling your recyclables, you’re just leaving money on the table.