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Homesteading isn’t an easy way of life, but it has many upsides. One of the biggest advantages is your income potential. You can find dozens of small, simple ways to make money homesteading. Here are 30 of the most common and most profitable income sources you should consider.
Livestock will always be a highly valuable commodity. Every homesteader should have a few different animals to expand their income potential. Even obscure animals like rabbits and bees can lead to considerable profits. Let’s go through some creative ways you can make money through your livestock.
1. Sell Your Livestock’s Meat
Raising animals for slaughter isn’t for the faint of heart, but it pays the bills. Cows are the most profitable meat livestock, followed by pigs and chickens. You need plenty of pasture land and butchering equipment for the job, so make sure you’re financially ready for a big investment.
2. Sell Newborn Livestock
Another practical way to make money off livestock is by selling newborns and hatchlings. People starting their own farms and homesteads need a trusted vendor for their first animals. Smaller livestock like chickens and rabbits breed like crazy, so it could prove to be a consistent income stream.
3. Sell Chicken and Duck Eggs
Fowl animals are the best livestock for homesteads because they’re small, low-maintenance and produce a ton of eggs — sometimes too many. Why not sell your extra supply to get them off your hands? Determine how many eggs your family needs for personal use each week and set the rest aside for sale.
4. Sell Fresh Dairy
Depending on your state’s raw milk laws, you can sell milk, butter, and other pasteurized products to neighbors or local stores. Get some goats and hair sheep along with your cows so you have enough milk to work with.
5. Cow or Goat-Share
If you live in a state that prohibits individuals from selling raw milk, you can skirt around this rule by joining a cow-share or goat-share with some neighbors. Rather than selling and buying the milk, you’re simply sharing the milk with other “owners” for an agreed-upon price.
6. Sell Sheep’s Wool
Hair sheep are better for meat and dairy, but wool sheep are more valuable overall. Wool is used in clothing, carpets, blankets, upholstery, insulation and many other things.
7. Raise Rabbits for Meat and Manure
Because of their diets and lifestyles, rabbit meat has more vital nutrients and less fat than other varieties. It’s also rarer than other types of meat, so it sells for a higher price. The rabbit’s greatest income source, however, is poop. Rabbit poop’s high nutrient contents and small size make it the perfect base for fertile manure.
8. Tan and Sell Hides
Hides from livestock draw a pretty penny, especially from cows and sheep. The tanned skins are used in clothing, upholstery and all kinds of leather goods. It also allows you to make use of the cows and sheep that don’t provide quality meat, dairy or wool.
9. Make Your Own Jerky
Every homesteader should learn how to make their own jerky. The best cow parts for beef jerky are the top round, bottom round and lifter cuts, though you can use others if necessary. You might even strike gold with a hit recipe.
10. Start a Fish Hatchery
Assuming your homestead sits near a water source, you can start a small fish hatchery and help people stock creeks and rivers on their own properties. Start with some trout and perch and then work your way to less common species.
11. Start Beekeeping
Beekeeping has several income sources: honey, beeswax, honeycomb and the bees themselves. Even if your homestead has minimal pasture space, you can still keep thousands of bees at a time.
12. Become a Dog Breeder/Trainer
Dogs are essential for protecting and herding your grazing animals. If you feel a close connection with them, try becoming a breeder or trainer. People are willing to pay extra for pretrained dogs.
Crops are the most popular way to make money homesteading. Homesteads need to have multiple crops to remain self-sufficient. If you have land to spare, you should grow extra crops to open up more income sources. Here are some simple ways to earn money from your fresh-grown food.
13. Sell Your Fresh Produce
Instead of throwing your extra produce on the compost pile or feeding it to the pigs, sell it at a local farmers market. Make sure your stand is clean and organized to attract more buyers and maximize sales. You need to have quality products to consistently make money homesteading.
14. Sell Seedlings
If you have a green thumb, consider starting a small nursery on your homestead and selling the plant seedlings. The hardest part of gardening is keeping them alive. Most people would much rather buy a healthy seedling than start from scratch.
15. Sell Homemade Baked Goods
Another item you can sell at the farmers market is homemade bread. Throw some pastries and cookies into the mix if you’re an experienced baker. Bread and sweets will always be in high demand.
16. Sell Mushrooms
Mushrooms often sell for a high price, but it’s not because they’re difficult to grow. Not many farmers think of growing them, so they’re in shorter supply than most other crops. Shiitake and oyster mushrooms are your best options for a small-scale operation.
17. Sell Fresh and Dried Herbs
Basil, oregano, parsley and many other herbs are great additions to your product line. You might even make something creative with them, such as an herbal tea recipe or natural medicine.
18. Make Jams and Jellies
Your farmers market stand wouldn’t be complete without a few jars of jelly and jam. If you have a few berry bushes and fruit trees on your property, you have everything you need to make custom recipes from scratch.
19. Start a Berry Patch
Instead of collecting your homestead’s berries and bringing them to market, allow the customers to pick the berries themselves. Make sure you have enough space to plant at least a dozen large bushes. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are good options to start with.
20. Sell Manure
We’re willing to bet you have some leftover manure lying around. Why not bag it and sell it? You might also sell it in bulk and have people haul it straight from your property to make the transaction easier.
Other Ways to Make Money Homesteading
Aside from your livestock and crops, an established homestead has numerous random passive income sources. You just have to use your imagination. Here are other miscellaneous ways to make money homesteading.
21. Pick up a New Trade
Homesteaders should practice at least one trade besides farming. Electricians and plumbers are in higher demand, while carpenters and blacksmiths are more beneficial for off-grid living. You can’t go wrong with any of these ideas.
22. Become a Trapper
Your homestead likely has some unwanted critters running around, namely coyotes. Set a few traps around your property during the hunting season and sell the furs. Coyote hunting and trapping have no restrictions. Once big game season starts, you can catch as many as you want.
23. Sell Firewood
The prospect of buying firewood might seem crazy to you, but most people don’t have a consistent supply of wood. If you split the wood for them, they’ll be happy to take it off your hands.
24. Make Your Own Soap
You can make high-quality soap from goat’s milk or a cheaper soap with soy as the main ingredient. Add lavender, pine, cucumber or whatever natural scent you want. They are always popular in the cosmetics industry.
25. Collect Bait for Fishing
As long as people are fishing, bait will stay in high demand. Collect worms, insects and crayfish and sell them in large quantities to the fishing enthusiasts in your area. You should have no shortage of options if you live near a body of water.
26. Start Pet-Sitting
Your neighbors likely have some livestock and pets. You can take care of their animals when they leave for extended periods. You will make some money and also build trust with your neighbors, forming a closer community.
27. Start a Blog
If writing a book seems too intimidating, start smaller with a blog. Build an online community of like-minded people and spread the word about homestead life. Just make sure you don’t reveal too much personal information. Privacy is one of the main reasons you chose this life, so don’t do anything to compromise it.
28. Become a Photographer
Another way to spread positivity online is through photography. Post pictures of the beautiful landscapes surrounding your property — without revealing the exact location, of course — and show them off so everyone can appreciate their beauty.
29. Host Seasonal Activities
Each season brings a unique set of activities. You can open up a pumpkin patch or hay ride during the fall, a berry-picking business in the summer, and gardening classes in the spring. Your homestead could become a popular destination families return to time and again.
30. Open Your Land to Hunters
Serious hunters are more than willing to pay for private land access. With no annoying public land hunters around to scare the animals, they have a higher probability of getting a kill. We’re willing to bet you know some hunters in your area, so let them onto your property for a few weekends during the hunting season to make an extra buck (pun intended).
Maximize Your Homestead’s Value
Homesteaders are more self-sufficient than the average person, but they need income, too. You have your family, land, animals and crops to look after. Each income stream, no matter how small, brings your property that much closer to complete self sufficiency. These 30 ways to make money homesteading should