Land is always valuable. Ask anyone who works with real estate and they will tell you that it is one of the oldest, best and most reliable ways to make money. But if you live on a homestead or a working farm, you probably have a different idea about how your land can make money for you.
But chances are pretty good that you aren’t maximizing the return on investment that your land is capable of.
Whether you want to squeeze every cent of income out of it or just look for a way to put a little extra back, there are countless ways to make your land work for you beyond growing crops and raising livestock.
In this article, we will share with you 37 ways to earn extra income on your home property or any other land that you may own. From small-scale side hustles to legitimate small businesses, there’s something on this list that everyone will be able to make use of.
Breed and Sell Rabbits
Yes, rabbits can be very profitable to raise. In fact, rabbits are among the best and cheapest of livestock if you want to start making extra money off of them quickly.
Chronically overlooked species of livestock, particularly for those who are already raising larger, more typical breeds of livestock or people who just don’t have that much land to work with.
Rabbits have a lot to recommend them when it comes to making extra income from raising them.
As you already know, they reproduce and mature very quickly, but they also take up very little room, are generally hardy, are easy to care for and can be sold for a variety of purposes, including their meat, as live breeding stock or pets, for fur and more.
Even rabbit droppings are valuable as specialty manure.
Raise Turkeys to Sell
Turkeys are another unconventional breed of livestock that can nonetheless command significant premiums to the right buyers.
Turkey meat, particularly organic, free-range meat is increasingly popular, and both turkey feathers and legs are purchased as decorative, novelty or ceremonial items.
Believe it or not, in some sectors turkeys are actually becoming fairly popular pets! Considering these large birds are of generally good at health, easy to keep and easy to raise, these might be just the ticket for getting a little extra income off of your property.
Breed and Sell Goats
For many farmers in homesteaders, goats are often thought of as a b-tier species of livestock, or even kept around as pets or novelties.
As you might have already guessed, they can be quite profitable to raise and are one of the better midsize breeds for those who don’t have a ton of room.
Goat products, particularly milk, are valuable and highly desired in some quarters, very particularly by people you have an intolerance to cow milk.
Other goat related products include soaps and cheeses made from their milk as well as fabric made from their hair.
Goats are an especially good option for people who are raising animals for the first time. Not big enough to do much damage, but large enough to give you substantial returns on your investment.
Raise Dogs and Offer Dog-related Services
Man’s best friend can turn into one of your best investments if you play your cards right. Most obviously, with some skill and expertise you could breed dogs for health and temperament and sell puppies.
Make sure you follow all local laws and regulations, and always strive to be an ethical breeder if you want to go this route.
Beyond this, if you have a good way with dogs or previous professional experience as a canine handler dog training and dog boarding are highly profitable ventures even at the local level.
If you can break problem pooches of their bad habits or serve as a reliable, trusted boarder of beloved pets when people go on vacation you can make a killing with a very small investment in facilities.
One of my fondest memories growing up was going on a long ride through the country with my grandfather and happening upon A roadside stand or patch selling plants, flowers, ornamentals even small trees.
The hand-painted sides in the informal nature of the business seemed so charming to me it left an indelible impression.
As it turns out, you can be that person and make some pretty good money if you properly position yourself. The trick is knowing what can easily and reliably grow in your area that people want year in and year out.
Raising a large quantity of plants is a fair bit of extra work, but so long as you set yourself up for success it is something you should be able to count on for extra income.
This goes hand in hand with selling flowers and decorative plants above. Whether your garden has a bumper crop are you actually grow fruits or vegetables as your primary source of income, you can always make a little bit of extra selling artisanal, farm fresh produce by the side of the road or at a farmer’s market.
With increasing concerns about interference and adulteration in our food chain, more and more people are looking to get much closer to the source where their food comes from.
This is a perfect opportunity for you to leverage anything you can grow on your property and sell it for a premium.
Sell Farm Fresh Eggs
Anyone who already has chickens know that they have a tendency to lay more eggs than you could possibly ever hope to eat on your own, unless you really, really love eggs!
It makes perfect sense to sell a surplus of eggs to others, again at a farmer’s market or even on the side of the road at your own produce stand.
If you don’t raise chickens but other birds instead, you’ll be happy to learn that specialty eggs are similarly increasing in popularity among consumers, particularly duck, goose and even ostrich eggs.
A unique flavor and enhanced nutritional profile of these eggs means they always fetch a premium.
Chickens are one of the hottest growing commodities for homesteaders, prospective homesteaders and anyone who wants to get a little more self-sufficient.
It is surprising that even people who are firmly planted in suburbia want small flocks for their backyards, either for the novelty or just to get those fresh eggs for themselves.
but any new chicken buyers have to get their chickens from somewhere, and that somewhere could be your property.
If you take the time to raise chickens and prepare them for rehoming, you could earn a profitable reputation as the chicken seller in your local area.
Chicks, adults, and all of the associated items that are needed for their care could be part of this side hustle.
Sell fertilized eggs…
Yet another chicken product, or one for any other commonly kept livestock birds, is that of fertilized eggs. Some people who dream of raising their own birds want to start truly from scratch, incubating and hatching their birds as the Genesis of their own flocks.
But that brings us to the timeless question of what came first, the chicken or the egg? In this case, a prospective buyer will definitely want to start with a fertilized egg, and that’s where you come in.
Selling fertilized eggs perhaps along with incubators and other supplies could be a profitable niche in a poultry livestock sector.
Teach Homesteading Skills
It has been said for some time that we live in an information economy, and while you might feel like that you could never be further away from that and you are living on a farm or homestead, that isn’t quite true.
Your skills, expertise and life experience are valuable so long as you can transmit them to others in a meaningful and useful way.
I bet, it might sound silly when you feel like you don’t have all the answers yourself, but if you have been homesteading successfully for any length of time the skills that you just call life could be valuable enough to others who want to learn they will pay you for it.
You could teach classes online, at your home, or elsewhere on your property on every topic from baking and canning to taking care of animals, tending to crops and much more.
It is even likely that you’ll make some lasting friendships in the bargain!
Far and Away one of the easiest and most profitable ways to make money on your land when you have very little to spare is to sell herbs.
Fresh or dried, culinary or medicinal, herbs are big business, and though you might think they are easy enough to grow in containers on your porch or in your kitchen, all you need to do is take a stroll down the spice rack at your local grocery store to see how precious some of these spices can really be.
Sell Wild Blackberry Bushes
There is one crop I’ve noticed it seems to hold universal appeal, and that is berries. Blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, strawberries- all kinds of berries. There are delicious, healthy and especially wonderful when turned into a pie or other dessert.
There’s just one problem: they are expensive, and even if you want to grow your own the plants themselves are fussy and temperamental.
You can make it easy for people who want to grow their own, while making it profitable for yourself my potting and selling young bushes that you grow on your property, or even preparing cultivars.
No matter where you live, except perhaps in the hottest environments, there will be a popular variety of berry bush suitable for growing.
Make and Sell Soap
Another sector and a personal wellness and hygiene category that seems to be exploding is old-fashioned, hand cut soap.
Made the old fashioned way with real ingredients instead of synthetic detergents, and usually including additives like coffee grounds, walnut hulls, and essential oils, these soaps definitely smell wonderful. They’re also expensive and people seem like they can’t get enough of them!
With just a small investment in supplies and equipment along with a little bit of know-how and some patience you could craft, press and cut your own small batch, artisanal soap and sell them for a bundle at flea markets, festivals or even roadside stands.
Sell Honey and Candles
The one thing that all beekeepers love is the honey they get as a reward for all of their hard work and diligence. Honey is extremely popular and increasingly expensive, and you can probably sell the honey from your hives for a small fortune if you are a beekeeper.
Beyond this, your products can make you even more money. Beeswax is commonly used in all sorts of cosmetological products, foods and for the making of wonderfully scented candles.
You can double the return on your investment by selling both to manufacturers or enthusiastic amateurs.
Sell Baked Goods
If you are a wiz in the kitchen when it comes to pastries, cookies, cakes, homemade bread and more, there is no reason why you can’t crank up production and sell your goods to eager buyers.
This isn’t a great option for everyone, especially if you aren’t a very good baker, but if people are always raving about the things you bring to parties, church, fundraisers and other gatherings you might be onto something.
There’s no reason you can’t share your famous family recipe with the world and make some extra money at the same time!
Wooden Crafts and Toys
Homemade wooden crafts and decorations are another item that is turning into big business. It seems like people increasingly want things that are made by real people, people that they know or at least people that they could know, instead of faceless factories.
If you are handy in the wood shop you can turn your passion into profitable products. Door hangers, signs, frames and other decorations along with traditional wooden toys are charming, inexpensive and highly adaptable to mass production.
County fairs and advertising in a local market places both on and offline is an ideal way to get your products out to customers.
Sell Paintings and Crafts
I’m pretty handy with a paintbrush and love to make crafts, but again, it is so time consuming, and who has TIME?
Develop and Rent Campsites
If you own a large, scenic parcel and don’t mind people pitching tents or pulling campers on your property, this could be a fun way to make some money.
This is an especially good idea if you live in an area where camping is popular, or near a frequently traveled nature area. Your property could be the well-kept (or not so well kept!) local secret for vacationers.
Offer Space on Your Property for RVs or Boats
And not just for use on site. Boats and RVs alike are large, bulky vehicles that are difficult and expensive to store at usual places like marinas or rental storage lots.
If you have a safe, secure place to keep them most people will be happy to pay a premium to keep theirs in a low traffic, protected area. This is a great way to make money if you live near a large body of water, or have easy access to RV hookups nearby.
Hold Special Events on Your Land
Believe it or not, all sorts of people, particularly city dwellers, like to hold events in charming, rustic places. Your barn or field might be the ideal location for somebody’s dream event, whatever it is.
If you have enough space, and your land is suitable, you could offer it as a venue for weddings, birthday parties, or other events. It could be anything from organized games of hide and seek or paintball and anything that you, or someone else, can imagine. The sky’s the limit!
Graze Livestock on Your Land
If you have a lot of pasture, brush or overgrown areas on your property, you could rent out space or time for other owners of livestock to give their animals a new space to roam and graze in.
This is especially helpful for the owners of the livestock because they might need to get the animals off their land for a time for any reason or just to give them a little variety in their naturally foraged diet.
Rent out your land for four-wheeling
This is a great option if you have established trails or open space on your land. with a little bit of improvement, you could even put in a dedicated four wheeling track with hills, mounds, ruts and other obstacles.
This will create quite a bit of noise pollution for you and possibly your neighbors, but you could host everything from dirt bikes and ATVs to full size trucks and SUVs.
Considering the increasing amount of restrictions on this activity found in public lands, this is a great option for making extra money if you live in an area where the pastime is popular.
Rent a room or in-law suite
A place to live is always valuable, especially for those dealing with special circumstances. Sometimes people need a short duration stay, or cheap, out of the way long-term living arrangements.
Whatever the case, if you have an extra room in your house, or a guest cottage, you could advertise it for rent on Craigslist, Facebook or through local sources.
Open a bed and breakfast
If you love the idea of having regular guests on your property and have a larger home, you could open it up as a bed and breakfast. This is a great option if you live in a tourist area, have a charming home or a particularly beautiful property.
Even people who are just passing through get sick of living in the same brutalist, concrete architecture found at major chain hotels night after night.
Lease land for a trailer
If you have a spot on your property that would be suitable for a mobile home, you could lease it out to someone. This is a great way to make money if you have extra space on your land and don’t mind installing a septic tank and running electricity to the location.
A good tenant won’t be much of a bother at all, and you can collect a monthly rent as a landlord.
Offer Livestock Services
If you have a working farm and a thorough knowledge of any common livestock species, you could offer services like boarding, breeding, or training.
Special skills and amenities with expert care, especially for short-notice or after-hours clients, are always in demand. look around and see if there isn’t a shortage of certain skill sets and services in your area, and you might find a highly profitable niche for your land.
Lease Land for Crops
This is a great way to make money while also keeping your land in good shape. Sometimes local farmers need just a little bit of extra land for a given crop, or want to give one of their usual plots a rest for a season.
If your land is suitable for their purposes, you can lease it to them so they can sow and harvest on it. You might charge a flat fee for a percentage of the value for the harvested crops. You can also get a portion of the crops yourself, a great way to make even more money if you can repurpose and resell them.
If you have the nerve, the time and the skills you could raise bees and sell their honey, their wax and even the bees themselves to other beekeepers. But there are even more ways to make money by keeping bees.
Beekeepers often take their hives on the road with him to help farmers naturally and reliably pollinate their crops year in and year out. It is surprising how much money you can make off of your hard-working bees once their colonies are established.
Rent Advertising Space
See those big billboards on the side of every highway and interstate? That land belongs to someone, and that someone could be you!
Whether you own the billboard or just want to lease space for advertisers to build on it you can profit by allowing advertisers to do what they do best on your property.
Keep in mind that your land could be particularly valuable if it is adjacent to a high traffic road or highway. More eyes on the advertisement means that it is more valuable!
Host a Farmers’ Market
This is a great way to get to know your community and offer fresh, local produce. A centrally located, easy to access property is the perfect place for a farmer’s market. Keeping an area for the market stalls clear will make it even more appealing, as will providing plentiful and easy parking for customers.
Grow Christmas Trees
This is by far the jolliest way to make money with your unused land. If you have the space, the right climate, good soil and a little bit of know-how you could grow Christmas trees and sell them during the holiday season for excellent profits.
A few years of this and you’ll soon be known as the local destination for purchasing real Christmas trees, and this can become another reliable way to capitalize on your land.
Plant a Pumpkin Patch
Another great way to make seasonal money. You can sell pumpkins by the barrelful, hold a pumpkin-picking event, or host Halloween parties and hayrides.
Obviously this is one of those things where climate and soil will make the difference in your success, but so long as you can grow pumpkins you can bet there will be plenty of people who want to buy them.
“Sell” Solar Power
If you have a sunny piece of land in a climate with a high UV index, you could lease it to an individual or company that wants to build solar panels for their own purposes, be that to power existing infrastructure or to get solar credits back from the power company.
You can do the same thing if you want to install the panels yourself, as many states incentivize the use of solar power and some power companies will even give you a substantial discount or write you a check if you allow them to tie into your solar farm.
Build and Rent a Cabin
Extra land and a bit of construction experience will allow you to build a cabin that could be a long-term rental property, vacation destination or seasonal retreat for writers, artists, guides and more.
Lease space for a community garden
If you don’t mind neighbors coming and going at all hours you can make money and make sure that all of your neighbors have access to fresh, homegrown fruits, veggies and herbs by hosting a community garden space on your land.
You can charge a small fee for access and general upkeep if you want, but the point of the community garden is that the community helps take care of it, so it wouldn’t be a lot of extra work for you.
It is a stinky chore that you might not want to mess with yourself, so wouldn’t it be great to get paid while you let someone else haul off the waste from your animals?
Depending on what type of animals you have, their droppings can be in high demand when put to use as a component in fertilizer.
You might need to collect the manure, and put it in a designated place for later pickup, but not much more than that. Pigs, cows and chickens are your best bet if you want to go this route.
Lease Hunting Rights
A surefire way to make some extra bucks (no pun intended) during hunting season, particularly if your property is large and peaceful enough to serve as a haven for animals that are feeling the pressure from surrounding properties.
Figuring out a good price can be tricky, as you need to know a little bit about hunting and a lot about the local hunting scene to know for sure.
If your land regularly harbors monster bucks or other trophy animals, a hunter could be willing to pay a pretty penny to get a crack at them.
Do Your Homework!
This is a mild disclaimer reminding you to, as always, do your homework on any applicable laws, rules and regulations at the local, county, state and, if applicable, federal level before taking up any of these money making ideas.
Thanks to rampaging government overreach, things just aren’t as simple as they used to be, and then most of the people you’ll probably deal with will be happy to do business on a handshake and a promise, you might have other responsibilities legally.
Particularly as it pertains to land rights, leasing of land or dwellings and potentially even things like hunting rights you’ll need to do your homework and make sure you’re staying within the letter of the law if you want to avoid costly problems down the road.
It would be a shame if you set up a tidy little side hustle only to have your profits eaten up by fines and legal fees! This shouldn’t stop you from pursuing any money making ventures using your land, but you must be aware of the law, as always.
Well, that’s all I got. What do you think? Can you think of anything else we could do to make a little money from our land? How do you bring in extra cash from home?
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.
47 thoughts on “37 Ways To Earn Extra Income Off Your Land”
I moved my bakeshop from downtown to my house about seven years ago. It meant I could save paying employees, rent, utilities, etc. In Iowa, where we live, I can bake for farmers market without a license, but I chose to get a home license, which allowed me to bake for re-sale in commercial venues. Still couldn’t make a profit, even though I grossed $20,000 per year in sales. Perhaps our small-town market is just too cheap (I could double my prices had I gone 50 miles away), but this was where I had built my reputation, and I didn’t want to leave. I finally gave up this year, after 12 years of trying.
I’m sorry to hear about that, Laura. I know first hand how disappointing it is to have to close down a business you started from scratch due to loss. I hope you are able to find something else you love to do, and can be successful at.
Maybe you can try the other town now, you out grew your old pot.
In my town, there are educational classes offered through the local school district. The nieghboring town also has these classes. Anyone in the community with ideas for classes are welcome to offer to teach things. Classes such as making your own laundry detergent and home preserving/canning usually sell out and can be $20/person or higher for a day or two day-long workshop. Other popular classes include small space cooking (such as in an RV, for the retired folks), outdoor cooking/make a solar oven, local plant identification and usage, and other topics that are pertinent to the local economic state. People are always looking for ways to save money and you can be the gal to help them do that! 🙂
I love your website! If you crochet I know some nurses who supplement their incomes by crocheting baby blankets. One of my friends got carpal tunnel doing this, but she was sort of a human-crochet-machine. Still my friends seem to enjoy earning extra money that way. Or maybe you might try quilting. The time and materials you put in vs the money you get out of it might not make quilting a big moneymaker, but if you enjoy sewing maybe you could multitask sewing while you watch your children play or spend time with your family in the evenings. And now that I think about it I know someone else who does alterations and makes/sells curtains out of her home. I don’t know how profitable that is, but I expect the overhead would be less since the customer would purchase the supplies. And if you crochet, sew, or quilt that’s another topic for classes.
Since you’re a good writer and seem to have a good sense of graphics and such, why not hang out your single to help the other farm based people in the area. Do websites or set up blogs, perhaps do their business cards, labeling, etc for products and all that. Not EVERYONE in the country has to make soap or sell eggs… do those things because you love to, but find a nitch of service to the others doing that and you’ll do fine.
I know we do, we have several internet companies, mail order and then I do graphic arts. We’re not on a farm, yet, but working towards it. We urban homestead in an old mobile home and do all the things you can do on a farm homestead, just without too much livestock yet! haha….
Another thing you can do if you have enough money is to grow pumpkins (very easy) and sell fall goodies like apple sauce, pumpkin muffins, candied apples,
or christmas trees – this takes about 7 years until they are the size people like to have them for Christmas. You could sell your baked goods, hot apple cider, etc.
My husband and I are both teachers and we have debt (student loans and a mortgage) that we have been working hard to pay off. We have mostly focused on reducing our own cost, by growing as much of our own produce as possible, making homemade baked goods, making our own laundry soap, dishwasher soap, cleaning products and shampoos etc. You really do save a lot when you make your own, especially when you have 3 hungry boys to feed. Last spring we started to rent out our small RV. We had it rented out so much that we only went out ourselves once but it really helped and we plan on doing the same thing next year. When we can we will buy a second pop up trailer to rent as well.
One thing I was going to suggest is that you clear someof your land to use as storage rental space- for people looking to store their trailers, boats, etc.
I have to second / third / fourth all the ideas on teaching classes.
I just wanted to share that in my rural community I’ve been asked to teach a class on how to make lip gloss, lotion bars, and body scrubs from natural ingredients that can be purchased locally. I am NOT selling the final product only teaching others how to do it so they can give homemade Christmas items. It’s not a big money maker, but every little bit helps.
I’ve also seen some interest in learning to bake from scratch. Many of our young moms at church have no clue how to do this.
I meant to write books not book.Sorry about that.
I like the selling homeschool book idea!~Nikki
OOPS! I guess I should have read all the comments, I just saw Janice’s comment! 😉
I think the teaching courses from your home is a great idea, I know lots of women young and old that don’t know how to can, bake bread, sew, etc… They would love to have someone offer a class. You could offer a classes like, homemade jam/ jelly. Also like an apple pie filling class.
Also, your very good at writing, I often read your blog and think to myself…this girl should write a book!!! Especially about your time with Addy! Even a book about your first year homesteading, you know your reader’s would most likely buy it, you could easily charge at least $15 dollars for a nice hardback book.
The book idea would take a little time, but I really do believe it would be successful for you. Just my thoughts! 😉
I think you need to write a book!!!!!
Actually Janice, I’ve got something in the works in that department 🙂
Since it sounds like you have a lot of woods you could try growing ginseng. It brings a lot of money.
Oooh, great idea!
I haven’t tried this, but I think you’re on the right track with the honey/produce/bread selling route. I live just outside a fairly large city with multiple farmer’s markets, and one thing I’ve noticed they have in common is a lack of variety. It seems like every booth just sells the same few varieties of produce at a time, and then next week they’re all selling something else, but still the same thing. I think if you installed a greenhouse and were able to grow produce ahead of or behind the season, it would definitely give you an advantage, since you could have something different. The honey and bread would also help a bit. I don’t know if that’s true in your area or not, but I’ve definitely noticed a big hole in our farmer’s markets. I would try going to your local market, or one in a larger town near you, and scout out what there might be a demand for. Anyway, keep us posted! All of these comments are so interesting!
I feel bad because it seems like you are getting so much negative feedback but from what I have read most of it is true. In the last year I have been making a significant effort to try to start making money from our land. I have been successful in alot of it and have plans for more. I will explain what I have done but I also want to tell you about my friends BIG jump into trying to make a full time living for their family of five.
My adventures have been along side my fulltime employed husband. We have been living off of his income for over 7 years now. So we did not take any risks in the area of finances. I also picked stuff with very little start up costs. We are very tight on our budget I am not willing to loose money.
My friend on the other hand. Her husband quit his full time job and they just decided they wanted to do it. They didn’t really have a set out plan. Just some ideas about what they wanted to do. They tried the egg thing. They bought 140 laying chickens. So far after a year they are still loosing money on that endeavor. They tried the meat chickens and after they got into they started thinking about the fact that if they didn’t sell all the chickens before hand they did not have the freezer space to store them. So they had to go out and buy freezers. They do have meat rabbits but there is not a good market for them. They also “jumped” into doing the produce thing. They spent hundreds on seeds. Alot of time hand planting everything (since they did not have farm equipment). All so that the weeds could take over and they could not keep up with it. She got to the point where she would give away produce just for some help weeding. So they tried ALOT of it and I can honestly say they have failed in a big way. They burnt through a rather large savings and now are trying to find employment. Which I am sure every knows isn’t the best time to find a good paying job.I am not saying that none of these things couldn’t have turned a profit for them but they went about it so terribly and failed in a big way. It has been hard to see them go through this but they just made some very poor choices and very bad business decisions.
So on to how I have made SOME money from my farm. Two words FARMERS MARKET if you have a good one local or even within an hour driving distance these are GOLDMINES. I sold baked goods and they sold like crazy. I always sold out and you can turn a decent profit if you do it well. Just remember you will spend one entire day, at least, to do the baking then another day to spend at the market. So you need to take into account what your time is worth. You could also do many of the things you mentioned through a farmers market. Produce, plants, canned goods, eggs, soaps BUT you NEED to check all your local laws first. Because laws are different everywhere and sometimes you need permits that will cost $20 and other times the requirements are baking only in a commercial kitchen, or it is not legal to sell chickens unless you sell them live. But look into it before you start any endeavour. You may find it is easier than you thought or that it is not even worth the effort. You can also get some other publicity through the market. I had fliers I handed out with information about other things I offer. Like classes, pony rides for parties and farm camps.
And that brings me to the other things that brought in money. Farm camp: I had 8 children for a week from 8-11:30. We did projects around the farm, milked the goat, made cheese, rode horses, gardened, pulled weeds, picked berries, made a pie, cleaned stalls. The kids LOVED it!! Even the stall cleaning and all the work I had them do. Each kid paid $40 for the week but that was low and you could easily charge more.
Then there is the pony rides and petting zoo for parties and the farmers market. I took my pony to the market and had him hang out in a pen next to my booth and people could pet and feed him. Then for an hour at the end I gave pony rides for $1. Again that is very low you could easily charge more. I use my miniature horse Blaze for this. Then I also do birthday parties. I don’t have a ton of customers right now but I have done a couple parties and they pay well, about $100 an hour. Sounds like alot but you do have to feed these animals (though I already was feeding them so that was not an extra cost for me since they are our pets) you need a trailer and insurance and unless you have a endless customer base you will only book here and there especially at the begining. The petting zoo you actually have to have a permit for. You have to go through some extensive process and pay about $40. It is regulated by the USDA. Equine are not so the pony rides don’t have that issue.
The last thing that I am doing this year to make my farm profitable is start a Pumpkin Patch. No we are not pumpkin farmers but there is a local produce auction that we can get them for cheap. We plan to open each Satuday in October. We will offer pony rides, petting zoo, games a craft, a corn maze and there will be pumpkins and baked goods(pumpkin pies, carmel apples) for sale. We do a have a very good location for this. We live on a highway, so we get lots of traffic but I have seen these types of things do well over time in not so convenient locations. This endeavor though I cannot say is or will be profitable. We will have to see how it goes this year.
My tips for starting something like this.
Never put in more than you have to loose.
Never go into debt over it.
Start while still bringing in your regular income.
MAKE A business plan. In eveything I have done I have carefully weighed: Cost, profit, customer base and marketability(is that a word :). I had baked goods figured to the point that I knew how much it cost me to add a cup of flour or a tsp of salt or yeast to a recipe. You cannot have any kind of business if you don’t keep up with the book keeping end of it.
Read, go to the library and look up books on making small farms profitable. Joel Salatin is a good place to start.
And remember you will probably have to work harder at making a business of your own from your land than you would if you went out and got a job somewhere. You will ask yourself often “what in the world was I thinking” but in the end I believe all the hard work will pay off IF you do it right!
Sorry for the book but I thought this information would be helpful 🙂
Thank you SO much for taking the time to share all of that with me. I truly appreciate your wisdom!
I wanted to mention another option. I know you homeschool. So do we. There are opportunities for self-employment promoting products that homeschoolers use such at Usborne books, curriculum and hands-on materials. I see vendors at conferences who are homeschooling moms and work in their spare time. HTH daisy
Thank you Daisy, I hadn’t considered selling homeschool books.
Kendra, how ’bout a worm farm? You could raise worms for folks who compost or fish. It doesn’t take a lot of upfront cost and I’ll bet your kids would love to help you with it! Most kids love squishy worms!
Another idea is to make compost for sale or trade. If you got the appropriate food materials from nearby restaurants or grocery stores (what they are throwing out) and maybe free brown scraps from a local tree cutting service (or a nursery), you could make compost for free and then use it to sell or barter.
Best wishes, whatever you decide!
Hi, Kendra: It’s so nice to see young people wanting to get back to the land! With 30 years of what would now be called Urban Homesteading and now with living on my family’s Century Farm, I hope you don’t mind me giving you a few observations based on my life experience. With “one wooded acre and a house in the middle of it” I would limit my animal husbandry. Rabbits in cages would work and I suggest that earthworms underneath the rabbit cages to compost the rabbit manure complement the enterprise. Unless you put in a good high fence around your acre, forget about goats and turkeys. With no pasture, they would also require some sort of shelter and you would need to bring in additional feed. Forget dog breeding. Period. Selling produce is possible with intensive gardening, but it may require some expense to set up. Selling herb and veggie seedlings from a backyard nursery is a good possibility, and in many places you can sell up to a certain dollar amount without needing to get a license from the state — you’d have to check it out. Baking from home in most places requires a certified kitchen — lots of paperwork there. Eggs are easy to sell if you sell from your homestead. You could sustainably raise a small number of meat birds (chickens)on your wooded one acre. Our chickens have the run of our woods and are very happy. If you want to raise bees you will need equipment and nectar sources nearby — and no bears in the area. If you are in a good accessible location, teaching is a possibility — consider offering online classes. Crafts are good sellers so long as they offer something unique like historical value to your locale or usefulness. With the economy as it is, usefulness is a plus. With crafts, quality is imperative. As for time? Anything worth doing is worth the time it takes to complete. If you manage your woods right, you can potentially harvest one cord of firewood per year from it. I would also look at growing mushrooms on a small scale.
Great advice Joyce. Thank you!!
Rabbits – We sell about seven every two months. The heat does dramactily affect breeding. On average they produce 8 in the winter and two in the summer. It costs us about $3.40 to raise each rabbit to butchering age.
We know a family who sells goats milk, soap, cheese and fudge and they do a lot of marketing and farmers market. They roughly make $350 a week and they been doing this for 10 years.
Here in SC you can’t sell baked bread without having a certified Kitchen. I don’t know all the details it might be pretty easy.
We know a guy who grows lots of tomatos and he sold 800lbs in two hours at the farmers market for $3.00 a pound (they were organic).
Before you sell produce I think you should try producing enough for your whole family for a year. It’s tough.
We sell blueberries, but that only covers two months of the year and it’s still not enough for two months of income. I should mentioned that we are totally debt free so we don’t need much money. We’ve tried various things, I think with a lot of time that maybe we could eventually make enough to live. I even sell grocery items once a month that I get from couponing, but the deals are not always reliable.
Wow, I really appreciate everybody’s advice; particularly that from those of you who have “been there done that” and know what works and what doesn’t. So, I guess a lot of my ideas probably aren’t such a good idea. And okay, okay, we won’t breed dogs 😉 There are still a few viable options to consider though. This is a great discussion for anybody else who is seeking to make money from living off the land as well. Thanks guys!
We have never been good at doing at home business.We have tried the dairy goats,and the rabbits.Neither was good at bringing us in money but we lost some.Someday I am thinking that selling blueberries would be fun?I doubt we will ever totally be able to live off of our land as it seems to cost alot just to live.:)We raise our own chickens for eggs,steers for meat,pigs for meat and goats for milk.We do not sell these things but at least it is cheaper than buying fresh meat somewhere else as we know what they have been raised on.~Nikki
Since you have some woods you could thin out your woods for new growth and sell it for firewood.And around the holidays you could season it, to sell.
I clean houses for people and make $50 for 3 hours of cleaning. It helps with the income. We have a farmers market around here and once our vegetables get going and I get producing more, my husband, Tom wants me to try and go there and sell my vegetables and backed goods. Sad thing is each spot at the market is $20.00 and what if I don’t sell anything? I am losing money then. But I guess I have to try and see huh?
Good luck on your adventures and can’t wait to hear more! 🙂
That’s a good idea. We do have lots of fallen trees around here. Hmmmm…
Breed & Sell Rabbits- maybe a good idea, especially if you are not squeamish about slaughtering and using the meat to supplement your own supply. They create great garden fertilizer, too.
Breed & Sell Goats- My mom once checked on “boarding” a goat because she couldn’t buy milk/cheese from the farmer but she could take her “own” milk and cheese that the farmer collected for her.
Breed & Sell Dogs- PLEASE don’t do this. There are thousands of animals put to death in our city that are unwanted, neglected, abused; I don’t want to even think about the totals nationwide.
Blessings on all your endeavors! -julie (mom ofTEN, wife of one)
Great ideas.:) My dh and I have been talking about me doing sewing. Not sure how it will pane out but working on learning more on sewing. Thanks for the ideas.:)
As far as crafts go … check out the Etsy stores. See what is available to buy – can you create something different? I know many who have a Facebook store presence for their Etsy store – my Aunt has one called “This One’s Mine” – a store for little girl clothing. And my Kendra created just a FB store she calls “Giraffe Crafts by Kendra”. She hopes to fill it with knitted and crocheted items this fall.
Crafts and sewing can be a real big seller. Maybe you and Jerry could combine your talents – make specialty blocks / building sets. I’ve seen some high priced ones that were quite unique. BUT you can also loose a lot of time and money making things and then nothing sells.
Rabbits don’t sell well as pets … a fact my Vannan is finding out. She wanted to raise meat rabbits. Then brought home smaller “pet” sized. She loves them. It has been such a trial for her – as they were not ready for breeding in time for Easter bunnies. The summer heat killed a whole batch of them. All people want them for is to feed their snakes – and they don’t want to pay $15 each for them.
My sister’s sister in law raises chickens. It’s hard work. She sells the eggs for about $2 a dozen and turns a small profit – about $50 a month in a good month, maybe breaking even in a slow winter month.
Goats … you’ve dabbled some in that. You would want very good breed of goat. Some of the CHEC families (homeschool group) do sell their goat milk – but most have 2 – 3 children helping with the milking and care of the goats. Again, you won’t make a fortune with it. And come winter, you’ll be feeding pregnant goats and getting little or no milk. Our milk runs between $5 and $8 a gallon. Selling off the baby boy goats can be a challenge. We ended up selling them for around $20 each to mexicans.
Dogs – depends on the breed. My sister sold Blue Heelers for a while. As her dogs got too old to breed healthy pups, she’s stopped. The market was open for the Heelers when she brought her first dogs, after 10 years, she really struggled to sell them, and her dogs were beginnin g to have some very expensive medical problems.
I know how you’re feeling. I quit work when my oldest was born, he’s three now. My husband got fired when our youngest was born, 18 months ago. We have tried several things and made a little but nothing seems to take off very fast. My husband had worked for a water utility so he’s gotten several small jobs putting in a water line here or a cattle waterer there, repairs, etc. Of course, that stuff isn’t at home but it is working for yourself. If your hubby does handyman work many people will hire out even simple stuff because they just don’t want to do it. Or if you enjoy cleaning while he stays home with the kiddos that could be an option. My inlaws make a few hundred bucks selling veggies in the summer, but they’re old with nothing else to do but tend the garden. I have to say I am 100% against breeding dogs. Things may be different where you’re at, but the stray rate it way too outrageous. Both my dogs are dogs I aquired because someone else couldn’t/wouldn’t take care of them. Also, a lady down the street has a nonprofit set up that rescues dogs and she has over 200…she’s a no kill. The gal across the street has 1/2 doz or more that have all been dropped on her….
If you had a greenhouse that could supply tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc through the winter.$..Mother Earth News magazine has had several plans for building them out of basically “junk you may already have”.
Selling stuff on ebay could work…
I’ve checked very shallowly into medical transcription, if I could get an idea of the market for that…I don’t know enough to know, but typing what a doc says for 15-20 cents per line could make some moola if you find one that needs your service??.
We are going to breed our first 2 Nubian does this fall and my dream would be to take that business into a career in a few years, dairy license and all. At least that’s my dream 🙂
5. Please don’t forget the cost of soil (if you don’t sell bare-root tomatoes, heh) and containers. Even used pots need a solid cleaning, and folks seem to respond better to ‘regular’ pots than paper cups from Costco.
7. Start saving/finding egg cartons asap.
8. Do more pre-planning than you think is possible. I’ve heard it takes a fair amount of trial and error, even for this family I know near the Ozarks that’s been raising their own chickens for meat for years (and just now selling broilers to folks that pre-ordered). Some folks just can’t scrounge up the $20+/chicken though, myself included. 🙁
12. Rock on! In a similar vein, what about other edibles in your area? Could do walking tours and such as folks are more and more interested.
Another random one – a few friends of mine do fairly well for themselves doing house cleaning. $10-$25/hour, depending on the work and the locality. Someone may need to stay home with the kids while the other goes out, but still. Google up Don Aslett. 🙂
I’m hoping to eventually have enough land to start up a u-pick farm of something easy to deal with like asparagus or cane berries or something – things that aren’t too common in the area and require little maintenance on my part. 😀 Those kinds of things are popping up more and more nowadays.
yes, i suggest really researching these ideas first and i won’t repeat what others have said above. some ideas are already plentiful, some often don’t pan out. i think your ideas about canning might be the best of them all and require the smallest amount of start up money. also, considering your experience so far with dogs, goat, pig and chickens, i would think twice before breeding any living thing until you know you have plenty of experience and understanding. breeding dogs is extremely time consuming. selling raw goat milk is illegal in most states unless you are permitted. remember, these are living things you’re considering using as a venture – please make sure you have the experience and can provide them what they need.
Kendra, you have some lovely ideas, however, they all employ a lot of great effort and perhaps expense. As one person noted, start out slow and see where it goes. You have young children and it is so hard to do things when they are small. Is it so bad to work for a company or the government? I know you all are homesteaders, but you may have to face some realities here. We are not in the 1860’s and you don’t have to struggle so hard. I am all for home made goods and farm fresh, but the people I know that grow their own and have a farm business have one of them working to have insurance and a stable backup. I know it has been tough for your family and you seem very creative, but I am not sure these are jobs that will pay the bills and ensure security for all. Dreams can be realities, but with caution and do your homework. There are so many complications with many of your ideas. I am sure if you follow your passion you will be successful. I saw your video on canning which was good, perhaps there is a future there? How about an online business? I sell on ebay and I do quite well. You may want to consider that. Janet
Kendra I don’t know if you life anywhere near a lake where they do a lot of fishing, but you could raise worms to sale. we have a creek on our property and have talked about if we had to we could sale river rock to landscapers. I’m a stay at home mommy and i’m always trying to find ways to make extra money. You could go to mom and pop gas stations and see about bringing home baked goods to sale. We have a little gas station in our town that sales fried pies, Sausage biscuits, and even sausage balls made by a lady in the community. The one draw back is to be up very early and have it to the station to catch the breakfast rush. I’ve even had yard sales from my coupon stockpile overflow.
Great ideas Leslie!! We do have a little gas station up the road. I bet they would let me bring baked goods in there.
Be cautious with the selling of medicinal herbs, or at least in the way you market it. In some states selling herbs/plants with known medicinal properties and marketing the plants that way without a medical license is illegal. My cousin in KY learned this the hard way…thankfully she got off with only a fine!
Oh, Wow!! Thanks for the heads-up!!
Your husband can builds and install wind powered generators, Diy Solar panels and install them etc….
1.We tried the rabbit breeding, and ended up with about 24 rabbits and no buyers! :o( We ended up giving them all away to a man up in Virginia a few months ago.
2.Goats, yes, as long as they are pure bred. Of course, this past year we had buyers all lined up, but then the goats went into fetal distress due to the GP dogs..and they all miscarried. :o( We were not expecting the unexpected. It was very sad.
As far as selling the milk, soaps etc..There seems to be so many people doing that already. People have very loyal customers. Especialy here. Not that, that is bad, I am just saying. At the moment, Buffalo Creek does all these things and more so. They have a huge clientel. They also travel to all the farmers markets etc.
3.Selling chickens-Yes, there is a market!!
4.Eggs-We were supplying Carvel ice cream with their eggs last year.:o) 2 dollars a dozen.
5.Homemade baked goods and breads, this is something I have been wanting to try, except I would need a permit. *more signature stuff*
With the Holidays coming up, I bet pies would sell like crazy!
Hmmm, I would love to hear what others have to say about this. We have loads, and I have tried to replant them many, many times and they always die.
7.Breeding dogs-There is a huge, and I mean huge, demand for toy dogs around here. I know several people who have 3 pairs of toy dogs, and every few months they give birth to 8 pups that sell for $400 each. It is a constant flow of cash coming in. You need a Good air conditioned kennel. I hear they are easy to build! For some reason, it is easier to sell toy dogs, then farm dogs. People will even come down from NYC!
Those are good ideas but the been there and done that with livestock advice I need to pass on is – be prepared to keep and raise everything you breed. Sometimes they go like hotcakes. Other times you end up feeding more animals through winter than you ever intended. Also – rabbit breeding is not as easy they make it out to be. That is a huge kettle of fish to fry. Go slow. Don’t invest more than you can afford to lose. The profit off of livestock is a farce. You’ll be lucky to break even.
Thanks for your experienced advice!! That’s what I need. I am coming to find that the dreams I have in my head don’t play out as nicely in real life. I need level headed guidance 🙂 Thank you for being honest.