Learning to monetize your homestead not only allows you to make more money doing what you love to funnel back into the land, but can even lead to a full-time job working from home.
Whether you are monetizing a homestead as a side hustle or in hopes of turning the project(s) into a full-fledged career, keep receipts of all expenses and mileage so you can deduct these farming costs from your federal income taxes.
There are a multitude of ways you can legally monetize your homestead, even if you only live on a small amount of acreage or use a backyard to homestead upon.
It is entirely feasible to earn a minimum of $1,000 per month from your homestead if you approach the endeavor in an organized manner, and diligently put the work in on a daily basis.
Marketing the homesteading business both locally and online will be crucial to the success of the legal side hustles. You do not need to be a tech expert or spend a small fortune to launch a blog or website or open an ETSY store to sell your homesteading goods and services.
In fact, using a free such as Blogger.com, Wix.com or Squarespace.com (or other media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube) gives you all the tools you need to develop an online marketing presence in an incredibly easy to follow manner.
1. Poultry Birds
Raising poultry birds offers two opportunities to earn legal income from a homestead. While folks who do not live in rural areas may need to follow municipal guidelines that limit the number of birds that can be kept in a backyard, keeping chickens, ducks, and keets is legal in most areas.
The chicken and duck eggs can be sold from a little stand on your own property, at a local farmers market, or even on ETSY to add a steady income stream for the homestead.
If you do not live in a municipality that forbids the keeping of roosters, fertilized eggs can be sold both locally and online for a surprisingly good price.
Breeding poultry birds is yet another way to make money from the flock that feeds your family. Unlike chickens and ducks, guineas are not as commonly sold at agriculture stores – and when you do find them they not only disappear quickly, but usually cost a minimum of $7 per bird!
Do not neglect to factor in the cost of an incubator. Some chicken and duck breeds are excellent layers year-round, but are lousy sitters. Guineas are prone to dropping their eggs everywhere, and are very fragile.
If you want or fiscally need to allow the poultry birds to hatch their own eggs, consider getting Bantam chicken hens and Khaki Campbell duck breeds because they both lay and sit their eggs extremely well.
2. Raise Rabbits
Raising meat rabbits to sell them as breeders or directly to consumers at their ready to butcher weight will also increase the legal ways to monetize your homestead.
If allowable by laws in your particular area, you could start a home butcher shop to process and sell your own meat – and learn to tan the rabbit hides to increase the money making options related to raising meat rabbits on the homestead, as well.
Veterinarians checks and other rules can apply to selling home butchered meat. Inspections of the butchering area as well as permits that can raise in price from a little to hundreds of dollars, may be required.
3. Scale Up and Raise Medium and Large Livestock
The size of your homestead and municipal laws (if you are homesteading in an incorporated area) can greatly impact your ability to keep and use medium and large livestock on your homestead.
In areas where keeping these type of animals, goats can be raised and bred for sell, be placed in a herd share program so the raw milk can be sold to folks wanting to garner it legally, rented out to clear land, for their fiber, and sold or butchered on site for meat.
Except in the United States, goat meat is one of the top selling meats on the market, and the niche market for it is growing by a lot.
Herd shares can be sold on dairy cows to legally garner raw milk, as well.
Both dairy and beef cattle can be bred and sold to consumers, beef can be butchered on the homestead where legally allowed, and the hides can be tanned and sold as a raw material or turned into moccasins, purses, clothing, outerwear, etc.
Boarding and training horses, as well as creating trails on large homestead for pleasure riding are also common homestead or agriculture land money making opportunities.
Securing the proper insurance policy to protect you from accidents or injuries that can occur by customers, cannot be highly recommended enough.
Sheep – In addition to the already mentioned ways to earn money from breeding livestock and selling their meat, sheep can also be raised for their wool.
The wool can be cleaned and sold as a raw material, dyed and/or carded to be sold for a higher price, or turned into needle felted animals, accessories, playmats, and clothing and sold both locally and online for rather nice sums year round.
Needle felted animals often sell for $25 to $100 each at online artisan venues like ETSY.
Unlike beef cattle that require a long commitment and a lot of grazing space in order to sell them for meat, hogs only need to be kept for about seven months until they have matured to a solid butcher weight.
Breeding hogs to sell their piglets – or “weaner” pigs is also a good way to legally monetize your homestead.
These little cuties are often raised and sold or rented out to help homesteaders and farmers deal with coyote predators. Miniature donkeys love, and I mean absolutely love, to chase and kick the tar out of coyotes.
Breeding or renting out miniature donkeys is both a way to legally monetize your homestead and help out others who live on agricultural land in your own community.
Building a greenhouse on the homestead not only allows you to grow more of your own groceries year round or start your own plants from seeds, but also the ability to cultivate extra produce – including non-native species and dwarf trees that can be sold to the public locally or online.
5. Seed Saving
Saving the seeds from your crops to preserve them not just to supply your own needs for the next homestead planting year, but to place them in packets you design to sell them to other gardeners to help them grow traditional crops, herbs, and medicinal plants, as well.
6. Sewing – Embroidery
A $100 to $800 investment in a quality sewing and embroidery machine can pay you back tenfold in as little as a single year.
Both of these machines or a combo one, will allow you to design and make items like freestanding lace jewelry, dolls, quiet books and other learning toys, purses and other clothing and decor items that you sew and then embroider upon – with customization options for your soon to be loyal customers.
7. Make Delicious Jams and Jellies
If you have berry bushes growing wild on your property or in a fruit grove, the ample produce the trees and bushes supply can be turned into delicious homemade jams, jellies, and preserve to be sold to folks both far and near.
8. Make Salsa
Turn your excess garden produce into mild, medium, or hot homemade salsas that are sold locally at farmers markets, inside local grocery stores or restaurants, and online.
9. Sell Dehydrated Goods
You can dehydrate produce from the garden, greenhouse, or your apothecary patch and sell them to folks in your own community and online as yet another way to legally monetize your homestead.
Dried medicinal herbs, both medicinal and ornamental flowers have an especially good market at online venues like ETSY, and in both brick and mortar or virtual specialty retailers like natural food stores, wedding, and craft shops.
Turn your homestead into a gathering spot for weddings, photo shoots, a “you pick” farm operation, and other special events. An old wood barn is a superb backdrop for senior pictures and engagement photos.
Turn what you know about homesteading into an educational class either online or via a video on a YouTube channel – or your own website.
You can teach folks how to garden, tan a hide, milk a cow, make homemade food that is grown on-site, build a chicken coop – the options are nearly endless. Before you start your next repair or building project on the homestead, consider how you can use the endeavor to teach others how to do the same.
12. Dairy Goods
Selling homemade cheese and butter from a farmstand on your property or where it is legally allowed at farmers markets or grocery stores in your area and online will help ensure the extra milk you have never goes to waste and helps put more money back into your pocket.
Make goat’s milk soap in a variety of colors and include some herbs and flowers you’re growing on the homestead into the recipe to increase the style of products you can offer locally and in an online store.
14. Raise Bees and Sell Honey
Sell you excess honey and any honey based infusions to your community members and online customers.
In addition to selling queen bees or established colonies of extra bees, you can also rent out your own beehives to other homesteaders and farmers to help them pollinate their gardens on a seasonal basis.
15. Make Bread
One of my favorite booths at our local farmers market is the homemade baked goods one. While local laws and health department dictates vary, selling homemade bread and pies, etc. has been a tried and true money maker for homesteaders for hundreds of years.
In many states, it is far easier to sell homestead or farm produced goods from a stand on your own property than it is off-site, from a legal and health department permit issue.
16. Knitting – Crochetting
If you love to delve into yarn and related fiber products, consider spending some of your free time (I know, that can be hard to come by) making hats, scarves, gloves, blankets, etc. to sell in your region and online to help monetize your homestead.
17. Making Lotions and Cosmetics
Many of the ingredients you need to make natural homemade lotions and cosmetics already exist on your homestead. Goat’s milk, beeswax, herbs, and flowers are the most common base ingredients of many types of beauty and healing lotions and salves.
Picking dandelions and jewelweed growing on your homestead provides a free source of ingredients needed to create your own specialty line of homemade products that can be sold just where you live or to customers around the world.
If your homestead is overrun with grapevine like mine, grab a chainsaw and start cutting it down to put it to work for you.
Grapevine in nearly all diameters is sold as raw material for crafting and can also be turned into wreaths, grapevine trees, baskets, and the like to be sold at craft fairs, community events, farmers markets, and online.
Selling barnwood boards as well as decor and furniture items created from them can be a very lucrative and legal homesteading endeavor.
If you are an amateur homesteading blacksmith, consider offering your services to folks in your area and making cool decorative items and tools for sale to customers both near and far.
Handy with a drill and saw? Consider building and selling chicken coops, chicken tractors, bunny hutches and the like – and even the plans you used to build them to help legally monetize your homestead.
Making a blog or writing a book about your ongoing homesteading journey as well as sharing how to do a variety of projects or learn the skills necessary wannabe or newbie homesteaders need to make their living off the land dream come true as well.
Selling photos of the land, garden, livestock, and ecotourism event to stock photo services like Shutterstock, can also create a steady extra income for the homestead.
A homesteader surely knows the value of good dirt. Selling compost that your barnyard and chicken scraps turn out year after year once you have all you need will help put some more money in your wallet, and help those in your community further their grocery growing goals, as well.
24. Rainwater Catchment Systems
Build rainwater catchment systems like the ones you created on your own homestead and sell them locally, or sell the plans and parts to customers via the internet.
25. Heavy Equipment
Large acreage homesteaders accumulate a broad range of heavy equipment over the years, consider renting out tractors, hay baling equipment, etc. or your services on them, to others in your community that need a garden tilled, or hay baled.
26. Livestock Guardian Dogs / Herd Dogs
Raising, breeding, and training livestock guardian dogs and herd dogs is both a rewarding and reliable income producing project for homesteaders.
Once you have your reputation established as an excellent breeder, you may consider offering delivery or partial delivery of the animals to customers for an additional fee.
One of the many things homesteaders are forced to become an expert in is fence repair. Renting out your services to others in the community may wind up keeping your busier than you could bargain for – filling your pockets all the while.
Large homesteaders spend a lot of time cutting and splitting their own firewood for the winter. If your land annually produces more wood than you have need for, selling truckloads to customers or smaller amounts to campgrounds in your area, will help monetize your homestead, as well.
29. Farrier Services
Turn your farrier skills into a legal homestead side hustle by renting out your services to others in your region. A farrier with a van or truck setup that allows him or her to travel to the homestead, farm, or horse park to do the work often garners far more customers and pay for their services.
Opening your large homestead to hunting or leasing off a portion of the land specifically for that purpose to a person or group is probably the lowest effort homestead side hustle I can imagine.
Offer primitive camping opportunities or a cabin rental to members of the public during high times of outdoor travel in your region or during special events (like when a homestead area has been rented out for a wedding and reception).
32. Youth Experiences
Invite scout, community, or church groups to visit your homestead for a nominal fee as part of a project or badge they are learning about, or as part of a special event day camp style experience about homesteading you have created just for children.
33. Toy Making
Turn scrap wood, firewood rounds, and wool into no-tech Waldorf style toys for both boys and girls. A wood tree village single piece typically sells for $150 on ETSY – and will cost your zero dollars and just a few screws to make.
To successfully and legally monetize your homestead it is best to start with something you love to do that includes skills you have fully mastered. Projects where all of most of the raw materials are available on your homestead for free help keep startup costs low.
While all of these ways to monetize your homestead do not require an inspection or permit in my region, that does not mean you will have the same experience. Always check local laws before embarking on a homesteading side hustle or work from home career idea.
Keeping track of both your expenses and income garnered from the homesteading business should be kept meticulously so you can count both the extra income and expenses on your taxes.
All of the expenses, even small one for supplies and mileage for deliveries can add up quickly and help you either pay less taxes come April 15, or bring you a larger than expected refund.
Homesteading Business Hints and Tips
Do what you love. Turning a profit will be a less tedious and obstacle filled task if you are sharing a passion via skills already honed.
Even if selling wool sounds like a fabulous way to make extra money with a homestead, if you have little to no experience raising and shearing sheep you could be setting yourself up for an epic failure.
Start small and expand your homesteading side hustle only once you have at least 12 months under your belt. Over-investing time or money (or both) into a new venture could cause what might be a profitable and long-standing source of income into a jumbled and overwhelming nightmare.
Keep accurate records – the government is watching. You must document all income earned through the homesteading business for income tax purposes. On the up side, using your homestead as not merely a hobby but a business opens the door for a myriad of tax deductions.
If you are raising sheep for wool, the cost of the feed, water, housing, etc used to keep the animals should be tax deductible. Typically, a portion of utility costs on a working farm can be deducted from income taxes as long as the water, electricity, or other utility was used in your husbandry efforts.
Get into the habit of writing down the mileage on every receipt when the visit to the store, event, or training class was related to the homesteading business.
You should also be able to take a home office deduction off of your income taxes if a room or portion of a room inside the home was used for typical business or office activity.
Tara lives on a 56 acres farm in the Appalachian Mountains, where she faces homesteading and farming challenges every single day, raising chickens, goats, horses, and tons of vegetables. She’s an expert in all sorts of homesteading skills such as hide tanning, doll making, tree tapping, and many more.