Several years back, Steve Maxwell wrote an article in Mother Earth News. In it, he shared his experience with the imporance of homestead income. It began like this:
I had the good fortune to meet a young man who recently moved from the city to a country property not far from me. He bought 100 acres of decent land and he’s been bouncing technical ideas off me about building and growing things. One thing that didn’t come up spontaneously is economics, and that’s why I raised the topic with this guy.
As a homesteader, economics are much more important than I realized when I started out nearly 30 years ago. This same oversight is one reason I regularly see new homesteaders fall into a sad scenario that often goes remarkably like this:
- Visionary person comes to the country wanting to be part of a good and natural lifestyle.
- Person has plans for pursuing small-scale agriculture as means of making the modest amount of money they figure is necessary for purchased essentials (i.e. a little bit of fuel, a bottle of Tylenol now and then, tools for the self-sufficient lifestyle, property taxes, etc).
- Person underestimates the amount of money required to meet their expectations, while also overestimating the earnings they expect to come from a small-scale, agriculture-based business.
- Economic realities (i.e. poverty) force the person to take some basic, off-homestead job “temporarily” – a job that’s typically incompatible with the ideals that brought them to the country in the first place. This temporary job also takes up all the time, energy, and enthusiasm available most days.
- Two or three or four years down the road, the visionary person runs out of enthusiasm and goes back to the city, because their life is consumed by a basic, off-homestead job and bears virtually no resemblance to the homestead lifestyle they set out to create. As noble and necessary as all legitimate occupations are, few of them mesh well with homesteading. In fact, a homestead situation is a definite drawback when you have got to travel away from it regularly to earn money.
In my experience, Steve is absolutely correct. Homestead income is not only important, it may be THE most important aspect of successful homesteading.
Rather than focus on marketing and income, new homesteaders place so much emphasis on recapturing the lost skills of gardening, food preservation, craftsmanship, and so on. Yet, as Steve indicated, they often fall short of financial success. In the end, they learn some self-sufficiency skills but fail to become financially self-sufficient, forcing them to return to the life they knew to be unfulfilling.
I don’t want this to happen to you.
My goal in writing How to Make Money Homesteading was to outline many of the ways you can profitably pursue homesteading or small-scale farming without becoming a slave to the farm. After all, becoming a slave to the land is not why you want to move to the country, is it?
People new to farmsteading or entrepreneurial life, in general, are often nervous, if not downright scared, about the prospects of not having a comfortable and secure paycheck coming in each week.
What I’ll say to those people is that when you do make that transition and learn how to generate homestead income for yourself, you’ll never again worry about whether you may get laid off, how your employer is doing, or if you will have money in retirement.
Whether you pursue grassfed beef, artisan cheese making or something not related to agriculture, you’ll make the life that you want for yourself. No one will be there to deny you the pay raise if you want it, or more time off if you want that, although getting both is the ultimate triumph!
Still, I know it’s tough for many people to figure out how to get from point A (where they are) to point B (where they want to go). That’s why most of the content in my free guide, the Self-Sufficient Roadmap, is comprised of the Homestead Entrepreneur Life Plan (HELP).
It’s a homestead income template that allows you to articulate how you will transition to a life that generates sustainable homestead income. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, do so now. Then, devote an hour or so to completing it…that’s all it takes.
Getting started with change is the hardest part, so take your first step today to a new and MUCH better way of life.
Question: How important is homestead income in your opinion? You can leave a comment by clicking here.