Many homesteaders dream of utilizing their land or space to subsidize their income. Some have a hobby or a talent that others would gratefully pay them for. Today's modern homesteads lend themselves beautifully to cottage industries and the potential is unlimited.
The first thing you want to figure out is if you are interested in selling items, a service, or perhaps delve into agritourism (people come to your homestead).
Also, If one or more of these homestead business ideas catch your eye, but sure to check on your local ordinances so that your business is nice and legal.
Animals and Livestock Businesses
- Chickens -- Organic, natural, and range-free egg sales are at an all-time high in terms of desirability. The public is becoming educated about the differences between small farms and large, commercial production. Take advantage and get some egg orders! You can also raise meat birds and sell them either once they are raised and ready for processing, or take pre-orders before you order the chicks. Variations on this theme include selling the birds already butchered and ready for the oven, or becoming a hatchery and selling them as baby chicks (for either egg-laying or meat).
- Rabbits -- Rabbits seem to be in the shadow of chickens, but they shouldn't be overlooked as one of the best small livestock choices for the modern homestead. Rabbits can be raised for meat, manure producers for the garden, and for wool (fiber) for hand-spinners.
- Honey Bees -- Jar up some of that gorgeous honey and get it out there for the word to taste. The wax is also marketable, as are products made from bee products such as candles, and soap.
- Cows/Cattle -- You can sell meat from your cattle and perhaps milk from your dairy cows. Fair warning: Selling raw milk to the public might be unlawful in your area, so research the local legalities.
- Sheep, Goats, Alpacas -- Sheep, goats, and alpacas are easy-to-handle livestock for most people. Depending on the breed, both goats and sheep are used for meat as well as for wool (or fiber) production. Alpacas are usually raised for wool. Goats can become a brush-eating business in their own right.
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables -- If you happen to be good at growing food you can sell homegrown produce at the local farmer's market, grocery stores, or to the public directly from your homestead.
- Plant Starts -- Love growing things from seed? Well not everyone does, so pot the baby seedlings up and put a price tag on them. Anything goes -- vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals are all very desirable.
- Fresh Cut Flowers & Bouquets -- Flowers that are grown and cut locally stay fresher longer! Plus there's a wider assortment to choose from since not all blooms ship well and are only available if purchased from a local grower. Become a wholesaler or sell assembled bouquets retail.
- Dried or Fresh Herbs -- Everyone loves herbs and they're sued for any number of things including cooking, crafting, and home health remedies. If you grow them feel free to make them available to everyone else and turn a profit.
- Worms -- Yeah, worms. Whether you raise and sell worms for vermicomposting systems or for fishing bait many people dig 'em. (See what I did there?)
Make & Sell Handmade Useful Homestead Items
Is someone at your house handy with wood? There are more items that you can shake a stick at that homesteaders and small farmers need including chicken coops, chicken tractors, rabbit hutches, hay mangers, goat or sheep run-in shelters, milking stanchions, and raised garden beds.
Knowledgeable and handy folks who can help with farm relates tasks are always in demand. Can you put up or fix fencing? Build structures? Till land? get a garden started? Milk cows or goats? Fix farm equipment? Put your talents to good use and hang out your shingle!
If you enjoy teaching others, then ask yourself these next questions: Are you a fabulous cook? Can you make soap? Mill your own flour? Garden? Sew? Build? Raise bees? Goats? Chickens? Bake? Your skills can be put to use by holding classes for others to learn these things (whether they're homesteading related or not). Classes can be taught at your home or at a local community center.
Make & Sell Handmade Gift Items
- Artisan soaps -- I personally can't get enough of handmade soaps. They smell and feel delightful and look beautiful in the bathroom.
- Flower and Herbal Sachets -- Perfect for tucking into drawers, closets, or by the bed pillow to send you off to dreamland. Sachets can be made by anyone with minimum sewing skills and dried flowers and/or herbs. Try lavender, mint, scented geraniums, chamomile, lemon verbena, thyme, peppermint leaves, lemon balm, rose petals, rosemary, lilac, and calendula flowers. A drop or two of a compatible essential oil can be added, as well as orris root powder as a fixative to keep the scents around longer.
- Canned Goods -- Preserves, jellies, and jams are always best sellers. Homemade foods and goodies can't be beaten. Come up with a signature product (and packaging) for yourself; an original twist.
Holiday Season Businesses
- Pumpkin Patch -- Have some space to spare? Plant a ton of pumpkin vines and create a U-Pick Pumpkin Patch. Make sure you have some interesting varieties, too, such as some white ones and Cinderella varieties. This is a good example of an agritourism business where the public comes to your farm.
- Christmas Trees & Live Wreaths -- This is another agritourism business that's a joy if you love the look on kids' faces when they find that perfect tree for the holidays. It's one that requires years to get started unless you moved to land that already has the right types of trees planted there. I think that this would be one of the most heart-warming and, therefore, worth the wait. Greenery that's trimmed from the bottom of the trees can be shaped into wreaths and sold at the checkout stand.
- Holiday Light Hanging -- If you're great with hanging Christmas lights (extra points for being the creative type), you would be amazed at how many people will pay to have theirs put up and taken back down after the holidays. This is a great business to bring in some extra cash.