Many people chose to adopt the homesteading lifestyle to get away from the rat race. However, it’s often necessary to make money from an off-farm job that eats through your free time and leaves you so busy that the ‘homestead’ becomes little more than the place you sleep. For this reason, making a property pay for itself is a top priority for many homesteaders.
The central problem with trading traditional work for dollars is that your time is something you can never get back. If you want to transform your schedule so that you spend less time working and more time living, then you need to learn the secrets of making income directly from your homestead. If you can set up a system that generates multiple streams of income, you’ll build resiliency into your business plan that helps you maximize your land’s profit potential without it taking up all your time.
What’s a secret to separating your time from money? Passive income is the place to start.
What is Passive Income?
Put simply, passive income is money you make that has no connection to your time. Classic examples include royalties from a bestseller or collecting rent as a landlord from your tenants. But passive income isn’t “free money.” Rather, it’s money you earn with a lag time by doing most of the work upfront and collecting revenue from it for an undetermined time after.
For the homesteader, passive income has tremendous potential to transform your life. If you find yourself short on time each day for the tasks you want to prioritize, adding passive income streams to your homestead will free you up to take on what you care about.
While setting up passive income sources is a risk of time, energy, and money, your homestead can reap the rewards long into the future. Combine enough of these strategies together, and you might make enough to quit your day job for good.
25 Solutions For Making Passive Income On Your Homestead
Whether your homestead consists of fifty acres or a fifth of one, there are plenty of ways that you can put its resources to work to earn you money. This list should help if you need some inspiration to get started.
1. Sell Handmade Soap
If your land supports a cow or goat that’s producing more milk than you know what to do with, making and selling handmade soap is the perfect solution. Natural beauty products are a big industry right now, and you can set up an online shop through Etsy or a homesteading website to free up your time even more.
2. Breed Livestock Guardian Dogs
A good farm dog is worth its weight in gold, and many people are eager to pay a premium to call one their own. If you’re willing to invest in quality breeders, you can raise two or three litters of livestock guardian dogs a year and make a tidy profit from the process. All the better if you can get the puppies well trained they make it to their forever home.
3. Start a Campground
Camping is one of the most popular recreational activities in the United States today, and you can tap into this lucrative market by turning parts of your property into camping spaces (even temporarily). You don’t need more than a quarter acre or so to get started, and renting out your yard is an excellent supplemental income source during festivals or other events in your area.
You can create a more permanent campground system by outfitting part of your property with a simple bathroom and rentable tent spaces. If you aren’t sure how to get started, How to Start an LLC provides the advice you need. Regarding marketing, you can promote your campsites on Hip Camp to get the word out.
4. Rent Out Hive Space to an Apiary
Have you considered getting into honey production? Honeybees are in high demand these days, as colony collapse disorder has decimated their populations and many beekeepers are desperate for new opportunities for improving their stock. If you’re not ready to invest in your own hives, the perfect option is to rent out space on your land for professional beekeepers to maintain them instead.
If you have land available, you can rent out hive space to beekeepers for around $150 per hive per year, and they stay responsible for any maintenance work. As an added benefit, you’ll also get free pollination for your property and the feel-good factor that you are contributing to saving the bees!
5. Sell Rabbit Pelts
If you raise meat rabbits for your family and toss away the pelts on butchering day, you’re missing out on a profitable form of supplemental income. You can tan the hides at home and turn them into artwork and handicrafts, or sell them online to hobbyists. Either way, you’ll make money from what is otherwise a waste product.
6. Sell Stock Photography
Need a use for the beautiful photos you take around your property? Consider selling them as stock footage, and you’ll receive a commission every time someone orders one. Animal images are always popular, as are drone images of your property or unusual angles of building and crops. If you want advice, the Penny Hoarder provides plenty of information for getting started.
7. Cultivate or Forage for Mushrooms
Specialty mushrooms are having a moment these days, and there’s money to be made by cultivating high demand varieties like oyster, portobello, and shiitakes. Best of all, mushrooms take up minimal space in a homestead setup, and your inoculated logs will provide you with fresh mushrooms for years with minimal effort from you.
Selling mushrooms is simple, as they generate a high price when sold both fresh and dried, and there is a sizable market for them across the world. Depending on the variety, you can expect to make between $20-40 per pound of fresh mushrooms.
If you’re not interested in committing to mushroom logs, consider foraging for and selling wild mushrooms instead. Even a little patch of woods on a homestead can be surprisingly rich in morels, Lion’s Mane, and other edible varieties. The key for success is being absolutely sure that the mushrooms you find are edible, so be sure only to seek out types that you are confident you can identify as any mistakes can be incredibly dangerous.
8. Sell Firewood
Putting a homestead woodlot to use for passive income is simple, especially if you harvest your own firewood each year anyway. You can sell excess from your home with a sign out front, and either request that people pick up the wood themselves or offer a premium service to deliver it to them. Either way, the firewood should almost sell itself before the beginning of winter season.
9. Host Retreats
Do you live in a gorgeous area that others would appreciate visiting? Consider renting out your property for retreats. Small-scale music festivals, yoga retreats, and even weddings are always looking for beautiful homestead spaces to use as a host site. You usually need to do little more than provide the venue space, and any additional services like access to tables, chairs, and refreshments should come at a surcharge.
You’re in luck if you have a beautiful barn on your property as well. A few renovations will turn it into an indoor event space that can be rented out for business meetings, a temporary exercise studio, or even space for nontraditional classes. Stable Management and Ruple Properties walk you through the process of getting started.
10. Rent Out Equipment
If your high-quality chainsaw and poultry processing equipment do little more than gather dust most months, you’re missing an opportunity to rent them out for passive income. Many homesteaders aren’t willing to invest in specialized equipment themselves, but they’ll be more than willing to pay you for temporary access to yours.
11. Supply Stud Services
The temporary “services” of male animals are a desirable commodity for farmers and homesteaders, so if you own stock of a rare or valuable breed, you can make additional income by renting out his special skills to anyone willing to bring their animals to your property.
12. Sell Woody Ornamentals
Woody shrubs can quickly overwhelm a homestead property, but those dogwood, pussy willow, and holly plants are valuable in the right context. Consider potting up young plants to sell at the local farmers’ market, and you’ll create a valuable income stream for the homestead. Advice for getting started can be found at Profitable Plants Digest.
13. Create a Fiverr Account
What skills do you have that others would pay $5 (or more) for? Maybe it’s a knack for creating the perfect Pinterest pin or providing personalized natural wellness advice. Whatever your skill, there’s almost definitely someone on Fiverr.com who is willing to pay for it. Setting up a profile on the site takes seconds, and you can explore virtually limitless opportunities for adding extra income streams to your homestead, passive or otherwise.
14. Raise Valuable Bugs
Strange but true, there are plenty of people looking for a reliable source of bugs and insects. Pet stores need a regular source of mealworms and crickets, and your local gardeners and fishermen won’t turn down a fresh worm supply. Best of all, raising bugs for resale takes up surprisingly little space (a closet will do), meaning that this is a hobby you can take up with any size property. Many people even sell bugs on Amazon, such as this seller selling live ladybugs for gardeners.
Take a look at our guide for raising insects for profit.
15. Start a Bed and Breakfast
Squander that wasted space in your home or property no more! The vacation rental business is booming, so turning an unused bedroom or small cottage into an Airbnb space is easier than ever. You can take your rental one step further by starting a farm-based bed and breakfast. Visitors to your homestead can spend time with your animals, enjoy farm-fresh food, and even help you with daily tasks.
Opening your home to regular visitors can be rewarding, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to sacrifice some privacy and have a willingness to act extroverted around your ever-rotating cycle of guests.
16. Sell Essential Oils (Or Similar Products)
You’re not alone if your Facebook newsfeed is filled with network marketing business opportunities. Selling products through Facebook “parties” is big business, and it can be surprisingly lucrative. Many homesteaders sell essential oils from companies like DoTerra Essential Oils for a side business that they can feel good about, and they often do well enough to replace the income from off-farm jobs altogether.
17. Rent Out Your Land for Tech Equipment
If you have unused hill space on your property, it might make sense to rent out some space for tech equipment like wind turbines or cell phone towers. You might need to live with a slight eyesore, but the right deal can potentially net you thousands in passive income each year.
18. Sell Hatched Chicks
While everyone seems to be in the business of farm-fresh eggs, fewer people offer just-hatched chicks for sale. Starting a small hatchery is a great way to provide your local community with rare heirloom poultry breeds, and some people make over $1,000 per month from just 15 adult chickens.
19. Rent Your Field to Metal Detecting Clubs
Metal detecting clubs are forever looking for new places to scour for hidden treasure, and your homestead might be the perfect location, especially if you till fields annually. Send out an open invitation to local metal detecting clubs, and you can collect a fee for their use. It’s even possible to set up a land use agreement where you get to receive a portion of anything discovered on the property.
Skeptical that anything valuable will be unearthed on your property? You can still market it as a testing site for clubs by burying “treasure” for them to practice their skills on.
20. Sell Medicinal and Culinary Herbs
For those who are interested in getting into the growing business but don’t want to commit to becoming a full-time farmer, cultivating herbs is the perfect place to start. Most are vigorous growers with ample natural defenses against pests and disease, meaning that they take little effort on your part. You can learn the first steps for starting an herbal business through a brilliant course at the Herbal Academy of New England or the stellar resource book The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale.
21. Offer Personal Storage Options
Storage space for oversized “toys” is hard to find for people who don’t own property, which is why renting out part of your homestead for equipment storage can be lucrative. The Iowa State University Extension provides information on how you can turn an used pole barn into a passive income source through month-to-month storage rental services. It’s easy to offer a better deal than most storage units while still pulling in a tidy profit. Just be sure you thoroughly protect yourself from liability by having every renter sign a waiver before beginning.
22. Start a Blog
One of the best ways to get your homestead on the map online is by creating a website and regularly posting on it. A traditional blog is a stellar way to tap into a broader audience to promote your products to, and you can also make money through ads and affiliate links. If you need help optimizing a website for homesteading, Small Farm Central offers resources to help you out.
23. Make Farming Videos and Valuable Online Content
Video content may be the future of the internet, and you can be a trendsetter by producing quality videos about your homesteading experiences. By uploading videos to YouTube and other platforms, you can build up a loyal subscriber platform and start earning money from every view.
You don’t have to be a video expert to do well with your content; you merely need a compelling story and a willingness to educate others about it. The best homesteading video bloggers tend to niche their videos towards topics that their audience is interested in, like gardening tips, crop selection advice, livestock solutions and more.
Most YouTubers need to work hard at the beginning to build up a following, but over time it’s not unheard to make enough money from ad revenue to take the place of a fulltime job.
24. Teach Courses (Or Build an E-Course)
Homesteaders have invaluable skills the rest of the world is dying to learn about, so capitalize on that interest by teaching a course! The easiest method is to invite people to your property for in-person lessons on any topic you excel at (home butchering lessons are especially popular). If you aren’t comfortable teaching a course, it’s always an option to rent your property to a course facilitator.
Or, go the full passive income route by developing an online course people can take on their own time. You’ll need to put in an effort at the beginning, but you can reap the rewards for years to come from every purchase.
25. Write an Ebook
There’s never been a better time to become a self-published author, so it’s worth considering writing an ebook if you have a story or skills to share. So long as you provide real value to readers and do some marketing, you can expect to make some supplemental passive income from a book that takes off on Amazon. This guide from Creative Indie will get you started.
Improve Your Homestead’s Income Stream Through Passive Income
Trading your time for money doesn’t work well in a homesteading situation. There are always more projects to attend to than time in the day, so transitioning over to passive income is a smart solution for avoiding burnout…and an empty bank account.
These methods for passive income involve plenty of upfront effort, but when done correctly they will pay you dividends for seasons to come. Incorporate one or more into your homestead financial plan, and you’ll soon find yourself with more time to devote to the projects you genuinely care about.