homestead-projects, passion projects, sustainable, permaculture

How do you turn a passion into a project that really bears fruit? Dreamers often ask themselves this question. Many of us dream of creating a truly sustainable homestead, of turning a gardening hobby into a way of life, or of spending all day, every day immersed in the things we truly love and care about.

However, it can often feel that insurmountable barriers—financial or otherwise—that stop us from really committing to achieving the things we want to do. So how can we overcome those hurdles and bring our passion projects on the homestead into reality?

Each and every day, I am working in both my personal and professional lives on things that really matter to me and that I am truly passionate about. But getting here has not always been easy, and, of course, aside from that crucial element of luck, there are a number of things I’ve had to do to get to the fortunate position that I am in today.

Finding Time for Passion Projects on the Homestead

In my own experience, time can often become more of a constraint than money. But my own experience shows that with a little imagination and a lot of hard work and drive, it is possible to bring your dreams to life.

How do you find the time to create and tend the perfect garden, start that dream self-build project, or get a new sustainable business off the ground? I’m currently working on all three: tending my 1/3 acre food producing garden, undertaking a largely self-build barn conversion with my husband, and working full time as a writer, permaculture designer, and sustainability consultant.

homestead project barn conversion
Eco Barn Conversion Kitchen – A work in progress.

Here are a few tips to bring your homestead passion projects into reality based on my own experiences:

Free yourself of time-wasting activities. Declutter your mind and your life. Focus – hone in on the things that are really important to you. Let other things slide. If your home is a little untidy from time to time, or you don’t always look your honed and polished best, ask yourself if that is something you can live with to free up time for your passions and for working towards your goals. Make sure you prioritise what really matters to you.

Plan and prepare. Make sure upfront that you have taken the time to decide not only where you are going, but also where you want to end up and what has to happen to get you there. Being organised is an important part of making sure you make the most of whatever time is available. Look at the big picture before honing in on the details, and design holistically, whether you are designing a garden—or a way of life.

Remember that you don’t necessarily have to go it alone. Collaboration and co-operation can be key. Surround yourself with like-minded people who share your goals, and who are willing to help you get to where you want to be.

Apple Tree - Forest Garden
Apple tree in our forest garden.

Yes, I have a messy home, and rarely get dressed up. I am so, so busy, almost all the time. But I am also happier than I was, and feel as though—even working ten-hour days on weekdays and building and gardening on the weekends—I have more time than I did when I was not half so busy. 

Funding Passion Projects

Though managing time and prioritising is important, it is unfortunately true that, for many, finances forbid us from simply doing what we love to do all of the time.

My husband and I are still on our own journey to free ourselves more or less entirely from the necessity of paid work. We have a mortgage, though, because we bought it with family rather than trying to go it alone, and because we live as we do, we should have paid it off by the age of 45.

Our long-term goals are to live simply and minimally here on our property, work less for others, and spend more of our time doing the things we really love to do. At the moment, my husband’s work for a company providing educational tools, as well as my own freelance business, are crucial to allow us to fund our lives.

Our lives here have been made possible because I found a way to use my skills and knowledge in permaculture and sustainability to make money, as well as using them to try to make a real difference in the world.

My own route involved slowly building skills and gaining knowledge over years, both through practical, hands-on experience as well as through study. And no matter which arena you are working within, and whatever you are passionate about, this is a key step in the process.

Taking the time to hone your skills and deepen your knowledge about your passion projects will help you find ways to make a living from what you personally love to do.

Once you have done this, matching those skills to needs or wishes is another key step. In my own situation, I have found a need among many landowners for guidance on how to make the best use of their properties, and have found a market for my services. No matter what field you are in, and what your passions are, finding a market is key.

My permaculture business: EWSP Consultancy.

Finally, to turn passion projects to profit, take things slowly, one step at a time. And remember, when it comes to income, you certainly do not have to put all your eggs in one basket.

Work out what you really want to do. Work out how much time you really have, and consider how you might monetise the things you love. If you are prepared to work hard, and expend the time and effort required, then you can bring passion projects on the homestead (or anywhere else) front and centre in your life.

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