Skills That Pay the Bills: Self-employment for Homesteaders

Regina Anneler
13 Min Read

You finally did it!  You managed to get away from the madness of urban life and build your own homestead.  Now you raise your own meals; you take care of the land, buildings, livestock, and home.  That sweet taste of freedom and accomplishment that homesteading brings is beyond compare to your old way of life.  But, you still have that 8-5 grind and, chances are, you now spend extra time in a daily commute from your homestead to the place where you serve that 8-5 grind.  The quest for the almighty dollar drives you to keep up that grind in the pursuit to meet your financial needs.  However, could your homestead enable you to leave that grind?  Is there a hidden opportunity lurking within all the labor you have invested in your homestead?  Is it possible that your homesteading skills are offering you an alternative way to make a living?  Has self-employment for homesteaders become a viable option for you?

If the self-employment option is calling and you desire to leave the rat race of the corporate world behind then the first thing you need to do is to simply brainstorm.  Begin by making a list of all the skills that you have, including the new ones that you earned while working to build your homestead.  Things at which you probably became adept could qualify as light construction or handyman-type skills.  Other areas in which you may have gained skills are fencing and livestock care.  In the process of gaining and practicing these skills, did you obtain tools and equipment that you now own?  If you purchased your own tools, they can now assist you in helping to plan your self-employment future.  Many dreams of self-employment are lost due to lack of equipment and supplies so make a list of any and everything that you already possess that could help you to achieve your goals.

Next, make sure of any rules or regulations that exist in your area concerning the type of work that you are considering.  You can usually find all state laws and regulations, including any licensing requirements, on your state government website.  Also, make sure to check with county authorities and any other government entities so that you might be working within their boundaries.  Research and make sure of anything that might be a legality affecting your future career.   Remember, preparation pays off in the long run and if you are considering more than one idea, you will need this information to compare and contrast.

You have been researching what would be the best way for you to make a break from the corporate grind, now you need to see how you can make your ideas fit into a work niche so that you can get started on your way to self-employment.

Take a close look at what opportunities seem to be the most plentiful around you and look at which of your strongest skill sets fit into these opportunities.  Handyman is a broad scope job description, if you choose to exercise several of your learned skills at the same time then perhaps this is an option for you.  A self-employed handyman really has no limits, however, some jobs a handyman has to do may not be all that appealing, so carefully think about what opportunities are available in your area.

Self-employment for Homesteaders handyman

At some point on your homestead adventure you have probably had to construct a fence to keep in your livestock or perhaps more like keep the predators out.  This skill can be of great value, as a lot of people would rather pay to have them installed rather than build the fences themselves.  This particular job requires a good truck and trailer and a few tools but it does have drawbacks that must be considered.  Such as the travel required if you want to have steady fence building work.  It may also require a lot of up front cost in purchasing supplies.  This type consideration may not be a problem for some but a problem for others so try to look at all possible scenarios.

Another popular skill learned in homesteading that can be transferred into self-employment for homesteaders is landscape and tractor work.  In your quest to build your homestead did you level any ground for a foundation?  Or move rocks and trees from a field to make it a useful pasture?  What about building a driveway or water feature?  If you have your own tractor and dirt-working equipment perhaps landscaping or dirt work is an excellent opportunity for you to break into the world of self-employment.

Self-employment for Homesteaders yardwork

If dirt work is not something that interests you, perhaps you became well acquainted with woodcutting when designed your own homestead.  Do you provide firewood for yourself each winter limiting your need for gas and or electric heat?  Is a chainsaw one of your favorite tools to operate?  If any of this sounds appealing to you then perhaps you should look into opportunities available to cut and sell firewood.  Possibly you have enough extra space that you can make a lot for customers on your homestead to come to you for their wood purchases or perhaps you have a truck and or trailer available to be able to provide home delivery to customers for an extra fee.

Firewood is usually sold by the rick or cord so you need to have this information and set up some type of measuring system to provide wood in the right measurements.  If you have plenty of wood and know of places to cut more for free, or at low cost, then woodcutting could be the perfect form of self-employment for you.

Maybe all these previous ideas just sound too much like work to you and you are looking for something more along the lines of livestock.  This area can be a little touchy so make sure what kind of livestock services that you want to offer and that they do not encroach on things that require a licensed veterinarian to treat.

There are several options still available in this area that do not require a veterinarian to do.  Examples are the shearing of sheep and goats.  Also hoof trimming on sheep, goats, cattle and horses are usually covered by others and veterinarians.  Many individuals that want to get into this field have portable working equipment and tools that load on a truck and trailer and travel site to site to complete the job.  This type of option might not be enough work on its own for full-time but there are those that make it a full-time option by increasing the area or territory that they cover on a routine schedule.

These are just some of the skills and options that homesteading has helped to foster into self-employment opportunities for others.  Use these as ideas to develop more of your own ideas; a little imagination is all it takes to get started.  If you spend time thinking about your favorite aspect of what you have learned and accomplished then you will be able to develop a basic plan to reach self-employment.

Congratulations!  You have come up with an idea to use your homesteading skills to become self-employed.  What is the next step?  Once you have made up your mind what you want to do, you will need a customer or service base to get started on your new career path.

farrier Self-employment for Homesteaders

The fastest and best way to get the word out is to advertise that your service is now available to the public.  Make a presence on Facebook, but don’t neglect traditional ways of advertising. Start with area where you live, try making flyers that state what you are offering and that have a contact number for potential customers to speak with you.  These flyers can be handed out person-to-person, posted at local area venues, or mailed all ways are a few of the options available.  Next, you might consider placing an ad in the local newspaper or classified services paper that can be obtained within the areas that you want to offer your service or product.  Always remember that word of mouth is a free way to advertise and often the one that brings about the most business if the word is good!

Depending on what type of self-employment you are planning, you might wish to invest in insurance as self-protection for you and your work.  One of the most important types of insurance for the self-employed is liability insurance.  This type of insurance protects you and your assets if something were to happen to someone else’s property while you are on the job.

Vehicle insurance of the commercial type is good to find out about if you are using a vehicle, trailer, or even a tractor as an everyday part of your self-employment.  There are several costs and options available for both commercial vehicle and business liability insurance so make sure and look into this before deciding what type and where to purchase it.

Talking with others that made the switch to self-employed life has given me an inside look at the average income of various self-employment opportunities.  The following is a list of average incomes from those out making their dreams come true.  Keep in mind these prices are variable depending on the area, hours, expenses, and many other things not necessarily foreseeable for this article.

Self-employment for Homesteaders Income Possibilities

House Cleaning or nanny: $250-300 weekly

Lawn or Landscaping: $500-$1000 weekly

Farrier: $400-$600 weekly

Fence building: $300-800 weekly

Handyman: $250-$500 weekly

Window washer: $250-$600 weekly

Custom Hay bailing: $300-$600 weekly

Now it’s time for you to get started on the path that leads you away from the daily 8-5 grind and marries up your financial future with your homesteading future.  The start is always a little rocky but just like that wooded, rocky land on which you started your homestead, it will develop and grow with time and effort.  Call your friends and neighbors and offer them the first chance at your new service or product; after all, you’re working for yourself, now.

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