If you’re trying to be more independent and off the grid, a homestead is the way to go. However, not all of us can afford 10 acres, livestock, and the equipment necessary to manage a large farm. Fortunately, even if you only have a small homesteading hobby, such as gardening, raising chickens, beekeeping, or making art out of nature, then you have the foundation of a business that can help you put you closer to your goals.
Common Homesteading Skills
As a current or future homesteader, you’ve likely already put in the energy into refining your skills. Skills you might possess that others don’t are how to garden, how to make jams or jellies, or even how to make your own candles. In addition to skills, you’ll already have the ingenuity and access to certain materials that can help you craft your way to a new career.
Setting Up Shop
As with all businesses, you’ll avoid lots of headaches if you spend the time and money preparing the foundation of success early on with steps that help you streamline.
Start with a structure. Your business structure directs everything from how you manage your business to how you handle your taxes. For many small, home-based businesses, an LLC is the most viable option. If you’re not sure how to start an LLC in Ohio, begin by reviewing the rules and regulations in your home state. To save money in the early days, file yourself, which you can do online using a dedicated formation service. As an LLC, you may pay fewer taxes, and you can open up a bank account in your business’s name.
Create your ideal work environment. Because you probably don’t want to work at the kitchen table every day, make sure that you have a workspace that works for you. VersaTube Building Systems cautions that you’ll probably need a permit for an outbuilding and notes that you’ll need lots of counter space and lighting.
Test the market. Market testing is not exclusive to small businesses. Even large corporations dabble in different areas before they settle on their big money makers. A good place for you to begin is a local farmers’ market. Even if you don’t make a ton of money, a few weekends set up at your local market will show you which products are popular and which are not in demand. Before you go, make sure you’re comfortable with vendor fees and confirm if you will have access to electricity or running water, if necessary.
Refine to appeal to your customers. While some products simply won’t sell, others may have a broader appeal if they are tweaked slightly. Time at the farmers’ market is a great opportunity to open up a dialogue with your customers to find out what they like and what they don’t. For example, you make soap, and your personal favorite scent is lavender. Lavender isn’t selling, but rose is. In this case, you can leave the lavender soaps for home, and focus on other scents that are more attractive to the masses.
While you may have started your homestead endeavors to help you go off the grid, you also have to earn an income. The good news is that there are many ways to do so while working the land and utilizing the nature that’s all around us. It doesn’t matter what you do, trust that someone will pay for your skills, you just have to spend the time refining your business, from forming a structure to changing your products to appeal, so that you can set a solid foundation for future success.
For more recipes, articles, tips and courses related to homesteading, subscribe to Black Homesteader today!