50 Ways to Make Money on a Smallholding
This is the question I get asked most often “How do you make enough money to survive”?
I don’t mind talking about what I’m doing to improve my financial circumstances, what I’m doing differently and what I’m striving to achieve, in fact helping people increase their income is one of my biggest passions.
As a smallholder I’d love nothing more than to live of my land completely but I know the lifestyle I enjoy doesn’t allow me to do that. What is very important to me is making enough money from my holding to sustain and provide a 360° abundant lifestyle for my family and me.
I raise and grow some of our food on my small farm and I do as much DIY as I can. I like to think I’m as self sufficient as I possibly can be right now and I improve on that every year. With that said I’m thankful for my local farm shop, the village store, I still use supermarkets when I need to and yes we do indulge in the very odd take away!
The one thing most of us smallholders strive for is to create an income exclusively from our holding, it's something I achieved many years ago when I moved to my first small holding and have done several times since then.
Over the past 20 years I've started from scratch usually on a shoestring budget a number of rural businesses all run from my holding, some businesses fizzled out, some businesses I sold and some I still run today.
As life happens it's not always plain sailing, unfortunately life isn't that prefect for anyone.
I've had my fair share of ups and downs but that's the part of life that helps us grow and learn. However, having the rug pulled from under me in 2018 and again in 2020 means I've had more practice than most on re-building my revenue streams. I feel incredibly proud with a massive sense of gratitude that I’ve got to the exact point I've strived for.
I don’t believe that being a smallholder means you have to be totally frugal or live on the breadline and constantly struggling. I've had plenty of struggle over the years but ultimately, I've always known those struggles are temporary and not a life choice!
I moved to my first smallholding because I wanted a happier, healthier and more abundant life for myself and my family. The thought of the last almost two decades being nothing but struggle & financial hardship is not the abundant life I want my smallholding journey to be!
I love my smallholding, growing food, having my livestock but I also strive to live comfortably, I like little luxuries and not having to worry about the cost of having to call out a vet or that I have to save up for the entire year to buy my winter fodder.
I know that sinking feeling, the pit of despair in the very core of your being when you realise you have no where to turn and you have no idea how the hell you're going to carry on, you're bank accounts empty and you have to search the sofa for loose change to feed your kids.
I also know every challenge, every painful moment & everything I had to overcome is a necessary part of the journey!
I've lived on both sides of the fence and I know which side I'd rather stay on and I love to help others get there and stay there too.
Thankfully, the ways of making money being a smallholder are endless and it is entirely possible to have multiple income streams from your holding, I am living testament to that, as long as you are prepared to do the work the world is your oyster!
I can’t stress enough the importance of utilising the internet. You may already know by now that I lost my entire service business this year due to lockdown, if I hadn't of had this valuable tool to utilise I would truly have been in a huge mess!
I used the internet right at the beginning of my journey and I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t started doing business online. It really isn't as hard as you might think, like everything you may have to spend some time learning and figuring things out but it is so worth it for the time and financial freedom it gives you. I started The Woman That Farms blog with a zero budget and used all the free tools I could find to get started and grow.
Here is a list of money making ideas to get you started.
Selling Food Products
- Sell eggs — someone is ALWAYS wanting farm-fresh eggs!
- Sell extra milk from your goats or cow.
- Start a market garden and sell farm fresh produce from the farm (this can be done by orders and you could deliver locally)
- Raise and sell lamb
- Sell cheeses or other homemade dairy products.
- Sell meat chickens
- Raise and sell grass fed beef cattle
- Raise and sell turkeys, ducks, or geese.
- Raise and sell farmed fish
- Grow extra vegetables to sell at your local farmer’s market
- Start a herb garden and sell fresh herbs from the farm or dried herbs online.
- If you have an orchard, berry bushes, or fruit trees, sell fresh fruit
- Make homemade baked goods and sell them at your local farmers market. These are also great to sell online and can be done fresh to order
- Make and sell homemade jams, jellies, and preserves
- Keep bees and sell local honey and beeswax
- Become a mushroom farmer.
Before you start selling food products be sure to check any regulations in your area - these can vary from county to county.
17. Incubate eggs and sell day-old chicks to other smallholders
18. Raise worms — either for fishing or to sell to other people interested in compost worms
19. Breed, raise, and train milk cows or dairy goats to sell to other smallholders
20. Breed sheep or meat goats
21. Keep a ram, buck, or bull and charge for stud services.
22. Keep a few rare breed sheep and sell tame lambs to other smallholders. I have a few Ryelands in my flock and keep them quiet and tame, they are easy to sell and sell at a premium price.
23. Sell hatching eggs (this can also be done online)
24. Rear your chicks to POL (Point of Lay) and sell pullets (you can make much more money with chickens doing this)
25. Raise bottle calves, sheep, or goats these can be sold for a premium as pets. I hold back my spare lambs that are tame especially tups/rams these are sold at a premium price to beginner smallholders looking for quiet tame males for breeding.
26. Keep fibre animals and sell wool (I clean and bag my fleeces in 1kg bags and sell raw wool to crafters, this way I get more money than if I sold to the wool board)
27. Keep and process your wool, spin it in to yarn, it can be made in to so many things, I'm exploring wool dog leads - this is all part of my niche, I hand sheer my sheep and breed Scottish terriers.
Homemade Products & Services
28. Make and sell homemade soaps, lotions, and balms
30. Put your knitting or sewing skills to work and create homemade hats, gloves, scarves, blankets, and more
31. Use your carpentry skills to create rustic handmade furniture, bespoke pieces or other wooden items
32. Use metal-working skills to create personalised signs or horseshoe creations
33. Cut and sell firewood.
34. Rent out your land for others to graze their livestock on
35. If you have a large garden area split it in to sections and rent out smaller allotment plots to likeminded local people.
37. Use your greenhouse to grow and sell bedding plants and seedlings
38. Grow a cut flower garden and sell all your beautiful blooms
Create an Experience
People love the idea of farming and smallholding. I run retreats, workshops and have a holiday let all on my holding, I'm pretty much booked out for the whole season. People always love to spend time at my smallholding and often come back.
39. Create a PYO (pick your own) and allow others to pick their own fruit, veggies, or berries for a fee
40. Turn your house into a Bed & Breakfast and give your guests a first-hand taste of smallholding life
43. Grow a pumpkin patch and create the ultimate autumn farm experience in October.
44. If you live in an especially picturesque location, rent out your paddock, barn, or land for weddings, parties, photo shoots, or other events.
45. Open a vintage junk shop in one of your outbuildings and sell anything you no longer want/need. You can also find local craft people and artists and offer to sell their creations for a commission.
people love to learn and as a smallholder you probably have skills that are valuable to others, use those skills to your advantage...
46. Start a blog or website — This is near and dear to my heart, as it is the income stream which has allowed me to survive financially when lockdown happened in March 2020. I was able to pivot quickly and utilise this to create a full-time income and ensure I had enough coming in to provide for my family and livestock. This to me is more than just financially rewarding, it gives me the time I need to care for my family, livestock and farm.
47. Teach classes — Cheesemaking, fibre arts, meat processing, soap making, candle making, beekeeping… If you have mastered knowledge, craft or skill there’s a good chance others will pay to learn from you! I hosted day workshops and weekend retreats and was always fully booked.
48. Write and publish a book — Self-publishing is easier than ever using Amazon Createspace or Kindle
49. Teach others your skills online — this is what I started to do with my blog, and comprises the bulk of our income, it has made keeping and staying at my farm possible.
50. Run foraging days/retreats/weekends and teach others how to forage for their own food.
Whatever you decide to do to bring in an extra income remember, starting a business takes hard work, grit and determination.
It’s not going to happen overnight and there will be times you want to give up - but keep going, I can promise you it’s worth it!
If you need help and inspiration on many more ways you can get all you can out of all you've got click here to join my dedicated facebook group Make Money On A Smallholding Homestead Business Group