Can I make money on a smallholding?
Over the past month or so I’ve had so many emails from people asking me if I really do make all my money from my smallholding and if it’s really possible to make money from home.
I try to reply to everyone but judging by the emails I get, I know I’ll be asked the same question again probably many times over.
So, I thought it’d be worth putting my thoughts here in a blog post and share what I know and do on my small farm.
In my experience and through the various things that I’ve done over the past 18 years I believe - Yes. It is more than possible to make money from or on your smallholding and from home.
also from my experience and probably much to the disappointment of many aspiring smallholders it’s not from livestock or produce from your gardens.
this is based on the assumption that you want to make a decent, comfortable living.
Its probably not in the way you think or hope!
I think the biggest question people neglect to ask themselves is – what kind of lifestyle do you want out of your smallholding?
Living on a smallholding is a lifestyle choice.
The smallholding itself gives you part of that lifestyle – a beautiful country home, freedom to roam, fantastic place to bring up your children, fresh air etc, etc. So, in my mind the smallholdings already paid for itself!
Being smallholders most of us don’t want to stop at just the lovely house. We want to add chickens, livestock, grow our own food – all these things cost money to start and maintain.
Think about it – You have a sick animal that desperately needs a vet but you already owe the vet for the last three times he’s been out and if you don’t pay the last bill he won’t come out this time.
What a horrible feeling and a horrible position to be in!
That goes for your entire smallholding experience. You’ll need money for building repairs, feed bills, animal bedding…. The list goes on and on.
What about you personally and your family? You have to eat, keep warm then Christmas and family celebrations sneak up on you.
This may all be ok for the first year or so, but think about the longer term…. Who would really want to live like that forever? It just looks like a miserable life to me and a long, long way from the abundant prosperous life smallholding living should be.
I’ve lived on both sides. For the first couple of years we lived on the breadline whilst I was building the farm and my business. Once I’d got things moving we lived a lovely comfortable life I didn’t have to worry about paying bills, feeding animals, we could visit all the agricultural shows we enjoyed, I invested heavily in the holding etc. I’ve lived on the bread line again for the past two year whilst I’ve been re-building. Ultimately, I’ve always known my breadline situation has only been temporary and not a long term choice because I’m willing and prepared to re-build our beautiful life.
When I moved to my first smallholding almost two decades ago I did it because I wanted a better life for my children and myself not to live on the breadline and struggle for the past two decades.
That meant I had to find ways to make money to buy and keep my smallholding and maintain the lifestyle we wanted.
The thing that people don’t like to hear is, that although it is totally possible to make a very good living from home...
it takes hard work, determination and sometimes a lot of will power to keep going.
You have to be prepared to learn new skills I mean the type of skills that are actually going to make you money.
Being a smallholder means you’ve no doubt learned a tonne of new skills and gained a lot of knowledge. So, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to figure out what you love and in turn use those skills to make you money.
Starting any business means you’re running multiple things at once. I run my holding, family, home and multiple businesses alone until I’m turning over enough money to afford staff to help me.
I make very little from my livestock and gardens even after all these years. The farm wipes it’s face - meaning it covers it’s costs. I get a little tiny wage for my efforts at the end of the season.
but the smallholding gives me a lifestyle I love, which is much more than money could buy!
Don’t think that keeping livestock or selling your surplus garden produce will cover your living expenses and feed your family. They will no doubt give you many years of pleasure though!
To make money on a smallholding you have to diversify and be prepared to work long hours over many long days.
DO NOT QUIT!
There will be times when it gets really hard and you will have to work at it. But it is worth every drop of blood, sweat & tear!
I’ve done countless things over the years that have made really good money and a few that just flopped! I’ve recently turned this blog into a little money-making machine that saved the farm after losing all my service businesses and just shy of £100k through covid. Now I help others do the same
Another thing you need to be prepared for is to be able to move quickly should markets change. Or as this year has brought – complete closure to many businesses. Always try to think one step ahead.
I am living testament that making money from a smallholding can absolutely be done, not just a living but a comfortable living.
If you'd like to join me and other ambitious folk make money on your smallholding click here to find out how we're doing it.