Starting a Homestead Side Hustle

A Homestead Side Hustle is about more than just the extra cash, it’s an additional layer of security and risk management for your farm. It allows you more options when you’re looking at future projects, can relieve some of the financial burden of upgrading equipment or expanding your infrastructure.

Consider the time you spend creating your side hustle an investment in your farm or homestead.

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Even though it sounds great, starting a small business is intimidating. There are plenty of questions that come up… Is now the right time? Am I ready? What if I don’t know what I’m doing?

My recommendation is to start small and allow it to grow with you. If things don’t take off, you can always pivot and try something else. The experience will only help you and we prefer to stick with ideas that you can launch with relatively little fiscal investment – minimizing the financial risk if things don’t go as planned.

Think of these as prerequisites for starting a small business on your farm:

  1. An open mind. Are you ready to learn and experiment? You don’t need experience starting a business, a business degree or any special education to be successful, but you will need to be ready to try something new.
  2. Willingness to act. We’ll share the same steps we followed, but you’ll need to act on them to get your business ready to launch.
  3. Some dedicated time, even if it’s 15 minutes a day to write down your ideas and questions. Choose to make your side hustle a priority. We started RC Field Days in about a month. We came up with the idea on New Year’s Day and opened to the public on February 6.
  4. Flexibility. The goal is to create a small business that works for you. Always consider your lifestyle and goals as you plan. There is no one “right” business model. What works for a farm down the road, or for a social media influencer or lifestyle blogger, may not work for you.
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A small business has many merits, but it all starts with the right idea to meet your goals. A side hustle can change your life. When you build something, it’s empowering. You gain confidence, security, both from the extra income and the new opportunities you afford yourself.

Start with your answer to a simple question- what do you want the side hustle to do?

In general there are three common goals – which one speaks to you?

  • Extra cash for a specific purpose (purchase X, payoff Y, etc)
  • Create sustainable income to increase your quality of life
  • Replace, or augment, the income from your current job

Now write your own goal. Try to make it SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. This is always the hardest part for me. Stuck? Try considering what you’d like to see 3, 6, 12 months from now.

Goal: I want to make extra money.

Okay, but let’s make it measurable. $200, $750, $1800 a month? How much is achievable and realistic? What kind of time frame are you looking at?

Better Goals:

  • I want to make $500 a month from my side hustle by October.
  • By December, I will be earning enough to cover a tractor payment each month.
  • I will clear $4000 profit from my small business in the first year.
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In many ways, having this goal helps you look more critically at your potential business ideas. Do they have the capacity to help you meet this goal? If not, can you add value to get there? If the answer is still no…. it’s best to invest your time into a different project to start.

Whether it’s paying off debt, helping with start-up costs, creating an emergency fund, or building up your infrastructure quicker, there are a ton of reasons to think about diversifying your income streams. Start simple and add complexity only as you need. You may just find that it grows organically into a business with full-time potential.

In the next post, we’ll focus on what makes a business idea great.

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