Living off the grid is one thing. Actually making a living while living off the grid is quite another thing altogether. The good news is there are hundreds of ways to make money nowadays. The bad news…it takes work. But you’re an off gridder, or you want to be, and that’s good because you are not afraid of a hard days work. Right? Yes, it’s about work, and hours, and how dedicated you are. We all have families to provide for and we have to be able to make a living while living off the grid. Producing income from your property is the goal.
For this article, I will focus on home based businesses that you can run from your home without having to punch a clock or work for ‘The Man’. Keep in mind, getting a job and having a solid career is probably the most dependable way to produce a livable income to support your family as we all know, but it pales in comparison to the independence you gain from owning and running your own business.
Let’s Cut Through The Feel Good BS of Being Your Own Boss
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of how to make money off grid –because it’s really just about making a living– I want to stress something very important. Having and running your own business is a stressful thing. Let’s not sugar coat it. If you’re not up for long hours of hard work and not knowing whether you’ll make the bills from month to month, then owning a home business is probably not for you. Sorry, but that’s the cold hard facts.
Here are 3 MUST KNOW things you need to know before starting your own business.
#1 Owning Your Own Business is Stressful
I’ve been running my own businesses and companies for over 20 years, and let me tell you, 20 years of stress weighs on you. But I would not change it for the world. The independence I get, the freedom, and the sense of accomplishment is unparalleled. There’s been ups and downs, and I’ve lost my ass a couple times over. It happens because there’s a learning curve. But persistence pays off, and I’m happy where I am with my business today. I’m more experienced and feel more free and independent than working for someone else. That’s what it’s about. That feeling you get when you build something yourself and it’s successful. That is a very good feeling indeed.
#2 Don’t Do It To Get Rich; Because You Probably Won’t Get Rich!
Really. That’s not meant to discourage you, it’s simply stating a fact of statistics. Most people do not get rich with their own business. If you’re just getting into making money from home because you want to be rich and live the easy life, well, I have news for you, stop reading this article now, and go buy one of those “How To Get Rich in 5 Minutes” get-rich-quick schemes, because you’re the person who is always looking for an easy way to make money, and those rarely exist. If they do, they are usually illegal or only a flash in the pan and do not last long. If you’re smart and know how to leverage your skills against your time, know how to delegate and pick good team members you MIGHT be able to get in on a deal or in a market fad and get out before the bottom drops out…but those kinds of real “business opportunities” are hard to find.
#3 You Have To Really, Really Want It
You really have to want to work for yourself and be willing to do what it takes. It’s hard work, long hours and stress. It’s not knowing you’ll close the deal or the sale, it’s being there for your business 12-16 hours per day in the beginning. It’s knowing your year or two in business will probably be the hardest. It’s knowing that if you get through all that you will have something that could last a lifetime and provide for you and your family well into your retirement. It’s knowing and believing that your business will be successful and you have to want that more than anything.
Ok…So How Do You Make Money Off Grid?
Here’s a list of businesses you can run from your home. Most of these can be started and run online from your computer on the internet. (Yes, before you say it, YES! you can still have internet and be off grid; off grid just means you’re disconnected from the power grid and you produce your own electricity.) No one is saying to live primitively. Sheesh, I love my big screen and my Netflix!
Anyway, this list is not all inclusive because there are literally hundreds of ways to make money from home. This is list of ideas you can do from your homestead. This list is in no particular order, there are no #1 ideas. These are just to give you an idea of something you might be able to do from home.
MARKETING MARKETING MARKETING – Then Selling!
Everything here is about marketing.
- Farmer’s Market – Grow and sell produce, fruits, veggies, jams, jellies, and other foods. You can have a small farmers market stand in front of your property or you can go to the local farmer’s market. It’s a great way to generate an income.
- Arts & Crafts – This is a great idea for those with the artistic skill to make little knick-knacks and cool crafts.
- Teaching Workshops – Do you have a skill that people want to learn. Sell that skill by starting a teaching workshop. People will pay you $100 or more for a day’s instruction on a valuable homesteading, building, gardening or any trade skill like welding, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, etc. Make sure you have the proper experience, licensing, permits and credentials though. You can gather 10-20 people at a time each day on the weekends or each weekday for $100 per person or more and that’s $2000 for one week’s work. 4 weeks per month, and you’re looking at about $4k to $8k per month. Keep in mind though, there will be a limit to this income because the pool of people in your local area who probably need or want those skills is small. This is a good way to make money on a temporary basis. If you go online and sell your workshop then you can expand your pool.
- Coffee Shop – Most everyone drinks coffee. It’s a great way to meet people too.
- Restaurant – This takes some planning and development and money. You must have experience to do this, and there’s a lot involved. Having said that, I know people who own restaurants that are very happy.
- Campground & Resort – Again, this business needs a large investment of cash up front, however it can be very rewarding. This is a long term commitment and will require your time for many years. The first 3-5 years will be to work out the kinks and bugs. But if you can last that long, you may have a good chance to make it your retirement, and have fun doing it.
- Swap Meet – Start a swap meet. Setup a few tables, rent them out to locals who’d like to sell their wares.
- Build Stuff – Do you know how to build things?
- Handyman (or woman) Repair – Are you handy with tools? Help your local community fix their broken stuff.
- Lawn Maintenance – You could do lawns. Really, it’s hard work, but minimal investment. $5k in equipment, trailer, and licenses and you’re in business. This isn’t something you can run from your home because you’d have to go to your client’s location, but the business and marketing side could be run from home and online. Don’t forget, this is about making money from home, and you have to be able to make the phone ring and your need leads in your email box each morning. Those are all potential clients.
ONLINE BUSINESSES: Like I said above. Yes! You can still have internet and live off grid. If you don’t believe that, then that’s ok, that’s your opinion and choice. Just realize and understand that others choose to live simply with technology. You don’t have to live primitively to live off the grid. Just simply disconnect from the grid and produce your own electrical power. Everything else is just icing on the off grid cake.
Anyway, internet is a huge part of making a living off grid because it allows you to reach millions of people. People who will pay good money to have what you can provide. The list below touches on some online business ideas you can do to make money off grid.
There are 3 main types ways for you to do you business online.
- Blog – Basically a website with daily or weekly writing updates, stories, photos and information about a specific topic. More personal in nature, more one on one. You can also sell products from your blog. If you blog is popular and you have a large audience and readership, you can charge for advertising.
- Website – This could be a website about any topic, but with more interaction for larger audiences
- Online Store – This is a website with an online shopping cart which allows you to display and sell a product online. Shoppers can add items to their cart and then checkout on your site, enter their payment info and you ship them their product.
DIGITAL GOODS: You could sell digital goods like an eBook or digital newsletter, magazine, or Kindle book, you only have your initial cost of creating the book, and promotion. Making your profit margin much higher than a tangible good which has to be inventoried, handled, packaged, and shipped. which means delivery of the product is automatic via email and cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend doing customer service or handling your product.
- Start a Country Living Blog, Website or Online Store – You know living in the country. Build a website or blog about homesteading. Post photos of your homestead, and share with people how you live your day to day life off grid. Once built and doing well, you can then monetize your blog or website with advertising and Google Adsense (see #4 below). This is a very powerful way to make money passively with very little maintenance. It take a little while to setup and build your base, but once that’s complete, the money is almost automatic.
- Write a Homesteading eBook & Sell it Online – No seriously. You can write a book as long as you’re knowledgeable about the subject. You could write an ebook about putting up a fence, building a cabin, installing a septic system, DIY carpentry projects, building a chicken coop, or any number of projects you do around your homestead.
- Sell Advertising – You can actively sell ad space on your website or blog. Once you grow your audience and readership base and traffic, you can start selling advertising on your website.
- Google Adsense – This is pretty much a hands off passive income stream. Google has a program called Adsense. Basically Google gives you ads to place on your website in strategic locations. When people click those ads, you make money. Simple really.
- Forums & Groups – You could try to start a group or forum around a specific topic, however forums and groups are getting old. People will probably still always use some form of public forum for communication around a certain topic or subject though, so it might be a good way to make money if you can monetize it. Usually selling advertising is the best way. You could also have a subscription service.
- Memberships & Subscriptions – This is probably one of the most used online business models today. Not only does it generate immediate income if you have a good digital (or print) product, it als produces residual income each month or year. A subscription or membership website with a VIP area, or special content is a very powerful way to make a good solid, and steady income.
Build a Fan Base
To do any of the above online business ideas you will need a following FIRST. That is the number one thing you need. People. And lots of them. Because without people your business wouldn’t exist. You need a large following of people before you start selling. This seems counter intuitive because you need to have the website before you have the people right? Yes.
Build your blog or website, (don’t worry you don’t need to know how to build a website, there are lots of online website builders). Once you have you blog or website built with your basic information about you and your chosen topic, then you can start focusing on building your fan base.
Once the fan base is built, then you can start selling your product or service.
Quality Price & Service
Every business’s success centers on the quality of the product or service. You MUST have a good quality product or offer a quality service. But contrary to popular belief, not necessarily for the best price. You can charge MORE than your competitors as long as your quality is high and you have good service to back it up. People will pay for that, and they are happy to pay it.
MISTAKE #1 – Whatever you do, DO NOT FALL INTO THE “LOW PRICE” TRAP!
Do not fall into the trap of pricing your product or service too low. Too many people start a business and think mistakenly that having the lowest price is the best way to gain lots of customers fast. They think that people will flock to them because their prices are lower and they will corner the market on their awesome product or service. WRONG! That is a great way to go broke and close your business in the first year!
Don’t do it! Seriously. You will lose.
The reason it doesn’t work is because people truly want quality and more so…are you listening? THEY ARE WILLING TO PAY BIG MONEY FOR QUALITY! Keep that in mind for any business you start.
Too many people start a business and think they must price low to attract customers. But that’s not true. Most of the time it’s the opposite. If you price too low, people become suspicious, they question the product, and they shy away from it like the last banana on the shelf at the grocery store. No one wants it. It’s just fine, there’s nothing wrong with it and probably tastes great, but no one wants it because it’s the last one, and there’s an automatic assumption being made by people that something is wrong with it.
That right there is why people will shy away from really low prices, or prices which are just seem too low. People will think there’s something wrong and become suspicious. It’s a psychological survival mechanism that all people instinctively have. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
MISTAKE #2 Do Not Undersell Yourself, Your Product, or Your Service
You and your product or service is the best. That’s how you have to look at it. But it more than that. If you think it’s the best, and you say it’s the best, it better be the best or you’ll just look like a sleazy used car salesman.
Just tell the truth. Build your business and your product with quality as your cornerstone. Charge what it’s worth and what people will pay. Do not undersell yourself or your brand. Build yourself and your product and your service up in people’s minds and let your product or service speak for itself.
Now You’re Almost Ready To Start
There is a lot more to starting a business than a simple blog post could elaborate on, but this will hopefully give you some ideas on which direction to go with you home based off grid business. I will expand on this in future articles. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
I’ve been doing this for 20 years and would love to help you make your dreams come true. Seriously, if you need anything, or would like help getting your business going, let me know.
Making money off grid is not as hard as people think. It still takes hard work and dedication. It still takes persistence and the will to make it work. But you can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.
In the end it’s up to you what you want. If you want independence, then owning your own business will help you do that.
Making money off grid, producing your own income, owning your own business is just another way to make that independence much more sweet.