Homesteading Career

QuailMom14

In the Brooder
Aug 5, 2018
43
19
49
Hi y'all, my question is could I begin a homesteading career out of high school? I have thought about, made plans, business plans, and whatever else I could think of to start homesteading. This is my dream although I'm only 15 as of right now and I am starting a job that pays 14 a hour when I turn 16. I have thought of many I business ideas I want to start sometime in my life. I know from previous experiences this is what would make me happy over other futures I have thought for myself.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Premium member
Mar 11, 2017
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South Park, Colorado, USA
I would pick one business aspect you want to focus on as your main source of profit and really work on making that efficient and successful. For example you could pick beef production or fruit sales from an orchard or something. Learn it well, learn the market, develop your client base, etc. This way you will have a steady income stream and your focus won't be too divided to where you are doing a little of everything but nothing is bringing in sufficient income to keep you afloat.

Then you can start looking at other things first as a way to sustain your family and business. So if you are raising cattle, can you also grow the feed for the cattle? If you have a family can your vegetable garden feed your family? Also other things to be more self sufficient, like can your electricity come from an off grid source? Do you make your own preserves and do canning? Do you make your own clothes, furniture, fencing and other structures, etc.? How far you want to go with it depends on you, but you can always be looking at trying different ways to be more efficient on a personal/family level over the years.

Once you find things that work, can you then also turn these into supplemental income. Perhaps you grow apples for a living, you sell bushels of apples, you make apple sauce and pies etc. for your family, can you also sell these other food products to improve your profits? Do you have more carrots than your family can handle eating this year? Can you sell or trade some of them for something else your family needs? Are you handy with tools or machines? Can you fix your neighbors' lawnmower in exchange for grain to feed your chickens?

I guess my point is there's a lot of directions you can go, but if you find something to specialize in and focus on first, you will always have a source of income coming in to help with operating expenses and to purchase the things you don't make/grow yourself. This is a foundation you can build on.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Premium member
Mar 11, 2017
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Oh, and also some small business classes and/or agricultural science classes would give you some insight on how to be profitable and perhaps different directions you can go that you may not have thought of.
 

ChocolateMouse

Crowing
6 Years
Jul 29, 2013
2,759
5,703
387
Cleveland OH
Ehhhhhhh, not unless you have independent wealth from somewhere or are inheriting a functional farmstead. Take it from someone who's been doing this for years and started only a few years older than you are now; It's hard, there's a steep learning curve, you need land to do it on, there will be some horrible, horrible losses you aren't prepared for. At least once everything will fall apart and you will be left with nothing to start over with. If you don't have security that will leave you homeless and in debt and extremely downtrodden. Literally legally bankrupt.

I can do this because of my partners and their income. The reality is that most homesteads and small farms have at LEAST one full time income off farm that pays most of the bills. Many have two and homestead part time. Many large farms have two incomes as well (one farming one off site)- farming is just not secure or reliable. Homesteading is even worse.

Also, most farmers these days carry at least a bachelors degree. Agriculture degrees are worth looking into and yes, they are hard to get as any other STEM degree. There's a lot of science and business that goes into them. For example, I know someone in the area who runs permaculture nut farm. They're also a college math professor and their wife is a VMD. Another person I know who homesteads is also a webpage designer and tech consultant full time. Another does gig work at a dance caller and has another income through her partner. I've never met a single person in eight years of doing and living this who didn't have at least 1 outside income if not more.

Which isn't to say that it can't be self-taught. I am. But.... I have two other incomes in my household, we own our land outright, we have investments, and so we have lots of room to fail. And I surely have on a number of occasions. And that room to fail did NOT come from homesteading, it came from everything else.

I strongly suggest you try not to go into debt to try homesteading, and have a backup career plan in mind. Maybe instead of focusing your life on homesteading only, focus on something homesteading adjacent. A biology degree, a zoology degree, a VMD, a botany degree, a pharmacist program, an ag degree, a business degree, all would be invaluable on a homestead. And then you always have a worth while back up plan in an adjacent well-paying field.
Start slow, try a few things out, so you can learn a little. Always have a backup plan. Expect to need more income than the farmstead can provide. And always hope for the best but make plans for the worst.
 
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PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Premium member
Mar 11, 2017
7,121
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South Park, Colorado, USA
@ChocolateMouse brings up a good point about startup capital and land. You have to somehow buy or rent land and house to live in. If you don't have a large inheritance, this can be a serious obstacle. If you want to obtain a loan from a bank most banks will require that you prove you have at least 3 years of a steady income and the amount of your loan that they approve will be based on your income. This may or may not be enough to buy the land you want to start your homestead depending on the part of the country you live in and the specific property you are interested in and the down payment the bank requires for this.

Figuring out how to operate is one thing, figuring out how to get started is another.
 

QuailMom14

In the Brooder
Aug 5, 2018
43
19
49
Thank you for the responses! You really put things into perspective😁 I have been planning on majoring in psychology. Hopefully in the future I will be able to follow my dream!
 

itsasmallfarm

Crowing
Oct 27, 2016
1,830
2,668
291
canada
just going to say my thoughts on this.

i have a goal of starting a small farm for a living (keep in word farm not homestead) i asked a few years ago. on here what others thought and this is how i view the subject now.

okay first off i have found out most live stock in not profitable unless you go big (or have lots of land) on the small scale, more over if your breeding them. also you have to deal with meat laws if your selling meat.

next i looked into and decided to do veggies at farmers markets, this will be my first year this spring on this path. but you need land not a ton compared to livestock farming or grain. the biggest thing is you need good growing soil.

but the next issue is zoning some places need you to be zoned agriculture for any type of farming (commercial that is), but how much land do you need? well depends, i suggest looking at the urban farmer (he is from BC so there kinda dealing with there own farm laws at the moment) but he only farms like an acre at most.

the last thing is the word homesteading. not trying to be rude here but, homesteading is more of a hobby/thing of the past if you want to make a living think of it as a farm business,

hope this helps and i hope you chose to go down this path, i think we need more farmers producing good local food.
 

mariopepper

In the Brooder
Jan 23, 2020
4
12
18
Fully agree with some opinions above. If you wanna make a career in this age you should try to create small business on your own. After getting some useful and important experience you can expand your business's size and improve it.
 

mariopepper

In the Brooder
Jan 23, 2020
4
12
18
Fully agree with some opinions above. If you wanna make a career in this age you should try to create small business on your own. After getting some useful and important experience you can expand your business's size and improve it.
UPD: Few more words about business size. When you work for yourself and you business depends on your skills and efforts - it's quite easy. But when you have middle sized business all success depends on the whole team. And it's better for you to check what is MVP, POC terms https://spdload.com/blog/poc-vs-prototype-vs-mvp to be sure in the futher success.
 
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