Have you ever dreamt of monetizing your homestead? Doesn’t it sound great to be able to actually make money doing what you love?
Well, it is one thing to come up with money making ideas, but it is a whole different ball of wax to actually do it.
See, we spent a lot of years developing a homestead. We’d make a little bit of money here and a little bit of money there, but never what I would call actually monetizing our homestead. That is until recently. We purchased our bigger homestead, and it has lit a fire under my husband and oldest son to use it to make money.
Actually, my oldest asked us if he could start his own business based around our homestead. I was so proud, but I was also glad to help him try to take his dream and turn it into a reality. Which is exactly what is happening.
Here is what we are doing to turn our monetizing dreams into reality:
Tips to Monetize your Homestead
1. Get Set-Up
The first step in monetizing your homestead is to actually get set-up for a business. If you plan on selling eggs, then you need egg cartons, a place to sell them and make sure that your coop and hens look good. People like to see where their product is coming from.
But if they pull up to your home, and you have no egg cartons, the eggs are dirty, your coop isn’t very pleasant, and your chickens look sickly, then they won’t want your product.
In our case, we are in the process of setting up u-pick areas. This is a big thing around our area. People love the experience of being able to pick their own produce without having to do the work of tending to it.
So we had to plant some extra berry patches, get the pails ordered for picking, and create a nice little area where people can pay, pick up their pails, purchase some berries that were already picked, and maybe pick up a few extra items while there.
Or if you plan on starting a business such as hauling and delivery, you’ll need to purchase a truck or clean-up the one you have so it is ready to look good when delivering a service that people are willing to pay for. This is actually our oldest son’s idea. He has a truck and found a great deal on mulch.
So he plans to go buy the mulch wholesale and then deliver and spread it for people around us for a little extra money because of the labor involved.
Whatever your monetizing idea is, you need to make sure that whatever tools you need are available, you’ll want to look pleasing to your visitors, and be sure to look professional too.
2. Make a Few Calls
The next thing you’ll need to do is make a few calls. This means that you need to call your insurance agent. The reason for this is if you are doing a hauling business, you’ll need to be sure that your insurance will cover whatever item you are hauling.
If not, then you’ll need to purchase additional insurance. This will be good for you so you don’t get stuck paying out of pocket for something if it gets damaged.
But it will also help you attract customers because they know that they are covered regardless.
If you are planning on doing a u-pick patch, or any other product that would require people on your homestead, then you need to get in touch with your home owner’s insurance company. You need to be sure that anyone that could potentially get hurt on your property would be taken care of without you going bankrupt or losing your property.
Finally, I recommend talking to an attorney if your business really balloons. This is to protect yourself and your family. If you are a sole-proprietorship, this means that you are a small business owner and that everything that you have is lumped into one.
So if someone got hurt or ill from using your product and decided to sue you, they could be able to come after your home and everything you owned.
But if you spent the money to have your business set-up as a separate entity such as an LLC (limited liability corporation), then the individuals could go after your business, but could not touch anything that is your personal property.
Again, you may not need to consider this right away, but if you have the good fortune of creating a booming business, it is important to speak with someone on how to best protect yourself and your company because sometimes things just happen, and you may need that protection.
3. Marketing is Your Friend
This step is probably the biggest step you could take in getting a monetization idea off of the ground. If you don’t market your product properly no one will know about it. If no one knows about it, people won’t purchase your product. So you need to be thorough in your marketing strategy.
First, always have business cards on hand. That way when you see people out in public and strike up a conversation with them about your newly birthed business, you can hand them a business card so they’ll have your name and number. My husband has people do this to him all of the time.
And we keep these cards in a specific drawer because we’ve learned over the years that when we need something, we can pull out that card and call up the individual. We usually have great results and this is our method of helping out local, small business owners.
Also, if people come to your homestead or local stand to purchase a product, be sure that they never leave you without having a business card in hand. You could put them in a bag with the products they purchase or simply hand it to them. That way they’ll always know how to get in touch with you if they need more of your product.
Second, you’ll want to use social media to your advantage. Become part of groups like local yard sale pages or specialty pages that specialize in your product. For instance, if you are selling honey and bees, join beekeeper groups. That way you can let them know if you’ll be at a certain location with your products. You will be surprised how supportive some of these groups are!
However, you could also start a business page on social media sites to post updates about your company and product. A lot of people won’t necessarily call to find out information about your business anymore. We have become creatures of convenience so be sure to keep all of your social media accounts updated.
Third, create a website. It is not difficult nor particularly expensive to start a website these days. Even if you aren’t really sure how to run a website, there are enough posts (like this one) that can help you get started. This is a great way for people to learn about you, your business, and your products.
Also, you could start an online store using your website as well. This makes shopping with you even more convenient, which people love.
Fourth, advertise, advertise, advertise. You will want people to see your business name everywhere. So put it on your work vehicles, purchase inexpensive signage to post out in the public, print flyers and post those at the library and other locations (with permissions, of course.)
But you could also have nice t-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers made up too. People are always looking for a fun t-shirt, hats, and stickers to wear. Make them interesting and people will probably purchase them and be a walking, talking billboard for you.
Finally, you’ll want to run a special right out of the gate. If you are selling a product, do a buy one get one special. You could also print coupons that give new customers a certain percentage off of their next purchase. People love deals, and they love saving money. If you help them achieve this, then you’ll most likely get their attention.
4. Quality Matters
The next step is kind of a no-brainer. Be sure to produce a quality service. This is one of the main things I’ve driven home with my son. If you are going to offer a delivery service, then you be sure that you are delivering a good product and that you do a better job on someone else’s home than you’d do on your own.
Plus, always treat your customers with dignity and respect. Good customer service is something a lot of businesses struggle to offer these days.
But if you can offer your customers a great product and do it with a smile, they’ll remember that.
So just be sure that you can stand behind what you are selling or doing 100%. If you are selling eggs and a customer gets a bad egg by chance, don’t argue with them. I know this can happen from time to time.
Instead, tell them to come on back, and you’ll replace the egg and then some for the trouble. Most aren’t going to hang on to the ‘bad egg’ experience. Instead, they’ll remember how well you treated them and were quick to fix the issue.
So if you want to stand out, then stand with your product and produce something that you are proud of.
5. Become a Bookkeeper
Next, you’ll need to become a great bookkeeper. When you run your own business, this means that you’ll have to pay taxes on this business.
But you also get to apply certain items for deductions too.
So this means that you’ll need to keep excellent records. This will save you money in the long run. Remember that producing and selling a product is only part of running a business. You also have the behind the scenes things that happen too.
If you can manage things both in front and behind the scenes, then you’ll have a better chance at success.
However, if you struggle to do all of this (which is totally normal), it is okay to rely on others. With our homestead, my husband takes care of a lot of the in-front stuff while I handle the books and numbers.
Naturally, my son wants us to do the same things. My husband will help him line up the product and deliver it on certain days.
But he wants me to handle his books and marketing for him until he gets the hang of it. This is normal. Many hands make light work, especially when monetizing your homestead and birthing a business.
6. Morals are Still in Style
Finally, one of the best things you can do to monetize your homestead is, to be honest, a hard worker, and a fair businessman or businesswoman. No one likes to deal with someone that is out to hustle them. NO ONE!
So be honest with your customers. If your crop didn’t do as well this year, then tell them. If you sell an animal to them and it dies almost immediately, then try to reach a compromise with them.
Basically, follow the Golden Rule and treat others like you would want to be treated if you were the customer purchasing a product.
And I will share from personal experience, most people will do business where they are treated right. I avoid many big box stores and restaurants because they act like you don’t matter.
But give me a store that will still help you to your car with your bags, a restaurant that won’t scowl when a family of 5 comes in to dine because we order more food, or a small farmer that will stand by his product, then I’ll shop with them all day long regardless of how convenient other places may be.
So if your customers can trust you and your product and know that you will be honest and fair with them, then you’ll be surprised how fast good word of mouth will travel and help your business to grow.
Well, those are 6 steps to help you get started with monetizing your business. Realize that not every monetization effort will work.
But if you keep trying and run an honest business with a good product or service, people will eventually draw to it because unfortunately, quality products and pleasant people are not things you can find everywhere anymore.
Now, I’d like to know, how did you monetize your homestead? Which steps did you take? Do you have any additional advice for those that are starting out?
Please, share your thoughts with us in the space provided below.