How to make money off the grid is a key concern for most off grid families. Although it would be great to not need money at all, the plain truth is there are some things you just can't make, grow, hunt, or barter for.
Property taxes must be paid, and I've yet to find an insurance company that will accept eggs, wild game, or handcrafted furniture in exchange for home or automobile insurance.
Want this list as a downloadable printable? Scroll down to the bottom of the list for the link.
When we first bought our home here six years ago, Dan was working in town and I was working from home as a freelance writer. I was also homeschooling child number six and 8 months pregnant with our seventh child.
As the years went on we looked for ways to have more control over our income. As we strive to become more self-reliant and build our homesteading skills, learning how to make money off the grid and open up new income streams is a major goal. To that end we've been careful about spending on our backyard chicken supplies, garden planning, and grocery bills.
And as we continue homeschooling and homesteading our two youngest children, we're keenly aware that the work world will look very different for them than it did for us. As we learn how to make money off the grid, our girls are learning right beside us.
If you're serious about living off the grid, start thinking about how you'll make money to support your family.
How to Make Money Off The Grid: 50 Ideas to Get You Started
There are many, many more great ideas out there for making money on your own, starting a side hustle, and launching a small business. But not all of them suit everyone.
For example, online businesses may be out of the question if you don't have access to good internet off the grid. Or maybe you live too far from town to sell goods or services there.
Here's a quick list of how to make money off the grid to get you started.
- Teach a night school course on what you've learned - ie. battery basics, container gardening, raising chickens, installing solar panels.
- Depending on where you live, the laws in your area and the size of your acreage, you might be able to rent space to an alternative energy company for windmills or solar panels
- Create an online course on a homesteading or off grid living topic
- Write and sell an ebook on any topic you know about
- Self-publish and sell a print book on any topic you know about
- Write a print/digital newspaper column for a local or online paper
- Host a YouTube channel (like My Self Reliance from fellow Canadian Shawn James) dedicated to one aspect of homesteading or living off the grid - this has become extremely popular as there are a lot of viewers who prefer to enjoy the lifestyle from the comfort of their suburban or city home! You'll earn advertising revenue
- If you have good internet off the grid, you could become a part-time virtual assistant
- Teach English online to students in other countries
- Sell your digital images, printables, and graphics online
- Start an off grid living blog dedicated to one or more aspects of your off grid homestead. Income can come from ad networks, affiliate income, and creating products to sell
- Become a digital freelance writer based on your previous career (this is what I do - I'm a freelance business and personal finance writer)
- Open a Shopify online store and sell digital products OR run it as an e-commerce store to sell and ship physical products
- Start a homesteading podcast like Pioneering Today from Melissa K. Norris
- Sell your nature photographs and images online at a site like Creative Market
- Run homesteading workshops on gardening, crafting, woodworking, or animal husbandry
- Work as an interpretive guide at a pioneer museum or living history attraction
- Become a hunting/fishing guide
- Run a bed-and-breakfast
- Chop and sell firewood from your woodlot
- Grow your own fresh herbs and backyard garden produce - sell from a farm stand or at the local farmer's market
- Sell your seedlings from your off grid homestead
- Keep your seeds from last year's garden and sell half of them
- Make teas, dried herbs, potpourri, tinctures, and essential oils from your homegrown herbs
- Make any of the items in #18 from greens that you've found foraging for plants in your area
- Tap your trees to make maple syrup or birch syrup to sell locally or online
- Sell your preserves, jams, and jellies made from your garden produce
- Raise and sell baby animals - ie. chicks, bunnies, kids, piglets etc.
- Dogsit or operate a small boarding kennel. Check the kennel laws for your local area first.
- Sell eggs
- Bake and sell bread, cookies, and desserts at your weekly farmers market. Or contact restaurants, bakeries or delis in nearby towns to see if they're interested in buying your baked goods
- Sell meat from animals you're raising
- What about worms? Raising and selling bait worms is a great first business for teenagers living on a homestead
- Got bees? Sell your excess honey
- Sell cow or goat milk
- Make and sell artisan cheese from cow milk or goat milk
- Got goats? Make and sell goat milk soap
- Craft and sell seasonal decorative gifts from things found on your property, such as evergreen garlands, pinecone wreaths, and dried flower arrangements or wreaths
- Got acreage with lots of trees? Sell Christmas trees
- Own acreage on a highway or busy road? Sell sign space to businesses in the closest town or city
- Or sell smaller trees to landscaping companies, builders, or individuals in the suburbs or cities
- Sell the compost you create on your off the grid homestead
- Use your construction skills to help others with their homestead projects
- Set up an Etsy shop to sell your handcrafts
- Start an Etsy shop to sell your original patterns for your handcrafts - knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, rug-hooking
- Learn and teach a pioneer craft such as soapmaking, candlemaking, spinning, quilting, rug-making, basket making, barrel-making
- Keep your old job! At least for now. Not as much fun, but it pays the bills while you learn the ropes of homesteading and off grid living, and work on cutting your costs as much as possible
- Work as a consultant based on your previous career. Choose your projects, only work one or two months at a time, or part-time for longer
- Launch a career as a freelance writer based on your previous career as well. This is what I do. I make a full-time living working part-time as a freelance business and finance writer after a career as a banker.
- Sell your gently used (or never used) items online to generate cash to buy things for your homestead. Top sellers include small kitchen appliances (think toasters, coffeemakers, breadmakers, slow cookers), sports equipment, and baby and kids equipment and clothes. Look for local Facebook swap'n'shop groups.
Finding a good way to make money will be a trial and error process. Start by picking two or three ideas from the list, and give them a try. Remember, your own attitude makes a big difference when learning how to make money off the grid.
Be creative, be open to new ideas, and check out some of the links on this page to see how others have used their homesteading, survival and creative skills to support their off the grid lifestyles.