Going totally off-grid is a dream for many preppers. To be able to leave the hustle and bustle of modern life behind and go back to living the way they did in simpler times is an attractive option, especially when you consider that those living that way would have the greatest chance of surviving a TEOTWAWKI event. Living totally off-grid generally includes being as self-sufficient as possible.
There’s just one problem with that; few of us can afford to just pick up and move someplace where we can fall of the grid. We not only need some way of paying for the land we’re going to live on and the home we’re going to build, but to meet our needs on a day-to-day basis.
Winning the lottery might be a good answer to this problem, but not one that is likely to happen to any of us, any time soon. We’re going to have to come up with some way of making money for ourselves, rather than counting on some huge windfall to make it possible. In other words, we would need to come up with some way of making money, while living off the grid. Fortunately, there are ways to do that.
Chances are, you’re going to have to depend on a combination of things to make money. There are some things you can do, which are directly associated with having an off-grid homestead, such as selling honey from your bees. But it is unlikely that you will make enough money off of that, to meet all your needs. However, by doing a few things like that and coupling them with something having to do with your old career, you can probably make a good living.
If you’re going to be living off-grid, chances are that you’re going to be establishing a homestead, in the old sense of the word. Amongst other things, that means that you’ll be growing a lot of your own food. Regardless of whether we’re talking about having beehives to give you honey, growing mushrooms, or raising goats, you can probably grow more than you’ll consume. That extra can be sold.
The key here is to focus on something that either demands a good price or which are hard for most people to find. Honey is a good choice, because of the price it demands. Goats might be so as well, in some parts of the country where people eat goat, because you can’t just buy it in the grocery store.
You want to be careful about this one, making sure that you don’t run afoul of the law in the process of trying to make a living. There may be laws in your state, regulating agriculture, which would apply to you. Do a little research before starting out, just to protect yourself.
If there’s anything that COVID-19 has taught our country, it’s that a lot of people can do their jobs remotely, without having to be in a central office. Not only does that help prevent the spread of disease, it’s cheaper for companies who don’t need to pay for all that office space. Perhaps you can keep doing the job you’ve been doing, working from your off-grid home.
You would most likely need internet access to be able to do this; but then, you would for many of the ideas I’m suggesting. Since going off-grid doesn’t mean living without electricity, but rather using only electricity that you produce yourself, that shouldn’t be much of an issue. The internet is a good source of information as well, so you’ll probably want that access.
Blogging or Podcast
Speaking of the internet, there are a lot of people out there who are making a living off of sharing their experience with others. Capitalize on the opportunity of your off-grid living experience and put it online, either through regular blog posts or a podcast. You can share the various projects you do, challenges you face, lessons you learn and your off-grid experience in general. There are lots of people who would love to follow you.
The way you make money off of either a blog or podcast is by selling advertising. Google and others will be glad to provide you with a channel online, in exchange for you allowing them to put ads on your blog or podcast. You would then be paid per “click through” to those advertisements. The more people who click through from your blog or podcast, the more money you would make.
Create a YouTube Channel
If you’re an expert on anything, you can start a YouTube channel sharing that expertise. There are already thousands of these in existence, covering everything from interior decorating to gaming. Even if others have already created channels covering your area of expertise, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for you. You may have a different angle or be able to explain things in a different way, which will appeal to a segment of the audience.
Perhaps there’s something having to do with your off-grid living experience, which you can turn into a YouTube channel, teaching others how to do it. The only real limit, is your imagination.
YouTube channels make money pretty much the same way that blogs and podcasts do. YouTube will pay you for allowing them to put ads either at the beginning or embedded in your videos. You then get paid by how many ads are shown. The only catch is that you have to have a monthly viewership of 10,000 total videos watched, to sign up for the program. So best to start recording soon.
Set up an Online Store
As with most of the other ideas we’re exploring, an online store can be done from literally anywhere. There are two basic ways of doing an online store. The first is to buy inventory at wholesale, then do your own shipping to your customers, whether those customers come from eBay, your own website or advertising that product on Facebook. The second way is to use drop-shipping, where a warehouse somewhere is fulfilling your orders.
Once again, your expertise comes into play, as you want to be selling products that you know something about. Making any online store effective and get the sales you want requires excellent customer service. In order to give that, you’re going to have to know a lot about the products you are offering. People today tend to buy from online vendors who are able to answer their questions and solve their problems.
Open a Bed & Breakfast
If your off-grid home has extra room in it, why not open a bed & breakfast, offering accommodations to travelers. One of the hallmark features of many bed and breakfasts is that they are out in the country, in a nice setting. People stay there to get away, in a quaint atmosphere, where they are comfortable. If you can offer that, you have a good way of making some extra money.
Another important aspect of any bed and breakfast is the ability to offer a good breakfast. We’re not just talking bacon and eggs here; people are going to expect something special. This is where you can make your culinary talents shine, offering them a breakfast to remember.
There are many people who would like to know what you do. From gardening to making their own solar panels, and even including people living overseas who need to improve their English speaking skills, there are a host of people who you can teach. How about canning and other methods of preserving food? It’s just a matter of finding something you know, which you can offer classes for.
This may sound like I’m repeating what I said about a YouTube channel, but I’m talking about classes you offer in person. There’s something about a classroom environment, which helps a lot of people learn, who can’t quite get what they need from those online videos.
Make & Sell Handicrafts
Are you the crafty sort? Better yet, do you know how to do some sort of handicrafts which are no longer available? There are people who will pay big bucks for blacksmith work, homemade soaps, and a host of other handmade items. It all depends on what you are able to do.
There’s already an online marketplace for these items: Etsy. An Etsy store is easy to set up and provides you with an easy way to reach a lot of potential customers. But don’t limit yourself to that, keep your eyes open for fairs and other events where you can get a booth. Put your items online via Facebook and other social media platforms. See what local stores might be interested in your wares. You can even hang a sign out by the road, to catch those going by.
Make & Sell Artisan Food Products
Speaking of making things, artisan food is a hot market right now. If you’re growing fruit, are you making jams and jellies? If so, have you thought about selling it? I was at a town fair recently, where we bought some homemade jam. The person who was running the booth had just about sold out, and they started the day with over 200 jars. At seven bucks a piece, that was a pretty good day’s business.
I also know a guy who started baking artisan pies in their kitchen. It wasn’t long before he had to move out and rent a commercial kitchen to work in. He was selling hand-crafted pies at $40 each and he’d sell out every day.
When working with food, remember that you’re going to have to deal with your local health department. They’ll probably want to inspect your kitchen and give you a mountain of rules you’ll have to follow. But that’s better than ignoring them and having to pay the fine.
Sell Nature Photos and Videos
If you live out in the country, you’re probably already taking pictures of all that nature has to offer you. So ask yourself, just how good are those photos? Are they good enough that others might be interested in them as well? There are a number of online platforms which allow you to upload photos and video clips, selling the rights for people to use them.
Your off-grid homestead might just be a great place to do a bit of pet-sitting as well, especially if you’re someone who loves animals. There are lots of people around who need to leave their cat or dog somewhere, while they are out of town.
You’d be surprised how much money you can make with this, even as a side gig. I know I was surprised when I found out how much it would cost me to leave my dog with someone for the weekend. Besides, it’s a nice way to get to meet a lot of nice animals and if you live in the country, to give those animals a nice new experience.
Become a Freelancer
Finally, you might want to offer your services as a freelancer. Freelancing is growing, as more and more small companies hire people to do projects or on a part-time basis to fulfill a need they can’t afford to hire someone full-time to do. There is freelance work available for a wide range of professional and para-professional work.
You can find this work through a number of online platforms, which specialize in connecting freelancers and customers. They will charge a percentage of your pay for the service, but set a number of guarantees in place to ensure that you get paid.