How Do I Quit My Job & Start a Homestead?

Q: "I want to buy a farm, quit my job, and homestead. I want to keep chickens and bees, and maybe ducks and goats, and possibly alpaca. How do I do this and make some income, too?"

A: I don't like to tell people they can't achieve their dreams. (Although hearing "You can't" can be a fantastic motivator!) So let me say this instead: The dream you have is not easy to achieve. Oh, how many of us would love to live the farm life and make enough money to cover the cost of feed, medical care, and other things we can't provide for ourselves! But in the modern world, it's really, really difficult.

First, to achieve this dream, you'd need to buy land suitable for homesteading that wasn't very costly. You'd have to pay cash, too. (No debt from now on, because it will crush your homesteading dream! Homesteading and debt don't mix. At. All.) Because the land is relatively cheap, it will probably be way out in the boonies and might be difficult to get to. It will probably not have a livable home on it; you'll have to build that inexpensively, with cash, and probably little by little. Or you could choose to live in a mobile home of some sort. The land may not have a septic system or well, either, let alone animal shelters, fencing, etc. You will have to slowly create those things yourself. That means hanging on to your job and homesteading in your spare time. It will be a lot of work, and you'll have to keep your eye on the prize or you will burn out.

Slowly, you can add animals and a garden and an orchard. All if this will require money to establish, so again, you gotta keep your job for now. Eventually, you can try to become self-employed. That might mean running a CSA or farmer's market stand, or selling the offspring of your animals, or selling meat you raise - or, probably, all of the above. But looking at my homesteading friends, most often their money comes from part time jobs unrelated to homesteading.

Another way your dream could work is if you're married and your spouse works full time while you stay home and homestead. Perhaps the majority of homesteads are run this way, and it's what my husband and I do (though I do earn a little extra money on the side, through my writing). Money will be tight, especially as you establish your homestead. Trust me, animals, feed, fencing, outbuildings, buying fruit trees, starting a all costs more than you think it will!

Either way, you'll likely have to change your lifestyle. Most homesteaders live frugal lives. They use free wood heat (they cut and stack the firewood themselves), and no air conditioning. They don't buy much at the grocery store - just basics they can't grow or raise (like coffee!). Most homesteaders don't go on vacation, except maybe a day trip now and then. Their clothes are few and not fancy. They don't buy lattes and shop for entertainment. They don't go to the movies and their restaurant outings are few. Their homesteads always "need work" and there are usually animals they'd love to add to their farm, but can't quite afford yet.

This is the reality of homesteading for the vast majority of people. But it's a life with abundant rewards, too. If it's the life for you, you'll soon stop longing for your typical American lifestyle because you'll find homesteading is so much more fulfilling.

Homesteading is a dream that isn't instantly achieved. (Maybe that's part of what makes it so rewarding.) And if it's your dream, start working toward it today, right where you are. Even if you live in the city. Build  homesteading skills as you go, and once you do buy your dream property, you'll be that much ahead.

Best wishes and good luck!

Related Posts:

* Homesteading Skills to Learn NOW - before you head to the farm
* How to Save Up for Your Very Own Homestead
* Prioritizing Your Homestead: Where to Start & Where to Go From There

Title image courtesy of  Per.

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