Learning how to make money off of your 10 acres of land is a great way to create full-time income OR add a side hustle income to your day job. My guess is you are wanting to make a decent income so let’s get into some of the best ways you can be strategic with the small acreage you have.
Just keep in mind that no matter what income stream you are looking to generate it is all going to be hard work. It also takes time to get a strategic business in place and income rolling in. There is no such thing as passive income. There is always some element of work to it.
Strategize Before You Do Anything
You need to do a lot of planning and strategizing before you go buying any supplies, animals, or equipment and start building anything. You need to be as strategic as possible with the property you have. You want to find the highest profit margin products possible so you can make the most amount of money with the amount of land you have.
You need to understand that this is a plan that you are going to start with and slowly put the pieces together as you start building demand for your products.
This will also be a plan that can be fluid. The plan you make today will likely look different in 5-10 years. As well as the life you are wanting to live and are CAPABLE of living. While you likely want to be able to live a country lifestyle that pays for itself several decades down the road you have to be willing to accept that the methods in which you do so might look a little different as priorities change.
How Do You Want To Make An Income
There are so many ways you can make money but it is more important that you love what you do. That is going to get you up in the morning and keep you going when the weather is awful and you still have chores that need to be done.
Write down all of the ways you think you would like to make money. Have no idea what you would like to do. Think first about what you like to do under each category. Do you like animals more or do you like to grow things? Do you love making DIY crafts? We aren’t concerned with income just yet. Get your brain flowing.
Go around to your local farmer’s markets and see what people are offering. What can you do that is a little different then everyone else? Look up small-scale farmers on social media. Look at what they are doing. List out the different ways they are making extra income and find ways for you to be different on your small homestead.
Now let’s get to it. This next section is one of the most important things you are going to do and it will dictate if you are successful or not.
I am going to walk you through how to evaluate if you can make the money you need to in order to make the income you want.
Evaluating The Income Or Profit Potential
Whether it is livestock, garden produce, or a physical product you want to make you need to know what the market value is in order to decide if it is worth your time and effort.
An example of it not being worth the effort is when I was buying herbs in bulk and repackaging them for sale to my rabbit buyer audience. I talked about how I used them to help my rabbits and keep them healthy and all the things. Well, they sold great. They had over 50% profit margin. (Profit margin is the gap between your expenses and the amount of money you make ABOVE THAT)
But the issue was it took me about 8 minutes per bag I was packaging and labeling to get it out the door. I was selling these 1-ounce bags for around $2 a piece. NOT worth the time. Do you see what I mean when I say you have to be intentional about the amount of time something takes you to do from start to finish?
While choosing something that is in high demand or the most profitable crop it is also a good idea you also want to make sure that it is not just a fad. Things like Labradoodles or the lifestyle promoted by the TV show Yellowstone.
What Can You Make Per Unit Sold
Take your top 5 Ideas that excite you the most and do the research that I will walk you through each of them. Then if your top 5 are not seeming like they are going to get you the income you need. Don’t discount them but go to the next five and do the research again for the next 5. Then you can pick through the top 3-5 that seem like the best option when you are done.
There are several different places I want you to go look at in order to tell what you can get for your product. I want you to write down the prices and any notes you can make about the things that could affect the price of the product.
For example. If you are looking for prices on selling dairy cows things like age and breed are going to have a big effect on what you can ask for the animal. Make note of any certifications or papers the animals have that could increase the value of the animal you are reading. A good example of papers increasing the value of animals is for dogs you can increase the value of the animal by thousands. A rabbit that is not pedigree could go for $20 but the same rabbit that has a pedigree could go for $75 depending on the breed.
If you are looking at making hand-crafted products. Make note of the materials or styles that are selling for more. Pretty packaging is another huge piece of making more money and creating a higher preserved value of the product.
If You Are Looking To Sell Livestock
Look for your breed or species + the general area you live to see what people are selling them for on these places below.
- Google for personal or farm websites.
- Look for Facebook pages.
- See if there are any Facebook groups you can look in. ( you can always leave when you are done with your research)
- Look on Craigs List just to see.
If you are looking into physical products that are not livestock look for them in the places below.
- Start with Etsy to see what people are selling them for. Look for listings with at least 10+ reviews so you know they are making sales.
- Go you google and see what retail stores or the grocery store is charging for that product.
- Look on Instagram for accounts that sell what you want to offer. (lots of candles and DIY accounts are on IG)
- Still look on google to see what type of boutique shops show up.
Figure The Expense Form Start To Finish For That Project
Now that you know the income you have to know what the cost is going to be. You can do this while you are doing your research on the income of the product research. Or you can take the time to do this separately.
There are two parts to this. The cost to get started. And the cost to keep the lights on… or the cost to keep what every it is alive and running.
Take two sheets of paper. Write “cost and items to get started” on one. And maintenance on the other.
For simplicity’s sake lets say you are going to follow my plan for creating a four-figure income from a small backyard flock of 10 hens. You have a space that could easily be used for a chicken coop. But you need everything else.
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Your start up purchase list would look like this.
- Purchase 2 tubs for chick brooders.
- Purhcase 2 Heatlaps, bulbs, and extension cords.
- Buy a bail of pine shavings.
- Buy chick starter.
- Chick waterer and feeder.
- Feed scoop.
- Buy Chick grit.
- Buy Electro lights.
- Buy an incubator.
- Save $50 for unexpected expenses.
- Chicks x 15
- Water bowls
- Pine bedding for the coop
- Feed – One 50-pound bag every 20 days or so = $28 a month if you are buying $18 a bag feed.
The one is going to look WAY longer than the other and that’s ok. You can choose to buy everything all at once or spread it out over a few months. You don’t need the incubator until the chickens are at least 6 months old. While they could start laying about then they likely aren’t mating all that much. On top of that you have to plan the right season for selling chicks. Buy the time you’re chickens are laying well for the first time (IE early fall) people are not buying chicks.
So in this instance, it would be smart to not plan on selling chicks until the following spring. Just plan on selling eggs your first few months. But before I get ahead of myself in strategy let’s keep going.
Final Evaluation Steps On Your Income Streams
After you learn what you can make for the income stream and the expenses of that project there are a few final things you need to think about before jumping in.
Ease To Get Started
Ease of getting started is how much are you going to have to do to get started. Do you already have a chicken coop or housing set up that can be used even if it’s not pretty? Or is it going to cause you to have to do a whole new construction project to get started?
If you are simply adding a chicken breed to the flock and you don’t need to even think about separating the breed then that is a 1 out of 5. SUPER EASY.
But if you had to build a coop and get all the supplies. That’s a 5. Definitely on the difficult side.
Your Knowledge On The Subject
How much do you know about a project? Are you a complete beginner or are you already experienced in that area? For me to add another rabbit breed to my herd would be super easy because I have raised rabbits for over 20 years.
But if I were to want to raise cattle I would have to learn EVERYTHING from the beginning. So think about the learning curve ahead of you too.
Cost To Get Started
This ties in with the building projects as well as the cost of materials and or livestock. If you are going to start generating 4 figures or more raising chickens then that is a much lower cost to entry than raising dairy cows.
15 chicks + time to feed them until they start laying and reproducing is about $250. But if you are going to start producing diary cows you are talking $900-$3000 just to buy the animals. They you have to borrow a bull or use AI to get the cow bred.
Time To Income
Time to income is how long will it be before you can make a sale. You can make a nice income growing Christmas trees if you are strategic in your planting but you are looking at 6-7 years before you can make your first sale.
For larger livestock, it can take 5-11 months before the kids or colt is even born. So you are looking at a long time to wait to make your first dollar. When you are first getting started you want to choose an income stream that is a high profit margin but also a lower time to income. So you can start getting some kind of income coming in.
Livestock: Raising and Selling Animals
On the whole, livestock is going to be one of the top ways to make an income if you do it right. You are looking for animals that have a high reproduction rate AND a shorter gestation. Rabbits, chickens, hogs, and MAYBE goats.
- Sell the eggs – $4 a dozen
- Sell chicks – $5-10 a chick
- Grow out chicks to sell at 12 weeks for x5 the price – $25-$50 a bird.
- Raise Broiler chickens – $15 live weight or $3-$4 a pound ready for the freezer.
- Sell the clean feathers on eBay or Etsy.
- Raise pets – $20-$300 depending on the breed, confirmation, and quality.
- Raise good show quality rabbits for both show and pet for a higher price. – $100-$300 depending on the breed, confirmation, and quality.
- Raise meat rabbits for eating AND for others to start producing their own meat. – $20-$50 for breeding, $6.50 per pound, or $18 per dressed rabbit.
- Sell manure – $5 you dig 5-gallon buckets.
- Pelts – $8-$15 Each
- Raise boer goats for meat and 4h projects – $100-$250 for purebred meat goat kids. $600 for a registered boer or doe and as much as $1200 for an untested buckling with good lines.
- Dairy goats -$20-$600 Depending on the breed.
- Sell the goat milk to people wanting to make products like Soap and lotion.
Other Farm Animals
- Cow shares
- Milk – $5 a gallon
- Piglets – $100-$300
- Beef Cattle
Selling Physical Products
- Goat Soaps
- Honey – The Average Price Per Pound Of Honey From Small Bee Farms Is $8-$14 in the fall in Ohio.
- Lavender – Average Price For Dried Lavender – On average lavender can sell for about $30 per 300 stems it also depends on the grade or quality of the stems.
- Build a chicken tractor to sell.
- Sell fresh produce
- Worm farm: Sell the worm kits or worm castings.
- Fruit trees
Christmas Trees – Average Christmas Tree Prices – $80 – $100
- There are 43560 square feet in one acre.
- A Douglass fir gets to be about 5 feet wide if you let it get to be the average of 7 feet tall.
- Let’s say you give every tree a 10-foot square to grow so there is also some walking distance between each.
- 43560 Divided by 100 square feet means that you could plant 435 trees per acre.
If you got $100 a tree that is 43k per acre.
Building Structures: How Can You Generate Revenue?
- Event Barns – $150-$500 for an evening.
- Petting zoo
- Have a stable? – Horse stables can make decent money if they are in the right rural areas. You can do riding lessons or board horses.
Plan For Your Property And Lifestyle
There are plenty of income ideas and truthfully I want you to come up with the income ideas that feel good to you. When starting a business you need to decide what is right for you don’t fully rely on me or any other business educator. You need to decide what is right for YOU and what works.
So which income ideas that you have researched should you actually start building out? The decision-makers are HOW do you want to live your life and how can you maximize the property and every little space that you have to create the most income?
Do you really want to have to deal with farm visits from people who are clueless about how to behave on a farm? Or have a party barn and deal with the clean-up and maintenance that comes with it? Do you want to deal with crazy kids coming to pick a pumpkin from your pumpkin patch? If you are a social butterfly and don’t mind people showing up at your property then this would be a great income generator for you.
But if you’re the type that wants to hide behind the scenes and deal with one-off customers, not groups. Then you need to think of a different income stream. No amount of extra money is going to be worth your emotional sanity.
How Much Space Do You Have And What Do You Need To Make
Now we need to think about the size of the property you have, the layout, and the possible income that you can make on that land. Things like market gardening can be ok for small farmers but selling produce at your local farmers’ markets is going to take a lot of work to get the income you need.
If you are wanting to make 15k or less on your backyard farm and have the expenses covered then you don’t have to be as calculated about WHERE on the property you put things and WHAT you do to use it to its max capacity. BUT if you are wanting to make a full-time income off your property then you have to be VERY calculated and intentional with every square foot and make sure you have enough space to make a good living.
Here are the steps you would need to take to make sure you are using your property to its max capacity.
- List out the top 3-5 income streams you want to do to make your income.
- Total up the annual income potential for all 5 of those income streams. Is that enough for you to make ends meet or make the income you want?
- If yes, create a map of the property using something like canva or grid paper.
- What has to be where in order for the best-case scenario to happen? For example, If you are going to grow Christmas trees and have one acre planted each year on rotation. Which 7 acres would be the best for this?
- Plan out each income stream and the land required for each thing. Then put them in their ideal locations.
- Choose which ONE income do you want to start with in your first year. Get that income stream going so well that it is second nature before you start working on selling your second one.
- BUT if you are doing something like the Christmas trees that takes a long time to income then yes get that started now. It’s not taking you the time to learn to market it.
Tips To Make More Money And Better Sales
Choose a price you can live with, feel compensated for your work, and still make a profit.
It can be tempting to set your prices lower than most people to just make the sale. But if you are not feeling compensated for your work you will become resentful. BUT if you set a high price and you can not back up your reason for asking that price you will lose confidence and lose sales because people don’t see the value in what you offer. A good price for your product should be somewhere in the middle of the market prices you did in your research and you can steadily increase as you grow in skill.
Do what you can to increase the preserved value.
Everything you do needs to be true but use words like farm fresh, free-range, cage-free, heritage breed, and organic if that is what you feed your chickens. These are all words that the stores use in their packaging and marketing to charge you more for your eggs at the store. So you need to use those same words with your local market to increase the preserved value of your product. If people know what they are getting and why they are being charged the additional cost they can justify it in their minds.
Packaging and presentation is everything.
Whether it is a piece of twine instead of a rubber band holding your carrots together or a clean egg carton with your stamp on the egg carton packaging is a huge attractant for people. Do anything you can think of to make yourself and your backyard farm business look a bit better. It can be really easy to do. Simply choosing consistent colors for your branding. Take the time to make your social media photos look a bit better. Or adding a piece of ribbon to a package to take it from a 6 to a 10.
The way YOU present yourself also matters. Yes, people know you are digging in the garden and likely don’t wear your nicest clothes to do the chores. But when you go to meet customers, local businesses, or farmers’ markets don’t brag about how dirty your hair is or show up in joggers without looking somewhat put together. People will take you more seriously, you will build long term relationships, and they will come back to you if you make a good impression.
Methods Of Sales And Marketing
There are two things you need to make money from your farm.
- People to know you exist.
- And a way for them to pay you.
Like it or not you have to market your farm business.
And your options for doing that are social media, local events (which is VERY time-consuming), and google search.
You have to choose your battles which one are you most comfortable with and which ones are you able to do without feeling burnt out? Somehow people think that if you start your business the homestead income will just somehow show up in your bank account. But that is not the case. People have to know how you are. Like you and resonate with you and your values. And trust you enough to hand you money. This is a process and takes time to build. Which means consistent effort in showing up to market your business.
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Different Methods Of Sale
Depending on how you are going to market yourself and what you sell you need to be able to have different ways for people to pay you. Requiring cash for everything is going to cause you to lose sales. You need to be willing to take digital payment for things. Yes, even your veggies.
Now for most things, there is a processing fee and you can make it clear that there will be a 3% charge for the processing fee. Or you can add .50 per product and just know that is part of the cost of running a business. For every rabbit sold I lose about $5 in processing fees so I just have to know that in my bookkeeping.
The top apps that are requested tend to be PayPal, Venmo, and the Cash app.
You don’t have to have all three but the first two are defiantly recommended.
The key to making money is making so easy for the customer to make the purchase and be very clear on what they get. The smoother and better you make the process word of mouth will grow and you will get regular customers. But you have to start somewhere and it is a grind when working to build additional income. But you can do it I promise you. Start slow and build up each acre of land intentionally and don’t expect everything to work out perfectly. But if you want it. Then it will come if you are willing to stick to the game of business long enough.
Remember that your backyard farm is not a hobby farm. Make choices intentionally and use the extra cash you make to invest in your business growth for a while. You are a business owner now.
Get out there and grow your farm business in the coming years to be the best it can be. I hope this helped you learn how you can make money on 10 acres from the best way that supports your lifestyle.