If you’re an experienced homesteader, you’re probably producing beyond the needs of just your own family. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to turn your small farm into a bona fide business, marketing your wares, a jalapeno hot sauce for example, to the entire state and beyond. No matter what types of plants and animals you have at your farm, here are a few ideas from Small Axe Peppers to help turn your hobby into some serious income.
Build Your Business Behind the Scenes
As a traditional homesteader, you raised crops and animals to meet your own family’s needs, but to monetize, you’ll need to define your business structure. If you plan to take on outside investors, it might make sense to incorporate. Investors are more familiar with corporations and corporate shares are easier to distribute than membership interests in an LLC. Both structures offer you the ability to hire workers and scale up production. Once you’ve decided how you’ll run your business, most states allow you to file paperwork yourself or with the help of a self-serve online service. Check the regulations for your area.
Build Your Online Presence
Just as you would put up a sign outside your property to advertise your farm-fresh goods, your digital presence will be a critical way to attract customers. Make sure you choose a name and logo for your business that communicates the most important information about you quickly. Try one of the many free graphic design tools available online to develop an eye-catching logo. You can use this logo in all your branding, from your farmers’ market banner to T-shirts for your team.
Create Unique Products
The products and services you’ll offer depend largely on the type of hobby farm you have. Beekeepers can bottle honey or sell honeycomb. Those with livestock can sell their eggs and dairy or sell baby animals to other homesteaders. Farmers can sell heirloom seedlings or sell their produce in its raw form, canned, or made into delicious homemade foods such as gourmet hot sauce.
With any of these core businesses, try to think of unique spin-offs for additional income. One idea is to offer a monthly subscription box, which guarantees a minimum monthly income and customer loyalty. You could also hold a pop-up at local farmers’ markets or sell your goods to local restaurants and bakeries looking for local, farm-fresh ingredients. Finally, think about turning the farm itself into a tourist destination by offering visitors hands-on experiences.
Tell Your Own Story
With a few unique product offerings in place, it’s time to sell your story to prospective customers. Build out a robust website with detailed information and even a digital storefront to take orders online. Focus on what makes you and your products stand out from what people will find on the supermarket shelves. You could even consider hiring a professional photographer or videographer to ensure your farm looks its best in your marketing materials.
If you make a lot of online sales, consider adding a free business card to the package you send out. This little touch can add a sense of quality and professionalism to wares. It’s easy to make an attractive business card with online tools. Best of all, you can return to them online to update them as needed.
When you define your business structure, curate product offerings to your potential customers, and package it all into an attractive online brand, your homestead can start bringing real financial benefits to your family.