Side hustles are a great way to make extra money to improve your homestead, get out of debt and create a nontraditional source of income. Check out 12 side hustles that we have personally done (or are currently doing!) that help us live debt free on our homestead!
How side hustles have helped us accomplish our homestead dreams:
Let’s talk money. Because, by now, you’ve realized that homesteading isn’t free! For many homesteaders, the idea of financial freedom is synonymous with self-reliant living. It certainly is for us! In fact, getting out of debt, was the first big step we took on our journey to what became our beautiful homestead life!
Back when we were young, broke and fabulous, side hustles were our life! We were attempting to pay off a mountain of medical debt, we were fresh out of college, and we were working entry-level jobs during the biggest recession of our times. The side hustles may have not made us rich, but they certainly helped to keep us from getting any poorer!
It wasn’t always pretty and it certainly wasn’t always fun, but somehow it worked! We were able to get our medical and credit card debt completely paid off. Best of all: we have stayed debt-free ever since, with the exception of our very low mortgage and our (almost paid) student loans. And I don’t think we would have been able to do it if we hadn’t hustled our little booties off!
Our income increased over the years, but we never stopped side-hustling. With the help of a very strict budget and the side hustles, I was able to quit my full-time job last year. I now work only part time (basically for the benefits). I spend the rest of my time living my dream: managing our homestead and this blog!
Why all homesteaders should have at least one side hustle:
People think having a side job or side hustle means you’re poor. Maybe. I mean, I can’t claim to be rich. But hustling isn’t about how much money you have or don’t have. It’s about having multiple ways to create an income if and when it’s needed. It’s about being a good steward of your resources. And it’s about creating a security net beyond your regular paycheck. In my humble opinion, side hustles are for people who want to live debt-free, make money on their own schedule and make their dreams a reality!
Today, I’m sharing 12 side hustles – both good and bad! – that we have personally done over the years. These are all side hustles that can be started with zero to little experience and expense. They are also hustles that you can do as little or as much of as you need or want. Since homesteading is very seasonal, we generally hustle the most over the winter and squeeze things in when possible during the rest of the year. Plus, a lot of these can be customized to fit your homesteading skill set!
Ready to start hustling?
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12 Side Hustles that We’ve Personally Used to Make Extra Money:
Delivering food through DoorDash
This is our current favorite side hustle! DoorDash is a service that offers food delivery from a restaurant or grocery store. As a driver, you pick up the food from the restaurant or grocery store (you don’t have to do the shopping – they bring it to your car!) and deliver it to the person. This is obviously a service that would require you to live in or drive into a metro area that offers the DoorDash service.
We are loving DoorDash! We are always busy during our “shifts” and rarely have any breaks between deliveries. Plus, we can do it together (one person driving and one person delivering) and you don’t have to have strangers in your car. There are also bonuses to deliver during peak hours! And you can make tips!
Side hustles like DoorDash are the perfect way to make extra money for homestead projects that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to budget in. For instance, we’ve been in desperate need of new fencing in certain areas of our goat pasture. Our DoorDash deliveries from last Friday and Saturday night paid for all of it – almost $200 worth of material! In my mind, that’s worth a few evenings of work away from the homestead. It’s also ideal for these dark, cold winter evenings when we can’t work outside anyways.
If you want to sign up for DoorDash, use our referral link so that we can all continue building and funding our homestead dreams together!
Yes, you actually can make money with a blog! But this is definitely not one of those “get rich quick” side hustles! It has to be something that you are willing to do for the right reasons, which is to help people.
I absolutely love blogging. I love connecting with people all over the world who are on their homesteading journeys. And I love being able to help them, even in the tiniest of ways! But, blogging isn’t all fun. It’s a lot of work. And it’s very time-consuming. And it can be quite complicated to figure out exactly how to make money while blogging.
The purpose of my blog isn’t to make money. It’s to help people. But it’s also really nice to receive some form of payment for all the time and effort that goes in to it! I am just starting to get to the point where my blog expenses are being offset, and I know I can make a decent income from this blog someday! It’s definitely a long game, but if you are in it for the right reasons, it really can pay off!
If you are interested in figuring out how to make money blogging, Victoria (from A Modern Homestead) has written an ebook about how she makes a full-time living from her blog. She does a great job of laying out exactly how blogs can generate an income and how you can get started. Click here to check it out!
Selling eggs…chicken eggs, that is!
We definitely don’t sell enough chicken eggs to get rich, but it’s a nice way to keep a little bit of cash on hand. And it’s surprisingly easy! Depending on your state regulations, eggs are usually a fairly easy farm product to sell and require little, if any, licensing. Often, you can sell all your extra eggs just through word of mouth! We love being able to supply our friends, family and coworkers with high quality eggs from healthy and happy chickens! And getting a some extra money for it is just an added bonus!
Lindy recently started driving for Lyft. This is obviously more ideal for people who live closer to metro areas. Lindy turns on the app when she is in town at the office. She will also drive on evenings and weekends a couple times a month.
The only thing that we don’t like about Lyft is that, in our area at least, it’s pretty competitive. If there are a lot of drivers out and about, it can be hard to get “picked” for a ride. We do like Lyft because it’s so flexible and they direct deposit to your bank account each week! If you are a people-person (this is why Lindy drives and not me!), you can make really good tips!
If you want to sign up to be a Lyft driver, use this link! It lets you (and Lindy!) get a referral bonus on all your drives for your first 30 days! And that money is going to go straight to our “buy more chickens” fund, so if you drive enough maybe we’ll name one after you! 🤣
Petsitting and farm-sitting
This is a side hustle that many homesteaders excel at because most of us know how to care for a wide variety of animals. During college, Lindy and I pet sat regularly for all types of animals. Since we were in school for veterinary technology, our primary clients were people with “higher maintenance” pets like parrots and dogs with medical needs (like insulin shots). We really enjoyed petsitting everything from horses and sheep to African grey parrots! It’s definitely one of our favorite side hustles!
Remember, domestic pets like dogs and cats aren’t the only ones needing sitters! Homesteaders and hobby farmers are always looking for good farm sitters so they can get away occasionally. Skills like knowing how to milk dairy animals and handle large animals is a big bonus! And if you don’t need extra money, consider bartering for services or homestead products. Currently, we farm sit for our neighbor in exchange for our year’s supply of pasture-raised lamb and pork! It’s a win-win for everyone!
If you need help getting started, check out Rover.com! You can apply to be one of their sitters and list your services (dog-sitting, dog walking, doggie daycare, etc.) on their website. Potential clients can view your profile, read reviews from your other clients and contact you directly through the website!
Another one of our side hustle ventures when we were flat broke was cleaning houses for family and friends – and their friends, too! If you are able to efficiently clean a house in a short amount of time, this gig might be for you.
A decade ago, when we were cleaning houses regularly, we had to rely on referrals and word of mouth to find jobs. Now there are online services to help you find jobs! For instance, care.com allows people to post housekeeping jobs that you can apply for online. Word of mouth is still a great method, but I would also suggest checking online sites like care.com for possible job leads!
Working in food service on nights and weekends
It might not be glamorous, but it is a solid way to make extra money. Most food service establishments are okay with working around a flexible schedule and have few requirements for employment. If you are able to show up and work hard, you can be make quite a bit of extra money! Depending on where you work, you may also have the opportunity to make tips!
For a couple of years, Lindy and I both worked at a deli in addition to our full-time jobs. The money that we received went entirely to paying off debt. While it wasn’t necessarily “fun”, we met a lot of wonderful people. And it was a big contributing factor to finally being able to pay off our debt!
Baking cakes and cupcakes for parties and weddings
If you are good in the kitchen (and good at handling stress!), baking might be the perfect side hustle for you! For a while, I made cupcakes and the occasional wedding cake for friends and family members. Baking is definitely stressful and time consuming, but if you have a passion for it, this could be a very profitable side hustle.
Be sure that you charge enough to cover your supplies and your time, but realize that you won’t be making as much as a professional baker. With this side hustle, word of mouth is your best friend, so be sure to deliver high-quality, drool-worthy treats every time! And don’t forget to ask your customers to pass your name along to their friends!
Putting up open house signs
This one is so random, but it’s one of my current occasional side hustles. When Lindy and I only had only one car, we would drive into town on weekends together. I would drop her off at her open houses (she’s a realtor) and then do my errands while I waited. We quickly realized it was much easier for her to just go straight to work and I started putting up her open house signs.
It turns out that a lot of realtors despise walking down the side of a road (often in bad weather) to put up their open house signs while dressed in professional clothes. I started offering to put up signs for a couple other agents in Lindy’s office and it’s turned into a pretty good occasional hustle! If you have an “in” with a real estate office or agent, consider offering this service to make some extra cash on the weekends!
Picking up dog poop
Yep, you read that right! Throughout college, one of the many ways we paid rent was by providing dog poo clean-up services. It was actually one of our best money-making ventures! You can charge a decent rate and you can flex your schedule. I know it might not be glamorous, but for many of us homesteaders, life is already full of shit – literally! So what’s a little extra poo if the pay is right?! If you are feeling really adventurous, why not offer pen, coop and barn mucking services, too?
Babysitting isn’t just for 13 year olds! Babysitting was one of my main side hustles all through high school, college and well into my professional career! Since I was the director at a preschool for many years, I had endless offers! I even worked for a professional babysitting service for a while (which totally made me feel like I was part of The Babysitter’s Club!) 🤣
If you have children of your own, why not consider offering babysitting services to other moms you know? A lot of parents are thrilled to have a knowledgable adult watch their children and some are okay with your children coming along, too! You could also consider trading babysitting services with other mom friends. Trading might not make money, but it will save you money when you need a sitter!
You can use websites like care.com to post your services and help clients find you!
I’ve only played with online surveys a bit. Some people can make a couple hundred dollars (or more!) each month from surveys. I don’t rely on surveys to make a lot of money though. You have to take a lot of them – even to earn just $10! Frankly, I just don’t think surveys are a good use of my time right now. A lot of them are geared towards typical American consumerist habits. Because of this, I don’t qualify for a lot of the surveys. Now, if someone could put out surveys about which seed catalogs I read or my chicken buying habits or even my vast knowledge of every aisle in Lowes, I would definitely qualify!
But I will do surveys occasionally. For instance, if we are watching a movie or something before bed, I’ll do a couple of surveys while we’re sitting around. Survey Junkie pays out to PayPal which means that I can use my balance towards my seed orders from Strictly Medicinal Seeds. Cause a girl can never have too much seed money! 🤣
What side hustles do you use to make extra money? Let us know in the comments!