Many of our readers have asked us to share how we are able to earn an income while pursuing an off grid life. We’re excited to share some of our strategies and show you how you can do many of the same things too! The success of our homestead so far wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for creating our own opportunities to make money online.
Before we get started though, we need to share a bit on why we took this income path and why it works for us. The strategy is just as important as the how… please don’t skip over this part because it’s important!
Step 1: Reducing our need for money.
For a couple years before we set out on this journey both Alyssa and I went through a large transformation period with money.
Much of our money dependence came from our high standards of living, and what we set as the “minimum standard”.
We began by auditing these and analyzing how we could make adjustments to reduce expenses. What we discovered was that we could be happy with far less things and far less space.
By focusing resources on things that gave us energy and disposing of energy suckers, our budget was transformed and so was our life.
As an example, when we met, Alyssa was living in a modern, designer apartment with granite counters, hardwood floors and the full suite of appliances. Her expenses were nearly equal to her income.
Together, we learned to live in a much more modest space that was well laid out, very ergonomic and efficient.
In so doing, Alyssa reduced her rent from $1200/mo to $250/mo.
That’s a $950/mo savings! We did this with our entire budget.
Can you believe that Alyssa went from spending $2600/mo to keep afloat to spending $400 for her entire budget!? Insane!
The point here is that our income strategy isn’t just a “how to earn more money without a job” strategy.
It’s a “reduce our need for money, then earn only what we really need” strategy.
This, like our lifestyle, is quite contrary to “the norm” of “want more, need more, spend your entire life trying to get more”.
Step 2: Changing our life from money-centric to energy-centric.
With a reduced need for substantial income, we were able to focus our resources on things which fed our energy.
At the beginning of each day we would ask “What is my energy like? What do I want to work on today?” This was such a new and different question to ask!
Previously, work was work. Show up. Clock in. Don’t ask questions. Do work. Get paid. Most days we hated working for money. More money ironically didn’t make it better.
However, when we starting giving preference to our energy it was simply astounding the amount of work we could accomplish in a day, week or month.
Combine our efforts and it was like focusing the sun through a magnifying glass.
This strategy allowed us to work in short, intense periods followed by rest or recreation periods of varying length. At times we’d work for 6 weeks or more non-stop then rest for a couple weeks until our energy recovered.
Whenever we started getting the itch to work again we knew it was time.
Step 3: Changing our income from location-dependent to location-agnostic.
Expecting to live far out in the country and expecting a large amount of travel in the coming months, we needed to able to work from anywhere.
Commuting and being reliant on a local economy also wasn’t an ideal option.
As a backup plan, we knew that our income needs were such that if one or both us absolutely had to get a J-O-B we could cover our expenses.
We looked to move our income online. This would allow us to “plug in” and work whenever we needed to or had internet access.
This transition wasn’t smooth, but we jumped in head first and haven’t looked back.
We’ve been able to work from our cell phones, random coffee shops and home… wherever home might be at the moment.
Step 4: Changing work hours from fixed and rigid to convenient and flexible.
One problem most jobs posed for us was time constraints. Even with contract work done via self employment, we would be constrained as to when the work could be completed… deadlines for example.
Sometimes, we would be constrained to working during day time. This conflicted with our lifestyle. We needed work that could be done on our terms. If we needed to work at 3am on a Saturday from our car, then that’s what we needed.
Moving our income online helped us achieve this also.
As I’m writing, Alyssa is on her bed writing a guest blog post for another off-grid homesteading blog and it’s just after 9pm. It’s what works for us. If we needed to jump in the car and go we could…and would!
Step 5: Changing our income from linear to passive.
The next challenge was not trading hours for dollars. We already don’t have enough time to get things done. We certainly don’t have time to trade for money.
Linear income is, by nature, bankrupt. You simply don’t have enough hours to trade with our lifestyle. You can’t get more hours either.
Our income needed to come in even if we weren’t actively working on it. Thus we focused on income streams that involved working once but would pay over and over again.
Step 6: Reducing taxation.
Most of my life I’ve had a lower income than many of my peers, but oddly, I seem to always have nicer things and more available money than them.
My motto is “It’s now how much you earn, it’s how much you keep!”
Part of any good income strategy is keeping as much of it as possible.
To do this we employ good accounting practices by having a bookkeeper who keeps our records and a tax advisor to maximize deductions thereby reducing our liability. All within the law.
Step 7: Buy assets, use them to make money.
With a minimal income, you have to be strategic with how it’s spent.
From years in business I’ve often observed that successful (financially) and unsuccessful people often have all the same things.
It’s all in how they are used. We have cell phones, laptops, digital camera and internet. Sound familiar?
The difference is we use them to make money, not as retail therapy, hobbies or to collect dust. Since they are tools we invest in quality.
We use 15” MacBook Pro laptops for their speed, excellent battery life (very important when off grid) and excellent integration with our other technology like iPhones and Adobe Creative Suite.
We use 27” Apple Thunderbolt displays for their vivid workspace, energy efficiency and productivity.
How We Earn Our Income Online
Alright, what you’ve been waiting for!
While creating an income online might sound intimidating, especially for those who aren’t super computer literate or internet savvy, it is becoming easier and easier.
We’ll share a few of our income streams below, but know that by opening your mind you can find opportunity on nearly every corner of the digital world.
Method 1: Blogging
As you know, we contribute regularly to this off grid homesteading blog. We also operate a couple other blogs which revolve around small business and digital marketing.
Our blogs are topically-relevant to a specific audience. By focusing on a particular topic, we are able to discuss products or services we use and recommend to our readers.
Blogging requires a substantial commitment to get started and keep going. Thus, we can’t operate a large number of them without risking exhaustion.
Blogging is a way for us to share our experiences, knowledge and helpful information with a large audience all around the world. Opening up our income source to become global.
Our friend Victoria, a stay-at-home mom with a small blog that produces $2,000/month, wrote an eBook called How to Make Money Blogging at Any Level that we’ve read and can personally vouch for… if you’re interested in blogging, there are many income streams within blogging alone, and her ebook covers many of them so it’s a great place to start!
If you’ve been wondering how to do this we encourage you to review this article on how to start your own homesteading blog.
Method 2: Affiliate Marketing
One of the biggest opportunities to earn an income online is by working with companies to promote their products.
You can do much of the work in helping their potential clients or customers both discover their products as well as help them differentiate between different market options.
Often, when researching a purchase there can be subtle differences which a consumer might want to know about prior to making their selection.
Additionally, you can share and discuss products or services you personally use and why you either would or would not recommend them. If you don’t recommend a specific model or brand, you can offer alternatives for people to consider.
Upon the sale of a product or service you recommended you will receive a commission.
One of the largest online retailers who has a very reliable and easy to work with affiliate program is Amazon.
Getting started is simple and straightforward.
It took us some time to build up a few websites which feature common products and helpful comparisons and reviews. When a visitor follows our link to Amazon and makes a purchase we receive a small commission.
Method 3: Digital Products
One of our favorite and most profitable income streams is digital products.
There are a vast number of ways to create products which add value to people’s lives and people are glad to purchase.
One way we particularly enjoy is by building video learning courses. We develop a curriculum and then create engaging videos which train you to do something or perhaps teach in depth on a particular subject.
These range from caring for animals to running a small business.
We charge a reasonable fee for the education and use this to both fund our work and create new courses.
Here is one that teaches you how to find expired domains easily.
One of Alyssa’s very first was a bengal cat education course where she shares with current or would be bengal cat owners things she has learned about the breed, challenges of ownership and how to have a great bengal cat experience. We’ve since stuck parts of the course on YouTube where it continues to provide us with a small stream of income monthly.
Method 4: Video Production
Just over a year ago now we made the leap (okay, more like a hop!) into the mid-range Nikon 5200 dSLR camera.
I had long wanted to dive into video production.
Seems life is just one big story and capturing the story is something I’ve always enjoyed.
Video is hard work. Without decent tools it’s nearly impossible work. I had tried for a couple years with spare iPhones. The videos just never turned out as I wanted.
It went so well we began doing more videos for our own digital products and creating e-learning courses such as Bengal Cat Love mentioned earlier. These videos usually end up on one of our many YouTube channels for entertainment, education and fun.
Of late Alyssa has been really taking her video skills seriously and working our one good camera hard. So hard the lens broke the other day from a good jostle!
We earn a small commission when folks watch our videos on YouTube and an ad is played. It’s about $.004 each time. That does not add up very fast as you can imagine!
What video does for us is adds depth to our story and helps us connect with you and others in a deeper way. Finding our videos helps people also find our blog and join our journey.
Through YouTube plays and followers who support us we earn a small income. In the end it adds up to being able to support ourselves. More importantly it encourages us to keep on this journey and keep telling our story.
As rookies we need lots of practice. To help hone our story telling skills we’ve been actively seeking opportunities to tell stories for others.
Here are a couple of projects we did while learning to develop our story telling skills. These were done with iMovie and images on our phones.
Tyssen and Trentons Lemonade Stand
While traveling from our campsite on the lake to town for coffee and wifi we passed these two lads selling lemonade. Alyssa saw them. Otherwise I would have missed them!
We went back for some lemonade and found out their signs had been ruined by the rain. We took a brief departure from our coffee and wifi plan to visit the local building store and gather sign making materials.
They made the signs and together we put them up. They were raising money to repay their mother for wrestling shoes she had purchased for the year. A worthy cause to support we thought.
Applegate Valley Lavender Festival
Alyssa had been eager to attend the Lavender Festival near our former home.
When we visited we found out the owner of the farm was running out of time and open to help promoting the festival. We offered to help make an appealing video from photos taken on our visit to help her advertising efforts via Facebook.
This video helped the farm attract more guests and helped many local residents discover the festival.
We’re still practicing…
Methods 5 & 6
To unlock methods 5 and 6 of how we make money online from home while homesteading, please click one of the social buttons!
Method 5: Sponsorships
Our journey is a great opportunity to work with companies who offer quality products.
We are already going to need many tools and trinkets to do work around the property. This gives us the chance to do real world testing and reviews.
Ideally, this helps you and others when you embark on your own journey or have a tough buying decision to make.
We’ll never recommend a product we wouldn’t use ourselves or simply give over our journey to corporate dollars or interests.
We feel it’s possible to do both and have a win-win!.
Method 6: Guest Blogging / Partnerships (Coming Soon!)
The digital lifestyle is becoming mainstream and there are many others out there living their dreams while earning an income online.
Through our blog and outreach we’re making connections with others who enjoy our writing style, story and journey.
Though we’ve never met many of these folks our journeys bring us together and through the digital world we can connect and help one another.
Guest blogging allows us to share our experiences with other communities, make new friends and grow our connections. Some opportunities pay, others are are partnerships.
Harnessing the power of technology allows you to grow your network around the globe. We’ve already worked with a young lad from New Zealand and made friends in Romania, UK, Melbourne, Canada and across the USA!
If you’re interested in making money online, there’s no need to do things solo.
Maybe you have one skill and someone you meet (and trust) has another… marry the two skills and have a happily ever after!
All of these income streams fit our goals and lifestyle. It wasn’t a quick, nor painless, transformation.
The effort was, however, very worthwhile.
We’ve really not had time to truly work in nearly 3 months and only in the past few days have been able to again tend to our website yet our income has been steady and sufficient.
As you can see our income strategy is layered and thought out.
We’ve noticed that many well meaning people have begun a journey like ours only to be roadblocked by poor or non-existent financial planning.
Our goal in having such a robust strategy and sharing it with others is to give the best chances for success.
This is simply what works for us and things we excel at. We know you have great ideas and a plan that’s likely to work well for you.
What are some ways you generate income to maintain your off grid lifestyle and/or homestead? What tips or advice would you give to someone considering or setting off on a similar journey?
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