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!
Skip the strategy and jump straight to our money-making methods >>
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.
Our Nikon D5200 DSLR camera and full Linco studio lighting set help us produce high quality images and video. Just to name a few.
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.
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.
With our new Nikon D5200 dSLR immediately we began learning to do studio work with a very affordable lighting kit by Linco Studio. They turned out incredible!
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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Perfectly timed article! This could be me and my boyfriend, about a year from now. Thanks!
Glad we could help Pam! Would love to hear more about your goals and journey when you have time. Did you get subscribed to receive emails? We hope to share more about whats working for us as we go along so stay tuned and keep in touch!
My family and i are buying 5 acres in east tennessee in a month and beginning our homestead. Cant wait to be off grid..from our planned solar shower to the home built compost toilet. Times being what they are, a place secluded from others where we can grow healthy food, live a healthier lifestyle and become less money hungry and more life hungry is the ultimate goal 🙂 u two are my heros for the time being lol
Sounds like great goals! Hope we can all share ideas and learn together! It’s a lot of fun knowing you have a blank slate to build your dreams on… everyone tell you “what you should do is” but ultimately, do what makes sense for you and your family and will make you happy. Best of luck to you and glad you find inspiration in our blog!
Douglas Wade says
just a small mistake, “From September 2014 to June 2014 we basically … ” I think you meant June 2015. I am not being picky… lol…
BTW, Alyssa, your mom, gave me your blog info, since I have become a minimalist (pursuit of less stuff) and an essentialist (pursuit to eliminate non-essential distractions).
Thanks for coming by Doug! Round two (three? lol) of proofing caught some oopsies! This is what happens when you write when blurry eyed! 🙂 Thanks for catching that one and for getting involved. Hopefully the minimalist journey is as liberating for you as it has been for us. Keep in touch on how it’s going!
I too found some errors in spelling. I’m not trying to be picky either. Just a thought to maybe have someone other than yourself reread what you’ve wrote. I know when I have written something and go back through it, since I already know what it says my eyes tend to skip words, or just glance over them
I truly enjoyed your blog. I would like to retire in five or seven years, but I do need to eliminate a lot of my dept. That is also why I would like to be living tiny by then. Like a lot of people I know I do not have any retirement, so I will need to rely on SS. I am an EMT and have been for many years, and the state in which I live and work does not pay very well, also most companies don’t carry insurance for us let alone retirement benefits. Although I love what I do and I also know that most people couldn’t do what I do, I also know that financially it probably wasn’t a wise career decision.
Either way I will be 56 at my next birthday, I became very interested in living tiny several years ago and hope to finally accomplish that life style and begin to truly enjoy life.
On misspellings and other creepy crawly critters: “dept” = “debt” methinks… 🙂
Lesleigh, when I read “Although I love what I do and I also know that most people couldn’t do what I do, I also know that financially it probably wasn’t a wise career decision” it made my heart ache.
You really do take care of people, so you should be taken care of (financially, by way of wages that allow you to at least save for emergencies and retirement). Logically, I know it’s not that simple but at the same time, part of me insists that it definitely *should* be that simple.
I wish you a happy and healthy retirement.
belinda gibbons says
do you have any step by step videos either free or paid for on how to start blogging with hands on instruction. I learn by courses that show each step by videos. Any video on how you make a living thanks again, lovely website and love your facebook
Hey Belina, we don’t have any set by step video tutorials on how to start a blog… not yet at least. What is the extent of your interest with your blog and what do you hope to do with it? Maybe I an give you a little guidance on where to start in the meantime?
Mark Hazlett says
If not Miss Belinda, then for me, please!
I’ve become quite the fan lately, even though I have no plans to homestead.
30+ years in the construction industry all going down in flames due to a peripheral neuropathy which has plagued me for the last 17 years.
Can’t work and SocialSecurity Disability says I’m not disabled, even though three doctors say I am.
The joinery has become fascinating to me!
Sadly, I’ve got tons of power tools I can’t bring myself to sell. But I have 3 growing boys who will need them one day.
But, I’m not crippled of mind, and have been told my IQ is pretty high. I’m also a good writer. Not sure about video blogging since I also have ADHD and not sure I could focus (bad pun, but true about ADHD).
Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions regarding any of your construction projects as I’m still a licensed and insured Class A General Contractor!
Mark from the Land of Ahh’s – Kansas!
Douglas Wade says
I would interested in the money generation side of the blog. Ads, click-thru, working the site to get enough clicks and such.
Ben Coffman says
I was wondering what kind of platform you would suggest for a blog? I have one already on WordPress.com, but they really don’t allow you to make money unless you pay them first. I could use WordPress.org, but I really don’t know how to build sites. Thanks!
Most free platforms don’t allow you to make money 🙁 I would recommend maybe a self- hosted site on WordPress. If you are willing to do a small amount of work you should be able to get a decent-looking, small website up. If you get stuck there are lots of people you can hire on Upwork for like $5/hr and they could help you get a nice looking site up for maybe $30. I have a recommendation if you need it. I’m not sure how paying money to WordPress.org works to allow you to make money from your site… but your own site would cost you $10/yr for your domain name and maybe $3-5/month for hosting. We love WordPress because its easy to work with and there are TONS of awesome plugins that you can install with the click of a button!
Ben Coffman says
I think I’m gonna take the plunge soon and try to get it set up! Thanks for the inspiration. I’ll reply again if I need that recommendation! Thanks again!
could you talk about your favorite pluug ins for word press?I have started my blog and still discovering the plug ins! there are just so many :/ yet thats a good thing too 😛
There are so many plugins, and we’ve dealt with a lot of them! We’ve included our favorites in this post (need to hit one of the social “like” buttons to unlock): http://purelivingforlife.com/how-to-start-a-homesteading-blog/
If you’re looking for something specific, drop us a message and maybe we can recommend one if it’s not on this list 🙂
Thank you for the link :). The thing which I want to point your attention towards is that most of your blog/YT revenue is based on ad revenue and nobody like ads right. People have installed browser plugins to block ads but they can change its settings to allow a specific website or two to run ads.
So my suggestion was that it would be great for the site if you can add a Plugin prompting visitors coming on your blog to turn off adblockers as it will support your journey like other websites have eg cnbc etc. Thanks and good luck 🙂
My impression is that, like you, most of the pros recommend WordPress because it offers a lot more options when you want to grow, and the transition is more seamless.
But the free platform on blogspot does give you some monetization options, like hosting ads and posting affiliate links.
This is exactly what my husband and I want. We just need t figure out the whole affiliate programs and advertising on my blog. You touched on it a bit about being happy with less thingthings and money. That’s what journey were on now to an more minimalistic lifestyle. We couldn’t be happier to have chosen this path.
Feel free to drop me an email if you have any specific questions Cheyenne 🙂 I checked out your blog and I love what you and Mr. C are doing! I think it’s so beautiful when someone realizes the amount of materialism in their life and starts taking one step at a time towards living a more simple life. I don’t think there could be too many minimalism blogs out there, I wish you the best of luck with it!
Julia Adams says
Hi guys, I admire everything you’re doing and the philosophy behind it. Just curious how you’re going to get around the health insurance issue. Private? Wishing you well in all your endeavors. Julia
Thanks Julia! It’s a tough journey but we are building character. 🙂 Can you elaborate a bit more on the health insurance issue you mentioned? Not certain I understand clearly.
No follow up from Julia, but I think the question was about ACA, aka Obamacare (I like to call it ObamaSScare) for clarity. If you have no insurance you will be penalized… huh… taxed… huh… swindled of some hard earned cash by those friendly people from the IRS.
I’m curious about this also. What are you guys doing for health insurance? If you have none are you prepared to pay for the penalty during tax time? I think it is terrible we have to go thru this now as it punishes people who want to do something other than feed the government monster with taxes.
Was this question ever answered? This is what holds us back. Purchasing insurance would run us about $10K a year.
See my reply below about IRS form 8965 “Health Coverage Exemptions.”
I am curious what you do for insurance as well. But I wonder how you will pay if god for bid something happens (big or small). I understand people hate obamacare..lol. Seems people are more interested in how you get around paying a penalty than care about what happens when you are really sick, need dental work, or anything else that costs money via your health.
We aren’t quite sure how to tackle this issue but think we may do a video on it in the future. It’s a sensitive topic and our opinions on the matter stem from things so deep that it’s impossible to tackle them all without taking a year to do it. We choose to not have health insurance but focus on preventative health. There is an illusion that if something bad happens to you medically and you have insurance, that it’s all covered but in cases of bankruptcy due to medical reasons, I believe over 75% of the folks had medical insurance. In fact, there are people that work for insurance agencies and it’s their job to figure out how to NOT cover your care. We’ve done the math on what a lifetime of medical insurance would cost and it’s an astronomical amount, and even then if something bad happens it may still not be covered or 100% covered, and that also severely limits you to the type of treatment you get. I have read that you can’t be forced to pay the penalty but the IRS can withhold it from your tax return, so if you owe taxes rather than overpay, they really can’t get it from you, but this is just a myth I’ve heard and would never suggest someone follow that myth blindly. We don’t file our own tax returns so I honestly don’t know if we paid the penalty… it’s on my to do list to check! If I remember correctly in my original research, the penalty at some point may likely be equivalent to the cost of having healthcare, but it’s not an issue today so we aren’t going to worry about it. In the end, life is not 100% guaranteed, and having health insurance doesn’t guarantee you will always be able to cover your medical expenses or that you will have a longer, healthier, happier life. This is something that everyone needs to research and come conclusions to on their own. Everyone needs to make the decision that is best for themselves and their family. We are confident in our decision and it works for us right now. The medical attention we do get on occasion right now (dentist and chiropractor) we find providers that are happy to have cash patients, and we happily pay for quality service. Feel free to ask further questions and we can see about covering those in a future video or post, although we may not respond to them all in this thread.
This worries me. I also noticed that you didn’t budget for healthcare and was wondering how you were handling that. The quote about 75% of medical bks being from people who were insured sounds fishy. I would be careful not to search out info that simply confirms what you want to hear. It would be interesting to see what type of insurance those people who filed bk had. I guess if someone has a heart attack that costs $200,000 and the insurance covers $180,000 of it that $20,000 might still over burden some and lead to bk. But, I’d rather not owe the full $200,000!
From a lot of researching on my part, the one thing that seems to stop people the most from retiring or quitting their day jobs and doing what you do is health insurance. It’s a big deal. It seems like you are okay with paying for dental or small medical emergencies with cash so why wouldn’t you then get a high deductible plan to cover something big? It’s not that much money and it would leave you in the same position, which is paying out of pocket for just about everything, but also give you some added protection in case something really bad happened. Think about this, what if one of you broke your legs in a logging accident? That would require quite a bit of time in the hospital and end up in at least 6 figures. How would you recover from that?
The only thing I can think is that maybe your plan is to file bk if that happens to you? I really hope that isn’t the case. BK burdens the rest of us with higher cost of services yet our society has sort of condoned the practice as if it isn’t something bad. It used to be a dirty word and, in most cases, for good reason! The other thing people do is simply use the system without insurance and then don’t pay. People with low incomes, on paper, can get away with this, but again, it burdens the rest of us with higher rates and higher costs for services.
Like you said, you guys have given a lot of thought to healthcare and decided against buying it. I’ve given a lot of thought to it as well, but came away with an entirely different conclusion. Maybe you will start a savings account and use that as a sort of self insurance fund? Though, I didn’t see that in there either and it would take a really long time to get enough money in that account to truly be self insured.
Anyway, I hope you don’t take offense to my thoughts on this. It’s just that it’s a glaring omission in your story. I think a lot of people would do something similar to what you are doing if it wasn’t for having to deal with health insurance. I’d love to hear more about your plan in regards to this area. Maybe it would make a good blog post?
I Downloaded IRS form 8965 “Health Coverage Exemptions” and file it with my tax return. Basically it lets you claim that paying for health insurance would be too much of a financial burden and therefore you can claim to be exempt. I’ve filed it along with my last 2 federal returns and so far no problems. Of course ask a CPA any questions your might have about it. Good luck!
Also, I’m an herbalist so I can take care of most health issues that come up without having to go to a doctor or hospital. I do occasionally see a chiropractor and pay out of pocket which is far less than an insurance premium would be. Same with dental cleanings. You might want to cultivate a relationship with an herbalist or other alternative practitioner(s) .
I have recently become an empty nester. I have a 29 ft Streamline trailer. A little tiny bit of money saved for property. I have a dog and cat. And have lived on 40 acres in the past without power or water. I loved it. But water quality was questionable.
My question is where do I find about 5 acres near clean water (preferable a stream or river) that is safe for a single woman?
Thank you for all you are doing!
Hey Cher-Ami, that is a good question! Maybe you can elaborate what you mean about a safe property for a single woman?
Anna Marie Antonucci says
I am so grateful to have found you and to be able to follow you. I can see the bond you both have to be successful with your lifestyle and your careers. I am in the process of trying to figure it all out. I am 57 and look to a homestead/off grid life style. I have such a passion for the freedom this way of living affords. I know it also will be hard, but hard does not frighten me while FREE excites me. I do work full time right now because i need to. I am in the process of becoming debt free with the exception of the mortgage. Figuring out how to make money or streams of it is now my focus. I will have a pension and a small savings when i retire. I am OK with living on that. However, Am i okay with doing it alone. I have 5 – 10 years to figure it out. Thank you for pioneering this adventure for me, the wanna-be! Anna Marie
Hey Anna Marie, WOW you are such an inspiration! We are om the same boat… hard doesn’t frighten us and nothing excites us more than freedom. That’s great you will have a pension and a savings account to rely on somewhat… having that can definitely make it easier. Are you going to buy a new property or homestead from your current home? We hope that you can find some inspiration on our blog… we’re working all the kinks out through trial and error in hopes others don’t have to!
Hi, I am in almost the same boat as Anna Marie Antonucci, only I am going to be retiring much sooner – also, I live in a Canadian prairie province…very cold winters. I own my home, so I will start urban homesteading right where I am, on my city lot.
I am an artist [with not much art making to my credit at this point] and I have worked as an Ed Assistant with special needs children and young adults for 12 years. [I have a Canadian Standard Teacher’s Certificate, as well.] I am a single mom/gran and will likely be on my own for the foreseeable future.
I love listening to people and helping if I can – often, listening is the best help.
I am not very knowledgeable about computers, though I do, obviously, own one…Basically, I bank, email, do searches and watch videos, online. I don’t own a cell phone or a car…Somewhere, I have an old digital point and shoot camera.
I know I have many skills and strengths but how to identify them and translate them into activities/services/products that will allow me to make art and gardening as my main homesteading lifestyle? Any and all ideas, even challenges to my deficits, would be welcome. :o)
Jim Dorchak says
I sure do like what you are doing.
We are on the same track but outside the USA.
because you have such poor soil on you plot, you may want to do Aquaponics?
Here we have; sheep, ducks,chickens,pigs,cats and boys. Also we have lots of work.
We’re very curious to learn the option of pursuing this adventure in other countries as many areas in the US are rapidly changing, making being off-grid and doing your own thing next to impossible. We have not looked into aquaponics and don’t know much about it to be honest, but I suppose it’s good to know all options when we get to that bridge. Sounds like you have a full farm on the homestead, no doubt it’s a lot of work!
Jim Dorchak says
We no longer found a future for our children in the USA.
There were more murders in the area i used to live in, with in the past month, then the entire region i live in here in Chile in the past year.
No race wars.
Very, very low crime. Here kindergarten kids walk home from schools unattended.
Wonderful kind people who like North Americans.
It is clean here in the south of chile and green.
Family oriented culture.
Homeschooling is ok and legal here.
There are bads too, like it is expensive.
Go check out “citizen peng” on YouTube for the Aquaponics scoop. He is excellent. Jim
Will check that channel out on YouTube, thanks for the recommendation! Yes, these are all things we’ve heard about Chile 🙂 Maybe we can make a trip there at some point, especially if things turn south in the area we chose to settle down! While we may end up here for life, we are going into this with the mindset that this is our “starter property”. Once it is developed, we should have a lot more options whether we want to call it our forever home, or if we find new and greater opportunities elsewhere. We are definitely wary of “the grass is greener on the other side” mentality, so as of now we are loving where we are at but always great to have backup plans or know of other locations that are great!
What Chileans think of Expats
Jim Dorchak says
They love us. We have made so many great life long friends here. Chileanos are a very kind and welcoming people.
Interesting article Kay. I know many towns in America who could have written a similar opinion piece. Perhaps the energy invested in the dialog could be better spent on constructive topics, instead of endless debate of an age old war that can’t be won. Prejudice.
I’ve noticed that prejudice runs deep in every culture, every town, every family and every landmass. Psychologist attribute this to our ego trying to protect us from the unknown or unfamiliar. Here automobile license plates have a designation for the county where the plate is registered. Drivers treat each other differently on the road simply because of the designation on their plate. I learned at a young age that racism is shiny object to distract people from the reality that prejudice is everywhere and is kept alive by narrow minds.
In my travels I’ve found both welcoming and indifferent people in every area, often it depends on how you act. Thankfully a self sufficient lifestyle knows no skin color, zip code or country. We’re happy to have many international friends who’re sharing this journey with us. Wouldn’t be the same without them.
Who knows, we may all become expats someday….?
Krista Blakely says
You could make raised beds. I have them, and love them!! We used regular lumber and used an eco coat to make the boards water impervious. They now have frost blanket and will have plastic this weekend!! We have winter greens and veggies planted–they are coming up and look promising! We purchased soil from a reputable sorce. We will develop the soil by adding compost and mulches! We too just bought land in Idaho! Please feel free to email me withwith questions if you would like.
Sounds awesome! We’re planning on building some raised beds maybe come spring time. We’re just too busy right now to even do simple raised beds. We will definitely let you know if we have questions! We’re so excited to start that portion of our homesteading journey… sounds like you’re already having a lot of fun! Growing stuff is so awesome and satisfying 🙂
I can’t get 5 and 6 to open up, even tho I clicked on the FB like button. Would love to see them!
Never mind, no need to post, I got it figured out. Operator error lol!
Glad you got it Jo! We know first-hand about operator errors!!
Kat G says
I enjoyed your article and saw you have a little Bengal cat. I went to click on your bengalcatlove link in the education text in the article, I right click open in a new tab and saw on the top of the tab it says :reported attacked page. I closed it right away and hopefully didn’t get anything from in. You might want to see if it got hacked. You don’t need to post my comment. You both look so happy in your article and it is wonderful to hear about someone finding a way to live away from the rat race.
Hey Kat! Yes we have two Bengal cats and there is never a dull moment on the homestead! That site is down at the moment and we’re having issues with our hosting, just haven’t had a moment to switch to new hosting and clean up any problems. So irritating, sorry for any inconveniences! Feel free to check out our Bengal cat Facebook page, although we aren’t posting anything at the moment: http://facebook.com/bengalcatlove
Bill ( Guillermo ) Trovato says
I think your journey is fantastic and I applaud your endevour. I wish I had done so when I was your age. I still have the dream but it will now be almost impossible for me to do it without a lot of help from younger people. My hands are now starting to cramp and my joints hurt.
What I hope to achieve in the future is an off-grid small farm to live out the rest of my days with my wife. Although because of my scarce retirement funds it will probably have to be outside the U.S.
Anyhow thank you for your videos and blog. It restores my belief in the human race to find people like you two.
All the best, Bill
James Fleming says
Like the article, but when clicking on the http://bengalcatlove.com/ I was warned by my browser that the site contains Malware. I suggest you look into that.
Thanks for letting us know James! That site has been hacked pretty good and we haven’t had a spare moment to clean it up. Maintaining websites is incredibly time consuming, especially when you have a hundred of them!
Your site has been hacked? Amazing…If you’re hosting company hasn’t offered to help, it’s time for a new one. My email addy is above. Let me know who’s hosting the site, and I can probably direct you to resources in your cpanel to clean that up.
:::Wondering if they ‘back up’ their sites.:::
Kenny Barrett says
Jesse, I think you and Alyssa are very smart and a caring couple that likes to help people. Your blog is going to be very helpful and encouraging to a lot of young people. I would like to talk to you one on one if you ever find the time. I think I might be able to help you as well as myself. Please get in touch sometime……
I’ve been combing the web for about a month now, trying to find just the right people to follow on their homestead journey. And as usual, the moment I stopped looking, you appeared on YouTube. (Truth be told, I saw your face a number of times, but passed over it for the more gruff and grizzly-looking homesteader, which is a pleasant reminder that “Looks aren’t everything, ” “Appearances can be deceiving,” “Don’t judge a book,…yadda, yadda, yadda” I think you get the drift.
Anyway, I’m in the jumpstart a journey I set aside a very long time. How long? Well, I have a vague recollection of myself in a pair of size 12 bell bottom jeans and a suede fringe jacket that I spent three days beading to perfection, but to date, I haven’t the jeans, the jacket or anything close to resembling a size 12 in my wardrobe. Yep, I was your typical Earth Mom in every way imaginable, but I got pulled back into the city in 1976 (Philadelphia, Pa) because my first child was very ill and we needed to be closer to the hospital.
I’ve been trying to get back ever since.
Moved from Philly to Northern California (Sonoma), kids have grown up and moved on, and now at 59 and counting, I’m looking for land to get quiet, write and settle down for good.
My concern is that as of right now – this moment – I have a total of 10,000.00 to work with, and I know I can get a pre-fab cabin of some sort for a good price, and the property isn’t that big of a hurdle, but guess what has created pause in my heart? My age! I’m so pissed!
Whereas before I never thought about things like, hospitals, being close to town, hauling rocks and avoiding bears (okay, they weren’t like “Smokey” the bear, but they did have badges, okay?), now it hits me that I need to approach this a different way. Fortunately, I already work from home, doing a number of things (teaching, for one), but was concerned about the necessity of Laptop ,WIFI and Cell phone in remote areas, so I was excited to see that it can be had, so I’m looking forward to following and learning all the new issues that can crop up when going off-grid.
Have a pleasant Thanksgiving, and be sure to take photos of the first turkey or deer you bag!:^p
Just wanted to share a bit.
Becca A says
My fiance and I are preparing for our international move, that will lead into an off the grid lifestyle/homestead. We were reading the article together and literally had our eyes GLUED to the screen; we read every word. What an inspiration you now are for us! My blog niche is going to be island off the grid living, with an accent on cob home building, gardening, cooking, and spiritualism. I have a lot to learn about blogging and my technique, but you serve as a major inspiration and leader for blogs that I will look to for future advice. I would LOVE it if you could check out my blog, and give me any advice! I will be getting linked up with BlueHost and cashing in on their ‘free domain’ deal going on right now. Thank you in advance, and thanks for all of the information.
Hey Becca, you’re welcome for all of the information! Your goals are so awesome! I read through a few posts… I’m from Southern California and know the areas you speak of! I haven’t been to Indiana, but I don’t live in Southern California for a reason. My family still lives there though. Can’t blame you for wanting to live the island life! We are interested in living abroad too, but Idaho worked out for us and this location is working okay as of now, although we aren’t certain it will be our “forever home”. Gotta start somewhere. Glad to hear you will be blogging about the adventure! I have some thoughts to share but I’ll shoot you a quick personal email for that!
I just recently came across to your videos on YouTube which in turn lead me here. I think what you’ve done is amazing and would love to follow suit one day soon. I just need to get my spouse fully on-board. I’m about 1/2 way there. She is still tied to her modern conveniences and isn’t good with bugs.
So far we’ve decided to move somewhere a little safer (toward the mountains and away from the hustle and bustle of a bigger city) for now and slowly test the waters. I personally would rather jump right in feet first (of course with careful planning).
Please continue doing what your doing and I look forward to seeing your future videos and posts.
Glad you found our blog Lana! I think that’s great to test the waters first. Your spouse may find that there are things she would be willing to give up after all. I think the initial transition can be rough, but we are to the point now where we don’t feel that we are missing many luxuries. We still have internet (important for work), have coffee 1-2 times a day, have a hot shower once a day (although short), we have on-demand heat (propane or wood stove) and I even use my flat iron sometimes when the generator is plugged in, or other appliances like a blender. I think doing too much too soon for someone that isn’t 100% on board could cause shock, but if you ease in it may go smoother! Hope you find some useful ideas in this blog and on our YouTube channel, keep in touch!
Matt Fritz says
Hi Alyssa and Jesse,
First of all – great article. Thank you for sharing your story as well as some really great tips on diversifying income opportunities while following your goals and staying true to your plans.
As an adventurer by nature, I’m less of the homesteading type at home but more of the get-out-there-and-prove-you-can-survive kind of guy. Obviously getting out there takes time, and we all know that it takes time to do the things we love, leaving less time for the grunt J-O-B and the 9-to-5 rat race that so many of us are either currently caught up in, or at least we start out in.
As I write this I am in the process of putting together a series of articles for my new blog, as well as a new adventure survival training curriculum which I’m really excited to release over the next 6 weeks to begin supplementing my more traditional income streams.
Look forward to reading more of your articles!
Hey Matt, I think we all homestead for different reasons. I personally have no inner drive to build a house, but it just makes sense and seems the quickest way to achieve our long-term goal of freedom and wealth, so I’m up for the challenge! I do look forward to having a garden and things like that, but it will be a while before we get to focus on the projects I’m really, really excited about. Yes, all of this means less time to work a J-O-B with some patience and ingenuity, there are lots of ways to make an income without being in the rat race, and even more opportunities to make residual streams of income whether big or small. Blogging is a great way to start. I think there’s a lot of money in e-learning as well… it’s a fairly niche skill… not only do you need to know the skill you are teaching (or team up with someone who has the skill as we have done in the past), but you need the skills to put the course together and market the course, so the competition isn’t outrageous although there are other hurdles to come over (like many people think you should dedicate your life to providing them with knowledge, only they don’t think you deserve to be compensated for it). Let us know if you have questions about blogging or creating a curriculum, and best of luck on your blog!
Corky P. says
I admire what the two of you are doing.
I’ve let my life slip away in fear without doing similar things.
I still have not quit, and am looking at Central America as a
safer and cheaper place to live before building a place.
Please look at this website and consider this unusual and
spacious “tiny house” before making your final decision on house
construction type. They are built on custom trailers so your truck could move it.
IT WOULD SAVE LOTS OF TIME & MONEY, things that are part of your major theme.
It seems too small, but isn’t the way it is laid out, as you two will see.
You would only need to add a shed/shop as a secondary building.
You could still use many of the free materials you got for it, designing
around the windows you got and adding some flow-through light effect as Andrew did on his.
Let me know what you think after watching the 28 minute video, please.
BLUEHOST is a really fine hosting service.
Watching you on YT, Too old to do what you are doing, Lived on 100 acres in VT. when I was out of college 40 ++++ years ago. You are doing a beautiful job on your land. Sincerely, Minty (68)
"Shelly" Miller Jean says
I’m so glad I did not leave a website I stumbled across that seemed to offer mostly sensationalist videos, but trusted my instincts and obeyed a ‘double-take’ reflex to watch your “Living off the Grid: Building an off the Grid Cabin for Winter.” I love what you are doing! And, I’m especially impressed by your shared vision, intentionality, and the wise choices you are making in planning and implementing those plans! My husband and I made the decision 37 years ago to abandon the treadmill of city living for a five acre homestead in the White Mountains of northern NH. We planted a large annual veggie garden, raised goats (for milk and meat), chickens (from self-incubated & hatched eggs, for eggs and meat), and one pig each year that provided us wonderful roasts, chops, and bacon, and from which our large chest freezer was always stocked with homemade sausage. However, we made some major mistakes along the way; one of them being the purchase of a 40-yr. old 3-br./ 2 bath house in the country for our family of four. My husband and I are no longer together. But, I have a renewed vision to one day (hopefully sooner than later, as I am 67) live entirely “off grid,” whether in an “earthship” (concept of radically-sustainable homes — “Earthship Biotecture” — that began near Taos, New Mexico), or a tiny house of some kind. But, as a senior citizen who’s been unemployed for seven months ( with only temporary, minimally part-time work as a care-giver during that time) I need to find an adequate, reasonably secluded piece of land on which to put an off-grid home, before what’s left of my savings is spent on radically over-priced apartment living in northwestern Orlando, FL! . . . . P.S. One of my strongest talents is the ability to edit written text for print. If you should ever have need of a good editor, please keep me in mind. 🙂
I have been recently interested in developing an online stream of income and have been researching many ideas. There seem to be several posts that talk about online proofreading, that seems like it would fit perfectly with your skill set. Good luck
I am loving the fact I found your blog. We are in the planning stages of our adventure right now. We just secured the land and there will be utilities available but we will be doing our best to not use them as much as we do now of course. Figuring out how to bring in an income while we are living out in the woods is one of my biggest problem I face at this moment. We have the plan to get all our debt out of the way before moving on the property but we will have to pay for the building for about 6 months after we are on it. So I will have some bills that will have to be met plus the cost of eating and keeping us going. We do plan on growing our veggies and getting any meat from other farmers to support each other, so there will be cost that will have to be taken in to account. I have looked into the website blogs and the affiliate marketing and I am paying to be taught how to do that the correct way but it is still a little frightening when you have been making good money for so many years and this will be something completely new to me. I did want to see what am I doing wrong in getting the last two ways you make money. I did as you asked and shared it with my facebook and my Google site but I still didn’t see how to get the last two.
Anyways I will be a devoted follower from now on and I am so glad I found you guys. I’m in Florida so the winters wont be that fierce but the summers can be a killer around here, especially in the woods away from the coast. We never have time to enjoy ourselves at the beach and other places because we are always working. That is why this is what we want to do now before we are of age to retire. We are so tired of working all the time and never able to enjoy our life or the money we kill ourselves to make. This is why we have made this our plan. So I thank you so much for sharing your adventure and giving us pointers to get our adventure moving forward. Keep up the awesome job and God bless you both. It is so nice to see a couple working together instead of against each other. Happy Adventures!!!
Glad you found our blog and are starting a similar journey of your own! That which you put your mind to you can accomplish. It’s taken us a couple of years to make a steady income online and it’s still not guaranteed… we don’t get paid for each hour we work, sometimes we lose a bit of money (learning of course) and other times we hit it bit, but in going down this path we are learning new skills every day and making more money as time goes on, and we have passive income streams that help when we are working on the property. Of course, we’re also working diligently to reduce expenses and clear debt as soon as possible, as we don’t want to be slaves to any type of work other than developing our own property. I will email you the last two methods on the post…. if you click the share buttons, they should show automatically. Best of luck to you and your husband! Getting your land secured is the start of the exciting snowball!
Greg Tabor says
I think what you guys are doing is pretty cool. While I’ve been trimming my lifestyle for a few years now and integrating solar panels, electric car, and other cost saving initiatives into a traditional lifestyle, I’m not ready to go off the grid, but admire those who are. Thought you might want to learn about a couple of topics to factor into your plans for your new home. Do some research on Earth Ships for starters. The genesis of earth ships came from an Architect in Taos NM. By using old tires, bottles, and cans, they have been constructing highly efficient homes that are off the grid, reuse water supplies 3x, and grow food indoors. They use solar PV and hot water systems and reclaim water to minimize waste.
Another technology to consider is a Rocket Stove using COB. These stoves are extremely efficient at burning wood and extracting heat, and would be particularly useful in northern climes such as Montana, Idaho, the Dakotas, etc. Betting it would help you maximize heat from the least amount of wood required and could likely help heat your hot tub as well.
Thanks for the suggestion Greg! We need to read up on Earthships and rocket stoves and see if we should incorporate any of the elements into our design. Great thing is that we haven’t settled on a design yet so we are open minded but will give priority to the materials we have at our disposal. We are all about maximum efficiency, reusing, recycling, and building a home that just makes sense 🙂
This is disgusting! You are preying on wannabees. Get a job!
Matthew Fritz says
Kathleen, in all honestly, your comment does nothing to give any reasons behind your disgust. And no, saying ‘Get a job!’ is not the answer many people who turn to this way of life are interested in. I myself am a highly successful business man who has a degree. Does that mean my desire to live a homesteading lifestyle earning my own income and living the way I choose is to be seen as being ‘disgusting’? In all honestly, one can easily take offence but rather we choose to let the naysayers continue to say ‘nay’ and live their life the way they choose.
And, ‘preying on wannabees’? Really? Putting an honest perspective as to how they have done what they have done is not ‘preying on wannabees’. Rather it’s an honest reflection of the opportunities that are available and that one can in fact create for themselves. Instead I commend them for choosing to be open about how they are achieving their goals and many would find this rather inspiring.
Homesteading is not the answer for all, but it’s a reality for many who have chosen to live in such a way.
My husband and I are making plans for a change, but it`s extremely hard to take the leap of faith.
Financial planning and strategy seems to be the hardest part.
My husband is a very creative and talented artist, and his dream has always been to figure out a way to live off of his art. I love blogging but because of the busy work schedule I had to put it aside.
Thank you for sharing your experience, it has definitely showed me a totaly differnet perspective of things. One that I have not considered before.
We both are working very hard to save money and get our plan started. Some days I do feel like time is running out on us (he is 51, I am 47) and others I think we are just too old for this.
Thank you for this. I needed it.
Good luck on your path, you seem to be on the right direction!!
What about retirement?
What do you mean Stefanie… can you elaborate a bit?
Steve @ Think Save Retire says
I think video production will continue to grow and grow – the photography market is so saturated at the moment, unfortunately. But video is still largely an untapped resource at the semi-professional level, as I am with my Sony A6000. Almost any camera these days produces some amazing video.
Congrats on building a life for yourself outside of the more traditional confines of office work. We are about a year away from doing just that and traveling the country in an RV for a living. 🙂
We too live off grid. We purchased 10 acres for under $4,500 from our pocal town office, someoen failed to pay taxes on the land. We designed and built our own home. We heat with a pioneer princess that alsp heata our hot water. We have fonally movined in just abput w months ago after a 6 year building! We have a corwood masonry garage for my husbands tools. We built and outhouse for summer usage( and its so cute ) no joke!;) I’m totally into natural healthy ways for home living and have numerous allergies…when we planned to build it was to build as natural as possible. All various woods inside and hand split cedar shakes fpr the exterior. The pine floors have tung oil that took me numerous hours to coat but so glad I did. We have sheeps wool as our home insulation. I made our childrens and my husband and I a mattress out of sheeps wool and hand washed over 100lbs of wool for my sons beds. I would enjoy having a blog or someone to tell our story too. Yet I am in no way computer savy;) congrats on what you are accomplishing. We lived in a much smaller home for 8 years that had 4 panels and taught me how to make soy candles for the winter life. We are young 35 and 34 and I’m not totally certain why we have an interest in living theis way…guess its part of who we are and what we desire. We would love to travel more and sell our other solar homestead and be cometely debt free. Its fun to know there are ao many other people not living the main stream of the “american dream” instead we are dreaming of much more;)
FYI, the fb tab to unlock methods 5&6 is not working or perhaps I am doing something wrong. Please let me know as I would love to read them. Thanks:)
Thanks for letting us know Ali! It should be working now 🙂
A good source of fun income in mountain areas is the Morel mushroom. It is easy for even a beginner to identify and sell well. Huckleberry’s if you lucky enough to be in an area for them and chanterelle mushroom too. Its a really good income and yummy too.
Thank you for providing this information! I would like to start blogging and try to make an online income. From some of the comments I gather you use wordpress for your blog/website?? Is that what you suggest to use? I was wondering if you’ve ever heard of wix.com they seem quite open with web designs and such, any opinions on them?
Love your blog, your site, and your journey! We (my partner and I) have this lifestyle in our 5-year game plan! We have access to the land, We are learning everything we can on homesteading, and we’ve moved into a very small home to prepare ourselves (and child) for living with less. Now, we just have to figure out the income portion if I decide not to keep my career. Excited to have found your information and will for sure be following!!!
Your story is so inspirational! I really enjoyed reading about how you guys make this lifestyle work, great job!
Glad you find it to be an inspiration, and thanks for the kind words!
My husband and I are going off grid also. Your videos and blogs are helping us alot, ideas we hadn’t thought of.. it’s a great life thank you for all your help.
You’re welcome and best of luck to you!
Brett Wm. Templeton says
Great blog! Thank you for all the information. Will you please send #’s 5&6 via email ~ I clicked the FB button, my FB login popped up, I logged in, but no content was revealed. Thanks again, I’ll enjoy following and learn much from your journey.
You’re welcome Brett, glad you’re enjoying our updates! Sorry about 5 & 6 not being accessible to you… email sent!
Wow! You guys are really living the dream!
I wish you both a long and memorable adventure!
Thanks for the kind wishes!
You are a beautiful couple and I wish you the best of luck. I don’t think you realize that this lifestyle cannot be maintained when you reach retirement age. You need to build a nest egg that will generate true passive income like dividends from stocks, interest from bonds, or distributions from partnerships in which you do not actively participate.
Furthermore, I feel that you miscalculated how much money you will spend to build out your property and how many hours you will work just to feed yourself. You may end up spending $200K on your barn, septic, well, gardens, etc. after all this investment your food will not be free. Growing food is not cheap and livestock has to be fed.
Thanks for the feedback Zorik! We have a short-term financial strategy and a long-term financial strategy, but stocks and bonds isn’t something that interests us personally. We have a rough idea on what it will cost to build a barn, septic (already done), well and other systems on our property but you’re right – we may be off in whatever estimates we may have and that is perfectly okay. We never said we were ever going to live 100% without money but the goal is to reduce our dependence on it on a daily basis, and develop our property in the most efficient way possible.
I love the way things are explained here and your write up is very inspiring..
Ive been contemplating to start my own blog but is very hesitant as i dont know how i will write my first blog and as im yet to determine which niche i need and want to concentrate (as i have several hobbies, ineterest etc)
Anyway keep up the good work.. Goodluck with your off grid lifestyle…
Just a small thing.. ive click on your SUPPORT THE BLOG and read thru, just noticed this, pls correct me if im wrong:
“We’ve listed many ways above that offer support with spending a dime”
Maybe it was mean as WITHOUT SPENDING A DIME? 🙂
*Maybe it was MEANT……
I love what you are doing! Especially the fact that you are open enough to share your journey with evoryone! The decision to open your lives up is something that not everyone could do just out of fear of the potential for negative feedback. I have been fairly self relent most of my adult life, I – can, garden make herbal remedies, build our future, and much more. My husband is more inclined to take the traditional route of a brick and mortar job, which I totally respect because he invested a lot into a chemical engineering degree. Recently he has expressed a desire to join me in seeking a self relent lifestyle. I have introduced him to your journey as inspiration. Thank you! We previously had the opportunity to develop a raw piece of land into a homestead which my father in law is now occupying. It was so rewarding to clear the land, build the structures, develop the land and amass the equipment. Enjoying your journey! It’s worth every ache and pain!
Glad you’re enjoying following our story! I think everyone can do things to become more self-sufficient but it will look different for everyone. I don’t know that there is one right way to go about doing things, and I think it can be done with a traditional job as well! I think it depends where your talent lies. Sounds like an awesome project you had the chance to take on! Best of luck with your dreams as well!
Was glad to read your story. It was fantastic and easy to understand, I would rate it thr best I have read while reading for the past 30days! I will be following you, Thanks for your honesty and straight forward information.
The Broke Dad says
Great post. Jealous of the life you have created using blogging and homesteading together. Very awesome. I hope to someday be able to say I make enough money with my blog that I was able to focus on the things I truly love full time.
Thank you again,
The Broke Dad
Alyssa and Jesse,
When you were looking for land, did you have any trouble finding an area with building codes that would allow what you wanted to do? Can you recommend any resources that would help me find the best location to homestead code-wise? There doesn’t seem to be a central information source for this sort of thing which means researching counties one at a time which is proving a very lengthy process.
Ya know what… that’s a great question. We didn’t find a master source either but we spent A LOT of time researching counties even state online. If you find any gold on this subject let us know. Even the county we did settle on a couple things caught us off guard such as needing a septic permit, a permit to get a physical street address which involved jumping through hoops that cost us about $1,500 and now we’re finding out more information about how we may need to go about installing our electrical on the house so that it’s even an option to tie to the grid one day (that’s not in the plan for us but we very well may want to sell the property one day). There are just some things you can’t learn from the internet and can only learn by visiting a town, getting to know folks, talking to contractors, talking to the building department face-to-face, etc. I don’t know that 100% freedom exists anywhere (not without consequences, that is) if you want to do things legally and what not, but there are some areas with more flexibility than others as you know. And yes, all of this learning has been an extremely lengthy process for us and it’s forever a big lesson in progress.
I’m also wondering, after having some time on the property, do you guys feel that 5 acres will be enough to allow you to become as self-sufficient as possible and do all the things you want to do? Put another way, if you could custom design the ideal property for you, would you make it exactly the same size /a little bigger / a little smaller and why?
I think so, yes. Our immediate living space is probably 1-2 acres which is pretty solid. I think 5 is more than plenty… ours isn’t great for livestock since it’s on a hill. I’d say overtime, we’d love even more property just to have more of a cushion from neighbors, have more timber (we’d love property with timber, even if we buy a second property just for the timber so that it can provide for generations to come), and maybe have property with a water source on it. However, 5 was a great place to get started because with more acreage comes more price! It was all about balance for us!
Donnie Gardner says
Jesse & Alyssa,
Great post! I ran accross this post on pintrist and had to comment. I love the strategy of reuducing your living expenses and creating passive income sources. My wife Emily and I are on the process of doing just that. We have made our last mortgage payment today and hope to quit the 9-5 come August 1st when our first baby arrives! I love your life style and have one question. Would you recommend traveling, RV, style nomad with a newborn? I want to know if you tried this when your kids were babies?
Problem with vehicles is the cops will harass you non-stop if you are on the road a lot. Gov’t doesn’t take kindly to independent people and an RV or trailer is a sign of that. They will pull you over for absolutely no reason at all often until you find you license is suspended. Then what will you do? An RV and no way to drive it.
In CA it has gotten so bad that the cops are now stealing peoples’ cars and impounding them for a mandatory 30 days @ $100/day. You have to pay $3,000 bucks to get your own vehicle back or else you forfeit it. And this for such violations as driving with an expired license.
A cheap piece of remote land it a better idea. You can always park your RV on it like they did and live in it that way.
KJ Williams says
You both have given my husband and I a glimmer of hope. I have recently become disabled just months before my 50th birthday (way to young, but out of my control) due to genetic heart failure and a list of other conditions and have been denied disability benefits several times. So we are living on the edge day in and day out. We enjoyed reading your story and you have given me hopes in engaging in this sort of work at home. I look forward to reading updates from you both. Blessing to the two you!
Gari T. Laka says
Hi Jesse and Alissa,
Congratulations for your journey and for your blog! I enjoyed this post specially because I am as well in a journey that close to yours in spirit. My goal is to get a land in the countryside to start a permaculture site. In order to get closer to it, I am making my first steps as an online entrepreneur. So, I feel your way as mine.
You give very useful information all around the post and I appreciate your hard work. You got a subscriber!
Thank you very much and best wishes in your inspirating life-style,
The photo of your office space, is that in your RV?? I’m super jealous! I literally run my whole blog and business from my couch… which is fun, but sometimes I accidentally fall asleep ><
Oh well! Love your set up!
Oh my gosh… no way… HAHAHA we work from a tiny little table. The entire RV is only 19′ long… we miss our office setup greatly! Something about having space opens the door for more creativity.
Dennis Alan says
Great article and I am about 80% there in finding my freedom. It is sooo freeing to not have the bills and chains weighing you down. I am so happy I gave up my city life to build a homestead like you guys. I am actually planning a homestead tour across the country and would LOVE to come visit you guys. I am just planning the trip now but expect to be done before spring. I will send you guys more info and a formal request in a few days. Love what you’re doing out there 🙂
How do you sell the meat products that you raise on your Homestead, legally ? I live in Florida and looked into it and it seems near impossible for a homesteader to do so, without being a big commercial operation. Is there any loopholes I’m missing?
Phew! You two have certainly put in the time to make things work! I admire your hardworking ethic (no matter what certain critics say in the comment section here…) and know that what you’re doing is both worthy and worthwhile!
My husband and I are on a very similar journey. I’ve already quit my full-time job, and he’s about to this summer, and we’re running full-steam into figuring out an off-grid, self-sustainable lifestyle on our newly purchased land. Watching your videos and reading your blog is a huge encouragement–I feel like there are others just as “crazy” as we are who are forging the path ahead!
We’re also trying to establish our online presence. We’ve been keeping a blog going for over a year, and have just launched our YouTube channel. We write for one other website, but would love to write for more…how have you found places that accept guest posts? I have written in to several websites, but I often get no bites (often they don’t reply). Is it something that comes with time, or are there other avenues to pursue?
Both of us are teachers as well, and very interested in creating online courses (we have biology, environmental, and artistic backgrounds and training). I love how you found a useful niche market with your Bengal cats (smart!). How were you able to develop a relationship that resulted in your educational videos getting out there? We’d love to find similar places to belong.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your journey, tips, and insights. Its invaluable. Once we’re more established, we’d love to be as helpful to others as you are to us!
Really appreciate the detail you go into and the time it takes. It’s channels and blogs like yours that give inspiration. One day I dream to make a similar journey.
Congratulations on your efforts and progress toward your dream!
I’ve been watching your videos for a few months now and just realized you have a blog to go with them! I wanted to say thanks for putting all of this together. My wife and I are slowly converting our 2.5 acres to be more independent and enjoy seeing your tips and talks on video, especially some of the advice that Alyssa gave towards women since many people don’t really touch on those subjects.
I also appreciate your explanation of income sources and passive vs. active income to support a homesteading lifestyle, as well as the interaction and reliance on neighbors. I don’t think a lot of people realize how much more work it takes to be truly independent vs. interacting and sharing resources with those around you. The amount of money it would take to own all of the tools and equipment necessary to maintain and repair your Tractor/house/barn/animals/land would require one to already have the wealth to purchase all of it, or to interact and rely upon their neighbors for some of the things that they may not have and in turn help their neighbors as well.
That doesn’t even touch on all of the knowledge necessary that can only come from the experience of living in each particular area.
I look forward to watching your progress, and thanks again for detailing all the aspects of your journey!
My boyfriend and I look forward to new videos when they come out… more often than not we find ourselves saying “we can do this” thanks for showing us cool new tricks and whatnot. Sometimes we strategize ways that would help make things easier as well… you guys rock
I found myself watching one of your youtube videos researching headlamps and I’ve been reading your blog for the past hour and completely forgot about the headlamp reviews. So happy I found you guys!
rol eic says
Dear Alyssa and Jesse, You claim to live off-grid and independently with some limitations. I would like to look closer at those limitations. What does a person need? Air, water, food, shelter, heat, source of energy to assist heavy work and transportation, communications, source of income to buy stuff you can not make yourself. Air fortunately is still abundant and free. Drinking water you collect from municipal facilities which depend most likely on the electrical power grid. To carry the water into your tank you depend on fossil fuel. To feed yourself off your land you need a large garden much larger than what you are planning presently and you will be vegetarians. If you want meat you need even much more land (10-20x the land for vegetarian food prod.) to feed your live stock. I am not a vegetarian either but we have to admit that we need much more agric. land. Much of the construction material for your shelter will come from your own trees. Rocks you seem also to have enough 😉 But for cement like for foundations you depend on big industry and a source of income. Heat for your home you seem to have covered by relying on public forest. Your own forest probably is too small to sustain your construction and perpetual heating fuel. So you depend on access to public forests or source of income. The energy source for heavy work is mainly depending on fossil fuel and a source of income and a little solar. For communications you depend on power grid and working internet/telecom network also when your local devices may run on solar and still fossil fuel in winter. Acc. to your description your source of income depends on the internet and therefore on the power grid and fossil fuel. In summary I believe your main gain of independence is an increased independence of your daily schedule. You can do blogging any time of the day and on any days of the week. But you can not neglect it for a month. Compared to working in a cubicle in a corporation that is a true gain of independence. As soon as you have life stock that time independence will come down again a lot. And you seem on a good way to build a home without debt. You still need a source of income but no debt. That is also an increase of financial independence. That is already very good. But it is still a long way from the independence a typical homestead in the 19th century had. How close to that are you willing to go and in what time frame?
rol eic says
Alyssa and Jesse, Here is another test of your homesteading determination:
Lets assume your blog hits the jackpot of 100 million readers and you become multimillionaires and gain total financial and time independence. You could afford sea front property on the pacific coast or the best of whatever you like. You could afford fossil fuel no matter its price. Would you keep chopping wood on your homestead??? 😉
Steven Welch says
It would be really interesting to know what other blogs and digital products you have. I expect there are people here who would support you through the purchase of your digital products and by contributing to your other blogs. I know I would.
Michael Hood says
What you guys have been doing is great, some day I hope to be doing the same thing. It really makes me happy seeing what you guys have accomplished in just the couple of years you guys have been doing this. It really gives me hope that more people are starting to do this type of thing and that it is becoming easier for anyone to do it. Great content and keep up the good work.
Hello ! been watching in youtube for a few weeks, getting excited about doing something similar, I spent 5 years fulltiming in a fifth wheel all over the west, as I rounded out my photography inventory (panorama and wildlife)and now considering 4k video, spent a lot of time in Montana and Arizona in the winter, stayed mostly on BLM and national forest lands with solar/inverter/generator, would love to buy land even if to just park an rv.
Tell me how do you get internet on your propery? I used hughesnet satellite dish, it was a pain in the butt to set up and slow? Also, I am curious after looking at your list of criteria for the land you bought eg. no deed restrictions, small govt… did you ever consider the smokey mountains? northern Ga. NC, Tn. ? was there any reason why these areas did not fit your criteria?
Keep up the great videos!
You guy’s have massive energy mental and physical. I’ve keeping up with your
homestead work and excited to watch each new video you have gave my wife
and some really good life changing ideas.
Do you pay taxes on monies earned on this website or other forms of income?
Dave Johnson says
I’ve been catching up on the on your videos over the last few weeks. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for the last several years. Well done on your videos and posts. One question I have is What do you guys do for health insurance and hospital visits?
Thanks Dave J
Douglas Stark says
Greetings from New Berlin, Wisconsin !! (a suburb of Milwaukee).
Your videos are just awesome. From the detailed vids of new tools and stuff you bought or acquired…to the actual construction or build stages of your storage garage…..Great!!
Last night as I was surfing You Tube, after viewing a few more of your building videos of course, I came across a brand new video showing both of you “walking on the newly poured walls of the storage garage”……but nothing in your videos showing the actual concrete wall pouring?
What a cool surprise to see the walls poured……but where did you upload the pouring videos?
Please let me know when you have a chance…..and keep up the great work.
Hey guys; Been following you for quite a while now. Just happened to come across a video surfing through YouTube while I was working overseas. Really missing the almost daily videos, but cannot wait to see your progress on the house. I have been “dreaming” of a debt free log home for many years now. Life does seem to get in the way and “shiny things” can be distracting. I keep thinking I need to have all the money saved in the bank before I can start. Trying to get a new business off the ground right now, so hoping to purchase land soon. Thanks for what you guys do. I really do enjoy watching your progress. All the best
keep it up… i love to see your video. my dream to make a house.. but tiny house maybe. cheers. – azhar malaysia
Bill Williams says
I’ve caught a lot of your shows on youtube. A very entertaining show.
Merry Xmas and keep going! A very impressive plan!