Farming as a hobby can be rewarding, but what if you want to do more? Growing your homestead into a source of income is doable, no matter whether you sell produce, meat, handmade products, or crafts. You don’t have to do it alone, either; with support from the Towanda Wysox Chamber of Commerce, you can set up your homesteading business with confidence. Here are a few tips on how to get started:
Learn About Local Regulations
Depending on what you plan to sell from your homestead, you may need to apply for licenses or file other paperwork. Research regulations in your area to see whether you need permits or any oversight on food and other products you'll be selling.
If you need to graduate from handmade items to those manufactured by machine, regulations can intensify, especially regarding safety and sanitization practices. In other cases, you may need more help to scale up your sales.
Make Your Branding Stand Out
Before you start loading up your wares for the local farmers market, consider how you'll stand out from other vendors. Branding will be crucial in ensuring your homestead products get the attention they deserve.
Your branding will depend on what types of products you want to sell and how you plan to expand later, if applicable. Make sure that your graphics and business name are original and recognizable.
Also, check to ensure your business name isn't already in use; most state business filing agencies offer an online tool to verify this information.
Create a Scalable Business Model
Selling some of your surplus harvest one time is vastly different than regularly selling products off your small farm. For one thing, you'll need to operate as a legitimate business, both for legal purposes and to scale up as your operation grows.
Selecting the right business structure gives you room to grow while protecting your assets. Especially for homesteaders, whose livelihoods link closely to their land's productivity, keeping personal assets separate is crucial.
If you plan to hire employees and take on outside investors, it might be wisest to create an S Corp in California. Skip the lawyer fees by filing on your own or with a formation service, but be sure to follow state rules while doing so.
Take Advantage of Financial Benefits
As a hobbyist homesteader, you likely won't be eligible for tax or other financial perks. But as a business owner selling homestead products, you may be able to earn tax breaks and even homestead deductions on your property taxes.
For example, the IRS states that if you farm for profit, you may deduct business expenses such as vehicle mileage for farm business, equipment depreciation, and more. Speak with a licensed tax consultant before filing your taxes to ensure the maximum benefit for all potential deductions.
Use Traditional and Nontraditional Marketing
Though word of mouth is every homesteader's best friend, you can't go wrong by embracing all manner of marketing methods, too, per the American Marketing Association.
Traditional marketing, like newsletters, flyers, business cards, and brochures, is always a great idea. Digital marketing with social media, email newsletters, and online ads is another viable option to get the word out.
Technology can also help spruce up your traditional marketing materials. For example, using a PDF-formatted brochure is one way to print materials that catch customers' attention. For graphics, text, or charts, create a single file, and you can easily add a page to PDF documents as things change using a free tool.
Living off the land involves more than caring for a homestead. As you grow your hobby into a profitable operation, homesteading becomes a multi-dimensional business model. By plotting out each step of the process, you can successfully turn a profit doing what you love and providing goods that your customers love, too.Ready to get started with monetizing your homestead? You can find plenty of helpful resources at the Towanda Wysox Chamber of Commerce.