While I don’t think what I do is all that impressive, a friend who recently found out my list of titles was impressed. She wondered how I manage to be a stay-at-home mom, a backyard homesteader, a nurse, and a writer all at once. That made me wonder – do homesteaders have jobs?
Homesteaders have jobs of their choosing. Some work as homesteaders full-time while others tend part-time homesteads after work. Career choices will depend on personal goals, homestead scale, timing, income, and other individual circumstances.
Keep reading to read more about the factors that influence how you can manage a job and homesteading, too!
Do Homesteaders Have Jobs?
Yes, homesteaders have jobs. For some, homesteading is their job. Others start homesteading as a hobby and then it transitions into their career. For the rest of us, though, homesteading is something we do in addition to a regular job.
The answer anyone gives is going to depend on them and their answers to these factors.
|Personal Goals||What are your personal goals for both homesteading and your career right now? What about in the future?|
|Homestead Scale||How big of a homestead can you realistically manage while working full-time to provide for your family?|
|Timing||Can you manage a homestead right now? Or is it something for the future?|
|Income||What are your income requirements?|
|Career Aspirations||What are your goals with regards to your job? Or do you want to transition to having homesteading being your career? Is that a feasible option for your family?|
|Balance||What is the right balance for you and your family?|
|Individual Circumstances||Are there individual circumstances you need to consider?|
Based on my experience, research, and talking to other homesteaders, it seems like most homesteaders have a job outside the home. Some are transitioning to full-time homesteading. Others enjoy the balance and have no immediate plans to change the status quo.
So whether you’re a full-time homesteader or a part-timer like me, it’s okay. Both are totally acceptable. Do what’s right for you and your family.
Balancing Backyard Homesteading and Jobs
Balancing homesteading and jobs (or just full-time homesteading) is going to require balance. Through research and experience, I’ve found that the best way to keep that balance is with practice, scale, and sharing the responsibilities across all involved parties.
Backyard homesteading is very fulfilling. It is, however, still a good bit of work. We could opt to skip the work – but then we’d be skipping out on a lot of backyard homesteading.
Instead, we build our homestead to fit with our personal goals, and lifestyle dreams, and then we scale things to be manageable. Oh, and then we share the work between all of our family members. We just have to accommodate our kids’ ages and skills – because the two-year-old can’t help as well as the 9-year-old can. And while he’s getting more awesome every day, he’s still not quite to my husband’s level.
Oh, there’s one other key to balancing homesteading with careers: build up each year, rather than trying to do it all at once. That’ll save you a ton of time, headaches, and worry. Just do one more thing this year than last year. It’ll take some time, but eventually, you’ll build the homestead of your dreams.
Can You Homestead and Have a Full-Time Job?
You can definitely homestead and have a full-time job!
Right now, my regular job is being a stay-at-home mom to four kids. My husband works a full-time job as a software engineer. Before we had kids, I worked as a registered nurse in an emergency department.
So while my full-time job is at home (and gives me some flexibility to homestead with the kids), my husband is working full-time outside of the home. We are able to make it happen – and so are many of our friends and neighbors.
Based on my research and participation in various online forums, there are hundreds, thousands, and more people who are in the same situation. We’re all balancing careers and homesteading. It’s definitely possible!
How Do You Manage a Job and Homesteading?
The keys to managing both a job and homesteading are balance, scale, timing, sharing the load, and building on what you’ve already got. Find what you can. Do that. Then, keep building on what you’ve already got rather than reinventing the wheel.
|Factor||Notes||How it Works for Us|
|Balance||Everyone’s balance will be different.||We can balance our half-acre homestead. Others can manage more or less.|
|Scale||Find a scale that works for you. Determine what you do – and don’t – want to do.||We love having a few animals, trees, and a garden in our backyard. Right now, that’s the right scale for us.|
|Timing||Do what you can right now and make a plan for the future.||We want to add more animals and gardening space. But we built it into a timeline.|
|Share the Load||Split up chores and responsibilities based on ability, time, and other appropriate factors.||My husband works full-time, so I manage what I can while he’s at work. Then, after work and on weekends, he helps out, too.|
|Build on What You’ve Got||Start small and work your way up to your goal. This way, you can avoid crashing and burnout even if it does take more time.||In our first year, we only tended our raspberry patch. Then, we added a garden. Next, chickens and a larger garden. We’ve got plans to keep building.|
For us, homesteading is a fun thing to do – it’s more of a hobby and lifestyle than a job or a career ambition. That’s why we’re homesteading in our backyard – it’s the right size, style, time, place, and scale for us.
Can You Make a Living Homesteading?
Many homesteaders can and do make a part or full living wage off of homesteading. They do it by selling a variety of services, products, and other projects. Everyone’s individual setup seems to vary greatly, depending on how much land they have, garden size, animals owned, if they’re writing a blog, and many other factors.
I know of a handful of other homesteaders who also blog – and that contributes to their homesteading income. If blogging is the route you want to go, I recommend you check out the Project 24 program by Income School. It’s the best program I’ve found – and the 60 steps are easy to follow. You can get to their site, via my recommendation and affiliate link, by clicking here.
Some others make and sell goat’s milk soaps. Others yet make handmade crafts that sell well on Etsy. And many homesteaders make income selling eggs, produce, or other items produced on the homestead.
So if you’re looking to make a living off of homesteading, know that it is possible. It just may require a good deal of flexibility, ingenuity, and determination on your part. Oh, and time. It’ll take some time to get to a living wage. As with any other career, financial independence rarely happens overnight.
How Do I Quit My Job and Homestead?
Since we haven’t quit our jobs to become homesteaders, I’m going to recommend you watch this awesome video. It’s given the best-summarized answer that I’ve found.
In case you’re in a spot where watching a video isn’t feasible, here are a few notes I made from the video.
- Be prepared to make sacrifices. It will be tight – especially at the start!
- Be prepared to work more hours – especially when you’re first starting your homestead.
- Before you quit your job, work extra hours to pay off all of your debt.
- Save up a nest egg of money before you quit your job. That way, you’ll be able to live off of savings for a while.
- Implement a spending freeze – stop spending money! Cut back on everything you can – ideally until you create a regular income from homesteading.
- Think of money in terms of time.
- Regularly evaluate the ROI (return on investment) of every aspect of your homestead.
- Know that things will cost more money regularly until you get your systems into place and solidly working.
- Consider working part-time jobs until the income is regular.
- Create a home business to supplement income.
I think the biggest takeaway is this nugget: know that there isn’t one formula to get you to the point where you can quit your job. Be flexible and dedicated enough to make your dream happen!
How We Manage Careers and Backyard Homesteading
Okay, so I’ve given examples and tidbits throughout this article that will have given you some important clues as to how we manage to balance our careers and our backyard homestead.
Even so, I wanted to share a quick and final summary. That way, you’ll have your questions answered fully.
My husband manages his career amazingly. He’s a dedicated, hard worker. He’s able to shift his schedule from the traditional 9-5 corporate schedule to something that allows him to go to work (and come home) earlier. That way, he’s here to help with a project or two after work if need be. But more importantly, he’s able to spend time with the family.
My career as a nurse is on pause. That’s one of the perks of being a nurse – as long as I keep my license and education current (via continuing education courses), I can take a long leave from actively working. That’s what I’m doing right now, in fact, to be a stay-at-home mom. It does mean some extra studying while the kids are asleep, though. But that’s okay.
As a writer, I wake up early each morning to spend time writing. I write here, on other blogs, and in books. I go to bed early – and I wake up early. But this way, I’m spending my early morning time writing. That way, once my kids wake up we can do family things – and manage our backyard homestead.
During the daytime, my kids and I manage the house, tend chickens, get schoolwork done, and have fun. What we do each day does, in part, depend on the weather, too. When it’s snowy, we do prep work. If it’s rainy, we might go garden in the mud – or stay inside to play a game. If it’s sunny, I might set up some sprinklers for the kids to play with while I harvest raspberries.
It’s all about balance, timing, and doing what you can – when you can. At least, that’s how it is for us. And we love our backyard homestead, even if it isn’t our full-time job.