Earning Supplemental Income

So you’re homesteading…

  • …growing most of your food…
  • …selling some of your produce…
  • …using solar panels to cut down on power bills…
  • …you have a well for your water…

Unless you’re doing all of this and still have a full time job, you still have bills to pay and little income with which to do it. How do you get all of your bills paid? The best way is by earning supplemental income.

Earning Supplemental Income is easy if you use your talents

Turning your hobbies into a business is a simple way to earn some extra cash.

As much as homesteaders talk about being frugal, the undeniable truth is that the very best ways to take control of your finances is to make more money and spend less of it. The trick is making it all work together so that your day job – whether that be a full time job, part time job, or the work around your homestead – doesn’t interfere with your “side gig” and vice versa.

Make a List of Interests, Hobbies, Skills and Talents

A side job should include the skills and talents you have that you aren’t using at your primary job. For example, if you’ve got a setup in your garage to do some wood working as a hobby, why not make a few items a month to sell at a local festival or farmer’s market? It doesn’t have to be something extravagant – as long as it serves a purpose and looks like it took you a little time to make it, people will buy it.

Make a list of all the skills you have (specifically the ones you enjoy doing) and figure out which ones you could make work for you as a part-time job.

  • Do you like to bake? Start a cupcake delivery service from home.
  • Are you good at math? Tutor algebra privately.
  • Do you have a major green thumb? Teach gardening classes at the local community college or on your own property.

We handmake things like knitted scarves and hats, custom made and embellished pillowcases, dresses hand sewn and paracord gear with our small company Handmade by Blair. I also do graphic and web design through Ninjawolf Studios.

Use the internet for earning supplemental income

Finding the right part-time job for you can be very easy if you take advantage of all the resources the world wide web has to offer. Here’s a list of some major sites that give folks an opportunity to explore their interests (and get paid, too):

  • Etsy.com – Etsy is a site that allows people to connect globally to buy and sell unique handmade goods. If you only make one certain type of item, but you make it different ways or in different colors, this is perfect! You can sign-up to join Etsy for free, but the drawback here is that each item listing costs $0.20 when the listing is published. A listing lasts for four months or until the item is sold. Once a sale occurs, they take a 3.5% transaction fee on the item’s sale price. The fees aren’t horrible, but they exist.
  • Upwork.com (Elance.com) – Elance is an online community of businesses and freelancers working together. A freelancer providing services on Elance will be able to work with clients all over the world. If you are good at writing, translating, marketing or researching, you might give them a try. They outsource these types of jobs and more for all kinds of companies – from small businesses to major corporations. They do, however, deduct an 8.75% service fee from all invoices submitted by freelancers.
  • SitterCity.com – Do you enjoy watching kids? You can sign up on Sitter City to be part of a community of babysitters, nannies, pet sitters, tutors, and senior care providers. You sign up, enter all of your information, the site performs a background check, and you’re set! People will post their jobs, and you can respond to them with your rates. This is probably best if you live in or near a major city.
  • Craigslist.org – For years, people have used Craigslist to find jobs, both temporary and permanent. List your services for hire or search through the site for side jobs that match your skill set. While you’re at it, you can always sell some of the stuff around your house that you just don’t need any more!
  • Fiverr.com – From narration and voice-over work to photography and Photoshopping, there are tons of services you can offer on this site for $5. It may not seem like a lot, but after you sell 4 or 5 to the same person, and they like what you do, you may be doing a lot more for them. A word of advice – if you’re doing work on Fiverr, build your money before withdrawing it. The company takes $1 for every withdrawl regardless of the amount. If you do 1 job, then withdraw the money, you’ll only get $4. Don’t forget the PayPal fees, too!

Don’t let your second job interfere with your first

You should avoid talking about your side job on your main job. This is one of the most important things you need to remember if you’re still working a full time job. Don’t let one interfere with the other. You may even need to get clearance before starting a particular side job to make sure there isn’t a conflict of interests. When you get up and running at your side gig, don’t talk about it at your “regular job” – you don’t want your boss to think it’s taking away from your focus at work.

Track Your Earnings

Keep in mind that any money you earn has to be reported to Uncle Sam. Be sure you keep any checks or cash that you receive in a separate folder to refer to during tax season. We always make copies of any checks that people may write to us, and we print out all of our PayPal statements monthly. Additionally, save all of your receipts for purchases made to help assist you in your side job. Things like a computer, camera, stationery, baking utensils, and even the gas you put in your car to meet with a client may help reduce your total taxable income when the IRS comes a-knockin’. Be responsible!

Earning Supplemental Income can be fun and easy

Whatever you choose to pursue on the side should be something you enjoy. If it’s something you hate doing, you will likely find every reason in the world to not do the job. Find something you like and earning supplemental income will be much easier on you (and those around you).

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