Note: This article is being republished with permission from Outdoor Happens
If you are anything like me, the word “career” will make you shudder!
The main allure of creating an off-grid life was ditching the “9 til 5” office job, but that does not mean we don’t need money. We can grow, make, barter, and swap most things, but occasionally cold hard cash is required.
So, most of us living off-grid do need a career!
But this is not a career in the traditional sense – living off-grid means you really get that feeling that you are working for yourself.
You see the benefit and potential of every cent earned, and the frugal lifestyle means you shouldn’t need to be tied down to a full-time job.
Let’s look at how people make money when they live off-grid!
Best Careers for Living Off the Grid
1. Become a Media Star
It does sometimes feel like everyone seeking an alternative lifestyle starts a blog, vlog, or podcast, but there is a good reason for this – it is a great way to make money from something you love!
The public appetite for social media content focused on off-grid living is ever-increasing, and many off-gridders successfully make a career from producing videos and social media content.
By building a large audience you can generate income from advertising networks and affiliate links. A strong social media presence can also help to boost the profile of your own business or products.
The best way to get started on your social media career is to look at other popular content to see what people enjoy.
Think about what your unique selling point is – what would appeal to others about your lifestyle?
Here are the most popular social media careers for off-gridders:
- Host a YouTube channel or podcast series – these tend to be popular with audiences who still live a “normal” lifestyle. Your video content will provide some escapism for people who enjoy viewing the off-grid life from their comfortable homes. Have you heard of A Beautiful Mess, the wildly popular lifestyle blog? They offer amazing courses including Launching a Podcast and Start Small Dream Big.
- Start a blog – popular with both on- and off-gridders, your blog can be educational, entertaining, informative, or all three! Check out The Modern Homestead’s “Make Money Blogging at Any Level” and A Beautiful Mess’ “Blogging Essentials” for amazing courses that launch you into the world of blogging for profit!
- Social media – it is not as easy to make money from social media such as Facebook and Instagram, but they are a great way to raise the profile of your off-grid life. This can be helpful if you want to start selling products, experiences, or skills, as you’ve got a ready-made market! Check out “Elevate Your Instagram” by A Beautiful Mess – these girls have 677,000 followers so they know what they’re talking about!
We are relatively new to social media in our off-grid life, but we had an exciting/surreal experience recently when we rehomed a rooster from a lovely couple who turned out to be YouTube superstars.
They gave us a little mention and our Instagram followers nearly tripled overnight!
2. Paid Jobs for Off-Gridders
There are many jobs out there suited for off-gridders, and the joy of a paid position is that you don’t have the pressure of running your own business.
On the downside, you may be restricted to the hours your employer requires, so it is not always as flexible.
Living off the grid gives you a unique skill set that many employers find attractive.
Off-gridders tend to be resilient, adaptable, and hardworking people who can turn their hands to anything!
These are some great examples of jobs that may be suited to off-gridders:
- Park ranger
- Trekking guide
- Campsite support staff
- Rafting guide
- Forestry work
3. Share Your Off-Grid Knowledge and Skills
Whether you have been living off the grid for years or are just starting out, we have all got skills and knowledge to share.
Most off-gridders share this knowledge freely with each other, but if you need to bring in some cash then teaching your off-grid homesteading skills to other people can be a great way to do this.
- Sell your original patterns for your handicrafts, such as knitting, crocheting, or quilting.
- Run workshops on animal husbandry, gardening, or crafting.
- Teach classes on homesteading skills such as making candles, soaps, or preserves.
- Write and self-publish a book or eBook to share your expertise. Learn how to write and pitch a book proposal!
- Collaborate with other homesteaders and off-gridders to run courses, training days, or even a small homesteading festival.
4. Sell, Sell, Sell!
The off-grid community is great at swapping, trading, and bartering produce – there is no better feeling than swapping your excess produce for something you need.
However, swaps don’t bring in cash, and most hardware stores don’t accept eggs as payment!
Off-gridders can sell their products in a range of different ways – the simplest of these is a stall with an “honesty box” system at the farm gate.
Local farmer’s markets are a useful outlet and selling through social media is also effective.
Box schemes are increasing in popularity, and you may be able to collaborate with other local homesteaders to create an amazing box of locally grown produce.
Sell Your Excess Produce
The easiest option is to sell your produce “as it comes” – without any processing or fancy packaging. The best things to start with are eggs, honey, fruit, and vegetables.
The only problem with selling fresh produce is that many other homesteaders will have a glut of eggs/apples/beans at the same time as you, so try growing unusual or heirloom varieties to beat the competition.
One homesteader near us has a great system for selling his vegetables – rather than pricing each item individually, he charges a flat rate per kilo of veg.
His customers fill a cardboard box with produce from the farm and he weighs it when they’ve finished. Nice and simple!
If you want to diversify, then selling excess seedlings, plants, and firewood can also be an easy way to bring in some money.
To save time, taking plant cuttings can give you a sturdy, healthy plant ready to sell in no time!
Add Value to Your Produce
If you have got time on your hands, then processing your produce to create a more valuable product is the way to go. These types of products sell well at farmer’s markets and can be used to add value to vegetable box schemes.
Products such as goat’s milk soap are increasing in popularity, and if you’ve got a lot of herbs try making dried teas or ointments (like Nicky’s Comfrey Ointment) to sell.
Learn to craft and sell your herbal medicine with The Herbal Academy’s X. For a preview, have a look at their free Becoming an Herbalist course!
Sell Your Creations
Have you got a crafty flair?
Homemade handcrafts always sell well, particularly at fairs and markets. You can also sell online through outlets such as Etsy.
Making seasonal decorations and gifts is a fun way to bring in some extra money, and the best thing is that you can often turn things lying around your homestead into something beautiful!
People also love personalized gifts, like these great chicken coop signs.
5. Start a Business
Running your own business might sound daunting, but it can be remarkably simple.
The hard part can be figuring out what you have got to offer – this may be time, experience, facilities, or produce.
You don’t necessarily need a large investment to set up your own off-grid business either – start small and see what happens!
If you’re into fitness, why not run yoga classes or start a personal training business! Learn photography and offer your services as a photographer, or start a backyard beekeeping business.
6. Animal Husbandry and Breeding
Look for something different or special you can offer – this might be a certain breed, or you could send your baby animals to their new home with a care package to help first-time owners.
Look into ways to help other animal owners – you could offer dog walking services or set up a boarding kennel or cattery.
Other homesteaders might also need a hand with their livestock from time to time – a farm-sitting service might be just what they’re looking for!
7. Utilize Your Spare Space
One thing that many off-grid homesteads have in common is lots of space!
Have a look around your plot to see if you can find a use for that neglected corner you always forget about.
Growing and selling Christmas trees is an easy way to use your spare land. Bamboo is one of the fastest plants you can grow for an income.
Spare buildings and secure areas can be rented out for storage.
If you are near a busy road or highway then approach advertising agencies to rent out sign space.
8. Bring in Visitors
Many people want to experience the off-grid life, so why not open up your lovely plot of land to them?
You could host events on your land such as wedding receptions and birthday parties.
Opening a small campsite is also a great way to bring in extra money, and if you can get permission for small cabins or yurts then you can offer “glamping” packages as well.
9. Online Jobs
Working online is the favorite choice of many homesteaders and off-gridders. Many online jobs give you the flexibility and freedom to pick and choose your hours of work.
I do about 20 hours per week working online, but I can do this when I want – normally on a rainy day when I would rather be inside anyway!
Here are my top picks for online jobs for off-gridders and homesteaders.
OK, I admit I put this first because this is what I do – I get paid to write articles and blogs on topics that I am passionate about!
Whatever your passion or niche, there will be someone out there who wants you to write about it.
This is another popular choice with off-gridders, and an easy job to get into.
There is a huge demand for people to teach English online to students in other countries. Companies who run these courses normally provide all the teaching materials you need, and off you go!
In this digital age, the popularity of virtual assistants is on the rise.
A virtual assistant helps with administrative tasks for companies and business people, such as processing incoming emails, managing social media, and marketing.
Create an Online Course
Have you got skills or knowledge you wish to share?
Creating an online course is not as difficult as you may think!
eLearning has massively increased in popularity in recent years and course providers are looking for skilled professionals to assist with creating course content.
Become a Programmer
Programming skills are becoming more and more in-demand as the world is moving online.
If you have a knack for computers, you can learn to program from home and make a great income helping people with their websites, or even programming your own app!
Courses like Job Ready Programmer are run completely online and you can learn at your own pace:
Don’t Ditch Your Old Career Just Because You’re Going Off the Grid
You might think that you have left your old career behind you, but do not write this valuable experience off completely – could you use it to bring in some money?
10. Consultancy work
Many off-gridders generate income by working as consultants based on their previous careers.
In my former life, I was a veterinary nurse and I occasionally do some online consultancy work for educational centers and veterinary corporations.
It is great being able to utilize my skills and knowledge, whilst having the freedom to pick and choose which projects to take on!
Depending on your former career, can you bring in some extra cash by writing about it?
Use your knowledge to write materials for trade and industry magazines and websites, educational establishments, and business websites.
12. Keep Your Old Job
Now, don’t run screaming from this idea!
You might think that returning to your old career is the last thing you would want to do, but there is a big difference between working full time and just picking up a few hours a week to pay the bills.
The joy of living off the grid means having lower bills and overheads, so one or two shifts a week may be all that is needed to keep the finances healthy.
A Word of Caution
It is important to check that you are complying with any local regulations and laws before starting a business or selling your produce.
Make sure that you have insurance or legal cover in case of accidents or problems.
Also, see what other people are doing or selling locally – your eggs will not sell well if your neighbors sell them cheaper!
Speaking from experience, having a career while living off the grid is not necessarily a bad thing. I certainly enjoy my work a lot more now that it feels like a choice rather than a necessity.
It also means that we don’t need to break into a sweat when a vital piece of machinery needs repairing, or the car breaks down!
I hope you are feeling inspired by the many ways to make money and have a career while living off the grid!
Do you have any great ideas for off-grid careers? If so, we would love to hear them!