It's yesterday's hippies that are spending the most on specialty items these days.
I like this thread, because there are a lot of people who want to build a self-sustaining life on their farm, minimizing full-time job obligations that restrict your ability to work on the stuff you really want to do. Which is kind of the point of this whole website and forum, really.
So many complementary farmstead or small biz projects can also open up complementary markets. Sure, Frank, I can also make $3000.00 per gig, with one or two gigs a week, off-site. (And no, I'm not a high-priced hooker
). I love what I do. But I'd rather make a bit less and do a variety of things.
So in five years, here's what I hope to have going:
A few select jobs in my current field
Operating a manageable number of hives, selling refined and unrefined wax, honey, nucs and splits. Maybe some value-added wax products. Removing swarms.
Direct sales of dimensional and rough-hewn lumber (very small scale)
Running a couple goat teams on other people's property, perhaps getting a few muni/state contracts. (will need to hire out).
Selling goat meat, skins (to hippie drummers), dairy, cheese, kefir, soap.
Selling pet/pack wethers, breeding stock.
Selling sheep fibers, lamb, breeding stock.
Extracting honey for small-scale hobbyists and producers, renting hives to nearby farms and gardeners.
Building custom woodenware and frames for beekeepers (maybe).
Raising mosquito-eating fish in rain barrels. They're gonna be there anyway and they breed like mad, might as well sell them.
Selling cattails, pussywillows and a few other specialty cut plants that. Bamboo, too. Huge demand for that.
Selling eggs, poultry, pullets (good market in Portland)
High-grade, small batch, boutique worm-poop fertilizer. I swear I could sell this stuff for a pretty penny with the right marketing.
Possibly selling specialty chicken feathers for fly-tyers. Or getting back to tying flies and selling them, but as incorporated into artsy fartsy stuff.
Custom raised pork, and/or feeder pigs.
Chanterelles and Oregon truffles to a few cateters I know.
Meat rabbits for human or pet consumption.
Dyed rabbit pelts turned into cat beds. (Did I mention that two high-end dog boutiques opened in my neighborhood? They're giving Starbucks a run for their money.)
Blackberry jam, blackberries, blueberries, lingonberries.
Apple butter. Heirloom apples, pears, persimmons.
Goat milk/honey/beeswax beauty products.
And if I get good at my tractor, I can do some odd jobs with that. If any of the guys in the area will hire a lady. (I know Pre would, if he were here! 8) )
And yeah, if I ever got my dream boat--a fishing guide on the Columbia. Buoy 10! But that would just end up with me, my friends, beer and no fish.
What else. Oh, yeah, custom burn barrels and candle cans.
Tilework and custom mosaics.
Photo restoration, digital archiving for families and estates.
Bonded Hobby Farm Sitter (growing market for that around here).
Ideas not so suited for me:
Snow plowing (flat fee per season)
Meal Preparer. (Contract to prepare a week's worth of dinners for a family or busy couple/individual. Either cook at their house, or rent a commercial kitchen. I have a friend who got herself through college this way.)
Livestock AI technician
Small livestock consultant (for beginning hobby farmers/homesteaders)--good biz during freshening, disbudding, castrating, breeding, vaccination, etc. seasons, often cheaper than a vet and sometimes more help than a forum in case of an emergency.
Basic computer repair, training, networking.
Estate sales (glorified yard sales) including cataloging, promoting and facilitating.
Snow chain service on passes (yay for tourists and overconfidence in SUVs!) I've been offered $50s for helping people chain up. All you need are Carhardts, a thermos of hot coffee, handwarmers, a multi-tool, sign, tarp and a warm car.
The trick is to find unique markets for what you do. I just learned that clubs that do Scottish things, like run around in kilts playing bagpipes while throwing rocks at each other, pay a premium for beewax for the reeds on their pipes.
And archers use beeswax for their strings.