How do you make a successful homestead? The answer may not be as difficult as you think, even if you have no experience with homesteading and are just getting started. Here are 5 steps you can begin today to get started homesteading, become a better homesteader, or even to expand your homesteading efforts.
Have you ever asked yourself:
- What is most profitable on a homestead?
- What are the challenges of homesteading?
- What skills do homesteaders need?
- How do you make a successful homestead?
The following steps are a brief summation of what I wish I knew before starting a homestead – they give one version of the answers to those questions above. These steps are broad and very basic but they will create a sure foundation for the continued growth of your successful homestead.
The self-sufficiency that comes with a homesteading lifestyle doesn’t happen by accident – it takes a great deal of planning, self-discipline, and effort.
Please Note: I did NOT say that successful homesteads are created with lots of money, people, or land. They CAN include those things, but successful homesteads are more about learning to work smarter and sometimes harder.
It’s more about lifestyle than it is about the size of your land or your pocketbook.
Make a Successful Homestead in 5 Steps
Obviously, there are an endless number of items, skills, people, and moving parts that go into the creation of a successful homestead. However, one of the things I wish I’d known before starting a homestead was that the process was a lot more simple than I had originally thought.
At first, I was under the impression that I needed:
- a lot of land
- canning equipment
- a root cellar
- large gardens
- and more!
Have you thought that, too, especially as you were starting out?
After 20+ years of living the homestead lifestyle, I can say from experience that ALL homesteads require the following five elements. Whether you’re starting from scratch or have been on your homestead for years, each suggestion made below is relevant to you.
Successful Homestead Step #1 – Study
Be an engaged and active homestead student! Immerse yourself in books, film, conferences, workshops, and more books. To do anything well requires effort and you need to resolve early to work hard for what you learn.
Know the basic elements of a functioning homestead and learn about each. This can be relative to where you live. For example, if you’re a small space homesteader, learn about:
- Container gardening, including growing herbs in pots
- Vermicomposting for small space livestock and compost
- Canning and dehydrating for food preservation
- Handicrafts like knitting, paper making, and candle making
All of these activities can be done on a scale that’s appropriate for your space. If the skills weren’t part of your family culture growing up, learn how to do them one by one to strengthen and expand your successful homestead.
Decide what homesteading will mean to you during this educational process. Not all homesteads look or operate the same. Pay the price to understand what you’re doing and to do it well.
We don’t have to be perfect in order to access the perfecting process of homesteading. We have challenges, weaknesses, and problems but we can improve our homesteading efforts and become more self sufficient through simple education.
You are a lifelong homesteading student!
Successful Homestead Step #2 – Community
The value of a supportive homesteading community can’t be overstated if you want to succeed!
There are a lot things pulling at your time, attention, and heart. Sometimes, it can feel impossible to incorporate homestead work into your already busy life.
You may also be afflicted with doubters, detractors, and people who otherwise seek to undermine your efforts to live a self-sufficient lifestyle. This is a common experience and not unique to you. Why?
Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe some people fear you succeeding where they assume they would fail. Maybe they’re miserable or lazy and would rather you joined them in their dilemmas instead of redesigning your life so that you can achieve abundance.
Some of those who love may have concerns about time, capital, or energy that you invest into activities they don’t understand or don’t see as being valuable.
Whatever the reason, do NOT spend your precious time and energy rehearsing your homesteading doubts with other doubters!
Build a homesteading community around you if one doesn’t already exist where you live!
For example, if there’s no seed saving group where you live, start one! If you don’t know about seed saving yet, concentrate on step one until you do. Then, move to step three to accomplish step two (the one you’re reading about right now).
Here are three articles that might help you get started right now:
As you engage in educational opportunities in your area, get to know people. Sit next to strangers in classes and talk about your shared interests until they become friends.
Join groups locally and online. Host events in your home for other homesteading students. Hang out with other homesteaders and DIY types wherever and whenever you can.
Allow your lifestyle to change and even your friends, if necessary. If your family is finding fault, expressing doubt, balking at the work, preach and “minister” to them. Market the successful homesteading lifestyle with enjoyable learning activities, abundant gardens, and great food.
Model the successful homesteading behavior you’d like to see and lead by example.
Sometimes, you’ll be sharing difficult times and hard losses together – this is also a reality of successful homesteads. You don’t really want to go anywhere without your family, so be patient during these rough times. Be a force and influence for good cheer and good works. Things will get better, especially if you can stick together.
Above all, believe in yourself and in your successful homestead plan!
Successful Homestead Step #3 – Act
Speaking of life getting hard, homesteading is difficult work – have you discovered that already? You’ve never in your life worked so hard just to eat a tomato or a fresh egg or fresh bacon!
Apart from the reality of hard work, there’s just the reality of the homesteading lifestyle.
Sometimes we have rather idyllic visions of how a homestead should look. Or even smell. When the reality turns out to be different, we can struggle to adjust our expectations. This can be paralyzing to our progress.
Whatever you do, do NOT stop moving forward along the successful homesteading path! Act, move, decide, plan, keep going, don’t give up!
Sometimes, you’re acting in complete faith – with a general feeling or idea that you’re on the right path but with no experience or without enough knowledge to be sure. Your belief is enough to begin!
You will manage whatever results from those experiences. I promise from my own experience that you will look back on those times and see that you actually learned more than you could have imagined. Sometimes more than from those experiences for which you spent long hours preparing and practicing!
It’s ok to not always know exactly what you’re doing every step of the way. If you’ve educated yourself, consulted your community, and are willing to get up and get started, you WILL have a successful homestead in the end.
Act in faith – move forward in spite of weakness, challenges, and even homesteading all by yourself. Begin small and persist. All journeys begin with the first step, the first mile, the first milestone.
Successful Homestead Step #4 – Enjoy This Lifestyle
No one enjoys working all the time, even those who have homesteading personality types that are very task-oriented. You have to rest, relax, and have some fun. This needs to be done consistently to be effective at maintaining a successful homestead.
Remember, if you’re struggling to convince your family that the homesteading lifestyle if worth your collective time and effort, you’re going to need to sell the idea just a bit. All successful business ventures spend a good amount of time on marketing their ideas.
Homestead marketing can include these celebratory and festival times on the homestead! To sell the idea of homestead holidays and celebrations:
- Make time to observe holidays and traditions, sacred times (like a sabbath day), and milestones (like birthdays), the family dinner hour.
- Model the idea of taking time for personal enjoyment and growth by observing your own quiet times of personal reflection.
- Explore the idea of hygge on the homestead.
- Invite friends, family, and your community to be part of everything you do on the homestead. Host a simple party!
Make your home and homestead a special place where people come to find peace, joy, and abundance. You especially want your own family to feel this way at home on the homestead!
Please Note: These are not simply nice things to do, they are vital. They are the reward of all the work. Do not neglect them.
Full disclosure: I feel so strongly about this topic that I wrote a whole book on the subject! See below for details or feel free to email me directly to ask any question you’d like.
Successful Homestead Step #5 – Ask
When we don’t know what to do, we ask. We don’t know what we don’t know but that’s no excuse to remain ignorant or powerless.
- the experience of others
- what you need
Don’t ever minimize what you already know and always share it freely, but keep asking and learning and taking notes and improving. For the spiritual among us, this will include praying to your Higher Power on a consistent basis.
I guess we end our list where we began it – Learning and Asking. Those are great bookends for a successful homestead!
Other things around you in culture, society, workplace, even family and community will fail, but your homestead can be a sure foundation – a rock.
Homesteading isn’t about a place; it’s a lifestyle and it can be done anywhere, anytime, with any group of people.
As you grow your abundance on the homestead you will be able to turn your current challenges into precious opportunities for growth and future success.
To create more cozy family times that bring you closer together, join our newsletter and download your copy of our Homestead Hygge Workbook. Hygge is the Danish concept of turning our homes into sanctuaries of light, love, and peace through simple homespun activities like natural crafts, wholesome recipes, and simple pleasures.
Successful Homestead Resources
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