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19 Off-Grid Small Business Ideas


19 Cottage Industries to help you make money off the grid!

Going off the grid has been on my mind for awhile now. However, one of the roadblocks to going off the grid is the problem of making enough cash/money to pay your taxes, purchase items that you can't get off the grid or just having some cash for a rainy day. Now, since I am a woman, this problem is all the more acute, there is only so much I can do. So after much thought, sleepless nights, prayer and meditation I have come up with a pretty workable list. At least it's workable in my mind and that's all that matters to me. So without further delay here is a workable list of business ideas, methods and jobs for bringing in the cash while living large “Off the Grid”.


1. Spinning homemade yarn and knitted goods:

This is my newest adventure! Recently, I decided to take up knitting. When I made the trek to the nearest yarn shop I was very disappointed. The yarn they had was just your ordinary, ugly, skinny, bland yarn. I had visions in my head of wild, full, vibrant, crazy yarn. I knew I had seen it somewhere but it definitely was NOT in this yarn store. When I asked the clerk about it she didn't seem to know what I was talking about. So I picked up some half-ways decent yarn (because that was all I could find) and started looking online for the yarn of my dreams. Well I found it! It was homemade, homespun yarn that I had seen and it was AWESOME! I had found a new hobby and with a little luck maybe even a new job! Not only is homespun yarn more beautiful than the ugly stuff you get in the stores but it is so much fun to make and really quite addictive. Immediately I started thinking about how I could purchase my own goats and sheep to supply my new endeavor!

2. Selling Organic Fruits, Nuts and Vegetables:

This is a given if you are living off the grid. When I had my boarding house in Portland, Oregon I had two apple trees. One I never had to do anything to and it provided the most wonderful, the most perfect apples I've ever had. The other was so awful that had I not moved I would have cut down that tree. So, the lesson here is plant things that grow easily in your area. That way you wont have to do anything to your trees but collect the fruit and prune them every once in a while. Of course there is a bit more work to growing vegetables but the lesson still applies: plant things that grow in your area. It will cut down on the amount of work and you can get by with little or no pesticides. Eat from your farm, can some things and sell the rest.


3. Freelance Writing:

Well, anyone who has had any experience at all with freelance writing knows that they will never get rich doing this. However, having said that, you don't need to make a lot of money when you are living off the what you do make stretches further than if you were living somewhere else with real bills. So, freelance writing can contribute to your income and with a little effort might mean the difference between making a tax payment or going into foreclosure. Besides all that, it's fun!

4. Raising and Selling Animals:

Look, you have all that land so you might as well make good use of it! Breeding animals can also be a wonderful experience and a lucrative small business. I have a friend who bred seeing eye dogs for the blind, she did this for many years and found it very fulfilling. There are all kinds of animals that you can breed and sell, farm animals, seeing-eye dogs, police dogs, if you like certain breeds you can breed them or you can even venture out into birds. If you already have farm animals you might as well breed them and sell the off-spring. And while were on that topic you might as well milk the cows or sheep and sell the cheese too! Raw milk is delicious and becoming quite the rage. I drink raw milk and I will NEVER go back to drinking swill milk again. Each state is different but to "sell" raw milk you might have to sell cow-shares which is just a legal machination in order to make it legal. The upside is that you don't have to be licensed by the state in most states (again check your state). Selling raw milk is actually cheaper and easier than selling the crap you buy in the stores. Now, I can hear some of you saying that you don't have the space to raise and sell animals, well have you ever thought about raising rabbits? Rabbits can be raised even inside a building, they are quiet and the breed..well like rabbits! Also, let's not forget about fish, if you have a decent sized pond you can raise catfish, tilapia or trout. And even without a pond you can build an aqua-ponics greenhouse and have as many fish as you want! Another idea was put out there by fellow hubber Billybuc and that is raising and either eating or selling quail. Quail are quite delicious, they are quiet so you could have them even in a city and they are ready to be... umm dispatched... is the word, in 5 weeks. I have included a link to his article about raising quail below. There are so many possibilities here that I couldn't possibly address them all.

Raising Rabbits for Profit


5. Selling Eggs:

Depending on how many chickens you have selling eggs can be an industry all it's own, especially if they are free range organic eggs. Most chickens lay one egg a day, at around $3.00 a dozen, it's possible to make some extra cash just selling eggs, if you don't want to go full hog (or chicken) then you can just sell eggs to your neighbors to make a little here and there.

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6. Daycare:

This may or may not work depending on how far out you are. However, if you already have children of your own why not add a few more and make some extra money. Children love farms and two or three more at minimum wage could bring in an easy thousand a month or more. This is a great small business if you have connections through a farm club or church.

7. Making and selling solar ovens and dehydrators:

Solar ovens and dehydrators are pretty easy to's not like building a house or something! I included this because even I could make a solar oven or dehydrator and they are such neat contraptions. They can be as artistically designed as you like, easy to build and practical since they use no electricity and provide a useful service. Advertise in the local paper and see who gives you a call.

Seeds used to be used as money & may well again

8. Selling Heirloom Seeds and Plants:

With all the GMO frankenfoods out there this industry is making quite a splash. Anyone who knows anything about all the crap in the grocery store wants to start growing their own food. Since you already have the seeds and plants why not harvest extra and sell them from your farm? It's very easy to do and costs little to nothing since you already have the plants.

9. Selling Fertilizer:

I read once that some guy started a small business selling chicken manure and made over $500,000 a year doing so. If he can do it we can do it! You have the animals, all you have to do is advertise, maybe you or I won't make $500,000 a year but really do you need that much?

10. Starting an “Off-Grid” School:

This is something I've been knocking around in my brain for sometime now. The old ways of spinning, cooking on a wood-stove, chopping wood, building cob houses, making maple syrup from ...MAPLE TREES, has been lost. We go to the store and we buy what we need, never thinking about where it comes from or what's in it. I think a small business school like this that teaches people how to survive off the grid and independently would really make it. Of course, with this idea you would have to have a good sized area and facilities to house your students and teachers. But, I think it would work and it has the potential to bring in quite a bit of money.

11. B&B:

I read somewhere that ENTP's (Meyer's Briggs personality tests), of which I am, create their own world and then charge people rent. Well if that doesn't describe me I don't know what does. For over 10 years I ran a boarding house in Portland, Oregon. It was a lot of fun and it paid my mortgage. I would think that there would be a lot of people who might be interested in spending the weekend at your “Off-Grid” farm. I know I would! So why not build a home that is large enough for guests and put out the shingle! It's quite a wonderful experience to meet people from all over the world and the money would be more than enough for your needs.


12. Cultivating Bees and Selling Honey:

This could be done in a yard, you wouldn't even need an acre and I don't know if you've noticed but the price of honey has skyrocketed lately. You can also use the beeswax for your candles!

13. Make Candles or Soap:

This is something you can do off the grid and most of the ingredients you can get on your land. You could also sell these items over the internet or you could even have a little “gift shop” along with the B&B.

14. Upholstering or Refinishing Furniture:

I personally know of one person who does this for a living out of his home (and you know who you are!). This is one field that you would have to live close to a city in order to drum up enough business.

15. How about making Art:

There are so many things around the farm that you can make art from. For example pressing flowers and framing them, paintings, how about taking old windows and making pictures from them. Etsy has all kinds of stuff like this, the only limit is your imagination!

16. Sell Firewood:

If you have access to a forest why not make your own firewood or lumber and sell it? You don't have to have a lumber mill all you have to have is a portable lumber mill. You could also make furniture if you are so inclined.

17. Maple Syrup!

If you have maple trees you could tap them and make your own syrup. Have you seen the price of maple syrup lately?

18. Bamboo:

You can do a myriad of things with bamboo. Here is an article I wrote:

50 Things to Do with Bamboo:

19. Or...All of the above! :)

Finally, I don't think that is is completely unfeasible to do or at least to try all of the above mentioned ways to make money. Some areas might be more to your liking than others but hey you'll never know until you try them and just think of all the fun you'll have giving it a whirl!


As a people we must start thinking for ourselves, we must stop depending on government to house us, give us jobs, provide food, energy and water. As Americans we have a heritage of independence but I'm afraid we have lost our way and have become dependent upon the state. I read a story awhile back in the book “The Creature from Jekyll Island”. It goes something like this: There was a farmer who noticed a lot of ducks on his farm and hungered for a duck dinner. But, every time he tried to catch one of the ducks they flew away. Finally he got smart and started leaving bits of food around. The ducks started eating the free food and therefore started becoming fat. The farmer started trailing the food to an area with a trap door and eventually the ducks became so tame that they just followed the food right into the trap. So the farmer was able to have a duck dinner anytime he wanted.

We have to learn from this lesson that cheap energy, free food or housing that is given by or supplemented by the state can be taken by the state. To really be free we have to strive, innovate, create, and just say NO to the trail of crumbs that leads to the trap. Living Off-Grid, having your own small business and being independent is the way to avoid becoming someone's duck dinner!


Homemade Solar Dehydrator


Edie on July 12, 2016:

We have buy and sell Etsy craft supply businesses. As long as you have access to a post office and can get internet, this is a great business! We currently live in a small town, but we are looking at buying land and building off grid. Looking into solar and generators for electricity, internet options, and how far to the post office! It could be a great life! Hubby is looking for ways to "retire" early. :)

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 30, 2015:

Thanks M L Morgan!

M L Morgan on July 30, 2015:

What a fantastic hub! I have shared it on the UK off-grid FB group :)

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on February 22, 2015:

You're welcome "Jeannieinabottle", thanks for commenting.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on February 22, 2015:

These are all good ideas. It would nice not to rely on someone else for my paycheck. Thanks for the suggestions!

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on January 02, 2015:

Thanks Kenneth..the same to you and yours.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on January 02, 2015:

Hi, Brie,

Just wanted to wish You and Yours a "Very Happy New Year and All Good Things Coming to You."


Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on January 02, 2015:

Good suggestion "GetitScene"!

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on January 02, 2015:

VERY cool hub. But you forgot Handyman. I live on a boat, as far off the grid as a person can get and that's what I do for income.

ooo piza on November 16, 2014:

there are many ways of getting money eg selling food

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on September 13, 2014:

Dear Brie,

Firstly, I am sorry for not responding sooner. Inbox means Email on our Profile Pages at mid-way toward the bottom in bold type it will say to your right Fan Mail. Click it and you will see in blue,

"Send Kenneth Avery an email" and simply click on that and fill out the form and desipher the text and hit Send Mail.

Again. I am sorry for being so late.

Barbara Badder from USA on September 11, 2014:

I know. Awful stuff to work with.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on September 11, 2014:

Yep, there's a lot of money in that ahem..stuff!

Barbara Badder from USA on September 11, 2014:

You have some interesting ideas here. I remember a thing on the news one night several years ago about 2 boys that were selling horse manure. The horse stables loved them taking it away. Together they had earned over a million dollars and the IRS was after them. They were only 14 or something. So that is a good one.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on September 06, 2014:

Thank you..I've definitely been called worse ;)

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 06, 2014:

You are an out of the biz thinker, and I like it! Great list of creative ideas.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 25, 2014:

Thanks "PegCole17", I'm just an out of the box kinda person ;).

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on August 25, 2014:

These are some really creative ideas for self sufficiency, Brie. I believe I may have tried a few of these over the years, like raising birds, for instance. You're really thinking outside of the box with the spinning your own yarn idea.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 24, 2014:

Thanks for the tip "Country-Sunshine", although I am not sure I could get into worm..but hey that's just me!

Country Sunshine from Texas on August 24, 2014:

Good ideas! I have 35 chickens, and have no problem selling the eggs. Another idea is to raise & sell fishing worms. It's easy to do, and like chickens, they'll eat just about anything!

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 22, 2014:

Thanks "ologinquito" and thanks for stopping by.

ologsinquito from USA on August 22, 2014:

Hi Brie, these are all great ideas. I especially like the one about selling organic fruits and vegetables. There will always be good demand.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 18, 2014:

Me too, spinning is so much fun. Thanks for commenting Audrey.

Audrey Howitt from California on August 18, 2014:

Oh I love knitting and spinning! Just thinking now about buying a used spinning machine!

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 08, 2014:

Thanks, "NanaPhyllis", glad you liked it.

NanaPhyllis on August 08, 2014:

Fabulous article, full of good ideas, voted up and shared!

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 04, 2014:

LOL, I'm too old to be a hipster I guess!

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on August 03, 2014:

Dear Brie,

Just what you did--email. I should have said email, but most hipsters say inbox. LOL.


Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 03, 2014:

Thanks Kenneth..what does inbox mean?

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on August 03, 2014:

Dear Brie,

Nice hub. Very good writing. Excellent to be frank. Voted up and away on this. I am always looking for new ways to make extra cash. And you have named some that I can do.

If you will inbox me . . .I will share another one with you that another hubber emailed to me and it looks great.

Keep up the fine work.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 29, 2014:

Thanks Rebecca, good luck to you.

Rebecca Sutton from Rock Hill, SC on July 29, 2014:

Great hub with great ideas. I love the freelance idea. I am looking into that right now while I am in school to get some income. I'm writing anyway lol. I also LOVE the one for beekeeping. Also something else I would like to explore. I wasn't even thinking about money, I just want to save te darn bees!

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 28, 2014:'s starting to really take off, people are sick of eating frankenfood!

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on July 28, 2014:

I love the idea of living off the grid. I have 3 pet chickens but have never sold their eggs (I give them away to neighbors and friends). But I have heard of people getting $5 a dozen for theirs!

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 19, 2014:

You could definitely do these things on your farm, Rachel!

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania to Minnesota on July 19, 2014:

Hey, I love this hub! I'm not off the grid, but what a goal. I sold soap for a while and it was nice to make the extra cash here and there. The solar oven, that's something I have to try. I like your conclusion - why not try it all? Take care :)

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 18, 2014:

Thanks for stopping by "Austinstar"

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on July 18, 2014:

I have tried some of these. The best one for me is HubPages and Bubblews. But I also paint and make dream catchers for sale on my Etsy store. Thanks for the great ideas!

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 16, 2014:

Thanks, let me know if you make one.

suziecat7 from Asheville, NC on July 16, 2014:

Great Hub with some unusual ideas. You've piqued my interest with the solar ovens.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 15, 2014:

Awesome..what state do you live in?

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 15, 2014:

Great list. We actually do four of these already. We get $5 per dozen eggs, and we have a waiting list. The quail you know about...we sell veggies and berries....busy months for an urban farmer. :) And oh, yes, I write full-time. :)

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 13, 2014:

Thank you so much Mekenzie!

Susan Ream from Michigan on July 13, 2014:

Brie, What a wonderful compilation of money making off the grid ventures. You've got my creative juices flowing.

Only questions is which one. Thanks for a GREAT and useful article. Shared HP and Shared on my FB writers page (found on my profile) and Up +++


Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 13, 2014:

Thanks "Faith Reaper", you might like some of my other articles about off-grid living as well.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on July 13, 2014:

Useful hub here full of great ideas to live off-grid! While back I was thinking of making soaps and candles, but you have provided many more ideas that are doable for sure.

The more self-sufficient we become the better, especially now!

Voted up +++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing (This one needs another round out there)


Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 10, 2014:

I've made and sold goats milk soap and all natural body butters. I am looking forward to trying more things soon.

And, I have recently started making more videos and of course I am still writing.

DREAM ON on July 10, 2014:

There are a lot of things we can do when we set our mind to it. I love your ideas. Which ones have worked best for you ? Growing the right flowers might be easier than vegetables and they start from seed. With the right time and effort the money can come rolling in. At least for the summer months. It is time we all gave it some thought how to live off the grid and be self sufficient.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on January 01, 2014:

Frank: You should be able to become a "fan" and then you will get articles as I publish them. Look at my profile or it used to be on the top(ish) right side.

Frank on January 01, 2014:

Brie, I love your hub but, I need advice on how to know about and access new articles as you publish them.



Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on June 27, 2013:

Ultimately living off the grid means independence/ means not owing anyone and therefore making my life my own.

jennifer west on June 27, 2013:

I really enjoyed your article . But what is living off grid to you? I in vision a nomadic life without electricity and a social security paper trail. I am "very do it yourself " so not sure if that is off grid but I would sincerely like to know what that refers to.Thanks!