Start with realistic goals. Where do you want to be or what is the purpose? Do you just want a little fresh produce, perhaps some meat or just eggs? Decide what you hope to accomplish by beginning. Realistically, very few people jump in full board and start farming. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been done before, it’s just not common. Keep in mind your time and finances. Do you want daily chores to begin. (This means vacations are harder.) Often we think of hobby farming as animals chores or visual gain. So often though, there are things neglected that can be done prior to this. For example, if you know eventually you will raise animals, but do not want to start there and perhaps you have a busy schedule, so a large garden is not an option, what about trees and bushes. It takes time for things to establish. When you first purchase your home and you have a vision, a lot can be started early with little care or maintenance. Rhubarb, asparagus, berry bushes and shrubs, vines/ brambles or even maple trees can be planted for future purposes. More long term gain and yield for the future. Perhaps a simple goal to slowly prepare your property for your vision.
Plan for Income. Every hobby needs to be funded. If you can find a way to start funding your hobby, it will begin to develop better and have more purpose. Success in the making, if you will. Start writing your agenda. Will you sell produce, animals, have a stand or go to market? Will you work your current job until you find other income and reduce expenses? If you haven’t thought about that, check out my post on 65+ Ways to Generate Income From Your Homestead HERE.
Keep your Expenses Low. Just like you wouldn’t purchase a high end bakery if you have never baked before, it isn’t the wisest to go out and make large or many small purchases without a plan or proper funding. If you have some areas of expertise, begin there. If you have already been baking or gardening, make or grow a bit extra to start building a revenue. Using your skills on different scales takes adjustment. We love to garden. Good food is beautiful. Even though we have been accustomed to growing a lot, it was different trying to plan for crops to ripen consecutively. So many factors with weather and market made the success rate different. Our first year was a major learning curb. Not only did we have a lot of extras to eat, but we could have put a sizable dent in the profits had we a bit more experience.
Embrace Simplicity. Enjoy the very little successes. This is probably my favorite thing about hobby farming or homesteading; to look for the joys in each success AND failure. It’s a learning curve that most want to succeed at! Be satisfied with every task accomplished and will to improve or take instruction for a better outcome. Don’t over think it. If you are planning to make breads, don’t make 500 choices at market, start with 3. Offer 2 that are always there (dependable) and the third a “treat” for your regular customers. When this becomes easy or successful, perhaps bump up to 5 choices total. This is why CSA’s can be difficult, you have so many choices you are depending on versus just growing zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes. (Largest sought after vegetables at market in most areas.) Start simple. Enjoy it. If it works and you are ready for the next challenge, GO FOR IT!!!
Have humor! LOL! Learn to laugh at your mistakes and be prepared to laugh if you might feel like crying. As you well know, not everything works for the best. Well, on a homestead or hobby farm it is still true. In fact, things are bound to go wrong at some point. Perhaps the animals get out. Perhaps your critter are the ones to ruin your garden or crops! Ora bad year and a complete loss of a crop. Chicken pooping on your front steps. Hen house troubles. Or ducks! (Hens never left us with troubles, but we laughed because ducks attracted EVERYTHING!- Fox, coyote, hawks, neighbor cats and dogs, etc.) Or even worse, the loss of your animals. Those “pets” you may not consider pets right now that make you mad or “don’t listen”. Humor is a good thing. It allows you to roll with whatever is thrown your way. (To the best of your ability.)