31 Ways to Make Money in Rural Areas (With Low Start Up Costs)

make extra moneyI’ve not talked a lot about making extra money here on MDCreekmore.com yet but it really should be addressed more often and I intend to start doing just that starting with this article.

One of the first things you’ll notice after moving to the country is that most rural towns and counties suffer from a lack of jobs and the jobs that are available locally are usually low-paying dead-end endeavors and even those can be difficult to get because most are held by folks with family ties and a deep history in the area.

And who wants to move to out to the country to their own homestead and then have to get up and go to work at a job six days a week? Trust me it’s nearly impossible to operate a productive homestead and work a full-time job at the same time.

It can be done, but usually, this is accomplished by a husband and wife team where one works away from the homestead at a job while the other stays at and manages the homestead.

It’s far better to combine earning money and homesteading into one endeavor if possible. And the way to do that is to be self-employed via your own home business.

As you read below you’ll notice that not all of the businesses listed can be done exclusively from home, however, they can be run from a home office and you can make your own hours which will allow you to work on the homestead when needed and to go out and work for cash when needed. Being self-employed is flexible that way.

And one more thing to keep in mind before we get started is that you don’t have to limit yourself to just one of the ideas below you can choose and do several all at the same time, for example, you could do woodworking, sell crafts online, sell your extra produce and eggs, as well as freelance writing or blogging.

Don’t limit yourself or your earning choose and diversify your earnings for the best results.

I’m hoping that the ideas given in this article will help you make enough extra money so that you can stay on your homestead, pay off your bills, save to buy your homestead property or even take a vacation or whatever that you feel is the most important to you.

Okay, so here we go… in no particular order… also, please note that some of the businesses mentioned below might require special permits, licenses, and or permits. Always check federal as well as your local and state laws to be sure what you need to avoid legal trouble.

1. Start a blog 

Publishing a blog is how I currently make a living, however, the downside to starting, running, and ultimately making money from blogging is that there is a huge learning curve. For the first three or four years, I didn’t make anything at all but I kept at it because it wasn’t about the money.

My focus was and still is on helping people but I now make a few thousand dollars each month doing it. I won’t go into all of the details here but I wrote an article about how to start a blog that you can check out if you’re interested in giving blogging a try.

2. Woodworking 

This is a side job that I started doing way back when I was in my late teens and still do it some but not as often as I did a few years ago. Mostly I’d make porch swings, birdhouses, picnic tables, dog houses, etc. To sell my works I’d place ads in the local newspaper, set up and display my stuff beside the road, and once a week I’d load up and haul the stuff I built to the local flea market where I’d set up and sale.

If you’re interested in doing this there are countless books and woodworking plans that will help you get started.

3. Answer surveys

Yeah, it sounds like a scam, you know the “too good to be true” type thing, but the truth is that you can get paid to answer surveys and to test products – you just have to know where to look. While I’ve not personally done this my girlfriend does and the following are the companies that she suggested that I include here – GoldOpinions.com and Paid surveys at home.

4. Groom and or Train Dogs

If you love dogs then this might be the perfect choice for you. If you don’t know anything about training a dog then you can learn – there are plenty of books and online courses that will help you learn how to do this. There is even a Dog Grooming For Dummies book available.

5. Babysit Children

This one can be a money-maker and might be perfect for you if you like taking care of children. However, you’ll most likely need some good references from previous babysitting jobs if potential employers don’t already know and trust you. In most locations, $8 to $10 per hour is a reasonable hourly rate. Click here for “The Babysitter’s Survival Guide: Fun Games, Cool Crafts, Safety Tips, and More!“.

6. Be A Handyman 

I used to work as a handyman and did all sorts of “odd jobs” for people. All you need is a pickup truck and some basic tools and skills to use them. The truck is mostly needed to haul off junk and stuff when that’s part of the job description. I’ve pained, racked leaves, worked in gardens, dug ditches, cleaned out dog lots, cleaned out barns, and chicken houses, cleared fence lines etc. I found this book on Amazon about running a handyman business but I’ve not read it so I can’t say how useful it would be.

7. Clean Homes

This is another good opportunity for earning extra cash that doesn’t require a huge cash outlay to get started. All you need is a way to get to the job site, some cleaning supplies and a willingness to work. The best advertising is word of mouth, do a good job and word will spread quickly and you’ll soon have more work than you can handle. If you’re interested in this then I suggest that you start by reading this book “How to Start Your Own House Cleaning Company“.

8. Moving Service 

If you have a strong back and a truck (you can rent one if you don’t have one of your own) then you can make extra cash by moving people’s belongings from one location to another. This side job works best if you live in a semi-urban area, however, there are usually customers to be found in rural areas as well.

9. Take Photos

If you have the skills and equipment needed then you can make extra cash by taking and selling photos. You can get jobs taking photos at weddings, family reunions, birthdays and other such events. You can also sell photos to print magazines and even to some online photo outlets such as Shutterstock and Bigstock.

Even though I haven’t done this myself (yet) I do like taking photos and need a better camera so I did some research and now have this one on my Amazon Wishlist Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera… what do you think?

10. Wash and Detail Cars

 I know two brothers who do this. They simply set up at a local car wash with a sign offering to wash and detail cars and trucks and they stay covered up with customers during the summer months. No real skill is needed and the only upfront costs are some auto detailing supplies. My guess is that they make several hundred dollars a day doing this.

12. Teach a Skill

If you’re good at something then there is probably someone who out there who would pay you to teach them so that they can be good at that something too. Are you good at sewing, cooking, automaniacs, taxidermy, martial arts, gardening, etc.?

If you have a skill then you can probably make extra money or even a full-time income by teaching others that skill.

12. Grow and Sell Fresh Produce

If you have extra garden space on your homestead then you can make extra money by growing a surplus of vegetables in that space and selling the extra produce. Granted you’re not going to get rich by selling your extra garden produce, however, it’s a good way to make a few hundred dollars after harvest.

You can sell from your homestead, a roadside stand, or set up at a local flea market. Sweet corn, tomatoes, and green beans are usually top sellers.

13. Sell Eggs

If you have chickens then you probably have extra eggs and you can turn those extra eggs into extra cash. Several folks in my area have homemade signs up in front of their homes that read “Fresh Eggs $2.50 A Dozen” or similar.

Sure, they aren’t getting rich selling their extra chicken eggs but it is a good way to make a few extra dollars without any extra work.

14. Pick and Sell Blackberries

I picked and sold blackberries when I was a teenager. In season blackberries grow everywhere around here, beside the road, in the fields, at old abandoned homesites, etc.  All you need is a basket or bucket and time to pick.

It’s best to have an order with a buyer before you start picking. Most of your buyers will be older folks who want the berries to make home-canned jelly and jam.

15. Dig or Grow Ginseng and Other Roots 

Digging ginseng is something else that I did as a teenager and young adult to earn extra money and often made several thousand dollars a year doing it. Prices vary from year to year, and during a good year when prices are up, you can make several thousand dollars in a couple of months digging ginseng and other roots and even more can be earned by growing it.

A good book to find out more about this is “Ginseng: How to Find, Grow, and Use North America’s Forest Gold” as well as “Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and other Woodland Medicinals“.

16. Pest Control

If you’re good at trapping and removing pests around your home then you might be able to make extra money doing that for others as well. Squirrels in the attic snakes in the basement, hornets building a nest in the barn, snapping turtles in the farm pond, etc.

These things need to be taken care of quickly and safely and if you’re good at it then people will pay you to do it for them. Think “Call of The Wildman“.

17. Cut and Sell Firewood

This one is something else that I’ve done to make extra money. It’s a lot of work, and it’s dangerous, and you need a good truck, chainsaw, and safety gear, however, if you can get past those hurdles then you can make some good money in the fall and winter months cutting and selling firewood.

I found that the best place to find trees to cut into firewood is on logging sites. Most of the time they will simply give you the wood since they aren’t going to use it for anything. You can usually cut all of the firewood that you can sell by going behind the loggers and cutting up the treetops and discarded limbs. As a bonus, by doing this you don’t have to cut down any living trees yourself.

Fortunately, like for just about everything else, there is a book on how to do it – Firewood: An Insider’s Guide for the Homeowner and Entrepreneur, from the Tree to the Stove, however, I don’t think you can learn how to cut firewood by just reading a book. Using a chainsaw and splitting wood is a skill that’s learned by doing.

18. Hiking Guide

 If you’re in good physical condition, and live near a national park with hiking trails and love the outdoors then this might be the perfect way for you to earn money. Put an ad in the local newspaper, and or in hiking magazines, set up a website, etc. to get customers.

19. Fishing and Hunting Guide

This one could be combined with number 17 above, however, you can’t be stupid about this and think that you can just start a business as a hunting guide when the only hunting you’ve done has been in a video game. You’ll need real hunting and fishing knowledge and the skills to keep your customers safe and ensure that most are successful on their hunting or fishing trip.

20. Trapping and Sell Pelts

If you live up north where the furs grow thick and beautiful and you have trapping skills or want to learn those skills then this might be an excellent opportunity for you to earn money. You’ll need the traps, bait, a trap basket, and skills but if you love the outdoors and like spending hours and or days alone out in the backwoods then this might be perfect for you.

21. Panning for Gold

This is something that I’ve never done myself (but it sure looks like fun) however, a lot of folks do it and make extra income from it. A quick search on Amazon.com brought up a number of books on the subject, and another search brought up this video and this one too. These informational resources should be enough to get you started.

22. Writing

If you have some writing talent then you can make extra money or even full-time living. You could write freelance magazine articles, or write books that you can self-publish on Amazon.com for example. You could also advertise your writing services on sites such as Fivver and Upwork.

Or you could even write for me and have your work featured here on MDCreekmore.com. I pay $25 per article upon publication and an additional $5 per photo used.

23. Raise and Sell Stock

If you raise more chickens, rabbits, goats, cows, or whatever than you need on your own homestead then you can make extra money by selling off your surplus. You could even go big and do this full-time if you have the land i.e. cattle farming etc.

24. Mobile Repair Service

If you’re good at auto, farm equipment and or small engine repair then you can make a good living in most rural areas by offering a mobile repair service. All you need is a good truck to haul your tools and the skills needed to do repairs. Trust me once word gets around that you can fix things you’ll have more work than you can keep up with.

25. Lawn care and Landscaping

This is another job that I’ve done to earn extra money. Yes, it’s hard hot work but it can pay really well and is an excellent way to make extra money during the spring, summer, and fall. I once had a contract to mow a large cemetery, it took five to six days to mow it all and then off a week and then mow it again. If was the only job that I had that year and I did well. Unfortunately, the next year I was underbid on the contract and didn’t get to keep the job for another season.

26. Sell Honey

If you’re a beekeeper, then you know how valuable fresh honey is and you also know how easy it is to sell to friends, family and at flea markets, etc. If you have enough hives you can make this into a full-time income. A good book that will give you a wealth of information on doing this is The Complete Guide to Beekeeping for Fun & Profit.

Jars with some nice custom printed labels will go a long way towards increasing your sales and profit.

27 – Make and Sell Crafts

If you have a few basic tools and some skill then you can make crafts like birdhouses, feeders, wooden toys, blankets, leather gun holsters, etc. and sell those at flea markets, craft fairs, and online. This can become a full-time income if you put in the work and marketing.

Selling your crafts online is probably your best option and the most profitable. If you want to market your crafts online then I suggest that you get a copy of “How to Sell Your Crafts Online: A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales on Etsy and Beyond“.

28. Mobile Welding Service 

A mobile welding service could be a stand-alone business or combined with number twenty-three above. Stuff breaks and if it’s metal you can weld it back together and earn some cash doing it. While you’re probably not going to get rich doing this you can make some extra cash and extra cash in the pocket is always good.

29. Gunsmith

If you’re knowledgeable about firearms and their repair then you can make extra money doing this. Gunsmith work is yet another side hustle that I’ve done in the past. One trick to earning more is to work with local pawn shops doing repairs on forfeited pawned firearms.

30. Computer Repair

If you’re good with electronics then you can set up a computer repair and or sales shop on your homestead and you’re good to go. A roadside sign, an ad in the local newspaper paper and or phone book yellow pages, and you’ll be busy all year round.

You can earn a living and never have to leave your homestead if you don’t want to do this. If you already have the skills (you can take classes to learn those skills) then your startup costs will be low all you need is a room in your house, garage or outbuilding, and some tools for the job and you’re good to go.

31. Selling on eBay

And yet something else that I’ve done to make extra money. Before I started blogging I sold used books on eBay and did pretty well at it. It’s really not difficult with the hardest part is finding the right products to sell and staying organized.

A great book that will give you a huge push in the right direction is “eBay Business All-in-One For Dummies“.

If you have any other ideas then please share those in the comments below so others can benefit from your knowledge…

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M.D. Creekmore

Hello, I’m M.D. Creekmore. I’ve been interested in self-reliance topics for over 25 years. I’m the author of four books that you can find at Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about prepping, homesteading, and self-reliance topics through first-hand experience and now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

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