Whereas experiencing challenges and pitfalls in the homesteading journey tend to be frustrating, it is one of the best ways of adapting and improving. Besides, homesteading is an endeavour that promotes life-long learning, patience and enthusiasm. Developing an understanding of the common mistakes encountered by homesteaders in the pursuit of their dream and correcting them is the first step towards the successful attainment of the envisioned homesteading goals. A round-up of the 15 common homesteader mistakes shed some light on the pitfalls to avoid.
1. Failing To Plan Adequately
Most prospective homesteaders just get on with it without proper planning. While being random can be rewarding in some respects, homesteading requires you to plan things according to priorities in relation to what is needed to reach the target goals. The scope of planning should cover the financial costs involved, tools and equipment needed and income generating strategies.
2. Approaching The Homesteading Endeavour As A Hobby Rather Than As A Business
Homesteading is a full-time commitment and should be treated with the professionalism it deserves even if the customers are family members. Every new project that is added to the homestead should be treated as an investment in relation to the value it adds to the whole investment project. One of the most prevalent challenges faced by prospective homesteaders failing to maintain adequate cost and revenue records. Another factor worth considering is the return on investment over the lifetime of the project.
3. Going Off-Grid Without A Comprehensive Business Plan
One of the commonest mistakes oversights by prospective homesteaders is the rush to acquire acreage in the country without adequately planning how to finance the purchase and support their families at the same time. Possible investment recoupment options include consulting, agri-tourism, and animal husbandry among other short term investments. Whatever investment options are adopted, you might want to have more than one economic activity going because replacing full-time employment with homesteading income could take time. Ideally, you might want to draw the business plan and implementing it before moving to the country.
4. Buying Land Without Checking The Zoning Regulations
Since both farms and country estates are common in the country, prospective homesteaders are advised to assess the zoning requirements governing different areas. The closer you are located to the city, the more likely you are to encounter bylaws governing livestock rearing and ownership. One common mistake that beginning homesteaders make is failing to check the zoning requirements of the region in question before making the purchase decision.
Rearing Livestock Before The Shelter And Fencing Structures Are Done
This is one of the commonest mistakes among both experienced and beginning homesteaders. Animal husbandry is a huge responsibility because it requires you to feed, shelter and provide watering and protection needs. However, hobby farmers have a tendency to bring home adorable animals home before putting proper structures in place. Hence, it is highly recommended to establish some basic structures before bringing any livestock home not only for stress avoidance but also ensuring that proper care is accorded to the animals.
6. Breeding Animals Without Adequately Planning On What To Do With The Offspring
The commonest dilemmas facing homesteaders relate to whether to sell or consume or maintaining or increasing the flock. Such farmers who fail to plan barely have the contacts of the vet or prospective customers, making it difficult to rear new off-springs. Animal feeds are one of the most recurrent expenditures and failing to plan adequately can result in cash flow problems in your homestead. Rising feed bills can become frustrating if there is no proper plan in place to deal with new off-springs. Every animal that you rear in your homestead needs to be purposeful and excess animals need to be sold at their prime.
7. Failing To Plan For The Unexpected
Things are bound to happen that are beyond the control of both beginning and experienced homesteaders. When making plans, it is highly advisable to anticipate unexpected events to allow you to change and adapt to the present circumstances such as damage from tropical storms, predator attacks and multitasking between challenging tasks.
8. Rearing The Wrong Crops
Whereas most homesteaders strive to grow their own food, some are tempted to grow crops that they won’t consume, resulting in wasted money, time and land resources. To avoid the temptation to grow unwanted crops, homesteaders are advised to establish an edible garden which is customized to the family’s dietary preferences.
9. Failing To Develop The Required Skills
By overlooking the skills needed to run a homestead, prospective gardeners encounter numerous challenges along the way. Regardless of the scope of the homesteading project, learning the required skills goes a long way in achieving improved outcomes in your newly found passion. Learning can take various forms such as reading blogs and editorials, observing or taking classes. With the availability of so many offline and online resources, learning new skills is a must for homesteaders who want to have a smooth journey.
10. Having Unrealistic Expectations
Despite knowing their limitations, most homesteaders tend to overreach by going all out. It is imperative to evaluate how realistic your goals are in order to set yourself up for success. Thinking about your short term and long term goals, it is highly advisable to pursue goals within realistic timelines. Besides, breaking down goals into smaller and manageable components is highly advisable to avoid being overwhelmed by the project.
11. Engaging In A Project That Involves A Lot Of Work That You Can’t Handle Single-Handedly
Taking a bigger bite than you can chew can result in the homesteader hiring additional staff or seeking all kinds of favors from friends and relatives. Inadequate financial planning take can take a lot of time, patience and revenue particularly if the quality produced is not up to standards. The more remotely located the homestead, the more challenging it will be to source contractors, plan deliveries or bring in farm hand help from others.
12. Don’t Assume Your Neighbours Share The Same Enthusiasm
Just because you have moved to a new zone with arguably the friendliest neighbors does not meet that they will share in your struggle and success with the same enthusiasm as you. For instance, you may be planning to keep bees in a legally authorized zone but an allergic neighbor may object to the move.
13. Failing To Conduct Adequate Research About The Area’s History
Prospective homesteaders might want to find out more about the region they are venturing in, with respect to its susceptibility to tornadoes, contamination, hurricanes, and other natural and man-made calamities. Some homeowners fail to acknowledge the occurrence of such events and they don’t realize how much their lives will be affected till after the move.
14. Reluctance To Compromise
Most beginning homesteaders tend to overlook the fact that adjusting to a new way of life and techniques is a challenging endeavor. Subsequently, such homesteaders fall short of acknowledging that this endeavor involves a lot of work and commitment, which calls for massive adjustments. It is highly advisable that prospective homesteaders identify the work and learning involved.
15. Failing To Accommodate The Old Ways
Whereas modern homesteading is more synonymous with humane slaughtering activities, it is imperative to appreciate the traditional techniques which were primarily geared at putting food on the table as fast as possible. Besides, the traditional methods are always effective particularly when popular modern methods don’t work.
16. Failing To Appoint The Next In-Charge
Most homesteaders overlook the need to appoint the next in charge for when they are unavailable. While most homesteaders prefer to go for the most well-intentioned individual to take up this role, this is merely enough particularly if have not undertaken adequate training for them. Leaving your homestead ill-supervised can result in uncountable losses, both in the short term and long term.
You are bound to have some bad days in your homesteading journey where you will feel the temptation to sell some livestock. In other instances, you may feel the need to replace some animals with others, even as the temptation to have others sets in. Such mistakes can be avoided if the homesteader is more patient and they make everything a part of the informed plan.
18. Going For The Perfect Option Guided By Your Heart’s Desires
Like other buying decisions, there is always a catch when purchasing the homestead itself, farm animals and crop. Some property listers sell the homestead “as is” for a discounted price but the buyer should assess the work needed to revamp the property in deciding whether this is something they would be willing to accept.
19. Failing To Learn About Common Pests And Predators
Beginning homesteaders rarely appreciate the losses associated with farm predators and fail to plan for it adequately. When they are unaware of what they are up against, beginning homesteaders face a lot of losses ranging from destroyed crops to dead animals to distressed livestock as a result of regular attacks.
20. Failing To Account For What Matters The Most In Your Homesteading Endeavour
Important considerations that beginning homesteaders overlook are: the proximity to a town where you can purchase supplies, access rights to nearby areas, privacy and security provided by the farm and its size, relative to your homesteading goals.
Now that you know what you need to do to succeed in homesteading, all you need is follow the advice from the article and you’ll understand the importance of researching.