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Blogging about Homesteading: What I’ve Learned after Two Years

Blogging about homesteading wasn’t what I expected it to be! After two years, the only thing I know for sure is that I’ve learned a lot!

 

Two years ago, I hit “publish” on the blog that you are reading today. I was exhilarated and terrified all at the same time!

Most of all, I had no idea what I was doing! While I had a little background in blogging and websites on a purely hobby level, this was a big leap into the unknown!  This was also about the same time that I hit “publish” on our homestead and jumped into this strange and wonderful new life. The two seemed to go perfectly hand-in-hand, so it only made sense that I would blog about homesteading.

Why I started blogging:

Blogging about homesteading wasn't what I expected it to be! After two years, the only thing I know for sure is that I've learned a lot!

I’m going to be completely honest with you: my intentions in starting the blog were largely driven by money.

Yup. I got sucked in by the “Quit your job and blog for a living” headlines. I read constantly for almost  a year about how to make money from a blog before I started. Frankly, it all sounded a bit too good to be true, but I didn’t care. At the time, I was in a job that didn’t fulfill me and I was looking for an out.

In a similar way, I also jumped into homesteading as a form of escape. I wanted out of the rat race. I was convinced that homesteading and blogging were the answers to my problems. I published the blog about 6 months after we put a “For Sale” sign in the yard of our suburban home and moved to a larger country property.

I was hoping that we’d be “living the dream” within months.

Blogging about homesteading wasn't what I expected it to be! After two years, I've learned a lot!

 

Yeah… that didn’t work out.

The beginning 6-8 months of the blog were far from paradise. I spent a lot of time wrapped up in my own mind, worried about everything that I wasn’t: I wasn’t an expert, I wasn’t an author, I didn’t have credentials of any kind. So why on earth would someone want to pay me to learn about homesteading? I worried about my SEO rankings and my page views. I felt uninspired and couldn’t come up with topics to write about.

Blogging is a lot of work! There are about a million tiny details that have to be completed for each and every post. There’s also the site to maintain, social media channels to post on and newsletters to send out on a regular basis so that your readers don’t forget who the heck you are. Oh, and you have to create valuable and truly helpful content if you actually want those readers to stick around. Everything about blogging requires a good amount of time, creativity and emotion.

The other big problem that I was experiencing is that I was getting blogging advice from bloggers whose primary focus was to make money. During this time (and still currently) most of the blogging advice came from bloggers who blog about making money by blogging to teach other bloggers how to make money by blogging. Huh?!  These are people who have probably never even touched a chicken in real life! I was listening to people who were totally un-relatable to me and the entire purpose of my blog!

Similarly, we had no idea what we were doing as homesteaders. We grew up in the country and have professional and educational backgrounds in caring for animals, but a lot of things were completely new to us! It was hard. Trees and plants died. Animals died. And that bramble bush from hell just kept growing back! We struggled to balance the homestead and work full-time. We also had no support system. At the time, “Homesteading” was still a very foreign term to most and there weren’t as many resources as there are now.

I was burning out quickly.

Blogging about homesteading wasn't what I expected it to be! After two years, I've learned a lot!

 

And then, I almost quit writing the blog.

Why? Because blogging for money wasn’t fun. I was burned out on blogging and I was starting to feel like a homesteading failure as well.

But then, something wonderful happened: I fell in love with my readers.

A few readers reached out to me and genuinely thanked me. ME. The person who thought I was doing everything wrong! I was so taken aback! How could anyone like the blog?! I didn’t even like the blog at the time! That’s when it all started to click: the money (or lack of money) didn’t make the blog successful or unsuccessful.

I was helping people!

The feeling of elation I got from that realization changed everything. And, slowly, I began to fall back in love with blogging. And homesteading.

Blogging about homesteading wasn't what I expected it to be! After two years, I've learned a lot!

 

Everything shifted…

I switched my focus from making money to making friends and supporting others. I stopped focusing on page views and instead started focusing on conversations. I gave up trying to be an expert (thank God!) and just started genuinely sharing my story in hopes that it would help someone, somewhere.

Most importantly, I stopped reading blogging advice from the so-called “experts” and started doing it my own way instead. And I decided that if I’m going to make money blogging someday, I’m going to do that on my own terms, too!

Speaking of money: Blogging is a moderately expensive hobby. There’s hosting fees, fees for your mailing list, fees for your email address, etc. I make a little bit of money here and there through affiliate links, but it is no where near what I pay each month in blog operating costs. I would love if the blog could at least pay for itself (which is my goal for this year). That way, the money that I usually budget for the blog can be used for our homesteading projects instead. Or I could use it to buy more goats…. because that’s probably what will happen anyway! 😉

Could someone set up a blog and have it start generating money within a couple of months? Absolutely! And people do it all the time. But that method didn’t work for me.

Homesteading is the same way. You can’t rush it or do it to be a huge success or to make a lot of money. In fact, you’ll probably end up investing more than you ever re-coup. Could you set up a homestead and have it start generating an income right away? Yep. But you have to be very careful that you don’t forget to nurture the earth and yourself in the process or a burn-out will be inevitable.

I do believe that there are a lot of opportunities to profit from blogging. But I don’t think it happens in the way that most people think that it happens. Blogging takes time. It’s not a get rich quick business. Laying a proper foundation, building an audience and connecting with readers takes time. It also takes time to figure out what the heck you’re doing as a blogger and to develop your unique style and niche.

The blog has allowed me to have some amazing opportunities, though! I am now a contributor on two Mother Earth News sister-sites (Community Chickens and Homestead Hustle), and my chicken coop  was recently featured in Country Sampler Magazine.

Someday I want to write a couple of books, and I finally feel confident that this could be a reality because of my experience and the connections I’ve built while blogging. These are opportunities that I wouldn’t have had without the blog. Most of all, blogging brings amazing people into my life from all around the world – people that I get to learn from and learn with!

Just like my blog, my homestead is nowhere near the level that I want it to be yet. It’s not as big or polished as what I dream about. I have big dreams, but it takes a lot of work and time to get there… both with the blog and the homestead. Along the way, I’m finding that it allows me to have opportunities and experiences that I wouldn’t have had without it.

Blogging about homesteading wasn't what I expected it to be! After two years, I've learned a lot!

 

Blogging and homesteading are a lot alike.

They’re both a lot of work… a labor of love. They’re passion projects… not money projects. The “growth phase” for both projects is never ending.

In the same way that I wasn’t  failing as a blogger because my site didn’t generate 6 figures in 6 months,  I’m not a failing as a homesteader because we weren’t off-grid, growing all our own food within a couple years. And the same thing applies to you!

Whether it’s homesteading or blogging, you have to do it in your own way and you have to make it your own to find the beauty in it. And you can’t do it alone – we need each other! We need our community in order to be inspired and supported, whether that community is a neighbor or someone halfway across the world.

So why did I keep blogging?

For all  the same reasons that I keep homesteading.

 

If you like it then you better put a pin on it!Blogging about homesteading wasn't what I expected it to be! After two years, I've learned a lot!

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Two Chickens Homestead

Friday 24th of December 2021

Great article and all of it true. Homesteading is definitely a process and it takes patience. I find blogging about it helps me see that I Am making progress - despite failures, lack of time, lack of money, lack of experience ....

Rooted Revival

Monday 27th of December 2021

Thank you. I definitely agree that it's a fantastic way to chronicle the journey! I love looking back at the older photos and posts and I'm so glad that I have them. I wish you all the best with both your blog and your homestead in 2022!

Rose

Friday 10th of April 2020

I know this is an old post but...thank you for this! Me and my sister have recently started homesteading and decided to start a blog. This was beautiful and inspirational! Thank you so much.

Project Zenstead

Friday 10th of April 2020

Thank you, Rose! It's still very true. Blogging is a lot of work! But I am so glad that I stuck with it! It's given me amazing opportunities to connect with people all over the world and to help them learn and grow their skills. Nothing beats that feeling! :) Best of wishes to you and you're sister with your homestead and your blog. If you ever need support, feel free to reach out!

Julia

Saturday 22nd of February 2020

I love this! My blog is tiny, my homestead is a baby. My reasons are a bit different than most, but I have been refreshed and encouraged by your post. I have some acres in the woods where I invite veterans to enjoy the beauty of the land and play with the farm animals. A place where they can feel safe. I have to choose my words in order to maintain their privacy and it's the best job I've ever had in all is my 60 years!

Project Zenstead

Monday 24th of February 2020

There is nothing wrong a tiny blog and baby homestead - as long as you are happy and satisfied! I love your mission for your homestead! I'm sure that your homestead will be a restful and healing place for many people and I'm not sure what could be more important than that! Keep up the great work!

Stephanie

Tuesday 19th of June 2018

What a great post! I just started blogging about our acreage a few months ago. My motivation was 3 fold. First was to keep moving forward with projects that needed to be done. The second was to help others who are struggling with the same things that we were. And last was to make money in the process. I only have about 10 posts so far so I don't even feel like I've started yet. I love that your posts feel like a friend giving advice rather than a list of facts with no personality. I'm so glad I found your blog and can't wait to read more!

Project Zenstead

Thursday 21st of June 2018

Hi Stephanie! I'm so glad you dropped by! I'm excited to follow your blog and your homestead progress! Bees are something we want to dive into within the next year or two so I'm glad to see you have some good info for a newbie like me! Also, your koi pond looks soooo fab! Ugh I want one now. Thanks for that! LOL!

Lauren

Wednesday 16th of May 2018

Love This! I don't have a blog but am constantly being told I should...I have days of inspiration where I want to and then chicken out pretty quick. Maybe one day, projects on our homestead really need all my focus right now. I love your blog though, it is one I found early on in our journey and the yearly homesteading journal is my favorite, and very well loved and used in our little operation. Thanks for being awesome!

Project Zenstead

Thursday 17th of May 2018

Blogging really is an interesting thing! There's such a fine line when you put yourself out there publicly, but I can honestly say that it's one of the things I'm very proud to have followed through on in life! If you do decide to start a blog, do it for you and make it something you enjoy! It's wonderful to have a hobby that you can love, that you can share with others, and that can maybe even make a bit of money here and there once it's established. Also, if you start one, be sure to let us know! ;)