Homesteading vs Craftsteading - What's the difference?
Craftsteading is a term coined to describe the practice of homesteading while focusing on artisanal or craft-oriented trades. This article will explore this offshoot of the modern homestead movement, why it’s the choice we’ve made and how you can start one without moving anywhere.
What is Craftsteading?
Craftsteading is homesteading with the additional emphasis of earning an income from a trade(s). Unlike traditional homesteaders who focus primarily on self-sufficiency in terms of food, energy and shelter — craftsteaders also prioritize making money & bartering with creative pursuits such as crafting, woodworking, and artisanal food production.
While craftsteaders share many of the same values as homesteaders, such as sustainability and self-sufficiency, they also place a high value on creativity, individuality, and artistic expression. Craftsteading can offer a way for people to live a more fulfilling, creative lifestyle while also connecting with the land and their local community. Homesteading will become a necessity for more and more people as the 2020s turn further dystopic. But there’s a problem.
The Elephant on the Homestead
Homesteading isn’t cheap.
It takes money to buy seed, feed, equipment, shelter for every animal and things break a lot on a homestead. Our first try at building a functional homestead was stopped dead in its tracks because we ran out of money. Plain and simple.
Living Simply isn’t Free.
This is the #1 obstacle all homesteaders face. They just don’t have the funds available to get it or keep it going. The choice is to sink or get a job (keep the job) in town.
Unfortunately outside employment is the reality for most homesteaders, no matter what they put forth on TikTok and Instagram. Without independent wealth, a paycheck coming in or some reliable form of income, new homesteaders realize quickly that self-sufficiency is a long, long way off. Your savings will disappear faster than donuts in the break room. And spending 8-12 hours a day tied to a desk (if you’re lucky enough to have a remote job) or away from your homestead means that nothing is getting done at home.
Homesteading IS a Full Time Job
Animals, gardens, building a house or outbuildings….all these things take a lot of time and hard physical work. It’s not fun working all day and then trying to do all this after work & on weekends. We did it this way for SEVEN LONG YEARS (2014-2021). We were both exhausted all the time and had no time to enjoy the lifestyle we were trying to build.
The Lie of Self-Sufficiency
Self-sufficiency is an outright lie. There is no way to accomplish this without being willing to go without A LOT of amenities. True self-sufficiency means not shopping at stores —- at all. You will need to provide everything for yourself. Food, tools, personal care products, entertainment, clothing, shelter — it’s completely unrealistic and always has been. Self-sufficiency is the most primitive living standard you could ever imagine. Just you and nature. Not what we signed up for, it’s an extreme that 99% aren’t interested in.
Our ancestors were not self-sufficient, they were communally sufficient. Grizzly Adams still needed gun powder, lead, flour, salt, sugar…..all the things he and Ben couldn’t hunt and forage for in the mountains. He traded, bartered, sold pelts for cash and had to buy certain things he could not provide off the land. Each town and village had people with different skills and merchandise, but the bottom line is that you still needed money or something of value to trade.
Super Soft Homesteading
We’re on our third homestead to build in the last decade. We’ve learned so much along an often painful path of experience. Cash flow from the property was not an afterthought this time, it was #1 — because NOTHING is going to happen without a way to pay for it. No land, no structures, no animals, no garden. And NOTHING is going to happen if we have to spend all our productive hours working a job for someone else!
Craftsteading Is the Answer
We needed to find a way to get our homestead to support us, rather than us supporting the homestead & we knew craftsteading was the answer for us. Here are the things we’ve learned.
Every homestead needs to be able to support itself or it’s really just an expensive hobby.
We need cash to pay for the things we can’t make or grow from the raw material on our land. And that’s 90% of the things we still use and like. We like having internet, cell phones, cute boots, morning coffee, books and doing things.
The trades we selected had to be dual purpose — i.e. we would be doing these things anyway and with just a little extra effort could be monetized in some way.
It’s important to that the trades we choose can still be used in a grid down or fubar situation. Online income will disappear in an instant.
It’s important that the trades we choose can also be an online income, whether from selling a product, writing, making videos….dual purpose with #4 above, but knowing that it can all vanish. It’s called riding the wave while it’s there. Just know it will crash when it comes ashore.
Trades to Practice
There isn’t enough room here to go through all the possibilities for a modern craftstead, but it’s a series that’s coming soon, we’ll be going in depth on the most profitable trades to practice, what we’ve chosen & some hard data to help with your decisions.
Craftstead Right Now - Don’t Wait
There is a shortage of goods and services coming to a store near you. We’ve all seen it and experienced it. Things we’ve come to take for granted are becoming difficult to find, are of inferior quality and skilled trades are disappearing like tax dollars in DC. The time to start a craftstead is now. And you don’t need to move to the country to do it. Living in town or suburbia can make it difficult to do traditional homesteading crafts but there are plenty of ways you can get started with craftsteading from even the strictest urban settings.
Focus on skill building and learning everything you can about your chosen trade.
Start building an online presence about your chosen trade. Learn and share at the same time.
If plants are involved, it’s always possible to begin growing in a super small footprint outside or inside. It’s not all or nothing. Animals can be more of a challenge ;)
Just one sale will start the flow of momentum, keep it small & scalable. Invest everything into a fund for making your move to land or a different setting if that’s your goal. If it isn’t, then re-invest everything into building your trade.
Don’t get all business-y about it. This is just living life as an artisan, it’s a part of you and people just give you money for some aspect of it. We know this may seem like bad advice, but trust us….if you start applying the modern business model to this you will get exactly what you’re trying to get away from. Garbage in, garbage out.
We’re a brand new publication. Please share this if you found it helpful, we don’t advertise and we only grow by your recommendations.
If You’re New Here
Enter your email below to get these articles sent to your email. You won’t have to visit this site again, it’s free and you’ll be helping us grow. If you have Gmail, check your Promotions tab or Spam if you don’t see us in your inbox.