One of the biggest frustrations for me is seeing the mistakes homesteaders make when they are getting started on their journey. These mistakes could have been avoided by simply learning from others before they started or having better support. Addressing those mistakes and finding a solution can make your homesteading journey more pleasurable and rewarding. You may have made these mistakes and learned from them already. However, so many new homesteaders can maybe be saved the aggravation by what I am about to share now. Below are the common mistakes I see and some simple fixes.
Mistakes Homesteaders Make and How To Fix Them
Mistake # 1: Not Planning
Most people just jump right in. They have an idea in their mind and they run with it. While being spontaneous can be great in other aspects of life, it doesn’t work with homesteading. Homesteading requires planning, knowing your priorities, and what you need to do to reach your goal. Sit down, take some time and write out your plans. Be realistic in what you can accomplish. Having a written plan of action is crucial to a successful homestead.
Don’t just assume it will all fall into place once you start. Some things will. However, while homesteading, you should always have a plan in place. Just remember this, plans can change!
Plans that avoid mistakes homesteaders make:
- a plan for making an income
- a “getting started” plan
- plans for tools and equipment you may need
- planning for your gardening beds
- planning for gardening tools you may use
If you need more detailed help you can read how I planned my homestead year for 2019 for some inspiration.
Mistake # 2: Being Unrealistic
Everyone knows their limitations. Often times I see new homesteaders trying to take on the world. This is one of the common mistakes homesteaders make.
Think about your goals. Are they realistic? Setting a goal to build a chicken coop is an attainable goal. It is something you can accomplish. But setting goals and plans that are unrealistic are only setting you up for failure.
When I started homesteading I wanted to do everything. I was clearing trees, building pens, erecting fences. You know what, I became overwhelmed, burned out, and almost gave up. The problem was not what I had planned, but the time frame I allowed to get those projects done. I had to break those goals down into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Be realistic about how much you can accomplish, and in what time frame. You can avoid being overwhelmed while homesteading this way too!
Mistake # 3: Not Expecting the Unexpected
I’ll admit, this is all me and one of the biggest mistakes homesteaders make. I had a great plan, I thought it all through, I was golden! NOT!
I didn’t think about the coyotes that seemed to smell my chickens a mile away. I didn’t take into consideration, my parents. They were in their 80’s and would require a lot more of my attention and care. And I didn’t think or plan for the tropical storm that dropped a 28-foot tree on my tool shed.
The point is that things happen that are out of our control, we can’t change that. You have to allow for the unexpected. Then when it happens, you change and adapt to the situation. My chickens are no longer free range and my new shed is not within tree falling distance.
Mistake # 4: Growing the Wrong Food
Most homesteaders in one way or another grow some if not most of their own food. I am one of those people. I have vegetable gardens, herb gardens, fruit trees, and berry patches. But if you walk through my gardens, everything you see growing I eat. One of the biggest mistakes homesteaders make is growing things they won’t consume. They, therefore have wasted time, space and more importantly, money.
It’s great to just fill up a garden with plants and seeds to see what grows. But the truth is if you don’t eat it, then why grow it? I grow tomatoes because even though I don’t eat them raw, I do make sauce and salsa. Growing food you won’t consume is a waste of food and a waste of garden space.
Consider starting an edible garden. Sometimes called a kitchen garden, these gardens are planned to be specifically for your family’s needs.
Mistake # 5: Not Developing the Right Skills
Not learning the skills you need are another of the worst mistakes homesteaders make! No matter how big or small your homestead is there are skills you need to learn. Skills like canning or preserving food can be useful. Gardening skills can also be beneficial. Learning some new skills in the areas that pertain to you will allow for a smoother life in the long run.
You can watch videos, read blog posts, or even take classes to acquire the skills you wish to learn. Resources for learning skills are everywhere, both online and off. Check out these great resources for great sources to learn new skills.
Using This Knowledge
Now you are empowered because you can avoid making the mistakes homesteaders make. You can make better decisions, plan better, and allow for unexpected changes in your journey toward homesteading the way you choose. With a little planning, a lot of hard work, and a flexible mindset, we can all reach our goals and pursue our dreams! Most of all, when you need help, ask for it.