Hosting classes on the homestead can make extra income while helping people that are interested in what you have to teach them. I really enjoy talking with people about all the things I do and the things I would like to experiment with. I also love networking and sharing information.
Having classes on my homestead gives me a chance to make these connections. It’s also difficult to find homesteading type classes in my area. I usually host mushroom classes. Many people that like mushrooms would consider taking a class that teaches them to grow their own. When I host these classes, they range from $50.00-$100 per person, depending on what we do. The $100.00 class includes some spawn to take home and a few mushroom logs that they made while at the homestead.
Spreading the word about growing your own foods and why GMO’s are bad for you helps educate people. That sort of information may change someone’s life- or even extend their life. Bringing back morality starts with you and me doing the right things for the right reasons.
By living a lifestyle that embraces our earth, we learn so much. The more time we spend looking at our soil- really running our fingers through it and consuming what it gives us back- the more we are educated. That is just something we need to share.
When you decide to start hosting classes, just make sure you can do so in an informative way. No one wants to receive bad information, and it could ruin your credibility to give it. In this niche, credibility is key! I bet when you really start thinking about teaching a subject, you will find that you knew more than you thought.
Be prepared. You will always get asked questions that surprise you. While giving a class on raising chickens, you may be asked about feeding them moldy food or if they can eat poison ivy. If you don’t know an answer, just say, “I can find that out and contact you in a day or two with the answer”. Then, write down the question and follow through, giving them the right answer. When you do this in a class, other people will also start asking “tougher” questions. Feel free to keep writing the questions down for later research. This is an opportunity to make you and your students smarter. Every class will bring things up that you didn’t think about, so take this opportunity to learn more for the next class.
Treat each student as if they are your only student. This is how you get them to come back and tell their friends about you. Also let them know that you are having other classes and get them to sign up before leaving. If you see that people aren’t signing up, it’s because they didn’t like this class. Always collect students’ names, addresses, and emails. Contact them a week after the class to ask them key questions you need to know.
Questions I ask are:
What would you suggest I do differently?
What did you like most about the class?
What did you like least about the class?
Hearing great things about your class makes you feel good, but won’t help you a bit. You really need to hear the bad parts, so you can fix them. Customer service is important in all customer based endeavors.
Have a script and practice it. No one wants to have someone read to them. They came to you, because they felt you were a leader in your niche. I keep an outline with me of some points to hit, but I just glance at it from time to time making sure I don’t leave anything out. Generally, you will be showing what you can do and answering questions. It’s not much lecturing- at least I don’t like to go about it that way.
Get hands on! People love to touch things, so let them be involved. If you are teaching about plants, have them pick suckers off your tomato plants and eat tomatoes. If it’s about raising rabbits, have them pet the rabbits and feed them some safe foods. Getting them involved is what really teaches them.
Let them take something home for the occasion. If I have a class on propagating plants, I always let students take some home, usually from my raspberry or blackberry bushes. They are really easy to propagate and I want to assure success for my students and their plants. Imagine I give them a class on propagating and they take home a cutting and it dies. That means I didn’t make them successful, so I must not know what I’m doing. To ensure success, I also have some plants that have rooted and I give them one to take along. This also gives me the opportunity to sell them more plants I have grown.
I also attract new students by placing ads for plants I propagated. I always have rhubarb, comfrey, gogi berry, thornless raspberry plants, and more up for sale. I generally charge $5.00 a plant. When people come to buy the plants, I show them my little homestead and they are happy for the tour. Then, I can invite them to one of my classes or, better yet, give them a schedule of classes.
At the end of a class you should also offer some small treats: coffee, cookies, or water. Let people communicate, and talk to them. You will be surprised at what the backgrounds of some people are. One class I led on compost really surprised me when I found out that one student was the head of a local university with a major in composting. She kept gushing about my compost and was giving me the third degree. I was breaking all sorts of composting rules and she just couldn’t understand why my compost looked so good. When she told me who she was I kept telling her that I just do it and it works for me.
Well, I hope you take the plunge and offer a class. It can bring a few dollars to the homestead and you can do some real good helping people.