The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

How to make money in 2012

Aconites in the grass - nature's gold

Aconites in the grass - nature's gold

For several years we ran a series of articles on how to save money. Writing these articles and reading your comments taught me a lot. As these were monthly articles it gave me a lot of focus on the task in hand as I had to come up with an interesting and useful article.

I was lucky that I had a lot of these savings in hand by the time I got ill in the summer of 2009. I haven’t worked full time since then but I do have a regular income from the advertising and affiliate links on this blog. I was also very fortunate that when I did get ill, the ideas that I’d been promoting on the blog – such as simpler living had become fashionable. It was cool to try and save money and live more independently. This gave me more readers and a higher ranking on Google which in turn attracted more advertisers.

Although the income had steadily improved over the past two years, it is about half that of my decorating days. So this year I’m determined to increase my income significantly. To focus more on building up several streams of income that I can generate easily from home.

It’s all very well to have plots and plans but what realistically could I do? I began to get depressed as I couldn’t really think of anything new, apart from my plans to branch out into jewellery making and more crafts this year.

Yesterday I was fiddling about on my computer and took a peek at the spam folder. In there I found an email inviting me to a day by day online event where I would learn how to format and market my own Kindle books. By using the discount code kindlevip I got the course for $20.

I don’t have any books written just yet but this would give me the onus to pull my finger out and have a go.

Sniffing about on the Dennis Becker’s site I noticed that he had an update on his book Five Bucks a Day, five years on. I haven’t read 5 Bucks a Day but I’d heard good reports about this step by step system. So I bought the eBook. Perhaps this would kill my procrastination dead?

I read the book in one sitting. By the end I felt inspired and focused for the first time in months. I’m now working on my list of 50-100 projects. Each project has to be set up in a week. At first I struggle to list just 10! Now I’ve reached 50 and would like to get to 100 if possible. By focussing on small projects, I feel much more confident about proceeding.

I thoroughly recommend this book if you want to try and earn some extra money but don’t really know where to begin. Or if you just want to improve and hone the earning power that you already have.

And of course I will be keeping you up to date with my progress.


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  1. Catherine

    I think the e-book formatting thing is a really good idea. You could take the text versions of out of copyright classics and make them readable on the kindle (a lot are free right now but they’re missing lots of punctuation, tables of contents etc) and put them up for a little less than the big publishers.

  2. I agree with Cathy. A CSH preserves book would be fantastic. And as Cathy says, the self-publishing field has changed hugely with print-on-demand services like Lulu, and the possibility of easily producing books in Kindle and other ebook formats, and getting them listed on Amazon so people can buy them easily.

  3. For instance, I could see an e-book on Hedgerow Food. In the US, the word more commonly used is “foraging” because many areas here don’t have proper hedgerows. We also talk about “gleaning” leftover fruit. In the US, Julie Bruton-Seal’s book Hedgerow Medicine is called Backyard Medicine.

    I’m sure these ideas are on your list already. I just want to tell you that I always value your perspective on preserving and making use of available ingredients.

    Also, in my former life (before I started our farm and got back to living very simply and eating weeds), I was a consultant to authors and publishers. I used to advise against self-publishing during those years. However, the technology and market have changed so much, that I think it has become a very viable way for certain authors and certain ideas to find exposure. And many self-published books are brought on by major publishing houses now. It’s very smart to be thinking the way you are right now, Fiona.

  4. I remember once a discussion about you pulling together all of your preserving recipes into a booklet.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Chez

    I’m ill in bed today but I spent the time when I wasn’t snoring under the duvet I was researching how to get more visitors. I hope to be sharing those ideas within the next few weeks in an eBook (this will be one of my five bucks a day projects) and in a simpler form on the blog. Decent advertising revenues depend on good traffic.

    I popped over to your site and really enjoyed my visit. Loved the water feature idea!

    Hi Steve

    That idea really appeals to me 🙂 I have a large collection of crystals and these would tie in with that interest. Thank you.

  6. Have you thought about Stone-Polishing? – There are numerous outlets for polished stones from Art/craft shops, jewelry makers, Home decorations even Wiccan/Magik/Witchcraft!!
    A friend used to do this as a hobby a few years ago now, but I remember she made some lovely things, and quite a bit of spending money!

  7. I started my blog initially to keep my family in the loop about what I was up to and it has attracted a small but regular amount of readers. I am wondering whether to put advertising on the blog too but would also love to follow you along for other money making ideas from home. Getting more readers is the hard part though. I want to retire in about 5 years and think now is the time to start putting things into place.

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