Rural Small Business IDEAS
Farmers markets brim with colorful local produce.
Rural dwellers are a hardy and creative lot - preferring home-cooked meals, outdoor work and the chickadee's song to fast food, high-rise offices and blaring stereos. If you live far from the glittering lights and you’d like to keep it that way, you can run a home business by telecommuting, or you can follow the trail blazed over decades by country dwellers and use your isolated location to your advantage.
Today’s digital technology brings Internet access to rural areas, increasing home business options and opening doors to independent contracting opportunities. With a background in office management, writing or administrative skills, you can establish yourself online as a virtual assistant or freelancer and type correspondence, handle bookkeeping chores or write content for business clients. Online job boards are full of requests for telecommuting workers, but not all job offers are legitimate. Research the company before committing and request partial payment as the project progresses.
Online auction sites teem with buyers and sellers from across the country. Antiques, homemade crafts and items purchased from garage sales and used-clothing stores can provide a low-cost inventory for a virtual shop. Auction sites and other online selling sites take a cut of the sales price, so research your market and set your prices accordingly. The U.S. Postal Service and other shipping companies offer parcel pickup when you pay shipping fees online and print your own shipping labels.
Unless you’re in the farming business and have hundreds of acres to cultivate, growing traditional crops is probably out of the question. By specializing in niche gardening, however, you can grow high-return culinary herbs and organic produce to sell to nearby restaurants, health food stores and independent grocers. Items made from hobby farming activities, such as goat’s milk lotion or herb-infused soaps, are big sellers at farmers markets and craft shows. A dozen laying hens provide enough eggs to round out your farmers market offerings or you can sell them directly to customers who pick up their eggs weekly.
Honeybee Pollination Services
Through the indiscriminate use of pesticides and colony collapse disorder, honeybees are in demand these days. Raising honeybees is a hobby for some rural dwellers who want the bees to pollinate their own flowers and gardens, but it can be a full-time business as well. During the spring and early summer, beekeepers transport hives to orchards and large-scale fruit and vegetable growers during blooming season. Not only can you charge for the pollination service, when you return to pick the hives, they’re full of honey and beeswax that you can sell or use to make handmade soap and natural skin products.