Sometimes it seems like the typical image of “living off-grid” is depicted as a self-sufficient homestead, that produces its own power, and raises its own food, and the people living there are either retired or making a living from that off grid homestead.
Thatʻs not necessarily the case. Being off-grid simply means you are in charge of your own electricity and food production and are not tied to any private or government utilities. That does not mean that you need to earn an income off of your property too- you can still work a full-time job if you want.
So, can you live off-grid and still work? Yes, you can! My wife works as a school teacher and has a 3 mile commute while I work from home, selling fruit trees and seeds as well as working on this blog.
Your off-grid experience (and, therefore, your off-grid life) basically boils down to how well you planned it all out.
Living off grid can be a lot of work, but it doesnʻt has to be.
Related: Start going off grid right now, whether you are renting or live in the city, you can start doing things like harvesting rainwater. It will lessen your reliance on the public utilities and probably provide you with cleaner water. All you need is a simple rainbarrel, like the one in the link below.
You Can Go Off Grid Where You Currently Live
Going off grid doensʻt have to be a big deal. I know a lot of folks that live in the city or the suburbs, theyʻve slowly installed some solar panels over time, maybe some batteries. Theyʻve planted a fruit tree or two and built a few raised beds.
Next thing you know theyʻve installed water tanks and greywater systems, cut ties with their utility company, and are fully off grid! All without quitting their job or having to move.
Other folks carry that dream with them about moving out to the country, raising some chickens on some land with few neighbors, and living a simple life, in between commutes to their job in the city.
Whatever you envision for your off grid life, it can be possible.
Going Off-Grid Initially
Now, if you are new to the off-grid life, you should know some of the requirements and by-laws around living off-grid.
Whether it’s zoning laws in Indiana or water rights in Wyoming it’s good to know what you need to focus on in order to live off-grid, legally. I have a whole post about the best states to live off-grid.
It is likely that your off-grid systems will need permits in order to be approved by your government bureaucrats. This shouldn’t be a huge hang-up, however, I mention it because you may need to use some weekdays to deal with the permits, etc.
Therefore, if you are working regular, full-time hours, you may need to spare a work day or two to deal with these bureaucratic procedures.
Now, the actual construction of your off grid dream isn’t something that you can do in a single afternoon. But, if you are willing to commit time after work and your weekends to building your off-grid home, there is no reason why you canʻt still be working a job while going off grid.
Jobs and Living Off-grid
In most cases, you should be able to keep your current job and live off-grid. If you’re relocating in order to live off-grid, you could reasonably get a job in your same career field. All that has to change is that you no longer have utility bills (and that’s pretty awesome!).
Now, if you want to be off-grid in just terms of utilities, then there isn’t as much to focus on, once your systems (solar, water, sewage, etc) are set up and running.
But, if you plan to have a homestead, you might want to think about seasons where you need more flexibility; such as harvest time or when farm animals need more attention (breeding, birth, shearing, etc).
I’ve compiled a list of just a few of the cool jobs that are easily compatible with off-grid living, because they offer flexible hours and sometimes provide housing options that are ideal for an off-grid lifestyle, too!
But before you dive into them, you may want to check out this post about what itʻs like to try and earn an income off your off grid homestead.
Ideal Off-grid Jobs
Now, there are some really cool jobs that are compatible with off-grid life styles, here are just a few:
Sell your own produce / eggs
Agriculture – raise and sell chickens, goats, sheep
Ferrier, Horse Trainer
Nursery or Christmas tree farm
Plumber or skilled trades
Sales and Marketing
Run your own business
Work online / Work remotely
There are so many careers out there that allow for flexibility for off-griders. I really like blogging, its a great way to earn a passive income without having to leave the homestead. If youʻre interested, check out this post that explores how blogging can make you money on your off grid homestead.
Of course, you can make money from your homestead too. You could have a nursery, sell produce, run an airbnb, offer workshops, you name it! Just know that like any business, you need to have business acumen to be successful.
One of the biggest changes in the workplace has been the shift from office spaces to working remotely. Many new jobs don’t require that you attend an actual office building or take a lengthy commute to get your work done.
Nowadays, lots of office jobs that require mostly computer work (personal assistants, accounting, editing or social media positions) can be done entirely remotely.
This is great news for off-gridders because as long as you have internet access and a way to keep your computer charged, you can likely work from home. With remote work, you can easily live off-grid and work; all you need is an at-home office.
Off-grid Internet and Office Needs
For a home office you will likely need a computer, printer/scanner and an internet router.
There are so many options here, from solar-power batteries and inverters to internet routers that run off of chargeable batteries. Just decide what’s best for your work needs.
You will likely need a solar battery, or a generator (or both). Therefore, you need to calculate the starting and running watts of each item. Thankfully, most office items don’t pull a huge amount of power, even for a full 8-hr work day.
Estimated Watts for a laptop computer: 50 watts per hour
Estimated Watts for using a printer: 250 watts to print
Estimated Running watts for a printer (not actively printing): 10 watts.
Estimated Watts to scan a document: 20 watts
Estimated watts for running an internet router: 20 watts
For your home office, I would suggest having a generator or solar battery that can handle 800 or more watts, because of the power used by a printer and you will likely be running a few other items (light bulbs) at the same time.
Also, be sure to invest in a good inverter in order to protect your electronics.
Really, the item that pulls the most power is a printer – which uses approximately 250watts at the time of printing (pulls around 10 or fewer watts when just ‘on’, but not in use). However, if you print several pages at once, you can pull a great deal of power.
You don’t necessarily have to keep your laptop plugged in the whole time – you can certainly use the computer’s battery for some of your work. Likewise, there are chargeable internet options that use battery power, too.
If your remote job doesn’t require any printing or scanning, you could, in theory, charge up your laptop and portable internet router at a great local coffee shop (and, probably make use of the free WiFi for an hour, too) and work a part-time gig, simply by using your devices’ battery power.
Now that, my friends, is what I call living the life!
So, can you live off-grid and still work? Of course! It all depends on whether you want to commute, start on a new path, or focus on growing your homestead. Going off-grid gives you more options, it does not limit you in terms of work at all.
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