How do you connect and learn from other homesteaders when you don't know anyone directly around you who is living a homestead lifestyle?
One of the problems of homesteading is we often feel alone outside our immediate household. Learning and being part of a community is important and the Homestead Documentary is one way to do just that.
I'm chatting with Carrie Wilson discussing everything you need to know about the Homestead Documentary Project. We're discussing what it is, who can benefit from it, where to watch, and where to find more info.
What is the Homestead Documentary Project
The Homestead Documentary Project tells the grass-roots stories of homesteaders from across the US. It shares the stories of what these family's homesteads look like, how they got started, and how they make it all work.
Documenting what people are producing, how it's sustaining their livelihood, and in some instances, how it's earning an income for them.
There are many people pursuing this homesteading lifestyle, and we know there are many who want to see all the different ways to make this lifestyle work. In fact, these documentaries are answering the questions many of us homesteaders had when we first started with our homesteading journey.
When Carrie was getting started at Little Pallet Farmhouse, she didn't know where to look or know who she wanted to learn from.
Many homesteaders who have found the Homestead Documentary Project have said it's introduced them to other homesteaders and given them a lot of ideas to implement.
Homesteading is a state of mind, and most homesteaders pretty much have the same goals of raising our own food that's clean and good for our family and being more self-sufficient.
But just because we have the same goals, we're oftentimes coming about it from different angles. There are also so many types of homesteaders (rural, small acreage, large acreage, apartment homesteading, etc.).
But we can all learn something from one another, bring that information home, and adjust to what works for us. If you're never exposed to these ideas, however, it's difficult to come up with everything on your own.
This is exactly where Carrie hopes the Homestead Documentary Project will fill that gap.
What inspired the Homestead Documentary Project?
The backstory is based upon two needs that Carrie had when her family first started homesteading. They've now been homesteading for two years and have relocated to the states from the UK.
When they got to the U.S., Carrie's husband got a day job and left the homestead leaving Carrie to run the day-to-day. She felt out of her element trying to manage the homestead during the day while her husband was gone, but it didn't seem they had any options.
Where she lives, they're surrounded by very large farms. These farms are not small homesteads, but rather larger corporations farming for business. In other words, they weren't the people to go to for tips on running a homestead.
Because Carrie and her husband wanted to learn how to support themselves and provide food for the freezer, etc., and because she couldn't find people locally to learn from, she had to turn online.
She had to sift through so many online resources which sprung a desire in her to make homesteading more approachable and more connected, even if over the internet. Thus, the Homestead Documentary Project was born and serves the purpose of filling a need she had for direction, but also fulfilling her extroverted nature.
Not everyone in the Homestead Documentary is doing all aspects of homesteading, but some of them have started with a garden, or maybe raising their own meat, and layering on as they're able.
The goal is to help homesteaders connect with other homesteaders to learn more about different aspects of homesteading.
Who is the Homestead Documentary For?
This documentary is for anyone with a desire for homesteading, living more self-sufficient lives, or even those who have a specific passion when it comes to the homesteading lifestyle.
What Will I Learn from the Homestead Documentary Project?
What I love about this documentary series is that each season has a theme. Season one was all about making money through homesteading.
Season two (which is currently being filmed/edited and set to release in December 2021) is about areas of homesteading passion. The second season two takes a closer look at some of the specifics of homesteading (milking goats, preserving the harvest, gardening, etc.) and allows people to connect with other homesteaders based on a particular skill, niche or passion.
Each episode weaves together the lives of two to three homesteaders who are specifically focused on a unique niche of homesteading.
The Homesteading Conundrum
The bigger overarching thing that the Homestead Documentary Project deals with is a struggle that many people face of not having enough money to support a fully-functioning homestead.
As I mentioned above, Carrie's husband needed to go to work to support their family. But Carrie needed him home to get the homestead functioning properly to a place where it could sustain them.
So the conundrum they've seen with many homesteads is that the husband goes off to work to support the family/homestead, but the homestead needs the husband there to function properly and earn an income.
The goal is to figure out how to get the husband home as quickly as possible.
How Homesteading Has Changed
It's interesting to look at the evolution of homesteading back from when my grandparents moved to Washington State from Appalachia and who homesteaded based out of necessity during the Great Depression.
Fast forward and it seems like people need to have a full-time income outside the home to even support their dreams of homesteading.
It just seems strange that things have changed so much, but truly, my husband and I both worked off of the homestead the first 20 years of our homesteading life. We had stripped down to where there was no more money we could save by skimping, but we just needed more money coming in to make ends meet.
Passion to Profit
Carrie shares that people produce the most incredible content on what they're most passionate about. She sees people who are creating amazing content, then asks herself how are they monetizing it, or making it “work” by bringing in an income.
Because we have access to the internet we have the opportunity to give people a window into our lives, to see what we're doing, and inspire them to create something on their own. This is exactly what I do here at Melissa K Norris, through my podcast Pioneering Today, and through my online membership at the Pioneering Today Academy.
It can, however, easily lead to burnout because we oftentimes feel like we're pouring out our heart and soul sharing our passion with people without getting anything in return.
Carrie's Passion to Profit project is to shine a light on these people! There are definitely people who are willing to support these online businesses in any way they can because they appreciate the value of all the things offered for free.
The beauty of these online businesses is that there are literally 2 billion users online, so there is plenty of space for creators in this digital marketplace.
How to Get Involved in The Homestead Documentary Project
At this point in time, the best way to support this project is to go to YouTube and watch the Homestead Documentary Project episodes.
You can go to The Little Pallet Farmhouse and watch all ten episodes from season one under the playlist “How to Make Money on a Homestead”. As YouTube sees people watching and commenting on the videos, they may decide to put these episodes into more people's homepage. When this happens more people will watch!
This project takes many man-hours to produce, edit and get this documentary out to the world. They may, in the future, do another Kickstarter campaign that allows people to pledge a donation to go toward the funding of the project.
If you feel led to reach out to Carrie, or to support their endeavors, you can email her at [email protected]
More Homesteading Posts
Want to learn more from other homesteaders? Check out these podcast interviews on all different homesteading topics, plus other relevant posts from me below:
- Maximizing Your Homestead for Profit with Joel Salatin
- Aquaponic Gardening & Raising Tilapia with VW Family Farms
- Tips for Homesteading Off-Grid & Life w/out a Fridge or Running Water
- Creating a Homestead Business That Makes Money
- Raising Sheep for Fiber & Naturally Dyeing Wool
- Urban Homesteading – Tips for Small Space Self-Sufficiency
- Living Like it’s the 1800’s – Wood Stove Cooking & Frugal Living Tips
- How Homesteading Helped Lyme Disease Recovery
- Biggest Homestead Mistakes We Made & What to Avoid
- What to do When Homesteading Gets Tough
- How to Buy a Homestead – What to Look For
- How to Get Everything Done in a Day Without Wasting Time or Getting Distracted
- Our New 40-Acre Homestead Property
- Eating a Year of Hand Harvested Food with Alexia
Melissa K Norris: Hey pioneers. Welcome to episode number 326. Today's episode is really a fun one where we are looking at the homestead community as well as some of the problems that a lot of people when they get into homesteading, I want to say not even just beginners, but especially when you are beginning your homestead journey, but then even later down the path, what we call or I should say what the person I'm interviewing in this episode calls the homestead conundrum. And for a lot of people that means creating a profit from the homestead. And the way that we talk about it I'm actually really excited about because oftentimes I feel like it's a little bit overlooked within the homesteading community and also, oftentimes, the advice of we'll just save more money or be more frugal actually isn't the answer or it's not the correct answer.
I'm actually really, really passionate and excited about today's episode. Now some of you may have already be aware of this project or you might have already seen it, but I'm assuming that a lot of you haven't because it just now crossed my radar just a couple of months ago, and that's when I actually reached out to Carrie and asked her to come on the podcast and you're going to hear about in this episode, but it's called the Homestead Documentary. And what I love about it, and you're going to learn a lot more shortly in this episode though, is it's a solution that a lot of homesteaders or those of us who are living this lifestyle and/or want to live this lifestyle really face. And one is when you have a homestead, it's harder to travel if you have a lot of livestock. Now it can be done, we do still travel, but it does put a limitation on that. And the reason that, that's a limitation is it's harder for you to get together with other homesteaders in-person.
And secondly, a lot of times, even if you live in a rural area, there aren't a lot of people who are actually homesteading around you in, I hate to use the term real life, let's say physical life, your physical proximity, because there's a lot of people who are gardening, and gardening is an aspect of homesteading, but there's a lot of people who do different elements of the homestead lifestyle. So you'll have some people who are raising livestock, are raising their own beef, but they don't have a garden, they don't can, they're not focused on a lot of the aspects that come under the umbrella of living a homestead life because it's not just being a gardener, though it's part of that, it's not just having livestock, though it's a part of that, it's not just using herbs as natural medicine, it's not just eating whole foods or a least amount of processing as possible, it's not just about building up your food supply.
And so it's sometimes really hard to find people who understand this lifestyle and to share ideas with and see different ways that people are doing things and also to feel connected in real life and/or physical proximity. And so that is where this homestead documentary comes in. And so I am super thrilled to share this interview with you, shed some light on this project and also talk about some of these very real needs that those of us who are homesteading do encounter. And it's not always necessarily needs that we think about, it's not like, how do I preserve XYZ? But it is still needs within this lifestyle.
So welcome to the Pioneering Today podcast. I am your host, Melissa K. Norris. I'm a fifth generation homesteader and it's my goal to help people live a healthy and self-sufficient life using simple modern homesteading. I help literally hundreds of thousands of people every single month and I am so honored and thrilled that you are here and it is my hope that you will feel inspired and find help on your way to building your modern homestead. So without further ado, we are diving in to this episode. Carrie, welcome so much to the Pioneering Today podcast.
Carrie Wilson: Thanks for having me so much, Melissa. I'm really excited to be here.
Melissa K Norris: I am very excited to talk with you. And I have to say, I'm sure you get this a lot, but I'm just thrilled to get to listen to your accent because it is so musical to the ears.
Carrie Wilson: Well, thank you. I have had it a little bit but I tend to forget that because everybody around me has this amazing US accent and I think I start to pick up words here and there. My children correct me, I'm not allowed to say bin, it's trash can, or pavement, it's sidewalk, because of course they're in the American school system. So thank you for that, it makes me feel welcome.
Melissa K Norris: Oh, good. I think that is a child-mother thing, even though I don't have an international accent, my kids still tell me all the time that I mispronounce things, so maybe that's just part of the relationship with our children.
Carrie Wilson: Yes, I'm sure it is.
Melissa K Norris: But I'm really excited today to dive because I just happened to come across it on social media and was very intrigued. And I know, in most cases, if I am intrigued then my listeners will also be intrigued. So what is the Homestead Documentary Project?
Carrie Wilson: Well, thank you for asking. I'm glad that you're intrigued because that indicates to us that we're doing something right. Well, on one level the documentary is basically telling grassroots stories of homesteaders, so sharing other people's stories about how they homestead, and how they got started, and how they're making it work. I really get interested in like to document what people are producing, and how it provides for them, and how they actually make a profit from what they're doing. And in some cases that might be direct income and in other cases it might just be providing for their family, putting food on the table or providing in indirect ways.
So there are many people pursuing this life of self-sufficiency, and I think there's others wanting to see how it's done and how they got started there. They're certainly the questions that I wanted to ask when we got started. But one of the problems that I found was that I didn't know where to look to find the people that I wanted to learn from. And I think that, that has been evident because many of the new homesteaders who have found the Homestead Documentary Project have said that they have enjoyed the fact that it's introduced them to a lot of different homesteaders and then given them lots of different ideas for their own homesteads.
Melissa K Norris: Yes. And what I find fascinating that is I'm in agreement too is because I always say, homesteading is a state of mind, and for people who are moving into the homesteading lifestyle and even those of us who have been in it for a while, we all do have pretty much the same goals of being able to raise our own food, to provide clean, good food for our families, to be more self-sufficient in all of the ways that we're able to. And so when we all have that common goal, we actually all come about it differently in a lot of aspects because we're in obviously different geological or geographic locations, we have different climates, there's different acreages, there's suburban, there's apartment homesteaders, there's large rural, all of that. And though we all have this common goal, we've all figured out because we're at different points in our life and all those circumstances that people will come at it at different angles.
Carrie Wilson: Right.
Melissa K Norris: But what's fascinating is what I'm sure you're experiencing too is we can all learn something from one another and bring that home and then improve it or try different things and see what works for us and what doesn't. But if we're not exposed to different people who are living this lifestyle but in different aspects, sometimes you don't even know. You'll see an idea and you're like, oh, my gosh, that's so smart, how did I not think of that on my own? And then you go and implement it. And so anyway, so I love that you're coming at it from just all different people but we all have that commonality goal which is homesteading and self-sufficiency.
Carrie Wilson: Right. Right.
Melissa K Norris: So have you been in the homesteading lifestyle for a while? Or what inspired doing the documentary? Because a documentary is a huge project. And how many seasons are you guys in right now or have you done?
Carrie Wilson: Right. Well, we're actually in the second season, and I've been talking with people about season three. So the backstory is really based out of a need that I had, well two needs, essentially. We've been homesteading now for two years. And we relocated from the UK. So my husband's heartland is here in the Midwest and we'd been in the Middle East, we've traveled around quite a lot. And we were living in the UK, we relocated to the USA and I found myself very quickly out of my depth in the middle of nowhere really. And my husband was off to work and gone 10 hours a day, leaving me to manage the home alone, and it was pretty overwhelming.
And so first of all, I wanted to reach out to connect with others and see what they were doing and how they were doing it, basically how they were surviving. And my problem was is that where we live, we're surrounded by a lot of big farms. So they're not necessarily homesteading in the sense that they're not producing to live self-sustainably, they're more coming at farming from the perspective of they're commercial farmers and they're farming for an income and that self-reciprocating. But for us, it was more about, how can we support ourselves and provide our own food for the freezer and grow our own vegetables?
So there was that aspect. I wasn't able to find people locally who I could learn from, so I was like, I need to find someone online. And the other thing is that I'm an extrovert, I need conversation, I need to talk to people. And the other thing about moving here is that we're in a very small community. So it was really serving a purpose, a need that I had. And that was how it started, because I started to connect with people, they started to tell me stories, and then you get invested in relationships, and it just evolved from there.
Melissa K Norris: It's interesting, and you and I were actually chatting about this a little bit before we started. And even though we live quite rurally and you rurally too, we've experienced that as well that we have people around us who are different doing what you would call homesteading.
Carrie Wilson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melissa K Norris: So we have people who are, like you said, farming and doing commercial farming or we have people who are raising their own beef or their own cattle for beef, I should say beef cattle, but they might not be actually gardening or then preserving the food and whatnot.
Carrie Wilson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melissa K Norris: So in those aspects I can go to people who are raising cattle, which is great that we've got that aspect, but that's only one part of the homestead. And so finding someone and people who are actually living the complete lifestyle is very difficult, especially I think if you live rurally you wouldn't maybe expect that because you'd think, there must be more people, if you're living out in the middle of nowhere, who are doing homesteading. And then also if you live in the city then you probably wouldn't expect to find as many homesteaders in the cities. So I think it's a very common problem with the homesteading community is being able to find others that are doing the homestead lifestyle and not just growing a garden, though that is wonderful that there are people who are growing a garden, but just because someone gardens doesn't mean they understand the full lifestyle that we're trying to produce for ourselves.
Carrie Wilson: Right. Right. And I think as well, because not everybody in the Homestead Documentary is doing everything, but I think that's what they're working towards. And so even if it's someone who has just started with a garden and they've started with layers, the next thing is that they're wanting to get into harvesting chickens. And so it was really just a place where I could bring together all the knowledge in one place. And then as it grew out of that other people were able to connect with different homesteaders that they didn't necessarily know existed. And I think a few people have even found people who are quite local to them. It's always really exciting when someone on social media finds that they live close. Actually, just as an aside, we connected with White House on the Hill to HOA, and we're going down to see them on the 20th of November. So for us, I was like, oh, my goodness, I didn't know you were in Missouri. And they were like, oh, my goodness, we need help because we're getting horses. And so that's the thing that I'm excited that the Homestead Documentary can facilitate as well.
Melissa K Norris: Yes, I actually have my own story of that because Portage View Farms, yes, they're only like an hour and a half from me. And so it was so funny they weren't HOA but I only saw it because of their Instagram later, neither of us realized the other was there in person.
Carrie Wilson: Awesome, I love Kay and Jordan, that's so fun.
Melissa K Norris: Yes, I'm completely enjoying them. But it's exciting because we're going to get together, I'm going to go out to their farm after the 1st of the year. We've tried to coordinate it before the holidays but it just wasn't working with the different schedules. So I'm excited because, yes, incidentally, I found another homesteader that is close to me that I didn't know about as well. So I'm loving to hear that, that's happening for other people. So for the Homestead Documentary Project then, who is it for and who does it serve? What can people expect to learn from it other than obviously seeing other homesteaders and how they're doing things? But have you noticed any commonality things that people are really picking up?
Carrie Wilson: Yes. So each season has a theme. So the first season was how people are making money on a homestead. And then the second season we are producing now, and that is areas of homesteading passion. And some of the things that have come out of that is, for example, people have found other people in the same niche. So as you know, under homesteading, there are people who are hugely into maybe milking goats and Nigerian dwarfs and breeding goats, or people into chickens, or people are huge into preserving. And so in season two what I've tried to do is pull out the main area of the different homestead stories that focus on the niche or the particular skill that, that homesteading family is passionate about. And so in every episode it weaves together the lives of two to three homesteaders who are doing similar type of homesteading in that way, so that hopefully people who are specifically interested in one of those topics can then find their people within the people, if you know what I mean. So that's one of the ways that I think it has helped.
And then we've also started to attract names of sponsors and brands and been asked to do some product reviews. So I'm hoping that, that will be useful as a community resource. And then there's a bigger overarching theme that the project addresses and this is the thing that I call the homestead conundrum. It's a phrase that I made up, but to me it has a meaning, I can explain that for you if you'd like.
Melissa K Norris: Yes, I'm like, okay, you have to tell me now what it means. So what is the homestead conundrum?
Carrie Wilson: Well, just as it sounds, I found myself sat with a puzzle or a problem when we started out. And as I started to talk to other homesteads I realized that it was actually in the backdrop of quite a few other homesteads that I came across. Well, actually, I would say it was more the rule than the exception. And I wrote a book called, Passion to Profit, to basically address this struggle that we were facing. And it was that I needed my husband to be here full time, but when you're starting your homestead, there's obviously a lot of infrastructure to build, there is costs. The problem was is that if he was going to be gone to work, then I was going to be here by myself trying to get the homestead up and running.
So it was in most families what the conundrum looks like is that the husband is having to leave the homestead to earn an income to sustain the homestead, but of course it's not ideal because you need as many hands on deck on the homestead as you can get. So what the problem that I was trying to figure out was, how we could bring my husband home so that he wouldn't have to go off the homestead to work to pay for the homestead, if that made sense. And I think that there's a time of transition there, but I think there's ways to work around it. I mean, if you're running a budget, there's two things you can do, you can either spend less, and I think most homesteaders are very good at being frugal, but then the other thing you can do is to learn how to become more profitable.
And so one of the things that I wanted to focus on in season one was to help others learn how to be more profitable by speaking to a whole range of different homesteaders and finding out, well, what is it that you're doing to bring in extra income on your homestead? And I didn't want to then feel like I was saying to people, you have to do all of these different things, it was really about finding what people are already skilled and talented at and seeing how they could repurpose and repackage it into making what they were already doing more profitable.
So just to go on into where that led me to. In episode 10 of the first season, I took a deeper dive into the idea of online work of homesteading. So looking at homesteaders who run blogs, who build digital products, who were creating digital courses and downloadables, because I thought what all of these homesteaders that I found online have in common is they're producing the most incredible content on what they're passionate about. And that content as you probably know, Melissa, it takes hours and hours of work.
Melissa K Norris: Yes.
Carrie Wilson: But at the same time, largely, a lot of the people were not making any return on this time they're investing into having a social presence. And in fact, some were actually suffering from this problem.
Melissa K Norris: I find it very fascinating. Carrie, it's so funny, I was actually just thinking about this yesterday with the homestead and frugality, I'll spit that word out, and the need when you need more money. And you're right, homesteaders by nature are quite frugal and really the homesteaders of old. Well, when I look back and say of old, my dad was born in the 1930s, so he was a small child during the Great Depression, but when they got out of the Great Depression into the 1940s when he was an older child, it really didn't change their way of life, they produced all of their food, my grandpa off of the Homestead even back then. But really they lived the homesteading lifestyle because that was the way that they could feed themselves, it truly was a survival thing.
And so it's been interesting to look at that evolution, I would say, just within my own family, so that's my own context in what I have seen through the generations and whatnot, because most of the old timers, we call them around here, they lived that lifestyle because they didn't have the money they had to or they wouldn't be able to feed their families.
Carrie Wilson: Right.
Melissa K Norris: And so it's very interesting, and I don't mean this in a judgemental way at all, this is just purely from just looking at data and in different situations, that now a lot of people are feeling that they can't homestead unless they do have a lot of money. And that doesn't mean that anybody is coming at this wrong or right, I want to just make very clear that's not what I'm saying. And also, my husband and I both worked full-time off the homestead for the first 18 years that we were homesteading, so I completely get where that is. And you do reach a spot, I remember this very clearly, we reached a spot with where we were at, was in medical bills, from different things and it was like there was no more room in the budget. There was no room to cut out.
It wasn't like we were in excess or in big expense, it wasn't like we're living frivolously where you could cut expenses, we were just where it was. And that was it, is we had to earn more and that's the way we were actually able to crawl out of that debt and then be in the position that we are now where my husband actually still does work a day job, we're 22 years into homesteading and he still does work off the homestead, I am at home now still working from the homestead.
So I just share that because I'm with you and I'm not sure if it's because one of the beautiful things about social media is we are able to connect with one another, but I think one of the pitfalls is we also see someone's middle or end or their homesteading journey where they've been doing it for years, and when we're first starting I sometimes feel that the expectation is wrong for when you're at a beginner. And this can be said of anything in life and with social media, it can be your business or whatnot. But I think sometimes we get this expectation of our beginning should look like someone else's middle or their end. And I'm not the first person who's coined that by any means.
Carrie Wilson: Right.
Melissa K Norris: But I think even with homesteading that we run into that, and myself included. We don't have a barn and sometimes I look at other people's infrastructure and I'm like, oh, man, and I've been doing it for 20 years. So I think it's very normal but I'm really glad that you are honing in on the profit part, because I feel like when people get stuck in that spot where they really can't trim any more fat, there's no more fat to be trimmed from the budget, and then you see people get stuck there, and they don't know the profit part or they maybe can't see the plan or just they just need some help. And so tell me more about the passionate profit, I have a huge heart for that because I've seen so many folks who get stuck there and they feel like they never get out or above it.
Carrie Wilson: Mm-hmm (affirmative) Well, thank you. And yes, I hear everything that you say resonates with me because we are walking through it. And I think that's one thing that you talk about the pros and cons of social media. And so what I was trying to do with the Homestead Documentary was to tell of real life stories, where are you really at? How are you really making it work? So that we're not just lulled into thinking, well, everyone else has got it sorted, why haven't I? But the other thing about the time that you spend on social media is that, like me and my husband had a very frank conversation, well if you're going to invest this time, it's essentially working, so it needs to make a return on your investment of time.
Melissa K Norris: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Carrie Wilson: So in Episode 10 of season one, I took a deep dive into online work of homesteading. So that's the creating content, the people who are running blogs, who are building digital products, who are creating digital courses and downloadables to basically teach other people how to do what they're doing. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but I think that it's under done. I've heard a lot of people say, well, somebody has already produced a course on how to raise chickens or somebody is already showing other people how to grow tomatoes, and so why would they want to learn from me? And this is what I addressed in the episode, people produce the most incredible content on what they're passionate about. And as we're looking in season two, there's so many different passions and each person has a different network of people. And I think that you learn different things from different people.
And so when I've seen people who are creating amazing content, which clearly must be taking them hours of work, I want to ask, well, how are you monetizing it? How are you making it work for you? Because I think it's a very real thing that we have today in this era of the digital age, and I say modern day homesteading. And I think the difference between the old timers that you talked about and what we have, is we have access to the internet. And I don't agree with this idea that, well, you're not off-grid if you're online and those [crosstalk 00:26:37].
Melissa K Norris: Amen, sis. Amen.
Carrie Wilson: Right.
Melissa K Norris: Yes.
Carrie Wilson: Because why shouldn't we leverage what the rest of the world is leveraging to we're showcasing, giving people a beautiful window into our lives, and people should be earning an income from that. Because I think that social media can also be that dark hole and you can produce, and produce, and produce content which other people they eat it up but then that leaves you with nothing, feeling like you spent all of this time and it results in burnout and discouragement. I've had conversations with homesteaders behind the scenes who are like, "I just feel like giving it all up", because they feel like they're pouring their heart and soul into showing other people what they do but they're not getting any return on their investments. And so that's where I wanted to bring my talents to the table in terms of my entrepreneurial background and start to help people learn how to turn their passion into a profit and put some coals on the fire that way.
Melissa K Norris: Yes, I agree. And having been in the digital aspects side for over 10 years now, there definitely is ... it's also interesting to see the different sides of people with the free content versus paid. And you'll see some people who are want to support you so much, they realize the amount of work that's going into it and they realize the value that they get from consuming your content, and they are so happy to support you in any way that they can. And then you have people who think that you should always give everything for free. And I always find that so interesting because I'm like, would you go to your job and clock in and work for eight hours and nobody should pay you for your time or anything that you're doing?
And I think because it is online and there is so much that is given away for free, I think that people honestly don't understand that when they're making those comments or putting that out there. I don't think that they really understand the amount of time that goes into producing the content, because it is, it's hours and hours. And I actually reached that point to where there was a year and it was, this is the year that either the online portion of the homestead business aspect, it either earns enough that I can quit my day job or I have to quit it and just do the day job with a homesteading, because I can't do a home online digital business, also work as a pharmacy tech, and also run a fully function homestead. There's literally not enough hours in the day.
So, yes. So I have definitely been there as well. And I'm with you, there is courses and there are people putting stuff out but everybody follows and finds the person that they resonate. And we all have different learning styles, and so one online creator may really resonate with you, and so you want to go them. But then I guess what I'm saying is there's enough room at the table for everybody.
Carrie Wilson: Exactly. And I was floored, Melissa, when I started to listen to some internet marketers and just bring myself up to speed with just how many people use, for example, YouTube or Instagram. And one of the things that I said in Episode 10, is I think there's 2 billion users per month. And so even if you took a 0.0000 percentage of that, imagine if you had a high street shop, 300 people a day came in to your high street shop to have a look at what you were selling. I mean, that would be a pretty good day of business.
Melissa K Norris: Yes.
Carrie Wilson: So I think we got to just think about in terms of like, we think maybe that what we're doing is a small corner of the network but it's probably a lot bigger than you actually think. And so it's, I think, as we transition ... and also I was going to say that, with everybody being stay at home last year, more people became aware of the ability to use online and be connected digitally. And I think that probably helped kickstart a lot of people who hadn't necessarily turned their full attention to learning about internet marketing and the digital age. So I think it's still evolving in some way and maybe that's why there is a remnant of people who think that, well everything online should be for free. But I hope that changes as it continues to evolve.
Melissa K Norris: Yes, I think it will. I think it's a matter of educating. And if you've never done it or been around it, if you see even a two minute video, you're like, well that just took them two minutes, that's how long the video is. And they have no idea the amount of work and the editing, all the things that go into it. So I really do believe that, for the main part, humanity and humans are good, they just don't understand certain things and so they say things that they just come from a point of not true understanding yet. So all of season one was about how people produce and providing and then profiting from the homestead life.
Carrie Wilson: Right.
Melissa K Norris: So now, we've been talking about this and we haven't even get to this yet, but number one is, how can people watch this and how would they access past seasons?
Carrie Wilson: And this is another place where I've been trying to sort out how I facilitate it and make it available, because we obviously need to pay for the making of the Homestead Documentary and to have the editing done. And season one, I pretty much did it by myself. I spent 200 hours just on the editing part, and it was all self filmed, and it did way better than I thought it would do. It's on YouTube, so you can go to our YouTube channel which is, The Little Pallet Farmhouse.
So at the moment, the Homestead Documentary is sitting as a product underneath the Little Pallet Farmhouse, which is where you'll find me on Instagram. So Homestead Documentary has its own handle on Instagram, but at the moment it's still underneath our YouTube channel. It's not quite got its own arms and legs yet, we're moving in that direction. And yes, it's on YouTube if you want to watch it and you can connect either through Instagram or directly at ... I think if you put in a search for Homestead Documentary it'll come up, but it just doesn't have the URL, The Homestead Documentary on YouTube. I'm sorry if that was confusing, but I think-
Melissa K Norris: Okay. No, that's okay. And we'll link guys in the blog post that accompanies this episode which you will be able to find at melissaknorris.com/326, the number 326, because this is going to be episode number 326. We'll have specific links that you can go there and then look at season one and Carrie's at the YouTube channel and the Instagram to further connect. And then speaking of, so that was season one, so we can get access to that, but did you recent Kickstarter for season two. So tell us a bit about season two and then the evolution of the Homestead Documentary as you moved into new seasons and it begins to grow?
Carrie Wilson: Right. Well, as I was saying, having self-filmed, well, having self-produced season one and the content was all self-filmed, I was speaking to a friend of mine in Ireland who is in media and production and he was giving me some ideas about if I was going to take this forward, how to make it better, how to make it more quality so that we could possibly even pitch it to a network. And he says these sites are so big and I'm like, really, could that really happen? But so he had given me this idea of doing a Kickstarter, a fundraiser. And now, I know Justin Rhodes had done one back when he did the Great American Farm Tour. So I thought, well, why not? We'll give it a shot.
So for anyone who doesn't know, a Kickstarter is basically a crowd funding platform like GoFundMe, I think there's some others out there. But this Kickstarter is specifically for commercial creative projects. So it's not charity and most of the people who are on there are creating campaigns to launch an innovative product or a lot of documentaries or short films. And so the way it works is that you set your fundraising goal and then people can pledge to support your project. So you have to put a lot of work in to build the campaign, you have to get it approved by Kickstarter. And then what happens is when people make a pledge they don't spend any money unless the project meets its goal. And only if it reaches its funding goal then does the project go forward. So we had a goal of about 18,000, which is not much at all for producing. I think most series costs like hundreds of thousands of dollars just for a single episode.
Melissa K Norris: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Carrie Wilson: But what we wanted to do as well is if we raised more than our target was to take any surplus money and see if we could then sponsor a Homestead to fund someone's dream. And so I ran a bit of a campaign on Instagram about people getting involved to tell us what their homestead dreams were. And that really brought the project to life, because I realized how many homesteaders out there were interested in the documentary. But we didn't meet our goal. And although that might sound discouraging, it was a good learning curve because I think that we just weren't ready to have enough of a crowd to go to take that step. But even with such a small audience, we still closed at 61% funded, which was a pretty good effort. And we actually even had one single person donated $10,000, which tells me that someone out there really wanted to see it happen. But what it also did is it brought a lot of sponsors into the equation and people who had noticed it.
So what it did do is it helped create a lot of noise and then some sponsors then came alongside us, for example, Homesteaders of America and Countryside Magazine who actually supported us in season one. And so that's allowed us to still keep walking forward, but maybe just a little slower pace than we had originally planned. And I was going to say, I was going to tell you that, that we had solved the problem because I've been speaking to a media student in London and I had commissioned her to then go and do the editing for us, but unfortunately, she's had some bad health in her family, I think her father's in hospital. And so it looks like she might not be able to do it, looks like it might be back on my desk.
Melissa K Norris: Oh, no.
Carrie Wilson: Yes. But season two is underway and it's due to be released early December. And we have 20 featured homesteaders who are going to be taking us behind the scenes of their homestead. So by hook or by crook, it'll happen. It might just not happen as quickly as we'd originally planned, but this season will be available for free again on our YouTube channel, so that's how people can tune in.
Melissa K Norris: Okay. And so I understand what Kickstarter is and I've seen it, but does that mean because you only closed at 61% funded that then you didn't get any of the funds? Is that correct?
Carrie Wilson: That's right. Yes. So nobody [crosstalk 00:38:53].
Melissa K Norris: Oh, man. Okay. I love your silver lining though and what you're seeing, I truly do. But I just wanted to make sure I was understanding that correctly, because I thought that, that's the case but I was like, oh. So-
Carrie Wilson: Yes, the goal was to have it produced professionally, so that just means that it won't be produced by ... So I have limited skills and limited resources and limited software, so our goal was to have someone who actually is in professional production. And we just can't afford the guy. I spoke to a producer who Amy put me in touch with actually, and they're producing for Netflix and PBS, but I mean, goodness, they're way out of our league at the moment. And so we just continue to walk. It's not a race and we're growing support and yes, so [inaudible 00:39:49].
Melissa K Norris: You will, because that's a really a homestead documentary but it's also done by homesteaders, and that is how a homestead is built, right? Is you have something that comes up and it's a problem, and you're like, okay, well, how can I solve this? And even if your first attempt isn't as successful as you would like, you learn from each step of the journey. And I don't think I would honestly want to be on a homestead where it was like you snap your fingers and everything was perfect, because it's really the journey part and the learning part that is so important, even when it feels hard and when it feels super tough. And we don't want every single to be super tough and hard, but it's those hard, tough moments that you look back on that we really do learn the most from and then we appreciate those good times. And I feel like that sounds like a little bit cliche, but it's honest to goodness the truth.
Carrie Wilson: Yes, absolutely.
Melissa K Norris: So how can people support then the Homestead Documentary Project? Because right now you're able to watch it for free, which I have to say is incredible that you're doing two seasons, I know the amount of work that goes into creating videos, and truly, Carrie, that is so kind of you and shows the heart that's behind this project. But for those who are in a position to support, is there any way to offer support to this?
Carrie Wilson: Well, I've always got my ears to the ground and it's amazing to make and connections with people like yourself, you do have a profile and can help spread the word, and I'm also always looking out for other homesteaders that I can share stories of. I've got my sights set on a few more notable homesteaders as well, which I think will help raise the profile for the Homestead Documentary. But just as back to a grass roots level, the way people can support us is to watch it, because I know that sounds weird, but as you know, when YouTube finds out that people are commenting and liking the content and spending time watching it, then that indicates to the algorithm that the content is great and then it gets shared more and that's how our audience can grow.
But if somebody is wanting to support financially or have a bit of real estate of Homestead Documentary, we've got T-shirts which are available, and that's at homesteaddocumentary.com. We only make $7 from those shirts. I would never sell a T-shirt at, I think, I don't know if it's $25 or $30, but we just make a small portion. But the more people that buy a T-shirt, the more that, that facilitates us moving forward in the future. I mean, ultimately, I would love to be able to do something as exciting as hire a camera guy to go to somebody's homestead and record their story professionally in person, so that's the direction that I would like to move towards. But as we've said, it takes funding to do that. And if there's companies that are listening to your podcast who want to partner with us, then I'm available on email and that's at [email protected]
Melissa K Norris: Awesome. Well, I am super excited now that I got to learn more of the behind the scenes and to be able to support this, because I think as homesteaders, a lot of us, which is really funny, a lot of us probably don't watch a ton of TV, but there's in the evening or during the winter months when you have a little bit more downtime as a homesteader, depending on your climate and whatnot. There are times when we do want to watch stuff on TV but as a homesteader there's very little on TV that I want to consume.
Carrie Wilson: Right.
Melissa K Norris: I mean, surely. And so knowing that there's options like this, the more that we can support them, then the more that, that's going to be available and also help move the movement of homesteading forward and into making it more mainstream. And even if someone doesn't decide to become a full-on homesteader that hopefully that they will take away bits and pieces that they will plug into their life to make it better than it is at this specific moment in time. So anyways, thank you so much for coming on and sharing with us and we will definitely have links and allowing us to help get the word out and to support it and just for you know for running with a project that you're leading with your heart like this because it is a huge undertaking. So thank you for that and hope to be a part of it.
Carrie Wilson: Thank you, Melissa. It's been a joy to connect with you and to be here today.
Melissa K Norris: I hope that you enjoyed that episode as much as I did and I look forward to viewing Season Two with you. Thank you so much for listening, and we will be back here next week with another exciting episode. Blessings and mason jars for now my friends.
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