Are you passionate about herbs? Ever thought about turning your love of herbs into a little side business to help you save more money in your retirement account?
I started down the herbal path years ago, when I surprised my husband by signing us both up for a local herb class.
He had commented that our meals tasted so much more flavorful and looked more vibrant when we used fresh herbs from our garden.
The class we took was a lot of fun as it included a little about the folklore and history of herbs, gardening tips, recipes, and lots of great herbal treats to eat!
The classroom smelled amazing, and I was hooked!
The teacher was a baby boomer who spoke of the “back to the land” movement, natural living, and growing and using herbs for improved health.
She was promoting an herbal apprenticeship program and I enrolled right away, with about 25 other students!
It was a fantastic experience.
We were an enthusiastic group of budding herbalists who came together every month to learn about herbs.
Since then, I’ve worked part-time at three different herb farms / herb shops to earn extra money outside of my main gig as a social worker.
Over the years, I continued my herbal studies with other herbalists, took additional herb courses, and attended many workshops.
It’s been a lot of fun!
Imagine making a little extra cash doing something you love, and using that money to boost your retirement savings.
Wouldn’t it be great if the parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme growing in your herb garden could help you contribute to your IRA?
I’m here to tell you that it’s possible!
Identify your herbal interests that could be turned into an income stream. Find your niche.
There are many ways to make a little extra money with herbs.
Consider the following herbal money-making ideas:
Grow and sell herb plants at farmer’s markets.
Grow and sell fresh-cut herbs to local chefs.
Make and sell herbal edibles such as jams, jellies, syrups, vinegar, candy, dip mix, dried herbal seasonings, and dried herbal tea blends.
Create your own herbal recipes and self-publish an herbal cookbook.
Make and sell herbal swags or herbal wreaths.
Photograph herbs and sell the photos.
Create and sell herbal photo cards.
Get paid to do herbal illustrations.
Write and sell herb articles to magazines.
Make and sell herbal crafts such as potpourri, herbal dream pillows, herbal candles, and other fragrant herbal decorative items.
Get a part-time job in a garden center, at an herb farm, or herb shop.
Teach herb classes.
Get paid to lead informative and fun herb walks.
Develop a line of herbal body care products, such as lotions, lip balms, foot baths, etc.
If you don’t want to make your own products, sell pre-made herbal products.
There are several direct sales companies that promote herbal products. For example, Wild Tree distributes herb dips and spices.
I’ve been successfully selling Miessence organic herbal skincare and body care products as an independent representative for over 10 years.
Define who you want to share your love of herbs with. Determine your customer base.
Determining your customer base also involves a little bit of self-assessment.
Are you an extrovert, who gets energy from interacting with lots of different people?
Or are you more of an introvert, who would prefer to sell culinary herbs from your garden to local restaurant chefs?
Know yourself, and know who you would like to reach.
Who is your ideal customer?
Do you want to reach people who like to garden, to help them learn to grow their own herbs?
Would you enjoy working with children, teaching herbal crafts?
Think you might get more excited photographing and writing about herbs – something that you can do on your own that could still inspire others?
Do some research if you need to learn more.
To become an herbalist, you need to learn about herbs. Get educated.
Your education in herbs can be self-taught, but by enrolling in an herb course, you will have even more fun completing projects and learning new skills.
Taking an herb class is a terrific way to get to know others who share your interests.
There are excellent herbal training programs available online if you can’t find a program near you.
Obtaining additional herbal training can help to set you apart as an expert.
Lay the legal groundwork.
If you’re going to start making money with herbs, you may need to get a business license. Check with your city or state government.
Rent a commercial kitchen or get an inspection of your own kitchen if you plan to sell herbal food items.
Contact your State Board of Equalization, as you will need to collect and pay sales taxes if you sell non-food herbal products.
Consider purchasing liability insurance.
When it comes to recommending or dispensing herbal remedies, a few states allow acupuncturists and naturopathic doctors to do so within the scope of their licensed practices.
There is currently no state-level licensing for those who wish to practice as clinical herbalists.
For additional legal and regulatory information see the American Herbalists Guild.
Develop, create, or grow your products and offerings.
If you want to teach herb classes, you will have to write a course description, develop an outline for your class, produce handouts and hands-on activities for the students to do during class.
Interactive herb classes are always more popular.
Local community colleges, park & recreation departments, herb farms, and garden centers are good places to consider teaching an herb class.
Identify those places already offering classes and submit a proposal for the class you would like to teach.
The pay for teaching community herb classes can vary – you may be asked to set the price of your class, or it will be set for you.
Expect to earn an hourly rate or a percentage of the class fees collected.
You can charge a separate fee to cover the cost of materials used by students in the class, just make sure they go home with something.
Find an outlet to share your talents. Where will you do business?
Your local Farmer’s Market is the perfect spot to sell herb plants, wreaths, herbal crafts, soap, body care products, or herbal food items.
It involves some legwork – you’ll have to contact the market manager and fill out an application. Once approved, you’ll need to show up early each week to set up your booth.
Make your booth look inviting!
Find out ahead of time if you need to bring your own tables, shade cover, or chair. Make sure you have a cashbox with change and a way to take electronic payments, such as Square or another credit card reader.
Let people know what you have to offer.
Grab some inexpensive business cards or make your own – maybe out of beautiful homemade herbal paper.
Volunteer to give free presentations at local garden clubs, women’s clubs, and other community events. Ask if you can bring along herbal plants or herbal items to sell.
And remember to put your profits into your retirement account. The point is to monitize your hobbies so that you can get paid doing something you love, and capture that extra money to stuff your retirement account!
Question: What hobbies or passions do you have that you might be able to earn a little extra money from?