Get inspired to build a homestead with passive income with Natalie Argo! Join us for a discussion on bringing dreams to reality.
What started as a mama’s desire to stay home and raise her babies has turned into a full-time income for Natalie’s family that supports their homesteading dreams. Through the successes and failures of growing her first garden, Natalie discovered the magic of worm composting for soil fertility, and it transformed her garden. Natalie began sharing the expertise she gained in worm farming via digital products, and she now teaches other women to do the same. Join us for this discussion on bringing dreams to reality– both in the garden and in entrepreneurship!
In this episode, we cover:
- What led Natalie to pursue homesteading and online business
- Seeing God’s hand in Natalie’s journey to building her business
- Why worm composting is a powerful and underrated tool on a homestead
- The exciting future of Natalie’s dream homestead
- Final encouragement to those pursuing what God has called them to
E22: Creating Passive Income to Fund Your Homestead Dream | Natalie Argo of Hey It’s a Good Life – Homesteaders of America
Thank you to our sponsor!
Premier 1 Supplies is your one-stop shop for all things homesteading! Visit Premier1Supplies.com to browse their catalog.
Natalie is a wife, mother, believer, homesteader, and a stay at home mom with a 6 figure business. For years, she has helped aspiring homesteaders get started with their homesteading journey in suburbia, encouraging and equipping them with practical tools and resources to make compost, grow gardens, cook from scratch, and build things too.
By building a community of like minded individuals and creating simple digital resources to share with them, she discovered the power of passive income from digital products. This passive income has allowed her to stay home with her babies, see her homeschool dreams come true, and even bring her husband home from his 9-5.
Now she helps other women and families with big dreams cultivate this same kind of freedom with her guide, The Ultimate Guide to Passive Paydays. In her easy to follow 21 step guide, she helps people create passive income with digital products by turning their passion into profit, and ideas into income.
She is especially excited to serve the homesteading community as she knows that now, more than ever, people are feeling called back to the land and simply need a way to make it happen financially. She believes passive income is perfect for homesteading and farming families because it allows them the time freedom they want, need and crave to work the land and live a fulfilling life of family and freedom.
Check out Natalie’s worm farming tips on YouTube
The Ultimate Guide to Passive Paydays eBook
The Gardener’s Guide to Worm Farming Course
Natalie Argo of Hey It’s a Good Life | Website | Instagram | YouTube | Facebook | TikTok
Homesteaders of America | Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Pinterest
Creating Passive Income to Fund Your Homestead Dream Transcript
Amy Fewell Welcome to the Homesteaders of America Podcast, where we encourage simple living, hard work, natural healthcare, real food, and building an agrarian society. If you’re pioneering your way through modern noise and conveniences, and you’re an advocate for living a more sustainable and quiet life, this podcast is for you. Welcome to this week’s podcast. I’m your host, Amy Fewell, and I’m the founder of the Homesteaders of America organization and annual events. If you’re not familiar with us, we are a resource for homesteading education and online support. And we even host a couple of in-person events each year with our biggest annual event happening right outside the nation’s capital here in Virginia every October. Check us out online at HomesteadersofAmerica.com. Follow us on all of our social media platforms and subscribe to our newsletter so that you can be the first to know about all things HOA (that’s short for Homesteaders of America). Don’t forget that we have an online membership that gives you access to thousands—yes, literally thousands—of hours worth of information and videos. It also gets you discount codes, an HOA decal sticker when you sign up, and access to event tickets before anyone else. All right. Let’s dive into this week’s episode.
Amy Fewell Welcome to this week’s episode of the Homesteaders of America podcast. This week I’m super excited to have Natalie Argo from Hey, It’s a Good Life. Natalie, welcome to the podcast.
Natalie Argo Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Amy Fewell Yeah, so you and I connected a couple of years ago at an HOA event, I think. And then we have had some discussion off and on since then. And then you actually were one of our speakers one year, and everybody got to learn all about your worm farming. And so today on the podcast, we’re going to talk about Natalie’s story. And as you guys know, we are very home based, right? And so you might hear little babies or children in the background. That’s totally fine because that’s what homesteading is about, right? Bringing all things back home. So I know for the ladies that are listening, they’re going to be like, “Aw.” They’re going to love it. So, Natalie, why don’t you start by telling us all about you and what you do and we’ll go from there?
Natalie Argo Sure. Yeah. My name’s Natalie Argo. I’m from San Diego, California, originally one county north. If anybody’s from Orange County, what’s up? But I’m from California, and I’ve always been really into nature and home life and just being connected. I remember I wanted my mom for a long time to be my teacher. I think I was just—even at a young age—craving connection and closeness. And so this desire for… I love how you put it of like homesteading is about bringing everything back home. This really home-centered life has always been in my heart. And so as I pursued getting a degree and going to college and all of that stuff, my question was always, “How can I have a job that also allows me to be with my babies?” And so I love people. And I thought I would be able to help people really well in the field of psychology. And so I pursued a degree in that and I worked ten plus years towards that degree. Absolutely grueling. Cried every day on the way to my internship. And for anybody out there who has become a counselor, a marriage and family therapist, you know it’s 3,000 hours of grueling, often free or underpaid work. And so I was just crying every day on the way to work. And I just felt like it was the thing that I was supposed to do, so I did it. And I finally got to the point of being in my job and starting my private practice and having my own business and hanging my own shingle, all of these things that I was so… You know, thinking that I wanted forever. And then I realized that I was super depressed. I was looking out my window thinking I need to have my hands in the dirt and I want to help people, but not like this. It just didn’t feel as therapeutic as it could be. And I had met a couple who said that they did youth recovery on a regenerative ranch, I think it is. And so the minute I met them and they said that, there was like a lightning bolt that went through me that was like, I need to do that. Like, how can I take my counseling beyond four walls? And that’s when I fell into every TED talk from Joel Salatin on YouTube, which led me to Justin Rhodes. And Joel showed me there’s a better way to do farming. And Justin Rhodes showed me families can do this. And then I kind of fell into the Roots and Refuge thing. And “make your waiting room your classroom” was a phrase super popularized by Jess at the time. And so I was like, okay, I’m just going to do this thing. And at the same time as I was getting ready to just start my little garden on my apartment patio, my friends out at Primal Pastures were documenting their journey. I used to play volleyball with Paul and Lindsey of that company, and so I was personal friends with them on Facebook. And they’re posting all of this information about the food system and how broken it is. And so I had all of these signs pointing me towards doing things different. On top of that, my dad passed away from cancer, which was a huge wake up call for me of like, we need to do things better. And so I had all of these things kind of weighing on me like, you know what? I’m going to do this. I’m going to start my garden. So I started my garden. I started my YouTube channel. I was so excited and I thought I knew everything. I was like, I’m going to do this. And then my garden died, and I was devastated. All 47 YouTube subscribers were watching me. I was like, I failed in front of 50 people. I’m so upset. And that’s ultimately what led me to understanding soil and soil health and composting. But I had this major problem, which was I couldn’t compost in the city and I was living in a 750 square foot apartment at the time with my husband. We were newlyweds. I had just spent all of our money on starting our garden, bought the most expensive soil. Bought the cheapest what I could find, built the beds myself. Anyway, the garden died and I had this problem of how do I revive it, especially with no money? And it led me to really becoming really proficient with worm farming, which is just a way to compost with worms. But because the worms are there and they have so many microbe friends expedites the process and it just gives you the absolute best and fastest turnaround with compost and really became like this expert in the worm farming world. I just got really into it and I realized it was giving me my dream garden and I was like, why aren’t we all doing this? Like, why don’t we all have a worm farm? And why doesn’t every school have a worm farm? And why doesn’t every school have a garden? And that’s when I was working as a counselor at a school. So I started a school garden and I started a school compost system. I started YouTubing the whole journey of worm farming and really just helping people with this one thing. And learning to help people with this one thing and about keywords and really becoming focused on online of like, what is the problem that I solve and how do I solve that? Anyways, so I started getting really into worm farming and I started documenting that journey on YouTube. We had also moved to a bigger property and so I documented the journey of the gardening and the homegrown food. But when I really focused on understanding keywords, I took up a lot of Internet space with this whole worm farming thing, developed a whole community around worm farming, and launched a course to serve my people really well. And that was the first time that I had experienced monetization with my content. Up to that point, I had been crying in my garden asking God like, “Please give me a sign. You called me to do this, but I’m not making any money and I’m doing this so wholeheartedly.” Like, at what point is Google AdSense going to pay my bills? It just wasn’t paying the bills. I wasn’t making it as an influencer. And so I was like, “What do I do here?” Long story short, digital products simply changed that for me because unlike people who have a farm and might be able to sell eggs or sell milk or maybe sell a physical product, I didn’t have anything that I could sell. And so I started selling basically my knowledge in digital form in the form of e-books. So I created an e-book, made $500 my first month with a worm farming e-book, and eventually turned that into a course and started to see $10,000 paydays from that one course. And that really changed everything for me. And so now I’m in a position where I can teach other people how to create their digital products, their funnels, their businesses, and really launch into their dreams. And that’s what I feel like my purpose is is to help people launch into their dreams. And I find myself in a particularly interesting spot, having taken up my little corner of the internet in homestead world because I really believe there are so many people like me who need a way to fund their farm dream, need a way to fund their homestead, but don’t necessarily have the resources right now. And so right now I’m just in a place to encourage people, “Hey, you have a unique gift that you can put into an e-book and start to sell and develop a business around.” And so that’s kind of been a pivot for us here at Hey, It’s a Good Life. We’re still homesteaders, and we’re still going to share that journey because certainly we’re headed to our farm soon. But along the way, we’re now going to help people build their businesses and I’m really excited about it.
Amy Fewell Yeah, that’s awesome. So you are home full time now, right? And this is your income, right?
Natalie Argo Yeah. Yeah. We’re home full time now and this is our income. There’s quite a bit of pressure that comes with that. But also it’s so interesting being a faith-led, faith-filled person because I do believe that God gives us these signs. And so we are looking for the signs and we got them. I mean, we had been joking for months like, “Hey, we really need to scale the business. We really need to take the next step, and how are we going to do that if you’re still working? And how are we going to do that with a baby on the way?” Like, “Haha, wouldn’t it be funny if your hours got cut? Haha!” And we kind of kept joking and then they did. And we’re like, “Oh, okay. So your hours are cut now.”
Amy Fewell Yeah.
Natalie Argo Okay. It was just such an interesting thing because my husband got a 90-day warning before his hours were cut completely. And so we had this little like launch pad, and God sent us so many signs on that 90-day exit strip, everything from… Like I literally asked him to just give me a sign on my doorstep. And the next day my neighbor delivered donut peaches, which was such a sign for me as somebody who I have just like special stories around peaches, and I want to have a peach orchard one day—story for another time. And then my husband, you know, his comfort food is like donuts. I was like, “Really? Donut peaches, Lord? That’s what you’re putting on my doorstep today?” So it just felt like such a sign. And I feel like we keep getting these little signs, just keep taking the next step. And it’s like we would have never chosen this for ourselves at this particular stage. It feels a lot safer to have that 9 to 5 back up, but in a way, it feels like God has forced our hands to just go for it. And so that’s what we’re doing and we’re just figuring it out. And I mean, he just keeps providing and we keep being able to help people. And it’s just been this really sometimes nerve wracking, sometimes really exciting journey. And so we’re just figuring it out day by day.
Amy Fewell Yeah, that’s amazing. It’s so awesome that you’re both home and doing this homesteading work-from-home thing and all because you just shared one piece of knowledge that people really don’t know anything about. And that’s a big testament to 1) how God works, right? And 2) like knowledge is really power. I mean, that’s what HOA kind of is all about is sharing knowledge and educating people. And there is value in that. I mean, right? We’re coming to this place and time in our generation where if you don’t have knowledge… I mean, even the Bible says “get knowledge”, right? “Seek wisdom. Get knowledge.” And it’s so important, not just in the Word, but just in homesteading as well, because these skills—even worm farming—are so important. And the one thing I realized about myself is I didn’t know nearly enough about soil in the last few years even. And so that’s one thing that we’re starting to focus on, too. And so it’s interesting to see that God’s kind of placed that on a lot of people’s hearts is the fertility of soil and how to make it more fertile.
Amy Fewell Hey, thanks for listening. We’re going to take a quick break to introduce you to one of our sponsors that has been with HOA for a few years, and that’s Premier 1 Supplies. At Premier 1, they’ve been providing electric fencing and electric netting, sheep and goats supplies, clippers and shears, ear tags, poultry products, and expert advice for over 40 years. Whether it’s electric netting for your chickens or cattle or horses or poultry, or clippers and shears, and even poultry supplies such as fencing, feeders, waterers, egg handling supplies, hatchery items, they have it all. They are a one-stop shop for all things homesteading. Just like many of our sponsors. Check out Premier 1 Supplies at Premier1Supplies.com and don’t forget to check them out at the HOA event this year.
Amy Fewell I wonder if you’ll talk a little bit about… You don’t have to give us the course, right? But a little bit about how worm farming works and how you’re seeing a difference in your homestead. And also kind of give us a snippet… For those who don’t know who you are and don’t follow you, what does your homestead look like and how you use that to your benefit?
Natalie Argo Yeah, I love that. Yeah. So our homestead is… We live in suburbia. Our lot is, I want to say, I don’t know, maybe 2,000 square feet. Our house is like a 1,000 square feet. Our lot is maybe 3,000 square feet. The back is completely concrete. We rent. And so if we were going to grow anything back here in a concrete backyard, it meant building our own garden beds and then filling them. And so that’s what I did. And I did it again on just this really tight shoestring budget. I used cedar fence pickets, did it all myself. And to any women out there with a dream of homesteading and maybe your husband’s not interested… Just to be perfectly candid with you, my husband has not been interested in this until recently. And I remember the first year I was really interested in homesteading, I heard the Lord say, “Don’t stop squawking about it.” It was just such this clear, “Don’t stop squawking about it.” And I was like, “Squawking like a bird? You talk like that, Lord?” Like, okay, don’t stop squawking about it. All right. So I just really stuck with it, and I’m so glad I did because developing skills is really just the journey of a thousand steps. Now I feel like I’m actually a very skilled carpenter, and so I’ve just made it work, you know, cedar fence pickets, shoestring budget, let’s do this, one income. And so I built our garden beds. So we have five main garden beds, pollinator patch, and then a couple of garden beds in the front. And one of the main issues that I ran into was the soil that we got delivered, which was a total novel concept to me at the time. I didn’t know you could have soil deliveries. We had a soil delivery company come out and deliver the soil. If I could do it differently, I would do maybe more like a lasagna method where you do… Or like a hugelkultur method, where you fill it with wood and grass clippings and all these wonderful things that are going to break down over time. We literally filled them completely full with soil, and I didn’t even know that I should mulch or add compost on top. And so again, I had this problem where I was like, okay, I got better soil and I got better garden beds and I did a lot of things better this time, but I was still having this issue with soil. That’s where the worm farming really came in and I really kind of stepped into my own with composting here on this new property. I was like, okay, here I am again with this soil issue. How do I fix this? How do I expand the worm farm? I started to be able to make… And this just blows my mind. But over 2,000 pounds of compost in just six square feet of space, and that’s the power of worms is that they really expedite the process. Whereas with a traditional compost pile, you might be waiting a year, a year and a half, and then you’re kind of just saying a hope and a prayer that you turned it enough times and watered it enough times and you’re like, I hope this turns out. With worms, if you set it up right the first time, it’s almost a surefire bet that you’re going to get compost in about 4 to 8 weeks. You keep it at the right temperature, about 75 degrees, you can get a lot of compost. And so what I teach people is a very simple method. It’s a ten gallon Roughneck tote from Rubbermaid, drill some holes in the side. There’s lots of this all over my YouTube and my Instagram if you guys need some reference points there. But you drill some holes in it and you put basically a handful of red wiggler worms and you get your layers right, your carbon, your nitrogen, your bedding, a little bit of water in there, and you just kind of keep layering that. You’re going to have ready-to-go compost in about 4 to 8 weeks and it’s going to be about 50 pounds of compost in that one 10-gallon tote. So it’s just a really powerful method, and the way that we end up using that compost is in a variety of ways. We’ve top-dressed our beds about once a year, and that’s actually all it takes simply because the worm castings are so potent and so gentle at the same time. They’re like nature’s slow-release fertilizer because of the mucus around each worm casting. It breaks down slowly over time. And so we really only amend our beds about once a year. That means pulling back the mulch on top, mixing in some worm castings, watering them in, and then adding fresh mulch on top. And that’s what we do maybe once or twice a year. And then my favorite way… Okay? Anybody listening, you have got to know about worm tea. Like I’m absolutely obsessed with worm tea. If you’re not making compost tea, you’re missing out, okay? So listen up. Aerated worm tea. No, this is not the juice that comes out of your bins. If you’re having a lot of juice that comes out of your worm bin, it’s too wet. Add some browns. Take a handful of worm castings, dunk it up and down in some de-chlorinated water. If you’re on city water like I am, you want to let your water sit out for about 24 hours, dunk it up and down. That’s going to basically cause this chemical reaction that wakes everything up and then you’re going to add some molasses, add some air from an air bubbler like a—what’s it called?—a fish tank pump. And you let it go for about 24 hours and you feed the microbes just like you would feed sourdough or you feed kombucha, you’re feeding the microbes. They expand. You water it down by about 50%, and you spray it on the undersides of your leaves of every plant in the morning when the stomata—is that how you say it? The cell is more open to receiving the nutrients.
Amy Fewell Right.
Natalie Argo This is such a powerful tool for your garden because you’re getting what’s called phenol compounds directly onto the plants, which deter pests that you don’t want there. And it also provides this beautiful flora on the plants. And what I noticed when I started doing this was not only was I getting more fruit and more flowering and more growth because it also stimulates the plant to produce auxin which is like the growth hormone. That’s where you’ll see the tendrils and stuff start to grow. So it’s very potent and very gentle at the same time. So you’ll see a lot more blooms and a lot more fruit and a lot… Just you’ll see so much from that. So I could go on and on about worm tea, but if you’re not making it, that’s like the basic recipe and I’d be happy to help you out more with that. I’ve got resources all over the place for you with that. But yeah, worm tea is my favorite, and that’s what we spray all over our whole property. And I just noticed a huge difference in what we were able to produce in a small space, which is really important to us as we’re learning to homestead, but also reduction in pests.
Amy Fewell Wow, that’s awesome. Who knew you could have all of these things at your fingertips, even if you live in a townhouse or a condo or whatnot? That’s pretty incredible. So guys, we’ll link all of Natalie’s course and e-book and all that stuff in the description of this podcast, because I feel like it’s really valuable information that so many people have still never heard of and don’t understand. And so you guys can check that out there. Now, Natalie, I’m curious, what are your future goals? Like you said, you know your farm is coming. What are some future goals that you have?
Natalie Argo I love that question and thank you so much. I just want to say thank you for giving me a little platform or soapbox to talk about worm farming, because I don’t know if you can tell, but I get so excited. The little worm nerd of me is like, I want everybody to have a worm farm. So I just want to say thank you so much. And I hope that you guys that are listening are excited about it because it really is so empowering and it’s a way that you can practice regenerative agriculture right where you are. And to your question of where do I see us headed, my ultimate goal is to have a regenerative farming retreat center where we not only are a refuge for leaders, but we also equip them and relaunch them into their purpose. A word that the Lord gave me a long time ago was to lead leaders. And so I see myself doing that in my family with my children. But working in leadership development for many years, I was able to acquire a really great skillset and great connections with people that will come out to our farm one day and help restore leaders into their purpose and into their mission. And so we’re raising leaders here on our homestead in our children, but we’re dreaming of having retreats. And I know so many people feel like that. I know there’s like the synchronicity happening in the earth right now. And so maybe you’re listening, you’re like, “I’m called to that, too! We’re supposed to work together.” I mean, I know that happens a lot. And so, yeah, who knows? Who knows who we’ll work with and how we’ll do that. But I know that God’s already given us some potential land partners, and so we’re really praying about where are we going to go? We went out to the Homestead Festival with Rory Feek last year and I just remember feeling like, “Lord, I have a dream state. But if you are calling us to Tennessee, I will concede to Tennessee. I would still love to be here. This would be beautiful.” And then the Lord really opened up opportunities here in California. And so I thought, “Well, okay, if I’m supposed to fight for California, I’ll be here and I’ll fight for this mission here in California.” And so we’re working with our friends at Primal Pastures for now to help people get started with this and start regenerating the earth in their own backyards. But I really do wonder, “God, where do you where do you have us one day? Is that always going to be California?” Because if I had it my way, it would be somewhere like Tennessee or the East Coast. So we’ll see. But that’s the ultimate vision and the ultimate goal. And we’re just taking it one day at a time to see what is that property?
Amy Fewell I don’t know, Natalie. There’s a lot of stuff happening in California that you might just be in the right place at the right time. So we’ll have to see, right?
Natalie Argo Yeah.
Amy Fewell Awesome. All right. Well, thank you for joining me. Is there anything else? It doesn’t even have to be about worms or farming. Is there anything else that you just feel burning inside of you that you need to tell people before you get off here?
Natalie Argo I love that so much. You know, the core of my message from day one has really been God has put a dream in your heart for a reason. And so if you are dreaming for something and you feel this desperation or this longing and you’re wondering, “How am I ever going to get there?” It’s there for a reason. And I just want to invite you to partner with that whatever that looks like. For me, that has looked like starting my own business, because the number one thing between me and where I want to go has always been finances. And so the question has been how do I scale that and leverage our finances to help us get that down payment for the house and help us go to these different events and get our message out there. So my invitation to you—anybody who’s listening—if you have that dream, listen to that. It’s there for a reason. And I really believe that Jesus loves the marketplace. One of my students said this is and it has just really stuck with me— Jesus loves the marketplace and we need more believers in the marketplace. And so I really see people breaking generational curses, breaking generational trauma as they start their new business. Because, as you know, when you grow a business, if you want to grow, it means growing yourself as a person. And so I see leaders being raised up in business. I see myself as really just being a conduit to help people get. That’s why I wrote this guide about how you can create your own digital product with your own expertise and turn it into an online business so you can start to see an income. And so if I can help anybody with that, I’m here to help you with that. But whatever that looks like— if that looks like volunteering, if that looks like doing things differently in your home, or if it looks like starting a business, I just want to encourage you to listen to that. And don’t worry about the how. Really give that over. Just worry about taking the next step. And don’t worry about it. I should say just be encouraged to take the next step because I could have never known that I would be where I am. I’ve just kind of taken the next step, and they’re all stepping stones to where you’re supposed to go. So just keep listening and keep taking that next step because it will eventually get you where you’re supposed to be.
Amy Fewell Yeah, just keep saying yes, right? Just keep saying yes. All right, guys. Well, thank you for joining us for this week’s podcast episode. I hope that you will check out the show notes. All the information is in there. You can grab her course. You can grab her e-book, you can grab the handbook, you can grab all the stuff. You can find her on YouTube because she does… Natalie has a ton of information on YouTube. And you can go see her beautiful homestead on there as well and how she’s doing that if you are in a small-scale setup like she is. All right, guys, thanks for joining us. And until next time, happy homesteading.
Amy Fewell Hey, thanks for taking the time to listen to this week’s Homesteaders of America episode. We really enjoyed having you here. We welcome questions and you can find the transcript and all the show notes below or on our Homesteaders of America blog post that we have up for this podcast episode. Don’t forget to join us online with a membership or just to read blog posts and find out more information about our events at HomesteadersofAmerica.com. We also have a YouTube channel and follow us on all of our social media accounts to find out more about homesteading during this time in American history. All right, have a great day and happy homesteading.