Tiny Home Hustle: Building a Business with Less Inputs

Tiny homes may cut down on overall inputs to allow a growing business to thrive.

| October 2016

In Living Large in Our Little House (reader's Digest, 2016), Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell had been subconsciously trying to live up to this American Dream when circumstances forced her and her husband into a 480-square foot house in the woods. What was supposed to be a writing cabin and guest house became their full-time abode and they quickly discovered that they had serendipitously discovered a better way of life.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Living Large in our Little House.

Tiny house dwellers are typically an adventurous lot, which also makes them good risk-takers when it comes to entrepreneurism. Many not only yearn for the freedom of having a tiny home, but also desire to control their professional lives. Annelise and Jake Hagedorn are twenty-somethings living their dream in a 192-squarefoot tiny home, which has living space and a loft bedroom. They also both recently finished graduate school at Penn State University and are starting their PhDs. Annelise is studying rural sociology and Jake is studying hydrogeology. They support themselves through their company, Brevard Tiny House Company, based in North Carolina, which designs and builds tiny homes for others seeking the same lifestyle. The Hagedorns’ tiny home stays parked in the backyard of a home in Pennsylvania, where they pay the landowner rent, but the couple commutes to North Carolina to work on their business when they’re not in school.

“We found out about tiny homes when we were in college, and Jake had to do a presentation in environmental design,” says Annelise. The couple then went to Sri Lanka to teach English. “When we returned from overseas, we decided we wanted to build one to live in while in grad school.”

Annelise says they have fielded calls from all age groups interested in building tiny homes. “People in their 50s seem interested, but it is usually people in their 30s who actually buy,” she says. Brevard Tiny Homes average about $45,000, some are higher and some lower, based on the square footage and items added.

Annelise and Jake both work from their tiny home, whether it’s schoolwork or creating a tiny home for a client. Annelise works from the loft, while Jake works at the dining room table, which is a portable folding table. “When we first moved in, I thought it would be a problem if the light was on downstairs because I’m a morning person and Jake’s a night person,” says Annelise. “But the table is under the loft, which blocks out most of the light, so it’s worked out.”

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