How a beekeeping side hustle became a business that can bring in $10,000 a month

Courtesy Nicole Buergers

In 2015, Nicole Buergers quit her marketing job to pursue a longtime passion: beekeeping and selling local honey in her hometown of Houston, Texas. Today, she is the owner of Bee2Bee Honey Collective, which helps build and maintain backyard beehives and sells local honey produced in Houston. It can bring in over $100,000 a year.

While Buergers was still working at a marketing agency, her financial planner asked what she was really passionate about, and her answer was somewhat unconventional. "I really care about cheese," she says she told him.

Their conversation led her to start a blog, The Queso Queen. One post about a Houston cheese shop called the Houston Dairymaids led to a job offer at the store, and within months, Buergers began working at the shop on Saturdays. Around the same time, Buergers also dove into beginner beekeeping with a beehive in her own backyard. She learned of the "hundreds of backyard beekeepers in the city," and became part of their community.

When Buergers started noticing that Dairymaids patrons frequently requested locally made honey (which the store didn't sell at the time), she started developing an idea for a bee business.

Photo by Kerrisa Treanor

"I was like, 'OK, this is gonna be kind of a weekend project, a side hustle,'" she says, "But the more I worked on it, I just became obsessed with it. … I could not do my full-time job anymore, and I ended up quitting."

Today, Bee2Bee takes care of anywhere between 70 and 125 hives per year in Houston and the surrounding area, and sells honey from up to 30 different honey makers, depending on the season. The business brings in as much as $10,000 a month, says Buergers, who charges clients a monthly fee for setting up the hives and for maintaining them. She also keeps 35% of her clients' honey, which she sells for a profit. On top of all that, she gives classes on beekeeping and food pairing.

Here are four of Buergers' key takeaways from her booming business.

1. Figure out what you 'want to explore'

When deciding where to focus, start by zeroing in on what you're excited about.

"A lot of people I know have really boring nine-to-five jobs," Buergers says, "and they have all of this creativity and ingenuity that they want to explore and exercise but don't get to. ... A side hustle can do that."

Once you've determined a subject or idea you're passionate about, explore the market and see where there might be a niche or how you could fulfill a need. For Buergers, that meant connecting consumers craving local honey with backyard honey producers.

Courtesy Nicole Buergers

2. Allow your business to evolve

The way Bee2Bee makes money has changed over time. "This past year has been really interesting," Buergers says, "because I took over for a few beekeepers at the big farmers market here and it really changed my revenue stream. Before I was making most of my money through the beekeeping services, and now I'm doing a lot more honey sales."

By remaining flexible and aware of opportunities, Buergers has been able to capitalize on what's come her way and continue to expand the business.

3. 'You need a community'

As soon as Buergers started beekeeping, she joined local bee clubs. Even as a hobby, beekeeping can be a solitary endeavor, she says, and it helped to have a community to learn from and collaborate with.

"You need a community," Buergers says. "I know a lot of other small business owners and entrepreneurs, and we're all dealing with a lot of the same stressors and questions, and to have those people around you who are also insanely busy ― at least you know you have these people in your corner."

Bee2Bee Honey Collective hive.
Photo by Sam Franklin

4. When the going gets tough, know that 'it's totally worth it'

Despite the growth of her business, Buergers herself does not make bank on Bee2Bee ― at least, not yet. That $10,000 per month mostly goes towards paying her employees, maintaining an office and classroom space, the company truck, and other expenses.

"I don't pay myself very much," she says. "I'm hoping to change that. I never really envisioned this being a money-maker type of thing, more of this is something I really want to do so I'm going to pursue it. ... I'd like to make enough revenue where I pay myself a pretty good living wage."

These days, Buergers pays herself $1,000 a month, a salary she more or less lives on: Her business income is supplemented by an occasional shift at the Dairymaids and by renting out an extra room in her house on Airbnb. She's made some lifestyle changes since founding the business, like selling her car, for instance, and not dining out very often.

The bottom line, she says, is that when you try to build a business, "you're gonna struggle for the first few years before you can really pay yourself, but I think it's totally worth it."

More from Grow:

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns


About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2021 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.