Online Side Hustle Ideas for Extra Cash Flow in South Africa

How to make extra income while working full-time in South Africa fully remotely? This is the question South Africans are asking in this tough economic climate. With spiralling debt and climbing interest rates, the gig economy has opened up fresh opportunities for South Africans to earn extra income through online side hustles. Whether you’re a skilled professional, creative entrepreneur, or tech-savvy individual, there’s a side hustle that suits your talents and interests And even if you’re not, there are some great opportunities for you too!

I have to mention – some of these are not new, but there’s no roadmap or how-to. I’m including loads of examples with the side hustle ideas, as I think the ideas are cute, but action is more powerful.

From freelancing, writing, and virtual assistants to e-commerce, this article explores the best online side hustles in South Africa, allowing you to monetise your skills and generate additional income streams from the comfort of your home or on-the-go. Some ideas can be implemented with very little skill, while others might take a bit more time (such as Google Adsense or Influencer marketing).

Don’t worry, I won’t be advertising pyramid schemes!

Please be careful of WhatsApp messages offering a small salary with the promise of work! Due to the nature of online work, it opens itself up for scams.

Are you looking to attract clients, or seek them out?

If you are interested in attracting clients (as I’ve done with FrugalLocal//LocalMoney), you need credibility. This takes time. You can build this by:

  • Gaining trust (doing what you say you would do)
  • Showcasing your track record – and you can do it anonymously. As long as the track record is credible (think Fiverr and Upwork)
  • Showcasing your expertise through work done, articles, videos, LinkedIn updates or social media posts.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to source clients, you will need to put time, effort and sometimes money into finding them. For example, I’ve received quite a few DMs on X with people asking to assist with copywriting, social media management and building back links.

I don’t like seeking out clients. I like it when clients come to me. But, I realise that some have better selling skills than me – and I let them do their magic and make loads of money through cold calling.

Opportunities For Freelancing in South Africa

Many overseas companies search for South Africans to perform tasks, work and other services. While, with many freelance jobs, you will need to generate your leads. I’ve tried to combine these two types of freelance hustles in the list to give you the best of both worlds.

Freelance Writing

Many influencers, bloggers, news and educational websites require specialists and not-so-specialists to write articles and reviews. For example, I know Timo Goosen does tech reviews. He is paid handsomely for his contribution. Although Upwork and Fiverr are excellent places to find freelance writing gigs, you can also contact people through your network and social media. For more info on how to write, you can check out South African freelance writer Elna Cain.

Virtual Assistant

If you can Google, manage calendars and do admin, then becoming a Virtual Assistant could be for you. You can work remotely, and your clients can send you emails, WhatsApp messages and/or DMs to request tasks such as scheduling/finding flights, creating reminders, booking meetings etc. Websites like Belay and Zirtual offer virtual assistant positions. Check out Michelle Schroeder-Gardner for inspiration on becoming a successful virtual assistant.

Online Tutoring – Teaching English, Math, Thermodynamics, Drawing, or Science Online

Online Tutoring as a side hustle has changed a lot over the last few years. It started with the well-known ‘Teach English Online’ positions, where native English speakers were paid by the hour. Today, you can tutor math, science, and languages to school (and university) students.

Websites like Tutor.com and Wyzant are great for finding tutoring jobs. The South African tutor platform Teach Me 2 is a great place to start.

Social Media Management // Strategy // Online Marketer

I’ve personally assisted someone in building a social media management hustle. Within the first two months of posting valuable content on social media, she was able to secure her first big deal. Finding clients can be challenging, but financially lucrative.

Some ways might include attraction through valuable posts or reaching out to small businesses and offering them a combination of business advice and online reputation management, which can be very attractive. For example, I offer services to plan out a customer’s online customer journey and their online ecosystem. I have a friend who does end-to-end reporting on this journey so that customers can discover where they are losing leads.

Use platforms like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to manage multiple social media accounts and schedule posts. You can use Canva to create the posts.

Online marketing is worth a word here too. I enjoy looking at company sales funnels and customer journeys. I am able to guide and give my opinion on their current process and how to increase throughput by testing ideas and streamlining their processes.

Build Your Online Side Hustle

Some people want to build their own online business – or hustle on their terms. For example, you might want to start a business as a solopreneur where you automate everything and need minimal effort from your side. You might also want to create content targeting a niche market to attract the right customers. As a content creator and software developer, many of these ideas are quite personal.

Start a Blog and/or YouTube Channel

People will tell you to start a blog for a side hustle or business – but don’t explain the income streams well. A well-designed, niche website can attract both organic, social and email traffic. Once you have the audience, you’re able to monetise this through multiple ways:

  • Ad revenue – depending on the niche, 3 000 monthly users should give you about R 200-500 in Adsense revenue. Some niches can give you substantially more.
  • Sell digital products – give your users valuable insights and sell them guides, spreadsheets, how-to ebooks or courses.
  • Use your articles to attract clients for your business. For example, Andre Bothma creates content about tax and small business. Potential customers watch his videos and contact him for tax consulting.
  • Affiliate marketing – if you’re too lazy to create valuable products, you can resell other people’s products and get a commission for each product sold. I personally don’t like this, it feels forceful.
  • Guest blog posts and sponsored posts – potential clients can pay you a fee for access to your readers or backlinks for SEO purposes. Check out my homepage – most of the brands I’ve worked with has been through this method.

You can also indirectly use this for generating revenue. For example, in the software development industry, it can be challenging to get clients. If you can showcase your expertise and build trust, it’s easier to sell a R 1 million contract to a client. And believe me, in the right industry, you can do that for a side hustle!

Bew aware that it’s not instant money – it takes time. But once it’s on a roll, it’s mostly passive income!

Use platforms like  WordPress for blogging and YouTube for video content. Remember that the content won’t be perfect – and that’s okay.

Sell Photos/Videos Online

If you want to monetise your skillset, then this one might be a good option. The generic answer is use platforms like Shutterstock or Getty Images to sell your stock photography, however, there are other options.

Google likes unique images on websites, and many influencers (and small businesses) can do with a touch of professional photography for their websites. Although most of these can be done online, you can also take this offline and do professional portraits for their website and business.

I recently had a professional photo shoot by a freelancer doing moonlighting – and the photos look great!

Portrait photo of FrugalLocal

Resell or import products

With the rise of Sheen, Temu and Wish, you can now buy products online and sell them from the comfort of your own home. For example, I have a friend who buys products and sells them on Bid Or Buy. I have another friend who imports high-quality tech products and sells them online on Takealot.

Another nifty trick I have seen is where people find products online and resell them on another website. For example, they find a pen on Amazon, and resell it on Bid Or Buy. When the deal comes in, they buy the product and update the shipping address to the client’s. By marking it as a gift, they can avoid the invoice n the packaging, making it a smooth business transaction.

If you’re looking to open your own e-commerce store, you can use platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce for set up. You might need an ads specialist or a way to drive traffic.

Monetise your tech and creative skills

If you’re in the technology field, then this section is for you. But also, if you have the skill, you are probably already monetising it!

User Testing, software development and graphic design

I am a graphic designer by education, and a software developer by experience. This has in the past opened up opportunities for both the design and coding of projects. There are many opportunities in the tech space, especially in graphic design and software development. Let’s not forget testing and UX research!

User testing and UI/UX research have become big in recent years. Providing feedback to clients and website owners can assist them in optimising the sales process or usability of their products. Platforms like UserTesting and  TryMyUI pay for user feedback. Check out Testing Time for more opportunities.

If you’re a software developer like me, you also get loads of opportunities where people are looking for mobile or web development. My clients find me. I get the opportunity to be picky about my clients – I don’t need their business, but can decide who I work with. A good way to start is to update your LinkedIn profile and add yourself to websites like hireaprogrammer.co.za.

The graphic design market is over saturated, and therefore I’m mentioning it briefly- You can use Canva for almost 90% of design work.

If you have the skill, you can provide search engine optimization services to improve website rankings. Use tools like Ahrefs and  SEMrush.

Online Courses

If you are highly skilled in something, you can easily create a course on platforms like Udemy or Teachable. I know of developers like John M. Somnez who uses the opportunity to learn a new technology and build a following. It’s a tool in his toolbox to build credibility and trust. And extra income.

Other online hustles and ideas

Tech Support or Computer Repair Remotely

I have a friend who isn’t tech savvy. They requested the help of a remote technician who accessed their computer through a software application and was able to take control of it and resolve issues. you might need some good marketing skills for this, but it is possible!

Crypto mining and staking

If you’re interested in tinkering and learning about technology, then you can look into different crypto coins and how to mine these from home. Some cryptocurrencies can still be mined using a normal computer CPU or graphics card. In some cases, you can double up your Bitcoin miner for a heater.

Another option for passive income (or if you’re mining – active income) is staking. Check out my article on crypto passive income ideas here.

Publishing and Content Creation

Influencer Marketing

It takes a long time to build a following that you can actively interact with. For that reason, it’s only a quick mention about influencers. I have earned money through sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and brand partnerships.

Other side hustles

Curate and sell subscription boxes for various interests. Subscription box businesses can cater to niche markets with unique products. The most popular subscription boxes in Sa tend to be food or dating-related.

Automation hustles

Some side hustles automate processes, such as accounting and reporting. Though very specialised, there is a huge market for proper reporting – and aggregating information into something that’s understandable and valuable is sought after. I built a report for a client some time ago that tracked their leads from their ads all the way to a completed sale.

Conclusion:

The online world offers a plethora of side hustle opportunities for South Africans to explore. By leveraging your skills, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit, you can turn your passion into a profitable venture.

Whether you choose to freelance, start an online business, or offer tech and creative services, the possibilities are endless. Embrace the gig economy and embark on your online side hustle journey today to unlock new income streams and achieve financial freedom.

Happy investing!

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