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How to Make Money Online in South Africa Under 18 (Legally!)

How to Make Money Online in South Africa Under 18 (Legally!)

Making money online as a teenager in South Africa may seem daunting, but with a bit of creativity and hustle, it is possible.

The key is to find online jobs, services or products that you can legally provide or sell within the confines of labor laws.

With the internet providing global reach, there are more opportunities now than ever before to earn an income online before turning 18 in South Africa.

Some examples of legal ways to make money online in South Africa before 18 include freelancing services, selling products, monetizing a website or blog, taking paid online surveys, and working as a virtual assistant.

The key is choosing activities aligned with your skills and interests, and checking that any income generating activities do not violate local labor laws regarding age restrictions.

With persistence and hard work, you can absolutely start earning an income online even as a minor in South Africa.

Popular Online Money Making Ideas For Teenagers in South Africa

Here are some of the most popular and feasible ways to make money online in South Africa before turning 18 years old:

Freelancing Services

One of the top ways under 18s can earn online in South Africa is by freelancing skills and services. Things like:

  • Writing services – Become an academic essay writer, SEO content creator, copywriter, proofreader or translator. Platforms like Fiverr, Freelancer and Upwork let you create profiles and apply for writing gigs.
  • Graphic design – Create logos, illustrations, infographics, brochures, posters, web assets and other designs for clients on platforms like Dribbble, 99Designs and Fiverr.
  • Coding & web development – Build websites, apps, plugins, scripts or other programming services and sell your skills on sites like Codementor, Toptal and PeoplePerHour.
  • Data entry – Provide data entry, virtual assistant, research or data validation services using portals like ClickWorker, Amazon MTurk and Neevo.
  • Consulting – Offer your expertise in things like social media, marketing, academic subjects, coding, design etc on JustAnswer, Catalant and Upwork.
  • Translation – Translate documents, apps, websites, videos and other content between languages using sites like Gengo, One Hour Translation and Rev.

The key is to leverage skills you already have or can learn, provide quality work, and build up great client feedback over time.

Selling Products Online

Another way to make money under 18 in South Africa is by selling products online. Options include:

  • Ecommerce stores – Use platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento or Squarespace to set up a storefront and sell products in categories like art, handmade crafts, graphic design templates, merchandise etc. Promote your store on social media.
  • Dropshipping – Sell products from suppliers directly to customers, without handling inventory. An easy way to start earning from ecommerce.
  • Print on demand – Upload your designs to sites like Redbubble, Zazzle and Society6. Products with the designs are printed and shipped when someone orders.
  • Affiliate marketing – Earn commissions promoting other brands/stores using affiliate programs from ShareASale, Awin, Impact, ClickBank etc. Can promote via a blog, website or social media.
  • Selling digital files – Offer digital products like photos, videos, svg files, resume templates, music files on platforms like Gumroad, Etsy and CreativeMarket.
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The upside with products is you can earn passively once listings are up. But you need to source quality products and promote them diligently.

Monetizing a Website or Blog

Building and monetizing an informational website, niche blog or YouTube channel is another viable way to make money online under 18 in South Africa. You can make money from:

  • Google AdSense – Show targeted Google ads on your site and earn money when visitors click. The more traffic your site gets, the more you can potentially earn.
  • Affiliate marketing – Review products/services on your site and link to online merchants using affiliate links. Earn commissions when site visitors click and buy.
  • Sponsored posts – Get paid by brands to review their products/services on your site. Disclose sponsored posts.
  • Digital products – Create and sell PDF guides, ebooks, courses, graphics packs, stock images and more digital files related to your niche.
  • Merchandise – Design and sell tshirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases and other custom branded merchandise featuring your brand, artwork or designs.
  • Memberships – Offer premium memberships that give exclusive access to special content, discounts, bonuses and more.

Building an audience and site traffic takes time and effort, but can become a diversified income stream with multiple monetization avenues.

Read also: Where To Exchange Old South African Coins for Cash

Paid Online Surveys

Taking online surveys in your spare time is an easy way to earn a bit of extra cash before 18 in South Africa. Some examples of legitimate survey sites include:

  • Ipsos – Well known survey portal with reasonable payouts and plenty of survey options for South Africans. Can redeem points for gift cards.
  • Toluna – Global survey community with a decent South African user base. Quick surveys and regular sweepstakes.
  • PureProfile – Take surveys and product tests and earn points redeemable for various rewards. Open to under 18s with parental consent.
  • SurveyCompare – Aggregator of paid surveys from a range of providers. Compare options and payouts.
  • Swagbucks – Popular rewards site that includes paid surveys among various earning activities. Can redeem SB points for gift cards.
  • PrizeRebel – Features online surveys and other earning options like polls, games, offers etc. Wide prize redemption options.
  • Valued Opinions – One of the oldest survey panels, with an international reach. Decent reputation with reasonable rewards.

While survey income is modest, it adds up over time. Just stick to reputable, trusted survey sites that pay out reliably.

How to Get Set Up for Online Money Making Under 18

Here are some tips to get set up for earning online successfully and legally as a teenager in South Africa:

Choose the Right Income Opportunities

Carefully select opportunities that align with your skills, interests and capacity. Avoid shady money making schemes with big promises of easy money. Do your due diligence and stick to legit platforms.

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Get Any Necessary Permission

Certain income activities may require parental or guardian permission before you can start earning, especially under 16 years old. Make sure to check requirements and get any necessary approvals first.

Set Up Payment Methods

You’ll need payment methods in your own name to receive income. Options include a youth bank account or digital wallets like PayPal, Payoneer etc. Discuss the options with your parents or guardians first.

Have Appropriate Hardware

Make sure you have a suitable device like a laptop, PC or tablet and reliable internet to do work online smoothly. This may require some investment upfront.

Create Professional Profiles

Build out professional profiles highlighting your skills, experience and portfolio on relevant platforms you plan to find work on. Follow all rules around minimum age.

Learn In-Demand Skills

Spend time developing knowledge and skills in profitable niches like writing, graphic design, digital marketing, coding etc. Consider taking free online courses to build expertise.

Build an Online Portfolio

Create a portfolio website, design blog, YouTube channel etc to showcase your work when applying for gigs or attracting clients.

Offer Excellent Service

Getting repeat business and positive reviews is crucial. Always ensure you deliver great quality, value and service. Go above and beyond for clients.

Manage Your Time Well

Balance your online income activities with school work and other responsibilities. Don’t let earning money online interfere with your education.

Stick to Legal Activities

Never get involved in anything illegal or age-inappropriate. Abide by all South African laws around what minors can do to make money online.

Declare Your Income

Depending on how much you earn, you may need to declare taxes on the income depending on thresholds. Discuss taxation with your parents or legal guardian.

With the right prep work, a bit of creativity and consistent effort, you can definitely start earning real money online before turning 18 in South Africa. Just focus on providing value and developing your skills.

Read also: #11 Best Ways To Make Money In South Africa As A Student

Tips for Parents and Guardians

For parents and guardians with kids and teens wanting to earn online in South Africa, here are some top tips:

Have Open Discussions

Have open discussions about responsible online money making and listen to understand their motivations and ideas. A collaborative approach works best.

Set Clear Guidelines

Discuss and agree on income sources that are appropriate vs off limits based on skills, age, legal factors etc. Set clear expectations and boundaries.

Help Them Get Set Up

Assist with things like setting up payment methods, buying required equipment, building online profiles etc needed to start earning. Guide them through the process.

Encourage Skill Building

Support them in building relevant skills through practice, reading, courses etc rather than only seeking quick income. Investing in skill development will pay off long term.

Help Spread the Word

Assist them in marketing services, products or content by spreading the word in your social network, displaying items at your workplace etc. Word of mouth promotion can provide a big boost early on.

Have Oversight

Take an interest in their online money making activities. Have full visibility into their processes and payouts. Periodically review to ensure everything remains above board.

Teach Financial Literacy

Educate them on topics like saving, budgeting, taxes, investing and money management. Instill good financial habits with the income they earn online.

Watch for Risks

Keep an eye out for any unhealthy behavior or activities like overwork, involvement in shady schemes, age-inappropriate material etc. Monitor stress levels.

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Review Labor Laws

Research South African regulations around what minors can legally do to earn income based on age to ensure compliance. Stay up-to-date on any rule changes.

Encourage Balance

Make sure online income efforts don’t interfere with school, friends, hobbies and other aspects of life. Maintain open dialogue on balancing priorities.

By providing guidance, oversight and support as a parent or guardian, you can enable your child to build skills and earn income online safely and legally before turning 18.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

There are some key legal and ethical issues to consider when earning money online as a minor in South Africa:

Labor Laws and Regulations

South Africa has laws governing the minimum age and hours for paid work by minors that should be followed:

  • Children under 15 cannot be employed, except in entertainment with a work permit.
  • 15-17 years can work up to 8 hours daily and 40 hours weekly.
  • Hazardous work is prohibited for under 18s.
  • Night work is not permitted for under 18s.

Ensure online income activities abide by regulations. Penalties can apply for violations.

Income Tax Obligations

Earnings from online work are taxable income in South Africa. While under 18s have higher tax thresholds, if earnings are regular and exceed certain amounts tax registration may be required.

Parental Consent

Written permission from a parent or guardian is required before engaging in paid work under 16 years old. Consent forms may be required by income platforms.

Fraud and Misrepresentation

Never misrepresent your age to appear older for work purposes. Only use sites with age minimums you meet. Always represent yourself honestly.

Adult and Illegal Work

Never engage in inappropriate or illegal types of work like gambling, adult-oriented services etc even if lucrative. Avoid shady money making schemes or offers.

Overwork and Burnout

Don’t overwork yourself chasing online income. Set reasonable hours and take breaks. Monitor your mental health and stress levels. School remains the priority.

Privacy and Safety

Be very cautious sharing personal details online and protect your privacy. Work through reputable platforms and avoid situations that seem questionable or dangerous.

Plagiarism and Copyright

Producing and selling work that copies or infringes on others’ copyright, trademarks or intellectual property is illegal. Only sell original work you created yourself.

Contracts and Agreements

Review contracts carefully before signing and be sure you understand all terms and obligations. Seek guidance from guardians as needed before entering into agreements.

By being informed on the laws and working ethically, you can avoid the hazards and safely earn online in South Africa under 18 with minimal risks. If ever in doubt on the legality of something, avoid it or seek counsel.

Key Takeaways

  • Several legitimate ways exist to earn money online in South Africa before turning 18 like freelancing, ecommerce, blogging, surveys etc.
  • Choose opportunities matching your skills and capacity. Develop in-demand skills to improve income potential.
  • Follow all labor laws and regulations around minimum work age, hour limits and hazardous work prohibitions.
  • Any regular income earned may be taxable over certain thresholds. Keep proper records and consider tax obligations.
  • Obtain any necessary parental permission before starting paid work, especially under 16 years old.
  • Maintain high ethics and avoid inappropriate, illegal or shady schemes in chasing online income.
  • Monitor stress levels and don’t let online work negatively impact your health, education or other aspects of life.

With responsible effort and persistence, South African minors can absolutely earn an income online with proper guidance and preparation. The opportunities are out there!

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About the author

Kevin is a location independent freelancer, blogger, and side hustler located in South Africa. Originally from Kenya, he worked as a digital marketing developer for 5 years before making the leap to full-time freelancing.

Kevin has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur Magazine and The South African for his work promoting freelancing and side hustles in South Africa. When he's not working with clients or updating Freelancian, you can find him exploring new destinations as a digital nomad.

Want to share your own freelancing or side hustle story? Have a question for Kevin? Just want to say hello? You can contact Kevin and the Freelancian team at:

Email: [email protected]
Facebook: facebook.com/freelancian
X: @freelancian

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