Online Side Hustles

Online Side Hustles for Students in South Africa: 5 Ideas

Online Side Hustles for Students in South Africa: 5 Ideas

Are you a South African student looking to make some extra cash? Consider starting an online side hustle.

A side hustle is a flexible way to earn extra money while still focusing on your studies. It can provide financial independence, a flexible schedule, and the opportunity to gain valuable skills.


What is a side hustle?

A side hustle refers to any job or business that you do in addition to your main source of income, such as a part-time job or studies. It is typically done on a flexible schedule and can be pursued alongside your other commitments.

There are several benefits to having a side hustle. Firstly, it allows you to earn extra income, which can help you cover expenses or save for the future. It also provides financial independence and the opportunity to learn about managing money and budgeting.

In addition, a side hustle can offer a flexible schedule, allowing you to work around your classes and other commitments. This flexibility is especially important for South African students who may have a demanding academic workload.

Furthermore, a side hustle can help you develop valuable skills that can enhance your resume and future career prospects. Whether it’s marketing, writing, coding, or tutoring, you can choose a side hustle that aligns with your interests and strengths.

Why should South African students consider a side hustle?

South African students can greatly benefit from having a side hustle. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Financial independence: A side hustle can provide you with extra income, allowing you to become more financially independent. It can support your studies and help you cover expenses such as textbooks, rent, and food.
  • Flexible schedule: One of the greatest advantages of a side hustle is the flexibility it offers. You can choose when and how much you work, allowing you to balance your academic commitments with your side hustle.
  • Gaining valuable skills: A side hustle can help you acquire new skills and experiences outside of the classroom. Whether it’s learning how to market products online or honing your teaching skills through tutoring, these skills can be valuable in your future career.

Best side hustles for South African students

If you’re a South African student looking for the best side hustle options, here are a few to consider:

Here’s a table comparing 7 of the best online side hustles for South African students:

Side HustleDescriptionProsConsPotential EarningsSkill Level Required
TutoringOffering academic help to fellow students in subjects you excelFlexible hours, intellectual growthSeasonal demand, need good communicationVariable, R100 – R300/hrHigh
Freelance WritingWriting articles, blog posts, or content for clientsWork from home, improve writingInconsistent income, research requiredVariable, R100 – R500/articleMedium
Graphic DesignCreating visuals for brands, events, or social mediaCreative outlet, potential portfolioSoftware and equipment costs, competitionVariable, R200 – R1000/designMedium
Online SurveysParticipating in paid online surveys and market researchEasy to start, no specific skillsLow earning potential, can be time-consumingR10 – R50/surveyLow
Social Media ManagementManaging social media accounts for small businessesFlexible, improve digital skillsHigh responsibility, requires creativityVariable, R500 – R1500/monthMedium
PhotographyCapturing events, portraits, or products for clientsCreative expression, flexible hoursInitial equipment investment, competitionVariable, R500 – R2000/eventMedium
Delivery ServicesPartnering with food delivery apps or courier companiesFlexible shifts, tips and bonusesUse of personal vehicle, weather impactsVariable, R50 – R200/deliveryLow

Please note that potential earnings can vary significantly based on factors such as location, experience, demand, and effort put into the side hustle.

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And the skill levels required may vary based on the individual’s existing expertise and willingness to learn.

Always ensure to choose a side hustle that aligns with your strengths, interests, and available time.

Student Side Hustle #1: Tutoring – Make the most of your expertise

Best side hustles for South African students

Tutoring is a valuable and rewarding way for students to make the most of their expertise while earning money online in South Africa. 

As a tutor, you have the opportunity to share your knowledge and help others succeed academically. 

However, simply having subject knowledge is not enough to be an effective tutor. 

You need to develop good communication skills in order to explain concepts clearly and effectively.

One way to enhance your tutoring skills is by focusing on personalized learning. 

Every student has different strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. 

You can create a more engaging and effective learning experience by tailoring your teaching methods to individual students. 

Use various resources like visual aids, real-life examples, or even interactive online tools that cater to each student’s specific needs.

Another aspect that can make tutoring more fulfilling is creating a positive and supportive environment for your students. 

Show empathy towards their struggles, encourage them when they feel discouraged, and celebrate their achievements no matter how small. 

Building trust and a good relationship with your students is important in creating a safe environment where they feel comfortable asking questions without any fear of being judged.

Remember that being a tutor in South Africa goes beyond just helping with academic subjects; it’s also about being a mentor who can guide students through challenges and motivate them towards achieving their goals.

Student Side Hustle #2: Affiliate marketing – Earn commissions through online referrals

Side Hustle #2: Affiliate marketing - Earn commissions through online referrals

Another one of the best online side hustles for students in South Africa is affiliate marketing.

This form of marketing has become one of the most popular ways for people to earn extra income online. 

Anyone can join an affiliate program with minimal investment and effort and earn commissions through online referrals. 

What makes affiliate marketing so appealing is its flexibility – you can choose which products or services you want to promote and work at your own pace.

As a student in South Africa, you can tap into the vast potential of e-commerce. 

You can leverage your own social media presence, personal blogs, or even create dedicated websites to generate referral traffic and earn commissions. 

This provides an opportunity for them to earn money and develop valuable skills such as digital marketing, content creation, and sales techniques.

As a student in South Africa with limited financial resources, affiliate marketing offers a low-risk way to start making money online while still focusing on your studies. 

It gives you the freedom to work from anywhere at any time – all you need is a laptop or smartphone and an internet connection. 

Take advantage of affiliate programs that align with your interests or areas of expertise.

And turn your passion into profit by recommending products or services you genuinely believe in.

So next time you find yourself scrolling through social media or browsing websites, consider how those influencers make money through sponsored posts and product recommendations. 

Affiliate marketing could be the key to unlocking your earning potential as a student in South Africa!

Student Side Hustle #3: Freelancing – Utile your skills on a flexible basis

Side Hustle #3: Freelancing - Utile your skills on a flexible basis

Freelancing in South Africa offers a flexible way to utilize your skills and earn money on your own terms. 

Due to the rise of online platforms and remote work, freelancing has become increasingly popular among South African students looking to make extra cash. 

Whether you’re a graphic designer, writer, programmer, or social media guru, there are countless opportunities to showcase your skills and find clients needing your expertise.

One of the key advantages of freelancing is the ability to work on projects that align with your interests and passions. 

Unlike traditional employment, where specific job descriptions and tasks may bind you, freelancers have the freedom to choose which projects they want to take on. 

This allows you to focus on work that excites you and helps build a portfolio in your area of interest.

Furthermore, freelancing also provides an opportunity for personal growth and development. 

Get this, working with different clients across diverse industries allows you to gain valuable experience and learn new skills along the way. 

This can open doors for future career opportunities or even inspire you to pursue a full-time freelance career after graduation.

Student Side Hustle #4: Online surveys – Share your opinions and getting paid

Online surveys

Another coolest online side hustles for students in South Africa is surveys!

In a world where everyone has an opinion, online surveys have become a popular way for people to have their voices heard and make some extra cash on the side. 

South African students can take advantage of this opportunity by participating in online surveys that are specifically targeted towards them. 

Not only will they be able to share their opinions on various topics, but they will also be compensated for their time and input.

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One of the benefits of participating in online surveys in South Africa is the convenience it offers. 

Students can complete these surveys from the comfort of their own homes or even while waiting for class to start. 

It’s a flexible way to earn money without disrupting their daily routine. 

These online surveys also provide an opportunity for students to engage with different companies and brands, giving them insights into how businesses operate and what consumers really want.

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Student Side Hustle #5: Starting a blog – Create content and monetizing your platform

Starting a blog

Starting a blog can be a great way for South African students to earn some extra income on the side. 

However, in order to succeed in the competitive world of blogging, it is essential to create engaging and valuable content. 

One important aspect of creating content is finding your niche or area of expertise. 

If you focus on a specific topic or industry, you can establish yourself as an authority and attract a loyal audience.

Once you have identified your niche, creating high-quality content that consistently provides value to your readers is important. 

This means conducting thorough research and offering fresh perspectives on topics that are relevant to your audience. 

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and offer unique insights that other bloggers may not have covered yet.

In addition to creating compelling content, monetizing your blog is crucial if you want it to become profitable. 

There are several ways you can make money from your blog in South Africa:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Sponsored posts
  • Selling digital products or services, and
  • Advertising revenue. 

In fact, explore different monetization strategies and find what works best for your specific niche and audience.

How to start a successful side hustle as a student in South Africa

If you’re ready to start a side hustle and make it a success, here are a few steps to follow:

Step 1: Set goals and create a business plan

Setting goals and creating a business plan are essential steps when starting an online side hustle. 

Goals provide direction and motivation, helping you stay focused on what you want to achieve with your venture. 

Take some time to identify both short-term and long-term goals – maybe you want to earn a certain amount of money each month or build a client base of loyal customers. 

These goals will serve as benchmarks for measuring your progress and success.

Creating a business plan may sound daunting, but it’s crucial for the success of your online side hustle. 

This plan will outline your target market, competitors, products or services offered, pricing strategies, marketing tactics, and financial projections. 

It acts as a blueprint that guides your decision-making processes and serves as a reference point throughout your entrepreneurial journey. 

See, having a clear plan can streamline operations, allocate resources effectively, and adapt to any unexpected challenges.

Step 2: Manage time effectively for your side hustle and studies

As student running a side hustle, this is crucial when juggling a side hustle and studying. 

With multiple responsibilities competing for your attention, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and fall into procrastination. 

One effective strategy is to create a schedule that prioritizes your most important tasks. 

This allows you to allocate specific time blocks for studying and working on your side hustle, ensuring that both deserve the attention.

Another critical aspect of managing time effectively is setting realistic goals. It’s essential to be mindful of your limitations and not overcommit yourself. 

If you set achievable targets for both your studies and side hustle, you can better prioritize your activities and avoid feeling burnt out. 

Remember, quality over quantity matters when it comes to productivity.

In addition to scheduling and goal-setting, incorporating breaks into your routine can also contribute positively towards productivity. 

Short breaks during study or work sessions help prevent mental fatigue and improve focus when you resume. 

It’s essential to listen to your body and mind; if you’re feeling drained or overwhelmed, take a step back and allow yourself some downtime.

Step 3: Creating a marketing strategy for your side hustle

How will your market your online side hustle?

Start by identifying your unique selling proposition (USP) and understanding what sets your side hustle apart from competitors. 

This can help you develop a targeted messaging strategy that resonates with potential customers. 

Research your target market to determine their preferences, interests, and behaviors. This will allow you to tailor your marketing efforts to reach and engage with them effectively.

Once you have gathered this information, consider the various marketing channels available to promote your side hustle. 

Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are great options for building an online presence and reaching a wide audience. 

Create compelling content that showcases the value of your products or services, while also being authentic and relatable. 

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Don’t be afraid to experiment with different strategies or collaborate with influencers in your niche for added exposure.

Remember that consistency is key when it comes to marketing your side hustle. Develop a content calendar or schedule that outlines when and where you’ll promote your business online. 

Regularly evaluate the success of each marketing initiative through analytics tools such as Google Analytics or social media insights, making adjustments based on data-driven insights as needed.

Step 4: Build a strong online presence for your side hustle

As of January 2023, there were 43.48 million active internet users in South Africa. 

In early 2022, South Africa had around 41.2 million internet users.

Our internet penetration rate stood at 72.3% in 2023. 

And according to DataReportal, South Africa was home to 25.80 million social media users in January 2023, equating to 42.9% of the total population

That’s why having a strong online presence is crucial for the success of your side hustle. 

One of the most effective ways to build an online presence is by optimizing your website for search engines. 

Using keywords relevant to your side hustle in your website content and meta tags can increase your chances of appearing higher in search engine results. 

This will help drive traffic to your site and attract more potential customers.

Social media platforms are another powerful tool for building an online presence. 

Creating accounts on popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allows you to showcase your products or services, engage with potential customers, and reach a wider audience. 

And regularly update these accounts with engaging content that reflects the personality of your brand or business. 

Share behind-the-scenes peeks into your creative process or offer exclusive discounts. This helps create a sense of authenticity and build trust among followers.

Lastly, actively seek out opportunities for collaborations and partnerships to boost your online visibility. 

Look for other businesses or influencers in related industries who have a similar target audience but offer complementary products or services. 

Collaborating on projects such as joint workshops or giveaways can expose you to new audiences and increase awareness about your side hustle.

Step 5: Manage finances and track income from your side hustle

Once you start earning money from your side hustle in South Africa, it’s crucial to manage your finances to ensure long-term financial success effectively. 

Creating a budget is an essential step in this process. 

Start by listing all your monthly expenses and allocate a portion of your side hustle income towards each category. 

This will help you prioritize your spending and meet all financial obligations.

In addition to creating a budget, tracking your income from your side hustle is vital for understanding its profitability and growth potential. 

Keeping track of your earnings and analyzing them over time can help you make better-informed decisions to maximize your income.

Consider using accounting software or online tools specifically designed for freelancers and small businesses. 

These platforms provide features such as expense tracking, invoicing, and financial reports, making it easier to stay organized and understand your finances.

Remember, managing finances is not just about controlling expenses; it’s also about saving for the future. 

Set aside a portion of your side hustle income into separate savings accounts or investment vehicles to secure financial stability in the long run. 

Whether contributing to an emergency fund or investing in retirement accounts, saving should be integral to managing the income generated from your side hustle. 

With proper financial management and disciplined saving habits, you’ll set yourself up for continued success as you navigate through various online side hustles as a South African student.

Step 6: Network and build connections in your industry

Today than any other era, there are countless opportunities for students to connect with like-minded individuals and experts in their field. 

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter can be powerful tools for expanding your network and making valuable connections.

One effective way to build connections is by actively participating in online communities and forums related to your industry. 

One way to establish yourself as an active contributor in your field is to interact with others, asking questions and sharing your own knowledge. This can help you build relationships and gain valuable insights from others.

Additionally, attending virtual conferences or webinars allows you to connect with professionals who are already established in the industry and gain insights from their experiences.

DO NOT underestimate the value of personal relationships in networking

Reach out to alumni from your university or college who are working in fields that interest you. 

These individuals have likely been through similar experiences and can offer guidance or even job opportunities. 

Networking events or meetups may also be available online, where you can mingle with professionals from various industries without ever leaving home.

Q: What are some online side hustle ideas for students in South Africa?

A: Some online side hustle ideas for students in South Africa include tutoring, starting a side hustle, taking online surveys, trying affiliate marketing, and exploring online business opportunities.

Q: How can I make extra money online?

A: There are several ways to make extra money online, such as taking online surveys, doing freelance work, starting an online business, or becoming an affiliate marketer.

Q: What are the best side hustle ideas for South Africans?

A: The best side hustle ideas for South Africans include tutoring, starting a side business, doing freelance work, participating in online surveys, and exploring passive income opportunities.

Q: How can I make extra cash in my spare time?

A: To make extra cash in your spare time, you can engage in side hustles such as tutoring, taking online surveys, doing freelance work, or starting an online business.

Q: Are there any easy-to-start side hustle ideas in South Africa?

A: Yes, South Africa has many easy-to-start side hustle ideas. Some popular options include tutoring, offering freelance services, starting an online store, or becoming an affiliate marketer.

Q: What are some lucrative side hustles for students in South Africa?

A: Some lucrative side hustles for students in South Africa include tutoring, starting a side business, doing freelance work, engaging in affiliate marketing, and exploring passive income opportunities.

Q: How can I earn extra income through a side gig?

A: You can earn extra income through a side gig by offering tutoring services, doing freelance work, participating in online surveys, starting an online store, or becoming an affiliate marketer.

Q: What is the best way to make money online in South Africa?

A: The best way to make money online in South Africa depends on your skills and interests. Some options to consider are freelancing, starting an online business, participating in affiliate marketing, or offering digital services.

Q: How can I make some extra money without the hassle?

A: Making extra money without the hassle can be done by engaging in online surveys, participating in affiliate marketing programs, doing freelance work, or starting a low-maintenance online business.

Q: Are there any fun side hustle ideas for students in South Africa?

A: There are many fun side hustle ideas for students in South Africa. Some examples include starting a blog or YouTube channel, offering creative services like graphic design or photography, or selling handmade crafts.

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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]
X: @freelancian

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