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How Can I Make Money With My Phone in South Africa?

How Can I Make Money With My Phone in South Africa?

In today’s digital age, your smartphone offers a variety of ways to actually make money. With just your phone and some spare time, you can easily earn extra cash in South Africa.

Whether you want some supplemental income, or a new career, your phone is an invaluable tool. There are options like freelancing online, taking surveys, renting it out, and creating content.

We’ll cover a range of proven ways to monetize your phone. Nearly all of these you can get started with immediately, and then scale up over time.

Here’s a quick overview of the main methods:

The key is picking one or two that fit your skills and lifestyle. Then dedicate time to optimize and grow your income streams. Let’s explore your options in more detail.


Olymp Trade offers you the unique opportunity to make money online fast and easily. With their platform, you can trade in stocks, currency pairs, commodities, and indices.

Plus, they offer a variety of bonuses and promotions that make trading even more profitable.

🎉 Trade with $1
🎉 Earn up to 90% profits
🎉 Easy deposits
🎉 Fast Withdrawals

Freelancing Online

One of the best ways to make money with just your phone is by freelancing online. This allows you to sell services globally right from your phone.

Popular skills that translate well to mobile include:

  • Writing & Content Creation – Write articles, blog posts, social media, copywriting
  • Graphic Design – Create logos, ads, marketing materials, presentations
  • Video & Photo Editing – Edit footage and images using mobile apps
  • Programming – Develop apps and software if coding on your phone
  • Online Tutoring – Help students worldwide with academic subjects

There are numerous freelancing platforms you can use:

  • Fiverr – Freelance services starting at R75
  • Upwork – Wide range of skilled freelance jobs
  • Freelancer – Good for programming and technical skills
  • – Platform for tutors and teaching

The key steps are:

  • Build out an attractive profile highlighting your expertise
  • Bid on jobs that match your skills and rates
  • Deliver great work and build up client feedback
  • Increase rates over time as you gain experience

Working just a few hours per day, you can easily make R500-1500+. The flexibility makes this ideal for anyone with a skill to sell online.

Surveys & Market Research

Completing online surveys and market research is an easy way to earn money with just your phone. Companies are always looking for consumer opinions.

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You can find surveys on just about any topic including:

  • Product feedback
  • Brand experiences
  • Advertising testing
  • Demographic info
  • Political polls

Top survey and research panels include:

  • Toluna – Wide variety, both web and mobile
  • Opinion Outpost – Earn cash and Amazon vouchers
  • Survey Junkie – Quick surveys with mobile-friendly design
  • i-Say – Run by Ipsos, earn chances to win R1000s
  • Swagbucks – Surveys plus lots of other ways to earn

You typically earn R5-R50 for shorter surveys taking 5-30 minutes. Occasionally more extensive surveys, interviews, and product tests pay over R100-R200.

Pro tips:

  • Take advantage of refer-a-friend bonuses to increase earnings
  • Cashout rewards frequently instead of letting them accumulate
  • Only share genuine opinions rather than trying to game it

While this is unlikely to replace a full income, it’s an easy way to make some money from your phone in your downtime. Signing up for multiple panels gives the most opportunities.

Earn $10-$250 On Swagbucks

Shop in-store or online, watch entertaining videos, play games, search the web, answer surveys, and find great deals to earn points. Redeem the points for cash and withdraw to your PayPal

Selling Products & Services

Your smartphone also enables you to sell products and services right from your phone. With just a little setup, you can build an online storefront or marketplace.

Here are some proven business models:

Sell Digital Products

One of the easiest options is to sell digital products online. These include:

  • eBooks
  • Online courses and tutorials
  • Design assets like templates, graphics, fonts
  • Stock photos, footage and audio
  • Software and apps

You simply create or source the digital product, then sell and deliver it online.

With a social media shopfront or site builder like Shopify, you can manage it all on your phone:

  • Upload products and write descriptions
  • Process orders and accept payment
  • Send download links or digital products directly

Software like SendOwl also takes care of delivery.

With a catalog of your own products, this can become a nice passive income stream.


Olymp Trade offers you the unique opportunity to make money online fast and easily. With their platform, you can trade in stocks, currency pairs, commodities, and indices.

Plus, they offer a variety of bonuses and promotions that make trading even more profitable.

🎉 Trade with $1
🎉 Earn up to 90% profits
🎉 Easy deposits
🎉 Fast Withdrawals

Dropshipping Physical Products

Dropshipping allows you to sell physical products, without holding any inventory. Once an order comes in you simply purchase the item from a supplier, and have it shipped directly to the customer.

Benefits of dropshipping include:

  • Very low startup costs
  • No need to hold or ship products
  • Wide selection of products to sell
  • Automated order processing

Popular items to consider are phone accessories, fashion items, and novelty products in demand on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

As the business scales, you can even have assistants help manage and grow it from your phone. For example customer service and order processing can be outsourced.

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Rent Out Your Phone

For those looking for mostly passive income, you can actually rent out your phone itself to make money.

There are a few creative ways to leverage your phone and earn:

Install Apps

App developers need people to download and test their apps. There are services that pay you to install sponsored apps:

  • AppKarma – Get paid to download apps and games
  • AppCoiner – Earn to review apps and identify bugs

Payments are usually around R5-20 per app. While small, it adds up if you have some spare time and want totally passive income.

Rent Out Data & Hotspot

You can leverage unused data or hotspot capability to make money.

Apps like Node allow you to rent out access in exchange for rewards. Ways to earn include:

  • Rent out mobile data you aren’t using
  • Share hotspot with others
  • Earn rewards and loyalty points

This turns unused phone plan resources into cash. Again, it’s completely passive other than initial setup.

Rent Out Space

Some apps will actually pay you to rent space on your phone. This is often for advertising purposes.

For example, McMoney pays you to rent out a portion of your lock screen for ads. Very minimal effort for some passive cash.

Rent Out SMS

SMS sending apps like Simcash allow users worldwide to pay you to send SMS messages from your phone number.

This leverages your phone number and SMS balance. You can restrict countries and incoming messages. Income would likely be small but with zero effort.

Content Creation

Creating content with your phone opens up all kinds of money making opportunities. You can build audiences and monetize them.

Popular content creation income streams include:

Launch a YouTube Channel

YouTube boasts over 2 billion monthly users – an massive potential audience. It’s possible to build a channel entirely from your phone.

Income streams on YouTube include:

  • Ad revenue – Earn per view based on ads shown
  • Affiliate marketing – Promote relevant products
  • Sponsors – Get sponsored by brands
  • Memberships – Offer exclusive member perks

YouTube also shares 55% of ad revenue. With 1 million views earning upwards of R15,000, it’s significant income.

Some topics that perform well:

  • How To & Tutorials
  • Product Reviews
  • Entertainment Videos
  • Creative Arts & Music

The key is consistently creating content optimized for search and suggested videos. Let the income compound over time.


Olymp Trade offers you the unique opportunity to make money online fast and easily. With their platform, you can trade in stocks, currency pairs, commodities, and indices.

Plus, they offer a variety of bonuses and promotions that make trading even more profitable.

🎉 Trade with $1
🎉 Earn up to 90% profits
🎉 Easy deposits
🎉 Fast Withdrawals

Social Media Shopfront

Your phone allows you to easily create social media shopfronts on platforms like:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • TikTok
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Showcase products, advertise, and process orders all directly through the app itself. Can promote both digital and physical goods.

Social media marketing is also a skill many small businesses need freelance help with. You can offer your expertise.

Document Your Journey

Share your knowledge and progress towards a goal or skill. For example finance, fitness, gardening, art, gaming, and more.

Find affiliate programs for relevant products to promote. Build an audience and reputation.

Testing & Gigs

Some easy ways to make money from your phone are by doing tests, mystery shopping, and quick gig work. These types of opportunities tend to be ad hoc but provide supplemental income.

Here are some options to look for in this category:

Get Paid to Test Apps

App developers often need people to test new apps and give feedback. Testing on many different devices helps them identify bugs.

Some services include:

  • uTest – Get paid to test everything from websites to apps
  • TryMyUI – User testing for apps, sites and prototypes
  • Userlytics – Test flows and find issues

Pay is usually R75-R150 for 15-30 minutes of testing. Testing with demographic diversity helps, like parents, teens, seniors.

Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping involves visiting stores anonymously and rating the experience as a customer. You’ll look for things like:

  • Employee friendliness
  • Store cleanliness
  • Adherence to processes
  • Shelving and displays

Popular mystery shopping companies include and Market Force.

Gigs pay R100-R300 for about an hour of work. You submit forms and photos from your phone.


Field Agent App

Companies use field agents to get quick in-person work done. Common tasks pay R20-R100 each:

  • Audit store displays and inventory
  • Collect local data points like gas prices
  • Interview shoppers
  • Take photos or videos

Easy to complete a few quick jobs in your downtime when out and about.

Key Takeaways:

  • Freelancing online through your phone offers flexible income from anywhere with web access. Writing, design, tutoring and programming are in-demand skills.
  • Surveys and market research conducted through your phone provide easy supplemental income during spare time. Multiple survey apps give variety.
  • Selling digital goods and dropshipping physical products is made easier through mobile storefronts and tools. Passive income potential.
  • Creating content on YouTube, social media, and documenting your journey monetizes your knowledge. Build an audience.
  • Renting out data, hotspot capability, space and SMS through apps generates effortless passive mobile income.
  • Testing apps and mystery shopping allow quick ad hoc mobile gigs. Field agent tasks like audits and data collection can be done on the go.

Multiple options combined provide great potential. Find one or two you enjoy and optimize over time.

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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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