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10 of the Most Profitable Side Hustles in South Africa

10 of the Most Profitable Side Hustles in South Africa
January 20, 2020 gnuworld
side hustle

A recent report by the Henley Business School shows that as many as 27% of working South Africans currently have side hustles. These are extra or side jobs they do in their spare time, to raise extra cash, pursue their passions or both.

The most popular side hustles

The benefit of having one or more side hustles is better security. You avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.

Diversifying your income gives you safety nets, and these can be important especially in volatile economic conditions.

Worldwide, more and more people are starting their own businesses on the side. The most common side hustles share one key characteristic – a low entry barrier.

Based on the Henley Business School report, the five most popular side hustles, in order, are:

  1. Professional business services
  2. Real estate
  3. Teaching, lecturing, tutoring
  4. Investments
  5. Selling goods.

Creative side hustle ideas

If you want to make more money, it can pay to think outside the box. Consider what you’re good at or able to do, and how you could put your abilities to commercial use.

Some interesting, non-traditional side hustles include:

  • Dog walking:
    This might suit you if you love animals and are reasonably fit.
  • Buy and sell:
    It’s easy to buy and resell items online. However, for this to be profitable as a side hustle, you have to know where to source items at competitive prices, what’s in demand and how best to market products. It may also be an option to buy, fix up and then resell items. This involves adding value to the items and so makes it easier to earn a profit.
  • Become an influencer:
    You get free stuff and you get paid to market it! If you’ve built up a good social media following, this is an option. However, the influencer business is highly competitive. You’ll need to focus on a niche. Some examples? Mother and baby products, vegetarian cooking, a particular category of fashion or beauty or fitness.
  • Bake or cook:
    You’re not going to make a fortune by selling fudge from your work desk. Aim bigger and approach restaurants, coffee shops and stores. See if they’ll stock your items, from baked goods to pickles or sauces.

10 profitable side hustles

It’s important to choose a side hustle that won’t take too much of your spare time, and that’s also lucrative. Statistics show that these are some of the most lucrative side hustles to pursue:

Real estate

Good old-fashioned mortar and bricks remain a solid investment. If you have enough savings or qualify for a loan at a good lending rate, consider starting a property portfolio.

Whether you have a full-time or flexi job, it’s fairly easy to manage a rental property in your spare time. Of course, you can employ an agent – but do the math to see whether you can benefit from doing your own admin.

Remember that being a landlord isn’t always easy. Prepare to be contacted at odd hours to do repairs or organise contractors.

Management consulting

Employ your expertise and become a part-time consultant in your field. Whether you’re a marketer, business analyst, accountant or social media expert – you can earn extra money by advising startups, large companies, or people in their personal capacity.

Don’t limit yourself to physical consultations, as a large portion of services can be delivered online.

Investment management

If you have a financial qualification or business qualification, you can cash in by providing financial advice or managing stock on behalf of investors.

You’re only allowed to legally provide financial advice with a formal qualification and valid FSP licence, so make sure all the legal requirements are in place before attempting this side career.

Investment banking

Similar to management consulting, investment bankers can assist with corporate financial needs such as raising capital for a specific venture.

This is a very do-able, spare-time career if you have the knowledge and qualifications.


The hospitality industry has, of course, been hard hit by the 2020 pandemic. Once the industry recovers, it’s likely to once again become a key source of profitable side hustles.

Whether you rent out a garden flat or plan events and weddings on the side, hospitality is a lucrative business – especially if you’re in an area popular with tourists (both local and international).


You don’t need to be an accountant to offer accounting services. If you have a knack for numbers, think of creative ways you can assist companies to earn extra money.

A lot of small businesses drown in invoices and expense receipts that have to be allocated and basically “tidied up”. Teach yourself how to operate the most used cloud accounting systems, and you’re good to go.

It’s something you can easily do over a weekend, so start looking out for potential clients to approach.

Professional coaching

See yourself as an expert in your field? Why not share your knowledge with other professionals and make some money in the process?

Symposiums and courses are easy to do over weekends – start with small groups and grow your following.


E-learning is a wide term used for any form of learning that takes place via electronic resources.

Whether you offer online tutoring for school students, or you do professional coaching via a video or podcast series, this is certainly a side hustle to look into.


Like the hospitality industry, restaurants have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

However, there’s little doubt that the restaurant business will gradually recover. People love eating out!

Managing a restaurant is a full-time commitment. Nonetheless, there are ways for those who are employed to get involved.

You might choose to invest in an eatery as a silent partner. You could buy into a franchise group. Or consider appointing a full-time manager to run a restaurant or food delivery business on your behalf.


With sites such as We Buy Cars and Weelee, it has become easier to make money on the side by buying and selling cars.

Parts are also in high demand. If you know a thing or two about motor mechanics, you might consider buying used parts from scrap yards and reselling them online.

Of course, this category of side hustles can also include taxi and food delivery services.

You can own and manage an Uber without having to drive it yourself (or do so on weekends, on your own terms). Alternatively, rent out your car with Rent My Ride.

If you own a luxury vehicle, you could opt to chauffeur people to weddings, matric dances and other special events on weekends or after hours.

What we offer at The Workspace

To be convincing with any of these side hustles, you also have to appear professional.

At The Workspace, we offer affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking, and all our clients have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services. For more information or to arrange a tour of one of our branches, call us on 087 059 7777 or contact us online.

Contact us to find out more

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