Startup Mzansi Guide: 17 ways to make money from home in South Africa

Whether it’s a ‘side-hustle’ or the beginnings of a new startup business, it has never been easier to make money from home. According to Startup Mzansi research, as many as one in five South African workers (19%) say they have a second job on the side of their main source of income,

Top ways to make money from home online or offline in South Africa

Modern technology has developed to such a degree that it’s extremely easy to turn anywhere into a workspace. Job roles have evolved with the digital age, with many only requiring a computer, bank account, and internet access to fulfil daily tasks. If you’re someone who focuses better at home without the distraction of (what can be) a busy, noisy office environment and feel your commuting costs are eating up a chunk of your salary, then it might be worth having a think about how to make extra money from home.

These ideas aren’t necessarily about starting a home business, as that can be a lengthy and complicated process. These are quick ideas for side businesses or handy extra cash projects that could keep you financially happy without stepping near a station or overcrowded restaurants. They can fit around your lifestyle, which is helpful if you have a young family and need to save money on travel or can’t commit to the 9-5, or even if you just want to improve the quality of your lifestyle by spending more time at home. Who knows, maybe one of them might develop into a booming business!

The best starting point is to know where your skills lie, have a willingness to learn new ones and embrace that inner entrepreneurial spirit…



1. Computer repairer/troubleshooter

Even though our lives are dominated by computer-based technology, the vast majority of us only know so much when it comes to solving technical issues beyond the restart button. If you have an understanding of the inner workings of a PCs, tablets (or even mobile phones!) and have strong communication skills, this could be the job for you, even leading to fulltime income.

Build a local client base by word of mouth and local advertising (for example, add yourself to local directories online, attend local networking events, pop your business card in shops that stock computers/computer equipment etc.). Use remote access software to enable you to troubleshoot clients’ computers from home, which will also allow you to expand your client base beyond your postcode.

2. Chat Support

Become the person behind the “Hi, is there anything I can help you with today?” box that sometimes pops up on websites. The live chat service on Amazon is a classic example of instant customer service unlike working in a call center. With some on-the-job training, you should be able to assist online customers from the comfort of your sofa, earning some extra pennies.

3. Coder

If your background is in programming the language of computers, then these highly skilled online jobs are ones that can easily be turned into a home job. From building and testing websites and apps to developing software, all you need as a starting point is a computer and internet access. Additional equipment and software would be subject to the specific work you offer or take on.

4. Data Entry

If you are an accurate, speedy computer user then this might be the online business for you. Companies regularly outsource the inputting of information into a computer system. Simply take a look on job sites and you’ll see that many don’t require previous experience to apply.



5. Transcriptionist

Transcriptionists convert the spoken word into electronic text quickly and precisely. Speed and accuracy is essential for this job, alongside a computer, word processing software, headphones, internet access and basic computer skills.

6. Translator

Translate audio recordings, documents, watching videos etc. from your home office. Most employers require proficiency in English and another language, while others require a degree in interpretation. Either way, this is a great way to earn extra money at home.

7. Social Media Manager

If you have a background in social media content planning, writing and community management then this can easily become a freelance job in your spare time that you run remotely from home.

Promote your services to local companies who might not have a lot of money to hire a snazzy agency. Keeping it local will also mean less money travelling for meetings, market research, and content-gathering tasks. You can also offer your services from an auditing and strategy perspective, where companies employ your expertise to assess and create a social media plan for the year, while helping to train and guide staff in implementing it successfully.

Be prepared to show results at the end of your campaigns and be clear from the beginning that your rates exclude any travel expenses, should you want to take on exciting projects that require a few offsite meetings.

8. Online surveys

Complete paid surveys to earn money online! Businesses pay for your opinions to help them refine their products and marketing materials. 

9. Online Influencer

Companies are looking for the best places online to target new customers outside their owned channels. If you run a successful blog and/or social media channel/s that specialise in an industry e.g. personal finance or home décor, you could outreach to brands to collaborate on paid content, advertising, competitions and more.

You will need to sell your story and prove your popularity through your blog traffic and social media followers, with many brands not considering you to be a micro-influencer until your social following tops 1k. Make sure to be transparent with your followers when collaborating, using #ad when producing content as part of the agreement.

10. Brand Ambassador/Representative

Some companies rely on brand ambassadors to represent them in a positive light, encouraging brand awareness and sales.

11. Virtual Assistant

An administrative-focused job that requires sharp organisation skills and attention to detail. Perform remote tasks for a number of industries, from booking travel to managing a calendar. Some jobs can last for a day, others can last for months. Search ‘virtual assistant’ on job sites and you’ll gain a better understanding of the broad requirements.

12. Personal Shopper

Have an eye for style? Promote your services to people in need of a new wardrobe or image refresh – from one-off appointments to a regular shopping trip in line with the seasons. Visit flea markets all the way to high end high street shops.

13. Personal Tutor

This is a great option for teachers who might be putting their career on hold to bring up a family or retired teachers looking to make some money on the side. In South Africa, there are no legal requirements to have any specific qualifications to become a tutor but, in general, tutors tend to have a specific academic subject and a degree-level qualification in it. A degree isn’t compulsory but helps sell your services. Online tutoring is also available to those not able to travel!

14. Virtual Tutor

Thanks to software sure as FaceTime, Skype and Google Hangouts, it’s pretty easy to tutor remotely from home.

15. Freelance Writer

If you’re a whizz with words and have a hawk-eye for grammar, then freelance writing will let you start earning to bring in a healthy salary each month. Depending on your previous roles and contacts you could hit the ground running with rates that reflect your experience and ability and make some real money blogging. Outreach to companies and contacts – there’s nothing wrong going after the brands and people you’d love to work with. There are many success stories with this working. Make sure your LinkedIn account is up-to-date and typo-free and any personal social channels and blogs reflect you in a positive light. Set up a website that showcases your best work and if you have any areas of expertise, shout about them. Make it easy for people to get in touch with you. 

16. Copy Editor

This job is more than spotting typos; it’s about factual accuracy, grammar and overall readability. There are no set qualifications for entry into this role, but many Copy Editors have studied subjects including English, journalism, communication, marketing or media. You can enter national certificates – using search engines will point you in the right direction.

17. Virtual Recruiter

Some companies are happy to pay someone who delivers good candidates before they meet them in second-stage interviews. Working independently from an agency will mean payment for access to job boards and recruitment tools so consider this in your rates. It’s recommended you have some previous experience in this sector before freelancing as there is a deal of skill involved.


Sandile Shabangu

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