November 2, 2023

South Africa’s 10 Most Successful Side Hustles


South Africa’s Ten Most Successful Side Hustles



South Africa’s Side Hustles List: A word cloud showing the most common keywords mentioned by over 6000 respondents. 

Earlier this year (2023), personal loan provider Wonga South Africa conducted an in-depth study that delved into the thriving side hustle economy. The findings highlighted not only the rapid rise in the popularity of these side gigs but also the diverse and dynamic ways in which individuals are embracing entrepreneurship and financial independence. 

More than 6000 participants took part in the Wonga survey, all proudly proclaiming their involvement in various side hustles. Notably, Gauteng stood out as the epicenter for these enterprising individuals with 4 out of every 10 respondents operating there. 

The research unveiled that an impressive 62% of respondents operate their side businesses from the comfort of their homes, while 18% primarily conduct their ventures online, marking the highest percentage in this category. Nearly half of those surveyed revealed that their side hustles serve as invaluable secondary sources of income while a smaller hustle as a way to pursue an artistic passion.

So now let’ get to what you came here for: Listed below are the most Popular Side Hustles as per Wonga’s survey findings, along with detailed bullet point strategies to help you implement them yourself. 

Hustle one: Crafting Personalized Poems

Assemble a portfolio showcasing your best work, categorizing personalized love quotes and poems for occasions like anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, and more. The more areas you can target effectively the better your chances of success.

Forge partnerships with event planners, wedding organizers, and gift shops to incorporate your personalized poems and quotes into their offerings, opening doors to corporate events, weddings, and special occasions.

Consider printing your poems and quotes on various items such as mugs, posters, greeting cards, and frames to diversify your product range and cater to different customer preferences.

Stay inspired by following motivating social media accounts for daily doses of creativity.

Hustle two: Crafting Artisanal Handcrafted Wood or Steelwork

Prioritize delivering high-quality products and exceptional craftsmanship to satisfy customers and encourage referrals.

Broaden your product range to cater to a wider audience by offering custom designs, diverse styles, and finishes. The bespoke and personalised nature of your products is their primary selling point.

Leverage social media platforms to showcase your work, provide updates and show some of your work in progress. Use these platforms to build followings and engage with potential customers. Consider running targeted ads if one channel is proving particularly lucrative.

Attend local business events, trade shows, and networking functions to connect with potential customers and industry peers, as building personal connections can foster trust and generate leads.

Hustle three: Baking Specialty Cakes

Develop a unique and recognizable style for your specialty cakes, whether through intricate and unique designs, innovative flavours, specific themes or all of the above! Doing so will add value to your product and create memorable experiences for your customers.

Arrange tasting sessions for potential customers, especially for wedding cakes or large orders, to build consumer confidence in your services.

Explore expanded options that take advantage of your skillset, such as hosting cake decorating classes or workshops to share your skill with others, generate additional income, and raise awareness of your business to boot.

Utilize the power of social media to promote your brand with your most entertaining designs, consider sending complimentary samples to influencers who can help market your products and amplify your reach.

Hustle four: Selling Bunny Chows

Location is key for nearly all impulse purchase related hustles.  Strategically choose high foot traffic locations for your business, such as busy street corners, areas near schools or offices, or local events to boost sales.

Experiment with diverse fillings and flavours for your bunny chows to attract adventurous eaters and cater to various tastes. Having an exciting range of new and interesting taste experiences alongside a number of dependable ‘flavour staples’ will help you cover more bases.

Implement regular promotions, discounts, or meal deals to entice customers. Offer membership cards which are stamped with each purchase with discounts at different milestones to encourage repeat business.

Focus relentlessly on delivering consistent, high-quality food, as satisfied customers are more likely to spread the word.

Showcase your culinary creations with stunning food photography to entice customers, and consider offering a convenient delivery service if operating from home.

Hustle five: Starting a Drop Shipping Venture

Take care with this hustle. While there are many people successfully operating a drop shipping project, the market is quickly becoming saturated with many low quality outfits competing for space in a crammed digital arena. The competition and inherent risks are becoming greater as expertly explained in this Reddit thread.

Carefully determine pricing for your products, considering factors such as product cost, shipping fees, and desired profit margin to remain competitive without sacrificing quality.

Where you can really start to stand out is by providing exceptional customer service to build trust and retain customers by responding promptly to inquiries and addressing issues professionally.

Stay updated on the latest trends in your niche and the e-commerce industry to adapt your business strategy accordingly and remain relevant. Be quick to offer new products to capitalise on consumer trends as they’re emerging.

Hustle six: Cultivating and Selling Fresh Produce

Begin with a small plot and gradually expand as your business and expertise grows. This allows you to manage limited resources without becoming overwhelmed and helps to minimize risks due to the lower overhead costs.

Maintain consistent high quality in your products to build a positive reputation and encourage repeat business.

Directly sell your vegetables and fruits to consumers through farmers’ markets, roadside stands, or your farm shop to build customer trust and loyalty through personal interactions.

Educate consumers about the benefits of buying locally grown, fresh produce, emphasizing nutritional value and environmental advantages.

Explore organic produce, which may attract a clientele willing to pay a premium for organic products, and consider assembling seasonal produce boxes as a unique selling point.

Consider a B2B (business to business model). Assemble your fresh produce into snack boxes that you can offer as a delivery service to local offices.

Hustle seven: Buying and Reselling Clothes

Conduct market research to identify popular and trending seasonal clothing items. Fashion can often be a ‘wheel’ with different, vintage styles repeatedly coming back into fashion in the future, so keep a keen eye on fashion trends and consumer preferences to make informed purchasing decisions that let you ride the popularity wave early (and grab all the bargain purchases before everyone else catches on and the prices shoot up!)

Identify reliable suppliers for purchasing seasonal clothing at wholesale or discounted prices, exploring local manufacturers, online wholesale platforms, or clearance sales. Focus on building a diverse inventory of seasonal clothing that caters to a wide range of customers, offering various sizes, styles, and colours. Though this may be easier said than done depending on what storage options you have available. If you have lots of free space to use then definitely take advantage of this.

Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews and testimonials on your social media pages, as positive feedback builds trust and attracts more buyers. Consider launching your own product line once you have a substantial clientele, enabling control over manufacturing costs and boosting the local economy to boot. Also Read – 5 Categories of Ecommerce: Start Your Business With These Models

Hustle eight: Recycling Cans and Bottles

Locate nearby recycling centres or depots that accept cans and bottles, and inquire about their purchasing rates for different materials.

Collaborate with restaurants, bars, and event organizers to become their designated recycling service, collecting cans and bottles regularly in exchange for payment.

Ensure strict compliance with all relevant regulations and legal requirements for recycling and waste management in South Africa (or wherever you happen to be running your hustle from).

Hustle nine: Selling Printed T-shirts

Define your target market by selecting a specific niche for your printed T-shirts, such as hobbies, interests, sports teams, or local themes.

Source high-quality blank T-shirts from reliable suppliers or manufacturers, ensuring the fabric and printing surface align with your chosen printing method.

Establish competitive pricing, factoring in material costs, printing expenses, shipping, and desired profit margins while remaining competitive.

Offer discounts for bulk orders and explore partnerships with local retailers or businesses for wholesale T-shirt sales.

Stay vigilant about fashion and design trends to stay relevant and offer fresh designs that resonate with your customers. Consider manufacturing entirely locally-made products to attract customers supporting the local economy.

Shopify have a great guide to starting your own t-shirt business here if this idea has stoked your interest.

Hustle ten: House and Pet Sitting Services

My favourite hustle on the list. Build trust and credibility by creating a professional profile that highlights your experience, reliability, and love for animals, with references from friends, family to start with, then focus on more valuable reviews from past clients.

Promote your services in the local community through flyers, social media, and word-of-mouth, informing friends, neighbours, and colleagues of your house and pet sitting offerings.

Foster strong relationships with your clients and their pets by providing exceptional care and frequent updates during their absence, leading to repeat business and positive referrals. Remember that people who care enough about their pets to seek out a specialised pet sitting service will really appreciate you going the extra step to put their minds at ease. 

Stay informed about the proper care and handling of various types of pets, attending workshops or courses to enhance your knowledge and gain valuable accreditation that you can use to promote your authority in the market.

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