14 Ways To Make Money Online In South Africa (Beginners Start Here)

If you’re looking to make money online to replace your full-time job, earn a second income, or just earn a little extra on the side, then PLEASE don’t waste your time with another ‘paid survey’ or ‘online gambling’ tactic. Over the past ten years I’ve tried them all, and unless you want to make a few cents here and there, don’t waste your time.

To help start your online journey and potentially replace your full-time income I’ll be sharing:

  • How I personally make money online, with full guides on how you can do it too. These methods include e-commerce, blogging sites, etc. They take some time to start earning, but the pay off can be huge in the long run.
  • People that work for me online (freelancers,) the type of jobs I pay them to do, how much I pay them, and which platforms they use to get work. These methods include freelance writing, social media management, etc. Earning money here is a lot faster, however, it’s difficult to scale and not as passive in the long run.

Where to get started? I’m guessing most of you probably need money fast, so I recommend you start as a freelancer, look at the table below and select ‘easy’ or ‘moderate’ freelance work first. Once you get more comfortable online and as you build your skills, then you can concurrently begin building an e-commerce store or blog.

The below table summarizes method you can use to make money online, the skill level you’ll need to get started, the time it may take before you can start making a decent income from it, as well as what you could potentially earn.

Method:Skill level needed:Time to start earning:Estimated Potential Earnings:Best place to start:
Freelance WriterModerateFew daysAround R80 per hourIncome School
CopywriterDifficultOver 1 yearR400 per hourCopyhackers.com
Video EditorModerateFew weeksR200 per hourJustin Odisho
Graphic DesignerModerateFew weeksR80 per hourLindsay Lo
Voice-Over ArtistEasyFew daysR50 per hourFaulks Digital
TranscriberEasyFew daysR100 per hourApril Wilhelm
Facebook Marketer For Local BusinessesModerateFew weeksR300 per hourSurfside PPC
FB Page ManagerEasyFew weeksR200 per hourAgorapulse
Online Customer Service AgentEasyFew weeksR50 per hourAngie Nelson
Product RendererModerateFew weeksR300 per hourYoutube
Product PhotographerModerateFew weeksR200 per hourB&H Photo Video
Drop Shipping on BidorBuyModerateFew weeksR8000+ per monthView our full guide
Start an Ecommerce StoreDifficultFew monthsR20,000+ per monthView our full guide
Blogging websiteDifficultOver 1 yearR20,000+ per monthView our full guide
*Table has rough estimates based on my personal experience. Real results will vary depending on your personal circumstances.

Ready to get started? Keep reading as we dive deeper into each method!

Freelance Writer

When I started my online journey around ten years ago, this is where I started. Today, I use freelancer writers ALL THE TIME. There was a demand for them then, and there’s an even bigger demand for them now. Will you be the one to satisfy that demand?

Freelance writing can be an exciting journey but don’t get started if you don’t enjoy writing, otherwise, you’ll just be miserable, it’s definitely not for everyone. I’ve seen too many ‘writers’ coming into the game just because they need money, but they simply don’t last.

Earnings potential

Earnings vary significantly depending on who employs you (what country they are from), the depth of research that is needed, your skill as a writer, and obviously how much writing is necessary.

  • New writers could start earning around R150 to R250 per 1300 words on an article that requires minimal research.
  • Experienced writers earn around R1000 to R2000 per 1300 words on articles that need in-depth research.

Click here to view what writers are currently charging on Upwork.

How to build the skills needed

I highly recommend you check out the Income School YouTube channel. They teach bloggers how to write articles that rank on google so that websites can get free organic traffic, which is the end goal for most blog posts. The better you can write content that ranks on google, the more in-demand your writing will be.

Where to find work

I recommend you start on Fiverr and Upwork, price yourself lower than everyone else starting so that you can begin building reviews. Concurrently apply to be a writer on iWriter.

*If you’re a great writer, please contact us in the comments below. I’m always looking for more freelance writers in South Africa.

Become a Copywriter

Some people think that freelance writing and copywriting is the same thing, but don’t be fooled, it’s not. Here are two key differences:

  • Blogging is usually focused on providing valuable information to the reader for free.
  • The copywriter’s main job is to SELL by influencing the reader, usually through a sales page, email, ad copy, and even social media posts, etc.

The copywriting process starts with product research, customer research. Then the copywriter will use that information to design a sales page around a core concept that has one particular purpose, and that is to sell a product. It’s worth mentioning that this process requires a lot of training and skill, it’s definitely not something that can be picked up overnight.

[Example of a sales page.]

Earnings potential

Good copywriters that can sell products well can earn a lot of money. To give you an idea, I hired a freelance copywriter right here in South Africa and paid R20,000 for around 2000 words, which took him roughly around four days to complete. And the best thing? that’s considered low pay for a copywriter.

It’s not uncommon for high-end skilled copywriters to only accept clients on a commission basis. This way, they’ll make money every time their writing sells a product, which can add up to hundreds of thousands, and in some cases even millions of rands.

Since copywriting is so crucial to every business it’s arguably the highest paying job online. However, it does take time to build the skill.

How to build the skills needed

The best way to learn in my personal opinion is to self teach using the resources you have online. Here’s how:

  • Write successful sales pages out by hand daily so that you become sensitive to what works and what doesn’t. You can find some successful sales pages here.
  • Consume as much content on copyhackers.com.
  • I highly recommend you read The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman.
  • More importantly, practice writing your own sales pages and get feedback from friends and family. I would even take it as far as offering your services for free to other businesses just to get a decent amount of practice and to get your name out there.

Where to find work

You’ll usually pick up work as you build a portfolio of successful sales pages, as well as through word of mouth as you develop your repertoire. Here are a few ways to get your name out initially:

  • Fiverr
  • Upwork

Offer Video Editing Services

It’s 2020, so there’s a massive demand for videos from business owners. Videos are used in almost all aspects of businesses these days, so if you’re great at video editing or creating cartoon-style videos, then this might be the perfect freelance job for you.

Different video types:

  • Product unboxing videos – Simple videos of people unboxing products.
  • Product in use videos – Shows customers how to use products they purchased.
  • Education or sales cartoon videos – Used either to teach or to sell.
  • Sales video – This is generally a sales page in the form of a video.

Earnings potential

Your earnings will also heavily depend on your skill level, however, to give you an idea, starting out doing simple video editing jobs you could earn around R100 a job, then as you build your name with reviews, you could charge upwards of R5,000 to R10,000 a job.

Click here to view how much video editors are charging on Fiverr.

How to build the skills needed

Video editing can be self-taught, and YouTube is probably the best place to do it. However, it will require time, patience, and interest from your part.

That being said, please don’t go down this journey if you’re not naturally interested in video editing. This kind of work requires intense interest and passion. If you don’t have that, then you’ll only be wasting your own time.

Where to find work

The first place I personally look for video editors is on Fiverr and Upwork, so these would be great platforms to get started on.

Graphic Designer

Product labels, company logos, Facebook ads, benefit badges, product mock-up images, branding bundles, etc… When starting a new eCommerce store, there’s an endless amount of graphic design work that needs to be done. And with the world moving online faster and faster, there’s an ever-growing demand for graphic designers.

Earnings potential

Earning potential can be huge. Starting out some designers charge R200 to create a simple logo, while on the other hand, more popular designers charge upwards of R5,000 just for a single logo.

Click here to view what graphic designers are making on Fiverr.

How to build the skills needed

Again, this can be self-taught using nothing but Photoshop and free educational content on YouTube. That being said, this kind of work will require a decent amount of skill which will take a lot of time and patience, so don’t expect to be successful in this field overnight.

Where to find work

I recommend you get started on freelance platforms like Fiverr.com and Upwork. As you become more skilled and people leave great reviews, start charging more for your designs.

At this point, you could also look into working remotely for 99 Designs and Design Pickle. Joining a company like Design Pickle could be an excellent opportunity to further your skills.

Become a Voice-Over Artist

South African’s have a pretty unique accent that the rest of the world loves (for some reason.) Why not use your accent to make money? Voice over artists generally read out a script that then gets used by the client in an advert, cartoon, etc.

Earnings potential

Starting voice-over artists charge around R100 for a few hundred words, while on the other hand, top-rated sellers charge upwards of R3,000 just for 100 words! Which is an insane amount of money, but hey, the demand is there, so take advantage of it.

Click here to see what voice over artists are charging on Fiverr.

How to build the skills needed

Two words, YouTube and practice! Get yourself a high-quality microphone, find someone who teaches this stuff on YouTube, and just get started as soon as possible. You’ll learn what works overtime, and who knows, you might even be good at it as soon as you start.

Where to find work

Fiverr and Upwork are great platforms for voice over artists.

Become a Transcriber

Usually, people who create videos get transcribers to write out their words on paper, which is then used in a blog post. So the job involves patiently listening to a conversation over audio, then typing out the conversation word for word as best as possible.

Earnings potential

Since literally anyone can do this, the earnings potential is not the best. However, it could replace your income and it could be a great place to start especially if you don’t have useful online skills.

Transcribers charge around R150 for 15 minutes of audio for two speakers.

Click here to view what transcribers are currently earning on Fiverr.

How to build the skills needed

You could watch a few YouTube videos of transcribers giving tips just to get an idea of what to expect; however, since the work doesn’t require a crazy amount of skill, I would just get started as soon as possible and learn on the go.

Where to find work

Rev.com is probably the best place to get started. It’s an online company that offers transcribing services on demand, I use them personally all the time. It’s also worth putting up a listing on Upwork and Fiverr, this way you can concurrently build your name online.

Facebook Marketing For Local Businesses

The bulk of brick and mortar business owners are so ‘old school’ that they don’t even know how to use a computer, let alone how to use Facebook to market their business, which is why so many of them are going out of business. Old school marketing methods just don’t work in today’s world.

You have an opportunity to help and earn money from it! Learn how to use the power of Facebook, and offer to save their business.

Earnings potential

Facebook marketers in South Africa charge around R5000, to R10,000 to runs Facebook ads for a small business per month. This might not sound like much, but for a skilled Facebook marketer, a single local company only takes a few hours per month of actual work. If you know what you’re doing, you could easily do 10 to 15 businesses at a time.

Here’s how much Facebook marketers currently earn on Upwork.

How to build the skills needed

Start by watching this Surfsides PPC YouTube video on how to set up FB ads for local businesses. Subscribe to their YouTube channel and watch as many videos as possible.

Perpetual Traffic is a brilliant podcast that focuses on Facebook advertising, I also highly recommend that you get started on Episode 01 and work your way all the way to the most recent episode.

Their first episode aired in 2015 and a lot has changed since then, however, I recommend you start from the beginning because they cover a lot of evergreen marketing core concepts that are important to know before getting started.

Where to find work

Find out if anyone in your family has a local business that is struggling. If not, make a list of your favorite small restaurants, coffee shops, hair salons, car mechanic, etc. Then next time you’re there using their services, strike up a casual conversation and ask how business is doing, then casually mention that you market local business for living through FB.

If you have a case study where you saved a local business through FB marketing, then use that to entice them. It’s a bit of a hussle, but it works, especially if you know the business owners already.

Once you have a bit of experience post your service on Upwork, there are plenty of Facebook marketers posting their services on there.

Manage Businesses Social Media Pages

Social media managers provide value by building the client’s brand through frequent posts on different social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest etc.

Earnings potential

There’s really not much work that goes into this, so earnings aren’t that high. You could charge around R1000 to R2000 per page. That being said, since it’s so little work, you can easily manage 10 to 15 clients on your own. Another great thing is its recurring revenue, so once you pick up clients, and as long as you keep doing a great job, the money will come in month after month which will offer a sense of security.

Here’s a snapshot of what social media managers are making on Upwork.

How to build the skills needed

Find a YouTube channel that focuses on managing and building an e-commerce store’s social media presence, then learn as much as possible.

Once you have a basic understanding, I highly recommend you get Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a tool used by FB page managers that will give you the ability to schedule posts over time, which will save you a lot of time. With Hootsuite, you could schedule page posts for the month in a few hours, and then you’ll just leave the tool to publish the posts automatically.

Where to find work

Since social media managers can live anywhere in the world, I recommend you post your listing on Upwork. Starting as competitively priced as possible, and as you build up reviews, you can push up your pricing.

Online Customer Service Agent

As more businesses move online, the demand for online customer service agents will increase. So what would you do? Online customer service agents generally reply to emails, comments on Facebook and Instagram ads, as well as FB inbox messages, etc. If you’re patient and great with people, then this might be the freelance job for you.

Earnings potential

If you get work in South Africa, you’ll probably get paid around R6000 per month. However, if you get a freelance position from an American company, then this could be as high as R20,000 per month. Before you get to that point though you’ll need some proper experience, so don’t expect to make that much when starting.

Here’s how much customer service specialists currently earn on Upwork.

How to build the skills needed

You guessed it, YouTube! You can literally learn anything on YouTube these days. Find a channel that teaches best customer service practices, and apply what you learn to your work. You’ll also need a basic understanding of how to use email and social media platforms.

Where to find work

In this space, Upwork definitely seems to be the best place to get work. Falling back from that, you can try Fiverr.

Offer Product Rendering Services

We use product renderers to digitally make images of our products because it’s a lot quicker and cheaper than hiring a product photographer. And on top of that, the photos often come out looking a lot better.

Earnings potential

At the moment we pay a guy on Fiverr called dalibor around R400 for 3 images. The craziest part he’s so busy, he often only gets back to us after like 7 days before he starts the project which makes me think there’s a huge demand for this service online.

Click here to see what product renderers are currently charging on Fiverr.

How to build the skills needed

From what I know, you’ll need a decent computer and product rendering software to get this set up. So don’t expect to get started with just a simple laptop. Once you have that sorted, head on over to YouTube and search for “product rendering” guides. You’ll get more than enough educational content for free on YouTube to get started.

Where to find work

As mentioned before, I get my product renderings done on Fiverr, so that’s a great place to start. Fall back from there, try Upwork. I see there are product renderers also offering their services on there.

Offer Product Photography Services

For complex looking product images like shoes and furniture etc, it makes sense to get a product photographer instead of getting a render done. Another scenario where photography is preferred over renders is when the client would like models holding their product. So if you enjoy photography this freelancing job might be a great option.

Earnings potential

Since this freelancer job is a lot more hands-on and does require a decent level of skill, you could earn around R2000 per job. And a single client could take a few hours of your time, so if you set up an efficient workflow, earnings could be huge.

Click here to see what product photographers are charging at the moment.

How to build the skills needed

For this, you’ll need to be a skilled photographer, and you’ll need a decent camera and studio setup. Don’t expect yo get started with a simple smartphone, there’s a lot more to it than that. Once you do have the tools required, find photographers you can follow on YouTube, and start learning through trial and error.

Where to find work

I recommend you offer your services to local South African businesses instead of Fiverr and Upwork. Online platforms are geared towards U.S clients, which can be great because you’ll get to charge more. However, you’ll need your U.S client to ship their products to you, and since you’re in South Africa, it’ll take forever before you can even get started with work.

Drop Ship Products From Alibaba on BidorBuy

Dropshipping is a great way to make money online because you don’t have to physically own the product to sell it. One method that I used in the past is to sell Alibaba products on BidorBuy without ever having the product in my hands.

Earnings potential

Earnings potentially vary a lot, however, because the process is a lot more manual, I could only make around R6000 per month using the method I’m about to share with you. That being said, there are others out there making a lot more with dropshipping.

How to get started

I wrote a full guide that you can follow that talks through all the steps on how to make money on Bidorbuy by drop shipping, so make sure you check it out.

Start an Ecommerce Store In South Africa

E-commerce takes a lot more skill and time to set up, however, once you have a full online store and a few marketing channels setup, then the sky is the limit. Since it’s online-based, the business can be scaled A LOT quicker than your standard brick and mortar businesses.

Earnings potential

The earnings potential is by far the biggest once you’re successful. I personally started out with eCommerce 4 years ago, and instantly started making around R4000 per month.

Today, we do around R2 million in revenue a month and get this, we’re a ‘small’ eCommerce company. I know of online business doing 10 times that. In eCommerce, the sky is really the limit, however, you’ll need a few thousand rands to invest upfront, and you’ll need a lot of time and patience. It’s definitely not an overnight process.

How to get started

I wrote a full step-by-step guide that covers how to start a successful eCommerce store right here in South Africa. So if you’re interested, grab a coffee, pen, and paper before you get started, it’s a detailed one!

Start a Blog

Blogging is another excellent source of income that takes time to get started, but once the ball gets rolling, it could be a significant passive source of income.

Earnings potential

Earnings can be HUGE, and it can be a lot more passive than eCommerce. That being said, while an e-commerce store can be started in a month, blogging takes a minimum of 12 months to start making you a decent amount of money.

So how much money can blogging make in South Africa? We’ve had successful blogs earning us around R20,000 per month, however, keep in mind that it took over a year to get that site to earn that amount of money.

To give you an idea of the amount of work that goes into it, we started a blog four months ago, it currently has 130 articles, and it’s only earning a few hundred rands a month. The reason why it takes so long is that google generally takes eight months to rank an article.

How to get started

I wrote a full guide on how I successfully started a blog that makes money in South Africa. So if this is something that interests you, make sure you check it out.

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