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5 Ways to Make Money Online as a South African

What to do if you’ve been retrenched and can’t find work

You’ve got the official email, or sat in the official all-hands zoom meeting. You are being retrenched due to the COVID-crisis. It’s terrifying, how are you going to make sure you have food next month or can afford rent? Companies aren’t hiring and your services aren’t essential. It seems somewhat hopeless at times, doesn’t it?

The truth is, it is scary. However, there are ways to make money from home so that you can eat next month. Here I want to talk about 5 ways that I am using the internet to try and make money as a South African. A lot of these types of guides give you options as if they are guaranteed easy money. I do not want to do that. Every option I’m going to give you is hard work and not a guarantee. That being said, I have made money doing some of the tips before, and I am trying some of the tips for the first time now.

With that in mind, here are the ways I am trying to make money using the internet and 5 ways you can try to make money online too.

A Beginner’s Guide To Creating A Website In Africa And Making It Profitable


You can freelance using most skills. If you are a graphic designer, digital marketing specialist, writer, accountant, or anything that does not require you to be in person, you can freelance online.

I am a writer, podcaster and SEO specialist. I try to use those skills for freelancing. Writing content for websites or helping them with their SEO. I can also offer my services if clients need audio editing or help recording.

Most of my work I get through people I know, however if you are starting out and need platforms to find clients. I highly suggest Upwork. The hourly rate is not great, but if you work 8 hours day on clients from Upwork you will make a living. Another benefit is that you get paid in dollars, with the dollar to rand exchange rate being hectic at the moment, that is a great benefit.

Another platform you could use is I haven’t used this platform before because you have to pay for full access to the client base.

Both platforms require you to bid for projects and clients, this means that you need to optimise your profile really well and give a convincing pitch.

Teach Online Courses

This is something I am starting to do, I just put my first course on teachable. I really like the idea of selling online courses for a few reasons. It is a way that you can share the knowledge you have gained in your industry. It democratises learning to a certain extent. There is no barrier to entry for teachers and learners of access to more skills at more affordable rates.

It does require quite a bit of work, from prepping the course, recording, editing and then selling it. However, if you have the time, the profit potential is quite high. Included in that potential is using it as a marketing tool. I have used teachable to link back to Over Saturated, which helps with SEO and getting new visitors.

Build an Online Business

Building an online business might be a bit more complicated than the previous two points, however it can really work.

Come up with an idea that can make money simply from the internet. Obvious examples of this are social media websites. Typically this requires a bit of capital to start, but you can keep your running costs low and maximise your profits reasonably quickly.

I am working on finding a way to grow and make Over Saturated profitable, and it seems there are possible ways. Hopefully we are able to make those happen. Speaking of which.

Write Blogs

I know most bloggers do not make any money. There are, however, ways to make money blogging. If you have your own blog one of the ways is to install ads through Google Adsense. The conversion from reader to clicked on ad is low, but it can help with a bit of extra cash flow. You can probably see, we have ads installed on Over Saturated already.

There are platforms like Medium that pay writers that sign onto their partner program. Sadly, they don’t pay anywhere in Africa. Medium is, however, still a great platform to grow your audience.

There are other websites that do pay, you just need to go out and find them. Over Saturated will hopefully be one of those blogs in the near future. We have been listed as one of the top 20 news site in South Africa on Feedspot, so it looks like we are headed there.

Create Content

Here is the final way I am trying to make money online and a way you can too. You can create videos on Youtube and grow your audience big enough, where ad revenue and brand partnerships are possible. Or you could start a podcast, and achieve the same goals. I am currently trying to do that with Not Really Radio.

If you are a musician, tapping into streaming is an absolute necessity. Unlike the SABC, streaming platforms do pay out. Fair Game is an artist from South Africa that did this really well, and he is seeing the benefits now.

If you are a photographer or videographer you can sell your work as assets. A really cool example of this is a friend of mine selling his photographs as screensavers.

The problem with creating content is that it can take years to grow an audience where you are paid for your content. So don’t rush this one, and if it is a route you want to pursue I would highly advise working on other income streams.

All of the above tips are ways of making money that I am trying myself. I do know that all of them require a lot of hard work. If you are not willing to work hard, you may have to look for other ways to make money. I hope they help you though and I hope they work for me.

A few months from now, I will be able to report and see if they do. However, for now, if you try any of the above please let me know how it goes. It could actually be an amazing blog post, so if you have stories of how you’re making money online please email me here.

Photo used is by Nick Morrison on Unsplash. Albeit a bit edited.

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