9 ways to make money online in South Africa in 2021

Who wouldn’t want to be able to make money from their computer without ever having to spend it?

Nice in theory. The problem is that we of hundred have a false view of what making money online means.

If you were going to get rich by selling slimming wraps on Instagram or inviting “only 10 friends to join this brand new marketing system”, I have bad news for you.

Because deep down, you can imagine: there is no quick fix. Contrary to what you would like to believe, this pop-up promises to “make money without doing anything thanks to a simple secret system”.

Basically, making money online is of hundred less easy than it looks — and will require a minimum of effort. But what is certain is that it does not have to cost much.

The beauty of launching your online business is that it can be a solid income source in the long run, without or with very little initial investment.


Is it (really) possible to earn money online in South Africa without spending it?

Yes and no.

Is it possible to earn a few hundreds of South African Rand every month in exchange for a little of your time (not your money)? Yes.

This is the case, for example, with paid surveys. You don’t have to spend anything to enjoy it: only to spend time there, for sums that are still quite small.

But will it allow you to earn large sums of money every month and in a sustainable way? The answer is no.

Conversely, can you start an online business to generate real income or even passive income without investing any euro? It’s more difficult, but it’s possible.

But you can, on the other hand, easily do it for only a few hundreds of South African Rand. And you should also keep in mind that you will surely have investments to make in the long term to allow your business to grow.

You will usually need at least certain software, subscriptions or equipment. But you don’t have to pay several thousand South African Rand a month, quite the contrary.

On the other hand, to reduce costs, you will have to spend something other than money: time.


Your time or money

Time vs Money Poster

You actually usually have a choice between investing money or investing time.

In general, the less time you will want to invest, the more money you will have to invest (simply because you will pay to save time). And vice versa.

Building a long-term, sustainable online business without any investment will probably take longer. You have to do all the work yourself, do without paid software or tools that would make your job much easier, and learn how to do everything on the job.

This is not to say that it is bad: you only have to be aware of it. After a few months or years, by starting to free up income, you can reinvest some of it to make your job easier.

There is no magic or mystery.

There are also some ways to make money online without spending anything, which I detail a little later in this article. Some are very easy to launch without investment, others a little less.

And if you need to make money quickly and start collecting a few South African Rand now, that’s where the quick methods come in, like the paid polls I was talking about earlier.

But if they pay quickly, they, unfortunately, pay very little and are not really durable (unless you dream of spending hours each week answering surveys).


Differentiating scams from opportunities

What may seem difficult when trying to make money on the internet without spending it is to differentiate the scams’ real opportunities.

And that’s normal: there are actually a lot of scams that can cost you dearly. But that doesn’t mean it’s all a scam either.

Here are some tips to avoid them as best they can.

For starters, if you are asked to give money to earn money, it is probably a scam. Warning: I’m not talking about buying a book or choosing to take a course on it.

I’m talking about “systems to make money quickly from your couch,” which ask you to buy a method or make an initial investment and then get a return on that investment.

Or the MLM type fixtures, in which you have asked to buy a stock (drinks, makeup, jewellery…) to resell online … Knowing that Literally 99% of participants, MLM loses money.

There are, however, creators who are dedicated to helping you launch your business on the web in a real and legal way. I myself signed up for several of these courses, which were by no means scams. But they were offered by creators I knew and followed for a while-not by a raucous Facebook ad.

You don’t have to put everything in the same bag, but you also have to be aware that scams exist.

If you are asked to send money for a return on investment later, run away.

To start to learn more about the subject, I recommend 100% the book of Chris Guillebeau, 100 South African Rand, to start his business. He inspired me to create this blog and other projects that allowed me to create passive income.


9 Ways to Make Money Online in South Africa Without Spending Money


1. Becoming a freelancer


Being a freelancer allows you to work from where you want, according to your own schedule.

Whether you’re a graphic designer, accountant, secretary, developer, or whatever, freelancing is probably doable for you.

Being a freelancer is simply working as an independent in your profession. So you don’t have a single employer or a long-term contract (although some missions may last longer than others).

It’s a concept quite similar to micro-services, with the difference that as a freelancer, you of hundred work on more complete missions, about customers beyond a simple order, and who are more profitable … and therefore also require more time.

The big advantage is that you can work from anywhere and according to your own schedule. You can also very well start a freelance business and your salary, or as the main activity.

However, you will need to manage your customers’ relationship and try to find new ones while managing your business administratively.

The main platforms dedicated to freelancers are:

It is hundred the start-up that will take the most time, the time to find your first customers, build your portfolio and collect your first recommendations.

This is similar to micro-services for the initial investment cost: zero if you already have computer equipment and an internet connection. It will then depend on the missions you propose.


2. Create a blog

Creating Blog

If you like to write and share a topic you are passionate about or fascinating about, starting a blog is surely a great option.

And you don’t need to be a technology pro to get started or even a digital marketing genius.

The thing about blogging is that you’ll have to learn to be patient before you start touching something.

They can take months, or sometimes years, to start reporting. I began to monetize mine slowly after about 4 months… and only for a few South African Rand a month in the beginning.

But of a hundred, the curve keeps rising with the passing of time and the investment in time you put into it.

And the big advantage of blogging is that revenues are of hundred passive: that is, your blog continues to earn you money even when you’re not actively working on it. You can take a month’s vacation and keep earning money.

After that, of course, it all depends on the work and the involvement you are willing to put into it.

To create your blog, the essential steps will be to:

  • Choose the right niche. Avoid sites that are too generic: try to find a specific theme to write about (dog training).
  • Identify the problems in your audience, and try to answer them. You should have a minimum of control over the subject you are writing about or be training yourself and sharing your experience. Your content should help others solve the problems they encounter in this specific topic.
  • Create quality content. Contrary to the image we of hundred make of blogs, it is not a question of detailing your last holiday at the Grande Motte. But to give value to your readers by helping them accomplish something.
  • Learn about search engine optimization. This is an essential aspect of blogging.

Your blog’s monetisation will depend on two factors: the number of visitors who visit each month and the interest and commitment your visitors have to your content.

Then, once your audience starts to grow and visitors begin to get to know you and appreciate your content, you’ll have several ways to monetize your site:

  • Advertising (Google AdSense or others)
  • Affiliate marketing (seen in detail in the next point)
  • Publish sponsored or editorial content
  • Sell online courses, eBooks or other types of content.

Launching your blog is easy and requires very little to see any initial investment. WordPress, for example, allows you to launch your site for free to get started.

On the other hand, even if it’s a great solution to start, especially when you don’t know anything about web development, the options remain limited. You will probably have to try to go through a more professional system after a few months.

If you want to go through another system, the costs will usually be those of hosting – the platform with which you will create your site.


3. Offering micro-services

Micro-services are a great way to make money online without having to spend it.

It’s also an ultra-flexible solution to allow you to work at your own pace, whenever you want.

As the name suggests, the concept of micro-services offers online assignments to clients looking for your skills in concise projects.

Examples include:

  • Write articles for companies, blogs, etc.
  • Translate, transcribe or caption
  • Offer your voice as a voice-over.
  • Create designs, logos, etc.

Of course, it’s not about offering anything and everything. But depending on your skill field, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find services to offer.

For example, some people propose to organize trips for you, to put your PowerPoint on the page… and more.

For example, a user proposes to write love or break-up letters for 5 South African Rand.

The best sites to use to offer its micro-services are:

  • Upwork. As the name suggests, you can offer missions starting 50ZAR, but also more expensive. It is the most popular micro-service platform to date in SouthAfrica.
  • Fiverr. Fiverr works just like 5 South African Rand, except that the platform is international. If it is possible to display the English interface, many customers will want to communicate with you in English for your assignments, even if they are looking for editors or voices, for example. So you have to be a little comfortable with Shakespeare’s language – but if you speak good English, that’s a big plus for you.

Here, very little (if any) initial investment is required provided you already have the necessary computer equipment (at least a computer and an internet connection).

It will then depend on the missions you propose. For example, for voice-over services, you will probably need to have a good quality microphone.


4. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a great way to start making money online without investing.

Your job is to promote someone else’s products (usually a company) in exchange for a commission on each sale with affiliate marketing.

On the other hand, you will have to go through a website (like a blog, as we just saw) or through social networks to get started. This means you’ll have to have a pretty large audience and interested in what you have to say.

You also have the opportunity to participate in groups, forums, network discussions, etc., to answer questions and exchanges about the products in question and share your link at the same time.

Warning: this method is a much more slippery terrain. No one likes Internet users who spam groups and networks by sharing their affiliated link at all costs. I get myself every day comments under this blog’s articles from people who try at all costs to share their links for no reason – and they end up in spam directly.

Once again, the goal is to give people value and help them, which will naturally encourage them to go through your link to buy.

Let’s say you’re promoting protein powder of a certain brand (which you actually use or have actually used, of course). You can share your experience on bodybuilding forums.

But in my opinion, the best option is to launch your blog or website and place your affiliate links in quality content useful to readers.

The ideal is to sign up for dedicated platforms that connect publishers (you) and brands to find affiliate partnerships. Among my favourites and most popular are:

With affiliation, the big advantage is that you promote third-party products without having to create them yourself – and therefore without having to invest.


As with any source of compensation, regardless of the method used, you will, of course, have to declare your income (which will be taxed). Be sure to check before you start to stay within the rules.


5. Becoming a virtual assistant

Virtual Assistance

The number of freelancers and “solopreneurs” (a person who creates and runs a business alone) has increased significantly in recent years.

Their problem is of hundred that as their business grows, it of hundred becomes more and more difficult for these independents to manage everything themselves.

This is where virtual assistants come into play.

As a virtual assistant, your role is to manage, remotely, a wide variety of tasks, mostly administrative, for your client. You are a bit like an online secretary who accompanies the entrepreneur in her daily life to focus on her most important tasks.

The tasks assigned to you will depend on the entrepreneur in question but may revolve around these themes:

  • Organize their daily schedule
  • Set up appointments and meetings
  • Recall important tasks
  • Organize and respond to emails
  • Manage billing or other documentation
  • … and more depending on the field!

The advantage is also that you can also learn a lot from your side with these kinds of missions, especially if you also want to start as an entrepreneur one day.

You can find virtual assistant assignments on the freelance and services sites I presented earlier in the article.

You can also try contacting entrepreneurs and small businesses directly on LinkedIn to offer them your services.

Having your own website to introduce you and your services is of hundred quite appreciated – even if it’s just a small free site made on WordPress.


6. Selling courses online

Online Video Course

With more than 130,000 courses available and 35 million students enrolled, Udemy is one of the world’s largest online training and course platforms.

If you have the knowledge, are experts or work in a particular field and like to teach at least, you probably have the potential to launch your own online course on Udemy.

The platform is a huge showcase that allows you to highlight your course in front of thousands or even thousands of students interested in a field (in exchange for a commission on your sales).

You can also offer courses in almost any field: dance, cooking, dressage, mathematics, web development…

Overview of the “Development” category of the Udemy site

And you don’t need to create a course worthy of a specialized master’s degree. Different people are looking for different levels of training. So you can create longer and fuller courses and smaller ones (by adjusting the rate, of course).

Here, no initial investment is required: you pay Udemy only through a percentage of your courses’ sale. If you don’t sell anything, you won’t have to pay for anything.


7. Launch a dropshipping shop


With drop shipping, you don’t have to take care of sending products yourself.

Dropshipping is also a good way to make money on the internet without spending it.

It is a model of e-commerce very accessible by its operation. With drop shipping, you sell a product on your site without managing the stock yourself but by asking the supplier to ship the orders directly to the customer.

So you don’t have to manage inventories, orders or shipments – and you pay for yourself with the margin between the price you charge your customers and the price at which you buy the product from the supplier.

Dropshipping is starting to get a little saturated in some niches, with a lot of competition. So you have to try to find an interesting niche before you start.

The other obstacle will be to remain ethical in your approach: the goal is to make products accessible to an audience searching for a specific solution – not to sell poor quality products imported from abroad with an indecent margin.

Here you can again choose to create a website with WordPress coupled with a solution such as WooCommerce, or more simply to go through a platform like Shopify. The first option is free but will require an investment of time to make the site professional and, above all, secure for online payments.

The second will cost you at least 9 South African Rand per month but will be much easier to set up and manage (notable thanks to its integration with Oberlo ).

Take the time to find out before you get started.


8. Post eBooks on Amazon


If you like to write, publishing eBooks on Amazon can be a great way to make money.

As you know, Amazon is a viral platform with millions of shoppers going there every day. Including in the books and e-books section.

Just like online courses, you can write an e-book on any subject you master.

Of course, you will need a little time and patience before you start earning money. Just writing your eBook will take you a while.

But you don’t have to make one the length of a Tolstoy: eBooks can remain modest in the number of pages, provided they are useful and give readers value.

And as a writer, the possibilities are wide open. You can write novels, non-fiction books, practical guides or any other type of book. All this while self-publishing your book directly on Amazon: no need for a publishing house.


9. Sell your creations online on Etsy.

This idea is somehow a mix between online sales and offline creations.

If you are particularly manual and love craftsmanship and handmade, this solution is for you.

Whether you are a painter, jewellery designer, vintage lover or scrapbooking, you can offer your products for sale. On the other hand, they will ask you for an initial investment in materials to make your creations.

But you also have the ability to create printable, downloadable digital products that you create from your computer (schedules, planners, budget tracking, printable tables, etc.).

If you have a talent for design or organization, you can easily offer your services.

Etsy is not 100% free; however: you will have to pay a little less than 20 cents to put an item on sale.