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4 South Africans making side hustles happen

19 November 2021
3 minute read
Woman sewing at home

By Denise Mhlanga

In an uncertain economy, many South Africans are turning to side hustles to make ends meet, or to help them save for the important things in life. Consider a Gumtree poll that revealed that 31.5% of South Africans have a side hustle! So, what’s yours?

We found examples of four South Africans making side hustles work. We hope that they will empower and inspire you to find your own hustle.

Side hustling for financial freedom

Even as a little girl, Thembile Ndlovu was fascinated by designer clothes – and driven by a desire for financial freedom.

By day, she is a technical manager. In her spare time, she sketches, designs and sews fashionable clothes for women, turning her love for fashion into a side hustle business that brings in more than she imagined.

“With this business, which I financed with the savings from my salary, I want to create a financially secure future for myself, my daughter, as well as my dedicated employees. The aim is to make the business so financially viable that we are able to hire more permanent employees, which will help them to secure their children’s future and improve the quality of their lives,” says Ndlovu.

She explains that we live in uncertain times and financial planning has never been more important. “The extra income from a side hustle is a small step towards creating generational wealth.” She adds that the extra income goes towards maintaining her existing insurance and educational policies for her daughter.

Maake Rabutla, a beautician, turned to side hustling when her income was reduced by COVID-19. “I decided to buy different perfume brands in bulk and sell them to women in my township community.”

If sales keep growing, and she saves enough money, she hopes to one day rent the space and buy the equipment she needs to offer manicure and pedicure services to her growing clientele.

“I want to give my daughter the best possible life, one small saving at a time,” says Rabutla.

Serving the community inspired hustle

Athimangali (Timmy) Kwinda, a father of two, works as a waiter and also runs a small spaza shop. He sells mopane worms and achaar.

He was forced into hustling after losing his job due to lockdown. “I chose this hustle mainly to ensure less fortunate people in the township who cannot afford to shop at normal supermarkets, have access to affordable food items such as mopane worms and achaar,” he says.

There is also a greater community vision behind Kwinda’s side hustle. Having extra income will enable him and his wife to continue to financially support a local community centre and food kitchen to support adults, street children and orphans in their community.

Passion-driven side hustle

For Lauren Dixon-Paver, a graphic designer by day, turning to side hustling wasn’t born from a need for extra income, but from her passion for crafting.

Dixon-Paver creates step-by-step DIY crafting video tutorials for her YouTube channel and makes jewellery.

“I have always been passionate about homemade crafts,” she says. “The video tutorials enabled me to monetise my craft. I try to invest earnings from these videos back into projects such as craft supplies.”

Making money takes time and patience. Dixon-Paver says every now and again, she earns a little from her YouTube channel. The sale of jewellery also brings in money. “This extra income has helped me pursue my many creative projects, while my salary continues to take care of basics and savings,” points out Dixon-Paver.

Tips for successful side hustling

Working fulltime and having a side hustle is not always easy. It often means working late into the night and requires dedication and passion. Here are tips from successful side hustlers on how to make it work.

Be passionate and persistent

Money is a great financial reward, but it takes a lot of time and passion before you will make any money. Don’t expect your side hustle to buy you a car or house.

Start small

With time, the small amounts you earn will add up. Make a point of saving whatever little is left after investing back into the business.

Look after your health

Given that you already work all day, it is important to rest physically, mentally and emotionally. A side hustle should earn money and not cause mental health problems.

Mistakes are a learning curve

It’s possible not to make money for months after starting the side hustle. Ask for honest feedback from your customers and see if you can fix and learn from mistakes. Or look for a new hustle! 

Anyone with passion, drive and the desire to be financially free or earn extra income can start a side hustle. Just identify the right one and you are set for life!

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