How to run a side hustle

How to run a side hustle

Times are tough and running a side hustle in South Africa is the new “in thing”. Everyone is talking about it and many people are trying it. From online gigs, blogs, selling items, etc. Take a look at the advantages of having a side hustle, how to run a side hustle as a business, and get some side hustle ideas.

The advantages of a side hustle

The advantages of starting a side hustle are:

  • additional monthly income,
  • potential to grow your income,
  • having space to experiment with ideas, and
  • the ability to start a business at a low cost and with little risk.

The main advantage of having a side hustle is obviously the extra income. This however comes at the cost of your time & energy, and there will probably be financial costs involved. That’s why it’s good to keep track of it all to see whether it is worth it or not. But, money can be made!

Besides the monthly income, a big potential advantage of a side hustle is that it could turn into a “real” business, or it could replace your current employment. Imagine if you can make a few hundred rands by simply spending a few hours in the evening or on weekends, how much more could you make if you did it full-time?

Whether you’re trying your hand at selling physical items, digital downloads, or content; spending more time on it will most likely result in more income. And that’s the beauty of a side hustle.

You also have the ability to experiment. The first idea you try may not work, but as this is a small side hustle, you can try various things and see what works. You only need to make 1 sale to know that you’re onto something. Of course, that sale should be to a stranger. Not your proud Mom, other family members, or friends. lol

You can stat a side hustle with a very low cost and very low risk, and there is huge potential!

Also take a look at this great post on freelancing vs entrepreneurship – got some interesting points there to think about.

Run your side hustle as a business

To me it’s vital to run yor side hustle as a business. No matter how small or informal it may be. You need to know how much money you spend, and how much you make. And using the profits, you can always expand.

Think about the following situation. Sitha runs a side hustle selling cookies. She has a vague idea of the profit she makes off one pack, but she doesn’t really keep track. She bakes as and when people order, she uses whatever is in the grocery cupboard, and uses the income for general expenses in the month.

That’s all fine, but how can she measure her success if she has no idea of how much she is making, nor where the money is going?

A better scenario would be if she keeps track of all “business” expenses. This can just be in a spreadsheet or even a paper notebook. It would also be good for her to keep the baking supplies separate to her personal ones. And then, keep track of all sales and keep the profits separate. Even though the hustle may be small, treat it as a business. You’re doing it to make money, no?

By running your side hustle as a business, you’ll know exactly how much profit you make. And of course, if you’re not making a profit, then you should wonder why you’re doing it.

There are many banks that allow you to open a special type of business account for a sole proprietor (if your a one-person company that is not formally registered). You can also just use a personal account for your business. If however you register a formal company, here are some options for business banking.

How to manage your side-hustle finances

Managing your side hustle finances doesn’t need to be overly complex or time consuming. But, the better it is done, and the more detailed, the better understanding you will have of your side hustle profitability. It is also needed to be able to accurately reflect your income and expenses for SARS purposes. Of course, whether or not you do that is up to you. lol

I keep a spreadsheet of all income from my side hustle. Whether it be paid to me in cash, via PayPal, BuyMeACoffee, or directly into my account. I also keep track of all expenses related to my side hustle, which as you, is blogging. These expenses include software subscriptions, hosting, electronic equipment, etc.

I like to keep an accurate list of everything so that I can tell exactly how I am doing. Be it month-to-month, or over the years.

When it comes to paying tax though, I have a tax consultant who then uses this information and does the necessary. Sometimes they question expenses or ask for more details. They are experts in what they do and I trust that they use the information correctly. Some expenses may not be deductible on my income tax return, but I still track them on my financial spreadsheet as it is still money spent.

Side hustle ideas for South Africans

So of course you want to know what to do. You’re search for side hustle ideas for moms or side hustle ideas for students. There’s lots out there. I’d suggest you start with these 4 tips:

  1. Look at what you’re good at.
  2. Think about things that you enjoy doing.
  3. Consider if you could sell your time as a service.
  4. Think about what you can create – physical or digital.

1 – What are you good at?

We don’t always realise what we’re good at and it’s interesting to chat to others about this. What do your friends and family think you do well? Be it the ability to teach others, explain concepts, write, do admin, find bargains, etc. Perhaps you have a good fashion sense, you’re creative, can draw well, or design.

There are so many skills that we all have and you don’t need to be a professional, nor an expert. Just be good it.

The trick here is to find a way to monetise this skill of yours. How do you get someone to pay for this thing that you’re good at. See how I make money on my blog.

And, as long as it’s not costing you much money, experiment. Try things. Put yourself out there.

2 – What do you enjoy doing?

Running a side hustle will require time and energy. You should really enjoy what you do.

You may be good at admin but if you don’t enjoy it, rather don’t start an admin side hustle. You’ll only find it frustrating and demotivating.

Work on your strengths and find the things that give you pleasure.

3 – Can you sell your time as a service?

Now, looking at what you are good at, and what you enjoy doing. Can you sell this as a service?

Could you offer to do someones’ grocery shopping? At a fee of course.

Help someone choose clothing for the next job interview. They can pay you with a nice breakfast. lol

But maybe you can start tutoring students, selling your time as a virtual PA, edit writing, or offer a research and writing service. Stand in queue for people at Home Affairs, deliver goods, do online mentoring.

The ideas are endless!

See how to start blogging if that’s something that interests you.

There are many ways to offer your time as a service but this is only the start. You have a limited number of hours in the day and would at some point reach the ceiling. So that’s why you need to create stuff.

4 – What can you create? Physical or digital.

Once you’ve created a product (physical or digital), you’re on the path to starting a deal business and growing your earning potential. And even better if one could automate the process and allow people to purchase your product at any time of the day.

This could take years to build so don’t rush the process. But, certainly start thinking about it.

You could create physical products that you sell yourself, or digital ones that can be downloaded. As your skills improve, your business grows and your clientele expands, you’ll start to reap the benefits.

Also remember that you don’t necessarily need to create your own products. You could sell existing products and earn a commission. See my post on what affiliate marketing is all about.

How to start an online store in South Africa.

As with most financial related advice, be patient. Don’t compare yourself to others, and enjoy your journey as you experiment, build and run your side hustle.


    1. Thanks – personally I find blogging to be a great side-hustle for me as I can easily create time for it around my regular work schedule. No products, customer care or set hours. lol

  1. Awesome blog! I am interested in making money online and I’d like to thank you for sharing your brilliant ideas on how to. I also have a training method that can surely help you

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