How to make money online in South Africa

How to make money online in South Africa

There are a lot of ways to make money online in South Africa. After many years of experimenting and research I came with a guide on how to make money online in South Africa. When you search on the internet “how to make money online in South Africa”, you find a bunch of ideas that seem really cool in theory but don’t really work in practice. This guide has filtered out a lot of that useless staff for you and provides you with ideas that won’t only earn you extra income but full-time income. This is a lengthy article but read it, all of it, read it to understand.

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Make money with your smartphone or computer

For this practical guide, I will be showing you ways to make money with your smartphone or computer in South Africa. All you really need is a stable internet connection. These ideas don’t need you to leave your house, you can do them right from your home.

Too good to be true

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Most of these guides on the internet make it seem like making money on the internet is easy, it’s not. In my quest to make money online in South Africa I came upon articles saying I could make money just by taking surveys. I thought to myself, wow this must be easy then, all I have to do is just answer questions online then I get paid, sweet, I am doing this. Well, I got disappointed, a lot of these other suggestions seemed like they would bring money but many of them didn’t.  

It’s not easy to make money online and if you are looking for an easy way then you are in for a tough ride. The ideas that will be discussed here are mostly free, you don’t have to have money to start. All they require is your time and dedication.

Understanding the landscape of the internet in South Africa

A lot of people still don’t understand how this internet thing works. A lot, some people think they do while in reality they don’t. Just about 10 years ago most of us weren’t into the internet as we are today. This internet thing is still a new concept to most people. Besides social media and Google, most people don’t know much about the internet in South Africa. This is important because you will face less competition when trying to make money online in South Africa, unlike in countries like the USA or India.

The importance of an Audience

To make money online, you need to have an audience. Your online business will not survive without an audience, this is the most important thing, you will not make money without an audience, period. In fact, even the biggest internet companies in the world rely on their audience to make money.

An audience is the people that you will show your online business to and make money from. Where there are people, there is money to be made. The reason why most shops don’t prefer to stand alone but choose to be part of a mall or shopping complex is because of the audience that is there. Each and everyone that walks in through the mall is a potential buyer.

A lot of you already have an online audience of some sort, your WhatsApp status viewers are an audience, your active Facebook friends are an audience, your Instagram followers are an audience. Everyone who you have the power to reach through the internet is an audience. You, currently reading this article, are my audience. What’s important to understand about an audience is that the more audience you have, the more money you will make, simple. This is what I figured out when I went into the online business space, while other online entrepreneurs were focused on things that don’t really matter, I focused on what matters and that is getting my business in front of as many eyes as possible, in the cheapest way possible.

Your audience is the one that will eventually buy from you or contribute towards you earning money in some way. How have I made money from you now? simple, you opening this page and reading up to this point has already made me some money. But those are just the results of over 8 months of laying the foundation, like I said, it’s not easy. An audience is crucial to making money online in South Africa.

Where can you get this audience?

There are a lot of sources of an online audience in developed countries, but that’s not the case in South Africa. In SA most people can be found on social media or Google, there is a high chance that you came to this article through one of those sources. Getting traffic from Google is not easy and it’s brutal for beginners, so for this article let’s focus on how you can get an audience on social media.


Have you noticed that it seems like everyone is going to YouTube lately? It’s because it works. YouTube rewards content creators by paying them for the views they get on their videos. When you go to YouTube and search for anything helpful, you will likely get an American(USA) video or an Indian video, this goes for a lot of tutorials and most other types of content.

YouTube is the most visited site after Google, people spend a lot of their time on YouTube looking up things, there are almost 5 billion videos watched on YouTube every single day. You can cash in on this by opening a YouTube channel and simply making videos, those should be videos that you think people will be interested in. You don’t have to make your content about anything professional, you can even make pranks. All that’s important is that you get an audience and people to watch your videos.

The reason why YouTube is at the top of this list of making money online in South Africa is because there is no limit to how much money you can earn on YouTube, you can make from just a few hundred rands to millions of rands. As of now they highest paid YouTuber is an eight year old, earning roughly $26 million ( roughly 450 million rands) in 2019. It’s not likely that you will make that much money but you get the point.

A few years ago most people didn’t use YouTube in South Africa because of how data-demanding it was. Now almost everyone in the middle class uses YouTube on a daily basis in South Africa, you can see that from the number of subscribers and views South African channels are getting. Why should you go into YouTube if there are already millions of people doing it, because in South Africa there are very few YouTubers and most of them are still not getting the recipe right. The type of content they produce does not really have search value and gets seen only by their subscribers.

How do you make money from YouTube in South Africa? By ads , affiliate marketing and sponsors. when you have a big enough audience you can even sell your own products. What do you need to get started? You need a camera, that’s it. A phone with a super good quality camera will do if you can’t afford a camera. People don’t like watching low quality videos. We have talked enough about YouTube, there is so much more that I did not touch on, like how to get YouTube subscribers, how to build an Audience and how to produce searchable content. I will make another post just covering all these subjects.


Instagram is a good way of making money online in South Africa. The approach to making money from Instagram is different, the bulk of your income will come from sponsors and affiliate marketing. Instagram is one of the most popular social networking platforms, a lot of people now use Instagram in South Africa. The rise of Instagram has opened up a new way for the app users to make money, that is influencer marketing. Some of the top Instagram influencers in South Africa earn around 11 to 12 thousand rands per post. 

An Instagram influencer is someone who has a lot of followers on Instagram and influences their audience to buy certain goods or products. A lot of real life celebrities are actually influencers on Instagram. The concept behind this is that you open an Instagram account, gain followers then work with brands to advertise to your audience. Influencer marketing is so subtle that you don’t even see that it’s marketing at all. Being an Instagram influencer is a good way to make money online in South Africa

This is why you will see a lot of short videos of famous girls on Instagram using beauty products from certain brands, they are being sponsored  by those brands. The good thing about being an Influencer is that you can choose which brands to work with, if you are into fitness; you will work with brands in fitness. People like Beyonce are Instagram influencers for brands like OFF-WHITE, this is why you might see her holding an OFF-WHITE bag in one of her Instagram posts.

You need to have at least a thousand followers on Instagram before even thinking about being an Influencer. The influencer marketing industry is worth billions of rands. Almost every famous person on Instagram is an influencer. Influencer marketing is so powerful that some influencers get free hotel accommodation, free clothing and free food at restaurants, just so they can post about it on Instagram. Here is a great article that explains the importance of Instagram influencers to businesses

Affiliate marketing: making money online in South Africa

I have touched a bit on how a YouTuber and an Instagram Influencer can make money through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is basically marketing products or services for a brand and get paid each time a person buys as a result of your marketing efforts. The payment is usually a percentage of the profit, most affiliate programs range from 2% to 15%, with most being on the 5% mark.

Affiliate marketing is a very good way of making money online in South Africa and all over the world. It’s passive income at it’s best, this is why sometimes you find YouTube channels that are dedicated to making product reviews, they get paid each time they recommend a product and you actually buy from their links. In most cases, affiliate income surpasses the ads income. This is because while you may only get paid 3 cents per view on a YouTube video, you might make more than R100 for a successful referral. You can make up to R525 for successfully converting one person if you are with the Promta Affiliates Program.

This means that you don’t need to convert a lot of people to start seeing real income. However in order to be make money with affiliate marketing, you will need to have an audience, you can get that through YouTube, Social media or even blogging. This is how most businesses on the internet make money. If your audience is interested in beauty products then join a beauty affiliate program. Here are some affiliate marketing programs in South Africa. Even celebrities do affiliate marketing, that’s why you will see a lot of them saying “use this promo code to get a discount on this product”.



Blogging is the best option on this list but also the most difficult. The advantages of having a blog is that you are completely independent, while YouTube might cancel your account or ban your videos, that can’t happen when you blog. Successful bloggers earn way more money than YouTubers. With that being said, blogging usually takes years to get right, it is so sensitive and requires you to know what you are doing to get things right.

Blogging can take between 8 and 15 months before you start seeing results and earning income, that’s if you are doing everything right, if not then it can take longer, years. However, you shouldn’t stress much because the future is YouTube, most people would have preferred to see this in a video format rather than read these long paragraphs. 

Honourable mentions: making money online in South Africa

These are some of the ways you can make money online, but most of them require a certain skill.


If you have any skills in demand in the online world then you can choose to freelance. I didn’t pay much attention to this because even with that skill you still need to have an audience, most freelancers just try to advertise their services to Facebook friends and WhatsApp friends, that doesn’t work that well.

However, there are multiples platforms out there for freelancers like Fiverr and FreelancerIt’s still not easy because you are competing against thousands of freelancers who have remarkable portfolios. SEO writing is one area where you can make money. All you have to do is produce content for websites, kinda like this article. But in order to do that you should first know what SEO is and how it works. Webmasters are always looking for people to produce content for their websites.


It’s currently not possible to make money directly from TikTok, but keep an eye out for it, things might change in the near future.

Online Stores

Running an online store is a good way to make money online in South Africa. But this is a fully fledged business that will require most of your attention and a lot of money to begin.

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