5 Legit Ways to Make Money Online in South Africa for Beginners

Earn Money Online in South Africa

Looking for opportunities to work online from home and get paid South Africa?

There are lots of ways that are advertised as the “best” that promise you to make a good income from the internet regardless where you live in South Africa.

Are they all real and legit?

Which one is the best? Which one takes less money to start? Which one brings results faster? And which one has the best long term potential?

These questions and more, I will be answering in this article, in order to help you know which one suits you the best, and how to get started with it.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

5 Legit Ways to Make Money Online in South Africa for Beginners

Freelancing for Businesses in South African or Abroad

Many businesses need professionals to provide services to them without hiring them on full-time basis.

And in South Africa, it was estimated that in 2019, 34% of SA’s population was freelancing. (Source)

Some for short term projects, such as graphic design, web development, or programming for a website, software, or an app.

And some for long-term projects like writing, editing, translation, social media management, online marketing, website or app management and maintenance, …etc.

And if you have any skill or knowledge in something that can be done online from home, you can take advantage of it and find freelancing jobs to do in South Africa.

And if you already have clients, this would be the fastest way to make money online in South Africa.

You might find freelancing job opportunities either in newspapers or on South African job sites.

Freelancing Online Income in South Africa

Or, you could build your own website and social media accounts to offer your freelancing services, and either use free traffic methods like SEO and social media strategies, or paid ads, in order to find clients who might need your services.

Another option, if you want to do freelancing work even for businesses outside South Africa, is to join global freelancing platforms such as freelancer.com and Upwork, list your services and rates, and bid on available jobs.


  • You can get started for free on freelancing platforms, or with a small investment by building your website.
  • You can do it from almost anywhere as long as you have a laptop and an internet connection.
  • You can work flexible hours.


  • It’s a big competitive if you try to find jobs on public freelancing platforms.
  • It’s not a passive income, as you only get paid as long as you work.

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Writing and Selling Short Ebooks

If you like to write about any topic, and you believe that people might be interested in what you have to say, then you might be able to make money off of it.

This is a good way that allows you to make money online in South Africa without money to be paid in advance.

And I don’t mean long books with hundreds of pages.

These could be short books of only 10-20 pages.

And they could be in any topic you are interested in, or in any area you have knowledge in.

You could write Sci-Fi or romance stories, or you could write a short book as a guide on how to do something, such as: certain meditation techniques, how to repair a bicycle, how to draw in a certain style, …etc.

You write them, upload them to a platform that allows you to sell digital downloads, such as Sellfy or Gumroad, set up their prices, and connect it to your PayPal account, and then advertise your Ebooks on social media.

Or, you could upload your ebooks to Amazon.com, optimize the listing based on the category, subcategory, title, and description, and people will find them when they search for ebooks in that topic.

Earn Selling Ebooks in South Africa


  • Low barrier of entry.
  • You can create short ebooks in short time.
  • It is a passive income method, which means that every good ebook you create could sell continuously if you market it properly.


  • You either advertise the ebooks by yourself, which requires some skills and a budget to get started, or you sell on marketplaces like Amazon, which are a bit competitive.
  • Short ebooks sell for low prices, which means that you need to create many ebooks and sell them in order to earn a good online income in South Africa with this method.
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Dropshipping to South Africa’s People or International

Dropshipping is an e-commerce model where you can advertise products online, sell them, and get paid, before even buying the products from the supplier.

And you get the product you sold delivered to the customer without even touching it by yourself.

Only after you get paid, you send the supplier their price, keep the profit, and forward the order details such as the item, quantity and the customer’s address, and the supplier will ship the product directly to the customer.

You only pay for the unit after someone has already purchased it, and you don’t need to buy in bulk or store items.

This is a legit business model that is legal in South Africa and most of the countries, but of course, you need to make sure that you report your profits to the tax department.

And technical wise, it is easy to start an online store for dropshipping thanks to platforms like Shopify that allow you to start an online store in minutes.

And you can either find local suppliers that agree with you to dropship products on your behalf when you receive an order, or you can find dropshipping suppliers from other countries using dropshipping supplier directories or retail platforms like AliExpress.

Earn Online Dropshipping in South Africa

And you can either sell to people inside South Africa, or even worldwide, provided that your supplier can ship the products to the countries you sell in.

And to drive customers to your dropshipping store, you either use free traffic methods like social media pages and accounts, or by optimizing your online dropshipping store for search engines (SEO), in order to appear for search queries that people use on Google such as:

  • Buy kitchenware online in South Africa.
  • Reusable coffee pods South Africa.
  • Reusable shopping bags South Africa.
  • Window stickers South Africa.
  • Evil eye necklace South Africa.
  • … Etc.

This is a low-cost way to enter the e-commerce field, but it still requires some investment, and requires you do the work in order to follow up with previous orders and make sure that your customers have received what they paid for.

And you need to get samples of the products you want to sell in order to check their quality before you sell them to others.


  • Low-cost way to start e-commerce.
  • Very scalable.
  • Lots of products to sell.
  • No need to buy bulk inventory.
  • Available tools make it easy and fast to get started.


  • You need around $500-$1,000 for advertising to get started.
  • You need to learn how to use paid ads if you want to get faster results.
  • You need to do active work and respond to customers’ emails quickly.
  • You need to test products by yourself before you start selling them to others in order to avoid refund requests and chargebacks.

Blogging or Vlogging about South Africa

Blogging is about creating written content on your blog or website.

And vlogging is about creating videos on your YouTube channel.

And you can do any of the two methods, or both, in order to create content about South Africa and make money with it.

For example, if you would like to help others who ask questions about your country, or need help in finding or doing stuff in South Africa, then you can create content that answers their questions, and make money in the process.

You could create a YouTube channel and create videos on places to visit by tourists or by local SA citizens.

Or maybe, you could make vlog about the different restaurants to eat at, or activities to do such as: yoga classes, climbing, swimming, …etc.

Or you could just make videos answering questions that people ask about South Africa on YouTube, such as:

  • Best places to visit in South Africa.
  • Best university in South Africa.
  • How is life in South Africa.
  • How to travel in South Africa.
  • How to watch Hulu in South Africa.
  • Is South Africa safe for tourists.
  • And so on.

And by creating these videos, you start gaining subscribers and people start watching your videos.

Make Money Vlogging in South Africa

And after a while you can monetize your YouTube channel that is about South Africa, by applying to YouTube’s monetization program through showing ads on your videos.

Or, you could make sponsored videos for local businesses like restaurants, real estate agents, travel agencies, …etc., and they will pay you for creating videos about their businesses.

And similarly, if you don’t like creating videos, you can create a website or a blog, and write articles that answer questions about South Africa, which people usually ask on Google.

And you can then monetize your blog in the same way by either showing display ads, or through paid endorsements for local businesses.

And your blog could be about a certain field or interest such as self development or fitness, but especially for people in South Africa, and you could even get customers to buy consultation services from you.

There are many local bloggers in South Africa that follow this model, such as the people in this list.

The nice thing about this method is that the videos or articles you create can stay there for a long period of time, sometimes years, and they keep getting viewers and readers, and keep making you money, despite working once to create each one of them, which translates into passive income.


  • Low cost to start.
  • Can become a passive income source.
  • Very flexible working time as you can create multiple pieces of content in advance and publish them later.
  • You can monetize your online blogging and vlogging businesses in South Africa in different ways.


  • Some people might feel uncomfortable with creating videos.
  • A YouTube channel might take some time before taking off and getting monetized.
  • Creating a blog might take sometime, and you need to create several articles, before it starts getting readers.

Affiliate Marketing – The Best Online Side Hustle in South Africa

This is my favorite way of making money online, not only in South Africa, but almost anywhere.

It is a bit similar to the previous method, buy you can do it by creating content on topic, and not necessarily about South Africa.

In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is about promoting other companies’ products, and getting paid commissions on the sales that come through you.

The more sales you bring to these companies or businesses, the more money you make.

And many businesses that sell products or services online have affiliate programs that allow you to join and make money from, even if these businesses operate outside South Africa.

Affiliate Marketing Income in South Africa

Some examples are:

  • Big marketplaces such as: Amazon, Etsy, Walmart, iHerb.
  • Software and tool services such as: web hosting companies, graphic design tools, platforms for online courses.
  • Businesses that need to generate leads (potential customers), such as: construction contractors, real estate agents, consulting firms, life and business coaches, …etc.

This is a great business model, because you can make money with it in South Africa, without creating and selling your own product or service, and you can work with businesses outside South Africa.

And in order to succeed with this method, you need to choose a certain topic, or niche, and work on, by creating content and gaining followers that are interested in the same topic.

This could be done through social media platforms, a YouTube channel, or a blog.

And you create either written or video content, publish it, and through that content, you promote relevant and useful products that your audience would benefit from.

You do so through a special link (affiliate link) that takes people to the product you are promoting, and if they click on the link and buy the product you recommended, you get a commission from the company or business that sold the product.

For example, you could create a blog about bodybuilding, football, yoga, science, cooking, programming, …etc.

Anything that you would like to create content about. Let’s just say that it was about bodybuilding.

Then, you write articles that people ask on Google about this topic, such as:

  • Best carbs for bodybuilding.
  • Best resistance bands for bodybuilding.
  • How to start bodybuilding.
  • How much protein is too much for bodybuilding.
  • Best exercises for hamstrings bodybuilding.
  • And so on.

You write a proper answer in an article for each search query, and if relevant, you may promote products that are useful for the person reading the article.

For example, you could promote a certain supplement, a device to help in workouts, or a paid video training course.

And you would get a commission every time someone clicks on the affiliate link and buys the product you promoted.

Like it is in this article about the best barbells for bodybuilding, where the blog owner sends people to Amazon and other websites through affiliate links in order to buy the products mentioned in the list.

Affiliate Marketing Online in South Africa

And to get readers to your content, you can use either free web traffic methods such as SEO, or paid traffic methods such as paid search ads or social media advertising.

But search engine optimization is the best method for this model, because if you write an article and optimize it properly, it starts ranking on Google, and after a while, when people ask about the same topic on Google, they start seeing your blog, and you start getting visitors for free.

And the more articles you write about the subject on your blog, the more traffic you start getting on daily basis, and you could potentially start making passive income for months, or even years to come, from the articles you wrote only once.


  • You can work with businesses from anywhere in the world.
  • You can work on any topic or niche you like.
  • You can work at any hour you want.
  • The work you do once could pay for months or years, which makes it a passive income method.
  • Low-cost to start, and does not require technical skills or experience.


  • Might take some work in advance before starting to make money.
  • It requires some investment at the start if you want to start a blog (Around $100).
  • You need a proper training program on affiliate marketing to get started the right way.

This is the best method in my opinion if you want to create income online while being in South Africa, because you don’t need to create your own product or service, and you can work with businesses almost anywhere.

And it is the most passive way for making money online, whether it was in South Africa, or anywhere in the world.

I personally make the most of my online income with this method.

But to get started the right way, you need a proper training and support, such as the one provided at Wealthy Affiliate.

What about Money Making Apps in South Africa?

There are many mobile apps and platforms that are advertised as money-making apps and websites for South Africa, some are international that allow people to use them from South Africa, and some are dedicated only for South Africans.

And these apps promise to pay you in exchange for:

  • Doing paid surveys.
  • Watching videos.
  • Watching ads.
  • Clicking ads.
  • Playing games.
  • …etc.

And you might ask yourself:

Are these real money making apps in South Africa?

Honestly, most of these apps just waste your time doing endless tasks that pay pennies on the dollars for hours of boring work.

Even the ones that promise to pay you for watching ads, you would mostly pay on electricity and internet data for watching videos on your phone more than what you would get paid.

And some apps would only offer you few tasks to do every month, which means that you cannot make real money with these apps, whether in South Africa, or anywhere in the world.

Conclusion – The Best Way to Earn Online in South Africa

All the five ways I mentioned above are legit, and you can use anyone, or more, of these methods in order to create aside income, or even a full-time income on the internet from home in South Africa.

Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.

Some require less money to start, but they are more competitive, and don’t build a passive income asset, such as freelancing.

Some are very scalable, but need a good budget to get started, and need many hours of active work on daily basis, such dropshipping.

And some require a small-medium investment, and need work to be put in advance before getting results, but they are more flexible in terms of working hours, and they can be used to create a passive income and scale it with time, like it is with affiliate marketing.

You can choose the one that fits you best.

However, as someone who tried most of these methods, and several others, I found affiliate marketing to be the best one for beginners with no experience, the one that requires a small investment, the one that comes with very little stress as you don’t create products or services, and you don’t deal with customer support.

And it is the one that can help you build a passive income.

But to do it properly, you need to learn it from the right people, in order not to waste your time repeating others’ mistakes.

If you want to follow this recommended method and build a passive income online in South Africa, then I recommend joining a platform that is called Wealthy Affiliate, which is an All-in-One platform that offers you all what you need in order to get started with this model, such as:

  • The step-by-step affiliate marketing training.
  • The premium web hosting for your blog.
  • The research tools to find opportunities for earning money online from South Africa.
  • The community support to keep you on track and help you whenever you have questions to ask.

And although it’s a paid platform, but it saves you a lot of time, and even money, as it offers a lot of services and tools that you would buy separately anyway, but here you get them in one place for a discounted price.

Start Online Business in South Africa

And best of all, they have a free plan to give you the basic affiliate marketing training and let you see how it works before you commit for the paid plan.

==>> Check out my Wealthy Affiliate review here to learn more

I hope my article was helpful for you, and now, you know which way for making money online in South Africa you want to do.

If you still need help or have other questions, please, ask me in the comments’ section below, and I will do my best to help you out 🙂

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