5 small business ideas to kickstart your side hustle

2nd December 2021

business ideas

When did finding a job get added to the list of most arduous feats, like performing heart surgery or summiting Mount Everest? Job hunting is emotionally and mentally taxing, no matter where in the world you are, no matter what type of job you’re on the lookout for – and it seems like it lasts forever! If you know you know, and trust me, I know. 

This is why so many South Africans have turned to entrepreneurship (myself included!). I’ll let you in on a little secret: we all have our unique skills and talents, we all have something to offer, something we can capitalise on. We just need to tweak it a little here and there to make sure our products and/or services are relevant and in demand – and then prepare ourselves to work incredibly hard and make a killing!

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Have you spent pretty much all your life helping your mum roll those perfect rotis that you can now make with your eyes closed? Or maybe you’ve been helping your friends and neighbours fix their cars since you were a teen, and now know engines and carburettors like the back of your hand? Capitalising on skills like these is your secret sauce. It’s how you can dig yourself out of unemployment doom, and build something far greater than you could’ve ever imagined before.

The top 5 trending small business ideas of 2021:

1. Home-based catering/Meals-to-go

Do you have a knack for cooking delicious food, and the thought of preparing meals for an army doesn’t scare you? Well then, it’s time to make some money out of your honey (…roasted sweet potatoes, that is!). 

Life is hectic for so many of us – whether students, full-time employees, or parents. Most of us are juggling far more than we can sustainably handle. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to get affordable home cooked meals, instead of having to slave away at the stove every evening? 

If you can cater to the current dietary trends (think vegan and gluten-free foods), you’re already well on your way to being in high demand!

What tools would you need?

  • Mad cooking skills.
  • Pots, pans, patience (paprika’s always good too).
  • An apron for when things start splashing about.

2. Virtual assistant services

Virtual assistants are the new in thing. They’re the lifesaving sets of hands business owners depend on to get through some of their admin. What’s great about being a virtual assistant is that it’s remote and you can have multiple clients at once, giving you a pretty decent paycheck at the end of the month. Oh, and did I mention that it doesn’t matter where in the world your clients are based? 

If you’ve got a knack for organisation, filing and recordkeeping, why not give it a shot? 

What tools would you need?

  • A laptop or PC.
  • An internet connection that defies the laws of time and space (just kidding, but you know what I mean!).

3. Personal shopper

Since the dreaded Covid-19 made its debut in SA (and across the world), isolation and social distancing became the norm. Many parents who worked from home also assumed the role of teacher to their kids, and time became a luxury that not many could afford. A quick trip to your grocer down the road became practically impossible, leaving your cupboards a little bare. Until personal shoppers entered the scene.

What can personal shoppers take off your plate? From your daily bread and milk, to a full-on haul on Black Friday, personal shoppers cover it all!

To be a personal shopper, it goes without saying that you’d definitely need to love shopping! Some of the other skills you should have to excel at this is good communication, time management and customer service.   

What tools would you need?

  • Reliable transport to get you to and fro.
  • A pair of comfy shoes to keep you moving through the shops like a boss.

4. Online tutoring

Calling all Math whizzes and Science boffins! If you know your way around Pythagoras’s theorem or can calculate the square root of the speed of sound in your head, there’s money to be made in tutoring! 

Private tutoring has really taken off in South Africa, and it shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. There are now companies like Education Matters and Turtle Jar, that are dedicated to matching students with tutors according to their educational needs. While Maths and Science are the most in-demand subjects for tutors in SA, basically any subject taught at school is game. So, if you’re good with teenagers and can explain concepts easily (over and over again if you must), why not give it a try?

Pretty much everything is moving online nowadays, so if teaching others is your forte, there’s nothing standing between you and your next paycheck!

What tools would you need?

  • A laptop or PC.
  • Good internet connection.
  • Stationery, like calculators and protractors.

5. Blogging

If you’re more of a behind-the-scenes kind of person, you could find your next big break from blogging! Essentially, bloggers are people who own a website dedicated to sharing content on a particular topic. So, to be a blogger, you’ve got to enjoy writing blogs or creating videos on the niche you choose, with the aim of growing your readership.

You might be wondering how bloggers even make money. Well, there are actually a ton of ways that bloggers can get earning from an active website! As a blogger, you can make money from ads, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, products and services.

The key to being successful as a blogger is to put out quality content that attracts readers to your site, regularly. Once you’ve established your brand and built your own online community (which is always a plus), you can get companies to advertise their products and services on your platform or even start an online store. All from the comfort of behind-your-computer-screen!

What tools would you need?

  • A laptop, PC or tablet.
  • A reliable internet connection.
  • A chair, couch, sunlounger or bed (no judgement here, folks!) that’s going to treat you well after sitting and writing for hours on end. 

So, who’s ready to start their own business?! I’ve got to admit, these exciting ideas are pretty delicious food for entrepreneurial thought. Do you know of any other small business ideas we could add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!