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Starting a Business

The Ultimate 101 List Of SA Business Ideas To Get You Started

Want to boost your income on a part-time basis? Looking for a new business to start and grow into an empire? You've come to the right place. This list of business ideas will help children, adults, men, women and even people in rural areas think about ways to become an entrepreneur.
The Ultimate 101 List Of SA Business Ideas To Get You Started
Image credit: Unknown
Entrepreneur Staff
Sales Enablement: Content Developer
15+ min read

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Are you looking for that one idea to spark a business that will make you money? We have one hundred and one just for you!

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad looking to pursue your passion part-time, a nine-to-five employee seeking a side gig, a creative who’s keen on innovative and flexible moneymaking methods or a student at any level in your education, looking to start your entrepreneurial journey early…we’ve got the best ideas for you to choose from to kick-start your very own business, today.

This comprehensive slide show below is just what you’ve been waiting for to take your first step into financial independence. Read on to find your perfect fit and discover more about how to get started.

1. Business Ideas For Kids

Entrepreneurship can start early. There are plenty of opportunities for kids to start their very own businesses at a young age. In some cases, they might need adult help or supervision. But here are some different business ideas for kids that might appeal to young entrepreneurs:

1. Healthy Drinks Salesperson

Reed Floren from Business Success Systems was a businessman from an early age. As a kid he sold Mountain Dew, Smarties candy, and even the pickle slices from his cheeseburgers. Between 1999 to 2005 (13-19 years old) Floren was earning USD10–20 a day selling snacks to his friends over lunch breaks.

His start-up’s costs were small because he’d buy a six-pack of Mountain Dew for a couple dollars and then sell each one for USD1 a piece or the price of a lunch ticket (USD1.75 at the time). Floren then used the profits to fund buying candy. “I always had plenty of spending money on me when we went on field trips. If other students needed a loan when we were out and about I could give them a few bucks and most of them paid me back the very next day with interest,” he says.

Your kids can sell water, low-sugar drinks and healthy snacks.

2. Junior Landscapist

Kids can find lawn-mowing customers the old-fashioned way, by wheeling lawn mowers up and down the neighbourhood and knocking on doors, but that’s "old school". GreenPal, which is best described as Uber for lawn care, has over 5 500 vendor partners (lawn mowers and other yard care providers) in seven states throughout the USA.

According to CEO Bryan Clayton: “Many of our lawn care vendors are high school kids and college kids that use our app in the summer to make extra money. Many younger vendors work afternoons and weekends using our app, and it is the perfect way for them to make extra money.” On top of that, Bryan said the average GreenPal ‘kid’ makes around USD55 per hour mowing lawns through its app-based system. Kids can set their own hours and pick the clients they want to work for.

3. ‘Kids Content’ Creator

Children can make money thanks to the digital technologies lying around the home. “We try to encourage our two teenage daughters to spend as much time creating their own stuff rather than consuming other people’s,” Lee Hills, founder of MrExplainer.com, says. In practice, that means imposing limits on ‘device time’. So, what are they up to on the creative front?

“My eldest daughter has her own Instagram account focused on posting her daily drawings, and my youngest makes YouTube videos.” Hills says. He adds that they don’t have any money to show for their efforts just yet, but that he’s trying to encourage them to be creative and make for their own enjoyment. The great thing about the digital world of today, and in particular, YouTube, is that original content can be monetised through the platform.

4. Video Game Livestream Specialist

Entertaining video gamers are earning good money broadcasting their games live on Twitch.tv. Twitch streamers make money with a share of the site’s subscription fees, advertising on their channels, donations, and selling merchandise to their fans.

According to the Hustle, Twitch has created a new career track for casual video gamers, helping thousands make a living by playing video games. There are two paths this can take. Twitch streamers are either crazy good— the nerd equivalent of pro-footballers — or they’re entertainers, their broadcasts a hybrid radio show, comedy hour and video-game commentary.

5. Coffee Purveyor

According to coffee shop owner Julie Dye of Oklahoma City in the USA, her 10-year-old daughter makes coffee, provides cream, and sells pastries sourced from a community food reclamation project. “Everything is USD1. We invite a bunch of people over to our house on Facebook, and she serves everyone on the porch,” Dye adds.

To supplement the income made from the coffee and reclaimed treats, Dye’s kid earns bonus cash through a tip jar. Dye’s child and her 6-year-old friend run the whole thing, including clean-up. Her helper gets USD7 per session (for about 3 hours). We keep a record of expenses and she pays us back for the coffee. I ensure she puts a certain percentage in her savings account, while a certain amount goes toward more coffee and cream, and the rest she is free to spend as she wishes,” Dye explains.

6. Live Performing Artist

In addition to earning an income from the ‘classical neighbourhood lemonade stand’, Rachel Hernandez puts on puppet shows for the community. “Food and entertainment, whether it be for adults or kids, will always draw a crowd and serve the community,” she says, adding that most people want to support local businesses.

What makes her puppet shows a success? She says people support her because they know her and she knows their kids. “Plus, I made the extra effort to talk to people. If you can get to know others and they get to know you, you’ll have a steady stream of customers to last a lifetime,” she adds.

7. Bottle And Can Collector

From July 2018, The City of Johannesburg made it mandatory for people to separate their recyclable trash from their bio-degradable waste. If you live in a complex, or even around your community, you can go around collecting cans and bottles. In the USA, empty aluminium cans and plastic and glass bottles are worth USD0.05-0.10 each.

There are a couple of ways to tackle this business. The first is to scavenge for empties or ask your neighbours to access their recyclable bottles and cans each week so you can go pick them up and cash in. Recycling plants will pay you a fee for all the goods you bring to them, and if you’re worried about how you’re going to transport all this stuff to them, you can use an Uber Van.

8. T-Shirt Designer

Does your kid possess an intrinsic skill for art and design? Are you constantly telling colleagues and family about their latest painting or drawings? Well then, it’s about time to consider becoming a t-shirt designer. These days, through companies such as Merch by Amazon, Zazzle, Redbubble, Cafepress and Spreadshirt, your little one can get their creative t-shirt designs in front of a huge audience. These services handle all the printing and shipping; all you have to do is create a design that will sell.

By the age of 12, American teenager Isabella Rose Taylor had already sewn up an impressive accomplishment. It was one that even some of the most seasoned fashion designers would covet – selling her own collection at Nordstrom. The Austin, Texas, native’s pieces range from crop tops to graphic tees, mostly in black, white and grey. Those that feature patterns are inspired by her love of art.

9. Social Media Consultant

Today, most kids know more about social media than their parents. This puts them in a good position to become a social media consultant. As a teen growing up in the Internet age, your children have a serious advantage over many adults. Their familiarity with the Internet will make learning and understanding social networking, search engines, and blogging much simpler. Companies could pay good money for those with expertise in these areas, and there are plenty of teens and young adults who make a great living as social media consultants.

Books and websites can teach you the ins and outs of how to effectively use social networking as a promotional tool. It’s advised to learn how to apply these skills to small businesses in your area and offer your services to create, manage, or maintain blogs, a Facebook page, or a Twitter account for a monthly fee.

10. Personal Assistant to Friends and Family (for a fee)

Now, you could keep asking your kids to fetch this and fetch that, but why not encourage them to do the same for other people; but charge these people a fee for doing so. The more people become pressed for time due to fast-paced lifestyles and their careers, the more they hate running errands. You can start a business to run errands for them. For instance, you can pick up groceries, take a dog to the vet, walk kids to the mall or to a friend’s house.

You need to be a jack-of-all-trades, but it’s actually rather easy work. Identify seniors, upper-income families and busy parents. They are all part of your target market. You might also want to think about offering a senior citizens discount to get your foot in the door, or even work for free for the first few jobs to get some referrals. Start a Facebook page to see if the people you know will be interested in paying for you to help them with errands.

2. Business Ideas For Students

It’s believed that some of the the most successful innovators in the world start in college. Look at Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Whether you’re running low on cash, or you need money to pay tuition, you could earn an income and start building a business empire at the same time. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your dorm room to make money these days. Here’s a list of a few businesses that are ideally suited to people in college:

1. College Reality Star Through The Web

Each year, new students enrol at colleges and universities around the country. They’re fresh out of school and want to know what it’s like to attend your particular campus. They want to see the day-to-day activities, learn insights on courses and whether it’s a good school to attend. You could start you own website that highlights what it’s like to attend your college. It’s advised to make your university ramblings as engaging and insightful as you can. Once you have a good following, you can start hosting ads on your site for payment.

Similarly, you can earn money from YouTube videos through ad revenue. It could be reviews or guides related to your course subject, or you could pick any topic that really fascinates you. You can run some adverts and offer college freebies (shirts, bags, etc.).

2. Baron Of Used Learning Material

Before Mark Cuban became a billionaire, he was a door-to-door salesmen. Cuban wasn’t selling vacuum cleaners or subscriptions to Reader’s Digest, he was selling one-year old calendars. Seems odd that people would pay money for a product that was literally outdated, right? But they did, and Cuban cut his teeth selling, selling, selling. You can follow Cuban’s example, except you don’t have to sell calendars.

You could buy second-hand in-demand textbooks from students at the end of each semester, at the end of a term, or at the end of the year. You can then re-sell these books at the start of the new term. Books can run into thousands of rands, and students are already pressed for cash. It’s advised to build some rapport with your lecturers and tutors to regularly assess whether they will be using the same books in the following learning cycle. If so, you’ll know which books are worth buying to sell again.

3. Custodian Of The Key

It happens all the time. If you’ve lived on campus, or near it, you’ll know that keys can get lost when it’s least expected or wanted. You could start a business in a dorm or student housing complex where you are the holder of the key. Basically, you keep a spare key for a student and you charge them a fee for doing so.

Market your services as an 'emergency key holder'; offering a base package that lets people keep a spare key with you that they can collect if they lose their own. We all know how easy it is to lose keys. You can charge a sliding fees scale if students want you to deliver their spare key or for assisting them during the more unsociable hours of the evening.

4. Go-To Person For Errands

You can earn some income while studying by running a ‘You want it, I'll get it’ delivery service. This can be done on evenings and weekends, where you could deliver fast-food and beer combos, while early mornings could be coffee deliveries on demand. Or you could just assess what everyday things people run out of at campus and buy in bulk. (Midnight loo rolls have got to be a winner, at a premium price, right?)

If you don’t want to fetch things and deliver things, you can stand in line for things. From car licence renewals for students, or their parents, to queuing at clinics for the elderly, you could earn some money for simply standing around. While standing around, nothing stops you from reading up on course notes too – so it’s a win-win for you and your customers.

5. The Guy/Girl With All The Notes And Insights

One of the key challenges for students is getting their hands on all the learning material they missed while skipping a class or two – for whatever reason. Sure, with e-learning taking off in most institutions, learning materials can be found on student portals. But, what if you offered a more unique take on the learning material. You could create your own notes, sheets, fact guides and downloadable templates that other students can work from.

You could charge a fee for taking notes and designing it into easily digestible notes for lecturers too. Why not talk to a few educators on your campus and see if you can work together on the learning material side. You could work a deal where you design and layout the notes the teachers use for a small monthly or semester fee.

6. The Cleaner And Fixer

Chances are there are a few homes in your area that you could offer cleaning and fixing services to. You can even offer these same services to your dorm mates if you live on campus or in a student housing complex. The start-up costs will be low and all you need is a little savvy with cleaning equipment and tools.

In the early stages of launching your cleaning and fixing business, you can keep costs low by only charging for labour and asking the customer to buy cleaning materials. When it comes to cleaning equipment of tools for any handy work that needs to be done, you can hire the items you need on a day-to-day basis. Your services can be charged per-use, or you can charge a monthly retainer to ensure you have a steady flow of income and a manageable work/study cycle.

7. Relocation Assistant

Whether students are moving back for the semester break or moving home for Christmas, relocation, moving, packing and sorting businesses can make an incredible income helping students. According to Entrepreneur, a mover can make up to USD200 for a single move.

Two American students, Stephen Vlahos and Cameron Doody, noticed this need and created Bellhops, a student moving service, which has spread across the USA. The pair say the money they made from moving things in their early days was much more than could have earned working in a pizza shop or as a sales assistant in retail. Naturally, you might need a hand with moving so you can rope in a few friends to help for larger projects and they can earn a small income too.

8. On-Site Specialist Tutor

If you’re doing well in your course, and you are known to excel at assignments and projects, you can become a tutor to students that can use your help. Of course, you’ll charge them for your services. Creating course notes, or study guides for you own students can even help you generate further income through paid-for revenue streams.

Face-to-face, one-on-one tutors can charge a premium for their services, but if you’re dealing with the college student market it’s advised to look at a more mass-market approach. Rent out one of the campus halls, or host tutor hours at a local coffee shop, the choice is yours as long as you charge a fee to attend.

9. ‘Experiences’ Provider

As a student, you have an inside line on what’s hip, happening and trending from an entertainment perspective. You can use this insight to create your very own events or experiences business that hosts once-off parties or seminars on or close to campus.

Nothing stops you from approaching friends, family and businesses in your area too. You could look at the sports calendar and host Football or Cricket screenings with food. Serving alcohol might be challenging as you’ll need to apply for a licence, but that can also be achieved if you follow the correct procedures to acquire one as an events company. From music festivals to food festivals, and even screenings of classic films, you could generate a decent income to help you through the next few years on campus.

10. Curriculum Vitae Creator

You can start a lucrative business helping your fellow students create unique CVs, which they can use to apply for jobs, internships or post-graduate funding. Companies receive thousands of CVs and it can be challenging to make a resumes really stand out from the crowd. If you have some creative spark deep within that’s itching to be released, you can do so by designing high-impact CVs for friends.

You can even extend your services to adults; job seekers that need assistance with growth in their careers. If you’re a good writer with a sharp eye for how to organise information clearly, a CV creation business is arguably one of the easier opportunities for you to capitalise on. According to Entrepreneur, Professional CV writers can charge hundreds of dollars per document, but, as a college student catering to other young up and comers, you can start by keeping your rates low.

3. Business Ideas for Women

According to Lahle Wolfe at TheBalance.com, even the most motivated women entrepreneurs can struggle with deciding on the right business idea. “For some budding entrepreneurs, ideas flow freely, but never take flight. For others, ideas are vague and sketchy so are discarded and never fully explored.” She says that deciding on the right business idea has as much to do with creating a business plan and feasibility study as it does doing some soul searching. So, if you want to become self-employed, but are not sure what type of business you want to start, consider this:

1. Mediation Specialist

If you have the temperament for it, you could start a business as a mediator. Mediators are neutral, disinterested persons who try to reconcile differences between parties to avoid legal proceedings. Unlike arbitrators, mediators do not make decisions favouring one party or the other. In most of the USA for example, there is no special licencing or certification required to become a mediator, but you will have to be good at networking among lawyers.

TheBalance.com reports that mediators could charge USD80-USD100 per hour for their services, but obviously, rates will be affected by your location and experience. Get in touch with the South African Association of Mediators to find out more about the industry and how you can join it.

2. Ghost Blogger

More and more companies are in need of engaging content these days as they battle it out for supremacy in the digital world. You could make money by blogging for these companies. “Making money through blogging is seriously like the best thing ever,” says Wolfe. “It’s a wonderful feeling to get paid for your words and ideas.”

As of February 2016, she says she’s making a full-time income from her blog (at this time it hovers between USD7 000 – USD10 000 per month.) If you’ve left a corporate job, if you’ve been retrenched, if you’ve been looking for something to inspire you to leave you job and start on your own, writing ghost blogs for businesses might be ideal for you.

3. Supplier Of First-Aid Kits For Companies

People can injure themselves or get hurt in the most awkward of ways at work. Imagine someone cutting up their lunch in the kitchen, when, suddenly, a slight miscalculation results in a sliced finger instead of sliced bread-roll. A First-Aid Kit would be really handy right now, wouldn’t it?

You can start at home, making small niche kits for companies. For instance, if you’re supplying a chemicals company, your kit for them can compromise of more items suited to chemical burns. If you’re supplying restaurants, extra decks of plasters might come in handy for those kitchen cuts. In 2003, the USPS awarded a USD10 million contract to a one-man business for customised first-aid kits. Specialised, pre-assembled first-aid kits are in high demand by schools, corporations, and industries that are required by law to have first-aid kits on site.

4. Web/Social Manager From Home

If you have intrinsic digital savvy and know your way around content management platforms and social media portals, you can start a work-from-home business that helps others companies with web matters. Website management is a very diverse business, so you’ll need to decide on whether you’re going to be a jack-of-all-trades, or if you’re going to focus on particular areas of web management.

According to Alexa Mason at SingleMomsIncome.com, “When it comes to website management you can do everything from sell ads, edit and schedule content, hire writers, promote on social media and more. Since this is such a diverse area you can make money in very different ways.” It’s advised to think about the core set of skills you have and how you can monetise it by helping businesses you know with the Internet and Social Media presences.

5. Sitter

People are living fast-paced lives these days and often they need assistance with children, animals, and elderly family members. You can start a business that caters to their needs by supplying ‘sitting’ or minding services for dogs, cats, birds, houses, children or grandparents.

Naturally, because you’ll be working so closely with people’s loved ones and possessions, you’ll need to have a sound reputation. One way to achieve this is through a simple Facebook page that highlights the service you offer, with prices, and encouraging customers to provide feedback on your ‘wall’ about how you’ve assisted them. You can charge hourly rates, or you can charge retainer fees as a guarantee to particular customers that your time is booked for them.

6. Ghost Shopper

Life’s getting busier and busier, which is why consumers are really taking to convenience services around the world. Have you ever arrived at home, after going to the shop, to realise you forgot a few of the essential things that you actually went out for in the first place? Wouldn’t it be great if someone could do your shopping for you with a list, particularly for the day-to-day essentials that everyone needs at home? Well, why not start a business that does just that, by ghost shopping for people.

As a ghost shopper, you’re not going to shop for just anyone; you’re going to shop for high-end customers that don’t have the time in their day to go shopping for the things they need. According to Surejob.com, there, you get two advantages: You make a good commission acting as ghost shopper and can be rewarded by a store (online or physical) for your continued loyalty. Look for directors, CEOs, MDs, people that want to shop, but can’t as they are busy. If you love shopping, why not earn money while doing it, right?

7. Female-Focused Entrepreneurial Coach

So, you’ve been working years and years and you think it’s time to quit. Perhaps you feel like you’ve done all you can do in the corporate world. You’ve reached board level, you’ve earned some dividends and decided it’s time to venture into business. Now, what business do you decide on?

While you take the time to make a decision on what sector to enter or need to fill, why not run a coaching business where you help likeminded women start, manage and grow their companies? South Africa’s business landscape is evolving, and more women are commanding businesses, but it remains challenging for females to compete in what’s still a patriarchal business world.

8. Deliver-To-Your-Door Chef

If you enjoy cooking and you’re a pro at cooking in large quantities, why not become a work-from-home chef for the people in your neighbourhood? You’re in a fortunate position if you live in a residential complex or in a gated community as this gives you access to customers right away. Nothing stops you, however, from servicing any community you decide to feed.

The costs can be kept low if you serve fast-and-easy things like macaroni & cheese, or curries, so investigate what it would cost you to cook some of your favourite meals in bulk and start serving a few people. You could eventually turn the business into a fully-fledged subscription service that people pay upfront for.

9. Special-Needs Trainer

Gyms and yoga studios are popping up everywhere these days, but how often do you see a gym or a workout studio that caters specifically to people with special abilities? You’ll need to be trained to work with special needs people, sure, but by starting this business you’ll be servicing an often-neglected sector of consumers.

If your house can accommodate, start by working with a few people one-on-one and ask them to serve as your testimonials. You can eventually move to a more convenient premises that allows you to host group classes. Children with disabilities can also be serviced by your business, but again, training will be required. You can get in touch with Special Kids about their Sunshine Association: START Training Programme; a hands-on training solution that covers how to manage children with disabilities.

10. Part-Time Salesperson For Companies

Also known as MLM or multi-level marketing. When done poorly it definitely can be tough to make money in this game. But, what if you’re completely in love with the product you’re selling and confident that it helps other people? If this is the case, you can make good money promoting a product you truly love.

You can work with businesses that hire independent sales representatives or marketers (Avon comes to mind). Some companies require you to host parties and make commissions directly off of your sales. Other operations might want you you to get people to sign up as coaches underneath you (Herbalife) and you’ll receive a percentage of their sales. In short that’s how MLM works.

4. Business Ideas For Men

Are you a stay-at-home dad or single dad looking to earn extra income from home? Are you a professional that’s looking for a way out of the corporate world to start you own business venture? Do you have a small amount of capital to invest? And you are looking for high return business opportunities? So many questions, so many possibilities. Let’s investigate and unpack potential business ideas that men could do particularly well at:

1. Agarbatti (Incense Stick) Maker

According to NextWhatBusiness.com, anyone can start an agarbatti making business. Agarbatti is a household good in India and has a great domestic market potential in South Africa. The burning of agarbatti or incense in religious and social functions has been practised in India since early times. If you can build your own brand, agarbatti is definitely a low investment high return business.

Raw materials for agarbatti making are bamboo sticks and different powders. According to the size, you will need to purchase sticks. Also, you can produce sticks by hand by investing in a stick making machine. Other materials to consider for production include charcoal dust, jigat powder, nargis powder, wood incense powder, joss powder and several essential oils. With the right blend, and good packaging you could become a sought-after brand.

2. Voiceover Artist

The business gurus at BestSmallVenture say that some people are naturally endowed with a pleasing voice: “They are very important for marketing purpose. If you have these skills you may want to consider starting the great voice over business.”

Your voiceover gig could start as a part-time job, because all that may be required of you would be to send some good samples of your recorded voice. You can do this at home, with iPhone and Android apps through smart devices these days. Numerous businesses are using video in their marketing strategies these days, and as more and more people opt to watch than to read, you might be in high demand if you can hit the right notes.

3. The Neighbourhood’s Sports Coach

If you’re good on your feet, particularly with a bat or ball, you can start a business coaching adults and children. More people are playing sport these days thanks to a rising number of sports facilities in suburbs. You could hire a venue and host coaching sessions there, or if you want you could travel out to schools and host classes there.

A good place to start here is actually with the schools in your area. Go talk to the school’s management and parents about your business idea to glean whether they will pay you to coach their kids for a few hours after school each day. Nothing stops you from offering parents to join in on weekend training sessions, where families can participate and exercise together (for a fee of course).

4. At-Home Barber

Barbershops provide shaving and trimming services for people to look smart. You could offer these simple services for a fee from the comfort of your home – as you learn the ropes toward eventually running your own outlet. In essence, your work as a barber is to shave the beards and give beautiful haircuts and it’s an excellent business opportunity because you can make money at all times and seasons. Humans' hair never stops growing.

According to TrustorRun.com, Barbers who package their business appropriately and offer luxury services as a side attraction tend to make more money than those who simply give haircuts only. Why not take a professional course on how to start a barber shop and you will be good to go in no time. You can choose to provide salon services such as manicure or pedicure as more men are spending on this today.

5. Mobile Entertainment Specialist

Are you a good entertainer or do you possess the great skill to move the crowd as a DJ? Are family members always asking you to take the role of master of ceremonies at get-togethers? With the right sound system and a wide selection of music, you can create events and gigs where you get paid to entertain people in your area.

If you’re known as a comic genius, you’re bound to succeed, as comedians and comedic performance shows are in demand. If you are talented enough to make people laugh their hearts out, you can start making money hosting your first gig at a local school. Use social media to promote the event to your friends and ask them to share it with their friends to expand your reach exponentially.

6. Specialist Furniture Maker

It’s said that with basic tools, equipment and skills in woodwork, you can start a furniture shop in your garage. Furniture making only requires a few items such as a drill, sander, and a saw. Being creative and having a passion for woodworking will ensure the success of your furniture business.

You can post pictures of some of the furniture samples on social media and look for customers. To ensure you’re successful, look to offer solutions to people living in complexes. They might require nifty storage solutions. Or, you can even target elderly people who need furniture that’s more comfortable for them to use. You can be ultra-niche in this business and you can be generic when you need to.

7. Proofreading Professional

Thanks to the Internet and email, you can work on documents anywhere and anytime from the comfort of a laptop or tablet device. Combine these technologies with your English (or whichever language you choose to specialise in) acumen and you can service businesses as their dedicated proofreader.

From sensitive company documents, to marketing material, your eyes can be the final eyes to see a piece of media that leaves a company. If you’re really good at proofing, and you have an eye for detail, you can charge a fair premium for your services. With more and more companies looking to leverage content marketing, you can even cast an eye (and ear) on video content, which is growing in popularity among business marketers.

8. Tech-Focused ‘Handyman’

Ah, the tried-and-tested handyman business. It’s a lucrative field to work in if you enjoy plumbing, fixing light fittings and aligning garage doors. But, what if you start a handyman business that only focuses on technology challenges around the home and for small businesses?

Think of yourself as a nerd-on-call; able to restore dead Wi-Fi spots and fix leaky servers. If you’re truly digitally savvy, you can even assist people in setting up their smart devices, pairing it with the home networks. Think of extended services, like helping people back-up their data month-to-month. Or, you could help people set up their smart TVs. As technologies evolve, so to will your business and its growth potential.

9. Electronics Collector

According to research firm Gartner, there will be more than 50 billion connected devices on the planet within the next four years. A key question remains; what’s going to happen to all the old technologies that aren’t connecting to the Internet? To prevent them from ending up in the trash and eventually landing in a landfill site, you can start a business that collects unwanted electronics from people.

It doesn’t matter if devices or electronics actually work anymore or not; the main thing is that you’re collecting trash that can be re-cycled. People can donate their unwanted goods to you and you can in-turn take it to recycling depots to make some money. If you like, you can even donate a portion of your proceeds to charity, as you will be making money from donated goods.

10. Professional Online Gamer

As Internet speeds across the country improve (through the deployment of fibre Internet) pro-gaming is becoming a viable career option. If you wish to be a pro gamer, you’ll need to have a powerful computer set-up that can be easily transported.

“Just as you would not take a Mini Cooper into a F1 race, the incorrect equipment can hamper your chances of success. eSports is a sport of nanoseconds and equipment that is outdated or not of the proper standard can be the difference between winning or losing,” Onlinefanatic.com reports. Pro gamers can make up to USD12 500 per tournament win, on average. Check out VS Gaming for more info on pro gaming in South Africa.

5. Part-Time Business Ideas

If you would to supplement your salary, or earn an income as a stay-at-home parent, one of these business ideas might be just right for you. With little capital input and some dedication, you can start a side-hustle that could eventually turn into a fully-fledged business in the future. Here’s some business ideas to help get your creative juices flowing:

1. Restaurateur On The Weekends

Why not turn your passion for cooking into a weekend business? You can start small, at local markets and eventually build up a client base that you could offering catering services to. In fact, if your pop-up diner is successful, you could eventually turn it into a fixed-location food retail business.

People can be notoriously fussy when it comes to food, so it’s advised to ensure you use good ingredients and that you market the passion that goes into preparing each meal. At The Rosebank Weekend Market in Johannesburg, entrepreneurs set up their food stalls and prepare food in front of customers. Not only does the sight and smell of delicious food entice customers, the fact that you’re preparing their meal in front of them adds to the customer experience too.

2. Weekend English Language Educator

South Africans are sought-after as English language tutors across the globe. It’s reported that this is because many countries prefer South Africans compared to Americans, Australians and those from the United Kingdom. Why? Apparently, SA’s accents are a lot easier to digest and understand to the ears of second- or third-language English learners.

Using the Internet, or by hosting actual classes, you can make money teaching foreigners English. There are numerous markets to teach English across the globe and all you need to start earning an income is a stable (fast) Internet connection and decent laptop. Look into getting yourself certified with a TEFL if you’re going to start this weekend business.

3. Ambassador For Your Own Passions

Do you love to garden? Do you love to read? Why not host weekend group gardening classes or sell books that you’ve curated to people? Basically, follow your passion and monetise in a creative way. It’s often reported that South African’s need access to skill and development, so why not fill this need by leveraging your passion.

To start this sort of business, you don’t really need much capital. For instance, if you’re really fond of working with wood, you can hire tools and a location and host weekend classes on how to make book shelves or how to use power tools appropriately. Yes, people can watch YouTube videos to learn this too, but one-on-one tutorage can earn you money and help South Africans build their acumen.

4. Local Tour Operator

Do you still live in the same city or area that you grew up in? Do you know the ins-and-outs of the place like the back of your hand? Why not leverage this knowledge of your surroundings and its history by starting a weekend or after-hours tour guide business?

If you’re working in the tourism industry, you have an inside line on what’s hip, happening and trending in the world of travel, which you can also leverage to attract customers. Why not create a Facebook page to promote the idea that you’re offering guided tours to the best places in town that no one’s been to yet? Friends and family might even take you up on your offer, but always ensure you’re charging for your services.

5. ‘Odd-Jobs Person’

Sometimes, people need shopping done, or they need items fetch from the post office, or they need something picked up and dropped off somewhere else. If they can’t turn to friends or family for help, chances are that those tasks are never accomplished. You can service a market of increasingly busy South Africans by becoming that ‘guy’ (or girl) who won’t mind running errands.

If you’re wondering where you’re going to find people that need your help, why not consider M4JAM, a local micro-jobbing platform that connects companies, brands and people to an on-demand workforce through their mobile device anywhere, anytime. M4JAM launched in December 2014, and within four years has 140 000 South Africans registered with them. If you don’t go the M4JAM route, start a Facebook Group Page to market your services from.

6. Mango Pickle Maker

Did you know that Mango Pickle is one of the most popular forms of pickled food in the world? Easily so, as it’s a popular treat in India, where more than a billion people buy it from supermarkets. Brands such as Double Horse in India started out as homemade batches, but today it can be found in Supermarkets in Durban and Montreal. You might be on your way to building a pickle empire if you start this lucrative business.

The business of making Mango pickle is not complicated, but you will need to have a little bit of patience before you start to generating revenue. The pickling process can take 4 to 6 weeks depending on the type of pickle (and mango) you’re using, so it’s advised to have a bit of spare cash in the bank to support the business for a few months.

7. Toy Maker

Yes, we live in a digital age, but you don’t have to know how to code computer language to build toys for the local market. In fact, if you’re smart about it, you can focus on the highly lucrative baby and children’s toys market. Polly Potter’s, a local chain of toy stores, stocks simple wood toys that kids can play with and learn from at the same time.

A popular item at Polly Potter’s is activity boards, that are outfitted with switches, locks, swivel keys and pivot bars. You can buy these items yourself and fix them to creatively designed activity boards and start selling them to friends and family with children as early as next weekend.

8. Clothing Designer

You can easily start a clothing design business on the side, if you do you research and show a little dedication. Brands such as YDE and KISUA will buy your designs if they are unique and resonate with their target markets.

In fact, KISUA runs a designer fund that supports emerging fashion icons in the country. If you have an eye for fashion inspired by the variety of heritages in the country, you could be the next David Thlale. Keep the start-up costs low, design digitally, and shop around for materials. If you need access to sewing equipment, look for used machines and over-lockers.

9. Memorabilia Maker

Paul Simon, the founder of YDE, went into the memorabilia business a few years ago with stylish helmets – or Makarabas. Looking to create a revenue stream based on sports fanatics’ love for soccer, what started as small project turned into a small business. “The Makaraba mining helmets are very South African, and real artworks, which of course means they weren’t geared for the kind of mass production that an event like the World Cup needs,” he says.

Simon created a mass production version. He manufactured a plastic projection moulding kit and customised them according to a country’s team clothing. “Fans bought the kit in pieces with stickers and could ‘create’ their own Makaraba helmet too,” explains Simon. You could create similar products of a variation of it for local sports matches. Or you could think of new types of memorabilia that has a unique South African twist to it.

10. Rented Worker

If you’re uncertain on what type of business to start in your spare time or over the weekends, why not consider working odd jobs for companies to see what opportunities are out there business-wise. You could contact specific companies directly, or if you’re a student, you can register with Rent-A-Student, which helps students secure paid part-time and casual work throughout term time and during the holiday periods.

“We have the latest student jobs, part-time jobs, temporary jobs and internships. Rent-A-Student is a not for profit organisation securing the best deals for students and great rates for employers. Our community is now 60 000 strong and we frequently offer 1000+ placements per month. We are here to help students gain work experience as well as to provide for those in need of additional funds for study and even for family commitments,” the founders say.

6. Stay-At-Home Business Ideas

If you’ve decided to become an entrepreneur for lifestyle reasons, working from home while running a successful business is a viable option. Whether you’re working from a desk, over the phone, in your garden, or in the kitchen, you have a variety of lucrative business ideas to choose from, that suit both your schedule and your income needs:

1. Consultant

Do you have an area of expertise others would be willing to pay for? Use this knowledge of your favourite subject as a consultant. Whether you’re a wiz with numbers or creative with words, all you need to do is network and market yourself well, and consult from home.

  • Attend seminars once in a while to meet people who could make use of your services
  • Help companies with their books during audits or their social media during big campaigns
  • Assist students going into college with career options and the modules required, as a career counsellor.

2. Cook Who Prepares And Delivers Convenience Meals

Time is a commodity for working parents and even single professionals. Not everyone thinks they need a personal chef, but their busyness needs to be fuelled by wholesome meals. Which is where you come in, if you’re handy in the kitchen. The food business has good margins, especially if you’re preparing made-to-order meals and have a certain radius of delivery.

  • Develop an app with your options available for ordering in a few simple steps
  • If you’re just starting out and are yet to famailairise yourself with tech, why not advertise through fliers in your neighbourhood?
  • Ensure your fliers and the app feature exciting menus and you will be noticed.

3. Pre-owned Clothing Shop Owner

Vintage and ‘pre-loved’ clothes and accessories are growing in popularity as recession-hit consumers seek affordable options to stay fashionable. Opening a consignment store as an online business is less capital intensive than some other options, because don’t pay anything for your inventory until it is sold.

  • Take clean, well-cared-for items and display and merchandise them online
  • Alternatively, you can sell out of a physical location for the owners
  • Split the profits with the owners when you make a sale – usually, the profit split is either 50/50 or 60/40, with the higher percentage going to the consignment shops.

4. Herb And Produce Farmer

Armed with a working knowledge of growing herbs and a few square feet of growing space, you can join one of the fastest-growing industries – herb farming. Medicinal herbs, herbal teas, culinary herbs, and herbs for candles and aromatherapy are just some of the items you can grow and sell successfully.

  • Your product preparation can easily take place in an average-sized kitchen with just a shelf, stove and counter workspace.
  • Once you’ve mastered your craft, creatively make money from your green fingers by becoming a gardening teacher, offering gardening seminars in your backyard, recreation centres and your local nurseries.
  • Teach on a different aspect of gardening each month, for example, planning flower beds, preparing the soil, bulb planting, and the creating different types of gardens.

5. Custom Curtain Maker

Take your interest in interior design a step further by capitalising on the profitability of custom curtain making. This business idea allows you to provide multiple services such as designing, sewing and installing window treatments. Offering several services, enables you to charge more than just stitching together basic curtains for customers.

  • There are multiple patterns available online for you to show to customers as options for their next item of home design
  • If you enjoy embroidery and hand sewing, consider expanding your offering to include quilt designing
  • Ensure you have already created samples to market to new clients and leave the option to customise their own designs open.

6. Wedding Planner or Bridal Consultant

Today’s couples are marrying later thanks to career ambitions and co-habitation. This means they most likely have more money to spend on their wedding when they do decide to tie the knot. This creates great earning potential for wedding planners and bridal consultants – but only if you know what you’re doing.

  • You need a working knowledge of what goes into planning a wedding, including resources and price ranges for everything from invitations to the flowers to the DJ.
  • You must be extremely organised and detail-oriented.
  • You need a thick skin and brilliant people skills to deal with potential bridezillas.

7. Nail Technician

You love for beauty, health and people can be combined to cash on a trendy element of women’s grooming right now – nails. It’s a growing industry, dealing mostly with cash and if you’re mobile, you’ll get more clients, because who doesn’t prefer being pampered in their own home?

According to Oxbridge Academy, as a nail technician you should know exactly what your clients want, so that their expectations can be fulfilled. If your clients are satisfied, they will be far more likely to return to you as regular clients. To be a good nail technician, you will need the following skills:

  • Good communications skills
  • A natural creative ability
  • Good eye for detail
  • Well-groomed appearance

8. Graphic Designer

You’re already a graphic designer by profession, so why not work for yourself designing flyers, informational pamphlets, product catalogues and adverts? As a freelance graphic designer or illustrator, you’re also able to customise each assignment and specialise in specific fields such as logo design, infographics, brochures or annual reports.

  • Market your services to ad agencies, publishing companies, small magazines, corporations, product manufacturers and individual entrepreneurs.
  • Good listening skills are essential to running a successful graphic designing business. You need to understand completely what your clients want.

9. Gift Basket Maker

There’s always a reason to celebrate – corporate parties to baby showers, holidays and birthdays –and what better way to add convenience to gifting than providing gift baskets? Your creative flair can tailor fruit, sweets, flowers and other gifts into baskets, decorative tins, boxes or bags of joy. There are various ways to enter this business – from starting it on your own from scratch to working with an established franchise.

  • Market your gift baskets by taking photos of them.
  • Prepare a brochure listing the contents of each basket and its price.
  • You can sell your baskets online, to corporate offices, through mail order and in local shops.

10. Children’s Book Writer          

If you’re creative with both words and pictures, you can still become an author – give writing children’s books a try. Your love to write and illustrate, combined with good stories and your iPad and Kindle, could be a lucrative business opportunity.

  • You can test your story ideas out with eBook apps on your tablet.
  • If one of your stories garners marked popularity, you can publish it afterwards.
  • It’s easier than ever to get your story out to keen young readers and their parents as a self-publisher.

7. Creative Business Ideas

You’re not a 9-5er, which is probably why you quit your job in favour of something where you could use your talents in a more flexible manner. You don’t have to be desk-bound for your artistic flair to earn you money. Consider putting your creativity to good use in new homes, kitchens and the World Wide Web:

1. Fashion Or Style Consultant

If the ‘fashion’ in fashion design is of interest to you, build a business working as a personal stylist to help clients shop and put together outfits. Your clientele could range from corporate professionals in big presentations to celebrities on the red carpet. All you need is a keen eye for fashion and a proven understanding of trends and classic attire.

  • Shop for options for your clients to choose from for an outfit for a certain occasion
  • Meet with customers on location to discuss your selection, based on your knowledge of their individual taste the nature of the event
  • Ask them to refer you to their friends, family and acquaintances.

2. Home Stager

Home staging, also known as property styling, is certainly a viable and needed service in South Africa, however there are already some companies offering it.

Do your homework, says Anton Ressel, founder and Director of small business specialist agency ARC Consulting. “My advice would be to put together a tight portfolio and rate card, and make appointments to see real estate agents, banks and anyone else engaged in the sale of residential properties.”

  • Set up a website, a Facebook page and Instagram profile filled with testimonials of customers who’ve sold their homes thanks to your staging skills.
  • If lack of budget is an initial deterrent, consider working on spec – where you only get paid for your work once the house is sold – to educate sellers of the value of your service.
  • Investigate the private seller market on sites like Private Property to find potential clients.

3. Prop Stylist

Prop stylists source and then style all of the details necessary to create the look for a shoot. Said sourcing involves either renting, buying or making the props. This business is equal parts shopping, hauling, organising, actually styling, with an emphasis on problem solving, says prop stylist Janelle Gonyea.

“There are several avenues you can work in as a prop stylist, ranging from big brands to smaller companies, from film and TV, to commercial and advertising,” she explains. “Some prop stylists do it all, while others choose to specialise. For example, prop stylists who specialise in tabletop source the plates, linens, flatware, utensils, backdrops, etc.”

4. DJ

Many young professionals in various fields are turning to DJing as an alternative stream of income. Because most events are held after-hours, full-time employees can make additional money making and playing music at various functions. Alternatively, expand your client base by becoming a full-time DJ who also plays at corporate and school functions, which can take place during the day.

  • Research a fully-equipped music library online
  • Invest in quality software and specialised programmes for your laptop to play and mix music professionally
  • Build a network of clients that can use or refer you as a DJ for weddings or other gatherings.

5. Art Collector And Dealer

Are you keen to open your own art gallery? How about helping other artists get their works noticed? What if you could do both, starting this weekend? It’ll take a while for you to open and run your own gallery, but you can start collecting and selling art immediately. All you need is a good eye for beauty in art pieces in order to sell them to various art enthusiasts.

Alan Bamberg famous art consultant and author believes becoming an art dealer starts with having great vision: “Think of each work of art and every artist you present in your gallery like brushstrokes in a painting – that painting representing the full scope and totality of your unique perspective in art”.

6. Classic Car Restorer

Put your car enthusiasm and creativity to good use by giving old cars a great makeover. Not only is the restoration of old cars a booming new industry, if you do it right you have the potential to earn lots of money. Restoring cars requires artistry and cannot be self-taught, so learn the right process from industry experts, who recommend you:

  • Choose a car that will retain value
  • Be wary of rust
  • Find a car that starts
  • Ensure availability of replacement parts
  • Bring an expert

7. Transcriptionist

If typing 60 to 85 words per minute is your superpower, use your typing skills to earn money from home as a transcriptionist. While you can choose to have a specialty such as medical transcription, you can have a bit more fun with transcribing subtitles for movies for other English-speaking countries with a different dialect. Alternatively, you could be a translator or subtitler for television and film.

  • Some companies prefer candidates with office-bound transcription experience, so consider taking that on before going solo
  • Few businesses prefer to use contractors, so you may have to get a number of clients before you really start making significant income.

8. Cooking Instructor

Mogau Seshoene aka The Lazy Makoti offers cooking lessons for the modern busy woman. What started as a few recipes shared on Facebook has become a fully-fledged cooking lessons business. Her business’s success proves that not only do people wish they were skilful in the kitchen, they are also willing to pay to learn.

  • Your culinary expertise can focus on a specific skill, such as baking or grilling, or be a general course on making everything from rice to ravioli.
  • Your classes can be held in your home, in person, or in private where they are videotaped sold as part of a home-learning course
  • Become a YouTube cooking show host and you can earn advertising income.

9. Food Blogger

While on the subject of food, perhaps you’re camera shy or don’t prefer large crowds. Food blogger Bernice Griffiths has managed to monetise her love of food into a constant income stream through her blog Betty Bake. Food blogging is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money from being a foodie.

  • Post your recipes via text or video on your blog or share them on Instagram and Pinterest.
  • A food blog is easier to start compared to other food businesses that may be under special regulation, because the food items are for sale, for example.
  • Earn income through a variety of creative options such as affiliate marketing, advertising, or creating your own product line.

10. Craft Creator

If you’re crafty and proudly South African, how about making unique local hand-made items? The continuous popularity of flea markets across the country gives you an extended market where you can sell your wares to international and local tourists. Molemo Kgomo crafted Ntombenhle Dolls out of the struggle to find an African doll for her daughter – so she created one. Her company has grown into an entrepreneurial success and yours can too.

  • Be creative in your venture and craft something that isn’t already common
  • Maintain a steady supply of your product by planning order and additional inventory in advance
  • Consider adding a customisation option to your offering for one-of-a-kind memorabilia for customers.

8. Business Ideas For Rural Areas

As we undergo the fourth industrial revolution, remote areas in the countryside are also catching up to certain technology becoming widely available. Why not cash in on advancement by offering products and services not common in your area?

1. Rural Co-working Space Operator

Sometimes working from home isn’t an option in rural neighbourhoods. Facilities like phones, Internet and proper desks can go a long way for freelancers and professionals who need a place to work but don’t want to set up shop in big cities. Start a co-working space aimed at these people and rent a building to rent out to various entrepreneurs who need an office for a day, week or month.

  • Find a building or floor space in a building that is conveniently located
  • Ensure the space is equipped with facilities for tenants to carry out their work efficiently (water, lights, phone lines and Wi-Fi)
  • Maintain the space adequately

2. Alternative Energy Installer

Some rural residents may prefer to stay ‘off the grid, providing an opportunity for you to offer alternative energy installation services. Unreliable power supply over the past few years in South Africa has seen an increase in both urban and rural households and business owners seeking alternative energy sources.

Help make your customers’ homes or businesses self-sufficient and sustainable through solar panel installations, hybrid PV/wind systems or gas.

3. Rural Resort Operator

If you’re looking for a simple way to make money in your rural neighbourhood, why not set up a hotel or bed and breakfast where you can welcome visitors to book overnight stays? Provided you have enough space, you could even have the accommodation run separately from your home. Your small town may historical inns or motels, but nothing as homely as an actual home.

  • Opening a small inn or bed and breakfast can help fill a need in your area.
  • If you’re worried about being able to keep your rooms booked, go small.
  • Bed and breakfast owners tend to live in the same homes they manage, often converting their larger homes.

4. Laundry Service Provider

In the city, there’s a laundromat in every corner and a washing machine in almost every home. However, in remote areas, that isn’t always the case. If you’re looking for a potentially recession-proof business – a laundromat is an option.

  • All you need to get started is a washing machine, pressing iron, and drier.
  • It’s a very profitable business because it provides convenience
  • You will need to be organised and time-conscious to ensure clothing doesn’t get mixed up and is ready on time for collection for each client.

5. Drone Operator

Help farmers monitor their crop fields without the need for extra equipment or exposure to safety hazards by offering to assist with those tricky overhead shots. You can even help photographers, filmmakers, and anyone who needs to take photos for their business with your drone service.

  • All you need is a small drone equipped with a camera to capture photos or video footage from overhead or other otherwise inaccessible areas.
  • The drone can also help to identify problem areas in the fields and even aerially spray and treat crops
  • The initial capital outlay may be high, but because you’re offering multiple uses, you can recover the cost as soon as you have a steady client base of local businesspeople.

6. Farm Equipment Maintenance Provider

If you’re good with your hands, or are willing to learn and qualify as a mechanic, you could start a business that mainly provides maintenance service for farm equipment in your area. Not only is convenience key in maintenance emergencies, but all you need is a toolbox and thorough working knowledge of farming machinery.

  • Ensure your business is well-advertised so you’re able to be called first and not after someone else has had a look at the equipment and possibly worked on it
  • Don’t take on repair jobs if you’re only equipped to maintain certain machinery; rather refer the client to someone else
  • Form connections by always being friendly, on time, using reliable transport, doing a thorough job and encouraging recommendations.

7. Roadside Produce Stand Owner

Why enjoy the produce from your organic garden on your own? It could be a goldmine waiting to be capitalised upon. If you’re already growing your own produce at home, a roadside produce stand could be a successful way to make money.

  • Have only your best and freshest items on display to passers-by.
  • Expand your variety based on customer demand, and not on what you prefer or already have growing
  • Plant seasonally for the greatest harvest.

8. Landscape Maintenance Service Provider

While lawn mowing and trimming hedges is what is most commonly associated to tending gardens and landscaping, rural areas may sometimes require specialised landscaping services beyond this.

  • Familiarise yourself with the different gardening needs your community most requires
  • Start a business that provides specialty services for these outdoor spaces
  • Ensure you inventory is continually updated with the tools necessary to carry out various maintenance jobs.

9. Transportation Service Provider

Getting around isn’t easy in a rural area, especially if you don’t have a car. If you own one and are thinking of having your own transportation service, start today. If you don’t currently have a car, your purchase will not only help people get around, but your business will pay it off.

  • Use your car as a taxi service by advertising your services at corner shops via posters and pamphlets
  • If you have a bigger vehicle it can double as transportation for goods to and from the local CBD for shopping trips
  • Ensure your car is always maintained to prevent breaking down while a client is in transit. Word of mouth is the strongest adverting.

10. Chimney Sweep

While it may not be the most glamorous of jobs, you can make money and run a successful business maintaining chimneys in your area. If you’re worried about what this entails, learning to be a chimney sweep can be done through apprenticing with someone already in the business.

  • Become a chimney expert, to combine your chimney sweep business with a chimney inspection service-
  • You’ll become the go-to guy if you not only know whether or not the chimney needs cleaning, but also the working condition of the chimney and if it needs repairs.

11. Doula

Home births are just as popular in urban areas as they are in remote areas. Should you be located out of reach of a hospital, some women may choose to give birth at home, without compromising on comfort.

As a doula you’re a non-medical professional and labour coach helping birthing mother in either a hospital, a midwife clinic or in their own home. Doulas offer information, emotional support, and physical assistance in the process of giving birth.

  • Acquire certification from DONA International, the only certifying body for this profession
  • Be prepared to deal with unpredictable schedules, so you must be organised and flexible
  • You can easily work from home, while earning between USD500 and USD1000 per birth.

9. Top Small Business Ideas

Starting small can lead to a property, restaurant or farming empire. SMEs come in all disciplines and sizes, and most just need a certain level of skill – which can be easily taught – and diligence. The rest is up how you market and manage your business: 

1. Self-Storage Owner

Enjoying being a real estate owner with the freedom of lifestyle and passive income from owning and renting out storage units. Being a storage ‘landlord’ is one of the easiest, cheapest and highest yielding types of property ownership. You could even continue with your current job and hire a full-time onsite manager.

The multi-billion dollar industry has flourished due to increased city population and sectional title boy corporate rules that don’t allow homeowners to build sheds or store vehicles or equipment on their property.

Experts offer the following tips before you purchase your building:

  • Be careful about your contractor.
  • Choose a tough fence and use one, all-purpose gate
  • Invest in more climate-controlled units.

2. Organic Rooftop Farmer

You don’t need a backyard to start a farm or grow your own food. You don’t even need a shop to sell your produce from. It’s 2018 and creativity has led to the adoption of rooftop farms. Start an urban garden on a rooftop or in a small lot and sell your harvest to visitors or shops nearby.

  • You no longer need tons of space to start, grow and maintain a garden of fresh, organic produce.
  • If you live in an apartment building, you’ll have to ask the landlord’s permission and ensure security of your crop
  • You can also sell your produce online and either deliver it to your customer or have them pick it up from you.

3. Podcaster

Gareth Cliff did it. Matt Brown did it. T-bo Touch did it. You can do it too. Podcasting in South Africa doubled from 2014 to 2016 and continues to grow. In the US, podcasting has increased by 70% year on year over the last three years. That makes it the fastest growing medium of all.

“What can you do that nobody else can, or what can you do better than anyone else? That would be the start of the content plan for the podcast,” advises Cliff. “Also, be prepared to grow the audience slowly. Building a solid listenership takes time. It isn’t something that happens quickly.”

Podcasting is easier than ever to set up on your own, in three simple steps:

  • You can host your podcast
  • Build your website
  • Make money through advertisements or affiliate sales.

4. Online Course Creator

Is your academic expertise something you’d like to share with others without the lecture hall and projector? Online learning is garnering massive popularity with companies like Udemy, edX and GetSmarter ruling the massive open online course (MOOC) sphere.

Creating an online course can be a substantial time investment. “In my opinion, it takes about the same amount of time as writing a book,” Lili Balfour, a financial advisor for start-ups tells Forbes. “Of course, if you’ve already written a book and are doing a course about it, it takes a fraction of that time. If somebody is coming in with their own content, such as blogs and workshops they’ve already created, they can probably sit down in one weekend and create a 2-3 hour course.” But if you’re still nailing down your material, budget your time accordingly.

5. Mobile Wedding-Related Supplier

‘We come to you!’ is the best thing a bride-to-be can hear in the midst of wedding planning while juggling bridesmaids, guest lists and decorators. Whether you specialise in make-up, hair, décor or cakes, being mobile today beats having a showroom people have to travel to.

“You can start a mobile wedding services business that provides salon services, photography, flowers and catering on-location for weddings and other special occasions,” advises Alyssa Gregory, a small business expert and founder of the Small Business Bonfire. “If you like event planning, too, add in wedding planning services for a complete package.”

6. Co-Working Café Owner

Cafés and freelancers are like bread and butter – they go together. Remote working had allowed even full-time employees the freedom to choose their workspace. More often, their office of choice is a coffee shop or café. Now, while other businesses in the same field may offer a work-friendly environment for customers to enjoy, you can take it a step further.

  • You can set up a small coffee shop that’s also branded as co-working space
  • Here you can offer Internet access and other tech amenities
  • You can still have a full menu available that includes breakfast and lunch essentials for customers who choose to spend their entire workday in your shop.

7. Smartphone Repair and Recycling Operator

The advent and constant advancement of the smartphone has roused the need for an increasing number of smartphone repairs. Cracked screens, water and other damage needs special fixing that can’t be offered just anywhere. So you can open up a business that specialises in this area.

Alternatively – or in addition to your repair business – you can also keep smartphones in people’s hands and out of toxic landfills by recycling people’s old phones and reselling them in good working order, like ReWare founder Nothando Moleketi.

8. Personal Fitness Instructor

If you’re athletically inclined, why not start your own business as a physical trainer who works with clients one-on-one? Research predicts that fitness training will grow by at least 8%  by 2024. But being a personal trainer is more than about physical knowledge, says Jeff Charles, author of Sales Techniques For The Non-Salesy Entrepreneur to learn sales techniques that can make you a more persuasive entrepreneur: “It’s not just about your knowledge of fitness; it’s about your business acumen.”

  • Ensure you have the right safety certifications
  • To earn and retain clients, understand each one as an individual
  • Consider specialising in a certain area of fitness

9. Virtual Assistant

Use your solid foundation of business skills to start a virtual assistant (VA) business. Not only is it a quickly growing trade, being a VA can provide excellent income potential, both part-time and as a daily job. You can choose your clients, your hours and the certain types of tasks you enjoy.

  • You must have good computer and communications skills
  • Online job duties would be to provide professional support to the companies or individuals who are your clients
  • Tasks include anything you can do by phone or computer, remotely.

10. Uber Driver

Do you have a car and free time? You can choose to become a part0time or full-time Uber driver. Yes, you’ll be working for Uber, but you choose your hours, thus controlling your income stream. As long as you meet the following requirements (see full list here), you can start as soon as this weekend:

  • A Professional Driver’s Permit (PDP)
  • Operator Card
  • Commercial Vehicle insurance document
  • A vehicle fitting the car requirements specifically for Uber drivers.

10. Innovative Business Ideas

Sometimes the market could be too saturated with similar business idea to yours and you’re stuck at a crossroads: Do you rival the competition as the new kids on the block and try to be different, or do you become innovative at look for a twist in your original idea? If you’re considering the latter, here are some options:

1. Social Media Influencer

Yes, you can earn money via social media – and you don’t even have to sell anything or offer a service. Depending on the number of followers you have, you can approach brands you’re interested in or your favourite companies with a solid strategy on how paying you (usually in excess of R10 000 per post) would benefit their sales and overall image.

  • Build up your online network or audience related to a specific topic or brand through your posts and the content you share
  • Approach different brands as an influencer of their target market or affiliate to earn a portion of each sale they make thanks to your influence.
  • Livestream on platforms such as Facebook Live and Periscope once you’ve established a following, then earn an income as an influencer.

2. Food Truck Owner

As a start-up entrepreneur, you want an affordable ad easy way to get your business off the ground. Food is already one of the top business sectors, so why not take what the people want to the customers?

Instead of opening a restaurant or a café selling fast food, get yourself a truck and put your business on wheels. You can park it wherever the crowds are and take your passion for food with you, despite the long hours and confined space.

  • Cheaper to start and operate than a restaurant
  • Not tied to any one location
  • Great potential profit margins.

3. Photo Booth Provider

You’re not going to need any photography experience for this one – thanks to the rise of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Your customers are people who are already zealously documenting their lives online, so why not cash in by providing a unique experience?

You can provide a photo booth service that documents special events and enables instant uploading of photos to the Internet. All you need to do is plug it in and make sure there’s Internet access as people snap away selfies of themselves having a good time. SelfieBoxThe Magic Photo Booth and The Picture Booth are just a few local examples.

  • Perfect business to start on the side as most events are after-hours
  • No photography expertise needed
  • Customers will be marketing your business for you as they post online.

4. Bartending Service Provider

If you’re not already qualified, signing up for a bar-tending course at a local institution and getting a safety certificate puts you in the position to start serving cocktails at weekday corporate events, weekend parties and special occasions, and you can even have your own stand at the weekend farmers’ market in your area.

  • Usually the client will provide the alcohol, mixers and the glasses
  • You may bring a few mixing tools or even a service cart along for a personal touch
  • Free up your weekends because demand increases strongest during this period

5. Fancy Cake Baker And Decorator

It’s a fact: Some people will pay really good money for an awesome cake for a special occasion. Wedding, birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations can get you thousands of rands per order. The best part is that, if you market yourself well, all you need is an oven, some icing, fondant and piping tubes to start.

  • Get some great cake pictures up on your website
  • Practice cake decorating off photos on the internet of some popular designs
  • Promote your business and examples of your work to event planners to build your clientele.

6. Craft Iced Tea Manufacturer

Craft beverages continue to increase in popularity, but if craft beer isn’t of interest to you as a start-up option, why not consider experimenting with artisanal ice teas? Making and selling variety of homemade ice teas can be a lucrative business due to customer demand for homemade, nutritious and healthy options.

  • Crafting iced tea won’t require a large amount of capital initially, but it will need some expertise.
  • Careful consideration should be given to where to sell your products – from a store, through a restaurant or online.
  • Doubleshot is a local business that has tapped into the artisanal iced tea craze.

7. Box Subscription Services Supplier

Whether your passion is creating homemade jams, cosmetics, fashion accessories or even apparel, a box subscription services business allows you to be as creative and innovative as you want to be. Pretty packaging is just as important as convenience to your customers, as they’re not just paying for he product, but the experience and anticipation of receiving a special package every week, month or quarter. Local business, RubyBox, offers a collection of sample sized makeup and skincare items delivered to their customers.

  • Compile items that people really need and use regularly, giving customers the opportunity to order your item instead of compiling all the items themselves.
  • You can also offer innovative items that you created or designed or invented yourself, but ensure you market it effectively and that there’s a demand for it.
  • Don’t underestimate packaging and the delivery of your items. Your items need to find their way to your customer damage-free while also looking inviting and exciting.

8. Microbrewer

Perhaps you have been successfully brewing beer as a hobby and everyone’s raving about your recipes and asking when you’re going to start selling it. Your family and friends may be on to something. Many beer lover prefer a tasty local craft beer to a generic brew from even the best brewing giant. Armed with this information and your expertise in brewing, you may want to consider taking the next step and starting your own craft beer business.

  • Microbrewing is relatively capital-intensive to start
  • Ensure you have a great product and a solid business plan to secure financing
  • Beer drinkers love craft – there entire eateries based around craft beers and other artisanal beverages – you just have to market yours well.

9. Holiday Planning Specialist

If you love a bargain and are always on the lookout for travel specials and planning the best holiday on a budget, you may want to share your skills – and make money doing it. The rising cost of travel means consumers are constantly seeking the best deals on airfare, hotels and rental cars. As a travel planner, you can do that on their behalf and be your own boss.

If you already own a computer and phone, these will be your primary tools for searching the Internet to find travel deals and compile the most memorable holidays for busy professionals and families who need a relaxing break, without the added stress of planning it.

  • Understand your clients’ interests.
  • Establish work processes and tools to help you work efficiently
  • Set your clients’ expectations.

10. Mystery Shopper

If you like shopping and freebies (no judgement) and getting paid, mystery shopping could be a business idea to look into. Your opinions on products or services for a specific business could see you going into a restaurant and reporting back about your service or quality of product, or visiting a hotel and offering an opinion about customer service quality and the pleasure of your stay. Not only will you be helping offer valuable feedback to businesses on how to improve customer service interaction, the appearance of a store, or even how to improve product delivery, but you may pick up some advice on how to run your own venture one day.

  • You need to the ability to express opinions clearly and elaborately, discretion, keen observation.
  • Starting a mystery shopper business does not require much start-up capital.
  • You should have reliable transportation, a computer with Internet access, and word processing software.

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