Side hustles on the rise in South Africa

Over the past decade, South Africa has seen a sharp increase in the number of people earning an income outside of formal employment. For some, the need for a self-generated income arose from falling victim to the country’s steadily rising unemployment figures.

But many people have also recognised the potential to earn a second income through an entrepreneurial venture while still employed. By reducing time-wasting daily commutes, remote jobs, hybrid workplaces and work-from-home protocols have made it easier than ever for employed individuals to operate small businesses from home in their spare time.

More than just an income generator

It’s estimated that 1 in 3 employed South Africans has a side hustle. For most of these part-time entrepreneurs, many of them young professionals, the motivation is not just about bringing in a bit of extra cash.

Their side hustle is often driven by the realisation that the changing global economy makes it possible to have multiple sources of income. In addition, a side hustle is often born of a desire to pursue a passion which may not be fulfilled by their full-time job.

The hidden benefits of side-hustling

There are many benefits to owning a side business. For one, the skills that you learn as a business owner can give you a competitive advantage in your formal career, allowing you to advance faster.

A successful side hustle can also be an excellent way of boosting your confidence and self-esteem, enabling you to enjoy more work variety, providing stimulation and opportunity for creativity, and even building valuable networks. This is especially true when these side hustles are in a completely different industry to the one in which you work full-time.


If you own a side hustle, make full use of every support opportunity available to you


Perhaps most importantly, if your side hustle develops into a successful, sustainable business, it is possible that you can also create employment opportunities for fellow South Africans, which makes you potentially a valuable contributor to the economy as well.

Digitisation is a key side-hustle enabler

The pace of digitisation across the world, driven by advancing technologies and better access to bandwidth, has also contributed to the growth of the side-hustle trend.

Technology is enabling people to work and do business anywhere. Young, tech-savvy professionals especially are leveraging this digitisation to give effect to their innovative ideas and entrepreneurial flair, develop their skills, and grow their side hustles.

Of course, starting and running a successful side hustle is no simple feat. Apart from the time pressures of operating a business alongside your day job, and the need to ensure that a side hustle doesn’t have an impact on the quality of work delivered at your full-time employment, you can put yourself at risk of burnout, add much more stress to your life, and end up spending less time with friends and family.

How to boost your side hustle

If you own a side hustle, make full use of every support opportunity available to you, particularly in terms of the non-core components of running your business, like administration, tax and banking.

Entrepreneurs should take full advantage of SimplyBiz, a free digital community powered by Nedbank for business owners, by business owners. You can set up both a personal and professional profile to connect with like-minded businesspeople.

Public and private enterprise must embrace the side-hustle culture

The importance of developing entrepreneurship requires both government and the private sector to help build a successful, sustainable small-businesses sector – and that includes the fast-growing side-hustle culture. It is important to recognise these professionals as an essential part of the economy and offer them the help, guidance and business-building solutions they need to formalise and grow their business ventures.

Given our acknowledgement of the vital role that side hustles will have to play in growing the SA economy, Nedbank offers a vast range of small-business services to help you take full advantage of your opportunities and avoid the risks and pitfalls of owning a business on the side.

These range from incubation programmes and mentorships to tailored business banking solutions like the Nedbank Startup Bundle. This start-up banking package offers businesses with an annual turnover of less than R3 million an array of free digital transactions (with no monthly cost for the first 6 months) and access to an experienced relationship banker with keen business insights to help you grow your operation.