The standard 9 to 5 is still prevalent in South Africa, but the people now understand that it is not the only way. There are other ways to ensure that you and your family have a financial future that is healthy and secure.
Starting a business from your home could be the solution to your income woes. If you lost your job due to COVID, are still uncomfortable with the idea of travelling, or just looking for a little something extra to supplement your other incomes, a successful home-based business could match or even surpass any of your other revenue streams.
Now, not all home businesses are going to need the same things in order to work. As you will see later, there is a vast difference between many of the basic requirements, depending on which business you choose.
However, there are a small few essentials that are unanimously necessary for any home business, and here they are:
- Smartphone: A smartphone is the number one essential when running a business from home. Even if you don’t have a laptop or computer, you still could get by with just having a smartphone. However, now business can thrive without its owner having a smartphone.
- Laptop/Computer: Whilst a smartphone can do most things that a computer can do these days, it’s still wise to have a laptop or computer available. Some jobs we will mention later cannot work with a smartphone alone.
- Stable Internet Connection: This is an absolute must! No home business can survive without a stable internet. Make sure your connection is stable, and your speed is as fast as possible.
- Licences: With any home business, it is important that you understand the rules and regulations related to you starting that business. Make sure that you have done your research and that you have all the necessary licences in place. From the taxman to the police, you don't want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
Home Business Ideas
Starting a bakery is as simple as having a kitchen with a stove and oven. You could sell directly from your home or offer a small delivery service.
When working from home, it would be wise to have a set menu and sell your baked goods in bulk. Alternatively, you could offer customisable treats, where customers can call ahead, and you can make exactly what they ask for. In the initial stages, I would stick to one or the other. Later, as your business grows and you become comfortable as a home business owner, you can start playing with various combinations and selling techniques.
Read about how this small business adapted into a successful bakery during the lockdown: On the Rise with GOOD: Bread & Stuff
2. Laundry Service
A laundry service is definitely one of the most straightforward home businesses to start. All you need is a washing machine, a tumble-dryer or line/space to dry the clothes, an iron and ironing board, and time. Once you have those essentials down, it’s up to you to put in the work.
In fact, you do not even need a washing machine. If you have the time, you could do the washing the old-fashioned way as you wait for your business and savings to grow.
Starting a clothing business is a great way to make use of a basic human need. You will need a sewing machine and some knowledge of sewing and tailoring.
On the other hand, you could be a home retailer, buying clothes in bulk and reselling them individually for a higher price.
4. Catering Service
For South Africans, fantastic food is always a great way to speak to our souls. If you love spending hours by the stove, then this might be precisely what you're looking for. You will need a kitchen, a stove, and adequate packaging materials. You could take orders for corporate lunches or cater for celebrations and other events.
5. Nails & Beauty
Beautiful nails will always be a big part of South African culture. Whether you are from the Kasi or the most affluent of suburbs, a good nail job is always speedily welcomed. Start your own nail studio, and, as your business grows, you can add to it. By the end, you could be an all-inclusive beauty bar offering hair, nails, and even skin services.
6. Virtual Assistant
As remote work becomes more prevalent, many businesses are choosing to outsource their administration tasks. Be a virtual assistant and provide administrative help. You can have multiple clients at the same time, depending on the workload you can manage.
7. Online Trainer
Become an online trainer and help people achieve their health and fitness goals. The possibilities are almost limitless because you could train anyone anywhere in the world at any time. For a more personal experience, you could set up a home gym and invite clients to complete their workouts under your watchful eye.
For the full run down on starting an online business, read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Making Money Online.
8. Social Media Manager
This is one job that you could probably get away with doing solely on your phone. Become a social media manager and manage the social media pages of businesses and individuals who don't have the time or knowledge to do it themselves.
If you are great at content creation and/or graphic design, you can add this to your list of services.
Becoming a tutor could be one of the most rewarding home business ideas. You can tutor kids from anywhere in the world in the comfort of your home. You could also offer in-person lessons, where children could come to you for their sessions.
It is always awkward for parents to leave work for a school run when a child is sick in the middle of the day or when they just want to spend some quality time as a couple. In those moments, you can step up and be a caregiver to their children. Start a daycare and have a safe place for parents to leave their children when they are otherwise indisposed.
Yes, we’ve added being an influencer to our list. In 2023 South Africa, influencing could be an extremely lucrative option for you. This is another online business idea that only requires a smartphone. Depending on your clients, you may have to invest in other equipment like a ring light or a phone stand. But, if you can get it right, the profit margins are undeniably in your favour.
12. Affiliate Marketer
You could become an affiliate marketer by recommending products and services of other businesses to your followers on your social media pages, email lists, and other pages. A commission will be paid to you per sale that the affiliate business makes from your recommendations.
Nowadays, it seems as though everyone and their mother has a podcast, but there is a reason for that. More and more South Africans are choosing to listen to podcasts for news, entertainment, and social engagement. You could be making a steady income from your podcast through sponsorships and subscriptions. All you need is a laptop/computer, podcasting software, a good set of earphones, a microphone, and a topic of conversation that is uniquely yours.
In a similar vein, you could try being a voiceover artist. Do commercials, animations, audiobooks, and more, all from your simple home studio.
14. App and Website Builder
If you are tech-savvy, then this might be the perfect solution for you. You could build apps and websites for businesses and individuals. This is one online business where you could build your dream lifestyle from the comfort of your own home.
Get started with A Beginner’s Guide: How to Build a Website.
If you are an artist, becoming part of the NFT space is a direct channel to online business success. Transform your art from physical to digital and sell it online through blockchain channels. It may be a confusing concept to grasp, so read here about the fascinating, billion-dollar industry that is NFTs.
As long as the internet exists, nothing is stopping you from earning a living and having a successful business from home. The only thing left is for you to take your talents and skills and merge them with a home business idea that we’ve shared with you on this list.
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