I have always enjoyed trying new things and looking for ways to make extra money. Well, I like to TRY and make money. I don’t like to be bored and I prefer to have something to do rather than spend endless hours watching TV (unless the series is really good – that’s a different story!).

I enjoy side-hustles to make some extra money. I must say though, I don’t think I have never done a side-hustle thinking I will become rich but I enjoy the challenge and I get a big kick out of making some money from it. It’s quite a satisfactory feeling when you try something knew and something works.

One huge benefit to having tried different side-hustles, is that with each and every one I have learned something new. I have often made mistakes, I have also lost money that doesn’t make me a loser.
No, I took from it, learned something and found a different and better way to do it. It’s such a great learning curve.

From trying various side-hustles I have also learned:
* What I enjoy doing
* What I really don’t enjoy doing
* How I can procrastinate and waste time – and so now I try and keep that in mind and continuously move forward
* How to network with people (which helps you later on with other potential businesses)
* The importance of planning ahead and creating a realistic schedule that you have to stick to
* Time management

* To enhance and develop skills that I never thought I would need
* Cold-calling isn’t as bad as I thought
* There are so many other women out there looking to make extra money – it’s a comforting thought to know you are not alone.

When I was a teenager the opportunities to make money were more restricted as the internet hadn’t been invented yet (can you imagine?!), so I did things like delivering newspapers on my bicycle, I did baby-sitting, I worked as a waitress and when I was old enough I did bar work.

So today I would like to share 11 different things that I have done over the years as a side-hustle to make extra money.

I also tell you what worked and what didn’t work, and what I learned from it.

Perhaps there is something here that you would like to try! Let me know.

1. I have participated in focus groups

I really enjoy doing this. Focus groups are a really great way to make some extra money.

This is a marketing / research company is looking for feedback generally from consumers on branding, products, packing – they want to find out what people like, don’t like, what is eye-catching, what would change and so much more.

You are accepted when you fit certain criteria and are invited to sit and discuss a product or service. These are conducted in groups and you are given a date and time when you have to meet. The discussion is recorded and sometimes people from the brand do sit in or watch through a one-way mirror but you are informed about this.

I have attended one for a coffee brand, one for a banking institute, one for a toothpaste brand and even one where I had to meet the group at a specific shop and walk around giving feedback on signage, location of items, branding of products and the overall shopping experience.

Generally these are very casual – they are simply looking for your honest opinion and feedback. Sometimes they even provide food and beverages, depending on what time of the day this is conducted.

Problem: They don’t come along often and if for example you have been to a focus group about a certain bank, you can’t go to any other focus groups about banks for the following six months.

Good news! Now you can do this online. More in a one-on-one space rather than in a group but the pay is still good. You will need to take a screener test to find out if you are a suitable candidate, and if you are lucky and they are looking for someone like you – you can earn $20, $50 or even $100 per survey!

I recommend the following online company – register and check daily to see if there is a job for you:

2. Website testing

I thought this one was a focus group but when I got there it was a one-on-one website testing appointment. A furniture design company had redesigned their website and they were looking for people to simply look around on the website and give their feedback on the ease of it, the look and functionality.

They asked me things like:
Where would you go to look for dining room chairs?
If you don’t like the colour, are you able to see if there are other colours available?
Pretend you are buying this mirror, show me how you would purchase it and get to the check-out stage.

These days it’s even easier because you can do it online from the comfort of your own home.
You need to pass a screening test first and when you are accepted you will be invited to participate in some online testing and get paid for it. You will need a Paypal account as most of them pay US Dollars into your Paypal account.

You are given instructions and your laptop screen is recorded so they can see where you click and how you navigate the site).

Here is a site where you can do try this website testing  – you will need to pass a screening test for this and then log in daily to find out if there is a job for you.

User Testing

3. Freelance writing

There are so many places that need articles, blog posts, short stories and more written for them.

Many of them like to accept pitches from freelance writers who have a speciality, or a niche, market. For example. A children’s party planner, a financial advisor, an antique dealer – the list is endless.

If you have a hobby or an interest, you could consider emailing the editor with your pitch. Try to find a unique angle as it is difficult to come up with something completely new.

There are so many places that need articles, blog posts, short stories and more written for them.

Many of them like to accept pitches from freelance writers who have a speciality, or a niche, market. For example. A children’s party planner, a financial advisor, an antique dealer – the list is endless.

If you have a hobby or an interest, you could consider emailing the editor with your pitch. Try to find a unique angle as it is difficult to come up with something completely new.

4. I organized a holiday playgroup for a week

It was the school holidays a couple of years ago and the work I was doing at the time closed over the school holidays (I was a lecturer at a local college). For the first week of our December holidays, I arranged a holiday club.

I ran from Monday to Friday from 08h00 – 12h00.
Parents had to pack in a snack and a juice for their children.

Remember, people are still working in December, even though it’s Christmas time – but this goes for any holiday, especially the longer ones. Parents don’t want their kids to be bored. They want them to be kept stimulated.

We had a schedule everyday which included:

> Free play on arrival
> Action games
> Craft
> Snack
> Arrange a visitor: snake lady, magician etc
> Outside play and games
> Story time

HOWEVER – I will be honest here. I did not make a profit as I did not work out my costs correctly. I had to pay for the rental of the hall, the craft equipment and cooldrinks/ juices.
I should have negotiated a better rate for the hall rental as it was for five days (Monday to Friday), I could have gotten craft equipment sponsored, I could have taken on more children with the help of an additional volunteer.

But at the end of the day, my own children were there. They were safe and I got to spend time with them and watch them play and have fun.

It didn’t cost me anything but with a little bit or more strategic planning, I could have made a profit on this.

5. Healthy tuckshop in the office

At my previous job, I worked in an office that was on two levels. Downstairs, one of the ladies had a little tuckshop going for people to buy crisps, sweets, chocolates and cooldrinks.

I decided to open one upstairs with healthier options – so I sold pretzels, peanuts and raisins, healthy snack bars, fruit juices, biltong and other similar items.

As more people move over to the healthier option, I was quite busy. Bear in mind though that you can’t put a big mark-up on items like this so you need to sell a lot to make a decent profit.

The nice thing about this side-hustle is that your customer base is right there – you don’t have to go looking for people to buy your products. Many people are so busy at work these days that they don’t leave their desks so it is more convenient for them if there is nutritious, healthy food available.

Tips to help you:
> Buy your goods at wholesale prices
> Notice which items sell quickly, and stop selling the items that don’t sell
> Try have combination specials: a fruit juice and a packet for nuts for a slightly reduced price
> If you are going to sell juices (or make your own veggie juices), keep them cold in the fridge but don’t upset people by taking up all of the space – ask permission from your office manager if necessary

6. Joined MLM companies

Over the years I have joined a few MLM (multi-level marketing) businesses. There are so many around.
I have sold Avon, Honey Jewelry, Acorn Kids products and Smile educational products.

The great thing about these companies and doing this kind of work is that you really get to practice your sales skills, and learn to network with many different types of people.

Arranging demonstrations is fun and you can really get creative with this.

The only downside is that if you are on the bottom level/ entry level of the program then it can be tricky to earn a decent income. However, I do know if people who do this full time as a sales representative as they have built up a good customer base over the years.

> Arrange parties. Ask a friend to set up a party and invite 8 – 10 family or friends who might be interested in your product.
> Start your party with an ice-breaker so that your guests can feel more relaxed to interact and chat with one another.
> Give your hostess a thank you gift and explain to the others that if they arrange a party they can also get this fantastic gift for themselves.
> Give your demonstration and allow people to try on, spray on, put on your products. Let them play the games if you are selling children’s products for example, and do the activities to experience the product.
> Then close with your final pitch and special offers. Get everyone’s contact details to add them to your email list.

7. Selling products to earn a commission

A friend of mine started a company and I mentioned to her that I was looking for a way to make additional money to pay off some debt. She said to me that I could sell her product on a freelance basis and earn a commission for each item sold.

I have done the same thing with advertising space in a magazine, as well as referring business to a flooring and carpeting business.

There are a lot of businesses out there who will be willing to discuss freelance work with you.

They don’t employ you and so there is no added expense of a monthly salary that they have to pay. If you are freelancing then you work out a commission beforehand for every sale or positive referral that you bring in.

8. Arrange a local community market

Arranging a market does take some planning but it is so do-able and definitely worth the effort it as you can earn a few hundred dollars in (technically) one day’s work.

As the market organizer you need to be responsible for many things:
* Possibly getting a team together to help you
* Finding a venue in a good location
* Contacting suitable vendors
* Planning the layout of the market
* Advertising and marketing your market

On the day, you do need to be there and you need to be available
I have arranged a couple of markets and learned some of the lessons the hard way. However, I have always made money doing this and it is worth it.

You also build a good network with people (vendors as well as customers) who are extremely important.

The nice thing about this is that you can arrange it after hours if you do work during the day. If you are interested in doing this, I have written a detailed eBook outlining the best way to go about things, and tips and advice on having a successful day.

9. Buy low, sell high

I’m not talking about trading, or stocks and bonds – although that is another option.

Boney M came to Cape Town in December 2019 and had a concert at Kirstenbosch Gardens. When I heard it on the radio, I HAD to go. My sister phoned me and said her boss had given her tickets, were we going to go. I had a gut feeling that the tickets were going to sell out quickly so I jumped online without thinking too much about and ended up on the site Viagogo. I quickly bought 5 tickets for our family as it looked like they were running out fast.

When I stopped to breathe I realized that there was a another site where I could buy the tickets cheaper. Quite a bit cheaper. So I did that. So now I was sitting with two sets of tickets for Boney M!
And a lot of money spent.

I then saw on the Viagogo site I could resell the tickets at whatever price I wanted! This was risky because you don’t know if they would sell or not, but I figured if they didn’t then I would sell them on Facebook Marketplace or spread it word-of-mouth that I had these extra tickets.

This is what I ended up paying/ making from this:

Paid: ZAR 2, 220.00
Selling for: ZAR  3, 720.00
Profit: ZAR 1, 500.00

There are so many worldwide events on here that you can buy and relist for sale.
But as I said, it is risky as they might not sell.

10. Answered online surveys

Answering online surveys is a great way to make some extra money and also a fab way to kill time when you are waiting in a queue somewhere.

Surveys range from approximately 15 minutes to 45 minutes per survey and you earn cash or collect points for each survey that you complete. You normally need to reach a certain threshold before you will get paid out (for example $10 or 10 000 points).

I have personally earned cash as well as cashed in my points for gift vouchers and ordered products online, simply for giving my opinion and completing online surveys.

That in itself can be a massive savings because if you see something that you like on Amazon for example furniture, kids toys, decor items or anything that you like, you can work towards getting that for yourself and it won’t cost you any money.

When that item gets delivered to your door, it is such a fulfilling feeling. Go on, try it!

11. Repurpose items

I really enjoy repurposing items to either keep for myself, or to sell for a profit. This is when I need my breakaway space and need time on my own to recoup. I get to be creative and try many different techniques when it comes to repurposing.

It generally includes finding old furniture that either you don’t want or that someone else is tossing out, and updating it, repainting or or even upcycling it into something completely different.

We used to have a guinea pig cage/ rabbit hutch that we used for a couple of years until our guinea pigs sadly passed away.
So I completely updated this hutch. I replace the rotting pieces of wood, replaced the chicken wire, sanded it down, and painted the entire hutch white. In the end, it looked really good!

The thing is, I bought it off Gumtree together with a large fish tank for only R400.00 (about $27) and when I was done, I resold just the guinea pig cage for R800.00 ($55).

Top Tip: Let family and friends know that you are re-purposing and upcycling products and if they have anything they want to toss, they must contact you first.

12. Painted shot glasses

Yes I can’t believe this one worked. I only did it for a short while but it was something I did and I did make some extra money from it.

I chose my target market which was backpacker places. I know that travelers who stay at backpackers enjoyed sitting around chatting and chilling out at the end of a day so I wanted to offer something fun and a little bit different.

The equipment that I used was:

1. Plain shot glasses 
2. Liquid lead to draw the outline of the image
3. Stained glass paints to fill the spaces with color

So for example, the one backpacker was called The Green Elephant and so I drew and painted a green elephant on each glass.

I only did this for a couple of places but I did make some extra money doing this.

13. Made color-your-own ceramic paint sets

For this project, my target market was pre-schools and creches. If you do this correctly it’s a great way to make extra money because parents love to spoil the children, and the if the product will benefit them in some way, even better!

I thought of some themes that I wanted to work around and decided on: the farm and the sea.
I bought molds of these themes – I actually bought chocolate molds that worked very well and they are inexpensive.

Then I took Plaster of Paris, mixed this with water to the correct consistency and poured it into the molds and let it set which doesn’t take long.

Note: You need to tap out all of the air bubbles before it sets otherwise your creations have holes in them.

I think packaged them nicely with paint and two paintbrushes and went around to the local creches.

I left a sample there with an order form and took orders. I gave the school a percentage of each sale as a thank you.

Tip: This also helps if you promote your product to the schools with the benefits for the kids (does your product help with fine motor skill development etc?), and also as a way for the school to raise funds. If the school knows they are going to make money out of your product as well then they are more likely to promote your products (remember that they are still a business and they aren’t just going to promote your products because you’re a nice person). The best thing for them to do is show the children what they can and get the children excited about it. They go home and tell mom and dad.

So there you have it, 13 things that I have done over the last few years to make extra money. I think the hardest part for some people is when they have to do their own marketing and sales calls. Most people don’t enjoy doing cold-calling but if you have a product or a business that you want to make money from, you need to have clients.

Do you think you could try any of these? Or have you done anything similar? Let me know!