Making Money Online As a South African
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Making Money Online As a South African

If you are anywhere in the world and wanting to earn a living online, there are a lot of avenues open to you. I am a South African freelancer and so have tailored this article to those who want to make money online as a South African but anyone apply these ideas.

The internet made a whole new world available to those wanting to earn an income from home. In  this article, I specifically deal with how I make money online for South Africans but this can be applied from anywhere around the world. As a South African freelancer, being able to earn a living from home is extremely important because of the high rate of unemployment. Basically all you really need is a good basic grasp of English and basic writing, a reliable internet connection and some perseverance in order to make a career out of writing. As with any other skill, practise makes perfect. I will start by dealing with ways to make money whilst practising. When you have worked on this a bit, you can make money online as a South African.


Blogs do have the potential to make money but you do have to work at them. For someone starting out on the internet, it can be quite a slow process to build up a readership and to earn a significant amount of income. Monetizing a blog can be done in a few ways:

1)      Promote your own information product – You need to be sure that the product is worth selling and priced right. You need to take time to develop it properly.

2)      Promote an affiliate’s product - It is simpler to promote someone else’s product – they will process payment, ship etc. and you simply get a cut for referring the product. It is best to promote products that you know and have used; personal recommendations always carry more weight.

3)      Offer advertising on your blog – most free blogging platforms allow you to link to Google Adsense or Chikita, etc. They may ask for a portion of the profits in return for allowing you to host your blog. The problem with advertising is that it is mainly about getting the right traffic that will click through on the ads. This means making sure that the advertising actually pertains to your blog and fits in with it. If you are a member of a program like Google Adsense, you may find that income builds up slowly. For South Africans, the pay-out threshold is usually around R700.


Sites like Knoji allow you to publish articles and share the Adsense revenue with them. Knoji also pays an upfront bonus when you publish and this is what makes it one of the better sites of this type. Publishing is fairly simple and you don’t need any knowledge of programming at all. Knoji does rank well in search engines and I have found that the income earned outstrips that earned on other similar sites. For me, Knoji is my favourite when it comes to earning a residual income. The income is not great initially but builds up over time. You will also continue to earn an income even long after the article is published. It is basically a publish, promote and forget site and an easy way to earn income.

By publishing often and taking care to make sure that your articles are SEO optimised, you can make money online as a South African. This is purely a numbers game – the more articles you publish and the more people that read them, the more you stand to earn. Payment is via Paypal.


Squidoo is a fun site and makes it simple to build “lenses” – these are in essence small webpages. Squidoo allows you to earn money through affiliates and offers a share in the advertising pool depending on how well your lenses perform. Squidoo does require some maintenance – lenses that are not worked on regularly tend to drop in the ranks and this affects whether or not you get part of the advertising pool. You will also not earn income for the first three months you are on Squidoo. The value of Squidoo lies in the fact that you can use the lenses to create high quality SEO backlinks for other articles. Payment is via Paypal.

Playing with the Big Boys

If, however, you want to be able to make a significant income online, you are probably going to have to look at getting paid work online. There is a lot of work out there – I was amazed when I discovered this at first. Personally I feel that it is worth going through a reputable site where there are checks and balances in place that help you to get paid. Sites like this usually take a percentage of what you earn but they also handle all payments on your behalf. The following two sites are where I make money online as a South African:  


Elance is one of the biggest agencies online. Employers post jobs and then you go and bid on them. You will generally be interviewed for the posts. Much like in life, you will need to polish up your CV and make sure your online profile is quite impressive. Employers are able to rate you and your services and this allows you to build up your reputation. When it comes to payment, Elance offers the freelancer more protection than Odesk does – Elance asks for funds to be kept in escrow when the job is started for fixed price jobs. Odesk does not offer this security. Another advantage is that your money is paid to you immediately when the client confirms that the job is complete.


I have found a lot of good work and fair employers on Odesk. I have found that Elance seems to offer higher-paying jobs but that there seems to be less competition on Odesk. I also prefer the Escrow feature on Elance – I have done some work on Odesk and not been paid for it – there is little protection against that. That said, if you are careful to review clients before you take them on, you can minimise this risk. Your payment is held for seven days by Odesk after the job is complete in case of any comebacks from the client.

In all of the above cases, payment is affected through Paypal. If you seriously want to make money online as a South African, you are going to need a Paypal account. Paypal accounts are simple to open but you need to have it linked to an FNB account in order to be able to receive money into it. Any transactional FNB will do and transferring money between the two will take about 7 working days.

All in all, I’ve found that I have very easily been able to make money online as a South African. All it took was a bit of perseverance on my part and a dedication to great customer service. 

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Comments (1)

Thank you Fiona, extremely helpful.