Varsity fees may have fallen for some but for most students at South African universities money will remain very tight in 2018. One answer to this problem is for students to get themselves a side hustle.

New York Times best-selling author Chris Guillebeau’s book ‘Side Hustle: Build a Side Business and Make Money Without Quitting Your Day Job’ is flying off the shelves and, according to Claire Cobbledick, Head of Core Business at Gumtree SA, it has many applications for local students.

“The online world has made starting a side hustle far easier than it ever has been. Effective use of the internet allows students, at little or no cost, to find part-time income in ways that enable them to still deliver on their main priority which is to pass their courses successfully. Through sites like Gumtree they can accurately test for demand, market their services to a broad audience, target their offerings and get customer feedback. The barriers to entry are low and the demand for all kinds of services is remarkably high.”

Some of the areas relevant to students which are consistently and successfully marketed on Gumtree SA are tutoring, dog walking, babysitting or au pair work, house sitting, activation and promotions work, waiting, and survey completion.


For the more adventurous, there is one company currently seeking “a professional mermaid” and another offering “human table costumes” for entertainment at events.

Cobbledick says “thousands of South African students are becoming what we call Gumtrepreneurs and gaining both vital income and experience in building a small business”.

She believes that side hustling potentially represents an economic revolution in South Africa; “It enables everyone, not just students, who can access the internet to capitalise on their earning potential without also requiring access to a vast amount of capital. In the tough times that lie ahead, few of us can afford not be on the side hustle.”