Under Pressure: more young South Africans are hustling compared to six months ago

Published Oct 6, 2022


Johannesburg - More young South Africans are putting extra work in by finding different means of making money to make ends meet.

At some point in our lives, we’ve all heard that the one way to become wealthy is to have multiple income streams. If we look at how the most successful entrepreneurs have fared and their diverse portfolios and investments, it would seem there is some truth to this.

South Africans are faced with a different reality. Many South Africans start businesses to supplement their income. A side hustle is no longer a way to indulge your passions outside your typical nine to five. It is a necessity.

Whether it be an online boutique, a weekend food stall at a market or selling wigs, the tough times have ignited the entrepreneurial spirit of many.

Such is the challenging economic landscape in South Africa. The rising cost of food and interest rate hikes are just a few to mention. Eskom has applied to energy regulator Nersa to hike tariffs by 32% in the coming months, which will only compound consumers' financial woes.

According to data from the Household Affordability Index, The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group revealed that South Africans are paying almost R600 more than a year ago for the same household food basket.

It has become clear that South Africans need to find different ways of earning more money, and young South Africans are leading the way.

Findings of a recent survey by infoQuest/TrendER, a leading South African online research company revealed that the incidence of young South Africans hustling, or having more than one source of regular income has increased over the past six months.

Managing Director of infoQuest, Claire Heckrath, said “Approximately 1 in 4 individuals aged 18–34 are holding down more than one job, which is an increase on six months ago when we last monitored this.

“Younger individuals may be more willing to do this as they have fewer responsibilities and have more time on their hands, but we are also seeing that older South Africans are engaging in the “hustling” trend.”

Although the study revealed that those aged 35–49 years old had the lowest level of hustling at 15%, some still feel the pressure to have multiple sources of income.

Lee Taylor (38), an incubation specialist, has established three more businesses to provide for herself and her extended family.

Lee Taylor has found multiple ways to earn an extra income Picture: Supplied

She said: “I am a singer/songwriter, and I own a Wigs and Weaves company. I also have a company that does project management and consulting services for various corporations.”

“In the current economy, being single as well as the breadwinner for my family, having a single stream of income is not an option. Also, having multiple streams of income allows me to live the lifestyle I desire.”

Taylor emphasised time management being at the core of being able to juggle all her hustles.

“My daily planner and my diary is my best friend, having my priorities in order. Being goal-oriented and time conscious is key,” said Taylor.

A correlation has been found between those in a lower income bracket and the likelihood of having a second income.

The study revealed those earning personal monthly incomes of R5 000–R10 000 were more likely to be hustlers (28%), and 15% of respondents in the higher personal monthly income group of R40 000 and more claimed that they received regular income from more than one source.

This study puts into perspective the lengths many South Africans will need to go to be able to not only be successful entrepreneurs but to survive.

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