So, many people are looking for work but we know that jobs are scarce. In fact, we know that South Africa shed 2.2 million jobs during the second quarter (April to June) of 2020. The youth unemployment situation is considered a crisis by the government. So where does that leave you? Does it mean that there is no hope for you and your future?

No, it definitely does not. We need to be adaptable and shift our mindset about the working world. Jobs are no longer guaranteed and companies may no offer you a job. The days of traveling to work and sitting behind a desk are probably no longer realistic.

So where to now?

How about starting your own side hustle? There is tremendous space for young people to get involved in the informal economy by hustling. This literally means, ‘to proceed or work rapidly or energetically, to push one’s way’. In other words, you need to push your way into a situation in which you can make an income by working enthusiastically in some way. You can’t sit and wait around for a formal job to come out. You need to be prepared to look for opportunities in your community and go for it!

How do you do that?

Here are a few things to consider:
• Even if you are interning, you may not be earning much and you still have time on your hands. Find a side-hustle – another self-generated way of making an income. For example, if you are interning only 3 days a week, why not use the other days to get involved in something more informal to make extra money?

• Find time to do some self-reflection. What are you good at? Can you bake, fix things, sew, garden, tutor a subject, make meals or sandwiches? Do you have access to a computer and data? Think of anything that you can viably offer to your community or the wider world.

• Spend some time generating ideas. Talk to your friends and family. What do they think you can do and what do they think might be helpful in your area? Perhaps you love reading to children or love make-up and beauty products. What can you do with that? If you have access to the internet, can you code well enough to develop an app or can you analyse data?

• Once you have come up with some possible ideas, the next thing is to think about the financial aspect of what you want to do. This is a hugely important step so don’t miss it out even if you don’t like numbers! Think carefully and then write down all the costs associated with what you want to do. Is it data time or is the costs of a product?

For example, if you’re going to bake muffins, then how much will the ingredients and the use of electricity for the oven cost you? Once you know this cost, then you can work out how much you should charge for your muffins to cover these expenses and give you a small profit. Unfortunately, you can’t make your muffins too expensive, otherwise no-one will buy them! But, often making things at home and selling them close to home, cuts out the costs of items such as transport, rental on a stall etc. so in that way you can reduce your expenses.

This budget does not have to be complicated. Here’s an example:

BUDGET: Making a double batch of muffins

Items Expenses Income
Flour R 60
Sugar R 45
Butter R 70
Milk R 30
Salt R 20
Salt R 20
Eggs R 60
Baking Powder R 30
Electricity R 40
Muffin Baking Tray R 130
TOTAL expenses R 485
Sale of 24 muffins @ R 16 R 384
Profit – R 101

So, you can see that making by making a double batch of muffins, you haven’t yet made a profit. You are still R101 under the cost of your expenses. But, many of your ingredients will make another batch and this will then start moving you into profit territory. The more you make with your existing ingredients, the more money you will make.

If you make 36 muffins with most of the ingredients, you will have an income of 36 x R16 = R576. This shows that soon you will have paid off the muffin baking tray and you will start to make a profit!

You don’t need to be fancy about doing these calculations. I used the calculator function on my cell phone and looked up the prices of the ingredients online at a popular store!

• Now you need to go to the place where you already decided your target market will be. Do you need to get up early and go and sell your muffins at the local taxi rank? This, then, is your final step in creating your own hustle!

And the best thing of all is that you don’t need to do this all on your own. Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator will be launching a Hustling Chatbot in about 3 or 4 weeks’ time. The aim of the chatbot (which, by the way, is not a human but a computer program) will help you with all these steps including a financial diary, a tool to help you with the financial aspect of your hustle! See:

Despite the formal economy being in tatters, there is still a huge amount of scope for you to get involved in the informal sector. People still want food, services, products! So, get enthusiastically busy with your side-hustle and make some money. You never know, this could be the beginning of your journey to becoming an entrepreneur and even creating jobs for other people!

Thanks to the Harambee Team for content support.


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