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Side hustle 2020 review: Earning extra money online

I guess every single post that is doing a review of the past year is going to start in a very similar fashion: 2020 has been a dumpster fire. It’s a sentiment that I can most certainly echo. None the less, with my constant side hustle I’ve still learnt a lot on a personal level, and also on an side hustle level.

I know you might not care as much about my career, on what I’ve learnt in 2020. On the other hand, I truly believe that anyone that has access to the internet and a smartphone can make an extra income online, even if it’s just beer money. Do with it what you will. Maybe it helps you earn a little something extra n 2021.

The cannabis affiliate market is booming

I scaled back my content production over 2020, dramatically. As a result, my traffic dropped, but my income still increased when compared to 2019. This is 100% because I less content, but content that is more targeted. I have a big share of the South African organic search market for cannabis-related search terms, and combining that with cannabis affiliate programs has been very successful for me.

It can be trickier in South Africa, but you can use platforms like as a good starting point. One of my biggest mistakes is that my audience is mostly South African, and the South African market is pretty small. But with platforms like that offers a lot of information, I can see how one could easily target an international audience. is my baby, and it’s where I started learning everything that I use in my professional career today. For that reason, I can’t just let go. But, I would like to eventually start a new site, 100% cannabis orientated because I think with cannabis affiliate programs I could make a very nice additional income each year.

Total cannabis affiliate earnings: $1120 or R16814.78

Dropshipping merch

With dropshipping, there are tons of options. Almost any kind of physical product that you can imagine, from coffee mugs to clothing, to posters and stickers, there is an online avenue for you to get your designs on products and sell them. What makes dropshipping cool, is that you don’t have to deal with manufacture or delivery logistics yourself. It all is handled by someone else.
A while ago I partnered with I sell my designs on t-shirts and hoodies. Orders happen on their site, and the factory that makes the products handles packaging before a courier goes and pick up packages for delivery.  Almost no logistics for me (other than marketing my products), but I also don’t make much per item that I sell.

I also have designs on and I’ve started a completely different type of site where all the products I sell are drop shipped internationally. The last project is the one that currently needs the most work to become profitable, but it’s also the one I enjoy most. I’ve never considered myself an artist or as artistic, but more as a creative. I create designs and then bring them to life on a physical object (be that a canvas or a t-shirt). 2021 is going to be way more focused on that project than anything else.

Total dropshipping earnings: $815.20 or R12238.76

Sponsored Content

When you have a website, that speaks to a niche (almost any niche) and you have even just a small audience, there is money to be made in sponsored content. Obviously, I don’t take every offer that lands in my inbox. I only take on sponsored content that will be of value to my audience and target market. Not only is it the ethical thing to do to not promote anything that you would not use yourself, but it’s just smart business in the long run.

Between the sponsored content opportunity emails there are a lot of chancers of people looking to place content on your site for free (or in exchange for free crap). No two sponsored content deals are the same, but for the most part, unless you can pay money into my bank account or my PayPal account, I won’t let you advertise on my site.

Total sponsored content earnings: $1467.68 or R22034.57

It’s not like I’m quitting my job, but it’s not bad

Especially in a year like 2020, I’m extremely thankful for what I made, and it’s not a bad amount considering how much I downscaled my work. I spent more time this year with my family, more time playing Xbox than I have in the last 10 years, and I still turned a nice profit. I might not be able to retire, but it’s a nice 13th cheque to earn. My hosting cost is covered, I didn’t spend a single cent on paid marketing this year, and I also made a small amount selling “my art” on physical items I made and distributed myself. All of that money went towards charity though, so it’s not included in the total below.

If I can do it, anyone can. So I encourage you to start figuring out how to make an extra income online. It’s taken me 10 years to get to this point, but honestly even with what I have earnt over the last 10 years, I can’t put a price on the skills I have developed.

Total earnings: $3402.88 or R51 088.12

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