We are living in hard economic times. Inflation is skyrocketing, employers are laying off people, and the government is coming up with ways to raise taxes by the day.
In the midst of these hardships, having a second income has become almost a necessity rather than an option.
The second income could be through a second part-time job - for those people whose skills are in high demand. It could also be sourced from entrepreneurship - a side hustle, as Kenyans prefer to call them. Here are some great side hustles to concentrate on in 2023.
Farming has long been perceived as a stressful job - at least for the majority of Kenyan farmers who mostly rely on rain-fed agriculture on small pieces of land.
However, the reality is that farming in Kenya offers great opportunities - especially if done with the right knowledge of plant species and animal breeds.
The global cost of living crisis has mainly affected food products - which offers an opportunity for food products that are competitively priced. The new administration in Kenya has lowered the price of inputs such as fertilisers - which is expected to reduce farm production costs. The cost of leasing or buying land in Kenya is relatively low - and some Kenyans have access to family land, which is vastly underutilised.
There are numerous farming products to consider in 2023 - avocados take three to four years to mature. However, the trend is that the global demand for the product is rising and Kenya remains a preferred market - as evidenced by the growing exports to China. Avocado farming is largely stress-free - with little tending in the growth process, which is ideal for a side hustle.
If you are patient and focused on the long term, commercial tree farming is also a lucrative venture which requires little attention - you could be farming trees in Kitale and comfortably doing a day job in Nairobi. The cost of timber is rising due to the short supply of trees and this trend is expected to continue in the long run as people become more conscious of the need to preserve trees.
Further, the world is moving to the carbon-credit system - as the climate change crisis persists. The Kenyan government has already indicated that in the coming years, companies would have specific credits - allowing them to emit emissions up to a certain point and, if exhausted - buy credit points from tree farmers.
Ever heard of the phrase old is gold? Well, some people are fascinated by vintage items - old cars, video cassettes, record players and other antique items from the days of yore. For example, US President Joe Biden’s private vehicle is a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (C2) which is one of the most desirable classic cars.
Classic car enthusiasts, however, do not have the freedom to import vintage cars - due to the six-year age restriction on car imports. The good thing is that old ramshackles are lying around in homes and garages - wasting away in the hands of people who see little value in them.
The demand for classic cars that are functional creates a market opportunity for a restoration business. All you need is to get a good mechanic, identify great classics, buy them at a throwaway price, invest in the restoration, and then sell them at a premium. Some restored vehicles fetch as much as Ksh1 million - depending on the model and its restored shape and state.
Photography is not only a great hobby but also a great opportunity to improve your chances of earning some extra money on the side. To be a great photographer, you do not necessarily need to have studied it in college.
Many of the skills that give you an edge are self-taught, while the basic training can be done through online tutorials or mentorship from established photographers. If you work in the marketing, advertising, media and communications sectors – great photography skills can give you a competitive edge in your job hunt.
You do not need to work in these areas to benefit financially. Even when you are employed full-time in other professions, photography, as a side hustle, can be highly lucrative. You could work part-time at events such as weddings, birthdays, and dinners – to offer your photography services at a fee.
If your work involves a lot of travelling, you could start a photography blog, get an audience, and sell your platform to advertisers. You could also find a niche in one form of photography and sell your work on online platforms.
Some of the common photos sold online include stock photos which are mainly used in advertising. There are multiple websites, such as Shutterstock, Alamy, SmugMug Pro, and iStockPhoto, which allow you to upload images where you own the copyright. You then get a small commission when your work is sold.
Other photos, particularly those with artistic value, are sold as independent artworks in galleries. For instance, British art photographer David Yarrow sold a photo taken in Kenya for Ksh8.5 million (60,000 pounds). The black and white photo captured Maasai herders interacting with their cows.
The growth of the housing industry has created a demand for professional interior designers. The upper and middle classes are willing to spend hundreds of thousands, or even millions of shillings - to have beautiful and cosy homes. Hotels and Airbnb businesses are equally looking for creative interior decorators.
The good thing about interior designing is that you do not need to work from Monday to Friday. If you have an eye for great designs, you only need to hire part-time workers and train them to implement your art - as you oversee the project during your extra time.
You would then concentrate on sourcing for business, which has become easy with the growth of the internet and visual social media platforms such as Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, etc.
The internet has changed how people research and learn new skills or knowledge. If you have a day job, you probably have some expert knowledge or a skill that someone in a different part of the world may want to learn.
More people around the world are interested in learning Swahili, for example, you could start a website and offer online lessons for a fee. You only need to dedicate a few hours per day.
If you are good in maths, English, and the sciences - Upwork has numerous opportunities as American and European parents seek to get private tutors for their kids. Or maybe you are a good cook and have some special skills that people will want to pay to learn. It doesn't have to be something complicated, samosas, nyama chomas, mukimo, pilau, matoke, mutura – all these are foods that someone on the internet will find exotic.
Online tutoring could also be in the form of an educational podcast in your field of expertise.
Event planning is a challenging business for most people. There are multiple moving objects - the food, the tents, the decor, the music system, and the drinks, among others.
It can be an overwhelming experience if one person has to take care of all these things. The nature of the business is that these services are often needed seasonally - typically on weekends, making it difficult to have permanent staff. There is a great business opportunity if you were to pick one area of events planning and concentrate on it as a side hustle.
For example, you could learn the art of mixology and partner with event organisers to provide it as a niche service on a part-time basis. You could also specialise in decor and perfect the skill in a way that event planners would work with you to have their business burden lifted.