Making more money – best industries to make it

Making more money

One of our most popular blog posts is the one on top paying jobs, and this post is similar to that, but speaks more from an entrepreneurial perspective.

Let’s evaluate 10 industries where there is still heaps of cash to be made:

Two of South Africa’s billionaires both made their fortunes here – Nicky Oppenheimer and Patrice Motsepe. Yes, it’s true that you need capital to get started, and there are plenty of regulatory hurdles, not to mention labour issues like strikes and so on. But mineral-rich South Africa is still one of the world’s largest gold producers, and has some of the largest world reserves of platinum, chrome and vanadium, not to mention coal. Even a ‘lowly’ mine safety officer, with a few safety certificates and not even a matric, can earn up to R55,000 a month.

It’s not for nothing that in 2014 Nigeria overtook South Africa as the largest economy in Africa. This oil-rich country is brimming with oil-related opportunities. And with the global dependence on oil still a major factor, this shows no signs of abating, at least for the foreseeable future. Menial hard labour at an offshore oil drilling rig can in some cases earn you R120,000 a month.

Alexander Graham Bell, father of the telephone, would be impressed by the massive growth of this industry over the last 10 years. Vodacom and MTN can splash out on the most lavish big-budget advertising campaigns because they make so much money. Who hasn’t bemoaned their high cell phone bill or per-call charge rates?

Digital / online
Everybody loves the Internet. Google vies with Coke as the largest brand in the world in terms of brand equity, while Apple is the most valuable company on earth by market capitalisation. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg became the world’s youngest billionaire. Feel like tweeting, anyone? How about a Pinterest board or retro Instagram photo?

Yes, this is a notoriously difficult category. But until they build a Star Trek replicator so that Jean-Luc Piccard can order his Earl Grey tea and you can get a cheeseburger, the good old fashioned food outlet will have to do. Cyril Ramaphosa made a small fortune from McDonald’s, while the Famous Brands group paid Tasha millions to buy her successful café style food offering.

Plenty of money to be made here. Look at the Richard Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Braamfontein, which inspires and encourages the youth to create their own opportunities. And the truth be told, SMEs are the best stimulator of economic growth anyway. All you need is an angle.

Environmental sustainability is no longer a luxury, as the world demands it. Any company or entrepreneur who manages to come up with a better way for the world to live, will definitely make a packet. The move towards clean and renewable power sources, nature conservation, and the need for environmental impact studies are cases in point.

Speaking of green, until the Eskom problem is solved by 2020 (maybe), some astute people are seizing the opportunity to find ways to live off the grid, and/or sell that opportunity to people. Suppliers of solar panels, UPS systems and the like could end up making a good living if they connect with the right audience.

While conventional wisdom suggests that the returns are only in the region of 6% over time, people will always need a place to stay, to do business, and to shop. It’s a tight market with lots of competition, but opportunities still exist in niche markets.

SA’s newest billionaire, Stephen Saad, made his fortune in this area. As Africa comes into its own, people have more money to spend and life expectancy increases, so this is likely to be an area of rapid growth. Increased use of ARVs is a case in point.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Banking and finance will always be growth areas too. Just remember that it’s never too late to exercise that entrepreneurial spirit!


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