11 Unique and Profitable Side Hustles Trending in Kenya

11 Unique and Profitable Side Hustles Trending in Kenya

Side hustles have become increasingly popular in Kenya as a way for people to supplement their income.

A side hustle in Kenya is an additional job or income stream outside of one’s regular employment. With Kenya’s high unemployment rate, especially among the youth, side hustles provide an avenue for creative ways to make money.

There are many benefits to having a side hustle in Kenya:

  • Extra income: This allows people to pursue interests, hobbies, or meet financial needs.
  • Gain new skills: Side hustles let people develop new skills which can further career opportunities.
  • Flexible working hours: Side hustles allow setting your own hours around other commitments.
  • Be your own boss: The ability to take charge of your income source can be fulfilling.

From online work to small businesses, Kenyans are finding innovative side hustles in a variety of industries.

This article will explore popular and unique side hustle options in Kenya.

Popular Side Hustles in Kenya

Some of the most common side hustles adopted by Kenyans include:

Online Work

  • Freelance writing: Creating blog posts, website content etc. for clients abroad. Good writing skills required.
  • Transcription: Converting audio or video files to text documents. Attention to detail is key.
  • Virtual assistance: Providing admin support to entrepreneurs. Requires organizational skills.
  • Online tutoring: Teaching students abroad via video chat. Needs strong grasp of tutoring subjects.
Flexible scheduleUnreliable income
Location independentCan be competitive
Leverage skillsNeed relevant expertise

Retail Businesses

  • Hawking products: Selling items like snacks or household goods in neighborhoods. Requires marketing abilities.
  • Operating kiosks/stalls: Running small fruit stands, second-hand stalls etc. Needs business management skills.


  • Low startup costs
  • Cash sales potential


  • Limited inventory
  • Manual operations

Service Businesses

  • Consulting services: Offering advice/services in areas like HR, tech support, writing etc. Needs industry knowledge.
  • Home services: Things like cooking meals, cleaning, childcare etc. for neighborhood clients. Takes good time management.
  • Personal shopper: Helping people with grocery/retail shopping. Should have good customer service skills.

Unique Side Hustle Ideas in Kenya

Beyond the usual side hustles, some unique options gaining traction in Kenya include:

Renting Out Assets

  • Renting out parking spaces: Designating parking spots near busy areas to drivers for a daily/monthly fee.
  • Renting out rooms: Putting up short-term tenants in extra bedrooms. Can list on homestay networks.
  • Renting out equipment: Allowing temporary access to underutilized items like camping gear, electronics etc.


  • Earn passive income
  • Make use of unused assets


  • Extra wear and tear
  • Need process for vetting renters

Making Goods to Sell

  • Handmade crafts: Creating art, jewelry, decor items etc. to sell online or at markets. Requires creative skills.
  • Baked goods: Baking cakes, cookies etc. at home to sell to neighbors, friends, offices. Needs passion for baking.
  • Jewelry making: Designing and assembling customized jewelry and accessories. Takes attention to detail.
CraftDescriptionMaterials Needed
MacrameKnotted bohemian wall hangings, plant holders etc.Twine, wooden dowels
Soap makingOrganic aromatic soapsOils, lye, essential oils, molds
Candle makingScented wax candles in glass containersWax, wicks, fragrance, jars

Media Services

  • Photography/videography: Taking professional photos/videos for clients as events, social media etc. Requires creative eye, equipment.
  • Voiceovers: Recording audio voice tracks for ads, narrations etc. Needs clear articulation and home studio setup.
  • Audio transcribing: Converting speech to text for podcasts, meetings etc. Calls for excellent listening skills, fast typing.

Leveraging Skills and Talents

Beyond monetizing assets or handmade goods, Kenyans can also leverage unique personal skills, talents and experiences to create profitable side hustles in Kenya, such as:


  • Translation services: Translating documents, audio files etc. from English to Swahili/other languages or vice versa.
  • Language tutoring: Offering private native language lessons in person or via video call.
  • Tour guiding: Providing private tours for visitors in your native language.

Music & Art

  • Street performances: Making money busking by doing public musical or acrobatic/dancing acts.
  • Custom artistic services: Creating commissioned paintings, digital designs, personalized songs etc.

Food & Drink

  • Private chef services: Preparing customized multi-course meals at clients’ homes.
  • Food/drink tours: Offering niche excursions to experience local cuisine/beverages.
  • Food cart: Running a mobile food stand selling prepped food/drinks in high traffic areas.

Fitness & Beauty

  • Fitness training: Providing in-home/virtual fitness coaching, classes etc.
  • Beauty treatments: Doing hair, makeup, nails etc. from your home salon.

Knowledge & Advice

  • How-to coaching: Offering personalized instruction on specialized topics from singing to coding.
  • Consulting services: Providing specialized advice/analysis on areas matching your expertise.

The above are just some of the diverse ways to leverage existing talents or experiences into fruitful side hustles in Kenya with the right initiative.

Trust me, the opportunities are endless.

Locating Side Hustle Opportunities in Kenya

While coming up with innovative side hustle ideas in Kenya is an important first step, actually locating lucrative opportunities involves some key processes:

Validate Demand

Gauge real market interest before expending effort pursuing any venture:

  • Conduct online research: Use platforms like Google Trends to analyze search volume and demand for related offerings.
  • Study industry reports: Review sector-specific publications to identify rising needs.
  • Interview potential customers: Have candid conversations to understand pain points and willingness to pay.

Identify Your Niche

Determine an underserved segment that values your specialized contributions:

  • Assess direct competitors: Who else offers similar services and where might there be territory gaps?
  • Outline qualifications: What combination of your skills, credentials, access etc. are uncommon and hold appeal?
  • Highlight relative strengths: Which areas do you excel at compared to alternatives? These are value differentiators.

Localize Your Focus

Start hyperlocal before expanding wider. Being a big fish in a small pond refines operations:

  • Leverage existing networks: Tap into established contacts and relationships who can champion your offering.
  • Be convenient and accessible: Maintain proximity to target customers for frictionless user experience.
  • Reflect community aesthetic: Allow locale preferences to guide branding. Local pride builds loyalty.

Scale Out Thoughtfully

  • Tighten systems first: Solidify workflows, inventory management etc. so operations run smoothly.
  • Invest surplus wisely: Plow earnings into assets like staff, tech, essential tools to lift capacity.
  • Extend horizontally then vertically: Build wider regional presence before adding significantly different offerings.

Side Hustle Challenges in Kenya

While side hustles in Kenya present income opportunities, prospective entrepreneurs in Kenya often grapple with barriers like:

Operating Costs

  • High licensing fees
  • Unexpected taxes and regulations
  • Fluctuating material expenses
  • Logistics/transportation needs

Mitigation Tactics

  • Seek tax guidance early
  • Buy bulk inputs at wholesale rates
  • Share shipping costs where possible

Access to Credit & Capital

  • High collateral requirements
  • High interest rates
  • Lack credit history


  • Crowdfund startup costs
  • Minimize need for credit
  • Barter goods/services when possible

Stiff Competition

  • Saturated niches
  • More established players
  • Limited customer bandwidth

Strategies to Stand Out

  • Find niche value gap
  • Offer convenience perks
  • Brand around specialization

Lack Technical Expertise

  • Gaps managing digital platforms/finances
  • Unfamiliar regulations
  • No prior industry experience

Building Capacity

  • Take online tutorials
  • Hire freelance help initially
  • Apprentice with other solepreneurs

While daunting, many successful side hustlers in Kenya started small by mitigating hurdles through scrappy solutions and leaning on wider support resources available, like local SME mentor networks.

Determination and nimbleness are key.

Key Takeaways

  • Side hustles provide extra income for Kenyans while allowing pursuing passion projects. Options range from online work to small businesses leveraging skills, assets or talents.
  • While popular ventures include things like freelancing and retail kiosks, unique rising options utilize existing assets or skills for profit. Renting extra rooms or equipment, handmade craft businesses or offering specialized knowledge/language services hold promise.
  • Prospective side hustlers should validate demand, find profitable niches and start local before expanding. Tactically locating opportunities raises the likelihood of sustainable success.
  • Hurdles exist around operating expenses, accessing capital, competition and lacking technical expertise. Remaining flexible and resourceful can help overcome barriers.

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