The age of the side hustle
In my day, these were called ‘lifestyle businesses’. No more than a part-time concern and flexible enough to fit around your main employment, they provide extra income that can allow you to enjoy a few extra luxuries.
Today, they’re referred to as ‘side hustles’. This term can also apply to employed roles an individual may have in addition to their main/day job.
According to recent research, more than a quarter of us have at least one side hustle. On average, these extra roles bring in between £670 and £840 a month.
The pandemic has made many people uneasy about relying on just one source of income. Whilst not necessarily unhappy in their main jobs, a side hustle can bring people peace of mind and security. 400,000 side hustles were registered in 2020 alone.
Lots of people turn their hobbies and passions into side hustles. They get to earn money from doing something they enjoy, and it doesn’t matter if hundreds of other people are doing the same, as they don’t rely on the income their mini-enterprise brings to pay their bills.
A study by Credit Karma reported that 20% of side hustlers raise funds to pay off their debts, whilst 32% concentrate on building a nest egg. Their research found that it wasn’t unusual for people to have more than one side hustle.
As I explain in this article, I’ve had various enterprises during my career. Some opportunities overlapped, but whether I would class any of them as a side hustle, I’m not sure. Currently, I have three employed roles, one business, and a number of significant freelance contracts and collaborations, but in my mind they all make up my ‘main job’; it would be difficult to say which of these qualify as being a side hustle. I’m just someone who likes variety in my career.
The cost of living has gone up whilst wages have stagnated, which has seen a lot of people turn to side hustles to earn extra income. Official data from the ONS states that 1.1 million people have second, third or fourth jobs, which equals 3.6% of the working population. In 2019, a survey by CV Library, which questioned 1200 employees, found that 10% of them were ‘forced’ to look for additional positions to supplement their wages, an issue which has surely been exacerbated since then, due to the pandemic and subsequent economic fallout. However, CV Library’s founder, Lee Biggins, worried that such pressure may lead to employee burnout—a side hustle outside of the 9-5 certainly doesn’t leave much room for downtime. He said, ‘Employees could be putting themselves in serious danger of burnout. It’s tough enough at times to get through a full working week, let alone while working two jobs. Policies on working on the side are in place for a reason. Working so many extra hours is bound to distract anyone from their main job.’
The best side hustles require little investment to launch and afford the individual with the flexibility to carry out the role around their main job. Examples include: pet sitting and/or dog walking, renting one of your rooms through AirBnB, tutoring, personal training, graphic design, being an Uber driver, etc.
Even though you may be running a side hustle, you will still have to abide by UK laws and regulations. If baking/making food in your kitchen to sell, for example, you must have food hygiene certificates in place and your local council has to assess your facilities. When pet sitting/dog walking you should have appropriate insurance in place, and tutoring is likely to demand you hold certain qualifications in the subject you plan to teach.
Side hustles are certainly more common than ever, and it’s a sound financial decision to not have all your income coming from one source. Whether your extra-curricular commitments are employed roles or freelance opportunities, having a portfolio career and a varied working life can prove fulfilling and exciting, as well as lucrative.
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