Starting a side hustle

Small business owner sat at her desk working from an iPad.

Over the last five years, we’ve seen a boom of side-hustle businesses, with a report by Henley Business School revealing that side-businesses now contribute over £70bn to the UK economy.

From Etsy-store owners selling hand-made jewellery to part-time yoga instructors, the pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout created a perfect storm that encouraged many workers to take the plunge and follow their passion whilst also maintaining their day job.

It is safe to say that side-hustles have existed long-before the pandemic. For years, everyday workers have taken on extra jobs out of necessity to earn more money to support themselves and their families. So, what’s changed? When the world went into lockdown during the pandemic, and workers began working from home, this brought a flexibility to our working life that has continued to shape the way we approach and prioritise our work and careers. 

A New Kind of Hustle

In a post-lockdown world, side-hustles have attracted a different kind of entrepreneur. These types of hustlers are further up the job value chain than what we’ve previously seen before and can determine how to combine their professional expertise and personal hobbies in a way that can introduce a viable secondary income.

“As a new mother on maternity leave, setting up my online vintage baby clothing store allowed me to explore my love for children’s fashion whilst allowing me to earn some extra money, it’s also loads of fun and I get a real buzz from it,” says Kate, a senior marketing professional from South London. She set up Me Little Love in the Summer of 2023 to explore her passion whilst being able to spend more time with her newborn.

The popularity and ease of use of online store fronts like Shopify, Ebay and Etsy have streamlined the process of setting up your own store and managing your finances and income. This, coupled with social media apps like Instagram and TikTok have given small entrepreneurs like Kate the ability to quickly turn their hobbies into income.

Adapting to Changing Times

Last year, the phenomenon of “quiet quitting” became a social media buzzword. The act of workers simply doing the “bare minimum” at work without going above and beyond became a popular talking point on apps like TikTok and Twitter. However, according to recent research conducted by Kantar – Generation Z are not “quiet quitting”, in fact 40% of those surveyed currently maintain at least two or more job roles. 

For younger workers, anxieties around the current cost-of-living crisis and the possibility of layoffs are driving factors behind setting up their side-hustle. Staggeringly, nearly half of all those surveyed were “worried their company may need to lay off employees”.

For Generation Z, setting up a viable income stream could be as easy as downloading an app. 

“Being a student from a low-income background means I’ve had to get creative in how I supplement my student loan. Along with a job as a restaurant waiter I’ve also been able to make a significant amount of money selling my old clothes on apps like Depop and Vinted”, says Daisy, a 20-year-old university student from Leeds. “The easy process of actually listing your item and receiving payment after purchase means that I don’t have to take too much time away from my studies to make some extra cash”.

What does the future look like for side-hustlers?

The amount of people undertaking a new side hustle is only set to increase. In recent research conducted by CV Library, a leading independent job board,  58.2% of UK workers are planning to take up a side hustle in the next 12 months, with the main reasons for this being uncertain job security and the possibility of earning more money.

This, coupled with the recent successful trial of a four-day working week could foster an environment which encourages even more workers across the UK to see how they can combine their professional skills and personal passions into a lucrative second income.

We will be shining a spotlight on Small Business Owners, self-employed, freelancers, and side-hustlers to find out what it takes to run your own business and what entrepreneurship really means in the UK today. Visit our startup hub and don’t forget to follow our hashtags #StartingUp2024 #SmallBusinessOwners for business startup news and guides.

*This blog is if for information only and not intended for the reader to rely upon when making important life/business decisions and that professional advice should always be sought in such circumstances.

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