The rise of the side hustle

Last year, Twitter reported a 231% rise in the number of mentions of ‘side hustle’ on its platform. Henley Business School estimates that side hustles generate £72 billion for the UK economy. Roughly one quarter of Brits have a side hustle, which actually pales in comparison to America where over 45% of US workers have a side venture in addition to their full-time job.

So, what is a side hustle? And why is it soaring in popularity?

As we understand it, a side hustle refers to those who have a full-time job and an additional revenue stream. Often, the side hustle will be the monetization and manifestation of creative hobbies and interests.

Let’s say that you want to start a homemade chocolate business but don’t have the savings or resources to quit your day job, you may start a side hustle in the evenings and at the weekends, rocking up at food markets or supplying your goods online. Perhaps you have a corporate job but DJ on the weekends, this could also be classed as a side hustle. 

When side hustles turn into full-time hustles

Sometimes side hustles can evolve and outgrow the day job. This is true for Craig Brett of Freelance Writing Studio who started his side hustle on our platform 8 years ago alongside a full-time job because he was looking for a second income and enjoyed writing. After 6 years of fitting his side hustle in on mornings, evenings and weekends, Craig was able to quit his full-time job and now works for himself.

Craig says, “There were two real motivators for me. The first was the freedom to work when it suited me. The second was the additional income and both worked together to the point where the transition was a dream.”

Pursuing a side hustle isn’t just about topping up your income or feeling free. With the world of work changing at such a rapid pace and technology pivoting traditional roles, diversifying your skill set is a smart idea. Many jobs that exist today are likely to either be defunct in 30 years time or have changed significantly, so we owe it to ourselves to future proof our careers by learning and adapting to change.

Managing your side hustle and taxes

If you’re based in the UK and only earning a small amount of money in your side hustle, the good news is that you may not need to pay any tax at all. The government allows you to earn £1000 of trading income per year without paying any tax. However, most people pursuing a side hustle are earning a great deal more than this. According to data by Finder, the average UK side hustler earns £4571 off the books while the average US worker makes $3075.

Although tax evasion cases for individuals are unlikely (there were 612 cases in 2019), you don’t want to be on the receiving end of one as it is an extremely costly and stressful business which in worse-case scenarios can lead to jail.

Staying on the right ‘side’ of your employer 

Side hustles are clearly here to stay, that much is clear. What is interesting though is how it affects many full-time jobs. Research by CIPHR has found that two thirds of employees actually work on their side hustle during their main employer’s time. The research, which surveyed 1,400 workers found that 60% worked on their side hustle at work between 1 and 2 hours per day while 20% worked on it for 3 hours or more.

Be sure to read your contract in-depth to ensure that you’re not breaking any terms by pursuing a side hustle. While this might sound over the top, it can actually have a real binding impact. In our research of this blog we learned of one employee who created a video game and screenplay in her own time which turned into a major film. However, when it came to cashing in on the fruits of her labour, the organisation she worked part-time for claimed 100% ownership and took all the money. This sounds too crazy to be true, but actually many contracts have clauses that state if you do outside work which is in the scope of your role that they can claim ownership. Long story short, read the fine print.

Be wary of turning your entire identity into work

Most people pursuing side hustles turn their hobbies and interests into an income stream, but some argue this removes the just-for-fun nature of life and turns our entire existence into work, work and more work. It’s true that we have become a world of results and purpose. We measure our weekly run on fitness apps and see how they compare to others, we eat at restaurants and upload the best looking food to social media for validation.

Competition aside, there is an overarching (and worrying) element to all this which is discussed at length on Ezra Klein’s fascinating podcast, Work as identity: burnout as lifestyle. Klein argues that we are so programmed to have purpose and multi-task that we have forgotten how to relax and simply live in the moment.

How to start a side hustle

If you’d like to join the legions of people around the world pursuing a side hustle then the great thing is there is seemingly no end to ways to make money. From babysitting to renting out your property to creative pursuits, the list is exhaustive. Keen to diversify your skill set? Skill share offers a variety of online training at a very low cost. The first two months are free and they have a number of generally free courses.

If what you do lies in the digital realm, why not join our platform? Whether you have your own side business or are a freelancer, we have plenty of both parties using our platform. The best part is these are all side hustles which you can do from home. All you need is an internet connection and a few great skills.

How to use PeoplePerHour to grow your side hustle

We spoke to Ashley Spink– a buyer on our platform who started a social media marketing company called Social Sauce last year, alongside a full-time job.

Ashley has the following advice for people looking to do the same, “If you’re a start-up business or someone who finally decided to get their side hustle moving in 2020, PeoplePerHour is the ideal platform to help you do just that. You’ll be able to connect with so many creative people who will inspire you and help you understand more about business and the creative process that goes with it.  If you’re looking for a website designer, PeoplePerHour has one.

Maybe you need a new logo, they have logo designers too. There are so many experts using the platform, so naturally you will learn so much more than just paying for business support.  One of the best things the platforms offers is the opportunity to be presented with these creative people in just a few clicks. I think it’s brilliant!”

Tom Maughan is a Research & Development Coordinator for the NHS and a Web Developer and Designer in his spare time. Tom actually started his side hustle to allow him to save towards a house deposit, a goal which he successfully reached after just 12 months.

6 years on, Tom has worked with over 100 clients across the world and developed roughly 100 websites.

Tom says “I thoroughly enjoy what I do and wouldn’t change a thing. I really enjoy working with clients, helping to develop their ideas and website aspirations into a functional and productive business tool. If anyone is thinking about starting a side hustle in 2020, I would highly recommend it.

Here are my top tips for winning work on PeoplePerHour:

Showcase your work

Whatever your skills, make sure your prospective clients can view your portfolio of work. If you haven’t completed many jobs, create examples of your work to showcase your skills and capabilities.

Offer discount for new clients

It can be daunting for clients working with a freelancer who has little or no reviews, and by offering a discount this can tempt them to work with you. Once you have completed a few projects and built up your feedback, then it’s good to readjust your cost based on your skills. 

Keep going

At times it may seem like your ‘side hustle’ is an impossible task, battling with a full time job as well as keeping your side hustle going and growing, however you must always remind yourself of your end goal and continue to push through. If in the end it doesn’t work out, at least you can say you’ve tried and you’ve not lost anything.

Give it a go, start small and grow your client base. You literally have nothing to lose.”

Over 2M freelancers and just shy of 1 million businesses are using PeoplePerHour to advance their career.

Discover the hottest skills on our platform right now and if you’re new to all this, kick start your side hustle today.

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Rosella
Rosella is PeoplePerHour's Content & Community Manager. When she isn't working on words she enjoys eating heavy carbs, swimming and listening to 70s disco.
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