Side hustling takes off in Britain, new research suggests

From Brexit uncertainty to rising debt rates, more and more economic factors are pushing Brits to the brink of poverty. And when their main salary no longer provides financial stability, people are resorting to side hustles to compensate and grow their income. New research from OddsMonkey explores the reasons why so many Brits now turn to hide hustles, what kind of jobs their prefer, and how side hustles have changed their attitudes towards work and employment.


A quarter of Brits now turn to side hustles

The study, which included 2000 adults working full-time jobs, revealed that 26% of people are struggling with daily expenses and that the average monthly wage of £1538 isn’t enough to cover basic needs, let alone set aside some savings. Therefore, they are becoming increasingly interested in side hustles. To be more specific, more than 16 million Brits are now engaged in one or more side hustles.


What is a side hustle?

A side hustle is any kind of activity done in addition to a person’s main job to earn some extra money. Side hustles can be done from home or from a client’s location and, even though most people imagine that they only include online jobs, they can cover “regular” jobs too, such as photography, babysitting, or hair styling.


Although there are similarities between side hustles and second jobs, the two aren’t exactly the same. While getting a second job involves being hired by a company and having a pre-determined schedule, side hustles may provide sources of income that don’t come from activities typically perceived as jobs. Moreover, side hustles offer more flexibility in terms of schedule, taking up an average of 10 hours a week. People can create their own schedule and work on the side hustle whenever they have the time without risking getting fired. 


On average, Brits make an extra £230 per month from side hustles, although there are regional variations. For example, Londoners make above average (£285, to be more specific), whereas people in the South West only make about £163. Nearly 35% of Brits who have a side hustle say they don’t declare these additional earnings to avoid being taxed.


In the future, the number of people who take on a second or third job is expected to increase even more. According to a study conducted at Henley Business School, half of the British population will have a side hustle by 2030.


What are the most popular side hustles in Britain?

When it comes to the types of jobs that Brits do to earn some extra money, diversity is a key word. The OddsMonkey survey shows that making handmade crafts is the most popular activity (46%), even though the monthly earnings it generates are relatively low - £163. Crafts are followed by selling baked goods (37%), and renting out a spare room (35%), which are more profitable, generating £183 and £241, respectively. Other side hustle ideas that Brits love include:


·        Renting out a driveway

·        Selling used items

·        Monetizing a blog

·        Selling beauty products from brands such as Avon


Hobbies and passion projects such as photography and babysitting also showed up on the list but, even though they generate around £300 per month, they aren’t yet very common.


Out of all the people who have a side hustle, 36% have added a second and even third one to further consolidate their earnings.


What are the reasons behind this significant increase in side hustling?

Lack of money is the primary cause of rising side hustle rates. According to recent statistics, the average British household can no longer make ends meet with the average salary. In just one year, the inflation rate skyrocketed from 1.2% to 3.1%, while salaries have stagnated. As a result, the average British worker struggles to pay the bills and cover for daily expenses, while savings rates are alarmingly low. Side hustles are the most accessible solution to financial problems because they offer extra income without having the same level the stress and commitment as a second job.


Although the struggling economy pushed many Brits into considering alternative sources of income, financial problems aren’t the only reason why side hustles are so popular. Technology, for example, has made possible jobs that didn’t exist two decades ago. People now have free access to freelancer marketplaces, they can meet clients from all corners of the world, and they can make cash from things such as filling in surveys or starting a blog.


Another interesting finding is that 19% of people who side hustle do so not because they don’t have money, but because they enjoy it. These are the so-called passion projects that people take pleasure in doing and that also happen to be quite lucrative. For example, one study commissioned for Women’s Day revealed that two-thirds of women started side projects purely as a hobby. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of them said that they found the side hustle more fulfilling than their regular job and that they regretted not starting it sooner.


This trend may reveal a worrying truth about the British economy but, at the same time, it also points to a dramatic shift in workers’ mindsets: in order to cope with financial instability, the Brits are willing to take on up to four or five side projects, but this doesn’t have to be a trade-off for their health. Unlike second jobs, which can become a source of stress, side hustles are more flexible and provide a source of income while at the same time allowing people to do something they love or something that isn’t extremely demanding. In the best cases, side hustles can become successful business ventures that pave the road to financial independence.