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Why are side hustles becoming so popular?

6th December 2019 Print

Many of us have thought about starting a side hustle. In fact, one fifth of workers in the UK consider the opportunity of having a second job.

When was the term ‘side hustle’ coined? It originally came about in the 1950s and is defined as ‘a way to make money from your passion, interest or hobby’. However, it’s said that the idea of supplemental work has been around for centuries, with freelance work dating back to the 18th century when the word was used to describe a mercenary for hire. Of course, these days a freelancer can pop up in pretty much any industry, especially thanks to technological advances.

It’s not always an easy decision deciding what to do and doing it. Here, we look at why side hustles are popular and what is needed if you want to set one up yourself.

The advantages of a side hustle 

For some people, having a side hustle is a great way to help pay the bills. It can be a way of providing some much-needed extra income and almost a quarter of the UK believe the average monthly wage is not enough. The cost of living has continued to rise in the UK, with inflation year on year rising by three percent in the last few years.  This has meant that many have looked for different avenues to top up their main wage in order to have a better quality of life.

Operating a side hustle can also bring new opportunities. Many secondary roles are used as a way into a creative or technical sector because you can showcase your skills to many companies at the same time while enhancing your CV, all from the comfort of your own home. Graphic designers and writers are prominent in the freelance world, with sites such as UpWork and Fiverr providing a great platform in which to gain work. This can help you get noticed in your sector as well as helping you build up the contacts required to eventually start your own full-time business. You could even grow your own veg and sell it. 

It’s also a good way to earn money from a hobby. Again, this is where the aforementioned sites are great, as you can bid on jobs that are of interest to you and you aren’t committed to a certain style.

Getting started

Starting a side hustle isn’t always easy. For certain roles there are legalities you must follow if you intend to start a side hustle and make it a success and for any source of regular income you must pay that dreaded thing we call tax!

The trading allowance, which was originally set up to help sellers on sites such as eBay, can allow you to turnover up to £1,000 tax-free, anything over that is taxable.  If you work as a freelancer, you are classed as self-employed and your extra funds that are earned will be taxable and it’s up to you to correctly pay these. According to a recent survey, 34% of those with a side hustle confessed to not declaring the earnings from their side projects.

Another thing to consider is that certain roles will require you to be insured. For example, dog walkers, which is one of the most popular side hustles in the UK behind making crafts and selling goods, must take out a dog walking insurance policy. While you may not automatically think of such cover when it’s just a side hustle, it can be crucial in protecting you if the dog gets hurt on your watch — after all, accidents do happen and the whole idea of the side hustle is to make money not lose it! Child care is another example of where insurance is a necessity.

Looking ahead in the world of side hustles

Research shows that currently, there are more than 16 million Brits using a side hustle to cover the cost of living, and if inflation continues to rise quicker than wages then this number is likely to rise further. Also, the days of ‘job loyalty’ appear to be coming to an end as we all strive to find our dream role and enhance our job satisfaction. Because of this, more people appear to be willing to begin a side hustle and this is having a major impact on careers across the globe as members of the workforce see this as a great way to starting their own business.

It’s clear to see that the side hustle is a key part of the UK’s working environment. It can be a great source of secondary income, while also helping small businesses complete tasks without the need of hiring a full-time member of staff. However, if you plan to set up a side hustle, it’s important to fully research what is legally required in your chosen sector.