In Favour of the Side Hustle

Something I have noticed since I started working for the Centre for Entrepreneurship is that, any time someone in the office is good at something, someone else will immediately try to find a way to monetize it.

Take my baking, for example. I made some cupcakes and brought them in on Halloween. Brian, upon taking a bite of one of the chocolate ones exclaimed, ‘Wow! These are so good! Have you thought about starting a business selling them?’ (I’ll admit, they were pretty delicious).

While I don’t think my boss is actually trying to get me to quit my job and start my own business (at least, I hope not), I’m not even sure that I would want to make starting a business my full-time occupation.

I think a lot of us have an idea for something that we think might be able to make money, but we’re not willing to give up the stability of regular employment, or risk a lot of money on something that might fail.

In fact, a 2018 study from the University of Reading found that almost two-fifths of adults in the UK have a ‘side hustle,’ or a secondary income, and that number is projected to grow to fifty percent by 2030.[1] Half of all employees with a secondary income, the study found, do so to develop and monetise a passion or hobby. Of those that have a business as well as a traditional job, that business generates on average a fifth of their income.[2]

And, a lot (a LOT) of hugely successfully businesses have started out as someone’s side project or side hustle. Here’s a brief list:[3]

  1. Groupon
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram
  4. Twitch
  5. Cards Against Humanity

I don’t think that the steps to starting a side hustle or a side project are that different than if you were making plans to launch a venture as your full-time occupation. First, evaluate your skill set: Do you make fabulous cupcakes? Can you code? Are you a great photographer? Second, consider your passions—if you’re going to be pursuing this project on top of your regular work, you should make sure that it’s something you really enjoy doing. Otherwise, you’ll quickly burn out on your project. Third, be sure you can manage your time well—you want to make sure that you are able to succeed at both your regular job and your side hustle.

I like the idea of a side hustle, because it means that entrepreneurship is something that anyone can pursue, even if they aren’t that keen on the risk that’s often associated with being an entrepreneur. So, stay tuned to see if I start selling cupcakes on the side!



[1] Chapman , Ben. “40% Of UK Workers Now Have a 'Side Hustle' as Day Jobs Become Less Secure.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 4 July 2018, www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/side-hustle-grows-uk-jobs-insecure-work-henley-business-school-a8431486.html.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Haden, Jeff. “21 Side Projects That Became Million-Dollar Startups (and How Yours Can, Too).” Inc.com, Inc., 16 Nov. 2017, www.inc.com/jeff-haden/21-side-projects-that-became-million-dollar-startups-and-how-yours-can-too.html.