The world of work is quickly changing due to the mass adoption of technology. Both employers and workers have adopted more flexible practices and the stigma of the nine to five seems like a distant memory for many. Nowadays, we are at a point where everyone could earn money on the side by working on short-term projects or starting a business as a side hustle.
During the coronavirus pandemic, this has become more apparent than ever before. According to a recent survey by Caunce O’Hara, there is a boom in the gig economy. In the last year alone, almost a quarter of all respondents (23%) have started a side hustle. And two in five (40%) claim their side hustle has been running for anywhere between one and five years.
What is the gig economy?
The term ‘gig’ can be traced back to jazz musicians in the early 1900s, who used it to describe one-off performances. Fascinatingly, this is the key characteristic of the gig economy. No, I’m not talking about Loius Armstrong’s exquisite music career. Rather, I’m referring to a labour market where the main arrangements span outside the standard permanent contract jobs. So everything from a short-term project to a side hustle is part of the gig economy.
This might come as a surprise, but there is nothing new about the gig economy. Short-term work and temporary projects have been performed for centuries, mostly due to the low level of commitment involved. The only real difference is that these days, because of technology, the work can be completed in a more widespread and flexible manner that is mutually beneficial to workers and businesses.
…but what are the prospects for the future?
As with investing, historic data doesn’t guarantee future results. But we can take some liberties in assuming the gig economy is here to stay. Even more so, side hustles and the gig economy are estimated to contribute around £72 billion to the UK economy, according to an analysis by Henley Business School. Not only this but a quarter (25%) of all the UK adults reportedly have a side hustle to complement their income. Whilst, according to the survey of 1,000 part-time entrepreneurs conducted by Caunce O’Hara, 66% of respondents had more than one.
Motives for starting a side hustle vary significantly. Respondents stated reasons such as not being satisfied with their full-time job, following a passion and having too much free time. Not surprisingly, however, the main reason cited by 33% of respondents is to make more money. And according to the results, side hustlers could expect to make good gains in the process.
But how much can you make with a side hustle?
Almost three in five (59%) claim they bring home anywhere from £600 to £2,500 a month. Less than £500 was cited by almost a third (29%), whilst 12% claim to make more than £2,500 in a single month. ‘After work’ hours are revealed as the most popular time to develop a side hustle (55%), while a third (33%) of respondents prefer to do so in the morning before they begin their full-time job. Interestingly, some report that they side hustle while they’re at work (36%).
Alongside the variation in time and pay, the survey results also include the most popular sectors amongst side hustlers:
- Retail (including crafts/textiles, Etsy store owners)
- Marketing (SEO, PPC)
- Content creation (blogs, Youtube, freelance writing)
- Research (data analysis, market research)
- Finance (trade, accountancy)
Are you interested in starting your own business or a side hustle to earn more money? With rapid technological developments and new ways of working, now could be the perfect time to test the waters.