Side hustles are big business in the UK these days - almost one in three Brits claims to have a side job or a second job selling goods online, making around £200 a month. Whether you’re looking to start a small business from home, sell clothes or freelance, here’s everything you need to know to get up and running with minimal fuss – and find a side hustle which suits your lifestyle, the amount of time you have and your interests.
What is a side hustle?
Put simply, a side hustle is an extra job that you do outside of your usual job, whether that’s full-time or part-time. Side hustles allow you to supplement your income, learn new skills, and meet new people – they’re also a great way to pursue your passions and talents if your day job isn’t as creative or interesting as you’d like. For many people, side hustles are the first step to refining a small business idea or opportunity - you can get a taste for running your own business without taking it on full-time.
The great thing about side hustles is they give you the freedom and control to make extra money. You decide how many hours you want to commit to, and what you do.
Finding a side hustle
The key to finding the best side hustle for you is making sure it aligns as closely to your interests, values and hours available as possible.
For example, if you normally work from home and you’d like to meet new people, doing a sociable side hustle like user testing or focus group work might suit you. Alternatively, if you’ve got a passion for arts and crafts, starting a small online business where you get to spend more time doing your hobby to make extra money might be appealing. We’ll even collect your parcels for free and deliver them – handy!
Start off by Googling what you’re interested in, and you’ll find a multitude of websites offering advice. Remember to do your due diligence and research any sites offering paid research, focus groups or online interviews. Trustpilot is a great start.
Ideas for side hustles
There’s no limit when it comes to finding ideas for a side hustle – sites like Fiverr have shown that where there’s a problem, freelancers can provide a solution. Here are some of the best ideas for side hustles:
- Freelance copywriting and graphic design: If your day job involves marketing or journalism, freelancing can be a great fit. To find them, search Twitter, LinkedIn and Indeed, or ask ex-colleagues for tips and introductions
- Sell clothes, jewellery, shoes and baked goods: Sites like Vinted, eBay and Depop are great sites for setting up an online shop for clothing and shoes you don’t use anymore. If you’re selling items you’ve made yourself, Etsy and Instagram are great places to join communities and get your products in front of interested audiences. Use our Click and Drop service to streamline your selling process, and we can even collect your parcel for FREE
- Sell household items: From air fryers to sports kit, you may have items in your attic which someone else would love. Use eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace to sell them
- Find and sell on high-value items: Search your local charity shops and car boot sales for tableware, clothes, books and accessories which you can sell online
- Test apps and websites: Businesses know that user experience (UX) is super-important, so they’re always looking for people to test websites and apps before they go live and find any potential issues.
- Participate in online surveys: Lots of companies and market researchers want to know what people think of their products and services. Money Saving Expert has a list of reputable firms which can help you boost your earnings
- Join focus groups: These pay more than filling out online surveys, but you may only be invited to a few a year – and they may be during normal work hours. All it involves is giving your opinions on a product or idea, either remotely or face-to-face
- Start a podcast or YouTube channel: Got an interest in iguanas or a penchant for the paranormal? Get some friends together or work alone and get your ideas, theories and analysis online. You’ll start earning when audience numbers attract advertisers
- Tutor online or face-to-face: If you’ve got a skill for languages, maths, English or any other subject, you may be able to tutor students. You can earn from £15 - £40 an hour and lots of tutoring can be done remotely
- Dogwalking or catsitting: Walking local dogs on your lunchbreak is a great way to earn some extra cash, especially if your neighbours are in the office all day. Catsitting is also a great earner, and better for cat owners who don’t want their pet in a cattery
- Babysit: Babysitting jobs tend to be harder to come by as you’ll need to be known to and trusted by the whole family, and you may also need to be local. You may also have to get a DBS check to check that you’re suitable to work with and care for children.
What makes a good side hustle?
The key factors to consider when you’re looking for a side hustle are:
- You have the time for your second job and be sure the hours won’t overwhelm you
- The money you make is worth your time and effort
- It doesn’t interfere with your full-time job’s performance
- You find it interesting and fun, and relatively easy
- It doesn’t exhaust you, or stress you out
- You get to use an already-existing skillset or you’re able develop a new one
The best side hustles for students
Most students tend to have varying degrees of free time, and earning some extra cash can ensure you’re not eating beans on toast every day towards the end of term.
The ideas we’ve mentioned above are all suitable for students, but here are some others to give you some inspiration:
- Work in a local coffee or sandwich shop
- Work at the bar behind your student union
- If you live in a historic or tourist town, give tours
- Tutor your classmates
Take care about starting your own small business if you’re a student – you don’t want your side hustle to start to encroaching on your studying time, and your degree’s always got to come first.
The best side hustles for people in full-time employment
If you’re already working a 9-5 and you have time before work, after work or on weekends, the ideas we’ve mentioned above might suit – apart from focus groups, which may be held on weekdays. Here are some other side hustle ideas for full-time employees:
- Freelance marketing, writing and proofreading
- House-sitting and pet-sitting – especially easy if you usually work from home
- Starting your own blog
- Web design and coding
- Part-time catering for evening and weekend events
The best online side hustles
There are lots of positives to having a second job: there are so many options available - and all you need is a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection:
- Freelance marketing and designing
- Video editing and graphic design
- Transcribing interviews
- Voiceover work
- Hosting online workshops or classes
You could also apply to become a virtual assistant – however if you’re already employed full-time, you might find it clashes with your day job, so check the hours you’ll be required for before you apply.
The benefits and drawbacks of side hustles
When it comes to the positives of having a second job, you’re spoiled for choice:
- Increased income and financial security
- Skill development
- Flexibility and autonomy
- Pursue your passions and interests
- Networking and making new connections
However, there are a few drawbacks to side hustles:
- Less free time to spend with family and friends, or relaxing
- Time constraints, and increased pressure
- You may have to pay increased tax
- Possible burnout and fatigue
- May impact your main job’s performance
Side hustle FAQs
Earning more from a second job can increase the tax rate you're liable for overall. HMRC will combine the income from both jobs, and you’ll pay tax on the full amount if your earnings exceed your current tax code.
Your main employer shouldn’t mind if you have a side hustle, you should review your employment agreement and be sure your side hustle isn't in breach of it.
As long as your side hustle isn’t impacting your performance on your main job, you should be able to do both simultaneously.
There are some possible issues if your second job is in direct competition with your main job – under common law, employees cannot compete with their employers, as this is a conflict of interest. For example, if your day job was marketing for a flower company, you probably wouldn’t freelance for a rival business in your spare time.
There’s nothing to prevent you from doing a side hustle if you’re doing it outside of your normal working hours, your day job performance isn’t affected and you’re not working for a direct competitor. If you’re still able to maintain your main job’s focus, you shouldn’t be in breach of your employment contract.
If you’re in any doubt, contact a legal professional or Citizen’s Advice – they’ll be able to advise you.