What is a side hustle?
In recent years, more and more people are starting side hustles. But what exactly is a side hustle? It’s pretty simple: any business running alongside someone’s job or main business counts as a side hustle.
For some people, a side hustle can be a useful supplement to a main role, while for others a conventional job may actually end up coming second. For these people, the side hustle might be their passion, and the thing they spend most of their time doing, but a more ‘traditional’ job might be what allows them to pay the bills – even just a few days a week.
Why are so many people starting side hustles?
There are several reasons why the number of side hustlers has grown so much in recent years. Some of these reasons are more practical and money-related than others: many people start one as a way to supplement their income; or to start their own business without giving up their main source of income straight away. Someone doing it for more practical reasons may plan to keep it as a side hustle, rather than being keen to turn their side hustle into a career.
Many people also choose to start a side hustle to gain a sense of security. In a time where many jobs are less secure, studies have shown that a significant proportion (23%) of people use their side hustle as a buffer in case something goes wrong with their main job. Two-thirds of people in the UK are in jobs deemed ‘insecure’, which includes the gig economy, zero-hours contracts and self-employment, while 80% of US workers live from paycheck to paycheck. It makes sense that people in these insecure jobs are now turning to multiple jobs or seeking more autonomy and control.
At the same time, a side hustle can be a way to embrace an existing passion – or even develop a new skill. People with creative hobbies may decide to make money from something they’re already doing. This can work both ways – a business can provide a much-needed audience to someone, to enable them to keep crafting without having a surplus of their own products. This is also a great way for people to perfect their skills whilst learning new ones – such as customer service, managing finances, social media and more.
Other people may choose to start a sideline business solely as a way to help other people. Many charities and charity events are started because of someone wanting to give something back. These are often side hustles because they aren’t designed as a source of income at all, so people need to keep their main job for themselves, while working for others on the side.
Finally, the rise of the side hustle is actually self-perpetuating. With ‘gig economy’ companies like Uber and Deliveroo enjoying massive success, it’s easy for people to get a side hustle without having to come up with and execute an idea themselves. The more people who do this, the more prevalent the side hustle becomes, and so on!
What makes a side hustle successful?
Just like the time-old question of ‘what makes a business successful?’, there’s no easy answer to this one. However, generally speaking, the amount of time put into anything will be reflected in its success. This is obviously not foolproof, but it’s safe to say that if someone only puts an hour a week into a project, it’s unlikely to make them rich! This might be totally fine, and that’s the beauty of a side hustle: it can be as big – or as small – a part of someone’s life as they want it to be.
A lot of running a side hustle is about prioritisation. Many people starting side hustles don’t have a huge amount of spare money to pour into it. Chances are if they did, they would be starting it as a standalone business, not a side hustle. It’s important to prioritise what will help most: is it a website, for visibility and legitimacy? Is it a physical workspace? Successful side hustles are a result of prudent spending, and you can help your customers with this.
How can you support your side-hustling customers?
The most helpful thing you can do is offer tools and support to guide your customers to success. These can take many different forms, but here are a few ideas:
One of the first things anyone starting a side hustle will need is a way to be found and carry out business. A website will give them this – and a website which comes with eCommerce capabilities will save them time, money and effort. You can help them out by offering everything they need to get started in one package: from online store to domain name and email addresses.
Providing information on getting started is a great way to make your customers feel supported. Even if you can’t offer this information directly, you can point them in the direction of support networks such as Enterprise Nation, where they’ll find a wealth of vital information and help.
Customer service is becoming increasingly important for businesses. One of the best things you can do is ensure you’re there for your customers. Whatever they need support with, ensure that you offer this – whether this is in-house or outsourced through value-added service providers. If your customers feel supported, not only will they be more likely to find success, but they’ll be much more likely to stay with you and recommend you to other side hustlers.
Side hustles are a great way to make a little extra money, share a hobby, make a difference or test the waters when it comes to starting a business, so it’s no wonder so many people are going down this route! In many ways, they’re similar to any other small business, but they are more likely to be even more limited on time. If you can help them to make it work in spite of that, you’ll have some very happy customers!
Our mission has always been to help our partners to help their small business customers to find success online. If you want to find out more, we’d love to hear from you!
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