How to start a side hustle and make your hobby earn you money

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One in four workers now have a side hustle, alongside their day job, and 69% of those engaged in a side hustle think it makes life more interesting, according to a recent report by Henley Business School.

The White Paper, published earlier this month, also found that those with side hustles generated £72 billion for the UK economy (3.6% of UK GDP) last year.

The majority of the 500 UK business leaders and 1,100 employees involved in the survey believed that side hustles were on the rise and 80% of employers believed the 9-5 was no longer the ‘norm.’ The number of people with a side hustle is also expected to increase to half the adult population by 2030, yet 54% of business remaining ambivalent about the benefits it could bring.

Cultivating a side hustle and make the gig economy work for you

Stephen Manderson (aka Professor Green) a rapper/songwriter/documentary maker and charity patron, said that people need a ‘mooring’ to go alongside their side hustle as it can be a risky and precarious business. Speaking at an event on the side hustle economy at Henley, he said: “New career pathways are being forged all the time, thanks largely to the internet but people often restrict themselves out of fear. You need to have a mooring alongside your side hustle.”

You also need to have a thick skin and not be afraid of rejection. “Taking on a side hustle isn’t always easy; it takes preparation, thick skin, ideas and commitment enough to execute them,” Manderson said. “Prepare for rejection, and to get things wrong. If I stopped at the first ‘no’ I got or gave up after making the many mistakes I have along the way I’d be nowhere now.”

You need to exploit technology

Emma Gannon, author of The Multi-Hyphen Method, which is all about having multiple roles, says you also need to exploit technology as much as possible. “Technology has allowed us to rebel against what has been the norm for so many years,” she notes. ‘It has given us more freedom that we ever dreamed of. We can change and set our parameters of the working day, use tools and machinery to tick off items on our to-do list and communicate with others around the world at a click of a button.”

Harnessing your digital skills will, says Gannon, create more work opportunities. “Having a side hustle is becoming a national past time and certain digital skills have the ability to lessen the workload and allow us to explore other areas that interest us,” she notes.

The Henley study found that all though half (49%) of business felt that allowing employees to cultivate another vocation outside of work, over half (54%) remained ambivalent about the benefits and didn’t have a formal policy around it.

Having a side hustle is becoming a national past time and certain digital skills have the ability to lessen the workload

Highlight your transferable skills as much as possible

Danny Harmer, chief people officer at Metro Bank, said employees need to be open and highlight the transferable skills their side hustle can bring. “Why is it still even a thing that people don’t want their employers to know about their side hustle?” she asks. “We are supportive of people who have interests outside of their role and/or may want to work flexibly, and this almost certainly helps colleagues to develop other transferable skills too.”

At Metro Bank, for example, they have a leadership development manager who also works as a comedian and a call centre worker who also teaches yoga to her colleagues.

“For us, it’s important to consider the whole person. Colleagues who are happier both in and outside work are going to look after our customers and each other better, and ultimately that’s good for everyone,” says Harman. “As long as it doesn’t conflict with the business and people aren’t exhausting themselves with the hours they are working. It’s simply about having sensible conversations and helping people not to overstretch themselves.”

Is your side hustle a hobby or a money earner?

You also need to work out whether your side hustle is more of a hobby or interest or something that you can capitalise on and start earning money from. ‘I love football but I’m rubbish at it so it’s not something I could ever earn money from,” says Manderson. There is a fine line, he said, between being good at something and making money out of it.

Gannon says we need to ditch the labels put on us by work traditions of the past. “Your hyphens don’t even have to be work-related to make a difference. Your hyphen could be ‘parent’ or ‘carer’ or ‘poker champion’ or ‘chief knitter.’ It doesn’t need to be a side hustle or hyphen that makes you money,” she notes. “It’s about future proofing yourself, having a cocktail of projects that work for you and make you feel satisfied.”

For some potential side hustle ideas, check out this post.

Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.

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