Research and reports
New research reveals that over one third of people in the UK now run their own side hustle, with some savvy entrepreneurs expecting to make over £5,000 each in additional income in the next year.
In a survey of 1,000 people across the UK, Simply Business found the majority of side hustles were set up during the pandemic.
We delve into the most popular side hustles, what’s driving this trend, and why small businesses are vital to the UK’s economy.
Our research found that 55 per cent of side hustles were set up during the pandemic as people used their time, energy, and a need for extra income to start a business.
In terms of how the pandemic impacted people and their plans for their side business, our survey highlights that:
The opportunity to invest money otherwise spent on leisure and new markets opening up for products or services were among other reasons people started their side business during the pandemic.
We also asked businesses if they considered their side business their main source of income. Our survey reveals that seven out of ten (72 per cent) of those running a side hustle are currently employees of a company.
It looks like we can expect to see more small businesses emerging in the future. Our survey found 31 per cent of people are thinking about setting up a side business but haven’t got it up and running yet. Here’s what they told us:
In terms of the most popular trades for side businesses, here’s what we found:
Yet worryingly, 78 per cent of people don’t have insurance for their side business, and 55 per cent are unsure what kind of insurance they would need. Find out more about insurance for specific trades and industries.
Our UK CEO, Alan Thomas, commented: “It is testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that runs throughout the UK that more than one in three people now have a side hustle alongside their main source of income.
“Small businesses are crucial to the UK, accounting for 99 per cent of all British businesses and contributing trillions of pounds a year to our economy. It’s therefore encouraging to see that so many people have taken the plunge during the pandemic and started side businesses."
Finally, we asked small business owners what they found most challenging when it comes to running their side business.
% of people
Not enough time to properly run it
Struggle to get work-life balance right
Struggle to market their business and find customers
"Many [people] also report roadblocks as they look to scale their side hustles – such as time, finance, and red tape, and it is vital that we all support their success. At Simply Business, we're acutely aware of the many challenges facing small business owners when starting up. That's why we’ve created our side hustle resource hub, which offers business guides and practical resources to help side businesses get off the ground," Thomas added.
Home baking is the top five trade for side businesses according to our research. And recently we spoke to a sweet treat bakery and Simply Business customer, Butterwick Bakery, about just this.
Butterwick started out as a small occasion baking business at home, where co-founder, Fiona Scarborough says she "didn't have enough hours in the day."
Now they’re running a commercial bakery in Corby and Kettering with big dreams to become a recognised bakery brand everywhere.
“We want to conquer the Midlands. Once we’ve done that, we can do that anywhere,” says co-founder Ryan Scarborough.
Watch Butterwick's story:
Are you running your own side hustle? Let us know your experience in the comments.
Photograph 1: vientocuatroestudio/stock.adobe.com
Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.
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