Whether it’s unleashing your entrepreneurial spirit or the effects of the cost of living crisis, more and more people are looking to earn additional income in the form of a side hustle.
Some people have a passion they want to share with the world while others are more tactical – jumping in on a trending industry in order to make a profit. And with 40 per cent of businesses starting out as a side hustle, there’s no denying their potential as a moneymaker (SME Insights Report 2023).
Whatever your reasoning, keep reading to learn eight of the most popular side hustles we saw last year, which could continue well into 2024.
Side hustle trend
% increase 2022-23
Food van / ice cream van
Data based on Simply Business customer policies taken out between 1 January 2022 and 20 December 2023, calculating year on year growth.
If you love to cook and want to share your creations with the world, you may be happy to know that food trucks and ice cream vans were our fastest growing business in 2023.
Food truck businesses offer lower startup costs compared to traditional restaurants – as well as more flexibility when it comes to location, opening hours, and the ability to reach diverse customer bases.
Additionally, food trucks are still seen as novel and trendy, often attracting customers seeking a more unusual dining experience. And with a 26 per cent increase in food trucks between 2022 and 2023, it seems those with an entrepreneurial spirit are confident in backing this growing industry.
We have a whole guide to starting your own food truck business if you want to make sure the popularity of food trucks continues to grow.
Whether it’s creating a floral wedding arrangement or advising on an “I’m sorry” bouquet of flowers, florists enjoy a unique look into the lives of others.
You may find enjoyment as a florist if you love working with flowers, expressing your creativity, and contributing to those important moments in people’s lives.
There will always be a demand for flowers – from special occasions to expressions of sympathy – which provide florists with a steady market.
You also don’t need any formal qualifications to be a florist (though they can help), meaning there aren’t any difficult entry barriers to getting started. The rise of online florists also means that nowadays you don’t even need a physical shop to begin in floristry – though you can always test out running a temporary pop-up shop if you want to explore offline sales.
Whether you’re a crocheting expert or a pottery wiz, craft stalls are a great way to earn money doing what you love. As well as creating a personal connection between you and your customers, it’s also a great way to receive immediate feedback and build relationships.
If you’re already selling your crafts online (perhaps in an Etsy shop), attending a local craft market can help you reach more customers without the need for additional marketing. You’ll also be able to test new products on the market and refine your sales technique.
Will 2024 be the year you take your products to the market? Read our guide on setting up a market stall to help get you started.
It’s no wonder that calligraphy has gained popularity as a side hustle. It’s a skill admired by many but achieved by few. In an increasingly digital world, there are still many people who appreciate the artistry of calligraphy.
Sian is one of the many who began a calligraphy side hustle after initially starting as a hobby. She now does calligraphy on the side of her full-time graphic design job.
When asked about the 14 per cent rise in calligraphers, Sian said: “I think the rise is due to how easy it is to get into – all you need is a pen and some paper. Being able to work from home and fit it in around family responsibilities is also really appealing. There's also a huge market in the wedding industry as people want unique items for their big day.”
If you think a calligraphy side hustle could be a good fit for you, Sian has some advice: “My tips for anyone starting out would be to practise and get feedback on your work before you start charging. It's an amazing skill to have and the more you focus on refining your skills, the more successful you'll be.”
DJs are another profession that get included in strangers’ big life events – from birthday parties to weddings. It can be a really rewarding job for those who love music and creating vibrant and memorable atmospheres.
DJing can also be flexible around traditional 9-5 jobs, which gives you the added security of additional income while you’re just starting out.
While music knowledge and the ability to keep a crowd engaged are two of the most important aspects of being a DJ, you’ll also need the budget to invest in professional sound equipment in order to provide the best service to your clients.
It’s no wonder that massage therapy came sixth on our list of growing side hustles, as you can directly improve the wellbeing of others. Massage therapists are also usually in charge of their own schedule, offering more flexibility.
There are plenty of courses available in massage therapy, which may help you find work – as well teach you more about the industry and how you can best help your clients.
The demand for skilled massage therapists seems to be continuing to grow, making it a stable career option for those hoping their side hustle takes off.
Think this is the career for you? Learn how to become a massage therapist in our guide.
Health and wellness is becoming increasingly important – and supportive fitness instructors play a big part in that. Becoming a fitness instructor gives you the chance to inspire others and promote healthier lifestyles.
Catherine from Women Gone Strong knows how rewarding working in fitness can be – even if it doesn’t always come easy.
Catherine says: “Being a coach is something that comes easy to me – but being a business owner most definitely doesn’t. Wearing all the hats as a solo entrepreneur is definitely what I found the most challenging. But I've learnt so much about how to run a business, understanding financial reports, and making management decisions.”
Fitness instructors need strong communication skills, the ability to motivate, and a passion for health and fitness. Having good organisational skills are also a plus – as freelance fitness instructors will be in charge of managing their client schedule.
You don’t need a university degree to be a fitness instructor, though it’s usually recommended to have at least a Level 2 qualification from a college. This will help you develop the skills you need to safely help your clients.
When asked about her own journey to becoming a fitness instructor, Catherine explained: “I started off freelancing in local communities and gyms. I did love it – but made the decision to open my own studio in January 2023.
“My personal and business growth have come a long way in one year. I'm completely proud of my achievements and I feel like I’m just getting started.”
Do you love learning and sharing your knowledge with others? Being a personal tutor could be a great side hustle opportunity for you. It’s a great fit for those working a traditional 9-5, as you can choose your own hours and work around existing commitments.
The versatility of tutoring also means it can work for a wide range of people. Do you have a talent for speaking French? Do you have a passion for maths? No matter your background or interests, there are plenty of opportunities for you to tutor.
Alongside subject-specific knowledge, personal tutors also need to be great communicators and patient with their clients. Whether you’re working with children or adults, being able to explain potentially complex topics in a simple way is a key skill to have.
If you need some advice on how to start out as a tutor, read our helpful guide.
If you’re inspired and ready to jump in, we have a whole guide on how to start a side hustle to help you get going.
You may also be interested in our list of best cities to start a business in – does your town feature?
And make sure you’re aware of the trading allowance for your side hustle, which will let you know when you need to report and pay tax.
Side hustles are like any other business, so it’s important you don’t forget business insurance. This can protect you and your business if something were to happen.
Not all side hustles are alike, but Simply Business can help build a tailored business insurance policy that fits your needs.
Are you planning on starting a side hustle in 2024? Let us know your plans in the comments below.
Rosanna Parrish is a Copywriter at Simply Business, specialising in legal and HR content. Trained at London College of Communication, she has been creating content professionally for eight years at publications across the UK and Spain. Starting her career in health insurance, she also worked in education marketing before returning to the insurance world. Rosanna also writes about wellbeing in the workplace. She lives by the sea and does her best writing in coffee shops.
We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer
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