From consulting to baking, tutoring to delivery driving, more and more of us are innovating ways to generate extra money alongside our main source of income. The increase in flexible working, work from home set ups, and the cost of living crisis has meant that the number of people taking up side hustles has skyrocketed.
In the UK alone, 60% of adults planned to take on a side hustle this year in an attempt to provide an additional layer of job security during these economically turbulent times. Across the pond, 2 out of 5 US adults, including over 50% of millennials, are side hustling already.
But whilst an extra dose of income might sound appealing, attempting to balance this with the usual 9 to 5 can come with many challenges. We spoke to women who have taken the plunge into side hustling. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Choose a side hustle you enjoy
A side hustle means you’re piling more work into your week, so let’s be clear. It should definitely be something you enjoy and feel passionate about. Tyra, primary school teacher and owner of Queen T Cookies baking business, explained: “My teaching job wasn’t allowing me to express my creative side as much as I’d like. I always loved art throughout school and enjoyed baking as a hobby: my side hustle combines both of those things I really enjoy.”
The same goes for dog lover Ellie, who works as an account director at a creative agency. When she began to walk and care for local dogs as a favour to her neighbours, she soon realised her passion could be monetised into her own business. “Although it’s something I love, ultimately, dog sitting is a professional career for many and it was becoming increasingly time consuming. I realised I needed to shift my mindset and turn something I love into something that’s going to bring home some extra money.”
For Flora, owner of sustainable greetings cards and events company Washed Up Cards and former Sales Manager at Notpla, her business combines her love of nature, sending cards to loved ones and protecting the environment. She urges that: “If you’re working on your side hustle out of hours and on the weekends, make sure it’s something you genuinely enjoy!”
1. Set healthy boundaries
As with any type of work, it’s crucial to set boundaries and stick to them when starting a side hustle. “Being overly flexible for others can disrupt your own schedule and create a lot of stress,” advises Ellie. “Set your rules, write them down and share them with clients. It’s okay not to answer the phone outside of your working hours!”
Flora agrees that setting boundaries is vital for the success and longevity of your side hustle, as well as your own wellbeing: “Don’t be afraid to say no, and don’t feel bad for saying no. Be careful not to overwork yourself and ensure your side hustle is sustainable long term rather than focusing on short term wins and burning yourself out.”
Dream big, but be realistic about challenges
2. Separate your personal and side hustle finances
Getting your finances in order is a fundamental part of side hustling. “If you’re generating money; get a separate business bank account,” advises Flora. This will save you time and hassle in the long run.
Setting up a business bank account will not only make it easier for you to track expenditure and income for your side hustle, but it will also help you safeguard both your business and your personal finances. Some business accounts also offer helpful features such as invoicing tools and integration with accounting software. So it’s worth doing your research!
3. Track your side hustle finances as you go
Once you’ve separated your side hustle finances from your personal finances, it’s time to start tracking them. “Ensure to keep track of all your expenses and a breakdown of the costs per product or service.” advises Tyra. “Use this information to calculate and adjust your pricing to ensure you’re making the profit you desire. The love and effort you put into your side hustle should be reflected in your prices.”
4. Don’t forget about taxes
Being a self-employed side hustler will come with new tax considerations for many of us, and it’s important to get your head around this early on. “Make sure you set aside money for tax as you go and ensure your prices reflect this,” says Tyra. “My top tip would be to ensure you keep all of your receipts and invoices, and find an accountancy app that allows you to scan these in to contribute to your tax return. Don’t let these build up - scan your receipts and save money for tax as you go to avoid a major headache later on.”
5. Dream big, but be realistic about challenges
When pursuing your side hustle, make sure you are realistic about potential challenges. “I’ve learned to be honest about my own strengths and weaknesses,” says Flora. “I naively thought I could do everything on my own, but I’ve realised I need help with certain things. For example, I'm dyslexic and wish I’d sought help with the numbers earlier!”
6. Find a community
Although many side hustles are a one woman show, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t sources of support and advice out there. “I joined Facebook groups with other bakers,” explains Tyra. “This helped me to feel comforted and supported by others going through the same challenges as I was and, in turn, empowered me to feel more confident in my decision making and the direction I wanted to take my business.”
7. Celebrate your achievements
In all aspects of life, it’s important to celebrate our achievements. But when you’re busy being your own boss, it can be easy to forget to celebrate how far you’ve come. “I’ve realised I’m more business savvy than I thought,” says Ellie. “If the going gets tough, it’s empowering to know that I have more than one way to make money.” Tyra adds: “It’s so easy to feel disassociated with your successes, but it takes a lot to run a business solo and that’s something to be proud of aside from the extra income. Starting a side hustle has made me realise I’m more capable than I think.”
Should I start a side hustle?
Starting a side hustle can be both exciting and daunting. From deciding your own schedule to managing your first tax return, there's a lot to consider. But, whether it’s channelling your talents into creating new products or selling your fantastic services, it’s important to remember that there are a lot of support networks and resources out there to help you along the way.
Side hustling can be the perfect way to exercise your creativity and expertise outside of your main job whilst boosting your monthly income. Through educating yourself, setting healthy boundaries and getting to grips with your finances early on, you will be setting yourself up with the best possible chance of success.