Successful side hustling

For many people, having a single nine-to-five job is something of the past. The ‘side hustle’ – a secondary business or job – is on the rise
text by Bethan Rees, illustration by Andrew Rae

The working world is changing, with flexibility becoming more of a priority, so employees can fit work around other aspects of their lives, according to a white paper published by Henley Business School in July 2018, titled The side hustle economy.  

A side hustle is defined as a secondary business or job that brings in, or has the potential to bring in, extra income. According to Henley Business School’s paper, which surveyed 1,100 UK adults, it’s especially popular among younger generations, with 34% of side hustlers aged 16–24, and 37% aged 25–34. 

According to Professor Bernd Vogel, founding director of the Henley Centre for Leadership, the side hustle is a trend that was incubated in the tech hubs of Silicon Valley, made its way into mainstream US working life, and is now being seen in the UK. 

The paper finds that the side hustle generates an income worth £72bn to the UK economy, which is about 3.6% of GDP. As many as one in four adults have a side hustle.

If you want to do this too, where should you start?
Do you have the passion, and the time?Side hustles encompass a huge range of activities. According to the white paper, the most common are craft businesses, book writing, stock market investments, buying and selling online and blogging or ‘vlogging’ (video blogging). 

The white paper states that 73% of people who start a side hustle do so to follow a passion or explore a new challenge – it can make life more interesting. 

The key thing with choosing your hustle is that you’ve got to be passionate about it, as it’s going to take up your precious free time. The white paper states that 45% of employees with side hustles consistently work more than 40 hours per week, with 25% working over 50 hours. According to the Office for National Statistics, as of February to April 2018, the average UK working week is 36.9 hours, so that’s a considerable amount of time set aside for the side hustle on top of main working hours.  
Is your employer OK with it? Before you even consider picking a passion to pursue, you should check that your main hustle doesn’t stipulate that you can’t make any additional income. It’s important to keep your employer happy, as it will provide the financial stability you need to follow your side hustle dream.

An employer might resist the idea of side-working for their employees, citing concerns about conflicts of interest, managing security risks, or even losing valuable staff. According to Henley Business School, only 37% of businesses are OK with side hustles. 

However, the employer might be able to benefit from this in the form of increased retention because the staff are happy and feel supported in their external interests; also through upskilled staff without the cost of training them.

You might think the extra workload would lead to increased stress levels, but the white paper claims the opposite – 69% of respondents said they feel more positive about life for having their two roles. 
An element of trustA side hustle is often a way of pursuing a passion or interest outside of an employee’s normal nine-to-five, but employers should look out for potential conflicts of interest, such as the side hustle being in the same line of work. That is why communication between the two, and an element of trust, is important for this to work for both parties. 

It’s important that the employer is aware of any employee having a second job, as this will have potential implications on the duties owed under working time rules. Therefore, all contracts should stipulate that employers should be notified of a second job or business.

In employment contracts, there is always an implication of fidelity, however it might be useful to include a non-competition clause or policy, which would remove the risk of an employees doing something to rival your business, such as taking a client into their private side hustle that is of the same nature as the full time job, and earning money from it. 

With the uptake of having a second earner on the rise, and the huge potential to both contribute to the economy and become a happier and more productive employee, it might be time for business owners to assess their policies and allowances for side hustles. 

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Published: 13 Jul 2018
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