The UK's most popular side hustles – and tips for starting your own

·Freelance Writer
·5-min read
People use apps like Etsy to sell goods as a side hustle to supplement their incomes. (SOPA/LightRocket/Getty)
People use apps like Etsy to sell goods as a side hustle to supplement their incomes. (SOPA/LightRocket/Getty)

With the cost of living crisis putting huge financial burdens on people, more and more are turning to a side hustle to make ends meet.

Research by Barclaycard has shown that one in 12 people (8%) have taken up additional jobs in an attempt to supplement their income.

The survey of 2,000 people in its monthly consumer spending index comes as inflation reached another 40-year high, reaching 10.1% last month, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

With the energy price cap set to increase again this winter, Britons are looking at jobs they can carry out alongside their main work.

The cost of living crisis has seen people turn to second jobs to boost their incomes. (Getty/stock photo)
The cost of living crisis has seen people turn to second jobs to boost their incomes. (Getty/stock photo)

A side hustle, or a side job, is essentially a second job that someone takes up to supplement their main income, which will usually be carried out in spare time.

Reasons for this may include not earning enough money in their main job or simply as a disposable income boost.

During the pandemic, most Brits were either forced to work from home or not work at all – meaning there was plenty more time for people to take up a side hustle.

Watch: Government on 'war footing' over cost of living crisis, minister claims

According to research from Aviva, a fifth of adults in the UK started a side hustle since March 2020 – when the first national lockdown was announced.

Nearly one in six (16%) said they earned more than £1,000 a month from their new venture, with just under two thirds (63%) saying their second jobs are still in operation.

Everyday necessities such as babysitting have proved to be popular side hustles for some, while others used their skills to offer tutoring for those looking to improve their education or change careers.

With apps like Etsy available, many also turned to selling unwanted clothing or homemade products online.

According to the Aviva research, the most popular side hustle was “selling handcrafted products”, with nearly a quarter (23%) taking up that venture.

Selling homemade products online are an easy way to make extra money. (Getty)
Selling homemade products online are an easy way to make extra money. (Getty)

Freelancing also proved popular, with 12% of respondents turning to it for extra income, while a tenth tried to utilise apps like Instagram and TikTok to become social media influencers.

Less popular endeavours include driving a taxi (4%) and offering diet and nutrition advice (4%).

How to start a side hustle

Setting up a side hustle can be a relatively simple process once you familiarise yourself with the tools needed to get your venture going.

It can also provide quick financial rewards when you've found your niche and got your idea off the ground.

Finding a passion, or something you are good at – such as designing clothing and jewellery or upgrading old furniture – can be used for more than just a hobby.

Once you have something you think you can offer, there are plenty of avenues to find an audience.

Social media has been beneficial for those wanting to sell products or services online. (Getty)
Social media has been beneficial for those wanting to sell products or services online. (Getty)

If you are offering a service – such as gardening or cleaning windows – it may be beneficial to print up leaflets and post them through letterboxes of local homes.

Online platforms such as Etsy and Facebook Marketplace also make it easy and potentially cost-free to advertise your product or service.

Making money out of a side hustle may also require spending money so you can check if you qualify for a small business grant.

Other ways to fund your new venture may be from friends and family or even setting up a crowdfunding page that will also be able to gauge any interest in your product or service.

Legalities and taxes

Earning more money does mean having to pay more tax and anyone earning more than £1,000 a year will need to complete a self-assessment tax form.

Whatever you earn over £1,000 will be taxed depending on the tax rate of your main job.

But you can earn up to £1,000 without paying tax because of the trading allowance.

If you do earn over the tax threshold and have to register as self-employed, you will be required to designate a legal structure for your business – sole trader, partnership, or limited company.

Your side hustle business may also be a competition to your main job – so in that instance you should check that you are not in violation of your contract of employment.

You may also need a business licence or insurance, depending on the nature of your business and whether it's conducted in your home.

A side hustle may mean paying more taxes – depending on how successful it is. (Getty)
A side hustle may mean paying more taxes – depending on how successful it is. (Getty)

When to quit your job and take your side hustle full-time

Only you will know whether to take your side hustle seriously and make it a 'main hustle'.

You may be earning enough to make your venture your sole source of income or you may decide to keep it as a secondary source of funds, on top of your main salary.

Either way, the choice will be down to you – but there are things to think about when deciding whether to make your new business your 9-5.

You may feel you are making enough money and that demand is high, negating the risk of taking it full time, or you may feel like all your time is focused on it rather than your existing job.

Turning down work is never a good thing but it does mean that you have the potential to expand and earn more – however you may also need to think about whether you can take the load on by yourself or pay for other people to help.

Other drawbacks to consider about working for yourself are the lack of holiday and sick pay – and if business slows you will be hit directly in your pocket.