THE RISE IN SIDE HUSTLES | TWO JOBS ARE BETTER THAN ONE
When I hear the term ‘side hustle’ what immediately pops into my head is the image of a 1970’s sleazy pimp wearing a big fur coat, tinted glasses and a hat of sorts. Flash forward to the 21st century, the term brings a whole new meaning. Whilst both possibly culminate in financial stability, in today’s world a ‘side hustle’ has a tone of professionalism, initiative and possibly a workaholic trait.
Described as the act of ‘making money alongside one’s main form of employment or income’, many people who have been negatively affected by the global pandemic have taken on additional roles. A trend most visible among Gen Z-er’s,the ability to work two jobs as been welcomed with open arms.
LOCKDOWN | A TIME FOR MAKING EXTRA BANK
As lockdown after lockdown after lockdown took place around the world, those that either lost their jobs or had been furloughed were looking for new ways to make money in a closed off world. Whether it was a main or side hustle, many began looking for freelance/gig work. In a report from Airtasker, 56 per cent of respondents had taken on a side hustle during the pandemic. A similar trend occurred in the U.S as automated work platform Zapier discovered 34 per cent of the 2,000 surveyed adults had started a side hustle this year.
Whilst some saw lockdown as more of a prison sentence, many were using the time to pursue their passions, hobbies and interests through remote freelance/gig work. People were using their free time to find new ways of making money. Whether it was a welcomed cash booster or to make ends meet, the inclusion of additional work is one that’s looking to stay. Research from Abacus Data on behalf of the Direct Sellers Association of Canada (DSA) revealed that 60 per cent of those who pursued additional income opportunities, whether for necessity, to stay busy, for fun or extra cash will continue to do so for a year or more after the pandemic.
The popularity in remote working, a trend that may stay for some companies, has allowed many to take on ‘side hustles’ alongside their main employment. Whether considering going part-time freelance for the long term or doing it to become financially independent, the work-work balance can be a tricky one to keep level.
Work platform Overemployed (another term used for those with side hustles) has a community of people working two jobs who share their tips. Those within the community have stated that they use separate computers for each job to avoid mistakes, whilst others have recommended avoiding social media to prevent job overlaps.
The pandemic has given people the flexibility and control to manage their work life and income – something that is deemed more appealing than a 9-to-5 office job. Once a clause in a contract that restricted freelance practice, more companies are understanding of the grand scheme of things, allowing their co-workers to work side jobs to fulfil their needs.
Since the pandemic, the growth in users of freelance sites such as Fiverr and Upwork has increased. The most popular areas of freelancing have been website development, social media work, writing online articles etc. With many favouring the flexibility and extra income it brings alongside their main job, the side hustle has allowed people to do something fun and creative with their spare time.
The scope of side hustle roles also extends to more informal work including bar jobs at weekends. Reported by Ipswich Building Society, 21 per cent were prepared to do domestic work such as childcare, gardening or cleaning to raise extra cash.
Young adults (18-29) and students are the largest group to currently have a side hustle or are planning on having one. Juggling two jobs or being ‘overemployed’ is now being deemed a privilege as it can be viewed as an inaccessible style of working. This relates to those who may be already juggling work and childcare, as well as those who may not have immediate access to a computer daily. It could be illustrating the class divide which was evident during the pandemic where poorer children and families didn’t have access to learning resources through computers during lockdown. Possibly encouraging a new system where the rich can get richer.
THE BENEFITS OF THE SIDE HUSTLE
Whether temporary, part-time or full-time, the inclusion of a side hustle in people’s lives is having positive effects. What the main job can’t give, which is flexibility and extra money, the side hustle does. As Gen Z-er’s play a significant role in this up-and-coming industry, many are putting this money towards placing them on the property market. In a survey conducted by Ipswich Building Society, two thirds of first-time buyers rely on a second job to help with a deposit on a property. The figure of 64 per cent rises to 85 per cent in London.
The positive addition of a side hustle is evident as 63 per cent of first-time buyers believe the extra work enabled them to purchase a property sooner. On average, the side hustle earnings account for two fifths (39%) of a deposit, working out at £23,020. Whether it’s joining the property market, making ends meet or boosting the economy, the addition of extra money in people’s pockets has had external positive effects. Not to forget the individual effects as people feel good about themselves for making more money, being financially stable or rewarding themselves with their hard-earned cash.
THE SIDE HUSTLE AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE NEW JOB SCENE
Reigniting people’s talents and passions, the pandemic changed many people’s approach to working. The long-term effects of lockdown have made 77 per cent of Brits either change or re-evaluate their career. Author and HR expert, Ben Whitter believes that “side hustles are key because they allow people to build the lifestyle they want, rather than having something imposed on them by an employer”. He continues to say, “people are more interested in experiencing joy and freedom rather than being stuck chasing promotions and unnecessary status symbols”.
The workplace dynamic is beginning to evolve into one that encourages company employees to pursue a side hustle as business progress is becoming more aligned “with the wants and needs of human beings” says Whitter.
In contrast, many still see side hustles as an unwelcomed distraction from their main job; and in some cases, an employee working other jobs may violate contracts and agreements they signed when hired. Furthermore, an underlying stigma surrounds the idea of being overworked. Some may view those side hustling as lazy and entitled within their main job workplace. However, we want to change the tone of this conversation. Promotions etc are no longer enticing people. Those overworking may not be the pivotal players on the company’s team, but they meet the requirements/levels of the work needed and get the job done.
The pandemic has allowed everyone to reflect on their work – life relationship, how companies are run and changed people’s priorities. The survey by freelance platform, PeoplePerHour set in stone that freelancing, side hustling opportunities will continue in the future, past the pandemic as 98 per cent of current side-hustlers said they plan on continuing freelancing in some form. Out of them, 33 per cent said they would continue freelancing alongside a full-time employee position.
With Gen Z-ers being the dominant players of freelancing, and slowly entering the workforce, side hustling will be deemed as a standard trait amongst current and future employees. The report from Airtasker revealed that Brits side hustling made an extra £274 per week. As society begins to prioritise well-being, the extra cash assist with this but also help the badly impacted economy caused by the pandemic.
Looking at the bigger picture, companies are going to have to adapt their approach to the newly revised work force and environment. Whether that’s working in an office space or having employees work remotely. Side hustling isn’t going anywhere; and with its rise in popularity over the last few months, I see its trajectory increasing.
I’M HUSTLING | HERE’S WHY
As a Gen Z-er myself who was affected by the pandemic in regard to employment opportunities, freelancing sites were a great way for me to not only build my portfolio but network and make money in a time when employment came to a halt. Not only did it keep me busy in lockdown, but it boosted my moral; seeing that people want to work with me and appreciate the work I created. As I look towards finding full-time employment, I don’t intend to stop my freelancing work. I wouldn’t want to work for a company that prevents me from being creative outside my workplace. As the industry I am in may require myself to live in cities, the extra cash can be helpful when facing city prices. Furthermore, the extra cash can assist with funding people’s social lives but also giving them/myself a chance to get on the property market sooner than expected.
All-in-all, side hustling isn’t fading away. I believe it will grow into a job application preference further down the line as people will associate it with positive qualities such as aspirations, dedication and organisation etc. It’s something that employees shouldn’t have to hide, and companies should encourage to increase job satisfaction.
This article was written by contributing writer Malin Jones.
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