Why now's the time to start a side hustle

Why now's the time to start a side hustle

Posted: Wed 3rd Apr 2019

If you're reading this post, you've probably already got the itch. A mixture of frustration and excitement. A sense of adventure. An idealistic inclination that work just isn't working anymore.

The thing that often holds people back from launching a new business is the risk of getting involved. Whether you're a recent graduate or finishing your paternity leave, the idea of not having a regular salary is daunting. Launching a business as a side hustle is becoming a more popular route.

Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones says:

"You can start a business while holding on to the day job or caring or parental responsibilities. And you can do this because the costs of starting a business have come down and technology has been a great enabler. So while you're working, your business can be working for you."

Google Trends data shows interest in side hustles has been growing since mid-2017 and reached a new peak during January 2019. With the nation's interest in side hustles increasing we've looked at why now is a great time to launch your business.

Lots of support is available for side hustlers

Emotional support and advice play a critical role in whether any business or entrepreneur thrives. It's no different for side hustles. Look out for meet-ups that work around your day job and provide an opportunity to learn. Enterprise Nation runs over 300 events a year, so there's plenty to choose from!

Tell your employer what you're doing if possible. If you have a professional job role it's possible they will allow you to reduce the number of days you're doing per week. If you're doing shift or temporary work, they may accommodate you.

Your boss and co-workers may be able to weigh in with advice too. Just be careful if you're doing something that closely relates to your job and check to see whether your contract has any restrictions in it.

Side hustles provide freedom to try new things out

The clock starts ticking the moment you quit your job. Whatever money you've managed to save, borrow or raise will run out at some point. If you can't afford to pay your bills and keep the lights on the business will close.

You also need enough funding to sustain your personal financial commitments until you can take money out of the business.

Keeping your day job means you can sustain your lifestyle and provide cash to invest in the business when it's needed. 

Karen Riddick started eco-friendly soft furnishing company Second Nature as a side hustle and didn't go full-time until her fourth year.

"Eventually, you might need to leave your other job behind but setting up your own business while working elsewhere can give you a great start.

"Having regular income to help you get going can take the pressure off those early days and give you the freedom to explore various avenues."

Running an online shop meant Karen could work at it in her free time, and having a regular salary allowed her to invest in more stock. Crucially, she was less stressed about whether things were going to work out and was able to grow in a steady and sustainable way.

It's possible to start a side hustle on the cheap

Keeping costs low reduces risks and frees up cash to invest in opportunities. Be mindful of how you spend money and pay attention to your budgeting process. Here are a few of the ways you can save money:

  • Look at challenger banks that don't charge fees for business accounts

  • Use a drag-and-drop website editor that charges a monthly fee, rather than paying a developer

  • Use online accounting software that saves time and allows you to launch without an accountant (getting professional help is always a good idea, but it's not always financially possible)

  • Work from your kitchen table, a café or a pay-as-you-go hot desking space

  • Think about using a marketplace like Amazon to sell your products, which provides an immediate audience and can be cheaper than developer your own online presence

  • Take a DIY approach to PR and building your social media audience – it doesn't have to cost money!

The biggest fixed costs companies incur are normally rent for an office or retail space and staff wages. You can often avoid that in a side hustle.

Emma Jones advises side hustle founders to always think as if they're operating on a bootstrap budget.

"Our advice is beg, borrow and barter. Partnering with people who have an asset you need is a great way to save money. Think about what you can offer them in return."

Investors love businesses that demonstrate traction

Don't get lured into the idea that an impressive pitch deck about a disruptive idea's enough to get you funding. Yes, it does happen, but it's rare and not that sensible. You'll get a much better deal from investors if your business is generating revenue and you can show that customers love your project. 

Starting a side hustle allows you to test your idea, improve it and get feedback that's really useful for these conversations if you decide to raise funding later on in your journey.

People love shopping from independents

Sales of CDs have been declining for over a decade yet vinyl, a more than 100-year-old format, is making a resurgence. Restaurants are displaying the distance to the farms they source food from on sandwich boards. Craft beer is available everywhere. What do these trends have in common? 

Consumers are becoming more interested in provenance and personalisation. They want to know what values businesses have and where products are coming from. That creates a fantastic opportunity. People are more willing to trust start-ups than ever before.

Customers embrace a bit of hustle, someone that's started something they're passionate about. Your side hustle is aspirational and inspiring.


Relevant resources

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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