A ‘side hustle’ is a way of bringing in extra income that’s not your main job.
And they’ve become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among Gen Z.
In fact global survey of 10,000 workers by Kantar in February 2023 discovered that 40% of Gen Z workers have two or more roles.
Some brands not only allow but encourage employees to have a side-hustle. And, whether we talk about it openly or not, a lot of us have them. In fact, 25% of adults were ‘side-hustling’, according to a white paper by Henley Business School, back in 2018. According to the Kantar study this year (2023), 30% of the workforce have a second job due to economic concerns.
Side-hustles can range from being a musician in a function band at the weekends to renting out your spare room to AirBnB-ers. Using your employers’ time and resources to side-hustle without their knowledge could land you in hot water. But, if navigated thoughtfully, there are plenty of benefits to side-hustling, not least to your career.
It can help you to think like an entrepreneur
While many of us begin side-hustles to ease financial worries, having a thriving interest — that generates an extra income — could actually enhance your employability too. How? Well, being able to think like an entrepreneur could help you land a dream role. Many employers now look for ‘intrapreneurialism’ i.e. the ability to think like an entrepreneur and embody that start-up mentality, rather than simply waiting to be told what to do. Your experience of having your own enterprise outside of your day job could be used as a strong example in an interview or application situation.
Enjoy the balance it brings
Living a balanced life is not just about work and rest — following your passions can be a route to true fulfilment. So, if you’re pursuing something you truly love in addition to your ‘day job’, that could lead to all-round fulfilment and personal growth. And while the phrase side-hustling primarily refers to paid work, there are also voluntary roles that can provide those elements too. Although they are unlikely to be remunerated, the training and networking offered by many voluntary organisations can enhance your long-term work prospects. Plus, it be a great way to gain confidence. For example, perhaps in your volunteering role you have the chance to regularly chair meetings but do not yet do that in your paid role. That experience can provide great examples to offer in a job interview or at a personal review, and you can get references and testimonials.
A chance to make more money
Side-hustling can be lucrative and if you’re sales-minded then some work-from-home selling roles may offer high earning potential. And the experience you gain might help you get a promotion in your day-job as well. Sales roles can help some people improve their confidence and motivation, and there’s often training available which could benefit you in your primary career. Be sure to consult an accountant if you feel like you need help when it comes to submitting your tax return or forward planning your finances when you have income from more than one source.
Widen your potential
Let’s say you’ve worked in PR for a decade, but always in B-to-B tech for example, and you’ve been keen to branch out into the food and drinks world for a while. Having a side-hustle could support your case for moving roles and give you the experience and contacts required to make the move. Sometimes in the marketing world we can find ourselves stuck in a silo and unsure how to switch. Helping out at food festivals, for example, could be an innovative way to launch your new foodie career and not only give you the experience but also the networks too. And of course it’s a way to see if you actually like it as much as you think you might do!
So, does having a side-hustle help or hinder your long-term career? Is it something to keep quiet or should you mention it in your interview?
It’s important to understand your employer’s policies on side-hustles — and being open and honest about your side hustle can help you to avoid problems later down the line. If you’re working on a freelance or temporary basis then — unless it’s a conflict of interest — telling your clients tends to be less of an issue, but openness is often still helpful anyway.
It’s worth being aware that using equipment provided by an employer (laptop/phone) would be a no-no. Even if the employer were to say it’s okay, then insurance, data protection and security issues mean that, in reality, it’s just not worth the risk. And side-hustlers need to consider those very basic things, such as if a social media post goes out in your working hours for your side-hustle, scheduled or not, the employer could have a little or a large frown on their face. Particularly if the PAYE role is one where there are deadlines to be met.
Once all this is taken into account, your side-hustle could become a real career-enhancer, perhaps even one that sees you stepping into the role of employer one day too.
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