A fifth of UK workers a now considering a side hustle. It’s something that is especially popular in the millennial generation.

Originally coined in the 1950s, the term ‘side hustle’ is defined as ‘a way to make money from your passion, interest or hobby’. However, it’s said that the idea of supplemental work has been around for centuries, with freelance work dating back to the 18th century when the word was used to describe a mercenary for hire. Of course, these days a freelancer can pop up in pretty much any industry, especially thanks to technological advances.

However, it’s not as simple as picking what you want to do for work and doing it. Here, we look at why side hustles are popular and what is needed if you want to set one up yourself.

Why are side hustles popular?

A side hustle is a necessity for some of us. It can be a way of providing some much-needed extra income and almost a quarter of the UK believe the average monthly wage is not enough. The cost of living has continued to rise in the UK, with inflation year on year rising by three percent in the last few years.  This has meant that many have looked for different avenues to top up their main wage in order to have a better quality of life.

It’s also a chance to get into your preferred profession as it can open doors to an established company. Many secondary roles are used as a way into a creative or technical sector because you can showcase your skills to many companies at the same time while enhancing your CV, all from the comfort of your own home. Graphic designers and writers are prominent in the freelance world, with sites such as UpWork and Fiverr providing a great platform in which to gain work. This can help you get noticed in your sector as well as helping you build up the contacts required to eventually start your own full-time business.

On the other hand, it can also be a way to simply earn extra cash from a hobby. Again, this is where the aforementioned sites are great, as you can bid on jobs that are of interest to you and you aren’t committed to a certain style.

How to start a side hustle

Unfortunately, it isn’t always as straight forward as simply taking jobs. For certain roles there are legalities you must follow if you intend to start a side hustle and make it a success and for any source of regular income you must pay that dreaded thing we call tax!

While the trading allowance, lets you turnover up to £1,000 tax-free, anything above that threshold that is taxable. If you work as a freelancer, you are classed as self-employed and your extra funds that are earned will be taxable and it’s up to you to correctly pay these. According to a recent survey, 34% of those with a side hustle confessed to not declaring the earnings from their side projects.

Another point that you must consider is whether your role requires insurance. For example, dog walkers, which is one of the most popular side hustles in the UK behind making crafts and selling goods, must take out a dog walking insurance policy. While you may not automatically think of such cover when it’s just a side hustle, it can be crucial in protecting you if the dog gets hurt on your watch — after all, accidents do happen and the whole idea of the side hustle is to make money not lose it! Child care is another example of where insurance is a necessity.

The future of the side hustle

There are currently more than 16 million Brits who are covering the cost of living by using a side hustle. If inflation continues to rise quicker than wages then this number is likely to rise further. Also, the days of ‘job loyalty’ appear to be coming to an end as we all strive to find our dream role and enhance our job satisfaction. Because of this, more people appear to be willing to begin a side hustle and this is having a major impact on careers across the globe as members of the workforce see this as a great way to starting their own business.

It appears that the side hustle is a crucial part of the UK’s working environment. It can be a great source of secondary income, while also helping small businesses complete tasks without the need of hiring a full-time member of staff. However, if you plan to set up a side hustle, it’s important to fully research what is legally required in your chosen sector.