What Is A Side Hustle?


24 Dec 2022

Updated: 24 Apr 2023

What Does The Term Side Hustle Mean?

In the UK, a side hustle, or side gig, tends to refer to any activity that brings in additional income or extra money on top of a person’s typical day job.

It is a way to make money in your spare time around, or to the side of, your main employment.

Broader definitions of a side hustle consider the description of ‘main employment’ to also include full-time parents or stay-at-home-parents, as well as anyone who is retired with their main income coming from their pension.

Research by insurance provider Aviva suggests that 1 in 5 adults in the UK have started a side hustle since March 2020. The 2022/23 cost-of-living crisis may cause this to rise even further.

Are All Side Hustles The Same?

No, there are hundreds of different side hustles and side gigs you can do.

The are many side hustle ideas in the UK. Several are online only, but there are plenty that aren’t too.

Some side hustles can be started for free, or with a very small initial investment (£50-£100 or less). With Outplayed for example, it's possible to start your Matched Betting side hustle with just a £50 float (or bankroll).

Several need a good bit of money invested upfront to get them going (£500 to £1000 or more in some cases). These tend to be the side hustles that are more business-like in their nature and require an initial purchase of stock to sell or production materials.

Many don’t require you to have any specific skillset or knowledge to get them set up. Pretty much anyone can start them. Comping is an excellent example of a side hustle where virtually no prior knowledge or skills are required.

Others need only a willingness to learn. These types of side hustle often help you develop new skills as you go. Skills that could also end up being beneficial to you in your main employment. Learning to set up a blog or website and incorporating affiliate links into them to earn money would be a prime example of such a side hustle.

Only a few, niche side hustles, require very specialist knowledge or skills in specific areas of interest. Teaching Japanese online would be a side hustle that need specialist language and teaching skills that certainly not just any one has.

Some side hustles bring in a few bits of extra cash here and there, whilst others can bring in thousands. Many of the most profitable side hustles do involve some level of effort. However, some, like Matched Betting, require relatively little effort compared to other highly profitable side hustles.

Despite there being so many different side hustles, most in the UK do tend to fit into 1 of 5 types.

List Of The 5 Types of Side Hustles In The UK With Examples

1. Second Jobs (Employed)

A second, part-time job, where you are registered as an employee by a business. An example would be working evenings on weekends as a bartender in your local pub.

2. Second Jobs (Self-Employed)

A second, part-time job, where you are a self-employed, independent contract-style worker that completes tasks on behalf of a company for their customers. This type of side hustle is considered part of the gig economy, as you only get paid for the ‘gigs’ you do. Well-known examples include being an Uber driver, a Deliveroo rider or a Tasker on sites like TaskRabbit. Some tasks, or gigs, maybe online only. Completing online surveys would be such an example.

3. Side Businesses or Hobby Businesses (Self-Employed)

A side business you set up and do only outside of your regular working hours and are basically your own (self-employed) boss. Dropshipping, and selling hand-made, personalised goods on online marketplaces, such as Etsy, are examples of popular side businesses in the UK. Setting up a blog or website and making money from affiliate marketing links is another example. Many people start these kinds of side hustles or hobby businesses in the hope that they will eventually be successful enough to turn them into full-time businesses that will replace their full-time income.

4. Personal Asset-Related Side Hustles

Personal Asset-Related Side Hustles are where you either rent or sell your personal items, possessions or part of your property to make some extra money.

Selling your second-hand clothes or your children’s unwanted toys on eBay would be an example of a Personal Asset-Related Side Hustle. This sort of side hustle tends to be a very short-term way of making some extra money.

Renting out your driveway for parking, renting out your car (carsharing), or renting a room in your house are further examples. These sorts of side hustle can be more long-term methods of making a second income.

The emphasis here is that the items sold or rented must be your personal assets that belong to you.

If you are buying something specifically to then sell for a profit this would be classed as a side business style side hustle. Specifically purchasing second-hand furniture that is not your own, then flipping them to sell on at a profit would be a good example of a side hustle that is a side business - and NOT a personal asset-related side hustle.

If you just jazzed up your own personal furniture before selling it in the hope you could get more for it - this would be a personal asset-related side hustle.

Some of these side hustles may require you to also register as self-employed and complete a Self Assessment for tax purposes. This is most often required in cases where you make more than £1000 and go above the tax-free Trading & Property Allowance. There are some exceptions to this though - such as the UK Government’s Rent A Room Scheme.

Tax implications for side hustles of this kind can vary greatly. We recommend doing your research before jumping into renting or selling any of your personal assets - especially if you plan to make more than £1000 from your side hustle.

5. Side Hustle Offshoots

A side hustle offshoot is a way of making money online in your spare time that does not require you to take on any additional form of employment - no matter how much you make. Money made from these side hustles tends to be tax-free.

Popular examples include regularly using cashback websites or similar cashback and rewards services, comping and Matched Betting.

Many people also consider strategies like switching bank accounts to gain a cash reward, deal hunting, and frequently using discount or voucher websites to also be types of side hustle offshoots. Although technically these side hustles are more related to ways of saving money than making money.

Although some of these side hustles can be very profitable they should not be considered as an alternative to full-time employment in anyway. They are quite a different type of side hustle compared to those side hustles that are considered as side businesses or hobby businesses.


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