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Welcome to the side hustle economy


The pandemic turned the world on its head in more ways than one. The way we communicate, the way we socialise, the way we work – it all changed. So did the way we value our time. 

Suddenly, we were faced with an abundance of that time, and that meant people were able to shift focus onto the things that really mattered: things like family, health, and other personal passions beyond the corporate day job. What many realised, during this period, was that their expertise and interests could generate new revenue streams – mostly from the safety of home. Thus millions of side hustles were launched around the world.

©Jane O'Sullivan/The Portfolio Collective 2021

The side hustle economy is by no means a new phenomenon – humans have been exploring new ways to earn extra cash for centuries. However, the phrase only gained popularity during and after The Great Recession. Silicon Valley drove the trend even further, with many entrepreneurs holding down a day job while building industry-shattering businesses on the side (often from their garages).

Post-pandemic, side hustles are rapidly becoming the norm at every level of society – widely because it’s never been easier to be an entrepreneur.

Why side hustles are more popular than ever before

A side hustle is defined as a small business or second job that you do alongside your main career. Often, it’s a passion-driven project that you slowly build up over time. For many, it’s the first stepping stone into a portfolio career. By keeping your day job, you have the financial security to build a new business without worrying whether you can pay the bills.


Currently, side hustles generate over £72 billion worth of income in the UK. In the US, roughly 70 million people admit to having a side hustle – that’s 45% of the working population. What often starts as a desire to make extra money has unlimited potential to morph into a new, more fulfilling, portfolio career

According to recent findings by CV-library, there was a 34% increase in the number of UK employees with a side hustle during the pandemic. This was driven by both opportunity and the financial insecurity experienced when witnessing so much redundancy, furlough, and the chaos brought on by the aptly named “pingdemic”. What’s surprising is that more than three quarters of employers were supportive of their employees’ side ventures. Now, one in four workers in the UK have a side hustle, 46% of which started during the pandemic.

Anyone can build a successful side hustle – so why don’t you?

©The Portfolio Collective 2021

Some of the most powerful businesses in the world started out as side hustles. Steve Jobs had a full-time position at Atari when he began building the first Apple computer in his garage. Craigslist was a curated email that the founder shared with 10-12 of his friends before it existed in 700 cities across 70 countries. Under Armour was developed by a college football player who was fed up with the way his cotton shirts stuck to his body during practice. You get the picture.

If you’re knowledgeable and passionate about something and can turn that into a product or service that people will pay for, you can build a successful side hustle – it’s as simple as that. In fact, many of the members in our community began their freelancing and focused expert careers with a side hustle. That’s because the financial security of a day job meant they were taking less of a risk as they shifted from traditional work to a portfolio career.

Today, there are more entrepreneurs than there have been at any other point in history. The SBA estimates that over 600,000 new businesses are created every year in the US, 81% of which are built by solopreneurs, i.e. one person who runs things from home or a remote office space. 

81% of new business in the US are built by solopreneurs
©The Portfolio Collective 2021

How you can tap into the growing side hustle economy

Entrepreneurship is no longer limited to the one percent (or at least those with access to the one percent). You can create a web shop, launch a website, and build a network on a professional platform like The Portfolio Collective without breaking the bank, and that’s so important when you’re looking to start your own business. 


Our advice? Just do it. If you have an idea or something you’re passionate about, don’t keep putting it off. The future of work is flexible and technology has equipped us with the tools we need to be successful. As long as you have the skills and the drive, the customers are out there.

It’s a path that’s not just financially rewarding, but it can actually make you happier. We spend a third of our lives working, so shouldn’t some (if not most) of that time be spent doing meaningful and fulfilling work? 

If you think you’re ready to launch a side hustle of your own, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to figure out what your business could look like:

What are you good at and what can make you money?

Make a short list of your monetisable skills and start from there.

What are you passionate about?

No one ever said building a side hustle would be easy. That’s why it’s important to love what you’re doing.

Where are there gaps in the market?

Determine what’s unique about the service or product you’d like to offer. It’s all about differentiating yourself and providing added value that others can’t.

Who is your audience/market and how will you reach them?

Really think about who your ideal customer would be. Do they follow you on social media? How will they find your business?

How will this fit into the rest of your life?

Side hustles take time and dedication, so it’s important to think about how this will work alongside your main job and any other responsibilities you have.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to other entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses before you. Our community is full of them – become a member and say hello! You’ll be amazed by how much support and advice you’ll find.

What are you waiting for? Join the side hustle economy today

In the end, it’s about being happy. We all deserve to love the work that we do. So why shouldn’t you find success building a business you’re passionate about?

There’s never been a better time to join the side hustle economy. Whether it’s as an influencer, an artist, a marketer, a writer, a personal trainer, a consultant, helping startups and SMEs, or one of the millions of possibilities out there for making money.

Think this sounds like the right path for you? Come along to our monthly Get started event for new members to find out what a portfolio career could look like and how The Portfolio Collective can help you take those first steps towards professional success – and don’t forget to connect with our community!

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