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Starting a side hustle – everything you need to know

According to a study by Henley Business School, two fifths of the working population of Britain already have a side hustle. Whether it’s intended as a financial top-up, a new challenge or a hobby that can earn you a couple of quid on the side, this kind of hustle is becoming the norm for us working Brits. If you have a great idea for a side hustle but want to know how it might affect you and your existing work life, or if you are looking for ideas on side hustles you can start today, fear not – we have you covered! 

What kind of side hustle should you consider?

The first thing you need to look at is whether your current employment contract allows for you to work outside of your paid job. Some businesses have no policy at all, some don’t allow extra work on top of your day job where others require you to proclaim any extra paid work – usually on the basis that they can judge whether there is a likely conflict of interest. So the first piece of advice? Don’t set up in competition with your current employer; they are bound to find out at some point and it won’t be taken lightly. 

Many business owners are starting to buy into the school of thought that says a happy employee is a successful employee – and if a side hustle makes you happy, well they are likely to be right on board with the idea. You may have to convince your employer that you won’t be falling asleep at your desk through overwork, but aside from that, there is nothing legally stopping you from starting a side hustle unless it is specified within your employment contract that you cannot. 

Side hustles you can start today:

There are so many options for side hustles, with the world of social media and ecommerce platforms making it easy to set up and start selling on a very small scale. The main question you need to answer is around your motivation; why you are doing it, and therefore which side hustle might suit you best. We’ve put together a list of some of the side hustles you can start today: 

Starting a side hustle for cash:

If your main motivation is to earn a bit of extra cash, take some time out to assess your availability and your skills. Popular side pursuits include:

  • Delivery driver – businesses like Deliveroo have plenty of side hustlers on their books, and for those of you working a 9-5 it could be ideal. 
  • Tutoring – if you have an in-depth knowledge in a particular subject matter, this is an ideal way to earn some extra cash.
  • Taxi driving – if you already have a vehicle, you could work just about any hours you choose on a casual basis.

Starting a side hustle for passion:

If you have a particular hobby or love of something that you need to cover the costs of, selling your skills or your output is a great way to fund it – and it may be that you can scale up over time and eventually give up the day job.

  • Etsy seller – if your skills and passion lie in craft, design and making things, artisan and quirky gifts fly off the virtual shelves here.
  • Dog walking – if you love animals but can’t keep one yourself, why not take advantage of other working Brits and walk their dogs while they are on shift?
  • Artworking – sketches, pencil drawings and paintings of people’s pets, children and homes are extremely popular nowadays. If you are artistic, this could be a great place to look at starting a side hustle.

Starting a side hustle to gain experience:

New out of college? Have some new skills but no experience to start a full-blown business? Freelancing in your field can be a brilliant starting point.

  • Marketing – if you have marketing skills or a recently earned degree, why not try offering social media services to those without the time or knowledge to spend on Instagram or Twitter?
  • Decorating – if you want to be an interior designer but have no client portfolio, start small and work on basic projects until you have some examples under your belt; once you earn people’s trust you can work your way up to larger projects. 
  • Gardening – whether you want to be a landscaper or an agricultural consultant, starting small with people’s chores will get your foot in the door and some testimonials onto your website. 

Think twice before diving in

Whether you have the skills is just one of the questions you need to consider. You should also think carefully about the impact of starting a side hustle on your mental health, your family and your physical health. Increasing a 40-hour week to a 60-hour week with a side hustle you love may just be the outlet you need to fulfil your artistic or social needs. However, if you are simply putting in the hours to pay the bills, you may find that it pushes you over the edge of exhaustion. Starting a side hustle should prove both rewarding and financially worthwhile, and getting that balance right can be challenging. 

What about the tax implications?

Assuming that you set yourself up as a sole trader, provided you keep records of what you earn and what you spend as you run your side hustle, you should have nothing to worry about. You do need to declare your business to HMRC once you start trading, and you need to do this by 5th October following the tax year – however, the sensible thing to do is to register as soon as you can to avoid any fines. Once you have registered as self-employed (you can have this status as well as being an employee of a different business), HMRC will require you to file a tax return by the 31st January following the end of the previous tax year. 

Basic sole trader businesses are not complicated to run or file a return for, and you shouldn’t let it put you off starting a side hustle. If you are concerned about the financial, accounting or tax side of the business, then you can employ a local accountancy firm who will help you in just those areas in which you need support to ensure that you don’t end up in difficulties. 

If you would like advice in starting a side hustle and want to be sure that you’ve covered the financials properly, get in touch with Kirkwood Wilson today and we will be happy to work with you in ensuring that you get your new business off to a great start.

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