What is a side hustle?
A side hustle is an extra job or piece of work someone undertakes outside of their usual job. Side hustles are a way to supplement your income, gain new skills, pursue your passions and meet new people. For many, side hustles are the first step to refining a business idea and gathering practical business experience without taking on the business full-time while also having another income source.
How to find a side hustle
Finding a side hustle that suits your skills and interests starts with self-reflection and exploration. Before deciding on a specific side hustle, consider what talents, hobbies and professional expertise you have.
Your side hustle should be something you enjoy doing, as you will spend time on it which you would’ve otherwise spent on leisure activities. To help you choose a suitable side hustle, consider making a list of the things you wouldn’t mind spending 10-20 hours per week on outside of your job.
Depending on the types of side hustle you’re interested in, you can:
find multiple websites offering advice and opportunities (eg TaskRabbit)
check local job boards, community centres or newspapers for nearby listings
explore online marketplaces (eg Etsy or Airbnb)
attend networking events to meet people in your industry and discover potential side gigs
Remember to always do your due diligence on platforms and listings before providing any personal details.
Side hustle ideas
Finding a side hustle that suits you is a personal process. Potential ideas for side hustles include:
Selling unwanted items
If you have any items you no longer want or need - eg clothes, jewellery, shoes, books, electronics or furniture - you can sell them. Platforms like eBay, Vinted, Depop, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace provide ample opportunities. However, it’s always a good idea to create a formal contract when selling unwanted items. This can help protect you by providing a clear record of your sale and by offering a potential opportunity for legal recourse if anything goes wrong. This can be useful if, for example, your buyer changes their mind or decides to argue that you agreed to a different price or terms.
Make a Sale of personal goods contract to set out the price, delivery terms, any warranties or guarantees, and more details of your sale. Sell your car with our Vehicle bill of sale that sets out the buyer’s and seller’s obligations and declarations (eg regarding the status of the vehicle).
You can also use these documents to help protect you as a buyer if you’re looking to purchase any second-hand goods.
Making and selling hand-made items
If you enjoy crafting (eg knitting, drawing or sculpting), you can consider selling your pieces on platforms like Etsy or at nearby craft fairs. Making and selling handmade items not only adds an extra stream of income but also allows you to share your craft with a wider audience, turning your hobby into a financially rewarding venture. Make sure not to infringe anyone’s intellectual property rights when selling hand-made items. For more information, read Legal considerations for starting an Etsy shop.
Babysitting or pet sitting
Offering your services to local families or pet owners can provide a steady stream of extra income. Use word of mouth, community bulletin boards or online platforms to advertise your availability. Whether you have a knack for entertaining kids or a love for animals, these roles can be both enjoyable and lucrative.
Bear in mind that babysitting opportunities may be harder to come by, as you often need to be known to and trusted by the family and may need to get a DBS check to ensure that you’re suitable to work with and care for children.
Leveraging your social media presence
If you enjoy using social media and creating creative content (eg posting photos on Instagram, making videos for YouTube or TikTok, running your own blog or streaming on Twitch), consider leveraging your social media presence and following as a side hustle. Depending on your social media presence, you can monetise your accounts through sponsored posts, selling products, affiliate content and other fun things.
For more information, read How to set up as an influencer.
Renting out a spare parking space or garage
If you live in England or Wales and have a parking space that you aren’t using, you can consider renting it out to someone else. You can rent out your spare parking space using a Car parking licence, or you can rent out a spare garage space using a Garage licence.
Renting out a spare room
If you have a room spare in your home, consider renting it out to a lodger. Be aware of:
lodgers’ rights - while lodgers don’t generally have as many rights as tenants renting a whole property, they do have rights you must uphold. For example, lodgers have a right to be given ‘reasonable’ notice if you’d like them to leave
tax implications of renting out a room - for example, the tax-free rent thresholds available under the Rent a Room scheme
Make a Lodger agreement for England and Wales or Scotland to clearly set out the rent, rules, and rights you’ve agreed to with your lodger. You can also create House rules for lodgers to clearly communicate your expectations of the person you’re taking into your household. For more information, read Taking in a lodger.
Employment considerations for side hustles
Generally speaking, an employee is able to have a side hustle, and their employer shouldn’t mind this, provided that:
you don’t spend your normal working hours on your side hustle instead of your ‘main’ employment, and
However, your employer may still have certain concerns about their employees having a side hustle. For example, they may be concerned about:
you spending your normal working hours on your side hustle
your side hustle competing with your employer’s business
Before you start your side hustle, you should carefully read through your employment contract and all relevant workplace policies (eg your employer’s staff handbook) to ensure you understand your obligations. If you have any questions or concerns or would like advice on your situation, Ask a lawyer.
You may have an opportunity to take on more work via a second job or your own small business to make some extra money – but this may not fit with your regular work schedule. Utilising a flexible working arrangement could help you to accommodate these other commitments.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 grants employees who have been with their employer for at least 26 weeks the right to make a request for flexible working (eg working over different hours and/or locations) that their employer must consider. If an employer chooses to decline your request, they must do so based on one of certain specified reasons (eg because it would incur extra costs).
Do I need to pay tax on my side hustle?
All UK workers need to pay applicable taxes on their income. If you have income from multiple sources (eg from your main job and your Etsy shop), this may increase your overall tax liability. However, not all income is considered taxable income.
For income tax purposes, earnings of less than £1,000 per tax year (which runs from 6 April until 5 April each year) from self-employment or the provision of casual services (eg babysitting) are not considered taxable income. This is known as the ‘trading allowance’. It exists in addition to the personal allowance (currently £12,570 per tax year). This means that, if you’re earning more than £1,000 from your side hustle in a tax year, you will need to pay income tax.
Employees usually pay taxes on their income through Pay As You Earn (PAYE); however, running a side hustle is different. To pay the applicable income tax, you will need to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as self-employed and file a Self-Assessment Tax Return.
Note that different tax rates apply in England and Wales versus in Scotland. For more information, read Income tax in England and Wales, Personal tax in England and Wales, Income tax in Scotland and Personal tax in Scotland.
If you do not operate your side hustle as a sole trader (ie as an individual), and instead operate it through a different business structure, different tax liabilities may apply. For more information, read Running your business.
If you have any questions about side hustles, do not hesitate to Ask a lawyer.