If you’re looking to start your own business, chances are you’ve heard of side hustles. The trend is taking the startup world by storm. Since the pandemic and with the cost of living on the rise, more people are looking to make extra money or start their dream business without having to leave their day job first.
According to insurance provider Aviva, as many as one in five Brits have started a side hustle since March 2020. Some have returned to their day jobs now that furlough is over, but many have continued or even made it their full-time job.
But, what are the most popular side hustle industries for budding business owners in 2023? Read on to discover.
What Are the Most Popular Side Hustle Businesses?
As part of the launch of our Careers Test, we surveyed 2,000 budding business owners. Over 70% said they would like to run their own business, but more than three quarters had no idea what type of company would suit their personality type.
Despite this, events and cryptocurrency were most popular, closely followed by hospitality, hair and beauty, and health and fitness. Others were keen to launch a side hustle in ecommerce, as well as web development IT consultancy and freelance writing.
Unsure of what side hustle suits you best? Our Careers Test helps you discover your personality type and the perfect cash-generating business to match – win.
Trending Industries for Entrepreneurs In 2023
With so many ideas, it can be hard to know which side hustle is right for you, which is why we launched our Careers Test to help you match your personality type to a career type.
In the meantime, we’ve created an overview of the most popular side hustle ideas from our survey and key trends for budding business owners in 2023, alongside some advice on how to get started.
As the top-ranking business type in our survey, events is a coveted industry that offers a welcome change from the standard 9-5. An industry hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, events are back and a popular choice among budding entrepreneurs.
You can read more about how to retain your customers on our blog.
Working in events is fun, but the planning side doesn’t come without its stresses. However, if you’re organised and like fast-paced work with lots of moving parts, this could be for you. Events is a competitive market, so whilst getting new customers is important, it’s even more crucial that you retain them.
Customer loyalty is vital for driving new business through recommendations and reviews, as well as helping to make sure you’ve got guaranteed income, even when the new sales aren’t coming in.
Another of our most popular side hustle ideas from our surveyed entrepreneurs, cryptocurrency is considered the future of currency by many. A digital asset used to buy, sell and invest, it’s designed to create a true seller-to-buyer exchange without involvement of any government or central authorities.
Cryptocurrency technology has been around for over a decade and although gaining traction, its long-term potential is yet untapped. But how do you make money from it?
Put simply, investors buy coins and then resell them once their value increases. Business ideas include day trading, cryptocurrency exchange and even selling physical items for cryptocurrency online. There’s also demand for crypto payment gateways and ATMs, so do your research if you’re looking to capitalise.
If you’re not ready to start your own cryptocurrency business but want to learn more about how you can use it, take a look at our guide to whether cryptocurrency is right for your business. Just remember that because it’s new, the space is very risky and you need to do your research carefully.
Hair and beauty
Another popular side hustle idea from our survey, the hair and beauty industry allows you to indulge creativity otherwise unfulfilled in your day job. It’s also a business you can start from home and scale up once you’ve built a decent client base.
Some popular side hustles in this industry include: hairdressing (cutting or styling for special events), tanning, nail design, laser hair removal or waxing, eyebrow design, and make-up including semi-permanent. Festival hair and make-up is also in demand.
Hair and beauty side hustles can be extremely lucrative. If you get positive reviews and build a good reputation, it could easily become a full-time vocation. Bear in mind the initial cost of any equipment and materials, but people are certainly willing to pay for quality hair and beauty services if you can provide them.
Hospitality was one of the hardest hit industries in the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t put our budding entrepreneurs off. Setting up a restaurant or cafe was a popular option, closely followed by starting a bakery thanks to the lockdown baking boom.
But how can you differentiate from the competition and offer customers something worth coming back for? Look out for key trends if you want to get ahead. For example, research shows that millennials hold the most buying power in this market, and are looking for unique and meaningful experiences.
Consider how you can personalise the experience, so that diners don’t just come for the food. Make it uniquely your own. Independent restaurants often have a coveted brand, and merchandise is a great way to create a cult following and get your name out into the foodie community.
For more tips on sustainability, check out our five simple steps to become a green business.
Other key trends include digital booking and ordering, as well as sustainability, in line with growing environmental concern. Make it easier for customers to book, order and connect with you online and via social media.
Think about locally-sourced ingredients or plant-based menus to meet growing demand in this space.
Health and fitness
The health and fitness space has been booming for startups and side hustlers, particularly on social media, allowing personal trainers, nutritionists and fitness fanatics to reach a huge audience with engaging, accessible content.
The body positivity trend has been particularly popular in the last couple of years and looks set to continue. Voices in the industry are increasingly focused on health and fitness in a holistic sense, encouraging proper nutrition and exercise for the sake of feeling good rather than just looking good.
Courses in personal training, nutrition, and mental wellbeing are widely available, so consider how you’ll offer something different. This is a highly-saturated space with everyone from qualified doctors-turned-Instagram-health-gurus to gym enthusiasts sharing online workout tips.
If you’re serious about building your side hustle in the health and fitness space, do your research, find your niche and focus on upskilling in an area you’re really passionate about. Passion and personality will go a long way to building a successful brand and becoming a voice of authority.
Unsurprisingly, selling online was a very popular side hustle idea from our survey respondents, with eBay and Amazon the top platforms. In addition, over three quarters of all the entrepreneurs who took part in our survey envisaged their future business relying on ecommerce.
Whether you’re setting up a shop on eBay or creating your own website, there’s a lot to think about when starting an ecommerce business. We’ve pulled together this helpful guide which covers some things to consider when starting an ecommerce business. There are also key ecommerce trends which might serve as inspiration.
Personalisation is big in the world of ecommerce as businesses look to drive conversion and retention by creating individual experiences for customers. AI and AR are also growing rapidly, enhancing the online shopping experience and allowing businesses to learn more about their customers.
Other more familiar trends which are still growing include video, more ways to pay, such as Klarna, and of course, sustainability. Ecommerce is a top choice for those looking to start their side hustle and run a business from home, so why not check out some of our top tips on how to start an ecommerce business?
Fancy yourself as a bit of an IT whizz? Our survey participants certainly did, with many of them selecting IT business or consultancy as their side hustle of choice. But how can you turn your passion into a viable business in one of the most competitive industries around?
According to LinkedIn, consultancy marketing is increasingly moving towards long-term strategy rather than short-term projects.
Other trends include increased digitisation and making use of digital transformation tools as a way of driving innovation and automation. Demand is high but clients are also asking for more from their IT consultants, so make sure you’re prepared to move with the times and stay relevant.
Web design or website and app development is a great side hustle option for those with the right skills, and can be run from home easily. Companies who lack these skills in-house will often enlist the help of freelance designers or developers to help them with web or app development.
Much like ecommerce, there are trends to keep an eye on for 2023 and beyond, including AI, voice search technology, adapting for users that have turned on dark mode and more video. Others which have been on trend lists for years but shouldn’t be ignored include page speed, accessibility and mobile optimisation.
If you’re wondering how you might fund a side hustle such as web application development services, which often requires expensive equipment and programmes, you can have a look at the small business loans available to help you grow your company.
If you’re a natural wordsmith with impeccable spelling and grammar, you could launch a side hustle in writing. There are lots of options for writers including proofreading, copy editing, self-publishing or even blogging. It requires minimal equipment and can be done from home.
There are many different formats and types of writing to choose from, and plenty of ways to grow your skill set. For example, SEO copywriting is integral in the online world, and understanding why this is important and how to optimise copy for search engines is a coveted art.
Alternatively, you could turn your hand to writing product descriptions, social media captions, or get more creative with campaign work. There’s also still demand for print advertising as well as blogging, email marketing and script writing. The possibilities are endless!
What Is a Side Hustle and What Does It Involve?
A side hustle – also known as a side job or side gig – is another job in addition to your full-time job or main source of income. It’s usually used as an extra source of income, but it can also be used to build skills in a different area or to follow a passion.
Those looking to set up their own business may also start a side hustle to make sure their idea is viable and worth committing to full time.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Running a Side Hustle?
As with most things, running a side hustle has both benefits and drawbacks. Here are a few of the key ones to consider.
- It provides an extra source of income. Running a side hustle in addition to your day job means more money coming in. If you’re looking for some extra income or need to pay off debts, side hustling could be for you.
- It allows you to upskill. If you’re looking to gain new skills that can’t be obtained in your current job, working a side hustle can help. It’s handy if you’re looking to move into a different industry or field but don’t have the right experience.
- You can follow your passion. Let’s face it: not everyone gets to do what they love for a living – sometimes we all need a job that pays the bills. But if you’ve got a passion you’re keen to pursue, a side hustle is a great way to establish whether you can make a career of it.
Even if you’re not looking to go full time with your side gig, it allows you to engage with interests not met by your current job, and might even help you to feel more fulfilled. It also diversifies your income sources and helps build confidence.
- Think about what time you can dedicate to a side hustle. If you work full time, running a side hustle will increase your hours and reduce your free time for everything else. Consider how much more you’re willing to give – or how much you’ve got left in the tank.
- You might need to spend money to make money. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but worth noting if you need extra cash to make ends meet. Depending on the type of business you choose, you may need to invest initially, even if you’re able to find funding.
- Having two jobs can be stressfuI. If you’re starting your side hustle as a way to leave your full-time job, this might not be a problem, but it’s worth making sure your side gig has legs before you burn any bridges. Here are more tips on when your side hustle can be turned into a full-time enterprise.
If you need some support setting up your chosen side hustle, we can help you get your company set up and you can work with our team of experts who’ll be happy to help you make your dream a reality.