The rise of the side hustle arguably began some years ago, for the US anyway, being added to the Urban Dictionary in 2006 (a sign it’s now a ‘real thing’), but over the past couple of years, we’ve been experiencing not only a rise in the number of us embarking on a side hustle but in the discussion around them too.
What is a side hustle? It’s the projects we engage in, persist and persevere with outside of our careers and vocations which bring in the pennies to pay the bills. These side hustles are often born with an aim to grow, often with the aim of making money and really building something too. I guess we could call it a part-time job or a hobby but in the sense that the term is being used in the business world, this buzzword tends to be used for a job or project which has a little more direction and drive behind it.
The side hustler is the next generation’s entrepreneur, and generation Z is full of budding entrepreneurs already, turning 18 and building their visions here and now. “A recent survey of business owners found that it’s Generation Z that express the most entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, with 78% of 16-to-24 year-olds saying they wanted to run a business when they were a child.” However, don’t be fooled, this generation are not the only ones who are at it. There is a strong community of side hustlers to be found in Generation Y, with 44% of millennials holding down more than just their 9 to 5; mid 20 to mid-30-year-olds are utilising the tools of Generation Z such as Instagram, podcasts and Youtube to change the direction of their careers entirely. In these circles, you’ll also find an unmeasurable level of positivity and support for the rise of the side hustle and the projects of their peers. So yes, these side hustles can become the main hustle, they can evolve and mature into the real deal which pays the bills and then some.
Should then, employers be concerned about their employees passionately pursuing their side hustles? Many organisations support their employees’ side hustles; some prevent this by ensuring, via contract, that no other occupations can be taken up by their employees.
If employees are spending their evenings and weekends working, crafting or growing their side hustle, this may impact on their work-life; they may suffer from tiredness in their day job or a lack of concentration due to this or due to a, now, split focus.
For many employers, there is also the worry that if the side hustle takes off, they will lose a member of staff and obviously, if the side hustle is industry-related there is the worry of competition – a point of discussion for a different time perhaps. But by forbidding this choice of your staff, you’re encouraging a layer of secrecy – if the side hustle is going to happen, you can’t stop it but you can control whether staff are transparent and honest with you about it.
Employees are adding another string to their bow, if their side hustle is industry-related then the company could potentially benefit from new knowledge or skills that the individual is gaining as a result.
They are also working on their own work-life balance, something that employers can only do so much to improve. Gaining their own fulfilment and satisfaction outside of work will make for a happier more productive member of staff. These kind of qualities are qualities you want in employees, they are eager to learn, self-starters, personality traits to be encouraged not squashed.
The rise of the side hustle is changing the entrepreneurial landscape; it’s a trend that’s already growing and in certain areas could soon be booming, so the question really is how will you approach this, either as an employer or the side hustling employee?