The term side-hustle might not be used all that widely in the UK, but the concept itself is not just well understood but widely practised. In fact, side-hustling might rank right up there with remote working as one of the major trends of the 21st century and by all appearances, they are both only set to grow. In fact, side hustling and home working often go hand-in-hand, although this is not a given. For example, there are numerous side-hustling jobs in delivery.
The basics of side-hustling
The basics of side-hustling are fairly simple. You have your main occupation, plus an extra job “on the side”. In principle, you could be a paid employee at your second job, but in practice, it’s far more common for side-hustlers to be freelancers or sometimes “workers”. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that it can vastly reduce the potential for friction with your main employer and the second is that it can make it easier to deal with HMRC.
Employers may not be able to ban you from taking a second position as a paid employee, although they are very likely to be able to place restrictions on what you can do, but if word gets out that you are “moonlighting” somewhere else, it may cause issues at work. For example, employers may be fairly sympathetic if you need to leave early occasionally due to family commitments, but rather less so if they know that you’re rushing off to get to your other job.
HMRC, by contrast, doesn’t have a problem with you having two paid jobs, but you might find it takes longer than you’d like for them to figure out your tax situation and that’s assuming that you have a fixed income in both jobs. If your income is variable, then you may find your tax goes all over the place and you just have to hope it’s right at the end of the year.
Self-employment avoids both of these issues. You choose when you work, so you avoid conflicts with your main job and you just fill in a tax return at the end of the year and pay your bill. Of course, it’s a good idea to set aside money for your tax liability, just in case anything happens to your main job and you don’t get the funds you expected.
Side-hustling into a new career
Side-hustling can be a great way to make a gradual career transition. Essentially, you build some new bridges before you cross your old ones (hopefully without burning them behind you). Once you’ve established a baseline level of credibility (and income), you can decide if you want to make the jump to doing it on a full-time basis.
Side-hustling to finance other ventures
You can actually use one side-hustle to finance another and there are a couple of ways you could go about it. Let’s say you have a main job which covers your expenses, but not much more, so you start a side-hustle. Having paid down any consumer debt (not necessarily mortgages or student loans), you put your side-hustling money to one side either as savings or as investments. Savings are safer, but investments can produce better returns.
Once you have built up enough money, you give up (or at least reduce), side-hustle A and focus on side-hustle B. For example, if you’ve been side-hustling as a freelance writer, you could transition to creating your own blog. In the early stages, there will be set-up costs and, unless you are very lucky, you will earn little to no income, but if you build your blog properly, you could reap the rewards later and potentially even plough some of the profits back into savings and investments to finance a new side-hustle.
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