A teenager’s guide to the side hustle
Fancy earning money doing things you enjoy, and can fit in around your other commitments? A side hustle could be right up your street. Journalist Ruth Bushi explains how it works
A side hustle is a part-time job you get to pick and manage for yourself. The good news is, it means you’re the boss of you – but you also have to keep yourself on track to make a go of it. The best part is, side hustles give you the chance to work alongside your studies, an apprenticeship or full-time job commitments, and you can start one whenever you like – for extra cash, work experience or just as something to do. And while a side hustle might start out as a way to make some extra cash, some go on to become successful enough to turn into full-time careers. So, whether you want a bit of fun or a business empire, there’s a gig out there for you.
How much does it pay?
According to a 2023 survey by Finder.com1, 76% of Gen Z have a side hustle outside of their regular income – with an average weekly income of £223.
It can also take time to get clients, find work or get into the swing of things – so you could earn nothing at all at first, then anything from a few quid to a few hundred pounds a go. But even when you’re starting out, your side hustle will give you work experience and personal satisfaction – just remember they don’t always mean fast or regular cash.
Think you might need seed money or advice to get your ideas off the ground? The Prince’s Trust Enterprise scheme offers business grants and support for 18-30s, while the NatWest Dream Bigger programme offers free entrepreneurial skills training for 16-18-year-old females. Try searching online for your situation – you might be surprised what you find.
If you’re looking for a second job to help cope with money worries, make sure you grab any advice and support funds going as well. Citizens Advice can help with this.
2. What makes a good side hustle?
Lindsay McGlone, 23, has a side gig helping businesses run social media, specifically placing emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility. She says the secret is to “do something you’re passionate about. That's how something becomes sustainable.”
So how do you work out what that is? Ask yourself:
- What do you love doing so much it doesn’t feel like work?
- What are you good at?
- When and how often will you work?
- Do you want to be the boss or work for someone else?
Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down as many answers as you can think of for each question. For instance, you might dream of being a paid musician, being really creative, or only want occasional bar work without a lot of admin. Once you have your list, do some research to suss out how other people with your interests bring in extra cash.