One fifth of Scots have a ‘side hustle’


One fifth of Scots have a ‘side hustle’ to boost their incomes and pursue their passions, according to research. 

The new study found that 20 percent of Scots have already turned a hobby into a side business alongside their career, while a further 52 percent aspire to. These findings are in line with the national average, as 23 percent of UK adults have a side hustle.  

However, Scots generate significantly more income than average from their side hustle, with earnings of £8,494.08 per year post-tax vs. £6,604.80 nationally. This puts Scotland in third highest place in terms of side hustle earnings, after Northern Ireland (£8,814) and London (£9,112.68).

The research was commissioned by Vistaprint – a leading online provider of marketing products and services to small businesses.  

Arts, music and entertainment was found to be the most popular side business sector in Scotland, which includes artists, DJs and designers.

Beauty and wellness, such as hairdressers, personal trainers and dieticians, and home improvement including self-employed decorators and gardeners are also popular areas. 

Generating extra cash was found to be the top reason Scots either have or would like to start a side business (58 percent).

But 32 percent also started a side business to be their own boss and 30 percent did so to pursue their passion.

A desire and drive to follow one’s true calling is further supported by the finding that nearly half (47 percent) of Scots can’t find a full-time job related to their interests.

Simon Braier, Customer Strategy and Insights Director from Vistaprint said: “Scottish employees have embraced the UK’s side business economy, as they increasingly look for financial, professional and personal fulfilment that may not be present in their main job.

“While many side hustles are born out of a personal interest or hobby, they don’t have to stay small.

“Side business owners can test their venture’s long-term viability, growth and marketing opportunities in a safer setting, helping them to ease the transition into full-time entrepreneurship and spend more time doing what they love.”

The study also found that nearly two thirds of Scottish entrepreneurs (65 percent) treat their enterprise as a ‘5-9’ and work on it in the evenings to fit around their career.

A further 46 percent work on their side business at the weekends, while 21 percent do so during breaks in their full-time job.

A typical side business takes up 14 hours a week, while 19 percent of those polled spend 20+ hours a week working on it.

It also emerged that over one-third (39 percent) of Scottish side business owners hope to grow their venture in the future.

But an average of £2,359.98 a month post-tax would need to be made to consider turning a side project into a full-time job – a figure well above the average side hustle earnings.

When asked for their advice on growing a side business, the top tip from successful side hustlers in Scotland is focusing on tasks that generate the most revenue. This was followed by ensuring your side business is something you enjoy, networking with people who run side businesses, setting long-term goals and diversifying your products/services.

Vistaprint’s UK Market Lead Charlotte Holmes-Darby said: “To grow your side business, you need to think and act like a full-time entrepreneur.

“That also means you should be prepared to seize any opportunities that come your way and enable you to take your side hustle to the next level.”

Percentage of adults who have a side business by region:

  • London (41%)
  • Northern Ireland (34%)
  • North East (26%)
  • West Midlands (24%)
  • East Midlands (23%)
  • East of England (21%)
  • Scotland (20%)
  • Wales (19%)
  • Yorkshire and the Humber (17%)
  • North West (15%)
  • South West (14%)
  • South East (12%)

Average yearly side business earnings (post-tax) by region:

  • London (£9,112.68)
  • Northern Ireland (£8,814)
  • Scotland (£8,494.08)
  • Wales (£6,358.56)
  • Yorkshire and the Humber (£6,150.60)
  • North East (£5,947.80)
  • South West (£5,741.40)
  • North West (£5,694)
  • East Midlands (£5,565.48)
  • West Midlands (£4,746.36)
  • South East (£4,615.68)
  • East of England (£4,376.64)

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