Why now is a good time to start a side hustle
A year ago, we surveyed 400 small business owners who turned a side hustle into a small business to understand how they did it and what it took. Even though the business world has changed drastically in the last few months, some of the insights we gained from the 2019 Hiscox Side Hustle to Small Business Study are more relevant now than ever.
Fact: People are still starting businesses despite the pandemic. Although businesses are being started at a slower rate, down 20% from a year ago according to the New York Times, entrepreneurs are still finding ways to be innovative and start something new even though the state of the economy seems uncertain.
The Hiscox Side Hustle to Small Business Study offers some inspiration to those who are looking to start a business but may be nervous to do so during a pandemic. Here are some reasons starting a side hustle now could be the right move for budding entrepreneurs who don’t want to put their dreams on hold.
Even though times are tough, you may have a chance to do something you love
A lot of top talent is being furloughed due to the pandemic. So what are these engineers, designers, and marketers, for example, doing with all those skills? If you were laid off or furloughed because of the pandemic, use it as motivation to fulfil a dream of working for yourself.
For a majority of the small business owners we interviewed (54%), starting a side hustle came about as a result of personal zeal; founders either wanted to fulfil a dream of starting their own business or to follow a passion. So it’s not necessarily stellar economic conditions that inspire entrepreneurs to start something new – the driving force is enthusiasm to do something they love.
And it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen innovation come out of a financial downturn. During the Great Recession, successful businesses Uber, Slack, and Whatsapp were all started.
Many small businesses started with a side hustle
Seventy-six percent of survey respondents said their current business came from their first side hustle. Your big idea may start with a hustle, but chances are good that it could turn into something bigger than that.
If you have been laid off, this could be your opportunity to turn a hobby or something you love into a small business. It’s also a good time to consider starting a side hustle since many employers are allowing employees to work remotely, making it easier to start something on the side.
Our study found that the average time entrepreneurs spent working on their side hustle was 20 hours per week while still being employed full time. With so many people working from home, that eliminates commute times, giving you the extra hours you need to dedicate to a side hustle.
It could be the right time to try a new industry
Some industries are thriving during the pandemic while others are merely surviving. For instance e-commerce businesses are doing better than most. If you were or are working in an industry hard hit by the pandemic, now might be a good time to make a change.
Out of the small business owners we spoke to, 55% said they started a side hustle in a different industry.
Angela Yungk was one such entrepreneur who went from being a school teacher to starting her own art magazine. She started her business with her long-time friend and we documented their story of turning a side hustle into a small business.
Bonus: Team up with a partner
If you’re ready and raring to go, consider starting a side hustle with another person like Angela did. Maybe you know the time is right to start something of your own but you’re nervous to take the plunge. To mitigate the risk, team up with a partner.
Respondents in our study made it clear that they prefer work with a partner rather than go at it alone. They are happier sharing the risk (and success) with someone else. Nearly three in four (72%) said they had set up their side hustle along with someone else, commonly a family member or partner (39%).
Even though it may feel like a scary time to chart a new course, don’t let that hold you back from fulfilling a lifelong dream of being an entrepreneur. There will always be obstacles to getting a business off the ground, but the current environment may just offer a unique opportunity to start something successful.
To hear from entrepreneurs who turned a side hustle into a small business, check out our podcast.