Making the most of side hustles
Many of you will have ideas about your future career and study plans. These ideas are rightly based around what you are interested in subject wise and what motivates you. The start of these careers can seem some time away though, with a few years of university study to get through first. So, what could you do now to earn some money, whilst developing some skills and experience? Have you thought about having a side hustle whilst studying?
Before we talk through how to get the most of a side hustle, it might be worth highlighting what they actually are. A side hustle is seen as a way to earn some extra money alongside what you are doing with most of your time, whether that’s study or a job. There are several examples, but for instance it could be things like netball umpiring, teaching piano or selling on Etsy. The opportunities are endless! And the good thing is that the side hustle doesn’t have to link into your long term career plans.
As a starting point, you need to think through what you are good at and interested in. Do you like working with other people and playing a sport? Could you get a coaching badge or train as an umpire/referee? It might be worth speaking to your PE department about this, or your club if you play outside of school. Is there something you are particularly interested in and know more about than most of your friends? I once talked to a year 10 who had developed a real keen interest in watches. He turned this into a very useful side hustle, by buying and selling them, and in the process earning well from it. How about you? What hobbies have you got that might be ‘monetized’ here?
If you can’t immediately think of something you want to do on your own, it might be worth talking to your friends. How about you do something together? You will all have complimentary skills that you could combine. Could you plan an event as a one off? For instance a ball or end of year celebration that you could sell tickets for.
There are of course some practical issues to think through. As a ‘quick fire’ list of issues:
Will you need to spend time or money getting the skills? This shouldn’t hold you back, you just need to plan how, when and where this will fit into your schedule.
Where will the opportunities be? Are they likely to be close to home or will you need to go somewhere for a block of time to earn? There will be employers who will have accommodation, for instance farms or equine employers can provide this. Or will you be able to do something online?
If you are being ‘employed’ by a company, check out whether they will be employing you and paying tax for you or whether you are working for them as a freelancer. Your parents will be able to help you with this, from their own experience. Alternatively, this article from the Princes Trust will help, https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/help-for-young-people/tools-resources/business-tools/self-employment.
If you are planning an event or interacting with the public, you’ll need to check what insurance you need or that this is provided at the location.
Do you want something that will carry on as a longer term side hustle in the future, for instance at university? Or are you looking at ‘one off’ money making opportunities now?
Does what you are planning to do offer any benefits to your future plans? Some side hustles will have obvious links to a future university course or career, which will be useful for your UCAS application. In all honesty, most side hustles will develop some skills that will be useful, regardless! Problem solving, communication, team work, negotiation skills are all skills that employers want for their better paid jobs. Want to know more? https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/applying-for-jobs/what-skills-do-employers-want.
Failure isn’t a problem! Quite often people learn more from when something has not gone to plan. It will help you do things better in the future.
Just in case your side hustle starts to earn you enough to pay tax or incur costs HMRC have a very useful youtube channel with lots of useful information https://www.youtube.com/user/hmrcgovuk By the way, you won’t start paying income tax until you earn over £12,000!
Hopefully this blog has given you something to think through. If your side hustle doesn’t turn you into a full time entrepreneur or get you onto The Dragons Den, it’s worth being aware that lots of graduates end up working for small and medium sized companies in the future. Why is this relevant to a blog about side hustles whilst studying? Employers will be really impressed by you demonstrating that you’ve given it a try. What you’ve learnt from your experiences will develop your commercial awareness and insight, which employers will be build upon while you work with them.
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