STUDY: Millions of Americans have a ‘side hustle’ to boost their incomes and pursue their passions

A study of 2,000 adults in full-time employment found that more than one quarter (27 percent) have already turned a hobby into a side business alongside their career.

Those with a side business add to their annual income with an average of $14,705.16 per year post-tax. And 14 percent of side hustlers report making up to $22,800 annually – well more than the U.S. federal minimum wage of $15,080 pre-tax for a full-time employee working 40 hours a week.

Generating extra cash was found to be the top reason Americans either have or would like to start a side business (62 percent). But 37 percent started a side business to pursue a passion and more than a third (41 percent) did so to spend more time doing what they enjoy.

“America’s side business economy is booming, as employees increasingly look for financial, professional and personal fulfillment that may not be present in their main job,” Simon Braier, Customer Strategy and Insights Director from Vistaprint said. “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 more than half of entrepreneurs (59 percent) treat their enterprise as a ‘5-9’ and work on it in the evenings in order to fit around their career. Another 48 percent also work on their side job during the weekends, while more than one quarter (27 percent) do so during the morning.

While growth is on the minds of American side hustlers, making that leap to full-time is still slightly out of reach for many. Respondents said they would need an average of $4,500 a month post-tax to consider turning a side project into a full-time job – a figure well above the current average side hustle earnings.

When asked for their advice on growing a side business, successful hustlers some great advice to share, including there top tips:

  1. Ensure your side business is something you enjoy
  2. Focus on tasks that generate revenue
  3. Build a strong social media presence
  4. Set long term goals
  5. Leverage word-of-mouth marketing
  6. Network with people who run side businesses

“To grow your side business, you need to think and act like a full-time entrepreneur,” Erin Shea, Vistaprint’s North America Market Director said. “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.”

For many small business owners, establishing trust and credibility can also be a challenge and is often a major driver for their continued success. The first step in most cases is creating a brand that resonates with your intended audience.

Polished branding starts with a unified look that brings the brand to life across every customer interaction. As a side hustle, HelloPride, an LGBTQ+ inclusive baby boutique, created a real brand that lives and breathes on its own. Every order they package and every pixel they publish online glows with their brand essence.

“From day one, we knew we wanted every part of our business to scream HelloPride,” Megan Hines, co-owner of HelloPride said. “We were motivated to start their shop when they saw a lack of inclusive baby gifts on the market. But our purpose goes beyond simply meeting a need in the marketplace. HelloPride strives to create a world where all families are empowered to celebrate their love and feel represented.”

This higher-level brand purpose doesn’t just give their customers something to buy, it gives them something to believe in.

“Creating a unified look and feel that gets attention, has helped to build trust and drives sales. And now, our goal of making our side hustle our main gig is closer than ever.”