Side Hustles UK: Epic List Of Side Hustle Business Ideas For 2021!

Apparently, 25% of all adults have a side hustle in the UK.

It’s fairly likely your office coworker is moonlighting as a yoga teacher or selling custom T-shirts on Etsy.

This very blog started as a side hustle (and now brings in a full time income!)

More and more people are open to the idea of starting a side hustle, but are not sure where to get started.

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Rest assured though, there are many side hustle business ideas out there for you to choose from – and we’re about to take a look.

This post contains affiliate links. If you sign up for some of the opportunities below, I may earn a commission – at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting my site!

What does side hustle mean?

A side hustle is simply a way of generating extra income outside of your main job.

Other terms for side hustle are side job, side gig, second job, side business, and so on.

For some side hustlers, it’s about earning a few extra pounds a month for beer money. While for others, it’s about building their side hustle ideas into something that will one day become their main source of income.

A side hustle can also be an excellent way to express your creative side, or learn or develop skills you don’t use in your main job.

Say you have an uninspiring supermarket job. A crafting side hustle might help you feel more fulfilled by tapping into some unused talent. 

If any of these reasons strike a chord with you, I’ve created the ultimate list of side hustle business ideas to get you started. Read on and see which side hustle idea floats your boat.

Side hustle business ideas

Here’s a quick list of UK side hustle ideas to inspire you:

  • Sell arts and crafts
  • Matched betting
  • Reselling
  • Selling digital prints
  • Blogging
  • Food delivery
  • Ironing
  • Freelance writing
  • Focus groups
  • Mystery shopper
  • Social media reviewer
  • Online English teacher
  • Sell stock photos
  • Graphic design
  • Publish an ebook or journal
  • Transcription
  • Proofreading
  • Create e-courses
  • Dropshipping
  • Dog walking
  • Airbnb
  • Uber driver

You’ll find more information on all of these below.

Want practical tips on starting a side hustle? Skip to the FAQ.

pinterest image titled 20+ side hustle ideas for the UK, and followed by a list of ideas, on a background of Big Ben

Side hustle UK facts

First, a quick look at the big picture of side hustling in the UK.

Hopefully this will convince you that the side hustle economy is here to stay. In fact, it’s a new way of working. 

  • 25% of UK adults have a side hustle
  • Side hustle income adds £72 billion to the UK economy (3.6% of UK GDP)
  • 73% of people with a side hustle started it to follow a passion or for a new challenge (i.e., not purely motivated by money)
  • 69% of side hustlers claim it makes life more interesting
  • On average, people with a side hustle say it contributes 20% of their income
  • 40% of adults without a side hustle are interested in starting one

Source: The Side Hustle Economy, Henley Business School

An infographic showing key statistics and facts about the state of side hustles in the UK and their impact on the UK economy.

These stats are taken from a white paper published in 2018. I couldn’t find any more up to date report, but I imagine the number of side hustlers has only increased over the last year with so many people furloughed or forced to change industry.

Can you afford not to have a side hustle?

Right, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Here’s a detailed list of side hustle ideas in the UK, and how you can get started:

Make money from arts and crafts

If you’re the arty kind and are good at getting creative, then selling your handmade goods could be the perfect side hustle idea for you.

There are millions of people selling handmade items such as jewellery, wall art, and even cookies on sites such as Etsy and Not on the High Street.

You might have a bit to learn about listings and keywords before you start getting those sales. But with a little bit of traction, this has proven to be an ideal side hustle for people in the UK.

a woman's hands making bead jewellery

By looking at what other sellers have to offer on the marketplaces, you’ll be able to find plenty of inspiration and settle on a side hustle business idea that will work for you.

If this sounds like an idea that could work for you, then now is the time to get crafty and begin to generate some cash.

More info:

Matched betting

One of my favourite side hustle ideas has to be matched betting. As side hustles in the UK go, this one is pretty awesome.

Matched betting is an almost risk-free way of making money from the hundreds of bookies out there. Many of these are keen to get your business and will offer great welcome bonuses in the form of free bets.

By learning about matched betting, you will learn how to use these free bets in a way that means that you always win!

In short, matched betting sees you unlocking the bonuses at the bookies and then using your free bets to cover all eventualities.

This is done by placing two bets: one at the bookie itself, and another on a site called an ‘exchange’ which lets you bet on an event not happening.

 

Sound a little confusing? You can read more about it here.

There are also companies like this one (I’m a member) that talk you through it and show you the best offers to do daily.

By spending a few hours a week you can easily earn yourself an extra £300-£400 a month.

What’s more, it’s tax-free! Yes, really.

Although matched betting is not gambling, HMRC class your income as gambling wins, which means they don’t want to hear about it.

More info:

Make extra cash by reselling

As side hustle ideas go, selling unwanted items on eBay has to be one of the best known.

However, with the likes of eBay, and even Facebook Marketplace, there is no need to stop with just selling your own old items. It’spossible to generate a healthy second income by sourcing discounted items purely with the intention of selling them on.

This could be picking up second-hand branded clothes from a charity shop, picking up cheap electronics on clearance, or scouring car boots for items of interest.

More info:

Selling digital prints

If the side hustle ideas so far seem a little hands-on, this is one idea that can lead to you generating a passive income (once the initial work has been put in, of course).

a man in yellow jumper making notes on a notepad, sitting by a laptop

With websites such as Canva, it is easier than ever to create stunning digital designs that can be used as greeting cards and even wall art. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials showing you exactly how to do this.

Once you have created your masterpiece, you can upload your digital file to sites such as Etsy.

When someone buys from you, the whole process is automated: Etsy will send the customer the file, and they print it at home. You can sell the same item 100s or 1000s of times over, with no additional work or expense on your behalf.

By filling your Etsy shop with plenty of great designs, you can soon be generating a healthy second income in a way that is hands-free.

Get blogging

It is now easier than ever to get yourself online and start running a blog. Starting a side hustle through a blog is a great way of earning some additional money each month.

If you’ve got something you want to share, then there is bound to be a way that you can make money from it. Whether you want to write about the ‘joys’ of parenting or the latest vegetarian recipes, there are people out there who want to read about it.

The trick is finding something valuable you can share or teach. If you can answer people’s questions and help them overcome their pain points, the money will follow.

Blogging for profit is a long-term game. It will take a good few months to start getting some traffic to your blog, but once you do the earning potential is huge.

How do you make money from a blog? There are dozens of ways to monetise. You can include affiliate links in your posts, display adverts, write sponsored posts for brands or even sell products to your audience.

More info:

Get paid for ironing

Ironing? It’s a bit like Marmite: you either love it, or you hate it.

If you’re the former rather than the latter, then why not look at an ironing service as a side hustle business idea?

There are people out there who have an absolute hatred of ironing and others who simply struggle for the time (perhaps they’re already working and running side hustles of their own!). Whatever the reasons, there are people out there who are willing to pay you to do their ironing.

You can charge by the item, the weight, or even by the hour. However you choose to charge, you are sure to be able to bring in a good second income by offering an ironing service.

Become a freelance writer

As far as side hustle ideas go, freelance writing is up there as one of the best.

The truth is that content is everywhere. Whether you’re reading a blog post, browsing a website, or even reading a product description, it’s likely that somebody, somewhere, has been paid to put those words together.

Why not make that person you?

With freelance sites such as Fiverr and People Per Hour, it is easy to create a profile, list your skills and start to get writing jobs.

a freelance woman sitting at her desk with a laptop in front of her and a pen in her hand, thinking

With these freelance sites, you can create a lisiting for clients to find you, or you can also  search for job postings that appeal and put in a bid.

With freelance work, it is worth considering the time that it can take to apply for jobs and liaise with new clients. Alternatively, by signing up to write for companies such as Text Royal and Copify, you pick and choose when you take on jobs and all the admin will go through them.

More info:

Extra cash for speaking your mind

Companies love to know what people like you and me think about their products and services. They’re also prepared to pay to find out.

Now, we’re not talking about online surveys as a side hustle (although that can work too) – a far more profitable option is taking part in focus groups, and providing in-depth opinions.

Companies such as Testing Time will pay you around £20 per hour to take part in a focus group discussing a product or service. What’s more, many of these take place online meaning you don’t even have to travel anywhere.

Then there is Respondent where you can easily earn £200 + by sharing your thoughts – if you fit the profile the researchers are looking for.

More info:

Unleash your inner James Bond!

a mystery shopper wearing big sunglasses and holding a finger to her lips, in a clothes shop

Ever wanted to sneak around taking covert photos without the risk of being arrested? If so, then this side hustle idea could well work for you.

Of course, we’re talking about mystery shopping. Getting paid to go into shops that you already shop in anyway is a great side hustle in the UK.

It could be that you’re asked to go and check out a certain display, take some photographs to prove it was there, and then answer a few short questions.

Or it could be that you’re asked to go in and buy a certain product and report back on your experience.

Signing up to do this side hustle is easy: you can simply download a mystery shopping app on your phone from Be My Eye or Field Agent. There is also MarketForce that offers this kind of work, and the pay can be pretty rewarding for a few minutes of work.

More info:

Social media reviewer

How about starting a side hustle just by using social media? If you’re anything like me, you’re probably spending a fair bit of time on Facebook.

That being the case, why not get paid for being there? As annoying as we may find some of those ads that interrupt our newsfeeds, you can actually earn some decent cash by taking a look at them.

A company called Appen will pay you for reviewing Facebook ads and then answering a few questions about them. Spending an hour a day doing this can see you bringing home an extra £300 or so a month.

Those who can, teach

Online English teacher is one side hustle idea from home that is great for those in the UK, as native English speakers are in huge demand worldwide.

How do you fancy taking an hour out and chatting to a businessman in Dubai who wants to brush up on his English? How about an entrepreneur in Iraq who is about to launch a new product, but needs to get some practice in before a presentation?

If this sounds appealing, you can earn around £10 an hour just for having a chat.

With Cambly, you do not need any teaching qualifications. You just need to demonstrate that you are a native English speaker and that you come across well online.

There is plenty of flexibility with this side hustle and you can choose the hours that you want to work.

And if you do have a teaching qualification such as TEFL, there are even more companies ready to hire you.

More info:

Money for photographs

Some of the best side hustle business ideas come from looking at your hobbies: if you’re going to be working above and beyond your day job, then you may as well make sure that it is something that you enjoy.

Taking photographs is a hobby for many, and one that can easily turn into a cash generator.

Who doesn’t have a mobile phone that is full of hundreds or thousands of photographs? If you’ve got a few that you’re just a little bit proud of, then you can start to make money from sites such as Shutterstock and Alamy, or even apps such as Foap.

Get creative with logo design

a freelance graphic designer at her desk with compuet and pot of colourful pencils

When you start to look at side hustle business ideas, you’ll realise that there are a whole host of other people doing exactly the same thing.

Sometimes these people invest a fair bit of money to get their side hustle off the ground and want a truly professional and polished finish. As part of this, they’re going to need a nice new logo to place on their website and business cards.

This is where you can come in.

There is plenty of free software out there that will allow you to put together a great-looking logo in a matter of minutes. Take the time to learn how to use the software, and you could soon be getting paid for your designs.

Fiverr is a great place to start selling these when you are just getting started.

Get yourself published!

It was once the case that to publish a book you’d have to be something quite amazing. A master of the written word, with a whole lot of luck to get spotted before your book found its way into the shops.

Of course, the arrival of ebooks changed all of this: anyone can publish a digital book themselves and have it up for sale in just a few clicks.

It doesn’t have to be the next Harry Potter. Short, practical ‘how to’ guides also sell well, so as long as you have something to teach, you can turn it into a book.

Maybe you’re not the best at writing, perhaps you don’t want to produce an ebook and you want a physical book that people can hold?

If that’s the case then Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KPD) is a great side hustle business idea for you.

With KDP, it’s not about writing the next best-selling romance novel. What people are selling, and selling well, are things like journals and logbooks.

By uploading your design to Amazon, once a sale is made they will print a physical copy and post it to your customer. Once you’ve put in the work of uploading designs, this becomes a great form of passive income.

Make money by delivering food

a happy pizza delivery man in red with a stack of pizzas, showing an open pizza box

Not all side hustle ideas see you being tied to the laptop!

There are still plenty of offline opportunities to make some extra cash while being out and about. One such way is by making food deliveries.

Companies such as Uber Eats and Just Eat are constantly on the lookout for drivers who can deliver fast food straight to people’s doors.

With flexible hours, this could be the ideal side hustle for you if you’re not interested in starting a business, just a reliable source of cash.

Are you paying attention?

Have you spotted how many mistakes I’ve made so far? How many spelling mistakes, poor word choices, and passive voice misuse?

If you have then that’s great, but you don’t have to go and hurt my feelings by telling me 😉

Instead, you can use these skills for another side hustle business idea: proofreading.

We’ve already looked at the amount of content that is being produced on a daily basis (remember we looked at freelance writing?), and sometimes people need to know that they have got it just right before they hit that button to publish.

It could be blog posts, academic essays or even a full-blown novel, but you can earn well by highlighting other people’s mistakes.

Are you a good listener?

It’s okay, I’m not in need of a shoulder to cry on (well, not right now anyway), but you can make some decent money by using your listening skills.

As extra income ideas go, transcribing is a pretty decent one. It may be that someone needs a recorded business meeting transferred to paper. Maybe a YouTuber wants their latest video transcribing to turn it into a blog post.

Whatever the reasons, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how in demand this service is.

a woman in blue denim shirt sitting in front of her laptop, wearing headphones

So, how do you get started with this side hustle? You could offer your services on freelance sites such Fiverr, People Per Hour, or even through your own website.

You can also sign up with one of the many companies hiring transcribers directly, such as Way With Words.

More info:

Are you a know-it-all?

No, I’m not looking to insult you! Did you know that you can start a side hustle by selling your knowledge?

You may not be a know-it-all, but I’m pretty sure that you know a lot about something. Whatever that ‘something’ may be, you can be sure that you can make money by selling a course.

You are an expert by knowing more than someone else: you don’t literally have to know everything about a topic. Taking your knowledge and transforming it into an online course means that you can sell that knowledge time and time again making it another passive income side hustle idea.

Sites such as Udemy allow you to upload your courses and expose them to a massive audience.

More info:

Create an online store and start drop shipping

Ever fancied starting your own online store when you’ve considered starting a side hustle?

Many people do but are put off by the idea of their home quickly turning into a warehouse and finding the time to schlep to the post office over and over.

That’s where drop shipping comes in.

By using the likes of Shopify, you can quickly and easily get your store up and live. When it comes to stock, you source a supplier who’s happy to ship directly to your customer.

When your customer places an order, you then request that the seller posts this out directly on your behalf.

This means that you never even have to see or handle the stock, and you do away with the risk of buying stock up front that might not sell.

Take a walk on the wild side

Well, with dogs anyway!

a female dog walker strikes a pose with lots of small dogs on leads

If you’re an animal lover, and if you’ve got some spare time on your hands this is a side hustle that you can easily start.

There are plenty of dog owners out there who clearly love their pets but who are unable to walk them. Loving their pets as they do, they’re not going to deprive their four-legged friend of its daily exercise and so are quite willing to pay someone to provide it. There’s no reason why that person can’t be you.

Sites like Rover or Tailster will connect you with dog owners (for a fee), or you can go old-school and post flyers around your area.

Dog walking can be a great way of earning some extra money on the side. And it can help to keep you in shape too!

More info:

Sign up to Airbnb

If you’ve got a spare room you could use this to start a side hustle. There are countless properties listed on Airbnb that owners rent out to holidaymakers.

You don’t need to have a whole house to spare to cash in though. A spare bedroom can be all that it takes to get to see you earning a second income.

So, who is likely to pay for a stay in your empty bedroom? Put simply, it could be anyone!

From business people on overnight trips to couples looking a night away somewhere new, there are plenty of people who will snap up a room that is in a great location.

Even without the luxury of a spare room, Airbnb offers a wealth of ways to make money. You can give guided tours of your hometown on Airbnb experiences, or provide cleaning or Airbnb management services to busy property owners.

More info:

Driving the night away

If you own your own car, this can open up a whole host of good side hustles.

One of these is joining the army of drivers at Uber.

Why Uber? Well, driving here means that there is a great deal of flexibility, and that is exactly what you need from a side hustle.

You could drive a few hours on an evening, or maybe a lot more hours over the weekend. Some people just pick up passengers on their regular commute too and from work.

Either way, it is your choice, but you’ll be getting paid and starting to build a worthwhile second income.

More info:

Side hustle UK FAQs

Hopefully this list of side hustle ideas has given you some inspiration and got you thinking about how you can use your talents and time to make extra cash!

Maybe you have some questions on the practical side of how to start a side hustle in the UK. Let’s see if we can answer them:

How much can you earn on the side before paying tax in the UK?

Fear of the taxman stops a lot of people from starting their side hustle.

Well, good news! You can earn up to £1,000 per year in extra income without having to declare it, or register as self employed.

It’s called the trading allowance if you want do your own research.

This means if you just want to dabble in a side business, sell a few things on eBay or do the odd babysitting shift, you don’t have to worry about the formalities.

However, I would recommend keeping a spreadsheet of your earnings and be aware if you start to earn close to £1,000 – it can add up quicker than you think!

Once you earn over £1,000 from your side hustle you’ll have to register with HMRC as a sole trader (self employed). This is relatively quick and easy – just sign up online.

Don’t worry – registering as self employed won’t affect your day job. Your employer doesn’t even need to know.

You’ll have to submit a self assessment tax return at the end of the tax year. This is also done online, and it’s much simpler than it sounds.

For a side hustle, you don’t need detailed accounts: just the total you earned, and the total expenses you spent on your business.

Keep a record as you go along and you’ll be all set to go at tax time.

Which side hustle pays the most?

There’s no simple answer to this question. Many side hustles have the potential to develop into awesomely profitable businesses!

But if money is your end goal, I would look at a business that you can scale up exponentially.

This means something that has the potential for passive income, where your money is not tied to your time.

For example, freelance writing can be profitable, but at some point you’ll hit an income ceiling. There are only so many articles you can write each week, and only so many clients you can take on.

But if you look into blogging instead, there’s basically no ceiling.

Each article you write on your blog can continue earning money for years into the future, as long as people keep finding your posts through Google, clicking on ads and so on.

This blog started as a side hustle and now I earn several thousand a month. I’ve also started a few other blogs in different niches, and I hire freelance writers so I can grow faster.

See the difference?

So, personally I would definitely recommend blogging as one side hustle that pays the most! But you can look into other online business ideas such as dropshipping, YouTube, selling digital products or print-on-demand.

Basically anything that you can scale up that isn’t tied to your time. 

What side hustle can I do?

Even armed with some awesome side hustle ideas, it can be tricky to pick one. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you find the best side hustle for you.

What are your goals?

Do you need money fast, or are you aiming to build an extra income stream to support your long-term plans?

If you need reliable income right now to pay your monthly bills, perhaps you should go for a more traditional second job such as food delivery or driving for Uber.

If you can fund your lifestyle right now but hope to upgrade in the future, invest your time in building a side business such as blogging or dropshipping.

It might take several months until the money starts dripping in, but the long-term potential is far greater.

Who are your contacts?

Think about your network and the circles you move in, as this will make it easier to get clients. It’s not the be all and end all but it can certainly help get a new business off the ground!

For example, perhaps you’re a stay at home mum, and you know your kids’ friends’ parents struggle with childcare in the school holidays. Why not look into childminding as a side hustle?

If you are a blogger, offer services such as freelance writing to other bloggers in the Facebook groups and other communities you’re part of.

What are your interests?

Remember what we talked about at the beginning of this article? A side hustle is not just about making money – it’s about self development and fulfilment.

Ultimately, you want to feel like your side hustle enriches your life. If you pick something you don’t enjoy, you’ll burn out.

The best side hustle is when you find a way to monetise something you enjoy!

What about start up costs?

There are many side businesses you can start for free or next to nothing. Online businesses such as blogging are generally very cheap.

But others – such as crafting – might involve some investment in materials.

Make sure you research potential costs thoroughly, so you don’t end up losing money unexpectedly!

It’s also worth keeping in mind that certain side businesses might require a license. For example, childminding, pet sitting and producing cosmetics are a few that come to mind.

Licensing requirements are generally location-specific, so check with your local authority if you’re concerned.

Ready to start a side hustle?

In this post we’ve looked at 22+ side hustle business ideas for the UK.

We’ve also talked about some common questions people have when starting a side hustle, such as  how to choose a side hustle, and how to pay tax.

I hope this post has given you some inspiration and left you raring to go!

Starting a side hustle was truly life-changing for me. My side hustles developed into a full time business, and allowed me to quit my job, take time off to spend abroad, and be at home for my baby.

Do you have a side hustle? Are you ready to start one? Do you have any more questions I can answer? Share in the comments!

Related posts:

You should also check these side hustle stories: a series of interviews with real people earning real extra cash with side hustles in the UK.

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