What’s This Whole Side Hustle Thing All About, Anyway?

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I’m all about the side hustle here at Boost My Budget.

‘Side hustle’ is a bit of a buzzword in the personal finance community. If you follow any kind of money blogs or you’re interested in making money online, you’ve likely come across this term before.

However, I was talking to some of my offline friends recently and no of them had a clue what I was going on about. I realised maybe this term isn’t used so much in the ‘real world’!

I decided to write this post to explain what a side hustle is, why you need one and why I’m so obsessed with them.

Hopefully you’ll be inspired to get your hustle on by the end of this post!

What is a side hustle?

A side hustle is basically anything you do in addition to your main job to make some extra money. It also goes by the name side job, side gig, side project, second job, and many more.

Side hustle might be a recent term, but the concept is nothing new. People have been working more than one job forever. More traditional side hustles might include bar tending, babysitting, dog walking, cleaning or delivering pizzas – anything you can pick up in shifts to work around your main job.

One thing that is quite new is that nowadays, more and more people are turning to the internet to side hustle.

The internet makes a second income accessible in a way that it never has been before. There are so many different side hustles that you can do online, from home, at a time to suit you.

There’s also the relatively new concept of the sharing economy. This refers to companies like Uber and AirBnB, which allow people to make money by sharing their services or resources with strangers.

This means there is really no excuse for not starting a side hustle. Even if you only have one hour spare a week, I guarantee there is something you can be doing to make money!

side hustle with laptop and books

Why you need a side hustle

First off, I want to acknowledge that some people have no choice but to work a second job. Huge respect to those people, and I didn’t want to ignore the fact that some people are hustling just to get by and pay the bills.

But even people who make a comfortable living from their day job can benefit massively from a second source of income! If you’re thinking you don’t need a side gig, you’re wrong. There are a whole heap of benefits that might surprise you.

Here are just some of the reasons you need a side hustle right now:


Let’s face it – this is the main reason most people decide to pick up a side hustle.

In my case, I originally aimed to earn an extra £100-200 per month just so I didn’t have to worry about spending money so much. I wanted to take a bit of pressure off financially, and go from ‘just getting by’ to having a bit extra to save or splash out now and again.

A side hustle is perfect if you have a particular financial goal you’re working towards. Maybe you want to pay off debt, save for a big goal such as a house deposit or holiday, or make extra cash to invest. Having a particular purpose for your side hustle will keep you motivated.

And have you ever thought about early retirement? You can knock years off your working life if you put your side hustle earnings into a retirement fund. If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is!

A mug with the word HUSTLE. You just have to keep hustling if you want to see results!

Safety net

A side hustle is probably the most effective safety net against life’s ups and downs.

In 2016, research by Shelter found that one third of UK working families were only one paycheque away from losing their home. Similar research in the US found that over half of Americans had less than $1,000 to their name.

Do you? How long could you survive if you lost your job?

It’s not nice to think about, but if you one have one source of income, you are 100% at the mercy of your boss, your company and the economy. A side hustle can provide that essential buffer just in case everything goes pear shaped at your day job.

Side hustles can also be more important for women, who tend to be more vulnerable in the workplace as I wrote about here.


One completely unexpected benefit of the side hustle for me is the confidence it has given me in my own earning power.

It’s not a nice feeling when your income is in somebody else’s hands. I know I’ve spent a lot of energy in the past feeling upset and angry when I didn’t get jobs, pay rises or bonuses that I was expecting.

Once I started side hustling, I realised that I had the power to make my own money, independently of my job. I don’t care so much about little setbacks at work because I know that I can look after myself one way or another!

girl relaxing in car. the side hustle will take care of you!

Become an entrepreneur

A lot of awesome businesses started as side hustles.

Personal finance classic The Millionaire Next Door, whose authors have spent their careers studying the wealthy, found that the majority of millionaires are self-employed. So if you want to build real wealth, you might want to consider becoming an entrepreneur – and a side hustle can be a low-risk first step in that direction.

Whether your ultimate goal is to be self employed or not, who knows where a small side hustle could take you.

It gives you options

A side hustle offers freedom and flexibility.

Maybe you’d like to work from home, or travel more. Maybe you even want to live abroad. Maybe you have kids, and you need a flexible schedule to work around them.

Whatever the reason, having a side hustle or multiple streams of income means you are less tied down to your day job, and more able to say yes when life throws new opportunities your way.

You’ll be more inclined to take chances if you know you’ll have a bit of money coming in.


If you aren’t relying on your side hustle to make ends meet, why not take this opportunity to follow your passion.

A side hustle is the perfect channel to express your creativity or indulge an interest. This is so valuable if you feel stifled or bored in your day job.

If you love writing, write a blog or ebook. If you’re crafty, sell your creations on Etsy. Love yoga or spin class? You could take it to the next level and train as an instructor.

Basically, take this opportunity to look for ways to make money out of the activities you love. Even if your hustle falls flat, you’ve still got your day job, and at least you got to spend some time developing a hobby.

talent for pottery? Maybe you can sell it to make some extra cash from home

New skills

You are guaranteed to learn a lot of new skills when you pick up a side hustle.

Some of them might even lead into a new career!

Obviously the learning curve will be sharpest if you pick something completely different from your day job.

For example, one of my side hustles is blogging. Honestly, before I started I thought blogging was just writing. In fact, I’ve been learning about SEO, social media management, creating graphics, even some (very) basic HTML – as well as improving my writing skills.

Even if your side hustle uses the exact same skill set as your day job, you will still learn loads of essential business skills such as pitching and invoicing.

How do I get started?

Glad you asked! I have loads of different side hustles which I work on to varying degrees.

In fact, one reason I started Boost My Budget was so that I could test out different side hustles until I find the long term plan that’s going to work for me.

Some of my favourites are:

Matched betting – this is a way of making guaranteed profit from bookies’ special offers. It’s not gambling – by ‘matching’ your bet on different betting sites you should not lose money, and in fact make money every time.

Selling on Amazon – this is a new side hustle I started recently. By using Print on Demand companies such as Teelaunch, you can start selling your own products instantly, with no upfront costs.

Website testing – this is definitely one of the easiest and most accessible side hustles to start. Earn $10 for 20 minutes’ work giving your opinion on a website.

Money-making apps – I use apps like OnePulse, CitizenMe and Spare5 to make money on the go in my spare time. They only bring in a few pounds a month, but they’re easy and fun to use.

Blogging – it takes time to build up a profitable blog, but after a year or two it’s possible to make a full time income from blogging – and it’s a lot of fun too!

20 Cogs – If you need some quick-ish cash I really recommend 20 Cogs (now Cashback). I’ve just cashed out over £130 for a few hours’ work. Make sure to read the warnings in my article though, and it doesn’t really work as a long time side hustle.

There are literally hundreds of other things you can to earn extra cash alongside your day job.

Here are some other ideas – I haven’t tried them all myself, but these are all legit, tried-and-tested ways to make extra money!

I recommend thinking about what your talents are, what you enjoy, and how much free time you have. Then brainstorm ideas that fit the bill!

Take a look at my money making Pinterest board for more ideas too.


Do you have any side hustles? I would love to hear what you do to make extra cash. Let me know in the comments!

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What's this whole side hustle thing all about anyway? What is a side hustle, and why do you need one? Here are the reasons why I have side hustles, plus a list of the things I do to make extra money from home part time.

8 thoughts on “What’s This Whole Side Hustle Thing All About, Anyway?”

  1. I think a lot of people underestimate how hard it is to start a really profitable side gig. It takes many years of hard work and dedication. The easy stuff like Swagbucks pays peanuts

    • Thanks for the comment, Troy! I agree that it can take a long time to start something really profitable, but there are lots of things that most people can do to start earning money instantly, like selling clutter on eBay, matched betting (in the UK) etc. It definitely takes dedication to scale it up into a business though.

      • What tends to happen is that the easy money businesses get eroded and profit margins shrink. I remember a few years ago FBA used to be pretty easy. Then everyone started doing it, prices got pushed down and profits fell.

  2. This is a great explanation! Side hustle is actually an American term, which is why quite a lot of people haven’t heard of it. My side hustles have enabled me to pay off my debt (as of today!) and to be really positive for the future.I recommend them to everyone!

    • You’ve paid off your debt? Congratulations!!! You must feel amazing! Fantastic testament to the power of side hustles, and to your own hard work. And I didn’t know side hustle came from the US, but that makes sense – thanks!

  3. I found this blog by reading your 20 Cogs review and like the matter of fact, clear style. There’s a lot of hype and nonsense out there. I’ve just had a foot operation so looking at ways of using my time to earn extra alongside my main business.
    The one thing I’d flag about the side hustle is the potential for distraction from your main thing and life in general with potentially high effort and low returns. It takes a certain kind of person and determination to make it work..
    Do you have experience of trying taskrabbit for instance, or (maybe less on the hustle side of things) seen anyone get part time remote work like bookkeeping through sites?

    • Thanks for your comment, Daniel. I haven’t tried any of those sites myself yet. Side hustles can definitely become all-consuming, which can be good or bad, depending on what you hope to get out of it! I think they basically fall into two categories. Freelance/taskrabbit type jobs can be easier to manage and give instant rewards because you’re still exchanging time for money like in a salaried job. On the other hand, building up your own business can be a lot of hard work upfront with no immediate payoff, but potential better returns if you stick at it. I started off interested in the first category but have become more interested in the second since I started this site. I would love to hear how you get on earning extra money, and I hope your recovery goes smoothly!

      • Thanks for the response. Interested you started out looking at #1 and went for #2. Will follow your progress with interest and let you know if anything work outs particularly well for me!


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