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Side hustle statistics: Everything to know about side hustles

The side hustle industry is booming in the U.S., with people turning their hobbies and skills into businesses they can earn some extra money from. But what does the average side hustle look like? And how much money can you really make from one of these jobs?

We’ve put together some interesting side hustle statistics, so keep reading to find out more about the industry and those who are a part of it.

Key Statistics

Contents

What is a side hustle?

A side hustle, also known as a side gig or side job, is an additional occupation that brings someone extra money on top of their main source of income. Some of the most popular side hustles in the U.S. include selling clothes, making and selling crafts, delivery driving, and freelance writing.

One of the simplest ways to start a side hustle is to take a skill or hobby you already have and turn it into a business. This way you already have the foundations in place and you don’t need to learn a ton of new things.

How much do people make through side hustles?

The amount of money you can make through side hustles varies depending on the industry you choose to go into, how much time you put in and how you market your business.

Self’s survey found that most respondents (36.8%) earned between $100 and $499 per month from their side hustle. With the fewest number of respondents (2.3%) earning over $5,000 per month.

Most of those asked said that their side hustle earnings made up less than 20% of their total monthly earnings, while only 5% said their side job brought in over 80% of their monthly earnings. 17.3% of our responses said they earn less than $100 per month from their side job.

How much do you earn from your side hustle per month?

From the survey data we collected, side hustles bring in an estimated average of $897.04 a month. Of course, as the split of earnings shows, there are some side hustlers earning much more, and many earning much less.

That’s not to say it isn’t worth trying your own side hustle, though it may be difficult in the initial stages. There are plenty of people who turn a simple hobby like crocheting or gardening into something that makes them enough money to cover basic costs and afford some extra luxuries in life.

How do people spend side hustle earnings?

Of our respondents, over half (57.9%) said that they financially rely on their side hustle earnings month to month, even though 69.8% are working a full-time job. 34.7% said they use the money they earn from their side hustle to pay regular bills and household expenses. A quarter of people even said they wouldn’t be able to pay for their basic bills without the additional income.

Which of these best describes what you spend your side hustle money on?

These statistics show that an increasing number of Americans, even those in full-time employment, still rely on additional income sources to pay their bills and expenses. However, 32.2% said that they use their side hustle earnings for additional spending and as disposable income, and 29.8% said they invested the money or put it into a savings account. 

Most popular side hustles

When it comes to the most popular side hustles, there were a few that stood out from respondents. The most popular types of side hustles were related to online blogging and social media, with 16.6% falling into this category. The next choice was gig work, including working for platforms like Uber and delivery services.

Which of these categories does your side hustle fall under?

These were closely followed by freelancing and running online shops which each took 13.4% of the share. As we can see from this data, many of the most popular side hustles are online-based or run by online platforms and apps. The less popular side jobs were more traditional, including babysitting and dog walking.

Side hustles by age

A study by Self found that the majority of side hustles are being started by the younger generation, with 70% of those aged 18-24 saying that they were planning to start one. This was followed by the 25-34 age group, with 62% of them planning on starting a side hustle.

However, those in the older age groups like the 65+ category were much less likely to consider a side hustle, with only 33% saying they were thinking of setting one up. The general trend showed that as age increased, interest in starting a side hustle decreased.

Side hustle earnings by age group

There is a distinct difference in the side hustle earnings of different age groups in the U.S. From our survey respondents, those in the lowest and highest age brackets had the lowest estimated average earnings, with 18-24s averaging $533.43 per month, and those over 65 averaging $581.32 per month.

The highest earners were those in the middle, the 55-64 group earned the most with an average of $1,061.11 per month, and the 35-44s came second with $944.82 per month.

Age Group Estimated Average Side Hustle Earnings
18-24 $533.43 per month
25-34 $925.95 per month
35-44 $944.82 per month
45-54 $891.76 per month
55-64 $1,061.11 per month
65+ $581.32 per month

Who do side hustlers work with?

Our survey found that with 71.1% of those asked, the majority work on their side hustles by themselves. The next most popular set-up was working with a romantic partner, but this only took 13.3% of the share in comparison. The least common set up among respondents was working with multiple people.

Who do you run your side hustle with?

We also found that more than half of the side hustles mentioned began as hobbies. Out of those asked who said they had a side hustle, 60.5% said their side job initially started as a hobby or activity they enjoyed which they then started earning money from.

How much time do people spend on side jobs?

Our survey found that the most common amount of time people spend on their side hustles is 5-10 hours per week, with 32% of respondents. The next most popular answer was 11-20 hours a week, followed by those who spent fewer than 5 hours per week on their side hustle.

Only 2.3% said they spent more than 40 hours a week on their side job. But for those spending this amount of hours on their side job, when does it stop being a side hustle and become a full-time job?

How much time do you spend on your side hustle per week?

We also found that the most common time people worked on their side hustles was in the evening. A third of our survey responses said they spent time in the evening working on their side jobs. The least popular time to work on side hustles was the weekend, however, this still covered 18.2% of our responses.

When do you typically work on your side hustle?

How long have people been working on their side jobs?

We asked our survey respondents how long they had been working on their side hustles. The most popular answer was 1-2 years, with 20.8% of the group, closely followed by those who had been working on theirs for less than 6 months with 19.7%.

Over three-quarters (77.7%) of those who answered said they had been doing their side hustle for less than 3 years. So for most people, taking on side jobs is a relatively new pursuit, possibly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and a rise in the cost of living.

How long have you been working on your side hustle?

However, there was a near 50/50 split between respondents who said they started their side hustle as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and effects on the job market. In fact, those who answered ‘no’ that they didn’t start their side hustle because of the pandemic, were ahead by just 0.2%.

Fastest growing industries for side hustles

Being aware of some of the fastest-growing industries predicted for the next decade can help you choose a lucrative side hustle to pursue. If you already have particular skills or are looking to develop new skills in a certain area, these should give you some ideas. Here are some of the industries and job roles that are expected to grow quickly for side hustlers in the coming years.

Industry Expected growth in jobs by 2030
Personal care and services 21.7%
Computer and mathematical 14.1%
Arts, design and media 13.1%
Transportation and material moving 8.8%
Finance 8%
Installation, maintenance and repair 6.7%

Accounting and Finance

There are a lot of companies hiring freelance accountants at the moment. Every organization and business from every sector needs accounting and financial services. Things like tax filing, auditing, and bookkeeping can be carried out remotely by a freelance accounts professional. 

The finance sector is expected to grow by 8% over the next 10 years [3] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm, with increasing demand from small businesses and large corporations for these kinds of services. So, for people who have skills in finance and banking, this could be a great side hustle.

Digital Marketing

For freelancers looking to get into the digital marketing space, there are several routes you can take. Things like data analytics, branding, social media management, and search engine optimization all fall into this sector. 

Digital marketing professionals can earn up to $100,000 per year working freelance, so it’s a skill that’s well worth having. There was a 40% rise in online transactions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning companies are looking to market their products online more than ever. [4] Fastest Growing Industries for Freelancers https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleystahl/2021/01/07/7-fast-growing-industries-for-freelancers/?sh=3051b9d65fef

IT and Cyber Security

Since the beginning of the pandemic, cybercrime has increased by 600%, [5] Cyber Security Statistics https://purplesec.us/resources/cyber-security-statistics/ with a rise in scam phishing emails and messages from cybercriminals posing as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

With the increase in sophisticated cyber-attacks posing a threat to businesses, it’s expected that there will be a high demand for cyber security professionals to keep business networks protected from these attacks.

Virtual Assistant

There are lots of companies out there hiring virtual assistants to outsource admin and data entry tasks to. The work is varied and you can do it from the comfort of your own home as long as you have a computer and internet connection. Set the hours you want to work and take on tasks when it suits you.

In 2018, the outsourced services market was valued at $85.6 billion. A more recent report predicted that the industry will grow at a CAGR of 5% between 2020 and 2024. [6] Global IT Outsourcing Stats https://www.reportlinker.com/p02673147/Global-IT-Outsourcing-Market-in-Capital-Markets.html  For those who are looking for a side hustle where you can work flexibly on your computer, this industry would be a good option to consider. 

Life Coaching

A life coach’s work involves helping clients identify parts of their life that need development and improvement, whether that’s in their career, relationships, or otherwise. Interestingly, life coaching is the second-fastest-growing industry in the world, averaging an annual growth of 6.7%. [7] ICF Global Coaching Study https://coachingfederation.org/app/uploads/2020/09/FINAL_ICF_GCS2020_ExecutiveSummary.pdf

To become a life coach, you’ll need to be trained and certified, and life coaches aren’t state-regulated like therapists. Typically, personal coaches can charge between $75 and $1,000 per hour for their services. You can also choose hours of work and schedule appointments when it suits you.

Survey Methodology

We surveyed 1,113 American adults between February 11 to February 17, 2022 asking questions related to side hustles.

The respondents’ age ranges were:

The respondents’ genders were:

Sources

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