Behind the side hustle

More US millennials have a side hustle than ever before. But are they working for the money, or peace of mind?

As a company on a mission to help people feel confident with their money, we asked millennials with side hustles why they do it: is it keeping their bank balance healthy, or their brain?

Side hustles aren’t a new thing.

But Google searches don’t lie. Interest in the term “side hustle” has been increasing for the last two years.

So, what’s a side hustle?

It’s a way of earning a bit of extra money 💸 alongside a full time job 💼 And there are lots of different ways millennials are doing it.

Handmade crafts Pet and babysitting Freelancing Retail Restaurant and bars Delivery driving Cleaning jobs Baking Coaching or teaching Selling stuff online

And we mean different.

Selling shark teeth Donating sperm

Even…

80% of millennials with a side hustle
do it to bring in extra money

The big question is: why?

Some said they did it for fun, to keep busy, or to learn new skills. But mostly, side hustles mean extra money 🤑. And for a lot of people, they’re a way out.

“I’m paying off debts and loans”
“I’m saving to leave my boyfriend”
“It’s so I can afford to live”
“I want financial freedom”
“I’m saving money to be on my own and out of a bad relationship”
“So I can travel and go on vacation”

There’s a reason they need more money.

Six out of ten side-hustling millennials aren’t happy with the earnings from their full time job. In fact, most aren’t happy until they hit $60,000 per year.

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Women are less happy with their earnings than men.

Over a quarter of the millennials we surveyed are struggling to make ends meet.

Let’s get specific. Who’s struggling the most?

- 26-36 year olds
- Those earning under $40,000
- Women

“I want to be able to pay bills without worrying”
“I have a lot of student loan debt. I can't afford to live without extra pay”
“The cost of living keeps going up”
“My wages don't match the cost of living”
“I need to cover expenses for my kids. Day care is very pricey”
“I don't make enough to pay the bills”

But is it all about the money?

For a lot of people, the extra cash 💰 is a bonus. But a side hustle can help out in other ways.

57% of millennials say their side hustle
helps them develop as a person
“It lets me live better, give myself extra responsibility and build myself into a much better person”
44% of millennials with a side hustle
say it teaches them skills that make
them more valuable as an employee
“It gives me a deeper knowledge and understanding for my main job”

Especially if they work in…

Side hustles are also a good way to meet new people…

“It's an opportunity to make a little more money while meeting people and having fun”
“It makes me get out of the house and develop more friendships”
“I meet a lot of new friends. People depend on me and that's why I keep doing it”

...and they help make career moves, too.

“Being a writer is what I want to be. My day job ain’t that”

Most of all, side hustles are good for the brain.

Side effects include: staying sane, being in control and getting stuff done 💪

46% 46% of millennials with side hustles said
it has a positive impact on their
mental health (especially men)
“My main motivation is to save for a house, but also I've found it to be good for my mental health. It keeps my busy and out of my own head”
45% of millennials agree their side hustle
makes them more organized
“It helps keep my mind busy and active. I think that we should always be challenging ourselves and learning new skills whenever possible”

These mental health benefits came up again and again.

Finding purpose Having control Anxiety relief Relieving boredom Helps my PTSD Personal growth Building new relationships

What’s the pay off?

How much spare time do side hustles take up, and how much money 💰 comes in? Let’s look at the numbers...

This is how much money people earn from their side hustles each year.

And this is how much time they’re spending on a side hustle each week, on top of a full time job 👨‍💻

On average, millennials earn $8.64 per hour from their side hustles.

That’s above the federal minimum wage of $7.25*, but well below the national living wage of $15.85*.

What’s the long game?

For most millennials, a side hustle is a normal part of life. One they’re not giving up any time soon.

The majority of people we surveyed expected to keep theirs for years to come, and 15% would like it to become their full time job. We found that men are the most likely to save the money, 💵 invest it, and expand their side hustle in the future. But everyone’s dreaming big.

“It's my escape from my full time job. Performing is what I really want to do with my life”
“It's my passion and what I want to do for my career, but I need a full-time job while I get established in my side hustle”
“I want my band to be famous”
“Creating art relieves my stress and selling it helps pay the bills!”
“I want to be wealthy some day”
“I want to gain more financial independence. I am dreaming big”

Tell us: what’s your side hustle helping you save for?

@simple

Methodology

We surveyed 2,010 US millennials aged between 18-36 years old with full time jobs and a side hustle between 15th - 19th February 2018.

Sources:

Figures for National Living Wage and federal minimum wage were correct at time of publishing.