This week, we dive into what the rise of side hustles means for both individuals and businesses.

One hustle is never enough

Why hustle culture has taken off – and shows no sign of slowing down.

Janet Stone

Creative

5 minute read

The word ‘pivot’ might have been one of the most over-used words of the past couple of years, but it speaks to the need to adapt.

While some businesses adapted by creating new products (e.g. StageKing’s IsoKing) and developing their online presence, individuals faced with the reality of reduced working hours needed to pivot their thinking and look for an extra stream of income.

The phrase “necessity is the mother of invention” comes to mind. An earlier version of this phrase by Plato says, “our need will be the real creator"1 – and with the need to find an income, people created. Combine this need to create with extra downtime and people had the perfect conditions for brainstorming a new business idea.

In the first six months of 2021, 152,000 new businesses formally registered in Australia, compared to 113,000 for the same period in 20192.

Now, with technology at your fingertips, a fast-changing world, and new ways of working thanks to the pandemic, conditions continue to be ripe to develop and grow side hustles.

In short
  • Factors such as inflation, the rising cost of living and slow wage growth might mean side hustles become a thing of necessity for many people.
  • Established businesses can capitalise by creating products that specifically target customers who are self or seasonally employed.
  • Regardless of the outcome of your start-up, it is an opportunity to expand your skill set and adapt, which can only help your career in the long run.
Digital innovations enable side hustles

When it comes to making your side hustle idea happen, all the tools to create and market it are within easy reach. With businesses like Squarespace, you can create a website without knowing html. And with companies like Canva, you can create designs without any experience. Then when you’re ready to market your side hustle, social media sites offer ready-made platforms for getting your word out.

The potential to become a main hustle

Another great thing about side hustles is that they have the potential to become a main hustle. In fact, some of the world’s best-known companies started as side projects. Instagram founder Kevin Systrom was working at Nextstop.com as a project manager when he started building the app. Plus, Twitter, Spanx and WeWork all started as side hustles.3 So, dream big.


“History has shown that those who are ready and able to adapt, prosper.”

The ongoing need for a side hustle

The side hustle revolution was born out of a time of great uncertainty – a pandemic. While we may have regained some certainty in our lives, other factors such as inflation, the rising cost of living and slow wage growth might mean side hustles become a thing of necessity or income insurance for many people, rather than a passion project4.

How to capitalise on the side hustle trend

Established businesses have a great opportunity to tap into the market of side hustles and start-ups. A recent report from Twitter explained “People living the ‘hustle life’ need products and services to enable their passions. Empathize with their specific challenges and consider how your brand can alleviate pain points and empower their journeys.”5 For example, Westpac 'Home Loans for Business Owners' simplifies applications and approvals for customers who are self-employed and are borrowing under their own name - perfect for those with side hustles or start-ups! 

What can we learn from the side hustle movement?

A key takeaway from the rise of side hustles is the benefit of adapting to changing circumstances. History has shown that those who are ready and able to adapt prosper. The First Industrial Revolution brought about the invention of the steam engine and the loss of manual labour jobs. The Second Revolution saw the rise of the internal combustion engine and inventions like the telephone. The Third Industrial Revolution – the Digital Revolution – saw the development of computers and the need for people to re-skill. And with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, developments such as artificial intelligence, mobile supercomputing and genetic editing will again see the need for people to adapt to a changing work market. So, even in the absence of pandemics there will always be the need to adapt. And even if your side hustle doesn’t turn into multi-million-dollar business, it could give you the opportunity to expand your skill set and that can only be a good thing.

on employee loyalty
It might seem counterintuitive to actively encourage employees to get a side hustle, but companies are doing just that. From building confidence to acquiring hard and soft skills, side hustles make employees better at their job, and as digital agency Tribal Worldwide says, even means their staff are more valued by clients.

Written by Janet Stone, editing by Adelaide Anderson, 52 Words by Abby Clark, key visual by Alice Guo, page built by Laura Murphy & Alice Guo.
References
  1. Benjamin Jowett, Plato's Republic: The Greek Text, (1894).
  2. Jennifer Duke, Record number of companies launched as COVID drives contractors, entrepreneurs (2021) Sydney Morning Herald.
  3. Frank Olito, 13 famous companies that started out as side hustles (2020) Business Insider.
  4. Lisa Andrew, As the Economy Recovers During the Pandemic, has ‘Hustle Culture’ Reached a Peak (2021) Go Banking Rates.
  5. Twitter, Hustle Life: Cultural insights from the conversation on Twitter (2020) Twitter.

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CX Lavender acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
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