How to start a side hustle

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A little extra cash is always welcome, but it can make all the difference when things are tight. Here we explore how starting a side hustle could help boost your finances.

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Starting a side hustle, like taking on a few cleaning jobs, can increase your income, but is it right for you?

What is a side hustle?

A side hustle is a way to make extra money. It can either be something you do besides your main job or because you’re keen to venture into a new line of work.

These unsecured and secured loans could help you grow your business, cover running costs or even fund a new company.

Some people hustle just to get a little more money, for a rainy day or to contribute to a specific goal, such as a wedding or holiday. In any case, it should be something you enjoy, or at least don’t find too arduous – otherwise, you’re unlikely to stick to it and you could end up losing money.

A side hustle may or may not require any great degree of experience, expertise or specialist qualifications. For example, anyone can trade via eBay. But setting up a small accountancy business alongside your main job isn’t realistic unless you have the right qualifications and accreditations.

In most cases, a side hustle tends to be a hobby that you monetarise through enthusiasm and a little graft. If it works, it can make a big difference to your household income: some two in five businesses started as a side hustle.

What are the most popular side hustles?


Rent out accommodation on a short-term basis - just make sure your place is insured, and that you have a plan in place to take care of the cleaning.

Artisan designs

Find a reliable print firm, such as; then sell your designs on t-shirts, mugs or whatever.


Write product or service reviews, or offer advice to attract subscribers and advertisers.


Naturally tidy? Consider setting up a domestic cleaning or ironing service.


If you drive, you could sign up to deliver packages for the likes of Amazon.

Dog walking

Just make sure you have dog walking insurance to cover you if something happens.


Should your passion be fitness, yoga or Pilates, you could offer online or one-to-one training courses.


Gain a reputation as an expert on a subject, be it fashion, films or food, and if you attract enough people, the advertisers will follow.

Music lessons

There are several ways to make money by offering to teach budding musicians. You can offer one-to-one lessons at your client’s home, provide online tutorials via WhatsApp or even create a lesson and post it on YouTube, making money through sponsorship and advertising.


Commuters will pay a pretty penny for places to leave their car close to their workplace or a train station.

Pet sitting

This is just like babysitting but for furry animals. You can look after a dog, for example, for anything from a few hours while the owners are at work or as long as a week or two while they are on holiday.


If you’re a talented snapper, you could make money from it. Visit sites such as Depositphotos and Shutterstock for more info.


If you have the right attributes, patrolling a site could bring in extra cash.

Selling stuff

Have a spring clean and pop your wares up on the likes of eBay, Gumtree or Vinted. If it goes well, consider buying from second-hand or antique outlets and reselling. You could also sell items that you make yourself on a site like Etsy.


 Several sites, such as Swagbags and Ipsos iSay will pay for your opinions.

How do you start a side hustle with no experience?

Anyone can start a side hustle, although some will require a little outlay for equipment or even insurance – but more on that later. Which side hustle you opt for will invariably be dictated by your preferences and lifestyle. 

You should choose something you’re enthusiastic about. Otherwise, you’ll not give it the required level of attention needed to succeed.

What should you consider when setting up a side hustle?

The side hustle you opt for will depend on your answers to a whole range of questions, including:

  • Is there a market for the goods or services you plan to offer?

  • How much time can you devote to your side hustle?

  • How much ready cash do you have to get started?

  • Do you need any specialist equipment or skill sets?

  • How are you with dealing with the public or other businesses?

  • How tech-savvy are you?

  • How organised are you?

  • How good are you at self-promotion (e.g. via Facebook, eBay, your own website, blog, etc.)?

  • Would your side hustle have mass appeal or is it niche?

What is the best side hustle to start?

This depends on whether you want to turn your hustle into a career or keep it as a way of making a little extra on the side, also whether it has the potential to make money over the long-term or not. 

Selling your CD or book collection will probably be a relatively short-term occupation compared with renting out your garage to commuters.

Also, your skills and abilities will play a big part in which side hustles are best for you.

Enthusiasm is key to success. For example, if you love dogs and like being outside, plus you can afford to buy leads, pet toys and dog treats, being a dog walker could fit the bill. You may need to research any bylaws or restrictions (Royal Parks, for example, require dog walkers to hold a licence). But, apart from that, you should be up and running in no time.

When does a side hustle become a business?

A hobby that earns you a little extra won’t require you to contact HMRC unless you make £1,000 or more in a single tax year. 

At this point, you’ll need to complete and file a self-assessment tax return, which will work out how much income tax you may need to pay. 

Even if you’ve earned more than £1,000 you might not pay much, if any, as you’ll only be taxed on earnings over the tax-free allowance, which is £12,570 for the 2023 to 2024 tax year.

If you fail to file earnings of over £1,000, you can expect a £100 fine, plus interest on your late payments. 

Top tip: A cash management system is essential. Either open a new account or just record your side hustle takings in an account book or digital spreadsheet.  

Do I need insurance to run a side hustle?

If you’re set on starting a side hustle, consider the following insurance options before moving forwards:

  • Public liability: if you’ll come into contact with the public, delivery services, customers, clients or anyone else, you need public liability cover

  • Professional indemnity insurance: If you’ll be writing reviews or giving advice, perhaps as part of a blog, you should consider getting professional indemnity insurance, so you’re covered should you be sued for plagiarism or libel

  • Employers’ indemnity insurance: If you employ anyone (other than a direct family member) you must get employers’ indemnity insurance, to cover you if they fall ill or get injured through their work

Choose the best business bank account for your company with features including no set up fees.

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