Do you ever wonder how much money people make from side hustling? What about how engaged these people are at work? Whether you are thinking about getting a side hustle, wanting to know more about side hustles as an employer, or somewhere in the middle–I have some great content for you today. Let's dive deeper into side hustle statistics based on my original research with 500 men and women living in the United States.
Related Reading: 50+ Career Development Ideas That Actually Work + A Notion Template
What Is A Side Hustle?
A side hustle or a side job is any additional job you take on. These jobs can help you generate extra income, help you explore a creative passion, or something in between.
Side hustles can look different for people depending on their employment status. Around 57% of the respondents to my survey were employed for wages, but some were self-employed, unemployed, or students. The definition of a side hustle can be pretty fluid, which is excellent for anyone who wants to make some extra money.
1. Why Did You Start Side Hustling?
For the first side hustle statistic, let's look at why respondents started side hustling. This question was a multi-select question to capture the breadth of why someone might start side hustling.
It's no surprise that 53.6% of respondents say they started side hustling to make extra income. As we'll see later in this report, side hustles can make a lot of extra income for anyone who has one.
I was also excited to see that 24.8% of my respondents started to explore a passion project. Our day jobs aren't always as creatively fulfilling as we want them to be, and that's okay as long as you have an outlet for all your creative energy.
Another use case for side hustles is helping employees or students gain skills to give them a competitive edge. Many HR leaders have been discussing The Great Resignation. Millions of employees have left their current roles to chase better-paying jobs at companies they love in 2021. Having a side hustle can help you gain the new skills and experience needed to go after these new opportunities. Survey respondents understood this because 20.4% said they were side hustling to gain experience for the job market.
I saw a significant gap in why different genders decided to start side hustling. By far, women wanted to start side hustling to make extra income (62.43%.) Men were slightly more likely to start side hustling to gain experience for the job market or explore a passion project. These results might speak to the gender pay gap and women needing to seek outside work to make the money they need to survive.
It is worth noting that this was a multi-select question, so we know that male and female respondents had several reasons for wanting to start their side hustle journeys.
2. How Would You Rate Your Day Job And Side Hustle?
Next, I wanted to see how people would rate their day job and their side hustle. Respondents were asked to rate how much they enjoy their day job and side hustle separately using a 5-star system.
On average, the people I surveyed enjoyed both their side hustle and their day job. Survey respondents were slightly more likely to rate their side hustles higher than their day jobs. Most employees stayed away from low ratings like 1-2.
It's good to know that survey respondents rated their side hustles so highly. In a world where some side hustles can be pretty predatory (i.e., driving for rideshare services or babysitting), it's good to know that people are doing things they enjoy.
Based on gender, it seems that men were slightly more likely to rate both their day jobs and side hustles five stars. I surveyed more women than men, so the fact that there are more five stars from men means they enjoy their jobs and side jobs more. Luckily the gap is mainly explained in four-star ratings, so women still enjoy their work.
3. Do Side Hustlers Want To Quit Their Day Jobs?
There is a current misconception that all side hustlers secretly want to quit their day jobs to do their side hustles full-time. For example, many predatory MLMs and not-as-predatory sites about side hustling encourage employees to take the next step. So, for the next set of side hustle statistics, let's uncover what side hustlers feel about quitting their day job.
For many of the side hustlers I surveyed, this wasn't the case. Instead, survey respondents were split. 49.2% of survey respondents wanted to quit their jobs, while 50.8% of respondents said they didn't want to quit their jobs.
Depending on the demographics, these results may change. For example, 57.72% of the men I surveyed wanted to quit their day jobs for their side hustles. However, only 40.94% of women wanted to leave their jobs for their side hustle. This might speak to the conversation we had earlier about women getting side hustles to make extra money. Women have more income to make up with their side hustles. Women need more time before they're willing to leave their day job for their side hustle (if they ever decide to leave.)
4. What Is Work/Life Balance Like?
Running a side hustle while also working full-time or being a student can be challenging. I asked survey respondents to describe their current work/life balance in one word.
While there were many positive responses like good, amazing, great, and balanced, things weren't all great. Some respondents shared that their work/life balance was hectic, chaotic, unbalanced, and exhausting.
Overall, many side hustlers need to do a better job of taking care of their mental and physical health. Balance is essential to make sure that you can provide your best work at your full-time job and while working on your side hustle.
Work/life balance is divided for both male and female respondents of my side hustle survey. When I broke down responses between male and female respondents, I saw similar words being used to describe work/life balance from both parties.
5. Are Bosses Supportive Of Side Hustlers?
Did you know that 63.4% of people say their bosses are supportive of their side hustle? I didn't know until I was looking into this survey's data! I was expecting this side hustle statistic to lean more towards bosses being unsupportive.
Unfortunately, this overall statistic is a bit misleading when you look further into the demographics of this survey. Men are much more likely to have a supportive boss. In fact, 73.98% of men share that their boss is supportive of their side hustle. Unfortunately, only 53.15% of women feel that their boss is supportive of their side hustles. 40% of women feel like their bosses are neutral in their support of their side hustles. In an ideal world, I'd love to see the gap between women and men close on this issue so women can feel comfortable chasing the side jobs that make them more money.
How Do You Talk To Your Boss About Your Side Hustle?
Now that we understand that there can be such a stark contrast between how supported women and men feel, it might be worth understanding how to talk with your boss about your side hustle.
First, you should never feel obliged to talk to your boss about your side hustle. As long as you aren't breaking company protocols with your side hustle, you can feel free to keep those parts of your life separate from each other. Go through your employee handbook and contract with a fine-tooth comb. Pay special attention to any conversations around non-compete agreements. Make sure that you are keeping your side hustle and day job as separate as possible.
If you need to talk to your boss about your side hustle, play up the benefits of your side hustle. Talk about how it makes you more creative, helps you get comfortable pitching and public speaking, or gives you time management skills. Share some of the lessons you've learned while holding a side job because these lessons may positively impact your work.
If you see your side hustle growing quickly and you decide to leave your job to pursue your side hustle full-time, take your time when having this conversation with your boss. If you are careful not to burn bridges, they may become your next client or customer. After you leave, make sure you are extra careful when dealing with their clients. It might even be a good idea to avoid their client list entirely out of respect if you sell a similar product or service.
6. Are Side Hustlers Engaged At Work?
The next question I asked the survey respondents was how much they agreed with the statement, “I am involved and engaged at my main job.” I feel like there is a misconception that employees who have side jobs can't be loyal or excited about their main job (whether that's working at a bank or being a parent.) While there could be some bias in these answers, 89.8% of respondents agreed with this statement.
If we break down this question by gender, there isn't much difference to spot. Male and female respondents both rated themselves highly on this question. Since I can't see employer responses to this question, we'll assume that everyone is engaged and involved in their primary jobs.
7. Do Side Hustlers Make Better Employees?
For the following side hustle statistic, I asked whether side hustles made respondents better employees. 78% of respondents shared that they felt that their side hustle made them better employees. This is an encouraging statistic for employees who want to pursue side hustles but might be afraid of their relationship with their employer. The skills employees learn in their side hustles can have a net positive impact on them.
Surprisingly, there was a bit of a gap in this question when you break it down by gender. 84.55% of male respondents say their side hustle has made them a better employee, while only 71.65% of female respondents said it did. Overall, both genders felt that having a side hustle made them better employees.
8. What Kind Of Side Hustles Do People Have?
Next, let's talk about the different types of side hustles that respondents held. I made this question a multiple-select question because I knew respondents were likely to have several side hustles. For example, I have a blog, and I also freelance for companies. I wanted to be able to capture the vast array of side hustles people might have.
Overall, freelancing/consulting was the number one side hustle held, followed by gig economy work, and investing.
As I looked at these results, I noticed that women were largely over-represented in the other category. I wholly admit that my responses were potentially a bit biased toward work that men were more likely to do. I didn't add some jobs that might be traditionally more feminine, like caretaking or cleaning. Women were represented in the categories I shared, but I could have spent more time crafting the categories to ensure that various jobs were seen.
Other Side Hustles Survey Takers Held
So, what kind of jobs fell into the other category? Here are just a few of the jobs respondents shared. Check out The Happy Side Hustle Planning Kit on my main site, The Happy Arkansan, because I mention 50+ job ideas in that download.
- Substitute Teaching
- Lawn Care
- Store Clerk
9. How Much Money Is Made With Side Hustles?
To wrap up this survey, let's go over some vital side hustle statistics: how much money can you make with a side hustle? Overall, my survey respondents made a variety of amounts from their side hustle. On average, most people made between $201-$500 from their side hustles.
- 49.4% of respondents made $500 or less.
- 50.6% made $501 or more.
When you break it down by gender:
- Most men fell into the $501-$1,000 category.
- 41.9% of men made $500 or less.
- 58.1% of men made $501 or more.
- Most women fell into the $251-$500 category.
- 56.7% of women made $500 or less.
- 43.3% of women made $501 or more.
Side Hustle Statistics Survey Methodology
I used a survey tool called Pollfish to connect with 500 people located in the United States.
This survey initially reached 766 people. I asked a qualifying question to disqualify everyone who didn't have a side hustle. Ultimately I ended up with 500 participants.
There were a few questions that could have been worded differently to get better results. For example, the question on money made from side hustling and types of side hustles held. If I do another report like this, I will provide a specific time frame and be more inclusive in my side hustle categories.
Here is everything you need to know about the demographics of survey participants:
- Male: 246
- Female: 254
- 16-17: 1
- 18-24: 52
- 25-34: 174
- 35-44: 182
- 45-54: 56
- >54: 35
- Arab: 11
- Asian: 14
- Black: 58
- Hispanic: 30
- Latino: 6
- White: 353
- Multiracial: 9
- Other: 3
- Prefer Not To Say: 16
- Middle School: 12
- High School: 108
- Vocational/Technical College: 50
- University: 160
- Post-Graduate: 170
- Under $25,000: 52
- $25,000 and $49,999: 87
- $50,000 and $74,999: 76
- $75,000 and $99,999: 61
- $100,000 and $124,999: 62
- $125,000 and $149,999: 58
- $150,000 or more: 83
- Prefer Not To Say: 21
Conclusion: Side Hustle Statistics You Can Use
Do you currently have a side hustle? As we discussed today, side hustles can be extremely helpful and help you make more money to pay bills or save for important purchases. I hope these side hustle statistics gave you some details you can use to plan your own side hustle or justify your side hustle at work.
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