If you’re considering a side hustle, read this article first. Some hustles are definitely more lucrative than others.
Somewhere in Denver, there’s an accountant who runs a thriving cosmetics business on the side. In Minneapolis, there’s an aerospace engineer who sells cat-themed t-shirts out of her garage.
Meet the side-hustlers — people who’ve set up secondary businesses outside of their day jobs.
The website TheHustle.co did a survey to learn more: What do these side-hustlers do? How much do they make? And how do they fund their pursuits?
A few of the findings:
• 35% of people have some sort of side-hustle
• Real estate is the most popular side-hustle, making up 11% of all secondary jobs
• Real estate is the most lucrative side-hustle ($90/hr)
• Farming is the least lucrative ($9/hr)
• The average side-hustle earns $12,609 on 11 hours per week (~$25 per hour)
• The majority of side-hustles are self-funded
• The average first-year cost of launching a side-hustle is $16,662
WHO WAS SURVEYED?
The results in this study are based on 3,560 responses from a survey sent out to The Hustle email list between October 3-8, 2018.
Respondents skew slightly male (56% to 44%), primarily based in the US (77%, compared to 33% international), and in the higher-income range.
On average, respondents are 34 years old, have an income of $91k (more than double the national average of $44.5k), and work 43 hours per week at their primary job.
The sample isn’t representative of the average American, but they still give an interesting snapshot of what mid- to high-tier earners do for work on the side.
WHO IS MAKING MONEY ON THE SIDE?
On average, 35% of respondents have some kind of side-hustle.
Men, those with less than a BA degree, and younger folks are more likely to start a side-hustle.
Interestingly, respondents with a high school diploma or associate’s degree are more, or just as, likely to have a side-hustle as those with a BA or higher.
But the biggest determining factor of whether or not someone has a side-hustle is the industry she or he works in.
Creative professions : particularly those rooted in art and media — top the list here: 8 of 10 graphic designers report having a side-hustle, along with 7 of 10 online media professionals, and 6 of 10 photographers.
These specific skill-based trades lend themselves to freelance work. But they also generally pay less.
Some jobs don’t allow for work on the side. Only 1 in 10 legal services workers report a side-hustle.
WHAT DO PEOPLE DO FOR SIDE HUSTLES?
The survey asked respondents to categorize their side-hustle in one of 140 industries.
Overall, 30 industries make up 75% of all side-hustles — but a clear winner comes out on top: Airbnb.
Retail (5% of all side-hustles) also has a strong showing, likely driven by online platforms like Amazon and Shopify.
People who work in certain industries are drawn to certain side-hustles: Construction workers are likely to take on side-work with automobiles or furniture; marketers are more likely to start online apparel companies; PR folks tend to turn to side-hustles in writing & editing.
HOW MUCH DO PEOPLE MAKE FROM SIDE-HUSTLES?
The average side-hustler spends 11 hours per week on their secondary work, and earns $12,609 per year — an average of about $25 per hour.
Real estate comes out on top:
The average respondent made $29k/year from property on just 6 hours per week, good for $90/hour.
Management consulting ($86/hr), investment management ($75/hr), and investment banking ($70) also reported less than 10 hours of work per week.
On the flip side, farming side-hustlers worked an average of 14 hours per week, and made just under $6.8k, or $9/hr. Also: Arts & crafts ($10/hr), music ($11/hr), writing ($11/hr) and photography ($11/hr).
HOW DO PEOPLE FUND SIDE-HUSTLES?
Most respondents (58%) fund their side-hustles out-of-pocket — and a 38% don’t incur any costs at all.
About 19% report staking out some starter money through a traditional bank loan or family and friends. Only 1% seek side-hustle funding from venture capitalists.
For the self-funded, average out-of-pocket investment runs $17k for the first year. Assuming you’re earning the average of $12.6k/year (and paying the 15.3% federal self-employment tax), you’d be able to recoup your investment in about 1.5 years’ time.
For real estate hustlers, 65% incur debt.
THEY DO IT FOR LOVE
Though these side-hustlers are split on liking their day jobs, 76% definitively love the side biz.
Yet, when asked if they’d want to turn their side-hustle into a full-time job, 52% said no.
People cited fears of failure and debt, and the dilemma of leaving a full-time, stable job for an uncertain future.
– Zachary Crockett, TheHustle.co