Remember those lazy, good-for-nothing, ignorant millennials that the press love to moan about? The ones who should be accepting unpaid internships, paying £9,000 a year for education and owning a £250,000 property with 2 kids by 25? Yes those ones.
Well it turns out these “unproductive” and “demanding” youths, are taking back control in an attempt to change their fate in the rundown and ineffective economy they were handed.
1 in 4 millennials now work within the “side-hustle” economy – a way of making money alongside a full-time job. Of course, this generation didn’t create the idea of gaining a second income – but they have certainly branded it and used social media to launch their ideas.
1 in 4 millennials now work within the “side-hustle” economy
With access to the world-wide-web, people are getting more and more creative with how to make an extra buck or two. Examples include online stores, paid-for downloads, coaching and video courses on how to do anything from knitting, photoshop, makeup or even starting your own side-hustle. Offline people are doing fitness classes, workshops and craft fairs on their weekends.
Many of the older generation are amazed that we are even bothering – why spend all of your time outside of work building another business? They have a point.
So why are side-hustles on the rise for millenials? Is it because they are enjoyable hobbies setup to enable us to have an extra holiday or two and to meet some new people? Or is there a much deeper side to it all?
Danielle Burnstein, holds nothing back:
“Let’s call millennial side hustles what they are – part time jobs we need to survive.”
Salaries in the UK are just not high enough. With the average starting salary out of university at £18,000, the average rent hitting £900-£1000 per month, minus a monthly student loan bill the average 22 year old is looking at a deficit of £500-£600 every month. As salaries increase, so does the student loan, making it difficult to get out of this cycle.
The average 25 year old in the 1980s owned their own house, had been married a few years and at least one child with maybe another on the way. Fast-forward nearly 30 years and the average 25 year old is a good £30,000 away from owning a home.
For many their side-hustle is about survival – being able to afford to live, whilst occasionally eating out in a restaurant. Even larger companies are offering flexible second-job hours such as Uber or Hermes.
Whilst there is a lot of negativity around these flexible positions, becoming known as the “Gig-economy”, not providing pensions or holidays, the fact of the matter is that many of us do not care. We want the extra money in our accounts, not 3 days holiday.
But surely not everyone who runs a side-hustle needs the money? There are plenty of well-paid, luxury-living finance people, running online video-game stores. Perhaps the rise is due to the side-hustle providing people with the opportunity to follow a passion or an interest, that they cannot do in their own jobs.
Think back to when you were a kid – how many different things were you interested in? You learnt something new every day. Your school taught you about space, earthquakes, history, engineering, textiles, art. Then around the age of 14-16, you’re asked to just choose one or two things that you like. And by University, just one very niche subject in lots of detail.
It’s easy to forget all about your love of screen-printing from when you were 10 years old. Side-hustles allow people to get involved in things that they are passionate about whether it be food, gaming or crafts. The additional money is just an added bonus, but not the motivation. Furthermore, if you’re business is contributing to making a change in the world, or improving someone’s life, this means so much more than money.
Jay Shetty explains this desire of our generation perfectly in his speech to a class of soon-to-be graduates:
“I’m not telling you to not work at a corporate. I think corporate experience is great. What I’m saying is, don’t lose your voice. Work until 6pm every day, then go home and work on something you actually care about. Use your weekends to not be on Instagram and actually do something worth while. When you do that, you’re investing in your meaning. You can be making enough money and make the switch. That’s what is up for all of you who have a great degree, have a great education and have that new job lined up. Use it. Don’t become a servant of that job. Don’t just say “Oh well I’m in prison now, I’m just gonna use my weekends to hang out.” If you want to be happy, if you want to be fulfilled, if you want to have an impact on the world, then use your time wisely. I used to go home from my corporate job at 8pm and edit when I got home, until 1am every day. So do your job, get a job, if that’s where you need to go with it, if you can’t go all in, be safe, be secure. But then don’t waste that time not doing that and then complain that you don’t have what you want.”
Whether side-hustles are created for survival or passion, what is clear is that they are part of a complete revolution of the economy. That one small side-hustle is contributing to something much much larger – the disappearance of an office environment altogether and businesses run by networks of freelancers and consultants.
As a workforce, we are demanding flexible hours, opportunities to explore our interests, the ability to work at home. Both companies and the government are struggling to keep up with these changes.
We are creating competition for larger companies. Services which used to be expensive and provided by high profile companies can now be inexpensive, affordable and innovative. 20 years ago a person setting up in their bedroom couldn’t threaten a large company, now it can.
So get yourself out there, shake up the system, find your passion and motivation to create your own side-hustle, whatever your reasons for starting. Be part of something, big and exciting. Get in touch with other side-hustlers in your area to learn and thrive off one-another.
Be determined, be creative and be ambitious.