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Report: Side Hustles Can Mean Big Business

A report with expert insights from the Vistaprint Team

tips for starting a new business - women entrepreneurs, mompreneurs

Are you one of the 60% of Canadians who wish to turn a creative hobby into a side business? Millions of Canadians have a ‘side hustle’ to boost their incomes and pursue their passions, according to new research.

The study of almost 2,000 Canadians in full-time work found over one fifth (22 percent) of those surveyed have already turned a creative hobby into a side hustle, and a further 60 percent would like to in the future. The research by Vistaprint, a leading online provider of marketing products and services to small businesses, also found that the average side business owner is topping up their income by $15,430 after tax each year.

The most popular side hustle sector is IT, with professionals offering services such as web development and computer repair. This is followed by finance, including financial advisors and accounting services, and then arts music and entertainment businesses such as DJs, artists and event planners.

Increasing disposable income is the top reason to start a side hustle, according to 50 percent of Canadian side business owners. Doing something enjoyable (40 percent) and being productive in their spare time (32 percent) also scored highly. Starting a side business is not an easy task for many though, with lack of money, lack of time and being risk adverse coming out as the top barriers to taking the plunge.

“Canada’s side business economy is booming, as employees increasingly look for financial, professional and personal fulfilment that may not be present in their main job,” says Vistaprint Customer Strategy and Insights Director Simon Braier. “While many side hustles are born out of a personal interest or hobby, they don’t have to stay small. Side business owners can test their venture’s long-term viability, growth and marketing opportunities in a safer setting, helping them to ease the transition into full-time entrepreneurship and spend more time doing what they love.”

Lack of time means that fitting a side hustle around full-time career commitments can be a struggle. 61 percent work on their side business after work, with a further 55 percent devoting time to their business on the weekends. The typical side hustle takes up 14 hours per week, while one-quarter of those polled devote more than 20 hours per week to working on their side business.

Over one-third of participants (38 percent) want to grow their side business, yet recognize that they would need to be bringing in over $5,000 per month to consider turning it into their full-time job. This figure is well above the $1,285.85 that average side business owners are currently taking home each month. When asked for their advice on growing a side business, successful side hustlers’ top tip is ensuring that your side business is something that you truly enjoy. This is followed by setting long-term goals, focusing on tasks that generate revenue, building a strong social media presence and networking with side business owners.

“You need to think like a full-time entrepreneur if you want to take your side hustle to the next level” says Vistaprint North America Market Director, Erin Shea. “Side business owners should be prepared to seize opportunities and focus on making the most of their time and resources to grow and expand their business.”

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