“My mind on my money and my money on my mind.”
Snoop Dogg, Gin and Juice
Side hustle can be defined as a way of mixing passion and income. More people are side hustling today than ever before.
A decade ago, the same group were labelled the Slash generation. Mainly because of their tendency to embrace numerous careers that overlap. The transition from Slash/Slash to side hustle is symbolic of changes in the core function of the practice. The term Slash was used to label the movement from an outsider’s point of view. Whereas, side hustle is now used by the people; highlighting its increasing ubiquity and popularity.
So, why are so many young people in pursuit of this movement and money?
The generally accepted Google answer is that we are living in uncertain times. Today more than ever, young people are looking for fluidity. Which means that they want the flexibility of freelancing along with the stability of a full-time job.
However, youth culture is much more complex, segmented and multifaceted than this. We discovered that young people are side hustling for several different reasons. We highlight 5 major themes that also represent cohorts of side hustlers.
1. Fast Cash
For this group having an extra revenue stream counterbalances the economic pressures facing most young people. Put simply, we don’t want to have to compromise on the lifestyles I see and hear about everyday.
“My student loan doesn’t stretch that far. So, I need more than one hustle”
Sharne, 20 years old — Side Hustle: Model
2. Identity Explorers
For this group happiness is not determined by material possessions or their career status. The opportunity to side hustle allows them to explore new avenues and create shared experiences. These experiences help them to explore their personal identity.
“I want to be jumping around and moving countries.”
Johno, 22 — Side hustle: Fashion Magazine
3. Purpose Seekers
A purpose led side hustle is all about finding meaning and having a creative outlet. This group find daily work alienating and void of purpose. So, they decide to pursue their true passions outside of official work hours.
“I just want to make something beautiful”
Georges, 24 — Side hustle: Drummer
4. The Why Not’s?
The rise of digital platforms and social media has accelerated the impact of side projects. It has also meant that someone like Lil Nas X can set up an Instagram and TikTok channel, upload a portfolio or song and get a global reach in just 5 minutes. It's has never been easier to start something, go viral or turn your side hustle into main stream of income.
"A single viral YouTube video can change your life forever”
Paul, 19 — Side Hustle: Rapper
5. Big Dreamers
This group have witnessed the likes of Uber and Netflix go from startup ideas into multibillion companies that have transformed the world around us. At the same time, traditional barriers to entry have disappeared right in front of their eyes. These two factors combined makes the prospect of starting your own project extremely attractive.
“There has been a financial revolution — we now have access to tools and platforms that would be beyond our reach before the internet."
Tony, 23 — Bitcoin Trader
Every single member of our community stated that they could not imagine holding down the same job or working in one industry for the rest of their lives. Many of them see the idea of a job as a means to end with very little confidence in the idea of retiring with a sufficient pension.
Young people are finding more ways to work on their own terms and conditions. For many employers this can be viewed as an opportunity for business as opposed to a burden. Those who nurture and encourage the unfulfilled passions and creativity of their young employees are likely to be the same companies that attract the best talent and achieve the greatest results in the long term.