Majority who started side ventures during pandemic ‘still keeping them up’

Nearly a fifth of people said they had taken up a side hustle at some point since March 2020, according to Aviva.

A man using a laptop
A man using a laptop

The majority of people who started “side hustles” during the coronavirus pandemic are still keeping them up, a survey has found.

Nearly a fifth (19%) of those polled by insurance provider Aviva said they had taken up a side venture at some point since March 2020, and 63% of those are continuing to pursue them.

Selling handcrafted products was the most popular activity chosen, followed by freelancing.

Some had dabbled in art or photography, while others had tried their hand at being a social media influencer, which was particularly popular among people aged 16 to 24.

Other income boosters included being a courier or driving a taxi, the survey of more than 2,000 people across the UK found.

Asked why they tried to start a side hustle during the pandemic, nearly two-fifths (39%) said they saw an opportunity to turn a hobby into an income, while three in 10 (30%) did it “to make ends meet”.

A fifth (21%) wanted to become financially independent, while 18% were aiming to pay off debts.

Financial motivations were not the only ones, with more than a quarter (27%) saying their new vocation was to empower themselves and gain confidence or improve their mental health, while 16% wanted to try out skills they had acquired, such as photography.

Nearly two-fifths (38%) of people used the money from their side hustle for day-to-day living expenses, such as rent, food or clothes.

A quarter (25%) had used the extra cash to save for the longer term.

Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva, said: “The pandemic has transformed how we relate to work.

“Aviva’s research reveals two sides to this story.

“For some, the pandemic has brought greater work-life flexibility. This appears to have fuelled a boom in side hustles.

“For others, the pandemic has brought greater financial strain and this appears to have fuelled a need to look elsewhere to make ends meet.

“The enterprise is to be admired and the talents are to be celebrated.

“It’s also impressive that many are looking to use the extra income to bolster tomorrow’s longer-term financial needs, as well as those of today.”

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