Student entrepreneurs are on the rise: here are the top side hustles for students in 2022

  |     |   Student Living

Gen Z students and graduates are bringing a fresh approach to the world of work. A growing number of young people are choosing to be their own bosses, becoming young entrepreneurs rather than entering a nine-to-five job or starting their own side-hustles on top of studying at university.

 

Many Millennials in the workplace also embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and start businesses. This trend seems driven by a combination of passion and practicality as a response to decreased stability offered in the job market. 

 

The Rise of the “Side Hustle”
 

Currently, around 25% of UK workers have a ‘side hustle’, i.e. they run their own business on the side in addition to their day jobs. This number is only expected to grow, with around 50% of the UK adult population projected to have side hustles by 2030. Coronavirus also has had an impact by disrupting employment and our working habits: the number of new businesses registered at Companies House in 2020 was 46% higher than 2019.

 

A study covering more than 500 business leaders and 1,100 adults found the following:

  • 45% of side hustlers consistently work more than 40 hours a week.

  • 25% work more than 50 hours a week.

  • 30% of people work on their side hustle during holidays.

 

Around 50% do the extra work because they need the extra money, but many also do it to follow their passion or explore a new challenge. Reasons cited by these entrepreneurs include:

  • Flexibility and freedom (57%)

  • The desire for change in work-life balance (38%) 

  • Wanting more meaning and purpose in life (24%)

It’s clear that the side-working trend contributes significantly to the economy. UK workers’ side hustle ideas generate roughly £72 billion for the economy, accounting for 3.6% of the country’s GDP.

 

Nearly a third of business founders are under 29

 

Research shows that those under 40 are more likely to start a business, with a big slice of this being under 29s. 28% of UK founders are in this age group. 

 

25% of Gen Z say they plan to start a business in the next few years. This was closely followed by the 25-34 year age group (Millennials), with 21% saying the same thing.

 

Where are the most young business owners based?

 

The proportion of under 29s starting their own business varies from region to region, with the metropolitan buzz of London attracting the largest ratio of these young innovators:

 

Overall, the top locations for entrepreneurship in the UK for all age brackets are:

 

The Most-Popular Student Side-Gigs

 

For students looking to make a penny or two on the side of their studies, popular options range from the entrepreneurial, such as photography or translating, to more typical options like waiting and bartending.

 

 

 

Side Gig

Popularity*

Waiter/Waitress

36400

Translator

32900

Proofreading

16900

Cleaner

13900

Bartender

11200

Photographer

10600

Shop Assistant

10100

Mystery Shopper

6300

Babysitter

2200

Private Tutor

1500

Product Testing

810

Dog Walker

370

 

 

*Popularity is based on SEMRush monthly search trend data.

 

 

Self-employment in the digital era: how entrepreneurship is changing through online side hustles for students

 

High-tech connectivity makes it easier for people to work remotely and travel while working. It also makes student side hustles easier by opening more ways for young entrepreneurs to market themselves and offer their services. Here are some ways they’re making it happen:

  • Instagrammers are collaborating with brands to become “influencers”, effectively monetising their social media presence.

  • Crafty types are creating physical products and artworks and selling them on platforms like Etsy.

  • People are earning passive income by becoming affiliate marketers.

  • Creative services and marketing services can be offered online.

  • Consulting, coaching and tutoring can also be done via an online platform.

  • People are able to sell “digital products”, such as eBooks, online courses and stock photos.

 

The most popular online side hustles for students are:

 

 

 

Side Hustle

Popularity*

Podcasting

280

Art & Creative

250

Teacher

210

Photography

150

Writing/Blogging

130

Amazon Seller & Ecommerce

110

Website

100

Etsy

60

Web Development

40

YouTube

40

Music

30

Instagram

20

 

*Popularity is based on SEMRush monthly search trend data.

 

 

 

Popular Social Media Side-Hustles

 

Nowadays, many look to make money on social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok. Popular Influencer categories include:

 

 

Influencer Type

Instagram Hashtags (Millions)

TikTok Views (Billions)

Gamers

57.6

89

Sports & Fitness

520.2

173.6

Bloggers/Vloggers

124.6

3.3

Photographers

217

23.7

Travel

565

54.2

Beauty

478

66.2

Fashion

1,000

101.9

Activists

1.5

0.2

 

 

 

The biggest social media stars can earn a fortune, with top influencers estimated to earn as much as £78,000 per post! By 2033, we expect to see social media influencers worth billions. That’s sure is a lot for what often starts as just a side hustle!

 

What digital skills are most popular?

 

Rather than finding on-the-job training, many are taking learning into their own hands. With so many resources available on the internet, it’s not hard to kick-start your new biz using professional skills you’ve learnt through internet modules. Digital skills relating to data, IT and coding are among the highest in demand due to their highly transferable nature and increasing relevance in the digital age:

 

 

 

Skill

Number of Online Students

Google IT Support

1,100,000

Deep Learning

1,100,000

IBM Data Science

940,000

IBM Data Analyst

620,000

Introduction to Data Science

620,000

Data Science Fundamentals with Python and SQL

510,000

Google Data Analytics

480,000

IBM Data Engineering

440,000

Google Project Management

330,000

Google UX Design

270,000

 

 

Based on the most popular courses listed on Coursera.

 

How to be a student entrepreneur

 

If you’re a student or recent graduate looking to start a business of your own, here are a few tips to inspire you and help you make connections:

  • Attend talks and presentations given by entrepreneurs to hear about their successes and challenges.

  • Take part in entrepreneurship workshops or courses offered by your local college or university.

  • Join a club or society of entrepreneurs at your university. This will give you opportunities to collaborate and provide support to each other.

  • Enter an entrepreneurship competition to showcase your business venture.

 

Business graduate programmes for student entrepreneurs in the UK

 

  • Cambridge University is among the highest-ranked teaching and research universities on an international level. The university has a range of facilities and programmes on offer for entrepreneurs.

  • The University of Birmingham has two alumni schemes for aspiring entrepreneurs, supported through B-Enterprising.

  • The Imperial College Business School in London is a science-based college with a large concentration of high-impact research. Faculty members are particularly focused on leveraging entrepreneurial opportunities, building entrepreneurial ecosystems and commercialising scientific innovations.

  • The University of Oxford and Sa√Źd Business School offer a Student Entrepreneurs’ Programme (StEP) to support innovative young professionals.

 

Students attending these universities can look forward to an inspiring environment that will nurture young entrepreneurs, and with Fresh, you can easily find a home away from home with student accommodation near your chosen university.

 

 

Method

UK company data based on MediaVision’s Company House Dashboard, based on UK Government Companies House data.

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