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Side hustle jobs are growing. It’s time to join in

Side hustle jobs – little businesses or freelance work that’s balanced alongside a full-time job – are on the rise. We asked one of Birmingham’s brightest businesswomen, Shovon Wiggan, to tell us how she gets the balance right…and why you should pursue your own passion.
Shovon Wiggan, Founder of INSPIRE-A-DOLL, discusses side hustle jobs.

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Side hustle jobs are growing. It’s time to join in

Side hustle jobs – little businesses or freelance work that’s balanced alongside a full-time job – are on the rise. We asked one of Birmingham’s brightest businesswomen, Shovon Wiggan, to tell us how she gets the balance right…and why you should pursue your own passion.
Shovon Wiggan, Founder of INSPIRE-A-DOLL, discusses side hustle jobs.

2023 – the year of the side hustle job

Covid-19 isn’t the global threat it was three years ago, but its effects are still being keenly felt around the world. It’s changed so many things, not least the world of work.

One thing the pandemic highlighted, seemingly forever, are side hustle jobs.

Whether it’s doing social media marketing outside of work, drawing pictures of animals or designing jewellery, Covid-19 saw people’s creativity – and their desire and ambition to turn these creative endeavours into something profitable – boom.

According to Aviva, since March 2020, one in five Brits have started a side hustle. 46 percent of them are making a second income with it, with one in six raking in over £1,000 a month.

What’s inspiring people to take on side hustle jobs?

The main motivators behind these are unsurprising:

  • 61 percent claim it is because of the Covid-19 pandemic that they launched their own side hustle
  • Reflecting current economic uncertainties, 30 percent claim it is to make ends meet.

It has grown slowly, however. In 2020, only 13 percent of people in the United Kingdom had a side hustle. Now, it’s 44 percent.

Not only that, but it’s going to continue to accelerate.

According to a recent poll, 58 percent of respondents are considering embracing a side hustle in 2023. It’s an increasingly popular option for the younger generation too, with 72 percent of Generation Z considering taking on a side hustle.

A side hustle can take the form of either a full-time business, a few bits and pieces here and there, or freelance working.

A new study from freelance platform Fiverr reports that 73 percent will either start or continue freelance working in 2023.

Launching my own business

I own my own business, INSPIRE-A-DOLL, which I balance alongside working full-time at Birmingham City University.

At INSPIRE-A-DOLL, we empower children to develop collaborative thinking through doll play.

It all started after I was visiting a lot of toy stores when my niece, Nyah, confided in me that she was not confident with her brown chocolate skin.

The brand helps parents encourage dialogues about understanding diversity by rethinking beauty standards while teaching children about other cultures, respecting individuality, and introducing international travel/geography education.

What challenges do side hustle jobs bring up?

If you’re building your own business or doing freelance working alongside your regular job, it can naturally bring up a few roadblocks.

For myself, juggling being a mum with working has been difficult. You really have to dedicate time when you get home, but then you also have to switch off to enjoy family life.

That’s not always easy when you’re in charge of your own company.

There have been times when I have struggled, but I look at what I have achieved so far and know I am on the right path.

While balancing full-time work and being a mother, I have grown INSPIRE-A-DOLL and ticked off some amazing milestones.

I have been nominated for and won a plethora of awards, accepted a place on the Black Social Entrepreneurs Future Programme and being part of the Championing Young Black Achievers cohort.

The best advice I can give is to believe in yourself. Know all the hard work will be worth it. With hard times comes greater rewards.

Support for side hustle jobs

The STEAMhouse facility has been integral to helping me start up. It has provided business-related workshops and programmes, which have helped me to gain more knowledge about business.

It was at STEAMhouse where I was able to create my first initial prototype.

To have likeminded people around has also been a big help. Everyone here at STEAMhouse is on the same journey together.

That mindset has also enabled me to collaborate with other entrepreneurs, which has been incredibly exciting.

Being part of STEAMhouse has helped make me feel really at home.

I have been fortunate to have a lot of support from my business advisor, STEAMhouse Incubator lead Richard Scutt. He has been so accommodating and happy to support me in any way possible.

STEAMhouse gave me the confidence to reach out to manufacturers, helped me with branding and provided me with an office space to build my business.

In 2023, so many people are looking to turn their passions and creativity into something profitable.

It’s an opportunity for them to generate more income in these difficult times, receive rewards for their talents and try to get something long-term off the ground.

If you’re looking for a supportive place filled with experts, fellow entrepreneurs and great facilities, STEAMhouse has everything you need for lift-off.

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