Side Hustle Statistics 2021: Trends Emerge as Covid-19 Lingers
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Every year DollarSprout conducts an annual Side Hustle Survey to get a pulse on side hustlers across the country. In 2020, the big story was how the economic halt from COVID-19 forced many workers to find alternative means of income.
In 2021, as the economy has more or less reopened and the pandemic has begun to taper, labor shortages have affected nearly every industry. Restaurants are struggling to get back to being fully staffed, nearly one in five healthcare workers have left their jobs, and countless other industries are facing similar difficulties.
While there are many theories as to why this is happening, the data clearly shows that side hustles are becoming increasingly common in helping people bridge the income gap.
Side Hustling has Become More than Just a Hobby
Last year, just over 1 in 4 side hustlers (27%) were using that income to cover necessary monthly bills and expenses. In 2021, that number has gone up to 41%. People are more dependent on using a side hustle to make ends meet.
The increased dependence we are seeing on side hustles also comes with a significant increase in commitment. Our results show that the average time spent on side hustles has trended upward in 2021.
The percentage of people spending over 15 hours per week on their side hustle(s) more than doubled in 2021, from 12% to 27%:
Earnings are also up dramatically, with nearly 14% of side hustlers earning over $1,500 per month:
Despite more people using side hustles to make income for necessary expenses, enjoyment and flexibility still reign supreme when it comes to what is most important for choosing a side hustle:
In fact, the highest earning side hustlers in 2021 are the ones who have tried 5 or more different types of gigs, showing that it pays to test the field in order to find out what works best:
Another trend of the high performers in our research study shows that side hustlers who have their own website for promoting themselves far out earn those that do not:
For those that use social media to promote their products or services, here’s how the different platforms stack up:
Social media isn’t the only online marketing tool available to new entrepreneurs. Here are ten other digital marketing skills that aren’t taught in school.
With people becoming more invested in earning money on the side this year, it should come as no surprise that side hustlers are overwhelmingly bullish on the trend heading into 2022:
The Downsides of Side Hustling
Although the gig economy is booming, there are certainly challenges facing this portion of the population.
Less time spent with friends and family isn’t the only sacrifice people are making. 9 out of 10 people reported at least some level of sacrifice in pursuit of their side hustle endeavors, with most of them reporting multiple sacrifices: