Whether it’s to earn a bit of extra cash or pursue a passion project, side hustles have become big business. A recent survey by Simply Business found that a third of people in the UK now run their own side hustle, a trend that has only grown in the wake of the pandemic. People working in the creative industries are some of the most likely to have a side hustle on the go, with D&AD even introducing a special category for these projects in its awards in 2019.
While side hustles can be a fulfilling addition to someone’s day job, a more toxic side of side hustle culture has also emerged in recent years. In a 2019 article for Prospect magazine, Alex Collinson wrote: “Apart from a minor rebrand and some added aspirational rhetoric, it’s hard to distinguish side hustles from a much less-recent trend: having to juggle a number of jobs to help pay the bills.” For others, it’s a marker of the pressure to be constantly productive in an increasingly competitive creative job market.
To get a better sense of the overall picture, we speak with three creatives: Futurimpose’s Ollie Olanipekun, who co-founded POC birdwatching collective Flock Together during the pandemic; Verity Pemberton, a creative director in the beauty industry who is also the founder of fashion title Moon Magazine; and Otherway ECD Martin McAllister, who has tried out a number of digital and brand-focused side hustles over the years.