Nearly 44 million Americans engage in side hustles as an additional source of income to supplement their full-time jobs, from driving for ridesharing companies or renting rooms on Airbnb to selling handcrafted items on Etsy – independently run businesses provide additional sources of revenue for our economy and provide individuals with many of the same rewards found in traditional work: financial gain, variety, autonomy and altruism among them – but may come with associated risks like work-life balance issues or health impacts.
Although side hustles present unique challenges, our research indicates that people choose them for various reasons. Our latest study queried individuals about their motivations for working a side gig and found they were most engaged when their work aligned closely with their interests, values, potential to benefit others as well as existing forms of work they already enjoyed such as hobbies or past careers. Furthermore, side hustles allowed people to feel more in control of both work and life while increasing security and self-worth.
Research conducted on Entrepreneurship and side hustles such as online businesses has also shown that taking on side work can provide a sense of fulfillment and mental wellbeing benefits, however time and resource limitations often prevent successful independent businesses. While previously this might have discouraged workers from seeking extra income through side gigs, with modern platform technologies and microworkers making taking on extra work easier than ever for side income generation.
Beginning a side business can be the first step toward realizing one’s career dreams. Americans launched a record number of new businesses in 2021, many with aspirations to be their own bosses in mind.
As part of this trend, the Henry W. Bloch School of Management and Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UMKC recently unveiled an inaugural Side Hustle Challenge to mirror real-world entrepreneurial endeavors by encouraging students to start businesses that fit within their goals and skill set.
Ideas generated during this challenge ranged widely, with participants creating everything from an at-home glamping service to an online clothing store. The top ideas will receive mentoring and funding opportunities to expand their business further.
Our top three winners include a digital artist selling his artwork to clients, an at-home caretaker providing services to older adults, and a college student creating an SAT preparation tool. Each of these entrepreneurs showcases that it’s possible to turn a side hustle into a viable business with enough passion, dedication and hard work.
To find an idea for a side hustle that could become successful business, set clear goals first and then explore this list of ideas to see if anything piques your interest.