Trade secrets: what are the best side hustles in 2023?

Thousands of us are turning to our talents to make some cash on the side this year. Here are the 10 most popular side gigs to start in 2023.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

Do you want to make more money? Very few of us would answer no to this question. But in the past, the idea of working two jobs has seemed daunting – even impossible – for many.

Thankfully, not anymore. The online world, alongside the growing number of AI-run startups, means that hustling has never been easier. In fact, research shows that nearly half of all people in the UK now run a side gig.

So, what are the simplest methods to make a fast buck? Using Google Trends data, marketing company Yell analysed the number of people searching online for ways to start a side hustle.

The results suggest the UK’s gig economy is booming, with Uber and other roles that allow for flexible work proving most influential with part-time entrepreneurs. Scroll down for an overview of the top 10 low-maintenance careers to start this year:

The 10 most popular side hustles in 2023Infographic showing the top 10 side hustles in the UK for 2023

  1. Uber driver 
  2. Freelancer or sole trader
  3. Transcriptionist
  4. Writer
  5. Graphic designer
  6. Babysitter
  7. Artist
  8. Copywriter
  9. Delivery driver
  10. Proof-reader

Zooming straight into pole position, the trendiest side hustle in 2023 is becoming an Uber driver. With many people in the working world also having a driving licence, working for an on-demand driving app like Uber or Lyft is a natural pit stop.

In fact, becoming a full-time driver was also picked out by as the top profession for people choosing to switch careers this year.

Offering the opportunity to pick and choose your hours, and how much work you actually take on, there’s an obvious appeal to a whole host of ‘behind the wheel’ professions. Similar roles, like being a delivery driver, also made it into position nine.

The theme of flexible work hours continues throughout the list. Other sought-after choices include freelance positions and roles such as being a transcriptionist, proof-reader or writer – all of which often allow sole traders to choose when and how long you’re working for.

However, as employees increasingly lean towards meaningful work, the results also reveal that a second job can allow individuals to indulge a personal interest or hobby. The likes of dog walker, photographer and artist also ranked highly.

Mark Clisby, Co-CEO of Yell commented: “Supplementing your income in various ways has become a lot more popular in recent years, with modern technologies and business making it easier to earn more and live a more comfortable life financially.”

Cost of living crisis rouses entrepreneurial spirit

The Yell research reveals that in 2023, lots more of us are seeking ways to make more money. Some of the top side hustles appear to be a natural extension of a hobby, with design and literary roles ranking alongside baby sitting and delivery driving.

However, alongside passion projects, many are starting a side hustle as a way to navigate the crippling cost of living crisis, which has seen the price of everyday essentials surge in the UK. In this context, having a second job to rely on feels more financially secure.

Sarah Coulton-Woodhead is a Senior Web Designer based in London. Coulton-Woodhead has started selling clothes on second-hand marketplaces to save money for a house – but, as she tells Startups, her plans have gotten more ambitious this year.

“I have started selling old bits and bobs on Vinted to make some cash last year,” she reports. “But I think [my husband and I] will soon have to look at doing some freelance or bar work to supplement our income if we ever want to own our own property.”

Laid off workers have also turned away from the ‘job for life mindset’. 35% of people made redundant this year say they will keep a side hustle running in their next job.

The next generation is fully behind the trend. Research shows that, for 71% of young people, their ultimate career goal is now to freelance full-time.

Gen Zers are also most likely to turn their side gig into a fully-fledged business. An investigation by investor platform Connected uncovered that 92% of new companies founded by Zoomers started off as a side hustle.

Mark Clisby elaborates: “Whilst at times having a ‘side hustle’ can be romanticised, it's worth remembering the stress some people can be under when having to work in two jobs simultaneously to make ends meet.

“Be it a passion project or a necessity, assess whether your ‘job on the side’ could actually end up being more fruitful than your primary career. If so, it could be worth taking the leap, and prioritising it full-time.”

Want to make a quick buck with your own side hustle? Check out our list of the top 101 cheap small business ideas to get inspired.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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