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Brits running side businesses boost UK economy by £40bn a year

45% of respondents claim that their side business would not have been possible 15 years ago

Those running a side business alongside their day job are expanding their salaries by an average of 23% – £6,446 – a year and generating a collective £40bn for the UK economy, according to research from O2 Business.

Around 27% of Brits in full time employment – equating to six million people – now run a side business, with 40% claiming to know someone who “works both 9-5 and 5-9”. Another 23% said they were considering setting up their own side business.

View our guide to part-time business ideas here.

Wanting to earn extra money (58%) and following a passion (27%) were the main motivations for running a side business, with 41% admitting they would like to turn their side business into a full-time job.

Technology services such as PC repairs and website design, arts and crafts businesses, blogging or vlogging and fitness, such as personal training or dance instruction, were cited as the most popular side business sectors.

Those surveyed typically spent an average of nine additional hours a week on their side businesses, amounting to 59 extra days a year.

45% of respondents claimed that they would not have been able to start their side business 15 years ago and 35% that it would not have been possible before the advent of smartphones.

53% said smartphones were a fundamental tool for their side business, with broadband (46%), laptops (35%), social media (27%) and the cloud (14%) also listed as useful tools.

Ben Dowd, O2 sales director, commented: “Mobile devices are now more than ever the remote control of our personal lives, but as our research reveals they are increasingly becoming a remote office for our side business passions.”

Henry Williams
Henry Williams

Henry has been writing for since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also contributed to many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Young Guns, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides. Before joining the team, he reviewed films for a culture website, and still harbours ambitions of being a screenwriter.


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