November 6th, 2019 | Miller Advisors

Turning your hobby into a side business

26% of Americans polled have already done it, here’s their advice.

Millions of Americans have started a business on the side that allows them to pursue their passions, while boosting their incomes, according to a new survey.

A poll of 2,000 adults with full-time employment found that more than one-quarter of them have already turned a hobby into a side hustle while staying in their current jobs.

And more than half, 55 percent, admitted that they would like to turn their passions into a money-making venture, but have yet to take the leap.

Those who do get started on a business add to their annual income with an average of $14,705 per year after taxes.

14 percent of side hustlers report making up to $22,800 annually – well more that the U.S. federal minimum wage of $15,080 pre-tax, for a full-time employee working 40 hours a week.

The research was commissioned by Vistaprint – an online provider of printing services to small businesses.

Beauty and wellness was found to be the most popular side business sector, which includes hairdressers, personal trainers and dietitians.

Artists, DJs, and designers-along with retail businesses, selling in online shops-are also popular areas.

For instance, Amy Grant in Colorado designs and sells wine charms on Amazon and also that feature fun cabin lore, motorcycle sayings, popular movie quotes, book club titles, and rock and roll bands.

Generating extra cash was found to be the top reason Americans either have started or would like to start a side business (62 percent). But 37 percent started a side business to pursue a passion and more than a third (41 percent) did so to spend more time doing what they enjoy.

“America’s side business economy is booming, as employees increasingly look for financial, professional and personal fulfillment that may not be present in their main job,” says Simon Braier, Customer Strategy Director at Vistaprint.

And these ventures don’t always stay small.

“Side business owners can test their venture’s long-term viability, growth and marketing opportunities in a safer setting, helping them to ease the transition into full-time entrepreneurship and spend more time doing what they love.”

The study also found that more than half of entrepreneurs (59 percent) treat their enterprise as a ‘5-9’ pursuit, working on it in the evenings to fit around their workday. A typical side business takes up 16 hours a week, while 34 percent of those polled spend 20+ hours a week working on it.

Successful hustlers recommend starting with something you already enjoy, focusing on tasks which generate revenue, building a strong social media presence, and networking with people who have succeeded.


1. Ensure your side business is something you enjoy
2. Focus on tasks that generate revenue
3. Build a strong social media presence
4. Set long term goals
5. Leverage word-of-mouth marketing
6. Network with people who run side businesses

One-quarter of those who want to start a business admitted that a lack of confidence is one of their biggest obstacles, but take it from these 500 creators, and get started today. Author Sydney Harris reminds us all that “regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”

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