According to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics around 1.1 million people in the UK have second jobs.
That figure has been fairly consistent for the past 25 years, through economic downturns and surges, high and low interest rates, and virtually any other conditions you can think of.
That suggests that many UK workers, while content to be employees for most of the week, might also hanker a desire to be their own boss and run their own company on the side. If this urge sounds familiar, and you’re looking for extra money and creativity in your spare time, here’s ten ideas that you can push ahead with right now.
Dog walking and pet sitting
In the busy 21st Century sometimes we don’t have time to give our pets all the attention they need. That particularly applies to dogs, who need regular exercise and walks throughout the day and a place to do their business. This still applies at weekends, when people who work on Saturdays and Sundays cannot get home to their faithful friends.
This does not apply purely to dogs; people will pay for you to turn up and feed a cat 2-3 times a day. With enough numbers, you could extend this into the week as well, and/or also look after animals in the evening when people go out.
Do you make things? Do you make things people might want to buy? Are you good at fulfilling orders quickly and able to predict what’s trending? Can you spot bargains and rarities at sales and then sell them on at a premium? These are the building blocks of creating an online merchant business, where you can sell items across the world with only a little work at weekends and perhaps an hour or two, a couple of evenings a week. See our guide to starting an eBay business.
Photography and videography
Many people believe they’re photographers just because they know their way around a smartphone camera; but would any of them feel comfortable capturing an event, such as a wedding or a conference where photographs will be displayed publicly and poured over by hundreds of viewers? These cannot simply be snapped on an iPhone; the light, focus, and composition must be near perfect, and they have to capture a moment. There’s still a great demand for someone who can do this well, so if you already have the appropriate equipment securing a few weekend photography gigs could turn into a lucrative sideline.
The offshoot of this is videography, which can also be placed on DVD or websites. Again, a measure of expertise is mandatory, from utilising knowledge of shutter speeds and frame rates to the potential use of gimbals, drones and sliders, not to mention editing.
You’re no doubt aware of how quickly a home can become messy and the effort it takes to clear it up afterwards. Many people will pay for a good cleaner to wash, scrub, clean and vacuum their home on a regular basis. Setting up a part-time cleaning business is not difficult and can bring in a good income, especially if you can specialise in a given niche such as cleaning machinery or ovens, commercial cleaning, or using environmentally-friendly products.
While template sites such as Wix, Sitebuilder, Site123 and others have enabled anyone to build their own websites, many of us don’t have the time or knowledge to learn how to build our own sites, and might not possess the confidence to also set up a platform with ecommerce and interactivity functions.
Tutor sites such as Lynda and Udemy host thousands of courses that can teach anything from basic coding and programming through to more advanced techniques such as automation and building responsive sites. If you’ve got additional skills such as working with photo and video editing, these will enhance your prospects further.
Podcasting, blogging and YouTube channels
‘Back in the day’ one of the most prestigious and creative jobs in newspapers was the star columnist. In broadcasting, the equivalent was the commentator. In 2017, the digital world allows you to be your own columnist or commentator, either on screen, behind the mic or on the keyboard. It will take time to gather a following, but once you’ve started bringing people in you can look for related sponsorship and advertising. Be aware that you’ll need to put in some work – according to recent statistics from Orbit Media the average time spent writing a blog post is now up to 3 hours 20 minutes.
If you have experience in management, accounting, scaling businesses or a similar discipline that can help companies grow or navigate their way through tricky waters, this is a strong way of making money on a per-hour basis, as long as it doesn’t clash with your week-day job – for example, advising a rival. Alternatively, you might take your training as a legal advisor, doctor, personal trainer, sports coach or another career further, away from your main job, and offer advice. A strong social media presence and word-of-mouth could make all the difference here.
A broad term, but that’s the whole point; tutors teach academic subjects, languages, music, sports and a whole range of other subjects. Clearly you need to know your stuff, and preferably possess qualifications in your chosen discipline such as a degree/higher level qualification, and perhaps a teaching qualification (e.g. PGCE). You might also need a DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service, formerly known as a CRB check) if you are working with children or vulnerable people. Be prepared to travel, and also perhaps record yourself for a video channel, or teach online.
Wedding or event planning
Despite the pressure, many couples enjoy the build-up to their wedding day as much as the event itself. And if you’ve got experience in hospitality and event organisation, problem solving and a passion for putting together a high-quality event that people enjoy, you may be able to enhance those big days even further. The industry is somewhat unregulated and it might be beneficial to gain a degree in event planning, or take a specific wedding planning course, to gain kudos.
Renting out rooms
If you’ve got a spare room you can utilise the space to make money, quickly, by simply placing it on Airbnb, Tripping and other property hosting sites. Even if you live in a part of the country that could hardly be described as a tourism hotspot, you might be surprised at the number of people that could need a room for the night. Be sure to check the terms and conditions and make sure you’re happy with the rules surrounding your listing before going ahead.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window include:
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship opens in new window
- Entrepreneurial behaviour opens in new window
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.
Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.