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Sunderland named UK’s side hustle capital

Following a national report naming Sunderland as the UK’s ‘Side Hustle Capital’, Gillian Middleton, enterprise and innovation manager at the North East BIC, explains why such ventures are proving so popular…

Side hustles are on the rise in the North East… so much so, that Sunderland was recently crowned the ‘Side Hustle Capital of the UK’!

The study, by HONOR UK, revealed that northerners have more of an entrepreneurial flare than their southern counterparts, with Sunderland topping the league when it comes to side hustles, showcasing the innovative spirit of our region.

Typically, from our experience helping thousands of people set up in business over recent years, residents of Sunderland tend to earn extra cash, from selling items such as old clothes, dog-sitting, delivery driving and landscaping. 

But what does this mean for the region’s economy? And why such ventures are growing in popularity. We break down everything you need to know…

What is a side hustle? 

A side hustle goes beyond the traditional nine-to-five routine by providing an additional income stream, alongside your main job or commitments. 

From selling old clothes on Depop or Vinted, to selling handmade crafts on Etsy or offering freelance services, the possibilities for earning extra money are endless.  

On average, residents of Sunderland are thought to spend an average of 19 hours per week on their side hustles!

What are the advantages?

Side hustles are a great way of boosting your extra cash, whether it’s for paying off your mortgage, putting money away for a rainy day, or just some extra pocket money. 

Beyond extra money, they also provide a platform to turn pastimes and passions into profitable ventures and, over time, could develop into bigger business ideas, allowing you to test the waters and hone your skills before diving into full-time entrepreneurship. 

Side hustles also provide a sense of freedom and flexibility that traditional employment may not be able to offer, so you can pursue your interests while balancing other commitments such as work or family obligations. 

How to set one up 

If you find yourself earning less than £1,000 per year from your side hustle, you may not need to take any formal steps, as this is not considered taxable income. 

Once you surpass that threshold however, it’s essential to register as self-employed with the relevant authorities (e.g. HMRC) to set a solid foundation for your budding business. 

The practical aspects of setting up your side business will consist of creating a business plan, identifying your target market and managing your finances. Setting up a bank account for your additional earnings can also help you keep track of income and expenses more effectively – all things the BIC can help you with!

You should also never overlook the importance of branding and marketing. It’s important to build a strong brand identity and marketing plan, as this can significantly boost your visibility and attract potential customers. 

Networking within your industry and engaging with like-minded people can also open doors to valuable opportunities and mentorship as you navigate the challenges of starting and growing your new venture. 

Support for your side hustle 

Embarking on your side hustle journey can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. Thanks to the Enterprising Sunderland programme, you can gain access to free, fully funded support, from guidance on business registration and coaching to workshops and one-to-one support to help you become your own boss. 

The programme offers all the tools you need to start up and grow, and with 30 years of experience helping entrepreneurs get their start, you’re in good hands every step of the way. 

One person who tapped into our support was our very own centre manager, Donna Surtees!

Seeking to pursue her passion of training dogs, she set up her side hustle in order to become a dog trainer alongside her full-time role during the pandemic and has never looked back, despite her friends and family telling her she was ‘barking mad’!

Sixteen-year-old Elliot Usher was another. He set up a side hustle selling high-end, sought-after trainers while he was still at school.

Fast-forward a year and he is now running his business The Sole Guyy full-time and has opened up his own office and warehousing space!

So, if you, like Donna or Elliot, want to start your business journey today, contact the BIC!


This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by North East BIC .

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