Opinion

How a Paul Newman movie is now linked with UK entrepreneurs

4 min read

16 July 2018

It’s amazing how the meaning of words change. Sometimes they are adopted to mean something completely different, and in other cases they can swap from being a negative to a positive. Take hustle, for example.

When I was a kid, a hustle was a con or a swindle. Hustlers were dodgy characters in dark corners of smoke-filled pubs or characters in Paul Newman movies.

But now, thanks to the entrepreneurial endeavours of a growing group of British workers, it’s taken on a whole new meaning and business culture that is giving the UK economy a significant boost.

Apparently around 40% of UK workers have a “side hustle” where they run some sort of business on top of their day job. According to research by Henley Business School that number is expected to increase to 50% of the adult population by 2030.

In total, this generates £72 billion for the UK economy of 3.6% of GDP. That’s too big a number for anyone to ignore and we should be encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit in those willing to put in the graft.

The study found that 45% of ‘side hustlers’ consistently work more than 40 hours a week, and a quarter work more than 50 hours a week. Some 30% said they work on their side hustle during holidays from their main job.

Having a second job is nothing new. Over the years many men and women have done this to top up their income to support their families.

But, increasingly it’s to follow an entrepreneurial passion or take on a new challenge. And it’s these people who have the drive to successfully balance both parts of their working life.

The sceptical would think that second-jobbers are looking for a way out from their main employer, but in fact the majority of those questioned for the research say it makes them happier in their main role and have no intention of leaving.

It’s a great way to keep top talent because if they can successfully perform for their employer and run a business on the side everyone’s a winner!

And if the side hustle really takes off then fair play to them, they deserve to take it forward. After all, many big businesses started off in someone’s bedroom or garage and have gone on to be successful, employ people and make a positive contribution to the economy.

According to the report many businesses don’t have a plan to deal with these 21st Century hustlers, but that implies its needs to be controlled or restricted. Of course, if it impacts on their performance in their everyday job that would need to be dealt with in the same way as if anything else was affecting their productivity.

But if they are effectively balancing both jobs then there is no issue for me. In fact, they should be encouraged and even incentivised to pursue both endeavours.

After all, their colleagues are potential customers literally on their doorstep and some entrepreneurial companies might offer advice, support and even investment to help them.

What can change though is the access hustlers can get to other forms of support with government agencies, mentoring groups and the like being available at evenings and weekends so they can get the help they need to progress their infant businesses without being at the detriment of the their employers and main source of income.