Data show that 2022 will be a good year for side hustles: the number of side hustles in the U.S. is increasing, and there's a promising outlook for continued growth. That's according to Zapier's recent survey, which showed that even folks who are putting minimal hours into their side hustle can still have solid annual earnings. And many side hustlers attribute some of their success to the time savings associated with automation.
There's been a growth in side hustles in 2022—and it's not slowing
There's been a slight increase in side hustles in America over the past year and a half, and 2022 looks promising for further growth. Two in 5 Americans (40%) currently have a side hustle, up from about a third (34%) in December 2020.
More than 1 in 3 Americans (36%) have started or plan to start a side hustle in 2022, compared to just under 1 in 4 Americans (24%) who said the same about 2021.
When it comes to side hustles, it appears men and younger adults lead the charge:
Men are more likely than women to say that they currently have a side hustle (44% vs. 37%) and that they have started or plan to start a side hustle in 2022 (39% vs. 33%).
Gen Z (ages 18-25) and Millennials (ages 26-41) are more likely than Gen X (ages 42-57) and Boomers (ages 58-76) to say that they currently have a side hustle (59% & 61% vs. 36% & 22%) and that they have started or plan to start a side hustle in 2022 (60% & 55% vs. 35% & 13%).
Almost half of people with a side hustle spend less than 10 hours a week on it
While taking on a second job may seem intimidating and time-consuming, it doesn't have to be—you could spend fewer than 10 hours a week and still net out a decent amount of income for your time.
Americans who have a side hustle spend 13.4 hours a week, on average, working their side hustle, and more than 2 in 5 (44%) spend less than 10 hours a week. Only about 1 in 10 side hustlers (13%) are going above and beyond and putting 30 hours or more in a week. Additionally, Americans who have a side hustle make, on average, $12,689 per year from it, with nearly 2 in 5 (37%) saying they make $5,000 or more annually and nearly 1 in 5 (17%) saying they make $15,000 or more annually.
Men and older adults spend more time on their side hustles
Men who have side hustles are devoting more time to them than women, and the income disparity is even greater. Among those who have a side hustle:
Men spend more time per week, on average, working their side hustle than women (14.5 hours vs. 12.2 hours).
Men are more likely than women to say they work 20 hours or more per week on their side hustle (36% vs. 25%).
Men are significantly more likely than women to say they make $5,000 or more annually from their side hustle (44% vs. 29%).
Men make more than twice as much income, on average, from their side hustle annually compared to women ($18,105 vs. $6,906).
Older adults who have side hustles are also devoting more time to them than their younger counterparts. Among those who have a side hustle:
Gen Z is most likely to say they spend less than 10 hours a week working their side hustle (64% vs. 40% Millennials, 36% Gen X, & 42% Boomers).
Gen Z spends fewer hours per week, on average, working their side hustle compared to Millennials and Gen X (10.5 hours vs. 14.1 hours & 14.9 hours).
Gen Z makes roughly the same amount annually from their side hustle, on average, compared to Gen X ($9,537 vs. $9,628).
Which begs the question: what are Gen Z side hustlers doing to work fewer hours, on average, than some of their older counterparts, yet still make roughly the same amount annually, on average? The answer might be automation.
Automation is a major factor: Most side hustlers use automation for business processes
Nearly two-thirds of Americans who have a side hustle (65%) use automation in their business, with almost half (48%) using it for half or more of their business processes, and about 1 in 7 (14%) using it for all of them.
Men and younger adults who have a side hustle are more likely to incorporate automation in their businesses than their counterparts. Among those who have a side hustle:
Men are more likely than women to say they:
Use automation for some of their business processes (71% vs. 58%)
Use automation for half or more of their business processes (52% vs. 43%)
Gen Z and Millennials are more likely than Gen X and Boomers to say they use automation for some of their business processes (72% & 80% vs. 57% & 28%).
Millennials are most likely to say they use automation for half or more of their business processes (62% vs. 48% Gen Z, 40% Gen X & 21% Boomers).
Side hustles aren't going anywhere, and people are now using technology like automation to run their side hustle without sinking all their time into it.
Survey method: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Zapier from May 24-26, 2022 among 2,032 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 799 currently have a side hustle. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Zapier.