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Insuranks survey of side hustles reveals what motivates workers

Between inflation and what many are predicting as a looming recession, the U.S. economy is not easing earn a living from an average 9am to 5pm shift – so employees are working even harder to stay ahead.

Insuranks, an insurance marketplace for small businesses, surveyed more than 1,000 adults, finding that up to 93% say they have a ‘side hustle’ or extra job on top of their part-time job full or part time. Notably, nearly 80% of respondents work full-time, but both full-time and part-time respondents found themselves spending an average of 13 hours a week on their hustle.

Although earning more money could be seen as the main motivation for people to add extra hours, Victoria Schmid, a researcher at Insuranks, says it’s not that simple.

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“It seems like people have their primary job so they can pay their bills and fit into this timeline of college, getting a job, building a 401(k), buying a house, and retiring,” Schmid says. “But people may also want the freedom to do something they love that’s flexible and doesn’t have the pressure that comes with a desk job.”

According to Insuranks, 63% said the main reason for their side hustle was “something to do and some extra cash.” Meanwhile, inflation and debt rank at the bottom, with 28% and 26% noting that these financial challenges are their motivation. Yet 44% work on the side “to make ends meet”, revealing that while money to survive isn’t necessarily the top reason on people’s minds, it is close by.

Schmid points out that technology has only made it easier for workers to find side activities that match their needs and even their passions. With marketplace apps like Etsy, Poshmark, and Depop, or service apps like Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash, it’s never been easier to land a part-time job delivering food or spending a few hours shopping. sell clothes online, although only 6% of respondents said they did this part-time job.

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Of the jobs they found in addition to their regular job, 13% mentioned self-employment, 18% sold items online, and 95% said they answered online surveys as a side hustle. However, Schmid admits that this data may be skewed, given that these respondents were interviewed on a platform that compensates its users.

Regardless, 90% of respondents enjoy their side hustle and nearly half said they would quit their full-time job if they made enough money from their extra work.

“There are people who may be working to start their small business, or they’re retired and want something to do,” she says. “There’s freedom and flexibility, with no one to report to or micromanage you.”

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While the reasons behind side gigs appear to be a mix of a need for agency and financial survival, workers may increasingly be turning to this option to fight inflation – 51% of respondents shared that inflation is causing them to consider taking an additional hustle, perhaps foreshadowing even more engagement in the gig economy and higher stakes for workers.

“Prices for everything go up and up, and the holiday season is right around the corner,” Schmid says. “People will either have to calculate their savings or make more money. If we did this survey in six months, we would see different results.”

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