Europe Insights Open Finance

Side-hustle Phenomenon Sees Over 50% Of Brits Create a New Business During the Pandemic

The pandemic has uprooted the lives many of us used to have, but as we re-establish ourselves, many have taken this as a chance to plant an idea and test something new. More than 50 per cent of Brits with side jobs started their businesses during the pandemic finds YouLend, the embedded finance provider, as it analyses research on the emerging side-hustle phenomenon.

Responding to a risk of lost income during the pandemic is likely to have been a motivator for many of these ‘side-hustlers’. The rise of easy access to online sales platforms as well as the greater acceptance of card payments have also contributed to the growth of the ‘second job’ culture and YouLend research highlights the importance of remote and cashless payments to this side-hustle economy.

The new YouLend data found that 16 per cent of all businesses are now side-hustles, and business owners with a separate main day job place more importance on online and cashless trade than other entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs accept remote payments, although side-hustlers are more likely to do so – 86 per cent of side hustlers accept payments online, over the phone or via email/SMS, compared with 71 per cent of all respondents to the YouLend research.

Other key findings:

  • Online sales are vital to both types of entrepreneurs – 61 per cent of side-hustlers and 68 per cent of all respondents
  • Almost half of side-hustlers sell from home (44 per cent), compared to less than a third (32 per cent) of the average entrepreneur
  • 86 per cent of side-hustlers accept remote payments, compared to 71 per cent of all businesses
  • 70 per cent of side-hustlers said card was their preferred method of payment compared to half of all businesses surveyed

The cash flow advantages of card acceptance are also more keenly felt by side-hustlers; 82 per cent said card acceptance has a positive impact on their cash flow, compared to 42 per cent of all respondents. Selling online and accepting card payments also has advantages for side-hustlers when it comes to accessing finance for business growth.

YouLend research conducted in 2021 highlighted the shift in how SMEs that trade online are accessing the funding they need, and a shift that is particularly relevant for side-hustlers. Central to this transformation is the change in who businesses see as their key partners. Taking over from banks, payment service providers and website/webshop providers are ranked as the most important business partners by SMEs. In this role, they are well-placed to provide access to finance as part of a merchant’s normal transaction flows.

“Payment service providers and website/webshop providers are well-placed to offer an embedded finance solution at the point where merchants need financing” explained Mikkel Velin, CEO of YouLend. “They understand their merchants well. And they can deliver a seamless experience because they have robust, real-time data on merchants’ trading activity which can be used by an embedded finance platform like YouLend to make tailored finance offers in minutes rather than days or weeks. The precise risk calculations and automation mean capital can be extended to a wide range of merchants, including side-hustlers, in minutes. And, crucially, the financing is repaid directly from their sales, thereby helping them manage cash flow effectively.”


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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