Could starting a side hustle be your ticket to financial success?

The gig economy is rapidly becoming a preferred way of working for many people around the world

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The term “side hustle” has gained popularity in recent years and can encompass any work carried out in addition to full-time employment, from tutoring to waitressing to starting a business.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many people around the world have embarked on a side hustle.

Driven by the rising costs of living and the coronavirus pandemic affording people more free time, the flexible gig economy is rapidly becoming a preferred way of working for many.

What are the pros of working a side hustle?

The first and most obvious benefit of doing a side hustle is additional income. Whether it is to help pay the bills to combat the effects of inflation or to plump your savings account, most people would appreciate some extra money.

People can earn an extra Dh3,000 to Dh6,000 a month on average with a side hustle, recruitment experts say, which can boost savings or expedite paying off debt.

A side hustle can also help broaden and improve your skills and network. For example, if you help small business owners manage their social media accounts, you will learn how to grow an audience, while being paid.

This could help you in the future if you build your own business or open the door to employment opportunities in different industries.

You could build your side hustle into a full-time income that enables you to quit your current job for more flexibility, fulfilment and money.

Are there any downsides to starting a side hustle?

With any sort of work, it requires time. This can be exhausting on top of a full-time job and possibly lead to stress and burnout.

To alleviate this, it can be more enjoyable to start a side hustle doing something you feel passionate about. You can also set goals and plan what you will do with the extra income to keep you motivated.

If you spend a lot of money upfront for equipment, training or courses and don’t make your investment back, this could result in a loss.

To offset this, set a limit for the amount you will invest in your side hustle before you make a certain amount of revenue. Once you know you can definitely earn money, you can always invest more in your side hustle.

Check your contract or speak with your HR department to ensure that you are complying with the terms of your current employer.

You may have contractual restrictions in your full-time job that prevent you from doing some types of work; for example, your availability to work certain shifts or conflicts of interest.

However, it is worth noting that under laws announced in February 2022, employees in the UAE have the right to work part-time in addition to their primary job. Additionally, if you start a business, you should apply for a licence to conduct your operations.

Each emirate has slightly different requirements, but it has generally become easier and cheaper to obtain a business permit. To find out more, check the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation website.

What is the best side hustle to choose?

It is common to want to start a side hustle, but feel overwhelmed by the decision of what to do.

As a rule of thumb, it is useful to consider what your skills are, what your community needs and what you enjoy doing.

The intersection of all these answers is how you will earn money.

For example, if you are a talented photographer, you enjoy taking pictures of people and there are many wedding venues in your area, offering a wedding photography service may be your ideal side hustle.

What are some of the popular side hustles?

Tutoring or teaching: if you have a skill or specialist knowledge, there are people who want to learn what you know. With so many readily available online platforms, it has never been easier to market and sell your skills, from school subjects to knitting to sports.

House or pet sitting: many people travel regularly and will pay you to take care of their luxury homes and furry friends.

E-commerce: selling handmade or repurposed products through websites such as Etsy, Facebook and Amazon.

Professional services: freelance services, such as copywriting, managing social media and digital design are just some of the skills in demand in the online space.

Whatever you decide to do, matching a need in the market with something you enjoy doing is the sweet spot to side-hustle success.

Alison Soltani is the founder of

Updated: July 29, 2022, 5:52 AM