As City workers settle back down into the routine and the dark bleakness of January kicks in, the distant hope that there must be something more worthwhile, more satisfying to do, gets stuck on a repeat loop in our brains.
Most of us brush these thoughts aside in favour of optimistic work-based new year pledges: attack the overflowing inbox; be in early and leave on time; be more organised. But according to a recent study from Go Daddy, one in five employees now expect to start a “side hustle” in the next two years.
Figures from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor suggest around 45 per cent of early-stage entrepreneurs are also employed.
While the thought of getting home from the day job and booting up the laptop for yet more work brings nauseating waves of horror to some, for others it’s a clear escape route from the grind.
Last year, more than 630,000 new UK companies were registered at Companies House.
Already this year, more than 6,500 have registered.
It’s a national pastime, and as far as we can see, it’s only going to increase.
What’s behind it? It’s a trend that’s been building momentum for many years. I wrote a book about it in 2010 called Working 5 to 9. Since then, the UK’s startup community has been steadily blossoming, and awareness of the ease and benefits of becoming your own boss is well and truly embedded in the collective UK psyche.
Add to that stagnating wages and a growing dissatisfaction with the repetitiveness of work, and it’s no wonder so many people are testing out a different path by starting a side hustle.
And it makes perfect sense. Starting small and growing organically, while holding down a day job, means there’s no fear that the rent won’t be paid.
Rebecca Yates is a London-based senior policy adviser, but sells her abstract art on Etsy. Eventually, she plans to introduce her own range of greetings cards and notebooks and give up the day job completely.
Aaron Henriques was bought into a cleaning franchise while still working as a copper at the Met. He’s now left to develop his own tech call answering platform Handlr.
Others, like Jacqui Ma, who runs cycle kit business Goodordering, set the business up while working as a design consultant at WSGN. But four years down the line, with her own shiny new shop in Hackney, she still consults independently of the business.
For some, it will always be an outlet for creativity that will remain a really nice hobby that brings in welcome extra cash. For others, it is the first step in a new direction to eventually becoming your own boss.
Tomorrow, we are running our fourth annual startup event, called StartUp 2018.
Thousands of Londoners are expected – arriving with an idea and interest in starting a business, and leaving armed with all they need to know to make that a reality. With over 100 inspiring and practical speakers across 10 zones, there’s something for everyone with that entrepreneurial desire.
Will we see you tomorrow? The venue is Queen Mary University, Mile End. Follow the signs for StartUp 2018 and a new beginning.