The art of the deal: How side hustles help keep Gen Zers afloat

A Lyft driver takes a customer to the airport, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)
A Lyft driver takes a customer to the airport, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart) Copyright Mike Stewart/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Mike Stewart/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Indrabati Lahiri
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As the cost of living keeps rising, Gen Zers are increasingly turning to side hustles to pay essential bills.


Having a side hustle early on was seen as a smart way of earning extra income, with the idea of doing something you loved and setting your own hours. Very often, it was also a way to test the waters with a new idea or passion project, with the intention of hopefully turning to it full-time, if it made enough money.

However, with the cost of living having risen significantly over the last few years, side hustles have now become more of a necessity than an option, with several people relying significantly on the extra income to pay essential bills.

Side hustles are also a way of insulating yourself somewhat, if not completely, in case of layoffs in your primary job.

According to comparison website Finder, 43% of British people have a side hustle in 2024, with 49% of men having one, as opposed to 37% of women. People earned about £207 (€241.8) per week with these extra jobs. 68% of Gen Zers also opted for side hustles, however, millennials are the ones who seem to pocket the most cash, earning about £1,208 (€1108) per month.

A Bankrate survey said that 33% of people used the income earned from side hustles to pay for regular living expenses, with 27% using it as discretionary income for spending. Some 25% used it for savings.

Gen Zers are emerging as some of the most comfortable with generating different income streams and the gig economy, which is a huge shift from earlier generations.

Regarding that, start-up mentor and youth employment coach Zoe Piper said in research conducted by online marketplace Airtasker: "Put that in the COVID-19 context, where Gen Z were amongst the hardest hit during lockdowns, there is also a desire to take control of their finances and monetise their skills in other ways.

"The passion project holy grail is not a distant reality, saved for retirement, but a genuine employment preference."

Here are some of the most common side hustles below, as well as how much they pay.

Website and app developer

One of the most common side hustles seen in recent years is website and app development. A number of people doing this part-time also aim to transition to it full-time, once they've built a diverse enough portfolio.

According to Straits Research, the worldwide app development market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 12.8% and touch about $583.03 billion (€535.42 billion) by 2030. Currently, North America has the highest app market share, however, the Asia Pacific region has seen the most growth in the last few years. estimates the average hourly mobile app developer salary to be between $44 (€40) and $57 (€52), with an average annual salary to be about $104,863 (€962,23.86). However, high earners can earn closer to approximately $132,690 (€121,758), or even more.

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the web development market is expected to grow about 16% between 2022 and 2032, which is termed as "much faster than average".

The average hourly rate for a web developer is $39 to $51, according to, with an average annual salary of about $80,270 to $106,176.

With both the web development and mobile app development sectors growing significantly, side hustlers could have plenty of opportunities to develop their portfolios.


According to The Sutton Trust's: Shadow Schooling: Private tuition and social mobility in the UK report, the private tuition market in the UK is said to be worth between £1 billion and £2 billion.

FirstTutors estimates the average cost of in-person tutoring for GCSE tuition to be about £36.90 per session, with primary school tuition clocking in at approximately £35.11 (€32.22) per session and A-level tuitions at £46.40 (€42.58) a session.

Online tutoring has also emerged as the preferred choice during and after the pandemic. With the price of essentials rising rapidly, online tutoring's cheaper price tag, at about £30 (€27.53) an hour, according to FirstTutors is also an attractive perk.


Tutoring is an especially attractive side hustle for college students, which can be in the form of peer tutoring, as well as people working in niche fields such as science and maths.

Freelance graphic designing

About 36% of the graphic designing industry is made up of freelancers, according to Gitnux. Adobe Creative Cloud currently has the largest market share, at about 23.1%. Although graphic designing can be fairly technical, there are a number of online courses offered by providers such as Coursera, Udemy and Skillshare, amongst others, which can potentially teach the basics.

As such, beginners could also have a possible chance of breaking into the graphic designing sector as a side hustle. However, following the online courses, consistent practice, knowing how to brand yourself and a compelling portfolio are key to landing new clients.

According to ZipRecruiter, freelance graphic designers made about $35 (€32.12) per hour, with an annual salary of approximately $72,122 (€66,180). However, this depends greatly on prior experience, clients and your portfolio.

Personal training

Freelance personal training can be a great way for people to turn their love for fitness into an income stream. According to fitness company Freakin Fitness, hourly personal training rates were anywhere between $30 (€27.5) and $120 (€110) in 2023.


This depends entirely on the kind of personal trainer. A general personal trainer could set you back between $30 (€27.5) to $80 (€73) per hour, whereas a sport-specific trainer usually charges about $50 (€46) to $120 (€110) per hour.

A weight loss trainer on the other hand, could charge about between $40 and $90, while a yoga or pilates instructor may set a rate of between $30 and $70 per hour. Online personal training could be anywhere between $20 and $80 per hour.

However, due to personal training being quite specialised, the number of relevant certifications and qualifications you have, as well as your experience and location all have an effect on the rate you can set.

Social media managing and marketing

Social media managing and marketing is a very desirable freelance job at the moment, due to the meteoric rise of social media leading to most businesses having prolific online presences.

However, this also means this is a highly competitive field, with a very specific skill set. According to ZipRecruiter, freelance social media marketing managers can expect to make about $31 (€28) per hour, with an average annual salary of about $64,845 (€59,503).


Social media managers usually require skills such as social strategy, outreach, communications, as well as platform specific expertise, which may include TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, X and LinkedIn, amongst others. Nowadays, more sophisticated data-driven strategies, especially those which include artificial intelligence (AI) are also highly in demand.

Freelance writing

Freelance writing is another popular side hustle for college students, as well as journalists, copywriters, editors and more. Industry experts can also leverage their experience for academic and industry journal articles.

Freelance writing can be through a variety of mediums such as articles, blog posts, copywriting, ghostwriting and more. Writers usually charge by the word or by the length of the piece, for example 500 words.

According to freelance toolkit website, We are Indy, entry-level freelance writers usually charge about $0.03 to $0.06 per word. However, this rises to about $0.21 to $0.30 per word, for expert freelance writers.

Peak Freelance also highlights that most freelancers charge about $250 (€229) to $399 (€366) per 1,500 word article or blog post.


Guest speaking and moderation

Speaking and moderation gigs are most suited for people with a fair amount of experience in their industries, who are may be looking to leverage their experience and skills, as well as raise their public profile and stay in tune with current trends.

As these kinds of side hustles require experience, they also tend to be some of the highest-paying ones. The Speaker Lab estimates that even new speakers with little to no speaking experience can make about $2,500 (€2294) to $5,000 (€4,588) per speaking engagement.

However, more experienced corporate speakers could earn up to $20,000 (€18,352), with bestselling authors potentially earning up to $50,000 (€45,880).

According to ZipRecruiter, moderators earn about $31 per hour, with a yearly salary of about $64,331 (€59,031). However, depending on the kind of event and the moderator's experience level, this number can be much higher.

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