25% of us have an income generating side hustle.. Why not you/now?

I recently posted about the huge rise in side hustles, with income generated in the UK now over £72bn! — This poses the question of the attitude of employers to side hustles and the impact on individuals’ careers. Surely this added distraction would reduce effectiveness, lower productivity and have a negative impact on team focus..? Or would it?

That all depends whether you’re prepared to embrace this change — whether as an employer, or an employee. I’m going to come back to the employer’s perspective in a future post, so let’s focus on the employee for now…

There has never been a better or easier time to start a business than now. Eric Schmidt (Former CEO & Executive Chairman of Google) recently spoke at our CfE Inaugural Lecture and said:

“I think virtually all of the problems that Britain has, and Europe has, and the world has, can be solved by more entrepreneurship”

But it’s still a daunting challenge to go all-in on an idea, with no safety net or support mechanisms. Side-hustling can be a good hedging option, but how do you maximise the opportunity and continue to develop your career at the same time — isn’t that mutually exclusive?

Actually, no — if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with the ambition to build a scalable business, with the self-awareness to know that you still need to develop key skills to turn that ambition into reality, the NEF programme is what you’ve been looking for.

NEF is a one-year development programme for aspiring entrepreneurs that places them into fast-growth businesses (to learn first-hand from successful entrepreneurs), alongside a fast track learning programme, support from esteemed mentors and executive coaches and access to a engaged and powerful network of alumni and supporters. Graduates of the programme have gone on to build notable and fast-growing businesses, in the UK and in the wider world.

Will Read, Founder & CEO, Sideways6 (NEF Class of 2014) offers a great example of how an idea can germinate, and emerge from a side project into a scaleable business:

Will had always aspired to being an entrepreneur and after hearing from a friend about the NEF applied and was accepted onto the programme in 2014. As part of the programme Will joined WM360, a tech consultancy, working with Richard Acreman, Founder & CEO, as his right-hand man, as part of the 12-month work placement.

It was this experience that Will believes was life changing. When he joined WM360 they employed 19 people, a year later, they had grown to 70 employees. His unrivalled access to not only observe but participate in a start-up’s rapid scaling was invaluable and career defining.

Will also cites the relationship he had with Richard Acreman, CEO and Founder, as instrumental in his journey to become and entrepreneur. Richard was not only his manager but his mentor and supported Will’s own efforts to start Sideways6, the business he founded whilst at WM360.

Why’s this relevant to a side-hustle? Well, NEF encourages all of its participants to build and develop their own businesses as a key part of the programme, and the companies that NEFers are placed into actively support NEFers to hustle and experiment outside of their day job. Both individuals and companies benefit from this approach, which challenges participants to stretch their ambitions and development, which can lead in interesting directions — not just building new businesses, but also opportunities to progress and develop in some of the UK’s fastest-growing companies.

The side hustle culture is here to stay — if you think you’ve got what it takes to thrive in a multi-faceted, demanding and rewarding programme.

Apply for NEF 2020 now: http://getstarted.newentrepreneursfoundation.com/

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Alastair Lechler

Alastair Lechler

Social entrepreneur, passionate about people, disruptive innovation - #techforgood, humanity in business. Edinburgh's Running Mayor & Founder of ReBoot CIC

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