How small businesses can harness the Gen Z side hustle

The traditional Saturday job, once a rite of passage for young Britons, is fading into oblivion

How small businesses can harness the Gen Z side hustle

As the Gen Z, born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, come of age, their attitudes towards employment, income generation and career choices are reshaping the very fabric of the “future of work.” No longer is doing the paper round enough: young people are turning to enterprise to generate extra spending money. 

A recent study conducted by GoDaddy delves into this emerging trend among British Gen Z, revealing a significant shift away from conventional part-time jobs toward the allure of the side hustle. This survey, which gathered insights from more than 1,000 participants, found that 58% of respondents view running a side hustle as more appealing than traditional part-time positions in sectors like hospitality and retail. While it could be assumed that this is driven by a desire for autonomy and entrepreneurship, the main reason, interestingly, is financial security. 69% of Gen Z indicated that financial stability is their top consideration when choosing employment, a concern amplified by the cost-of-living crisis.

Another compelling finding from our research is the growing entrepreneurial spirit within this demographic. With 29% already engaged in their own business or side hustle, and 50% harbouring plans to embark on such ventures, Gen Z is poised to redefine the entrepreneurial landscape. What’s more, this generation is increasingly tech-savvy, with 51% leveraging cutting-edge tools like artificial intelligence (AI), including tools like ChatGPT, to not only initiate but also scale their businesses. This adoption rate significantly outpaces the 35% utilization among entrepreneurs of all age groups. 


Understanding the significance of Gen Z as a key audience is paramount for devising a prosperous small business strategy. Gen Z’s emphasis on financial stability, coupled with their penchant for independence and entrepreneurship, indicates that businesses should cultivate offerings that resonate with these values. In this context, flexibility becomes vital, as businesses need to offer opportunities for remote work, project-based collaborations, and adaptable schedules. This approach not only aligns with the desires of Gen Z but also taps into the growing gig economy, where side hustles are often nurtured.


Moreover, small businesses can effectively tap into the influence of values to engage this generation. Gen Z’s core values are mirrored in their emphasis on social activism, surpassing that of preceding generations. Equally significant is their emphasis on affiliating with organisations whose values align with their own. Companies and employers must underscore their efforts to be responsible global citizens. While maintaining a focus on the quality of the goods or services provided remains crucial, a company’s ethical stance holds even greater significance in today’s landscape. 


Collaborative platforms that foster community and shared learning can also resonate strongly with Gen Z. The inclination toward entrepreneurship suggests that small businesses can position themselves not only as providers of goods and services but also as knowledge hubs. By offering resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities, businesses can forge meaningful connections and contribute to this cohort’s growth.

The landscape of work is being reshaped by Gen Z’s attitudes towards employment, income generation, and entrepreneurship. The allure of side hustles, driven by financial security and personal empowerment, is steering this generation toward a different path than their predecessors. For small businesses, the key lies in recognizing Gen Z as a critical audience and crafting strategies that cater to their aspirations. Flexibility, emphasis on values, and a commitment to nurturing an entrepreneurial ecosystem are the cornerstones of success in this new era of work. As the baton is passed from the traditional Saturday job to the dynamic world of side hustles, small businesses have a unique opportunity to embrace this change and flourish in the time of Gen Z.

Tamara Oppen
Tamara Oppen

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