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Is starting a side hustle in New Zealand worth it?

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The idea of having a side hustle has grown from a niche trend to a vital part of our modern working life. It’s not just about making extra cash; it’s about Kiwis across the country, from the busy streets of Wellington to the peaceful shores of the Bay of Islands, chasing their dreams and finding personal satisfaction outside their 9-to-5 jobs. This movement towards taking on extra work or turning hobbies into income streams is catching on fast, as more of us look for ways to secure our finances or simply do something we love.

This article is doing a dive deep into the world of side hustles in New Zealand, looking at both the bright spots and the tricky bits. We’re surrounded by stories of success and inspiration, but there’s also a real conversation to be had about the challenges — like how to find the time, deal with the uncertainty of income, and keep from burning out.

We’re here to peel back the layers on starting a side hustle, offering a well-rounded look at what it really takes. Whether you’re in Christchurch dreaming of starting your own craft beer label or in Hamilton with an idea for a tech startup, this piece will help you weigh up if venturing into the world of side hustles is the right move for you, all with a truly Kiwi perspective.

Understanding Side Hustles

At its core, a side hustle is more than just a way to earn extra cash; it’s a personal journey towards achieving something greater, often blending passion with profit. Unlike part-time jobs, which typically involve working for someone else on a set schedule, or freelancing, where you sell your skills to various clients, a side hustle is your own venture. It’s a project or business that you build and manage alongside your main source of income, allowing for a unique blend of creativity and entrepreneurship.

Common motivations

The motivations for starting a side hustle are as varied as the people who pursue them. For some, it’s the allure of extra income to pad savings, pay down debt, or fund holidays and home renovations. For others, it’s about passion; turning a lifelong hobby or a newfound interest into something more. Then there are those who see their side hustle as a testing ground for a business idea they dream of turning into their full-time job. The beauty of a side hustle lies in its flexibility and the personal fulfillment it offers, beyond financial gains.

In New Zealand, the trend of starting a side hustle is more than just anecdotal. Surveys and studies reveal a growing percentage of Kiwis are diving into side hustles. While exact numbers vary, it’s clear that a significant portion of the population is engaging in extra work. This shift reflects a broader global trend, highlighting a move towards more autonomous, self-directed work lives. Whether it’s crafting bespoke jewelry, coding apps after hours, or starting a niche blog, the side hustle movement is thriving, driven by a desire for financial independence, personal satisfaction, and the joy of creating something of one’s own.

Benefits of starting a Side Hustle in New Zealand

Embarking on a side hustle journey opens up a world of opportunities, not just for your wallet, but for personal and professional growth as well. Let’s dive into the myriad benefits that sprout from nurturing your own business or project on the side.

Financial Benefits

The most immediate advantage of starting a side hustle is, undoubtedly, the potential for extra income. This additional cash flow can transform your financial landscape, offering a cushion for unexpected expenses, a means to pay off debt faster, or the opportunity to save for future dreams like a house deposit or a well-deserved holiday. Beyond the immediate, side hustles hold the promise of financial growth and stability. With dedication and the right strategy, what starts as a small venture can evolve into a significant income stream, providing not just extra cash but a substantial safety net or even financial independence.

Personal Growth

The journey of a side hustle is inherently intertwined with personal development. It’s a playground for skill development, pushing you to learn and adapt in areas you might never have explored otherwise. From marketing and sales to product development and customer service, the skills gained are both diverse and valuable. Moreover, side hustles offer a unique opportunity to pursue passions that your day job might not cater to. This pursuit is not just about making money; it’s about bringing joy and fulfilment into your life, exploring interests deeply, and in the process, discovering new ones.

Building a side hustle from the ground up instills a deep sense of confidence and accomplishment. Overcoming the challenges and seeing your ideas come to life is incredibly rewarding, bolstering your belief in your capabilities and resilience.

Professional Advantages

The benefits of a side hustle extend into the professional realm as well. Networking opportunities naturally emerge as you connect with customers, suppliers, and fellow entrepreneurs. These connections can lead to new doors opening, both for your side hustle and your main career, enriching your professional life in unforeseen ways.

Moreover, the skills and experiences gained from running a side hustle make your resume stand out. Demonstrating initiative, entrepreneurship, and the ability to manage multiple responsibilities are highly attractive qualities to employers. For those with aspirations of turning their side hustle into a full-time business, this venture serves as a valuable proving ground. It allows you to test the viability of your ideas, refine your business model, and build a customer base—all with the safety net of your primary job.

In essence, starting a side hustle can be a transformative experience, enriching your life financially, personally, and professionally. Whether it’s for the extra income, the chance to chase a passion, or the opportunity to carve out a new career path, the benefits are substantial and multifaceted.

Challenges and considerations for starting a side hustle in New Zealand

Venturing into the world of side hustles, while exciting, is not without its hurdles. Each step towards growing your passion project or secondary income stream brings with it a set of challenges and considerations that require careful navigation.

Time Management

One of the most pressing challenges is the delicate balancing act between a full-time job, personal life, and your side hustle. There are only so many hours in a day, and dedicating enough time to grow your side hustle without neglecting your primary job or, crucially, your own well-being, is a juggling act. The thrill of pursuing a passion can sometimes lead to overcommitment, where personal time and relationships may suffer as a result.

Financial Risk

The financial aspect of starting a side hustle can’t be ignored. Most ventures require some level of initial investment, whether it’s for materials, equipment, or advertising. This investment comes with no guarantee of return, adding a layer of financial risk. Furthermore, income from side hustles can be unpredictable, especially in the early stages. This variability can make financial planning challenging and may lead to stress if the side hustle income is relied upon for essential expenses.


The pursuit of a successful side hustle can take a toll on your physical and mental health. The pressure of managing multiple responsibilities, coupled with the desire to make your side hustle successful, can lead to stress and burnout. It’s crucial to recognize the signs of overwork and to remember that the sustainability of your side hustle is intrinsically linked to your own well-being. Ensuring that you have time to rest and recharge is not just important for your health but is also a critical component of your side hustle’s success.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Embarking on a side hustle also comes with legal and ethical considerations that must not be overlooked. It’s important to be aware of any stipulations in your contract with your current employer regarding side projects. Some employers may have clauses that limit or prohibit certain types of external work. Additionally, understanding the tax implications of your side hustle income is crucial to avoid any surprises come tax time. Ensuring that you’re operating within the law and ethically in relation to your full-time job is essential for a smooth side hustle journey.

So, while the allure of starting a side hustle is undeniable, it’s accompanied by a series of challenges that require thoughtful consideration. Balancing time, managing financial risks, prioritising well-being, and navigating legalities are all critical factors that can determine the success and sustainability of your side hustle. Approaching these challenges with awareness and preparation can help turn the side hustle experience into a rewarding journey.

Making a side hustle work for you

Starting a side hustle is an exciting journey, but making it work for you requires a blend of self-assessment, careful planning, and ongoing management to ensure balance and growth.


The first step is a thorough self-assessment. Consider your personal goals, the skills you bring to the table, and the resources you have at your disposal. Understanding your ‘why’ can guide your decisions and keep you motivated when challenges arise. Assessing your skills helps identify gaps that may need bridging, either through learning or collaboration, while knowing your available resources sets realistic boundaries for what you can achieve initially.


Armed with self-awareness, the next step is planning. Setting realistic goals and creating a detailed business plan are crucial. This plan should encompass an understanding of the market you’re entering, potential customers, and how your offering fits. Realistic goals act as milestones, helping to track progress and maintain focus.


Maintaining balance is pivotal. Here are some tips for managing your time effectively and avoiding burnout:

  • Prioritize tasks to focus on what’s most important.
  • Set aside dedicated time for your side hustle without compromising personal time and rest.
  • Learn to say no or delegate to maintain a healthy workload.


Finally, consider strategies for scaling your side hustle. This might involve diversifying offerings, investing in marketing, or automating processes. Recognizing when and if to transition your side hustle into a full-time business is a significant decision, requiring careful consideration of financial stability, market demand, and personal readiness.

Making your side hustle work for you is a dynamic process of aligning your venture with your life goals, capabilities, and well-being. With the right approach, what starts as a small project can grow into something much larger, perhaps even transforming your professional life entirely.


In navigating the terrain of side hustles, we’ve explored the vast landscape of opportunities, challenges, and personal growth that comes with this endeavour. From the financial benefits and professional development to the potential for stress and the necessity of balance, it’s clear that starting a side hustle in New Zealand is not a journey to be taken lightly. Yet, for those willing to invest the time, effort, and passion, the rewards can be substantial, not just in terms of income, but also in personal satisfaction and professional growth.

However, understanding that the path to a successful side hustle is fraught with challenges, it’s crucial to seek support and guidance on this journey. This is where the Accelerator membership comes into play. Designed specifically for individuals looking to start or grow their side hustle, the Accelerator offers a comprehensive suite of resources, mentorship, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. Whether you’re in the ideation phase, trying to scale your business, or somewhere in between, the Accelerator membership provides the tools and support necessary to navigate the complexities of side hustling with confidence.

In conclusion, while the decision to start a side hustle is a deeply personal one, influenced by individual goals, circumstances, and aspirations, the journey need not be solitary. With the right support system, like the Accelerator membership, aspiring side hustlers can transform their dreams into tangible successes. We encourage you to consider your own path, armed with the insights and strategies shared, and perhaps, with the Accelerator by your side, take that first step towards a fulfilling and profitable side hustle journey.

Side Hustles NZ

Hey, I’m Rachel! I started Side Hustles NZ in 2021 with the goal of helping Kiwi’s start and grow small businesses in New Zealand. During the week you’ll find me discussing side hustle ideas in our Facebook group, working in my website design business, or riding my horses.

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