Having a ‘side hustle’ might seem aspirational - but the reality can be tough

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Holly Willoughby

Holly Willoughby has been forced to bow out of her passion project – and the reason why is completely relatable.

Last year, it was revealed that a whopping 1.2 million people in the UK have taken on second jobs to boost their income and pursue their passion projects. Similarly, around three quarters of Brits have a part-time hobby as well as a full-time job – and, on average, they earn a collective £249 million a month from their after-work interests. 

“There’s a new savvy, entrepreneurial approach to careers, which is all about creating different income streams, rather than having all your eggs in one basket,” career coach Beth Reacher told Glamour at the time.

“A side-hustle is an opportunity to develop new skills, feel more fulfilled… or be empowered financially.”

No wonder, then, that Holly Willoughby felt inspired to join the multi-tasking movement.

In April, the TV presenter revealed that – much like Gwyneth Paltrow before her – she is set to launch her very own lifestyle brand, TRULY.

“This is TRULY, my new lifestyle brand,” announced Willoughby, along with a teaser picture of the website.

Explaining that she’s been working on the project “passionately and secretly for a long time”, Willoughby added: “Let the adventure begin!”

However, just weeks before her lifestyle website was due to launch online, Willoughby has revealed that she has been forced to “step away from Truly”.

“To launch a brand needs total dedication and at the moment, with so many other commitments, this is not something I feel I can do without it starting to affect my family time at home,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I wish Truly all the success for the future.”

Speaking to The Sun, a source close to Willoughby added that it “was a really tough decision” for the TV presenter.

“It’s about what’s best for her family,” they added. “It was a hard decision but the right one for Holly and her husband Dan. She’d done a load of publicity around the launch of it just weeks ago. So it was a real last minute decision.” 

It is a staunch reminder that, while the benefits of a second job are undeniable, it’s also worth considering the impact it will have upon your spare time and current career – not to mention all the extra boxes you will have to tick on your tax forms.

After all, unless you are lucky enough to be a remote worker with flexible hours, you will likely have a standard schedule for your full-time job. This means that you will need to be strict with your side-hustle hours, too: experts advise that you set yourself 30-60 minutes a day to work on your passion project – and no more than that. 

“Side-hustles are meant to be pressure-free projects,” Emma Gannon – author of The Multi-Hyphen Method – tells “Having a side-hustle doesn’t mean ‘launching a huge new business’.

“To me they’ve always meant a small thing to explore on the side, with my main focus being my job or personal life. I would spent 30 minutes a day tops on my side project (be it a blog or book proposal). If your side projects starts growing or making you money then you can then recalibrate your current workload and career plan, but they are meant to be enjoyable first and foremost.”

We agree with Gannon: 30 minutes a day on your side hustle not only gives you a sense of routine (which will, in turn, maximise efficiency and productivity), but it will also help you to maintain a good work-life balance. Remember: no one is at their best when stretched thinly across too many responsibilities, so make a point of prioritising and maintaining your boundaries.

“It’s rare, if ever, that one can find the perfect balance between their side hustle and full-time job,” writes Simon Slade for CNBC’s Entrepreneurs section. “You’ll need to constantly be ready to adjust on the fly. There will be moments of perfect synergy and moments of exhaustion, but each one will teach you more about how to balance these parts of your life.”

Slade adds: “Above all, maintain your own health and sanity. Remember that without you, there is no balance between your side hustle and your full-time job. You are the crux of all of this and, therefore, you are your biggest priority.”

Still tempted to give your passion project a go? We recommend looking to the side-hustle community for feedback, practical advice, contacts, encouragement and, above all else, inspiration.

It is also worth listening to how others made it work via the Sidepreneurs podcasts (, finding a LinkedIn group for freelancers in the same field as you, or checking out the #sidehustle hashtag on Twitter.

You can find out more about how to use Instagram to boost your career prospects (and make your side-hustle dreams come true) here.

Image: Getty


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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