Could you profit from a side hustle in 2023?

Chloe Bell
By Chloë Bell, Content Journalist

With record inflation and wage stagnation becoming the norm in the UK and around the world, more and more people are searching for ways to supplement their income. And now, with freelancer directories making it easier than ever to find extra work, there’s a good argument that “side hustle” should be the word of the year.

But for those looking to top up their wage, there’s one question that sticks out: which side hustle makes the most money?

To find out, the team at Bionic took public data from popular freelancer platform Fiverr to uncover which side hustles could make you rich — and to predict where things might be heading in the next few years.

How Bionic got the data

To compile the data, Bionic analysed the ‘Top Rated’ and ‘Level One’ freelancers in each service category on Fiverr and Fiverr Business and recorded how much they were charging at their minimum rates per project. 

They then multiplied these minimum rates by how many orders or reviews each freelancer had on their account, which formed an estimate of how much money each freelancer was taking home.

What are the most profitable B2C side hustles?

If you're looking at selling your side hustle to private customers, it's worth knowing what will make the most money in the B2C (business-to-customer) space. 

Table showing what the world's most profitable B2C side hustles are for 2023

Modelling and Fitness Lessons are the two best hobbies to take up if you want to make money on the side, with the average Fiverr profile making over £1,000 since starting. 

Cooking Lessons are in far less demand, though: the average user makes just £63 this way. If you’re a top chef, you might be better off picking up a job in a kitchen than trying to tutor others online. But it’s good news for chess masters: you could earn as much as £7,000 on top of your salary by teaching people how to play chess online.

Incredibly, one UK freelancer managed to make at least £31,734 from creating animated GIFs. Other more unorthodox UK side hustles that were highly profitable included NFT Development (£10,672), songwriting (£1,208,474), drawing cartoons and comics (£74,697), podcast editing and cover art (£200,074) and providing voiceover services (£546,334). 

One of the most astounding figures to come out of the data is that one freelancer has made an estimated £111,000 providing Astrology & Psychic services to users. Products available to purchase through Fiverr in this category include:

  • Love spells (£111,000)
  • Bulletproof protection spells (£29,082)
  • A love compatibility check through photos (£16,000)
  • A healing spell over your finances (£2500)
  • Special prayers to manifest your desires (£2500)

The most profitable B2B side hustles 

If you're looking at selling your side hustle to other businesses, it's worth knowing what will make the most money in the B2B (business-to-business) space. 

Next, Bionic looked beyond hobbies that were creating a bit of extra money on the side to examine those who are making entire careers out of their freelancing work.

Here’s a list of the most lucrative side hustles on Fiverr Business (Fiverr’s vetted B2B services platform), based on how much the average service user has made since launching their account.

Table showing what the world's most profitable B2B side hustles are for 2023

Of the listed industries, Video & Animation was where freelancers made the most money on average: a staggering £150,233 since launching their accounts. With a high level of training and skill needed to deliver animated videos — and high demand from businesses seeking things like explainer videos for their services — professionals with enough endorsements can demand top-dollar for their services.

Graphics & Design services don’t appear to command the same sums as their animated alternatives. The average total for freelancers in this specialism sat in the middle of the Fiverr Business pack at £97,623.

At the bottom of the pile, Data services generated just £11,500 for professionals over the lifetimes of their accounts. This included services like data entry, visualising data, and business analytics. 

Most profitable B2B side hustles overall

  1. Logo Design — £3,098,213
  2. Audiobook Production — £3,061,774
  3. Web Banners — £2,958,105
  4. Social Media Design — £2,420,067
  5. Marketing Strategy — £2,233,328
  6. Web Design — £2,185,613
  7. Product Descriptions — £2,127,486
  8. E-Commerce Product Videos — £1,793,580
  9. E-Commerce Development — £1,769,003
  10. Email Copy — £1,362,340

When examining cumulative revenue across all Top Sellers within each category, Logo Design took the crown, raking in over £3 million in total across verified accounts. 

But perhaps the biggest surprise was that Audiobook Production was a close second, with thousands of orders placed. The rise in self-publishing in the last decade combined with the increasing popularity of audiobooks appears to have created a booming industry for certified voice actors and audio mixers.

And it’s not just the creative industries that see plenty of freelance investment. Digital business services like Marketing Strategy and eCommerce Development have infiltrated the top-ten list, revealing the sheer number of UK companies now turning to third-party experts to refine — or even devise from scratch — their digital marketing strategies.

Overall, in the UK and internationally, Data was the least profitable side hustle. This included tasks like data entry, data visualisation and data processing. This may be the result of improved AI increasingly removing the need for businesses to use workers for data-led tasks and relying on more accurate machines to do this instead.

The increasing use of AI to create things like art and infographics may also be having an impact on our reliance on freelance services or small businesses to do this type of work for us.

Who are the highest-paid freelancers in each specialism?

Music & Audio features the highest-paid freelancer on Fiverr Business based on our calculation; they’ve made almost £20 million since launching their account. 

Industry NameHighest Total Made By One FreelancerHighest Charge Per Project
Music & Audio£19,792,752£3,244
Video & Animation£15,600,478£4,634
Programming & Tech£13,725,373£13,439
Graphics & Design£10,217,195£14,063
Writing & Translation£10,064,608£4,634

Music & Audio features the highest-paid freelancer on Fiverr Business based on our calculation; they’ve made almost £20 million since launching their account. 

Service providers who have generated this much are likely members that have scaled their side hustles to become full-time gigs with employed staff. That would explain how some graphic designers are averaging 4 or 5 orders a day and still landing rave reviews.

The top countries for each service

The UK’s most lucrative specialism is in Writing & Translation, with Book & eBook Writing proving to be hugely popular with customers. 

Industry NameBest CountryTop Service by Revenue
Music & AudioUnited StatesAudiobook Production
Video & AnimationIsrael3D Product Animation
Programming & TechPakistanE-Commerce Development
Graphics & DesignIsrael
Writing & TranslationUnited KingdomBook & eBook Writing
BusinessUnited StatesBusiness Plans
DataIndiaData Processing

The UK’s most lucrative specialism is in Writing & Translation, with Book & eBook Writing proving to be hugely popular with customers. 

Elsewhere, the United States is a big player in both Music & Audio and Business, where it tops the leaderboard for business plans. The USA’s wealth of world-famous business schools like Harvard and Stanford is likely a contributing factor in the unique selling points available to alumni freelancers.

Perhaps most surprisingly, Israel was the top country for two of the eight available services for Fiverr Business, leading the charge in two of the key creative industries: Video & Animation, and Graphics & Design.

Check out the map below to see what the most popular side hustles are from around the globe.

Map of the world showing the most popular side hustles in each part of the globe.

How to level up your side hustle in 2023

The top-earning side hustlers don’t rise to the top by accident. In fact, there are some key steps that anyone can make to boost their chances of turning their extra work into a fully-fledged online business.

  1. Get a loan - If you’re thinking of turning your side hustle into your full-time gig, the good news is that you can apply for one of several government start-up loans. These are government-backed personal loans of up to £25,000 that are used to help start a new company or grow an existing one. Learn more with Bionic’s guide to start-up loans for businesses
  2. Apply for a grant - If a loan doesn’t work for you, you could try applying for a small business grant instead. While a loan requires you to repay a set amount, you don’t need to pay back a grant; they’re publicly funded schemes that are awarded to the most promising new businesses. 

    It’s not quite “no strings attached”, though: most of them come with certain conditions (for example, the winning business should create new jobs for people with limited qualifications). See Bionic’s list of the best small business grants available for more information.
  3. Switch to a business bank account - Once you start making some money, you might benefit from putting your funds into a business bank account rather than your personal current account. 

    Unlike personal accounts, business accounts include additional benefits for businesses. For example, in certain circumstances, funds in your business account won’t affect your personal credit score and your business credit score won't impact your personal finances. Business accounts typically have better facilities for organising your spending and tracking expenses, too. Check out Bionic’s guide to business bank accounts to see whether they could benefit you.
  4. Switch to a business energy tariff (if it’s cheaper) - If you use more than 50% of your household energy on business-related expenses (e.g. heating and electricity during working hours), you could qualify for business energy rates rather than domestic. This could potentially save you money depending on your usage.

    But bear in mind that, unlike domestic energy tariffs, business energy has no price cap. Instead, the government will discount some of the total costs. That means you could be at risk of paying more in the long run, so make sure you check prices and speak to an advisor before making the change.

    To find out how you could cut your new business’s costs, check out Bionic’s guide to saving money while inflation is rising.

Will side hustles shape the future of the UK economy?

Les Roberts, Content Manager at Bionic and former freelancer, says: “While the data we have here showcases plenty of curious services on offer, the most important thing it highlights is just how many people now rely on freelance work to supplement their income.

“There’s no doubt that a large share of UK families are in a tough position financially at the moment. Rising costs of energy, food and just about everything else are pushing people to find sources of income outside of their normal working hours. At the same time, businesses faced with tight margins are more often turning to freelancers to get work over the line, rather than committing to new hires.

“This growing freelance economy isn’t likely to slow down until wages catch up to inflation, which could be well into 2023 or beyond. But since it seems to work for households and businesses alike, we might see people adjust to this new way of living. 

“Could that in turn make things like the four-day work week more feasible for the UK? Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy, but it's entirely possible that side hustles become the new normal even after the economy recovers.”