Surge in US Entrepreneurs Launching Side Businesses

  • Editor
  • April 9, 2024

In a telling sign of the times, a surge in the number of small businesses being started as side hustles has been observed across the United States.

A recent survey by the payroll firm Gusto, which encompassed 1,300 new business owners, unveiled that the percentage of entrepreneurs juggling full-time or part-time employment while launching their startups rose sharply from 27% in 2022 to 44% in 2023.

Liz Wilke, Gusto’s principal economist, expressed her astonishment at the findings, indicating that such a significant increase usually points to more than just a singular influence. “Wow, that is a really big jump… and when you have a big jump like that, it’s usually not just one thing,” Wilke told FOX Business.


The shift towards remote and hybrid work arrangements, a trend that predates 2023, has significantly contributed to this phenomenon. This flexibility in work locations and hours has made it feasible for many to undertake side projects alongside their primary employment.

Here is what people are saying:

However, Wilke points out that the jump from 2022 also correlates with specific economic factors. The tail end of prolonged inflation and a general sense of economic uncertainty have made the prospect of starting a business without quitting one’s day job more appealing.

“People’s budgets became tighter; those working on side hustles had the option to slow-roll their businesses, take time to develop their products, and build up their savings before they take the leap to full-time business owners,” Wilke explained.


The Gusto survey revealed that nearly half (49%) of the respondents who began their venture as a side hustle continue to work at their previous jobs. This trend underscores the cautious approach many new entrepreneurs are taking in today’s unpredictable economic landscape.

Whereas some people seemed to disagree:

Another significant factor contributing to the rise in side hustles is the advent of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools. The survey found that a vast majority of the companies utilizing AI tools were applying them for marketing purposes, such as website development, content creation, and marketing strategy formulation.

“I don’t think it’s accounting for all of the jump,” she told FOX Business. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if side hustlers weren’t really using some generative AI tools to cut a lot of the time commitment that’s required at the very start of a business when they’re really just trying to their brand out, get a reputation, build some revenue streams.”


AI’s capability to streamline time-consuming tasks is proving to be a boon for entrepreneurs looking to manage their startups efficiently alongside their regular jobs.

While the increase in side hustles reflects adaptability and resilience among new entrepreneurs, it also highlights the evolving nature of work and business in the digital age.

The ability to leverage technology and flexible work arrangements is enabling more individuals to pursue entrepreneurial dreams without the need to give up financial security. As the landscape continues to evolve, the trend of side hustles is likely to grow, fostering a new wave of innovation and business development in the US.

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Dave Andre


Digital marketing enthusiast by day, nature wanderer by dusk. Dave Andre blends two decades of AI and SaaS expertise into impactful strategies for SMEs. His weekends? Lost in books on tech trends and rejuvenating on scenic trails.

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