Most profitable industries to start a small business in – make up to £46K a year

Elon Musk: Expert reveals ‘driving force’ for entrepreneurs

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Across the UK, ordinary people have taken lockdown as an opportunity to turn their hobbies and passions into profit, forming a surge of self-employed, entrepreneurs and side hustlers fuelling the new passion economy. But with so many small businesses, entrepreneurs and side hustlers, how much is the passion economy paying and what could you be earning as an entrepreneur in your industry of choice?

Side hustles

Over 1.1million people in the UK have a side hustle or secondary form of monthly income, with some of the most lucrative being:

Freelance writing/copywriting – £1,167

Affiliate marketing/influencer – £2,919

Freelance photographer – £1,568

Podcasting – £2,570

However, becoming self-employed, starting a side hustle or opening a small business takes a lot more than just business skills, it requires expertise in the chosen sector, a good product market fit and knowledge of how to reach an audience depending on the industry.

The most profitable industries for entrepreneurs manning a one-person-army in 2021 were:

Auto-repair – £25,047

Bookkeeping – £29,400

Personal trainer – £37,000

Graphic design – £39,052

Courses, training and tutoring – £46,731

There are currently more than five million British adults forming the passion economy, with furlough driving people towards profitable side hustles.

Additionally, 64 percent of people want to quit their traditional jobs in favour of their newfound entrepreneurial spirit.

Business banking app, Mettle, commissioned a YouGov survey of participants from SMEs, self-employed individuals and side-hustlers to show just what is happening financially in this sector.

It was found the total economic contribution from this sector is estimated at over £125billion, making up around 15 percent of the total UK economy at the end of 2020.

53 percent of those surveyed said they expected a turnover of up to £50,000 this tax year, which has greatly increased since 2020 when only 46 percent believed they would achieve this revenue.

Small businesses

The survey found the average estimated turnover of small business owners was £52,620, as well as that 21 percent of male and 13 percent of female-run businesses make over £100,000.

On the other hand, the number of females that had recently set up a small business or side hustle and saw turnover of up to £10,000 was higher, 26 percent, than male-run businesses reaching this financial milestone, 17 percent.

The survey noted a total of 52 percent of small business owners did not feel supported by their bank, whether traditional, challenger or virtual.


The average estimated turnover for self-employed individuals is £25,066 and 57 percent of these workers and side hustlers said having flexibility and freedom was the key motivator for them to take the leap from traditional employment.

The largest number of self-employed people, 54 percent, are over the age of 55 and 41 percent of self-employed people in this age group said they didn’t face any barriers when they first started their business.

In fact, the survey found that the older the participant was, the less likely they were to fear the economic uncertainty of starting their own business, proving entrepreneurship is ideal for any age and not just recent graduates.
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