Picking up a second job to make ends meet or achieve financial goals has become more common among Americans as high inflation continues to take a toll on household budgets, and many will pick up a side gig after the first of the year to help pay off the spending hangover from the holidays.
A recent survey conducted by freelance gig hub Fiverr found that 74% of workers said they plan to either start or continue freelancing in 2024.
Yoav Hornung, head of verticals and innovation at Fiverr, says full-time workers are increasingly eager to pick up side hustles amid an unstable economy and a shifting job market, with people often looking to supplement their income and expand their portfolio of skills and experience.
Based on trends in searches on the Fiverr platform, here are some of the top side hustles expected to be most in demand next year:
"As new businesses emerge and trends in web design evolve, website developers are consistently in high demand," Hornung told FOX Business.
He said it was clear that many e-commerce businesses were looking for website experts to improve their online presence in the lead-up to shopping season, because searches for "e-commerce website developer" rose over 3,000% on Fiverr in the span of six months. But more general searches like "website design" and "website development" also saw an increase.
"Many investors also predict that the wave of tech layoffs in 2023 will motivate tech workers who lost their jobs to start their own businesses, leading to an expanded pool of startups in 2024," Hornung said. "These startups are going to look to freelancers to propel their growth, and web developers are specifically essential for startups looking to make their business vision a reality."
Mobile app development
The demand for web developers and app developers go hand-in-hand, according to Hornung, who said "we are in the mobile-first era, and apps are everywhere."
During the first half of 2023, global users generated almost 77 billion downloads of mobile apps‚ an increase of over 3% compared to the corresponding half of 2022 – and this number will continue to grow.
Hornung says searches for "app development" have seen a consistent increase over time on the Fiverr platform, and more specific searches with capabilities like livestreaming have similarly seen spikes in demand as apps become more complex and integrated into our daily lives.
FILE - A person works on their laptop. (Photo by Sebastian Willnow/picture alliance via Getty Images)
As video-centric platforms and social media channels grow in popularity, video editing – specifically for short-form content – will be a valuable skill to leverage as a side hustle in 2024.
"The rise of ‘snackable’ content in the form of Reels, Shorts, and TikTok have resulted in high demand for freelancers who understand how to make snappy, engaging content for brands and businesses," Hornung said.
Marketing agencies that produce video content will similarly look to talented freelancers to help generate digital assets, according to Fiverr research, which indicates the majority of marketing leaders (54%) have more freelancers on their team this year compared to previous years. That number is predicted to rise even more in the wake of layoffs in marketing.
Social media content
The same motivations for businesses and clients seeking video editing services will also lead to a demand for broader social media expertise.
"The value of these platforms for brands and businesses has never been higher, especially those targeting a younger audience," Hornung explained.
He pointed to recent research showing global sales through social media platforms were estimated at $992 billion in 2022, and purchases through social media will become even more popular in the future.
As a result, people skilled at creating user-generated content (UGC) for brands as well as those skilled with managing social platforms and building a social media strategy can definitely find success leveraging these talents as a side hustle in 2024, he added.
AI is the buzzword of 2023, especially for businesses that are eager and curious to explore how they can integrate the technology into their organization, Hornung noted, "But many lack the talent in-house needed to leverage newly advanced AI tools."
Recent research Fiverr conducted with IPSOS shows that freelance AI experts are filling this skills gap. According to the study, 90% of businesses have used or plan to use freelancers to complete or complement projects conducted using Generative AI.
Hornung said the demand for AI has also spawned new services on Fiverr, creating new niches for freelancers with these sought-after skills, such as AI consultant and AI music video editor. Freelance prompt engineers are another example of a trending AI skill that will likely continue into 2024, he said, revealing searches for "prompt engineering" rose more than 7,000% over six months on the platform.