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Side Jobs Are Turning into Full-Time Businesses

This insight is from DigitalOcean (the cloud for SMBs and startups) latest bi-annual Currents report, analyzing SMBs’ outlook and priorities for the coming year.

In recent years, the landscape of small businesses has been shifting rapidly, with side jobs turning into small businesses, and small businesses weathering the uncertain economy better than expected. In addition, artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots are gaining traction, but companies are yet to put policies around them, and cost and security remain crucial in choosing cloud providers. Let’s delve deeper into these insights and trends.

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Side jobs are becoming small businesses

A recent survey found that more people are turning their side jobs into small businesses. Professional independence and pursuing a passion are the two most common reasons for starting a business. While 52% of those surveyed work on the side in addition to their main employment, many of them are keeping their businesses small. About 21% of respondents said recent layoffs had impacted their thinking about scaling a business.

Of those surveyed who are founders or have side businesses, 56% describe it as a small business, 19% say it’s a side hustle, and 10% say it’s a hobby. Many of these businesses are still in the early stages, exploring an idea or creating a product/brand. Half of the respondents said their business is their primary source of income, and of those who didn’t, half anticipated it becoming their primary income. It’s worth noting that 65% of respondents said their primary job knows they have a side job, and bootstrapping is the most common form of funding.

Small businesses are weathering the uncertain economy, and doing better than anticipated

Despite the uncertain economy, small businesses are doing better than anticipated, and many feel positive about their outlook for the coming year. About 61% of respondents feel positive about their outlook a year from now, compared to 62% who felt positive about the outlook for 2023. While 13% are very concerned about their job security, 31% are somewhat concerned.

Recent layoffs have impacted the thinking of 21% of respondents on scaling their business. Meanwhile, 32% have made changes to their business because of current economic conditions, and 61% feel positive about their business a year from now.

Related: Most People Should Not Be In Business Says Barbara Corcoran

AI/ChatGPT is catching on quickly, but companies haven’t put policies around it into place just yet, and many are just testing it out.

AI and chatbots are gaining traction, with 61% of respondents expecting usage of AI to increase this year, and just 24% saying they don’t use AI. About 70% have used ChatGPT in some capacity, and 62% of those using ChatGPT are just testing it out, while 23% are integrating it into regular tasks.

Despite this, 78% of companies have not created a policy on usage of ChatGPT, and just 9% have created a policy. About 26% of companies have encouraged usage of ChatGPT.

Related: 5 Ways To Use AI In Your Business

Cost and security continue to be important in choosing cloud providers

Cost and security remain crucial factors when choosing cloud providers. The survey found that 34% of respondents use a single cloud, while 35% use multiple clouds. In addition, 72% list cost as a factor that impacts their cloud infrastructure choices, followed by functions (59%), reliability (uptime) (57%), security (53%), and simplicity (46%).

The top challenges regarding cloud include security (42%), time to maintain infrastructure (35%), and high costs (32%).

In conclusion, these insights and trends show that small businesses are adapting to the changing landscape by turning side jobs into small businesses, weathering the uncertain economy, and adopting AI and chatbots. While cost and security remain important in choosing cloud providers, the challenges of security, time to maintain infrastructure, and high costs are being addressed by many businesses. While the majority of companies are still testing out AI and chatbots, it’s clear that they will become an essential part of business operations in the future.

It’s also evident that the small business landscape is evolving, with more people turning their side jobs into small businesses. This shift provides a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to pursue their passions and attain professional independence.

Furthermore, companies are weathering the uncertain economy better than anticipated, with many small businesses feeling positive about their outlook for the coming year. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, small businesses are proving resilient and adaptable.

Related: 5 Ways To Thrive in an Economic Downturn

In conclusion, these insights and trends demonstrate the importance of staying agile and responsive in a constantly changing business environment. Businesses that can adapt quickly to emerging trends and technologies will be better positioned for success in the future.

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