Kat Velez-O’Neill has a lot of plates spinning. When she’s not fulfilling her role as a mum of three young boys, you’ll find her at her full-time job as an interior designer for a hospitality brand.
She also coaches skating, teaches an interior design class at her local college AND runs the interior design side of 2LS Design Inc as a side hustle.
While Kat may sound like a force to be reckoned with, she’s not alone. New research from GoDaddy has revealed that Canada is a nation of what Kat affectionately describes as ‘busy bodies.’
More than a third of those surveyed have had or currently have multiple side hustles on the go.
Not only that, but the average side hustler dedicates a full 11 hours a week to their business — with one in 10 somehow finding 20 or more hours to dedicate to their side gig.
Kat often falls into the latter category, spending between 11 and 20 hours a week nurturing her side hustle, depending on other commitments.
“I’m a yes person. I always say yes to everything,” she told GoDaddy.”
It may sound a lot, but it doesn’t always feel like work.
“I love what I do and it’s part of me and my family’s way of life. Design is embedded in our lives [Kat’s husband runs the architectural side of 2LS Design full time].”
Cultivating a dream
In the future, Kat is hoping to be able to dedicate even more time to her side hustle. Like 72% of the Canadian entrepreneurs GoDaddy surveyed, Kat has her heart set on turning her side hustle into a full-time dream career.
“I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur — to jump off and just do my own thing.
My parents are entrepreneurs. My father and mother ran a successful business for over 30 years and that has always inspired me.
“I always looked up to that. I don’t really know any other way,” she said.
Since launching her side hustle during her maternity leave four years ago, Kat has taken on a range of projects.
She’s crafted interiors for the buildings that her architect husband has designed and worked on a range of private homes independently.
“I love interior design because I get to do a bit of everything,” she explains. “I’m a very outgoing and social person, but I also love sitting at my desk and researching and designing.
“Interior design gives me the best of both worlds. I can be either in the zone or out talking to a million people.”
How hard it is to create a website for a side hustle?
Interior design is clearly something that came naturally to Kat. She recalls how, as a child, she used to watch HGTV while her friends were watching cartoons.
“I watched it religiously,” she told GoDaddy. “Shows like Trading Spaces — those were my shows.”
One thing that didn’t come quite as naturally to Kat, initially, was web design. Yet the entrepreneur managed to set up a website for her side hustle in less than a day with the help of Website Builder from GoDaddy.
“I was initially intimidated by the thought of building a website for the business,” Kat confesses. “But it turned out to be really easy.
I just followed the prompts like ‘insert an image here,’ ‘insert a link here
“Once I’d got my feet wet with it, I realised there was even more I could do, so I improved it further. I’ve had some really good feedback. People ask me who I got to build it for me and I tell them I did it myself.
“I update it all the time. It’s super user-friendly.”
Setting up a website in a day is fairly standard for side hustlers in Canada, GoDaddy’s research revealed.
11% of those polled said they set their site up in a day while 13% boasted that it took them less than four hours to launch their website from scratch.
“If I had to pick one, I’d say my website is the most important channel for my side hustle success,” Kat confirmed — and 57% of those surveyed in the GoDaddy poll agreed.
Kat also says her professional email address is essential to her business. Yet, GoDaddy’s poll revealed that only 27% of side businesses currently have one of these set up. Shockingly, 30% confessed to using a personal email address for their side hustle.
How much do Canadians earn from their side hustles?
As GoDaddy’s research revealed, Canada’s side hustlers are active in a rainbow of different industries:
- 26% offer self-made goods like foods, beauty products and arts and crafts.
- 24% provide professional services, such as marketing, legal, virtual assistance, tutoring, and – like Kat – design.
- 21% offer goods and services that are made by or come from others.
- 13% are involved in personal care such as fitness and beauty services.
- 11% offer construction and trade services.
- 6% provide travel and tourism services.
- 6% are engaged in transport and storage services.
- 6% offer pet care services.
With the breadth of industries that Canada’s side hustlers are involved in, it stands to reason that the money they earn varies.
However, GoDaddy’s research found that the average side hustler earned $14,900 a year (based on 2022 earnings).
A lucky 3% made more than $100,000 from their side ventures.
The threat of burnout
There’s always the possibility to take too much on when you run a side hustle. Even Kat, whose plates are spinning slickly, admits that the spectre of burnout is always there.
“We prioritise family time,” Kat reveals. “If that means working late after the kids have gone to bed then that’s what we do. To counteract everything, we take a vacation every few months where we shut off from everything apart from very important calls.”
The final word
So what is Kat’s parting advice to wannabe side hustlers?
“You do have to be willing to sacrifice some of your time if you want to do what you love. I’d say jump in, be a yes man. It’ll be worth it.”
Ask any Canadian working to create their dream career: Does it take grit and determination? Is it worth it?
Yes and yes. Because in the end, you have the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Antenna, an independent consumer research agency, conducted an online AntennaPoll survey of n=2114 side hustlers across Australia, United Kingdom, United States and Canada on behalf of GoDaddy. The survey was conducted between 14th April and 26th April 2023.
The survey data collection was national and respondents were sourced using an accredited online research access panel. Data was weighted for representation against country census data.