Managing employees who have a side hustle

A recent study suggests that 25% of employees in the UK are running at least one business project alongside their day job.

A side hustle is defined as a secondary business or job that brings in, or has potential to bring in, extra income. It is particularly popular among millennials, who tend to start a side hustle as a hobby or in order to explore a new challenge. Millennials tend to have different attitudes towards work and technology.

They are used to being able to work from anywhere, using a smartphone or a tablet.

Various studies have shown that employees who have a side hustle report feeling happier and more content. However businesses / employers seem to view a side hustle as a negative distraction from their employee’s day jobs.

The truth is that many of the best employees have a side hustle and employers need to be more supportive. A side hustle can actually be a good thing as long as it doesn’t involve working for a competitor or doing anything that might damage the main employer’s business.

Employees can learn new and useful skills from running their own side hustle. They can gain real-life experience of customer service, project management or budgeting that can be applied when they are working their day job. From an employer’s perspective, their employees are gaining new skills that can make them better at their jobs and the employer doesn’t have to pay for any training.

Research from numerous studies has found that an employee who has the drive to work a side job is more likely to be innovative, proactive, and organised. They are also more likely to come up with new ideas, which they have gained through their own new experiences.

A survey from a well-known careers website recently revealed that over 70% of employees with a side hustle want to remain in full time employment. They don’t want their side hustle to become their full time job, as it’s more of a hobby / passion that just happens to create an income.

It seems that the side hustle is here to stay and employers need to shift their view – a side hustle is a positive thing. However, employers should consider adding a non-compete clause to contracts and a secondary employment clause just to ensure that there is no temptation for employees to side hustle in any way that could damage the employer’s business.

Head of Human Resource at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants Lincoln HR

Make School Holidays Easier With Tax-Free Childcare

Did you know there is a government scheme available that can help contribute towards childcare costs which may mean fewer of your employees will need time off at the same time this summer.

Tax-Free Childcare is a scheme available to working parents with children from 0-11 years and many parents are not taking advantage of the scheme. HMRC would thus welcome help from employers in changing that, so please tell your employees about Tax-Free Childcare and how it can reduce their childcare costs.

Eligible parents can get up to £2,000 per child, per year to spend on qualifying childcare (effectively a 25% top up). Note that Tax-Free Childcare isn’t just for everyday childcare costs, such as childminders and nurseries, parents can also use it to pay towards the cost of:

  • after school clubs
  • summer camps
  • school holiday activities

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A Staff Summer Party Can Be A Tax-Free Benefit

Your organisation may have an annual Christmas party for staff, but the tax rules also allow staff parties at other times of the year which are a tax-free benefit if certain conditions are satisfied.

The exemption applies to an annual party (for example, a Christmas party), or similar annual function (for example, a summer barbecue), provided for employees and is available to all employees or available to all employees at that location, where the employer has more than one location. If the employer provides two or more annual parties or functions, no tax charge arises in respect of the party, or parties, for which cost(s) per head do not exceed £150 in aggregate. For each function the cost per head should be calculated. The cost per head of subsequent functions should be added. If the total cost per head goes over £150 then whichever functions best utilise the £150 are exempt, the other is taxable.

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Emma Murray celebrates 20 years at Nicholsons

Emma Murray joined Nicholsons in June 1999 and now celebrates 20 years at the firm. Emma is based at the firm’s Lincoln office, but is available to see her clients at the Market Rasen office.

Emma’s aims were high even at the age of nine. When asked about her future career she replied she wanted to work in a bank, her teacher said, ‘as a bank clerk’ but Emma was aiming higher and told her teacher ‘no as the manager’.  From there on her career path was set and she did an accountancy degree at Hull University, before starting work at Nicholsons shortly afterwards. Emma qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2002, before becoming a partner in 2007 and a director upon incorporation in 2016. 

With a refreshingly diverse portfolio of clients, Emma deals with small sole traders to owner managed family businesses and larger corporate organisations both in the private and public sector. She is one of the leading directors in the audit and charitable services and has several high-profile charity clients.  Emma has also become a specialist working within the education sector. Having a strong academic and professional background, coupled with a strong acumen, enables her to provide good sound practical advice.

Away from the office Emma enjoys spending time with her family and friends, she enjoys travelling in the UK and abroad and enjoys the great outdoor life. Emma recently took part in her first ever Triathlon and also ran the Lincoln 10k in aid of collecting food for the Lincoln Food Bank.

Recently Nicholsons has seen a number of their staff celebrate long service, this is something that the directors are proud off, and shows that whilst we all work hard we do have fun along the way.



Setting up a New Hire for Success

 No one has a bigger impact on a new employee’s success than the manager who hired them. Here are some tips on how to set your new hires up to succeed.

Investing time in onboarding brings new employees up to speed faster, which means they’re more quickly and efficiently able to contribute to the business. Effective onboarding also dramatically reduces failure rates and increases employee engagement and retention. The time between someone accepting an offer and starting their new role can be used to jump-start the process.

But even if new employees are already in their new job, there are many ways to get them up to speed faster. The starting point is to take care of the “onboarding basics” – such as documentation, compliance training, office space, support, and technology. Fortunately, most firms do a reasonably good job of these elements. The real work begins with integrating new hires into the business.

Understand the challenges

Starting a new job is challenging. Even experienced professionals can struggle as they are unfamiliar with the business, don’t understand the culture and aren’t fully aware of how things really work. New employees have to learn a lot and may be feeling quite vulnerable, even when they seem outwardly confident.  Integrate a new employee with the help of the existing team. The rewards of this will help create a more inclusive working environment for the new employee – lessening the chance of them wanting to leave after a short time.

Managers need to get involved

Managers have a vested interest in onboarding their new hires effectively. They need to coach their new recruits, check-in with them regularly and be ready to intervene if things look like they might go off-track. This requires an investment of time and energy but can help the new hire to secure some early wins, which can boost their confidence, their credibility within the firm and will increase the likelihood that they will succeed in their new role.

Make them part of the team

New hires need to build effective working relationships with their peers. The arrival of a new employee should be communicated prior to their start date so that the team understands who the new person is, why they have been hired and the role they will fulfill.

Once they join, a team lunch or social get-together is a good investment as it helps to connect your new hire with others in the team, in a more relaxed setting.  Introduce a tour of the office so that a new employee can meet everyone on a one to one bases and see where they sit.  Outside of the new hire’s immediate team, there are likely to be other stakeholders who will be critical to their success in the job. A good manager will take the time to set up introductory meetings with key stakeholders so that the new recruit gets connected with the right people from the start.


From the beginning, a manager should explain to the new hire what the expectations of the role are and set some key objectives for the first 100 days. The new recruit should be clear on what they need to do, how they should be doing it and what the purpose of the role is within the context of the wider business.

If you would like me help and support on hiring staff, please contact Andrew Tomlinson at Nicholsons  on 01522 815100.

Head of Human Resource at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants Lincoln HR


How to raise your prices without losing customers

The cost of running a business goes up every year, but when was the last time you increased your prices?

Many business owners and managers worry that if they were to increase prices, they would lose customers. However, a customer will often be willing to pay a higher price if they feel they are getting value for their money.

A good way to increase your prices can be to bundle products or services together and offer the combined bundle at a price that offers value to the customer. For example, a phone contract might have a higher price but it may include a bundle such as unlimited calls and 20GB of data per month. The key is providing value to the customer.

Find a way to differentiate your offering. Perhaps you could offer new online services to your customers such as an online portal or an app. Maybe you could create faster, more efficient processes so that your customers get a faster, more efficient product or service from your firm, compared to the competition. If you offer something that is seen to be the best in its class, that offers a benefit to your customers, you may be able to increase your prices.

You can test a higher pricing strategy on new customers. Your existing customers might be resistant to a price increase but new clients will be unfamiliar with your pricing so they may accept the higher price if they feel that you offer more value to them than your competitors.

If you do increase prices for your existing customers, you need to communicate well and explain clearly why you had to make the decision to increase your prices. Do your market research to make sure that your pricing isn’t completely out of line with competitors. If your business is not significantly different to the nearest competition, you may run the risk of losing clients.

Large sudden jumps in your prices will not go down well. Instead, introduce gradual increases such as 5% or 10% per year, depending on the type of business that you run. Everyone knows that the cost of doing business goes up each year. If you communicate with your customers, they may be more receptive to small increases.



Joshua Lester tells us how an apprenticeship has helped him find full-time work

My name is Joshua Lester; I am 19 years old and currently studying for my Level 3 business administration qualification through LAGAT college with Nicholsons Chartered Accountants.

Whilst taking my A-levels in sixth form, I know that university wasn’t a path I wanted to go down, so I decided to take my first steps into full-time work and began hunting for an apprenticeship. I had a few options and a handful of interviews, however after my initial interview at Nicholsons, I was eager to hear back from them as it seemed like a very promising career path.

I soon got called in for a second interview and a chance to ask further questions, which I had prepared. Once the interviewing process had been completed, I received a call from Nicholsons and was offered the apprenticeship position. I was excited as I knew this was a great opportunity for me to get started on the progression ladder; the team at LAGAT college described this as a “job for life”.

Nicholsons was very welcoming and made it easy for me to settle into my new position. I began my apprenticeship in December 2018, and I am set to finish it by the end of June 2019. Once finished I will be able to continue with my learning through LAGAT, alongside my new role within Nicholsons, while hoping to keep building towards the future; both for myself and for Nicholsons.

Since being at Nicholsons my confidence has grown both within my work and my personal life and has helped me grow as a person. Furthermore, being able to ‘earn and learn’ has given me a chance to become more independent than whilst at school, this has also been very beneficial for me. I firmly believe that an apprenticeship was the correct route for me and that Nicholsons was the perfect place for me to begin my career.

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