2023 in review: Side hustles, influencers and AI


Date: 13 December 2023

A man in a Christmas jumper at work

As Christmas approaches, it’s time for our traditional look back at the year. The cost-of-living crisis means it continues to be an uphill struggle for many business owners. What we have also seen in 2023, however, is resilience, ambition, inventiveness and hope among freelancers, sole traders and small businesses - many of whom have plans to grow their businesses and launch new ventures next year.

Our focus, as ever, is to provide the information, advice, resources and ideas that will help your business to survive and thrive. In case you missed anything, here’s a snapshot of some of the most popular content published on the Donut websites in 2023.

Turning followers into customers

Social selling became a mainstream sales strategy in 2023, enabling even the smallest businesses to convert interest from social media audiences into paying customers. For many consumers, the buying experience now starts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok. If you’re looking to sell your products via social media (and you should), it’s worth reading Tom Welbourne’s blog on setting up a TikTok shop. Our guide to social media apps is also a great place to start if you’re looking to maximise your results from social media marketing.

Of course, the potential for social selling has been turbo-charged by the rising numbers of influencers whose endorsements help drive sales. But how do you find the right influencer for your business and how much do they cost? You can get the answers to these questions and more by reading our essential guide to influencer marketing for small businesses.

How to use AI in your business

2023 was the year that AI, for most people at least, went from being an interesting concept to a daily reality. A survey this year by InstantPrint, found that 89% of Brits are now using AI in their work, especially for writing, planning, transcribing and image generation. Our AI guide highlights some of the ways you could make the most of AI in your business and suggests the best tools to use.

Why everyone is starting a side hustle

Starting a side hustle has become the norm for many of us in the past few years. According to a 2023 survey by Money.co.uk, 31% of Brits already have a side hustle and 42% are considering starting one. There are several factors driving this trend, not least the need to earn extra cash because of the cost-of-living crisis.

At the same time, research by GoDaddy suggests that many young people are rejecting the idea of working for the minimum wage in traditional hospitality and high street roles in favour of setting up a side hustle where the earning potential and job satisfaction are greater.

The good news is that it is relatively easy and cheap to start a side hustle and it can be a great way to test out a business idea without leaving your day job. If you’ve got an idea for a side business, our guide to making money with a side hustle is the place to start.

How to make your money go further

Not surprisingly, money has been the biggest worry for business owners this year. Here at Donut HQ, we’ve focused on finding the best deals for small businesses to help make your money go further. Visit our offers page for some big discounts on everything from software and apps to business insurance and banking (and, if you subscribe to our newsletter, you’ll be the first to hear about these deals).

It’s also worth checking out our buyer’s guides to find the best deals on business essentials such as business bank accounts, website builders, accounting apps and POS card payment providers. This is some of our most popular content and for good reason; all our guides are updated on a regular basis so you can get the latest information on prices and features. Could 2024 be the year you start trading overseas? Don’t miss our new guide to the best bank accounts for trading internationally.

While we’re on the subject of money, here are a few more articles that have struck a chord with our readers this year:

And finally…

The Start Your Own Business podcast is going from strength to strength. It’s a great place to get advice from experts and hear from other business owners on how they got their idea off the ground.

We’ve got lots more great content planned for next year. In the meantime, have a relaxing Christmas and here’s to a successful and prosperous 2024.

The Donut team

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