Chris Harwood started his side hustle in his shed.
Less than three years later and he’s attracting more than £100,000 a year in sales to his motorcycle parts and accessories business, Cregtech. Chris is shipping his products to customers around the world — from Israel to Australia.
“There isn’t really a place I haven’t sold to,” he told GoDaddy.
Yet Chris never set out to launch a six-figure business. His side hustle grew out of a passion project, as — new GoDaddy research reveals — a third of all UK side hustles do.
The call of the open road
Chris has had a passion for motorbikes since he was 16, when he learnt to ride in order to get to his apprenticeship at British Aerospace (now BAE Systems).
“It’s the riding,” he told us. “The getting out there. I live in Devon, 13 miles from the Cornwall border, where there’s a huge expanse of nice roads.
It’s the experience — there’s nothing like it.
In 2019, Chris invented what he describes to those who are unfamiliar with bikes as a ‘switching module.’ This allows users to fit an aftermarket performance part to their specific bikes.
“I was part of a Facebook owners’ club and I was showing it off on there for bragging rights. Then I had people telling me it was exactly what they’d been looking for and asking how much they could buy one for.”
After-hours tinkering pays off
Interest in Chris’s fledgling business ballooned from there and he took the leap into launching a website.
“I’d never built a website before, so I Googled website hosts and GoDaddy popped up, so I read the reviews,” Chris said.
I needed it to be easy.
“I have no coding knowledge and, while I can work my way around most office applications, I am certainly not an IT expert. I needed something that came with templates.
“GoDaddy’s Online Store was so easy to use. I nailed the look I wanted right from the start.”
Over the coming months, Chris’s business morphed, and he became an authorised dealer for:
- Custom LED
- Eazi Grip, Brembo
- Austin Racing TWM
- TST Industries
If you don’t know much about motorbikes, that’s quite an accomplishment, especially for someone running a side hustle.
“I got products that other people don’t have through determination and exploring contacts,” Chris said.
As well as revealing that more than a third of UK side hustles are set up as passion projects, GoDaddy’s latest research also found that more than 70% of UK side hustlers have ambitions to turn their businesses into full-time ventures.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the case for Chris.
“I didn’t set out to be Richard Branson,” he told us.
I just wanted a side line that would earn me a couple of quid so I could do nice things.
“In December, we went to Lapland. It’s not something I’d have ever dreamed of doing before. In summer, all five of us (Chris is married with three girls) are going on holiday again. Two holidays in 12 months isn’t cheap, but we’re able to do it because of the business.”
Despite being content to keep his side hustle on the side, Chris isn’t one to do things by halves. He’s still dedicating between 25 to 30 hours a week to his business.
“There was a time when I’d get in from my job in security and go straight to the computer and then be on the phone answering questions and sorting orders until late at night,” Chris admits.
“But I’ve taken on a bit of discipline. I do shift work, with rest days, which allows me time to work on orders.
“My partner works late on Saturday and Sunday, so I do a little bit of admin when the little ones are in bed. I’ve set core hours and I have times when I make sure my phone is dead.”
Ready to start your side hustle?
The future for Chris’s side hustle remains bright and GoDaddy’s research suggests that, despite the current financial climate, side hustlers across the UK are feeling equally as positive. Sixty percent of those polled said they were optimistic about the future of their ventures.
So what parting advice does Chris have for any wannabe side hustlers out there?
“When you enjoy doing something it’s not a chore,” he said. “If you can wake up in the morning and really feel that you want to start work, then you’re winning.”