When I was in the corporate world on a salary — and yes to some people who doubt my credentials, I did hold down a job for over 27 years and had 6 promotions in my career to get to Head of Talent & OD — I dreamed a LOT.

I dreamed of nice things like holidays and a nice house, but mostly I dreamed of internal business ventures. Seems though, the organisations I worked with didn’t share those dreams. Well, not all of them. So I had to shelve, park, or drop some things I really wanted to do about people, work, leadership and learning.

Fast forward to 2020, and there is a vast array of business ventures that call themselves incubators for precisely that — dreams and ideas. Particularly if you have a digital product or service. Indeed the OECD describes them thus:


The start-up and early development stages of ideas are crucial especially it seems in the VC-funded technology world.

Perhaps some of my ideas <dreams> weren’t able to get going in my organisation because they weren’t up to scratch (let alone needed there) but I’ll never know; because no-one wanted to incubate them with me inside the company. Some ideas did materialise though, and they mostly worked and that’s how we became a studied, and award-nominated team in Talent & OD. But many were mothballed until I became free from the corporate rejections in my own enterprise. Many of my dreams are now manifested in the work that I do with #TeamPTHR. Which is probably why I love what I do so much more.

In talking to a people who have a job as I had, they too have ideas <dreams> and they too have to exercise them outside of their paid employ or park them indefinitely. Also, some freelancers have amazing ideas but lack the scale, network or partners to bring them to ‘market’.

Side hustles have become a really sparky aspect of work. 3.8m returns on a Google search and this amazing piece of research which was led by my good friend and client Dr Naeema Pasha at Henley Business School:


In this superb piece of research, they define a side hustle as:

A secondary business or job that brings in, or has the potential to bring in, extra income.

I’d like to add to this and say it’s also “someone’s dream brought to life to test as a viable business proposition that others gain value and benefit from.”

Henley’s research states that £72bn is made from side hustles in those things that people do, that earns them revenue and are additional to their core job.

That is a lot of money. ALMOST HS2-type money (!).

Apparently 25% of us are side hustling. Professor Bernd Vogel, who has always led with fascinating insight about work and sparked me into action on energy at work with his book Fully Charged, reckons we’re headed to an age of Employed-Preneurs. An interesting take on how people find fulfilment and economic viability as a combination of job and hustle.

And also of interest, is that 49% of businesses do not have a ‘side hustle policy’ that doesn’t explicitly allow for their people to be employed-preneurs, and so to many, this is a not a viable option (competition clauses; conflict of interest; use of client confidentiality obtained in the role — lots of reasons why this would be frowned upon by corporations).

YET 47% of executives interviewed for this research said they believed side-hustling would be good for their business because it would allow them to attract the best talent.

Houston, we have a problem!

Not specifically endorsed by company policy; often unknown and underground innovation that isn’t allowed to see the light of day; concepts considered both useful and dangerous — so it’s no wonder the giants of commerce are potentially asleep to the possibilities and stifling their own people’s creativity. Which may be why some people are locked-down in frustration or want-away and leave.

We, at #TeamPTHR, believe we have a solution to this problem: But first the how might we

How might we create space for the incubation of side hustle-like ideas and dreams from people that are in the interests of the hustler, their home-base and the world of work?

So we’re delighted to announce that we are open for business as a Side Hustle Incubator.

Yes we, at People and Transformational HR, want to incubate ideas with you and create side hustles with you.

There are a few principles we’d like to adopt and a series of underpinning elements to make sure it’s fair, understood and safe.

We have a series of principles about what kind of work we do as a business. For example, we won’t work with companies who frack; who use fur; who exploit child-labour. So if your idea is something that would benefit a corporation who do those things, we’d have to decline.

Our principles are documented and emerging as we discover more about the kinds of companies we want to work and help become more human, compassionate and environmentally responsible whilst still operating well and delivering great products and services.

Our manifesto is an indication of how our principles guide us:

So our first check is that: does your side hustle (or intended beneficiaries of the side hustle) align with our principles and manifesto? If so, let’s keep talking.

Other than that, we’re open for ideas. And we’d love to grow something with you. If you’re a ‘corporate evacuee’ and want to find a way out, this might be it. If you’re a ‘corporate intrapreneur’ and you want to test a concept, this might the way to do that. If you’re already a freelancer and want to grow something to scale it, this might be the way to do it.

An outline of the ‘offer’ is shown below:

And here’s an example of a ‘use case’ for a side hustle in operation.

You may be wondering what the ‘stacks’ are — it is how PTHR operates its Business Model — as stacks. See below.

and Stack 9, in particular, is described on our website pthr.co.uk as:

So we’re excited and hope you are too.

What’s the process? Well our #TeamPTHR lead on this is Catalina Contoloru and her details are on our website page for this here:

A small form to complete and then we’ll talk.

What’s the cost? Catch? The legality of it all?

We’ll work all that out as we recognise each individual will have their own unique side-hustle dream and circumstance. We will adopt contractual, intellectual property, revenue sharing and transparent pricing arrangements as we need to.

We’ll put some effort into this and that costs however you look at it. So we’ll look at what it would need with you, once we’ve ascertained the scale and nature of the side hustle. We may go fixed fee, we may go revenue share, or we may go ‘creative commons’ open source. We won’t know until we talk but we’ll be open, frank and trusted in how we deal with your requirements. Our reputation is what partly even enables this to become a ‘thing’ so we’re not about to rip-off, pirate or screw over anyone.

What we recognise is that innovation is hard. It’s even harder when you’re in a paying job. And we want to incubate what people in the HR, OD, L&D, Change, Leadership and world of work has for the better. With you. For you. For us. For everyone.

Side Hustles and Incubation is now, officially, open for business and we’re excited to see what may come from this.

A final word from Seth Godin on this, that appears to fit our view of innovation:

CEO PTHR |2x TEDx speaker | Author: Transformational HR + The Energized Workplace | HR Most Influential Thinker 2017-2019 | Soulboy + Northampton Town fan