If you’re running a side hustle in addition to your full-time job, you probably have your hands full! Trying to stay organized as an entrepreneur is no small feat. And if you’re managing your business in the margins of your life, it’s even harder to keep things on track and progressing towards your goals.
Thankfully, there are a ton of online business tools (many of them free!) that can help you not only manage your business but actually grow it. Here are my favourites.
Project Management Tools
Think of Trello like a post it note-meets-project management tool, all digital! It’s fantastic for us visual thinkers who like to see things laid out and have more of a free form space to record ideas, move things around, and keep track of project status.
I use Trello for brainstorming blog ideas and structures since it’s more flexible than other tools.
Here’s a snapshot of my Trello homepage. You can see that I’ve used it for brainstorming, post ideas, note taking, and more.
Here’s a look at the Trello “card” system. I used this format to plan my blog structure last year since it let me easily drag and drop my sub-categories into different buckets. This gave me a view of the big picture in a way a simple Word document couldn’t.
Cost: FREE version available
I use Asana every single day for managing my entire life! It has my personal reminders, wedding tasks, blogging to-dos, and Etsy shop reminders. I love how I can colour-code tasks, set them to repeat, and see everything in both list and calendar views.
While there is a paid version of Asana, I’ve never needed it since I don’t collaborate with others in the system. If you’re just starting out with Asana or if you’re a one-person team, the free version should be fine for you too!
I took the Asana for Bloggers course from MoneyLab.co and highly recommend it. It’s only $25USD and walks you through how to get the most out of the platform.
Cost: FREE version available
When it comes to taking and storing notes, Evernote is my go-to. Their Notebook functionality lets me easily store notes by course or topic, and I love how I can also save pictures, articles, and other media. I use both the iPhone and desktop apps, and they’re easy to use and navigate.
The screenshot below shows some articles my Dad and I shared with each other as we wrote The Confidence Toolkit. It was a free and easy way to collaborate on the project and share our research.
#4: Google (G Suite Basic Plan) for Administrative Emails
Cost: $5 per month (I pay in CAD) and get 20% off your first year
While you can technically use your personal email address for managing your side hustle, it’s worth considering using a professional email address linked to your business. Mine, for example, is kate [at] beyondthesafeharbor [dot] com. This is the email I use when communicating with my email list, working with sponsors, and signing up for products and services. It looks more professional, lets me keep my personal emails separate, and the email address actually came free with my hosting from SiteGround.
To actually manage my emails, I pay $5 per month for the G Suite Basic Plan from Google since it’s way more user friendly than the built in systems from SiteGround. It looks and operates much like a personal Gmail account, making it intuitive to use if you’re a Gmail user. Plus, get 20% off when you sign up here and use one of my promo codes:
G Suite Basic Plan: 64PMMJVL3XU9WM3
G Suite Business Plan: 64WA6MLHXA93JWX
Your email list is one of your biggest assets as a small business owner. Whether your side hustle is a blog, working as a consultant for an MLM, running an Etsy shop, or something completely different, building a list is almost always a good idea.
#5: MailerLite (Forever Free Plan) for Sending Emails to Your Email List
Cost: FREE up to 1,000 subscribers
You may have heard of providers like ConvertKit and InfusionSoft, but they aren’t always beginner-friendly. MailerLite, on the other hand, is very user friendly, has loads of features, and is free for your first 1,000 subscribers.
Is your mailing list larger than 1,000 subscribers? This link will get you a $20 credit when you sign up, which covers your first two months!
#6: PicMonkey Premium Membership
Cost: $33USD per year
I’ve been using PicMonkey for years for both my blog and Etsy shop. It’s easy to use and I find it super quick to edit and save photos and graphics.
Cost: FREE membership available
Depending on the nature of your side hustle, creating eye-catching graphics may be a big part of your strategy. You can use them to promote new content, store promotions, and even to design ebook covers. And if you haven’t yet done much branding work, you can create a logo and other key brand elements.
I love how Canva has incredible templates to get you started, and then lets you save your designs on the platform so that you can use them time and time again. I use Canva for creating my Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest images, as well as some of my freebies.
#8: Fiverr for product mock-ups and graphic design
Cost: $5USD and up for various gigs
If you’re not familiar with it, Fiverr is an incredible website where you can buy one of a number of products and services for $5USD. They have everything from logos to SEO help to tech support, and sellers from around the world. I’ve used the site numerous times for various things and I’ve been consistently impressed with the quality of services offered and the amazing price points. If you’re just starting out and on a budget, definitely consider using Fiverr.
Social Media Scheduling Tools
#9: Later for Scheduling Instagram Posts, Pinterest Pins, and Tweets
Cost: FREE with Individuals – Free Plan
If you plan on having a social media presence with your side hustle, make your life easier by scheduling out your posts in advance.
Since starting to publish blog posts twice a week (which I post on social media afterwards), it became important to find scheduling tools to help me stay on top of things. I love how I can schedule my posts weeks in advance and have them publish to social media at the optimized time for each social network.
Later is a great free tool for scheduling social media posts. It lets you set a posting calendar with your ideal posting days and times which makes it much easier to see your schedule at a glance. I use it for Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. For Instagram, there’s a phone app that alerts me every time I have a scheduled post. I can then easily open Instagram and post it when it’s time.
The Individuals – Free plan includes up to 30 Instagram posts per month, up to 30 Pinterest pins per month, and up to 30 Tweets per month, which is more than enough for my needs. And if you sign up through my link, you get 10 more posts per month free.
Note that I schedule my Facebook posts within Facebook itself as I’ve heard Facebook favours posts published through that method.
#10: Dropbox Basic
Cost: FREE up to 2 GB
If you like staying organized, especially when it comes to digital files and folders, Dropbox is fantastic. I’ve upgraded to their Plus Plan so that I can keep my thousands of business-related files safe and sound! But you can certainly stick with their free option for up to 2 GB of your highest value files.
Dropbox syncs up seamlessly with your computer, making it really easy to use and I like not having to constantly back up my files manually to an external hard drive.
Looking to get started with a side hustle but unsure what to choose? My post How to Choose The Best Side Hustle for You has you covered. And you can learn about my journey from side hustle to full time in my post My Entrepreneurial Journey: An Insider Look.
What are your favourite tools for managing your side hustle? I’d love to hear your recommendations! Share them in the comments below 🙂
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