Side hustle resources and tools should never cost a lot of money before your idea is validated and making a profit.
Below are some of my favorite resources and tools that I’ve used to launch two online businesses with very little money invested. Some of them are completely free, some have premium options, and others cost a small amount per month or a lump sum payment.
Some of the links here allow me to earn a commission but it does not raise your price at all.
What is it called? Shopify
What is it used for? It is an eCommerce platform for easily selling digital and physical products.
How have I used it? This website is built on Shopify. After picking a theme, it took me about 30 minutes to get a product loaded and some basic design completed on the site. There is a huge marketplace of apps that you can add to the Shopify platform to expand the functionality and efficiency of your operations. I have used apps for on-demand printing, MailChimp integration, Advanced Reporting, and Upsells.
How much does it cost? You can get a free 14-day trial by clicking the above link then it’s $29 per month. Some of the apps in the marketplace are free and some cost money. I recommend adding paid apps once you start to get some sales. There is no need to spend more money on apps than you have in profit.
What is it called? Printful
What is it used for? If you want to sell shirts, hats, coffee cups, phone cases, leggings, and much more but never have to keep any inventory then Printful is for you. You create the designs then upload them to your site and Printful takes care of the printing and shipping.
How have I used it? I use Printful for all the merch that is sold on this Shopify site and also on Amazon. It has a painless integration into both platforms (plus many more, including Shipstation). If you want to see examples, check it out the shop and also my Instagram.
How much does it cost? They take a cut which covers the short, printing, packing, and shipping. This usually equals to about $15 which means if you sell a short for $25, then you would make $10. This varies depending on the type of product. You don’t make as much money as you would if you had the shorts printed in bulk, but there are three great benefits of their service: 1) You don’t have the risk of getting a bunch of shirts made that no one buys 2) You don’t have to handle packing and shipping the shirts 3) It is VERY easy to setup. I’m a big fan and defintly recommend getting started. Just click the link above, it’s free.
What is it called? ClickFunnels
What is it used for? Clickfunnels is an amazing new software tool that will let you create Squeeze Page Funnels, Automated Webinar Funnels, Product Launch Funnels, Sales Funnels (and integrates w/ your favorite shopping carts!), Membership sites, And a WHOLE LOT MORE!
How have I used it? I use Clickfunnels in a few different ways, including for the creation of Landing Pages (squeeze pages) and for Sales Funnels. It makes creating these SUPER easy with its drag and drop page builder and you can easier integrate payment processing as well. If I run a promotion that doesn’t fit well into the Shopify functionality, then I use Clickfunnels because it is very flexible and can handle whatever your brain can think up. I can have a fully functioning site up and running ready to take payments within an hour – seriously. You can also use it for email automation and managing your affiliate programs as well. If you are a beginner, then you can use Clickfunnels to grow your business. If you are an expert, making $100k per month, you can use Clickfunnels to grow your business. If you aren’t sure what funnels are and how they can help grow your side hustle, you can check out a free webinar they are offering here. I would HIGHLY recommend you check this out, even if you don’t use Clickfunnels because there is so much knowledge shared. One of the other things that I love about ClickFunnels is the great community around the product. They have a Facebook group with over 230k people who are using the software to grow their business and make them profitable. Be sure to check that out once you sign up!
How much does it cost? If you click the link above or this link, then you can get a free 14-day trial of ClickFunnels, which is long enough to get your website launched and make some sales. After that, you can decide if the software works for you and sign up for the paid version. If you were like me, I think you’ll see the value and get started ASAP.
What is it called? One Click Upsell by Zipify
What is it used for? One Click Upsell by Zipify is a Shopify application that enables you to offer a seamless post-purchase offer to your customers in the form of an upsell and downsell.
How have I used it? I use it on this website for any purchases that are made. Most of the time I upsell my webinar on getting your side hustle started. You can find that webinar here. It then either goes into another upsell or to the downsell, depending on if they purchase the offer or not. The great thing about it is that when the customer goes into their upsell or downsell, they do not have to pull out their credit card again. Unlike a lot of the other Shopify apps for upsells, One Click Upsell (OCU) does not show until AFTER the original store checkout is completed. So, there is no chance of a lost sale by using the app because their card has already been charged. There is really no way you can lose here – you either get the original sale + the upsell, or you just get the original sale and they opt to not take the other offers. In both scenarios, you still get the original sale. The OCU app is quite new and still needs a bit of polishing, especially with the page builder, but it isn’t anything I would not recommend it for. Shortly, I’ll be recording a demo of the software and walk you through the funnel I’ve created with the OCU app.
How much does it cost? This one isn’t free. It will cost you $47 per month and they take 1.5% of the upsell transactions processed.
What is it called? Kickstarter
What is it used for? It is a crowdfunding platform that allows you to launch a project and gather funding from the global community. Think about it like this: in the past, you had to try and raise $1 million from 1 person. Crowdfunding allows you to raise $1 from 1 million people and accomplish the same thing. You come with a good idea and people will support your project. Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform. This means if you set your goal to $10,000 and you only raise $8,500 then the project does not get funded. The backers will not get charged and you will not receive any money.
How have I used it? The Side Hustle Journal was launched on Kickstarter. It was a good experience and brought a lot of exposure to my project that I would not have been able to gather myself.
How much does it cost? It is free to launch a project on Kickstarter. If you get funded then Kickstart takes about 5% of your total funds raised. On my project, about 30% of the backers came from the Kickstarter community so I can’t complain about the 5% fee.
What is it called? Amazon Seller Central
What is it used for? Host your product on the largest marketplace on earth through Amazon Seller Central.
How have I used it? The Side Hustle Journal is for sell on the largest marketplace and so should your product if you have one. Once you get your product for sale on Amazon there will a few options for getting your product to the people who buy it. The two main options are self-fulfilled, which means you ship the product once someone buys it, or FBA (fulfilled by Amazon).
How much does it cost? It cost a small fee to set up an Amazon Seller Professional account and they take a very small % of each sale but you can set up an Individual account for free. If you choose to have Amazon do the customer service, warehousing, and fulfillment then you can expect a much higher percentage of sales. You can read more about the Amazon FBA fees here.
What is it called? Etsy
What is it used for? It is a global marketplace for unique and creative goods created by individuals and businesses.
How have I used it? I have no personal experience with Etsy but know people that are selling on the platform.
How much does it cost? Unlike a lot of other platforms, there is no monthly fee for selling on Etsy. They make money on a per listing fee (about $0.20) and a transaction fee (about 3.5%). If you also use their payment processing service there is another 3% fee.
What is it called? Selz
What is it used for? Create an online store, sell from your website & through social media. It isn’t a hosting platform in that you send most of your traffic directly to Selz. What it does is give you the ability to create product listing then give you the code to create a product listing directly on your website or social media advertisement.
How have I used it? I have used Selz to drop in code into one of my websites that should all the service packages that I am offering. They give you a very professional interface that looks seamless on your site. They have payment processing built it and the customer never has to leave your site to order. It turns any website into an eCommerce site.
How much does it cost? It is free to create a listing. Once you get a sale there is a 2% transaction fee then a 2.9% processing fee.
What is it called? PayPal
What is it used for? Send money, receive money, and generate invoices with one of the most trusted online money management platforms.
How have I used it? If you are starting a side hustle then you will need PayPal. It is as simple as that. Suppliers will require payment through it sometimes since there is insurance built into business transactions. You can send invoices to your customers. If you want to join an affiliate program for someone, they often times pay via PayPal. It’s everywhere, just go ahead and click the link above to sign up.
How much does it cost? It is free to open an account. If you receive money for goods or services, the fee for each sale is 4.4% plus $0.30 USD, or lower (the more you sell, the less you pay). International payments cost a little more. You can withdraw money from your PayPal account to your bank account at no cost. There are no fees within the U.S. to send or receive money to family and friends when you use only your PayPal balance or bank account, or a combination of your PayPal balance and bank account.
What is it called? FreePik
What is it used for? It is a seemingly endless library of graphics in several file types including Vectors, PSD, icons, and photos.
How have I used it? I use this side hustle resource anytime I am creating a graphics for a blog post or my main website. The graphic used at the top of this post was downloaded from FreePik. I then opened it in Adobe Illustrator and changed up the colors.
How much does it cost? Unless you have the premium account, you must credit the website on each graphic that is used. The premium account is only $9.99 per month and makes a lot of high-quality content available to you. I have found that you can get pretty much all the graphics you could want with the free account but there are some great looking designs that are only available on the premium account. In the next few months, I will be upgrading to a paid account.
What is it called? Canva
What is it used for? It is a graphic design tool with a very simple drag and drop system that can turn anyone into a decent graphic designer. If you are bootstrapping your side hustle and handling all the website and social media design then Canva is a must have. The ease at which you can create a social media post, blog feature image, or logo is unparalleled.
How have I used it? The Grit and Hustle logo was created in Canva for $0.00. I have also used it a lot for social media post.
How much does it cost? It is free. They also have a premium version for $12.95 per month but I think you can enough features from the free version to not make the premium version a must-have. There is also an app so that you can design on the go but I have found it not to be the best for this. If you are looking for graphic design from your mobile phone, I would suggest Spark. More on that later.
What is it called? Fotor
What is it used for? It is a basic, yet versatile tool for photo editing and some design elements.
How have I used it? I’ve personally only used it for the editing functionality so I cannot speak to the other features. Often when I use fotor, it is for something quick such as cropping, resizing, tweaking color or contrast, or rotating an image. It does these things great and makes it very simple to execute. One thing I use fotor for often is reducing the file size of images. The high-resolution images that I take can be large, like 20 MB plus. So I try to reduce the size so it does not slow my website down.
How much does it cost? It is free. Like the other sites, fotor also offers a premium service, which is $8.99 per month. The extent to which I use the website, it would not require upgrading to the premium version but if you start utilizing the other features such as design, then it may be worth it.
What is it called? 0to255
What is it used for? It is a tool that allows you to pick great colors and provides you all the shades of that colors, both lighter and darker. This is great when you are doing any type of graphic design.
How have I used it? I’ve used it to pick the colors on my website (actually a few websites). The website color pallet really helps pick out the complementary shades that go with those colors.
How much does it cost? It is free.
What is it called? Adobe Spark
What is it used for? It is a graphic design tool that I find is perfect for designing graphics on mobile, especially for social media post. It is very similar to Canva, which is mentioned above, but I think each of them performs well where the other does not. If you are looking for a great web-based tool then use Canva. If you are looking for a buttery smooth experience on mobile, then you should download Spark.
How have I used it? Countless social media post of mine have been done with the Spark mobile app.
How much does it cost? It is free.
What is it called? Flat Icon
What is it used for? This will be your go-to repository for all your icon needs. You will find everything from basic icons like email and people to high-quality social media icons. Most of the icons come in packs. This is great because they all have the same design style and look very professional on your website or document.
How have I used it? I’ve been a frequent user for the past year for little projects like designing a new a digital document and for bigger projects like creating new web pages.
How much does it cost? It is free. There is a premium version which will get you more icons, take away the need to attribute the designs in your work, and give you an app. This will cost you $9.99 per month. You will likely not require the premium version but if you see some must-have icons that aren’t in the free version then it may be worth a short-term investment.
What is it called? Pixlr
What is it used for? This is a web-based photo editing program. It is an absolute must-have tool if you do not have Adobe Photoshop or some other high-end photo editing program. It has more advanced features than the other tools we looked at above but not as beginner friendly. If you have used Photoshop before then there will be no issue going on the Pixlr website and making some quick edits. You have some great features packed into this free tool such as smudge, blur, dodge, crop, pinch, bloat, clone, erase, and many others. You can add mask, layers, and filters to get the perfect image you desire. There is also a more simple tool called Pixlr Express that you can use as well if the Editor version is too much for you.
How have I used it? 75% of the time I can do what I need in Pixlr and don’t need to open Photoshop.
How much does it cost? It is free.
What is it called? Just In Mind
What is it used for? It is an all-in-one Prototyping Tool for web and mobile apps. It allows you to define awesome experiences through wireframes and prototypes. If you will not be the one building the app you can use this to give your developer a better idea of how to the app/ website should function and look.
How have I used it? I have not used it yet. This tool was recommended to me by a friend that used it to mock up his mobile app. I plan to build a mobile app for a different project in the coming year and will be using this tool to better develop the idea and interface to facilitate a speedy and clear conversation with my developer.
How much does it cost? You can start using it for free. If you want full functionality then you can purchase the professional option which is $19 per month when paid annually or $29 when paid month-to-month.
What is it called? Adobe Creative Cloud
What is it used for? These are advanced cloud tools for everything from Photoshop for editing pictures to video editing with Premiere Pro.
How have I used it? I use the following applications: Audition (for the podcast), InDesign (to create/edit The Side Hustle Journal), Illustrator (to create all my graphics), Photoshop (to also create and edit), and Lightroom (to edit product photos).
How much does it cost? This one is not free. Plans start at $10 per month for a single app and go up to $49 per month for the whole suite of apps. If you are a student, then you will see a steep discount and can get all the apps for only $20.
Free Stock Photos
Stock photos are a must for any online business, no matter what you are doing. In the past, you had to either pay for stock photos from someone like Shutter Stock or search google for photos that were royalty free. Below are several websites that should satisfy all your stock image needs. Search each site using a keyword and then download the image. Some of the sites will have duplicate information but others will only carry unique images to their site.
There is also stock video which can be very useful. I even used a short clip in my Kickstarter video (around the 1:20 mark) instead of filming it myself.
Some of the sites listed above also have free stock video and then there are a few others below.
What is it called? Mail Chimp
What is it used for? This is a great beginner email automation service and the platform that I started with. It can help capture your email list, automate the outbound interactions with your list, and track how your customers interact with your communications.
How have I used it? This is the platform that I started with because I was on a tight budget. I used it to build my email list and create automated email sequences when someone subscribed to my list. I have integrated it with Sumo (mentioned below) and it created a seamless process for my customers and I.
How much does it cost? You get almost a full-featured product with the free version. If you are using Mail Chimp then the only time you will need to upgrade is when your email list reaches over 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. There are plenty of huge corporations that use Mail Chimp so it can definitely scale with your business but a lot of marketers leave the service once they reach a certain size and are chasing more advanced functionality.
What is it called? Sumo (formerly SumoMe)
What is it used for? is a great tool integrated that lives within your website to help build your email list. Creating popups, landing pages, and welcome mats for lead generation are some of the core features it was built on but they have been rapidly expanding the functionality over the past few years. You can now distribute digital opt-in products, send emails, and enable website chat, all from the Sumo integration. This is a tool I really believe in and can stand behind.
How have I used it? It is integrated into this website and a few other websites I manage for pop-ups and welcome mats. I also use it to distribute a lot of the digital products instantly when someone opts in. It is one of the tools that you won’t be able to live without once you start using it.
How much does it cost? It is free. They do have a paid version that unlocks the full range of features and this is what I use. All of the features I have described here may not be available in the free version. I have the professional package on this page which will cost you $29 per month when you choose the month-to-month plan or $228 when you choose to pay annually. I did the latter.
What is it called? Buffer
What is it used for? It is a free social media management tool for all the major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
How have I used it? I have all my social media accounts connected to it except for Pinterest. Buffer allows you to schedule all of your post based on a schedule that you define. For example, my schedule is to post on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 8:47pm. When we reach the defined time, the Buffer app will automatically post to the social media accounts. The exception to the automated process is Instagram since they do not have an open API. Buffer will send you a notification and when you click on it, Instagram opens with your picture already there and your text already copied. Although it is not automatic, it really speeds up the process and lets you do everything in batch work. There is a web-based app, a mobile app, and a Chrome extension to make it easy to schedule social media post anywhere you may be.
How much does it cost? It is free if you have only one account per social media site. If you are working with a large team, you may find the paid version valuable at only $10 per month. It lets you connect multiple accounts per platform and schedule many more post than the free version.
What is it called? Hunter.io
What is it used for? It helps you find email addresses of people you want to get in contact with, even if they are not listed online.
How have I used it? There are two primary ways I utilize this tool. The first is through their Chrome browser extension and LinkedIn. You can login to your LinkedIn Account and search for people just as you normally would. The Chrome extension places a Hunter.io logo on the page and you can click this and the tool will give you the most likely domain on this person. The other way is through the web platform. You can go to their website type in a domain such as techcrunch.com and it will give you a list of people that work at this company and their emails. It also shows you the common structure of that companies email addresses, such as email@example.com.
How much does it cost? It is free for 100 inquiries per month. After that, you must get a paid account which starts at $39 per month.
What is it called? ManyChat
What is it used for? ManyChat is at the forefront of Messenger Marketing, which is taking the world by storm. You can use ManyChat to build automated sequences within Facebook Messenger to create a more personal conversation with your audience.
How have I used it? I am using it in several ways including creating automatic replies when someone comments on a Facebook Ad. It will send them a message automatically then you can ask them questions to better segment them and deliver value. I’ve also used their landing page functionality and various widgets that you can embed in pages. The best part is, when you send a Message on Messenger, you get around 80% open rate, compared to 20% on email. You can even process payments directly in Messenger from conversations driven from ManyChat. This is something you MUST start with now. You can see more on how I use it here.
How much does it cost? It is free and they also offer a premium version, which comes with a few additional features.
What is it called? Proof
What is it used for? Proof is an amazing tool that increases your conversion rates (people opting in or buying) by providing people with social proof. So, if you go to my homepage, you likely see a little pop-up in the corner that says “Jane Doe just downloaded a copy of The Side Hustle Journal” or something like that. That is powered by Proof. This shows people that other people are taking action and increases the likelihood that they will do the same because no one wants to feel like they are missing out.
How have I used it? I use it on this site and have used it on other sites as well. I won an award through Proof for being in the top 1% of marketers by having a web page that converts at greater than 60%. My page converted at 74% and had more than 1,400 opt-ins. You can read more about that here. Before installing Proof, my conversions weren’t that great but when I loaded up Proof (it’s just a few clicks) they skyrocketed!
How much does it cost? Use the link above to get a 14-day free trial to watch Proof increase your conversion rates like it did for me.
What is it called? G Suite – short for Google Suite
What is it used for? It is a business management ecosystem for web and mobile. It includes everything you need for custom domain email, document storage, calendar, spreadsheets, word documents, presentation slides, chat, video conferencing and much more.
How have I used it? In my opinion, this is a must-have for a side hustle or startup. Even the main company I work for, which has over 30,000 employees, uses it. When you set up your email you can add a custom domain which will make you look much more professional. If you email someone with a @gmail.com address then you instantly lose some credibility – this fixes that issue. In addition to the email, you get 1TB of cloud storage within Google Drive and unlimited storage if you have over 5 users on your account. I’ve completely migrated to the Drive and do not store anything local to my computer. You can create folders to organize all your files. If you upload Excel or Word file types, you can effortlessly open them in the Google alternative – Sheets and Docs. When you have a file in Sheets, Docs, or Slides, it can be collaboratively edited by anyone that you share it within a web browser or in the mobile app. You and a partner can be working on the same spreadsheet and see what they are editing in real-time. The Google Calendar is another great tool for both web and mobile applications. If you are looking to communicate with someone in or outside of your organization, then you can leverage Google Hangouts for a chat and Google Meet for video. Both work seamlessly across desktop and mobile.
How much does it cost? If you just need email, that is free. If you want all the other great features mentioned then you will need to pay $5 per month. That’s a lot of tools for the cost of a coffee. If you want 20% off your first-year use code X6QDPMWAVU4W34H for the basic plan and Y9FPAERVVPAEP9F for the business plan. Just follow the link above and enter the codes to save.
What is it called? Dropbox
What is it used for? This is a highly polished cloud storage platform.
How have I used it? There are times when customers, clients, or partners cannot access Google Drive because of permission settings on your side or theirs. When something like that happens I turn to Dropbox to host the spreadsheets, PDF’s, or images that I need to share. I do not actively manage files here but I leverage it when needed and it always works great. Like with Google Drive, there is a mobile app to help you manage and share when on the go.
How much does it cost? It is free. If you need Dropbox to scale with your business then you will need to look into their Business solutions, which start at $13 per month.
What is it called? Zapier
What is it used for? It is a tool that allows you to connect apps and services you use every day to automate tasks and save time. You can connect any of the 1,000+ integrated apps together to make your own automations, known as Zaps.
How have I used it? This has been a tool I used far before my side hustle days. I think the first time I used Zapier was to automatically save pictures I was tagged in on Facebook to my Dropbox account. Now I use it for a lot of different things including automatically saving certain emails that meet certain criteria to a Google Drive folder, send a reminder email to myself when certain events happen on my Shopify store such as sending purchases on my store directly to my Shipstation and even automatically logging my hours spent at my day job into a spreadsheet based on my GPS location. Currently, my favorite Zap is between Calendly, Google Calender, Evernote, and Gmail. Here’s how it works: someone schedules a time slot on my podcast via Calendly, then a calendar event is created, then a note is created in Evernote that contains all the details from the Calendly event including the questions in a preformatted way, then Gmail sends me an email to remind myself to create a Zoom event. If I had a premium Zoom account, I could even automate that piece. The options are endless.
How much does it cost? It is free for certain apps. If you want to integrate with some of their premium apps or build more than 5 Zaps then you will need to upgrade to a premium account which starts at $18 per month.
What is it called? Zoom
What is it used for? Zoom is like the cooler cousin of Skype. To me, Zoom is the only option if you are looking for a video recording solution that is stable and gives you high-quality audio and video.
How have I used it? All of the interviews I do on the Hustle To Freedom podcast are done with Zoom, unless they are in-person. It’s also a great tool for group video meetings. I switch between this and Google Meet for group video.
How much does it cost? They have a freemium model. You can use the free version and, as a side hustler, it will cover most of your needs. The first constraint you will hit with the free version is recording video with more than 3 people. They limit that to 40 minutes. Other than that, you likely won’t need to pay until your side hustle scales up.
What is it called? Loom
What is it used for? It provides you with a quick and easy recording option that lives natively within Google Chrome and quickly stores your video in the cloud. You can use it for screen recording, selfie recording, or a mix of both.
How have I used it? Like I said, you can record in several different ways with Loom, but let me tell you how I like to use Loom to help with customer service. Since Loom has a Chrome browser extension, you are just one click away from a quick recording. Anytime I want to send someone an email, I think, would it be cooler to send them a personalized video message instead? If the answer is yes, I click the icon and start recording. It instantly saves, then you can embed a link to the video in your email – all for the same amount of time it would have taken you to type the email. It’s amazing. I also use it to do things like record an explanation of The Side Hustle Journal inner contents and show a video of me in the bottom left corner.
How much does it cost? It’s free.
What is it called? Calendly
What is it used for? It provides a web-based calendar integration so that anyone can schedule time with you.
How have I used it? One of the cool things about Calendly is that they give you the code needed to paste into your website for a seamless calendar integration, just like I did here on my podcast page. It looks very slick and professional. You can select what people can schedule time with you about and for how long, and even ask them questions in the process. It then integrates into your Google Calendar so that you have visibility of new events. It’s a great tool if you have a service based business. It also works really well with Zapier that was mentioned above.
How much does it cost? It is free for the basic package. If you want additional features you will have to pay around $8 a month per user.
What is it called? Streak CRM
What is it used for? At its core, it is a CRM system (customer relationship management) that allows you to track individuals and companies from lead to customer and manage the communication. The awesome thing about Streak is that it lives within Gmail. You open your Gmail browser and Streak is already running. In addition to typical CRM functional, it has really useful features such as mail merge, schedule emails to send at a later time.
How have I used it? I’ve had limited use with the CRM aspects, although I have used it some in another one of my businesses that is a service-based business. On a daily basis, I utilize the email tracking, which will tell you when someone reads your email and the send later functionality which allows you to schedule emails at a later date. I like to use this for networking. If I meet someone then I may come home and immediately type up an email just stating it was nice to meet then set it to send at a later date and time. Your computer doesn’t have to be open, it just sends when the time comes.
How much does it cost? It is free. Like others, there are paid options as well. These start at $49 per month for the professional plan.
What is it called? Google Voice
What is it used for? It creates another phone line for calls, voicemail and text messaging. All you need is the app installed on your phone and you are ready to go.
How have I used it? I have a Google Voice number specifically for this business. Any calls or text related to the Google Voice number go directly to my main phone. You can call people back directly from the app and even reply to text messages. You get one Google Voice number per user. If you live in a big city then you may not be able to get a local area code.
How much does it cost? It is free.
What is it called? LastPass
What is it used for? Managing all of your passwords – both business and personal.
How have I used it? I’ve been a user of LastPass for around the past 2 years. With the Chrome extension and mobile app, you will never be without your passwords. It is great when you are in Chrome because it will prepopulate your username and password. All your information is stored in a password protected Vault. On each entry, you can add additional information such as notes. There is an integrated password generator in the event you want to create a password you could never remember.
How much does it cost? It is free. If you want the premium features then you’ll need to drop $2 per month after the 14-day trial period. This is great for teams and people that need additional support and security.
What is it called? Grammarly
What is it used for? Helping people like me look like they somewhat know proper grammar with real-time spell check and suggestions.
How have I used it? When you install the Google Chrome extension then you will not have to put forth any effort to produce better quality written documents. You can type pretty much anywhere on the web and Grammarly will run and provide a light red line underneath anything that needs correcting. The only gripe I have with Grammarly right now is that it does not integrate with Google Docs. On the website, it says coming soon but I’m not holding my breath. Besides that, it is an absolute must-have for me.
How much does it cost? It is free. If you want to upgrade to the premium version which will make you look even smarter, then it will cost you about $12 per month when billed annually. This is a service that I will VERY soon be upgrading to the premium version.
What is it called? Bitly
What is it used for? It is a link shortener with tracking functionality built in.
How have I used it? Sometimes you don’t want to send someone a link that is a mile long. Other times you want to know how many times a link has been clicked on. Both of these are scenarios which I have used Bitly and it is often both of the scarios combined.
How much does it cost? It is free. There is an Enterprise version but for anything considered a side hustle, the free version will work fine.
Blog Platforms (CMS)
What is it called? WordPress
What is it used for? You can build highly customizable websites on the WordPress platform. If you are looking for a drag and drop website builder, this is not it. If you are looking for a website with every aspect exactly how you want it, this may be the solution for you.
How have I used it? This site is built on WordPress. I also built my very first website on WP. I had never built a website before but I watched a 3 hour YouTube video that walked me through the entire process from start to finish. It actually took me 8-10 hours because I would start then stop to execute what he just did then start again. After doing that I spent the next few weeks tweaking it to get it just how I wanted it.
How much does it cost? It is free. If you want to buy a theme then you can spend some money on that but you could also find some free ones. (I used Themify for free on my other site and paid for Authority Pro by StudioPress on this site)
What is it called? BlueHost
What is it used for? They essentially have the technology that allows your website to be seen by all the other people on the internet. That is the easiest way I can describe it. Without a service like BlueHost, noone would ever see your website so they aren’t a nice-to-have, they are a must-have.
How have I used it? I’ve used it to host two websites and have not seen any issues and they are trusted by over two million other WordPress sites.
How much does it cost? Sorry, this one isn’t free. It depends on your site traffic, but plans start at $20 per month.
What is it called? Squarespace
What is it used for? This is a simple drag and drop website builder for those with little design skills or someone that is looking to get up and running quickly.
How have I used it? I’ve used it to build one website. I was honestly surprised by how simple it was to work with. With the simplicity comes lack of customization. It like Android and iOS. WordPress would be Android and Squarespace would be iOS.
How much does it cost? There is a free trial then you must choose either a personal or business plan. The personal plan is $12 per month when billed annually and $18 per month when billed monthly. The business plan is $18 per month when billed annually and $26 per month when billed monthly.
What is it called? Upwork
What is it used for? Finding freelancers around the globe to help bring expertise to areas in which you are lacking or don’t have the time.
How have I used it? I’ve used Upwork for a ton of things at this point – some of the items related to Grit and Hustle Co. and some other projects. A couple of items I’ve used this platform is: turning a flat PDF into a photorealistic book, proofreading of The Side Hustle Journal, a press release for The Side Hustle Journal, and a 10 second YouTube intro for a past project.
How much does it cost? It is completely dependent on the job you need completing.
What is it called? Fiverr
What is it used for? Hiring freelancers from around the world to complete task and projects that you need help with. It can save you time, frustration, and cost.
How have I used it? I’ve used Fiverr in the past for jobs such as logo design, copywriting, and recreating file in other file types. I bounce back and forth between Fiverr and Upwork. I go to Fiverr for the very basic task and I can usually get them done in high quality for cheap. Of course, there are high-quality people that could perform the same as the people on Upwork but this is usually how I interact with the platforms.
How much does it cost? It depends on your project but you can usually get things done for really cheap on Fiverr.
What is it called? Toptal
What is it used for? This platform has the Ferrari of freelancers. Unlike the other platforms which allow anyone to sign up, Toptal, screens all their freelancers to ensure you are getting only the best. On their website, they claim to only work with the top 3% of freelance talent. Are you top talent?
How have I used it? I have personally not used Toptal yet. This will likely change very soon based on the great feedback I’ve heard from others in this industry.
How much does it cost? It depends on your project. If you need a graphic designer, it will be a lot cheaper than if you need a CFO for your company but you can find both on Toptal.
What is it called? Design Pickle
What is it used for? Unlimited, high quality, graphic design services.
How have I used it? I have not yet used this service but it is on my radar. Currently, I spend a lot of time doing graphic design for social media, website, and products but I think I don’t do the best job and my time could be better spent elsewhere. I see myself diving in with Design Pickle in the next 12 months.
How much does it cost? This is not a free service. You will pay around $370 per month for unlimited graphic designs and customer support based in the USA. Get as many designs and modifications as you need or want, for one fee. If you have ever worked with a good graphic designer before then you know this is an amazing deal.
What is it called? Alibaba
What is it used for? Finding suppliers from all over the globe for just about anything you can think of.
How have I used it? I used Alibaba to find a manufacturer for The Side Hustle Journal. I worked with 5 or 6 different manufacturers to get custom samples shipped to me for evaluation. Alibaba does a great job to vet and verify that the manufacturers are top quality and they provide a rating system based on the number of transactions this supplier has processed on the platform and rating from the Alibaba in-person visit. This does not mean you shouldn’t be very cautious though. Use common logic when talking with manufacturers. Judge them on communication and responsiveness. And remember this, if it seems to good to be true, it probably will be crappy quality. Most people just associate Alibaba with Chinese manufacturers but you can find them from all over the world including the USA, India, and Mexico.
How much does it cost? It is free to create an account and start interacting with manufacturers.
What is it called? Skillshare
What is it used for? Learn how to do just about anything from improving skills related to your hobby to learning skills that make your career accelerate. Skillshare has top-notch teachers showing you the way forward.
How have I used it? I have not used Skillshare yet. I am a huge fan of platforms like this though. As people begin to wake up and realize that you don’t need an overpriced college degree to make money, platforms like Skillshare will empower people with the knowledge they need to change their lives.
How much does it cost? Some of it is free and some of it is paid content. The link above will get you two months for FREE.
What is it called? Udemy
What is it used for? It is an online video library of more than 55,000 courses on a broad range of topics. You could learn how to draw the first half of the day then learn about cryptocurrencies the other half of the day.
How have I used it? I used the platform to take a course on Facebook ads. If I remember correctly, I got the course on sale for around $10, which I considered a great deal. Read the reviews on the various courses before signing up because you will find that the quality of the content can vary greatly.
How much does it cost? This one is not free. The courses will run $10+.
What is it called? Codecademy
What is it used for? Learn to code on one of the best online platforms. Whether it be Python, HTML, CSS, JAVA, or even learn to code applications like Alexa and Google Home.
How have I used it? For about 1 month, I thought I wanted to learn how to code and that would be my side hustle. I quickly realized this would take some serious dedication and it was a little harder than trying to learn how to ride a bike, then I moved on. While I was learning, I used codecademy. The web app and the mobile app are very polished and provide a great environment for someone learning to code.
How much does it cost? It is free. There is a premium version of the site which comes live support and more learning tools such as projects and advanced quizzes. This will cost you around $20 per month. There is also an “intensive” pro version which has specific courses that vary in the time needed to complete, most are around 10-weeks, and they will cost $199+.
What is it called? Teachable
What is it used for? This is a great platform which helps you create polished and professional courses to share with the world and has the infrastructure built in so that you can sell them.
How have I used it? The side hustle courses I’ve created are hosted on the Teachable platform. The interface is great and allows you to create a great experience for the learner. If you have the knowledge to share with the world then get out your camera, start talking, and upload it to Teachable. You can help an endless amount of people while helping your bank account as well.
How much does it cost? It is free. The free version lacks some features of the paid versions, such as the ability to have a custom domain, product support, and a higher percentage of each sale is taken. The paid versions range from $39 – $300 per month. I use the $39 plan.