15 Free Tools to Take Your Side-Hustle to the Next Level

If you're starting a side-hustle, you're going to need the right tools up your sleeve.

learn more about Lindsay Craig

By Lindsay Craig • Aug 8, 2016 Originally published Aug 8, 2016


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

These days it seems like everyone has a side-hustle or a passion project that they're pursuing outside of their nine-to-five. Starting a new side gig can seem daunting, but with the right tools up your sleeve you'll be well on your way to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

1. Clearbit Connect finds employee emails for any company.

Trying to reach a potential investor or journalist? Clearbit Connect is a Gmail plugin helps you find just about anyone's contact information.

You can search by name or job title and instantly get access to someone's corporate email address, Twitter handle and LinkedIn profile. The plugin also adds context information in sidebar by providing the company's address, amount of venture capital (VC) funding and number of employees. The free version gets you 25 free contact searches per month.

2. Docracy is an open collection of legal contracts.

Docracy is an online collection of free legal documents, which are submitted by a community of lawyers and organizations. You can find consulting agreements, freelancing contracts, non-disclosure agreements and even leases for office space. Once you have the paperwork you need, you can use the platform for digital signatures as well.

3. Logo Generator allows you to create a free logo.

It's critical to have a logo for social media accounts, marketing materials and websites, but it can be quite expensive to hire a professional designer for a side-hustle that's just getting started. Fortunately, a logo generator, like this one make it quick and easy to create an original logo in minutes. Simply select your favorite font and icon, and then download your free file.

4. Primer teaches you marketing on-the-go.

Primer is a free education app is part of a pilot program at Google. It offers bite-sized lessons on advertising, measurement, strategy and content and allows users to test their knowledge with personalized next steps. You can download it on Android or iOS, and use the app offline, which means you may be able to squeeze in a lesson or two on your commute.

5. Tethr is a free iOS design kit.

Tethr is a stunning iOS design kit that includes $80 worth of Sketch and Photoshop files. There are more than 100 templates and 250 UI elements that you can mix and match. This kit will rapidly speed up the design and planning stages of your next brilliant app idea.

6. Pay with a Tweet.

Encourage your audience to spread the word about your project by allowing them to Pay With a Tweet. This platform lets you to set up free social lockers, which require users to share suggested text in exchange for material, such as videos or digital downloads.

7. Track your goals and habits in Strides.

Entrepreneurship requires a substantial amount of motivation and self-discipline. If you need an app to keep yourself on track, check out habit-building apps like Strides. It helps users commit to goals, and develop productive habits. You can track everything from sales targets to bed times.

8. Get blog post ideas with Blog Topic Generator.

If you've run out of ideas for blog posts, Blog Topic Generator is the tool for you. Simply enter three keywords, and you'll instantly receive a week's worth of blog topic suggestions. While it's not a perfect system, it's certainly a helpful starting point for combatting writer's block.

9. Manage appointments, customers, staff and schedules in Setmore.

Setmore is a free scheduling platform was designed to simplify appointment booking for small businesses.

It works with 18 popular web services, which allows you to seamlessly integrate it into your business. Your customers can pay their fees ahead of time, and sign up to receive SMS notifications or email reminders about their appointments. It's sure to come in handy for anyone whose side-hustle is service-based, such as personal trainers, estheticians or photographers.

10. StockSnap offers free, beautiful stock photos.

Whether it's for advertisements, brochures, landing pages or blog posts, pretty much every business needs stock photos at some point. These photos can get pretty expensive, but fortunately there are a variety of free libraries available online. StockSnap, for example, offers a searchable database of high-quality images, which are free to use for commercial purposes under a Creative Commons CCO license.

11. Noisli helps you focus.

Need to focus and get down to business? Noisli is a free noise generator lets you create your ideal soundscape with just a few clicks. You can blend together an array of audio clips, such as a rumbling train, a crackling fire and a calming rainstorm. It also features a timer and a distraction-free text editor.

12. Yanado turns gmail into a task management app.

Yanado transforms your Gmail inbox into a project management tool. You can turn emails into tasks; delegate them to team members; assign due dates; and receive real-time notifications about progress. The free version only supports one user, but it could be a great fit for freelancers, consultants or anyone who is in the early days of their side hustle.

Related: Top 5 Small Business Tools

13. Track your life in Instant.

Instant is an app will track almost every aspect of your life, including sleep, exercise, productivity, phone activity and locations. It includes a chat bot, which can provide meaningful insights, such as whether you've been spending too much time playing Pokemon Go or not enough time sleeping.

Related: 18 Effective Social-Media Tools That Will Save You Time

14. Learn how to start a business with StartUp Class.

Not sure where to begin with your business idea?

Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator (YC), designed a 20-part course for Stanford University and released the lectures for free. StartUp Class is more than 1,000 minutes of a comprehensive business education. The lectures include expert guest speakers, such as Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, and Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, and the curriculum covers everything from growth hacking to fostering a great company culture.

Related: 10 Free Marketing Tools Every Entrepreneur Should Know About

15. Generate invoices with Invoice Generator.

Getting paid is an important part of running a side-hustle. Invoice Generator makes it super simple to create customer invoices. Just fill out the relevant fields, and you can instantly download a professional invoice. Plus, you can even customize it with your logo, like the one you created with the generator; edit the tax rate; and add multiple line items if needed.

Lindsay Craig

Growth Hacker at GoSpaces.com

Lindsay Craig is a Growth Hacker at GoSpaces, a free site builder and e-commerce platform that is part of Shopify’s experimental Garage division. Since it was launched, more than 50,000 Spaces have been created by a diverse community of artists, authors, and entrepreneurs. Lindsay has an MBA, seven years of digital marketing experience and has created over 100 social media promotions for brands.

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