07 Apr 17 Low-Cost Business Tools to Grow Your Side Hustle
You’ve got your side hustle going. You’re making money. Now you’re ready to step up your game and grow your side hustle. Whether you want to turn it into a full-time business or get more gigs, there are a ton of low-cost business tools at your disposal.
That’s right. Building a website, designing marketing materials, and communicating better with clients doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.
There are countless online resources to help you do that–quickly and inexpensively.
Keep reading because we’re listing our top 17 low-cost business tools to help you grow your side hustle.
With one or a combination of these business-building tools, you can up your gig game and get better results!
Low-Cost Design Tools
Canva is the design tool for your business that is accessible and effective. In fact, it’s the #1 tool we use! Create jaw-dropping designs with your own photos and videos. Social media graphics, presentations, posters? No problem. Make logos, book covers, and party invitations too. Canva is easy to use and available on web and mobile. Plus, it integrates millions of images, fonts, templates, and illustrations. You can try Canva Pro free for 30 days. After that, it’s $9.95/month when paid annually or $12.95/monthly.
Image is everything. Marketing your side hustle likely requires attractive photos. GIMP is a highly praised free photo editor offering most of the Adobe Photoshop features. The best part? It’s totally FREE! It comes with incredible professional-quality functions for fine-tuning shots and creating unique artwork from scratch. Tools include montage features, retouching options, cropping, noise reduction, colour adjustment, customizable brushes, gradients, and so much more. The program has a ton of tutorials that offer help when needed.
Fiverr is a platform that links businesses with freelancers offering digital services in over 250 categories. Buyers can peruse seller prices and reviews before making a decision. You can find your graphic designer, translator, digital editor, or whatever your digital needs are at a budget-savvy price. With some gigs starting at just $5, it is a low-cost business tool worth exploring.
99designs is a graphic design marketplace where you can post a project or host a contest to get the design you need. This is the go-to platform if you’re looking for graphic design (logo, web design, etc.) for your side hustle.
There are 2 ways to find your designer…
- Use contests where designers send you ideas for your unique project.
- Find and hire a freelancer of your choosing.
Logo packages on 99designs go from $299 to $1,299. Such a range lets businesses on any budget invest in professional designs.
Google Web Designer is not a website creation suite as the name alludes to. It’s a program that helps you easily design promotional tools such as infographics, 360 degree gallery, and static banners. With many options of templates to choose from, Google Web Designer makes things like banner design a piece of cake. And, it’s free! Plus, its integration with other Google products is seamless. Having compatibility with Google Ads makes it easy to advertise everything you create.
Adobe Systems is a multimedia and creativity software company. Popular products include Photoshop, Acrobat Reader, and Adobe Creative Cloud. Recently, the products have been lumped together as a suite for a more affordable price. Subscription plans ranging from $9.99/month to $49.99/month are available on the Creative Cloud platform. This is a great option for digital creatives on a budget looking for high-quality tools.
Low-Cost Website Building Tools
Squarespace is a high-quality, low-cost business tool perfect for side hustlers looking for a professional website. Take your pick from the many beautiful templates available. Design a logo using their free logo maker. Customization options and features assist in giving your site a personal touch. You can start a free trial. In addition, get a free custom domain name for the first year of an annual website plan.
WordPress is a popular website-building tool being used by over 80 million websites. It lets you create any website including ecommerce, forum, business, blog, and more. The flexibility of WordPress allows you to have complete control over the design and functionality of your website. Note: having coding knowledge is very helpful to set up, use, and manage WordPress. There are several plans starting at $4 monthly that allow for more customization; however, you can set up your website for free.
Elegant Themes is one of the biggest names in the WordPress world. If you’re looking to update your theme or shopping for plugins, this is the way to go. Elegant Themes is known for fresh themes and high-quality products. Plus, its pricing plans are reasonable. For $89 a year, you get access to all of its themes (including the flagship ‘Divi‘ theme) and plugins. A 30-day money-back guarantee on all purchases lets you try themes and plugins risk-free.
Weebly is a low-tech website-building platform ideal for side hustlers who aren’t as tech savvy. It has an easy-to-use interface with a drag-and-drop feature–allowing you to build a nice-looking site with minimal effort. It also has ecommerce features. Weebly has four plans ranging from $0 to $29/month. The Free plan is most suitable for basic sites with the next being the Personal plan at $9/month. This lets you connect to a custom domain, which makes it one of the more cost-efficient platforms for creating sites.
With continuous #1 ranking, Bluehost is a favorite hosting company among small businesses and side hustlers alike. There are a wide range of plans to choose from and tons of features that help you easily build your website. Their affordable starter plans fit any budget requirement. Bonus: all their hosting plans include expert 24/7 customer support. For the newbie site builder, you can’t go wrong signing up for a Bluehost-shared hosting plan. You can upgrade your hosting plan as your site grows.
HostGator specializes in hosting for individuals and small businesses. It offers what you need without the extra frills. While their prices are lower than competitors, they still offer features that result in strong hosting capabilities for users. Their hosting plans range from user-friendly shared, cloud hosting to virtual private servers (VPSs) for more advanced users. The Hatchling plan starts at $2.75 per month. This includes one domain name, unlimited disk space and storage, SSL certificate, and unlimited subdomains. A great starting point for novices starting out on their online business journey.
Low-Cost Email Marketing Tools
Email communication is key in productive and effective business. Mailchimp is a full-service marketing platform. This favorite low-cost business tool is great for people wanting to grow their side hustles through marketing campaigns. Its mobile app lets you design and send campaigns from an Android or iOS device. MailChimp offers a free plan for up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 emails per month (with ads). There are several other plans that are great as your business grows.
Constant Contact is a perfect option for small businesses or side hustlers new to email marketing. Known for a clean interface, its platform is simple and intuitive. The dashboard is easy to navigate and learn. Constant Contact also has advanced features such as email automation, reporting tools, and integrations. It offers two pricing plans: Email (starting at $20/month), and Email Plus (starting at $45/month). Pricing variations are based on the account’s number of email contacts. Discounts are available with upfront payment for six months (10%) or 12 months (15% off).
Low-Cost Communications Tools
Grasshopper is a virtual phone system designed to keep your work and personal life separate. It identifies business-related calls and offers features such as custom greetings and extensions. You can get a business phone number plus all of the features of a robust phone system without the expense of additional devices. Grasshopper works on desktop and mobile apps. Starting at $24/ month, Grasshopper offers users one number with three extensions.
Slack is the top business-messaging app that allows quick communication with coworkers, partners, and clients through direct messages and group chats. With drag-and-drop uploading, sharing documents and screenshots is easy. Rather than sending sharing links through email, Slack makes sharing Google Docs and Sheets simple and organized. Slack has a free option, as well as two tiers of paid plans: Standard and Plus. Slack Standard costs $8 per person per month, or about $80 per person when paying annually.
Zoom is one of the leaders in the video conferencing industry. Its software allows simple one-to-one chat sessions to become group calls, training sessions, and webinars for internal and external audiences. Zoom has the capacity to hold global video meetings with up to 1,000 participants and as many as 49 HD videos onscreen simultaneously. It also has screen sharing and collaboration tools that are easy to use. You can start on Zoom for free with unlimited 1:1 meetings or with group sessions to 40 minutes and 100 participants. Paid plans start at $15/month per host. If your side hustle requires online video communication, Zoom is a low-cost business tool worth incorporating.