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7 Must-Have Tools to Balance a Side Hustle with Your 9 to 5

You can start a side hustle while working a 9 to 5. Here's the tools you'll need to balance them both (without pulling your hair out). While you may dream of ditching your 9 to 5 in favor of more flexible work, quitting your day job isn’t always practical. But just because you can’t go all in as a an out-of-the-cubicle thinker right out the gate, doesn’t mean you should abandon your flex work pursuits entirely.

Instead, start a side hustle that lets you hold onto your office job as you build a business that lets you work on your own terms.

Hosting

A successful side hustle starts with a strong online presence. In many cases, this means an eye-catching website that sells your services or showcases your goods for sale. And behind every great site is a hosting company that keeps your website ‘live’ so that customers and clients can actually find you online.

For newbies, I always recommend BlueHost for all your hosting needs. With 24/7 support, a free domain name, and monthly hosting that costs less than a latte, you receive a ton of value for your buck. There’s also one-click WordPress install that makes it super easy to get a beautiful site up in a matter of minutes.

As an added bonus, BlueHost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy, they’ll make it right or give you a refund. No questions asked.

Productivity

Although your day job likely requires you to show up in office, your side hustle allows you to work where you’re happiest. If you’re like me, your happy place is your home. And having the ability to work from home comes with a lot of perks. Coworker cats, no commutes, and a comfy wardrobe all come to mind. But as an at-home worker, productivity can sometimes take a backseat to other daily responsibilities.

To keep your side hustle on track, use a productivity tool. From online activity trackers to website blockers that keep social media at bay, there are a number of free productivity tools that help you make the most of the limited time you have to grow your side hustle.  

Expenses

When you start a side hustle — whether you’re a freelance writer, blogger, virtual assistant, photographer or anything in between — there are going to be business related expenses that get intertwined with personal finances. And, don’t forget about invoices that need to be sent out to customers, clients, or even advertisers. How do you keep your side hustle finances on track?

Invoice tracking software! By using invoice tracking software you can send out professional invoices, accept a number of payment methods, bill clients per project or by the hour, and even set reminders to follow up on any unpaid balances!

Think of invoice tracking software as your personal virtual bookkeeper that keeps your business and personal expenses separate so you can keep your side hustle on point.

Project Management

It doesn’t matter what kind of side hustle you have, everyone from bloggers to boutique owners will juggle multiple projects at once to stay in business. And if you’re a freelancer working with clients, you’ll absolutely need a way to manage your day to day activities so you hit your deadlines every time — no exceptions!

An easy way to make sure all the moving parts of your side hustle are headed in the right direction is to use a project management tool. Handy apps like Asana or Trello give you a chance to organize the many aspects of your side hustle and prioritize tasks. You can even create project to-do lists to see what needs to be done to get from Point A to Point B.

Some people swear by Asana. Others prefer Trello. You’ll likely find you favor one over the other. Whichever you choose, make sure to put it to good use as you work to build momentum in your side hustle.

Organization

Your computer will quickly get bogged down by all the downloads and projects you’re working on as a side hustler. This can quickly lead to a cluttered desktop and items getting ‘lost’ in the shuffle!

Instead of storing everything locally on your computer, put your side hustle work on the cloud. Not only does it keep your computer super organized, it helps you stay in business in the event of a computer catastrophe like coffee being spilled on your laptop or a PC that suddenly goes rogue. With cloud storage, you won’t lose any work (or money) because everything you’ve done is safely tucked away and easily retrieved from any computer.

You may already have access to plenty of free cloud storage without realizing it. If you’re an Amazon prime member you receive complimentary cloud storage with your membership. If not, Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Amazon isn’t the only place to find free storage for your side hustle. Dropbox offers a free plan that provides enough space to get your going. Whenever you need more, no problem, you can upgrade to a paid plan anytime.

Email Management

The average person receives 120 emails daily. Every. Single. Day. When you’re trying to balance a side hustle with your day job, you can quickly get buried by your inbox. Instead of letting your inbox dictate your to-do list, why not turn your inbox into your to-do list?

Now you can with the Inbox by Gmail App. With Inbox, you can turn emails into individual to-do tasks, pin important emails to the top, and ‘pause’ emails until you need them. Plus, you can create new tasks to go along with emails so you’re actually working alongside your inbox and not against it!

Of course, Inbox is exclusive to Gmail and G Suite accounts. If you’re not a gmail user (and don’t plan on switching), consider one of these 16 email apps to gain control of your inbox, once and for all!

Social Media Management

Social media networking helps deliver customers and clients to your virtual doors. But it also happens to be a major time suck. If your side hustle has you pinning, posting, tweeting, and updating on a daily basis in the name of marketing, you can end up losing precious hours that may be better spent completing projects.

To free up your time and give you a chance to step away from your computer, use a social media automation tool. When you take advantage of automation, you can sit down once a week instead of every day to schedule all of your social updates.

There are plenty of social media management tools to choose from. And the one(s) you end up choosing greatly depends on the social sites you use. For example, if you’re active mostly on Pinterest, you can’t go wrong with Tailwind. If your focus is Facebook and Twitter, Buffer is a great option!

Whichever social media automation tool you use, you can rest assured that you’ll spend less hours manually updating social sites and more time growing your side hustle.

Outsource Options

When in doubt, don’t be afraid to outsource! Balancing a side hustle with your 9 to 5 can be exhausting at times, and there’s only so much a single person can do in any given day. So, when your to-do list is a mile long and you feel like for every item you check off ten more are added, call in backup!

Today, you can send out a virtual SOS without breaking the bank. Outsource sites, like Fiverr, give you a chance to catch up on little things without spending a fortune. You can also join a monthly VA service, like Fancy Hands, to have a VA at your disposal whenever menial tasks rear their ugly heads. 

A virtual assistant can be used even for a few hours to help you hack through your overgrown inbox or simply tackle the little things that seem to take up way too much of your valuable time.

Get Started

The saying getting started is the hardest part is so true when it comes to launching a side hustle. Fortunately, when you have tools in place, like the ones listed here, you can launch with confidence already knowing you’ve got what it takes to get the job done.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and set a goal and get started — anywhere. Just get started. Once you launch, you can organically grow your side hustle to a point where you can finally kick your cubicle to the curb — for good!

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About Carol St. Amand

Carol St. Amand

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