This post contains affiliate links for some of the tools or programs listed below. That means if you purchase one of these tools or programs through my link, I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
K.I.S.S (keep it simple, stupid) is my favorite philosophy as I build out my side hustle. This goes for tools and programs too. I tend to get a bit of shiny object syndrome going when I see new things that I think can help me.
But what I’ve discovered is the more tools I have, the more complicated things get.
Therefore, I’m working on keeping only the best (and necessary) tools and programs.
Following are my 8 must-have tools to run and grow my simple side hustle. (Er, make that 7…as you’ll see in a minute.)
I use ConvertKit to send out my daily emails. You can get away with using their free plan, which allows for up to 1,000 subscribers. However, you’ll have limited capabilities. For instance, if someone signs up for your email, you won’t be able to send them an automated Welcome message.
Here’s what my automation looks like (I told you I keep things simple!):
As soon as someone signs up for my newsletter, they get a welcome message. This ensures they were added correctly.
Have you ever signed up for a newsletter and didn’t get anything? You wonder if your email went through…and then you forget you signed up! A welcome email helps combat this problem.
But, if you’re just getting started, ConvertKit’s free plan will work just fine.
2. Wealthy Affiliate
I have been a member of Wealthy Affiliate since 2009! WA is an education platform and vibrant community all rolled into one:
I also buy all my domains through them, and they host all of my websites. They have 24/7 website support, which has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion.
Here’s a peek into my website dashboard. This looks complicated, but I only use “Login” from here, so it’s super simple to manage everything:
I wish I could show you more because there’s so much good stuff inside. But, the good news is, you can sign up for Wealthy Affiliate’s free membership (no credit card needed) and see everything they offer.
3. Canva Pro
I’ve been a pro member for a long time, but if I remember correctly, their free version is pretty spectacular and fine to use if you’re just getting started. Click here to sign up for Canva.
4. Medium Membership
Medium is a blogging platform where I spend the majority of my side hustlin’ time. It’s proven to be the easiest place for me to grow and create a nice side income:
Buying a membership to Medium is a no-brainer. Not only does it give you access to amazing content from other creators, but it also opens up access for you to get paid. (And your membership dollars go toward paying other Medium writers, so it’s a win-win.)
There are two membership levels at the time of this writing:
- Standard Medium membership = $5/month
- Friends of Medium = $15/month
I am a Friends of Medium member because I love the site so much and I wanted to be able to support other writers even more. However, a standard membership is just fine too! Click here to check out Medium.
Note: I have an ebook on how to earn on Medium → Medium Money: The Simple Guide to Writing Articles That Pay You.
SnagIt is a tool I use every single day.
It makes it super easy for me to grab screenshots when I need them. (And I LOVE to use screenshots, as you can see from this post!)
You can also do about 5,678 things with SnagIt, but I mostly only use it for screenshots. Sometimes I add some arrows and text to my images, but otherwise, I’m pretty boring with it.
But because I use it daily, it’s worth every penny to me! (And this one is a one-time fee and not yearly unless you want to upgrade to the latest and greatest every year.) Click here to check out SnagIt.
Midjourney is definitely a nice-to-have and not necessarily a need-to-have. I use it to create AI images for my Medium article and Pinterest pins. What I love about it is that I don’t have to worry about copyright issues. It just makes things a *little* bit easier. Plus, you can use your imagination and get beautifully creative images out of it.
Midjourney’s only $10/month, and I think it’s worth the cost. Click here to check out Midjourney.
If you get ConvertKit, ConvertBox isn’t totally necessary, but I snagged a lifetime membership years ago, and I’m happy I did! This is where I can create different email form “boxes.”
Let me show you some:
So, you can see I’ve created different email forms for different things. That way I can easily keep track of where people are coming from to sign up for my emails.
The boxes are completely customizable:
And they have templates to work from too:
I just love how easy ConvertBox is to use! Check it out here.
I also currently use BlackMagic, but I’ll likely be canceling it when my year is up in August. If your priority is growing on Twitter/X, then I would recommend it because it’s a neat tool.
- Schedule tweets
- Schedule retweets
- Sort by your followers
- Sort by your top interactions
You can click on a profile picture and see their latest tweet where you can respond or like:
It makes interacting with people super easy. The reason I want to cancel isn’t because of the tool itself, it’s just that I discovered X isn’t my preferred platform so this is an area where I can save some money. (I also canceled Twitter Blue or whatever it’s called now.)
But if Twitter/X is your thing, then definitely click here to check out BlackMagic.
When I see a new tool, I tend to get excited. But now I’m reminding myself that most of them aren’t necessary! The ones I use daily are just these few:
- Wealthy Affiliate
(8. BlackMagic, which I plan to cancel.)
The cost for all of these tools is approximately $1164/year, or less than $100/month. Considering they’re helping me make over $1,000 a month, they’re worth every penny!
– Are there any tools you can’t live without? Let me know in the comments. I’ll try not to get shiny object syndrome!