What idea or talent do you have that could help you be your own boss?

Is there a creative skill that you have that would allow you to sell products or services?
Do you have a unique life experience that people would be interested hearing or learning about?
Do you have an interest outside of your “career” job that you’d like to use profitably?
Do you need a little extra cash and don’t want to deliver pizzas?

Starting a “side hustle” might be the answer.  I love this Art of Manliness article on starting a side hustle, and how to do that when working another job.  When you’re trying to take an idea or talent and turn it into something that takes money, it’s vital to find simple, cost-effective solutions to help make it possible.

You’re not going to go out and drop $10,000 of dollars to get this thing started [I hope], so you need smart, simple solutions that can solve some problems you run into.  Having worked with a number of micro-entrepreneurs in this space, I have a few ideas for you.

Here are some great resources that will make starting your side-hustle a little more effective.

Wave

One of the most common issues I see with micro-entrepreneurs is that they have no idea if they’re making money, how much money they are making, or how much they’re spending.  Two possible reasons for this: 1) They don’t have an accounting solution in place, or 2) They have something like Quickbooks but are overwhelmed by it and don’t know how to use it effectively.

That’s why I love Wave, an online accounting solution for small businesses.  Their typical user is a micro-business in some kind of service industry, so it’s build for the quintessential side-hustle. While it is a full, double-entry accounting software, it has a stripped down user interface, so you don’t see stuff that isn’t helpful to you unless you want to do a deep dive.  It is designed to connect with your bank account directly, and you can see reports, keep track of receipts, and send invoices with the software.  Best of all, it’s FREE for the essential accounting functions.  You can do credit card processing and payroll as well – those are the paid functions.

Square

Do you have a product you want to sell?  You can literally have a Square online marketplace store up and running to accept orders in less than 15 minutes.  Square is the maker of the iconic “Square” card reader that kinda changed credit card processing forever by making it accessible to anyone.

Getting an account with Square will allow you to order a free card reader you can use with your smartphone if you want to accept payments in person.  Also, Square online has an invoicing function, where you can bill clients and customers for a specific amount, and they can pay online at their convenience.

WordPress

Self-hosting the WordPress.org software is a powerful engine for creating almost any website you want, with a customizable user interface based on your purpose.  Purchase premium themes from $25-$200, apply them to your WordPress-based site, and customize to your liking.

The themes available for purchase come tailored for different applications, like e-commerce, real estate, artist showcase, power blogging, and so many more.  ThemeForest has great premium WordPress themes, and Michael Hyatt has an excellent video screencast to show you how to setup your own WordPress-based site.

Pixabay

Pixabay is a community-generated repository of public domain images that you can use for free, without attribution.  I love Pixabay.  It’s built on a bit of an expectation that members will contribute to the body of work, so it attracts a lot of artists.  The quality of these stock photos is significantly greater than any other “free” stock photo option out there that I’ve seen – the graphic for this post uses an image from Pixabay.  If you’re going to have a web presence (which you should) decent-quality media is vital, and Pixabay can help you populate that new WordPress theme at a low cost.

These resources have benefitted many micro-entrepreneurs, including myself, so maybe they can help you too!

What other tools/resources have your used that could be helpful for early entrepreneurs?