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Starting a Side Gig: 6 Essential Tools to Get You Going

Having the right tools for the right task can make all the difference when it comes to a side job. The fact is, freelancing can sometimes involve the strenuous chore of task management, essential in order to maximize productivity.

laptop and smartphoneWhile as a freelancer, you definitely do not want to become overwhelmed with superfluous tools, there are some basic techniques and resources out there that will aid your endeavors, and go a long way to making you a successful contractor. Here are some of those tools:


In today’s work environment, almost every kind of job requires a laptop/desktop computer and/or computer-based technology, in one way or another. A laptop or desktop computer, among certain others, has increasingly become the underlying tool for any freelancing job. As a freelancer indulging in a second job online, you need a computer with plenty of storage space to save your work and often with a redundant system for data backup.

Internet Connection

A second job online can take on several different forms. For instance, you can use your current skills set to carry out freelance jobs for a variety of clients, you can participate in paid surveys, host webinars, meet with clients via video calls, or even promote a product(s) for a company as an affiliate marketer; but without a good, fast, stable internet connection, you will only be able to provide so much.


Use a smartphone to find more jobs, exchange virtual business cards, research potential clients and keep in touch with existing ones in real-time, and even make changes to project deliverables, all regardless of wherever you are. iPhones and Android-based phones have hundreds of apps that facilitate these tasks for you. EverNote and cloud-based storage apps top most lists. Just take a look at the Best Productivity Apps of 2012 from Business Insider.

Job Search Engine / Freelance Marketplace

Another essential tool for a side job is a quality job search website. Whether remotely or on–site, these sites are there to help you search for jobs in your area of expertise. You can start your search by using keywords, such as: ‘work from home’, ‘freelance’, ‘part time’, ‘work online’, ‘telecommute’, ‘evening’, ‘weekend’, and so on. Since you can work remotely, you don’t really need to be location-specific when searching for online jobs. If you want to work on-site, add a specific metro area or city when searching for jobs. Take a look at some of these sites for gigs: oDesk.com, sologig.com, elance.com, guru.com, and getafreelancer.com.

Local Newspaper

Among the numerous other tools, local newspapers are essential, especially for those who don’t really want to stray too far from home to do a side job. You can search for a side job via former employers, business associations, local newspapers, and other publications.

PayPal Account

PayPal is arguably the most popular, fastest and easiest option to receive and make online payments. As new features have been added, such as the ability to have payment subscriptions, it has become a powerful tool for a freelancer or side job contractor to be able to receive payments quickly and easily from anywhere around the globe, and in so doing, become the default payment method that freelancers accept and use.

Although many of these tools may vary depending on what you do, generally they remain useful for any individual contractor. This is just a partial list of tools to help enhance communications and productivity. It makes a good start.

About the author

This post was contributed by Joe Linford on behalf of www.mobilegenie.co.uk, the UK based price comparison site for mobile phone and smartphones deals.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • kerkbatson February 1, 2013, 11:58 am

    I like your site. I am now following it. Can you recommend any get-paid-survey-sites that are legitimate. I tried searching for some and none of the ones I could find were straight-up about their methods nor did they offer a path to really get paid. They only offered a token payment worth less than a dollar after I had signed up with a credit card at the sites they claimed to be surveying for. And to unsubscribe from the barrage of notices was horrible. I set up a special email account to participate (thank goodness) but I had it set to forward to my main account. So I had to unlink my accounts and after about 2 weeks of continuous unsubscribing I finally have it under control again. I’m very reluctant to try again as I exhausted my initial search responses. Please advise.

    • careersherpa February 1, 2013, 12:55 pm

      @kerkbatson Kerk, I honestly don’t know much about getting paid to take surveys. Seems like there are a lot of scams out there to sift through. And it sounds like to find any opportunities you have to tolerate the spam. My favorite saying is…if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
      You may want to search Alison Doyle’s posts on work from home opportunities to see if you can find some that are legit.