Best CRMs For Entrepreneurs & Side Hustlers

There’s nothing like the excitement of landing your first client when you start a new business.

Once you move from the planning and promoting stages of your venture to actually communicating with clients or customers regularly, you’ll need some tools to keep you on track.

Enter CRM platforms.

Short for Customer Relationship Management, CRM apps and software help you to stay on top of interactions with clients and potential customers, ultimately building a stronger relationship with them.

There are loads of CRMs to choose from, with some better suited to new entrepreneurs than others.

Top 10 Best CRMs for New Entrepreneurs

Whatever type of side venture you’re pursuing, CRM software can help you with everything from storing client data to tracking sales and social media interactions.

CRM systems range from basic free tools for small businesses to comprehensive subscription-based platforms for massive companies.

Here’s our roundup of the top CRMs to help you advance your side hustle and create a solid relationship with your clients.

  1. Bigin by Zoho CRM – Best Overall
  2. Hubspot – Best Free CRM
  3. Salesforce – Best Customizable CRM
  4. Freshworks CRM – Best User Experience
  5. Agile – Best Marketing Tools
  6. Insightly – Best Integration
  7. Capsule CRM – Best Contact Management
  8. Bitrix24 – Best for Freelancers
  9. Vtiger – Best All-in-one CRM
  10. Close – Best Time-saving CRM

Bigin by Zoho CRM

Coming in at number one on the list is Bigin by Zoho CRM. The minimalist technology was designed with a focus on functionality for small businesses.

Bigin has built-in cloud calling, eliminating the hassle of manually logging calls.

You can integrate your email accounts, using the app to automatically associate messages with your contacts, collect data, and manage email campaigns. 

Bigin also has a Gmail add-on, customizable forms to embed on your company website, and Twitter functionality.

One of the best parts of Bigin is that you can easily upgrade to Zoho CRM if you outgrow the beginner’s platform.

Price: $0/mo Free version; $7/mo Express version

Best: Best Overall for New Entrepreneurs

Hubspot 

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly, straightforward platform to help manage your data, Hubspot is your go-to.

Hubspot offers several levels of service, with paid “Sales Hub” versions, but its core CRM product is completely free.

With the free Hubspot CRM, you get contact and task management, plus:

  • Email tracking, alerts, and templates
  • Live chat tool
  • Document sharing
  • Meeting scheduler
  • Prospectus tracker

Hubspot is hard to beat if you’re in need of a free platform with a track record of success.

Price: $0/mo Basic version; $45/mo+ for upgraded Marketing Hub plans

Best: Free CRM

Salesforce 

Salesforce is one of the most popular CRMs on the market because of its highly customizable interface and functionality.

The company breaks its CRM services into several levels, starting with the Essentials package.

With Salesforce Essentials, you can track meetings and emails, design dashboards and reports, and manage leads.

This version also supports social media, chat, phone, and email.

The Essentials package is $25 a month when you pay annually, and it comes with free onboarding assistance and a guided setup.

If you’re looking for a cloud-based platform which is easy to customize and navigate on mobile or desktop, Salesforce is a solid pick.

Price: $25/mo Essentials version;  $75 – $1,250/mo for advanced features

Best: Customizable CRM

Freshworks CRM 

Freshworks is an AI-based CRM which makes automating, communicating, marketing, and managing contacts easy.

Formerly Freshsales, Freshworks is another highly customizable platform which allows you to prioritize leads, assign them to yourself (or others if you’re building a team), and see them through.

It also offers email templates and automation and lets you create notes other team members can collaborate on.

Freshworks is intuitively designed, and it comes with demos and FAQs to help you streamline your projects even more.

Price: $0/mo Free version; $29+ for upgraded features

Best: User experience

Agile 

Agile touts itself as an all-in-one CRM, helping you to tackle marketing, sales, and customer service in one place.

It comes with all the basic features you would expect out of a CRM, plus some cool bonus features, like gamification to liven up sales and motivate you.

Agile’s marketing features are the most impressive, with a drop and drag designer to help you set up automated marketing tasks.

It also comes with a nifty landing page builder to help you create pages, forms, and pop-ups to up your lead generation game.

Paired with its social media integration, communication capabilities, and customer service tools, Agile is a solid pick for managing every aspect of customer relations.

Price: $0/mo Free version; $8.99/mo Starter version; $29.99/mo Regular version; $47.99/mo Enterprise version

Best: Marketing Tools

Insightly

If you’re a Google Workspace lover, you’ll also be a big fan of Insightly

Why? Because the platform integrates seamlessly with every one of Google’s apps. 

In fact, it integrates with over 500 other apps, from social media to email to other CRMs.

In other words, it can save a ton of time and effort by syncing your contacts and other data across platforms and storing it all in one place.

Insightly also has an impressive range of features, like lead routing, workflow automation, and a dashboard with useful data displays and key metrics.

It also offers an extremely easy-to-use mobile app, letting you manage your business on the go.

If you’re looking for a highly functional CRM with easy integration and you’re willing to pay for it, Insightly is a worthwhile choice.

Price: $29/mo per user Plus version; $49/mo Professional version; $99/mo Enterprise version

Best: Integration

Capsule CRM 

A newer CRM, Capsule is a popular pick for small business owners. 

With so many features to maneuver, CRMs can get overwhelming. But Capsule CRM was made with simplicity in mind, with a clean and easy-to-navigate interface.

Even if you’re a total novice at managing contacts, marketing, and sales with a CRM, you shouldn’t have a hard time navigating Capsule and making it your own.

One of the biggest tasks Capsule simplifies is contact management. The platform stores and organizes all of your contacts, from new leads to longtime clients to vendors.

And it has automated reminders to schedule communications with contacts you haven’t interacted with in a while.

Price: $0/mo Free version; $18/mo Professional version; $36/mo Teams version; $54/mo Enterprise version

Best: Contact Management

Bitrix24 

Bitrix24’s name is just as unique as the services it offers, by comparison to other CRMs.

More so than most of its competitors, Bitrix24 is perfectly suited to self-employed, remote workers.

It has all the features you need to successfully manage your client communications, sales, and marketing, plus task management and project management.

You can even build your company’s website or store with one of the site’s SEO-optimized templates.

The platform even lets you send quotes and invoices, combining another step from your daily systems and processes to make you more productive.

Best: CRM for Freelancers

Price: $0/mo Free version; $29.40/mo Basic version; $59.40/mo Standard version; $119.40/mo Professional version

Vtiger 

Another platform recognized for being a one-stop-shop for CRM, Vtiger has a lot to offer.

The software was designed with a range of industries and types of businesses in mind, including small businesses.

If you’re looking for a free app to help you with sales, contacts, and a customer help desk, Vtiger is a good pick. 

You can also upgrade to paid versions with even more features like Calculus, the platform’s AI technology which predicts sales, makes intelligent recommendations about client communication, and provides conversion analytics.

The one drawback to Vtiger is the learning curve you might face as a new user. Fortunately, there are resources to help you along the way as you learn to navigate the platform and make it your own.

Best: All-in-one CRM

Price: $0/mo Pilot version; $30/mo One Professional version; $42/mo One Enterprise version

Close

Who else is guilty of switching between 5 (or 15, who’s counting?) tabs as you navigate between clients, emails, sales, and video calls?

Close claims to cut down your admin time by 90%, keeping you in one tab for all of your tasks.

When you’re a weekend warrior, every extra minute freed up can be a gamechanger.

Close comes with some handy features, like:

  • One-click phone calls, and in-app Zoom calls with reminders
  • Task automation and delegation to teammates
  • Visual timeline of touchpoints with each client/sale

While Close doesn’t have a free version, it does come with a 14-day free trial so you can decide if it’s worth subscribing to.

Best: Time-Saving CRM

Price: $29/mo Starter version; $69/mo Basic version; $99/mo Professional version; $149/mo Business version

Pick The CRM Which Works For You

Using a CRM is extremely important to cultivating your client relationships and keeping goals for your part-time business on track.

As your venture and client list grow, having a good CRM is key to streamlining your tasks, staying productive, and ultimately earning more money.

 

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About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon.

He created Part-Time Money® back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

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