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Get Your Side Hustle On! 10 Online Businesses to Start in Canada

If the pandemic has demonstrated anything it's that in this day and age, you can’t simply rely on one source of income.   

Many were affected financially by the pandemic in 2020 and as we move ahead into the new year, many have realized that it's important to have a back-up plan of some sort to help soften the blow in these kinds of circumstances.  

Now is the time to be bold, pull out all those ideas that you’ve been holding out on, and start that side hustle. 

Whether your intent is to create a part-time business that generates extra income quickly and cheaply or a business that has longevity, there is a start-up opportunity for you in Canada.

In this article, we've highlighted some of the top side-hustle online business opportunities that you could venture into without using too much of your hard-earned money to get it off the ground.  


Top 10 Part-time Online Businesses That Won’t Break the Bank

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1. Freelance Content Creation

Whether your forte is writing, video production, or graphic design, this is one of the most diverse skills to have at the moment. Not only can you create content wherever you are but you will be able to manage your workload and set your own income rates. Start off by creating a website for your digital content freelance business and start by putting yourself out there on sites like Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, or Upwork as well as perusing job boards like Freelancer.com, Flexjobs.com, or Workhoppers.com

2. Drop Shipping

Dropshipping is one of the easiest and least expensive opportunities to sell products online. No inventory nor shipping needed. All you have to do is find a manufacturer or wholesaler to partner with and make sure that your suppliers have stock. There are two options: you can either create your own site to sell the product online or use other websites like eBay or Amazon. This is a great option as it requires low input and results in maximum output, all from the comfort of your own home. 

3. Lucrative Blogging

There are over 500 million blogs on the internet to date with more than 2 million blog posts going live every day and over 77% of internet users read them regularly (at least once per month). So how do you make yours stand out from the rest? Blogging has become a go-to for many people, whether it's just for fun or for business purposes. The key, however, is to make sure that the niche market you choose is lucrative. Once you have established a substantial following you can then look at approaching companies or test the waters of affiliate marketing. 

It’s Important to note that most free websites limit how much you can earn so it may be a good idea to look into hosting your blog on your own domain.

4. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing refers to when a company advertises its products or services on your site in exchange for a percentage of sales generated. This ranges from social media promotion to banners featured on your website. Another way to make money is a two-tier affiliate program, which means that every time someone signs up through your referral or site you get a piece of the sales. 

5. Digital Information & Learning Programs

Everyone has some form or level of skills that someone else may be looking for. Why not create information products such as eBooks or courses that can be sold online. Here the trick is to offer a teaser for free to promote your product. Another option is to offer “member only” content or products which would include some form of membership fee. 

6. Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistants (VAs) can offer a wide choice of services whether it be social media management or personal assistant services. If you can do it remotely you can market it. This is a great opportunity, especially if you are creative, to collaborate online with other professionals. Don’t have the qualifications? Take a course online. The internet is your digital oyster. 

7. Online Fitness Trainer

Are you passionate about fitness and want to share your expertise and fat-burning secrets? With pandemic restrictions in place and many gyms still not operating at full capacity why not bring the fitness routine to the homes of your clients. The great part about this is that you will be able to expand your target audience to a global one. 

8. Web Translator

Canada has two official languages, which means that most websites, social media content, and videos will require French translations or versions. So if you are fluent in both English and French, this could be a nice way to earn some extra money in your spare time.

9. Online Stores

Taking your business online is a great way to save on costs, especially rent for a physical store. eCommerce has become an increasingly popular way to sell products and services. The best way to get started is to start off small. Don't purchase thousands of items and expect them to sell immediately. You may not be making a lot of profit initially but you won't have high losses either. Besides having a domain you will also need Canadian-compatible software such as shopping carts on websites like Shopify, BigCommerce, and others.   

10. Online Marketplaces

This is quite similar to dropshipping however you can branch out much further by hosting auctions on online marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, or Amazon. The main difference is that you will have to take care of sourcing products and delivering them to your customers. If you aren't very knowledgeable about how it all works simply take a free online course, such as Jungle Scout (Amazon), or hire a professional to do it for you.  



How to Start an Online Business in Canada

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Starting an online business may seem daunting but it can be done in just 5 simple steps. 

1. Choose Your Side Hustle

Choosing the right business is imperative. You don’t want to choose a part-time business that will interfere with your nine-to-five job but rather something that will generate extra income with minimal input, however, who knows, if it takes off it could be an exciting full-time venture to consider.

2. Research Requirements

Once you’ve decided on your part-time company you’ll need to do a bit of research about any requirements needed to start your online business in Canada. For example, are there any registrations required, which payment system will be best suited, and so forth. This is an important step so don’t skip it. You don’t want to be caught off guard down the line. 

3. Business Plan

If you will need to apply for any funding from an investor or financial institution you will definitely need a good business strategy. You will need to submit this with your application to show investors how you intend to run your business and what your projected outcomes will be on return investment. But even if you don’t need extra capital, it is a good idea to have a business plan as it will help you work through all areas of your business. 

4. Choose Your Domain & Web Host Site

Whether you choose to go with a paid or free site at the beginning of your side hustle venture is not important, but it is important to bear a few things in mind. There are plenty of free web hosting sites online that will make the designing of your website a breeze. No coding or web designer needed, however, in the long run, it may be better to go the paid route and have someone build your website exactly the way you envisioned it.

5. When in Doubt. Use a Professional.

If you decide to go the domain route and aren’t familiar with coding or web design you may want to get a professional to do it for you. Remember this is your brand, which could turn into something quite lucrative so it’s important to get it right from the start. Creating your own website also means you won’t be limited financially as some free web host site will limit the number of sales. 

How to Apply for Business Immigration to Canada

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There are various business immigration options in Canada but the two main federal immigration programs are:

  • The Start-up Visa; and
  • The Self-Employed Visa.

The Start-up Visa

The Start-up Visa, or Investor Visa (as it was previously known) is a program designed to help qualified and experienced international entrepreneurs would have innovative business concepts that they would like to establish in Canada. Under this visa program, you will be able to start your own business in Canada and get permanent residency. There are a few requirements regarding funding, language, settlement money as well as active participation in the running of your company, all of which can be seen on our business investor page.  

The Self-Employed Visa

The Self-Employed Visa program allows artistic and athletic foreigners to immigrate to Canada and contribute in a significant way. Skills that fall under the following categories may be eligible:

  • Painter;
  • Dancer;
  • Journalist;
  • Writer;
  • Musician;
  • Designer;
  • Sports Coach;
  • Athlete;
  • Referee; and
  • Program Leaders.

Additional requirements will need to be met regarding work experience, education, age, language, and adaptability. For more information visit our Self-Employed Visa Program Page here.

There are also a number of provincial immigration programs that could be considered too, each with its own different set of requirements. 

Starting a new part-time online business may seem like a lot of work, and it may be but once it is up and running you’ll be wondering why you hadn’t taken the leap sooner. Remember, everyone has something to offer. It starts with finding what you specialize in, deciphering whether or not you can monetize it, and being innovative in how you offer your services online. With these 10 online business opportunities and 5 simple steps to apply for business immigration to Canada outlined, you’ll be on your way to taking the first step in your exciting new business venture.      

Ready to take the next step in your Canadian business venture?

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