If you find yourself spending more time watching TV or staring at your cat than going out and having fun with your friends because you don’t have the funds…
It may be time to put your wasted hours to better use. How about starting a side business?
Also called a “side hustle”, this part-time business allows you to be self-employed, working as much or as little as you want in addition to your regular job. Some side businesses are even fun!
When you’ve settled on one of the best side business in Canada opportunities and start working, you’ll have extra cash for any needs. And your cat will appreciate having a bit more privacy…
What Is a Side Business?
A side business (or side hustle) is simply a part-time, money-making activity that typically doesn’t involve something like working the cash register at a Tim Hortons.
For the majority of people, a side hustle is part-time self-employment that you’ll do outside of your normal working hours. It often will be something that involves working from home, selling products, or providing services as a freelancer or as an independent small business owner. Although you may do jobs for another party, you’ll remain independent when you’re working as a side hustle.
Certain side hustles have no startup costs, meaning you don’t have much risk in starting one. And, occasionally, your side hustle may grow into a full-time business!
Why Would I Want to Start a Side Business?
Deciding to start a side business is not something that should be taken lightly. You may have some startup costs or training to go through before beginning work. You don’t want to go into this choice lightly and end up having it cost you money because you weren’t really ready for this gig.
Here are some of the primary reasons people choose to start a side business:
Pros and Cons of Side Businesses
Side hustles are not all fun and games. (This doesn’t apply to those who are playing video games as a side hustle, of course. Those are literally games.) Here are some of the pros and cons to starting a side business:
Pros of a Side Business:
Cons of a Side Business:
9 Important Things to Consider Before Starting a Side Business
Operating a side business does take a little bit of time for doing accounting, understanding insurance coverage, and marketing yourself, among other things.
You’ll probably spend most of your time actually doing the thing you want to do, but you’ll have some other tasks and obligations to fill to keep your side business moving in the right direction.
Here are some of the key things you’ll need to do when you’re running a side business:
Best Side Businesses in Canada
There are hundreds of things you can do on the side to earn extra cash (and maybe eventually build an empire!). Here are 10 excellent side businesses Canadians can have success with and that do not require much in the way of initial investment:
Child and Senior Companion Care
Babysitting is not for teenagers alone anymore. For those who love spending time with children, a side hustle for child care can be an enjoyable way to make some extra money. You also could choose to serve as a companion for seniors who are living at home or for those with disabilities.
Some of these jobs will be night time and weekend heavy, while others will be during normal business hours, so there is a lot of flexibility here. These jobs can vary quite a bit in the skills required too, as you may have to help babies change diapers, cook meals for kids, do odd jobs around the house for seniors, and other tasks.
There are established companies for these services, where all you have to do is sign up and wait for customers to pick you, such as Datenight, Canadian Nanny, and Senior Care Connect. If you live in a rural area or small town, you might want to strike out on your own, as these established companies may not serve areas outside of the largest Canadian cities.
With some of these jobs, you may have to have a nursing license or similar skills. Expect to make $10 to $25 per hour.
Create and Sell Products
If you have the ability to create cool things, like jewelry, art, clothing, or other items, you can use an internet marketplace to sell your items. Because this type of work starts out as a hobby for many people, having a way to make money from it is a welcome option.
You can work with an established internet marketplace, such as Etsy or eBay, or you can strike out on your own, creating your own website to generate sales, such as through Shopify or Canada Post. Or if you have unique items or food to sell, perhaps a local brick and mortar retailer would be willing to partner with you.
Startup costs are minimal. If you already make items or cook as a hobby, you may have a lot of the equipment and ingredients you need. If you want to build your own website, there are some costs associated with that.
Depending on what you’re selling and what kinds of costs you have for ongoing ingredients and supplies, you could make anywhere from $5 to $50 or more per hour.
If you have a skill related to writing, photography, art, audio, or video, you can work as a freelancer, doing jobs for individuals and companies that need these skills.
Established websites like Fiverr and UpWork help connect freelance artists with companies who need the work. Otherwise, you can search online job boards, like Indeed, to find people who need these types of services from freelancers.
You can expect to earn anywhere from $10 to $35 per hour, depending on the type of job and your skill and experience level. These jobs can be quite enjoyable, so some freelancers do them as a hobby and don’t mind making a little less money than with some other side hustles.
The initial investment will depend on what type of work you’ll be doing. Freelance photographers will need quite a bit more equipment than a freelance writer, for example.
Driving and Delivery
This is one of the easiest side hustles to start, should you choose to become an independent contractor with one of the established big name employers in this industry, such as Uber, Postmates, Instacart, or Lyft. You can choose to drive patrons around, or you can choose to be a delivery driver, bringing groceries or restaurant takeout meals.
You do need to have a driver’s license and a reliable car to work for a ridesharing service, as well as a smartphone for accepting jobs. Earning $12 to $25 per hour is possible with ridesharing or delivery, but you do have expenses for gasoline, car upkeep, and auto insurance.
Should you live in a small urban area or a rural area where ridesharing companies don’t exist yet, you can even try to start your own service.
Repair and Home Cleaning
If you enjoy fixing things around your house or doing cleaning, you may enjoy doing these jobs for other people and being paid for the work.
To simplify this kind of side hustle, there are established companies in this arena that allow you to work for them as a freelancer, such as TaskRabbit or Handy. People will make requests for your services through an app, and you then can accept the jobs through the same app.
These types of side businesses require that you have your own tools or cleaning equipment. You can expect to make $12 to $35 per hour, depending on the job. Most of these services are only in the big cities, so if you live elsewhere in Canada, you could try to start this type of service on your own.
Pet Walking and Pet Sitting
If you love animals, people will pay you to walk their dogs or keep an eye on their pets when they are not at home.
For those who live in a larger city, companies already exist that can help you connect with people who need these pet care services, such as GoFetch, Rover, and Spot. This means all you have to do is sign up to be a provider. You then can see and accept jobs through an app.
Dog walking doesn’t pay as well as some of the other side hustles, but there are almost no startup costs.
You can take on more than one client per day. On average, this side hustle may pay $10 to $20 per client, but the profit varies, based on what you are being asked to do. With most of these, you will set your own prices, and clients can choose you, if they’re willing to pay what you’re asking.
Maybe you have too much clutter around your house, and you’d like to earn some extra money by selling it. And maybe your friends and family also have some extra items they no longer need, but they don’t want to spend the time needed to sell it.
You can set up a side hustle where you sell items for yourself and others through places like eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba. When selling items for other people, you will make a deal with them about what percentage of the sale you will keep as a fee. Some small brick and mortar businesses in your local area even may be willing to let you sell items on the internet for them.
Selling items though online marketplaces will be pretty easy, once you gain the hang of it. You have to take photographs of the items, create the listing, answer any questions potential buyers may have, and package and ship the products once they sell.
To make $12 to $25 per hour, you will need to sell a lot of small, inexpensive items or a few bigger, expensive items. And you may have to wait months to see a return on your investment of time after putting an item up for sale, as it may take a while to find a buyer. Still, this is a good side hustle that does not have set hours.
Social Media Guru
If you enjoy using all kinds of social media, and if you have built up a following, you may be able to turn your skills into a side hustle.
Many companies struggle with social media management, and they will be willing to pay you to help with their social media strategy and upkeep. Places like Fivrr and UpWork are great sites to find companies looking for social media help.
For someone who has a lot of followers, you may be able to monetize your popularity. Companies will pay you to talk about their products, to have advertisements on your feed, or to have their products in the background of your videos.
For gamers who have built a big following, Twitch is a way to earn money in a side hustle. Some of these jobs end up being quite lucrative, but it takes a lot of work at first to build your brand.
Tutoring or Giving Lessons
Online tutoring or giving music lessons are great ways to help students improve their skills, while also putting your knowledge in certain subject areas to good use.
With this type of side hustle, you won’t have any startup costs. You can signup with online tutoring services, such as Chegg or First Tutors Canada, where you can list your skills in the app. Parents and students who need help in those academic areas then can select you as a tutor. You also can attempt to do tutoring or give music lessons locally in person.
Expect to make $12 to $25 per hour when you’re working, but you could go long stretches of time without any clients, especially if your area of expertise is more of a specialized topic.
If you have quite a few different skills that would fit into an office setting well, but you loathe the idea of going into an office for a part-time job, a virtual assistant job may be perfect for you.
Virtual assistants can work for small or large companies, and they can do a variety of tasks, like monitoring social media outlets, creating documents, bookkeeping, data entry, and almost anything a business manager or owner needs, all from your own home.
There are almost no startup costs with this type of work, which is a big advantage.
Depending on your skills and the work you’re doing, you could expect to make $12 to $35 per hour. Sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Upwork may have job listings for these types of side businesses.
Maurice (Moe) Muise learned the ins-and-outs of government while an employee of the Government of Canada in Ottawa for 10 years. His current focus is helping small businesses in Ontario to identify and maximize government grants to grow their business.
Click here to learn more about Moe’s background and how he can help your business.