While every successful internet business takes work, some are easier to start than others. That’s especially true if you’re new to making money online in Canada. After receiving countless inquiries about the fastest and easiest online businesses to start in Canada, we decided to share five of the most successful we’ve seen.
Naturally, to operate any business online you’ll need a website that caters to Canadians.
Turn Clicks into Customers: 16 Online Business Ideas You Can Build in Canada
Running an online business definitely has its appeal, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. The truth is, starting an online business of any kind is hard work.
In reality, “online” is just a channel that connects businesses to people. It’s a powerful tool that lets you reach anyone from anywhere in the world. But creating a business with it is still about connecting the right customers with the right offering.
Countless people in Canada have already made the leap into entrepreneurship. And with the right ideas and plenty of sweat equity, you can too.
This isn’t about one simple life-changing trick. Starting a business doesn’t work that way. Instead, to help you find a product idea or business model that fits your lifestyle, we’ve put together a collection of simple ways to start a business without quitting your day job.
11 Online Business Ideas you Can Start in Canada
- Start a dropshipping store
- Sell your art and designs online
- Become a freelance writer, designer or developer
- Teach english online
- Publish your own e-book
- Start a blog
- Become a virtual assistant
- Become a social influencer
- Offer web design services
- Launch a podcast
- Sign up for affiliate marketing
1. Launch a dropshipping store
You don’t need a warehouse full of inventory to run your own business. Dropshipping is a great way to start a business on a budget. You can hit the ground running by sourcing a pre-existing product from a supplier and having them take care of things like packaging and fulfillment.
This process lets you skip over a lot of obstacles that might be standing in the way of you starting your own business. More importantly, a dropshipping business eliminates the risk of finding out there’s no market for your product after placing a huge order with a manufacturer or supplier.
2. Sell your art online
Whether you’re a painter, photographer, or musician, there are plenty of ways to start an online store and turn your latest masterpiece into a source of revenue with a beautifully designed ecommerce website.
If painting or photography is your forte, you can sell your work as prints, canvases, and framed posters using Printify or Printful. This is a fantastic way to turn your art into something tangible that people can take home and integrate into their space. Is music your thing? You can sell your beats, songs, samples, and more as digital downloads.
Just take a look at The Drum Broker, the largest online drum sample business in the world. It created a successful and sustainable business model with the help of apps like FetchApp and ShipStation.
3. Become a freelance writer, designer, or developer
Writers, developers, and graphic designers can start a business based on their talents. As a freelancer, you’ll be able to put your skills to good use by helping people across the world with their projects (while making some money yourself, of course).
Freelancing doesn’t mean committing to months-long projects that eat away at your free time. You can easily pick up bite-sized tasks that fit your schedule.
It’s worth noting that Fiverr is a little different from a traditional job board. As the name suggests, all the posted jobs cost five dollars. The key to making big money on Fiverr is carefully setting up your offers so you can easily upsell the client for more money.
For instance, you could offer to write a 150-word introduction for a blog post as your initial five-dollar service. As an upsell, you could charge another $10 for every additional 150 words. You can tweak your services until you’ve found a combo that makes it worth your while.
If you want total control over how much you charge, create a Shopify store. You can list your services as products and disable shipping, since you won’t actually be physically delivering anything to your customers. You can even use apps like BookThatApp and Events Calendar to give your customers the option to schedule appointments.
4. Teach an online course
Teaching an online course is a low-investment business idea for generating passive income. All you need to do is put together a video walkthrough explaining a subject you’re familiar with and then host it on your own personal website.
Although it requires effort up front, if you manage to design a popular, high-value video tutorial series, you would make money on an ongoing basis as people continue to enroll in your course.
To start creating your first online course, brainstorm a topic that you know well enough to teach someone how to do from scratch. This can be literally anything—music production, social media marketing, web development, you name it.
Next, you’ll want to grab a screencasting app, like ScreenFlow, to record your screen and voice while you walk your students through your tutorial. ScreenFlow also comes with a built-in video-editing suite, letting you shoot and cut your videos all on the same platform.
5. Publish your own e-book
It’s OK to admit it: you’ve thought about publishing your own book someday. While seeing your name on a list of bestsellers might seem like a pipe dream, it’s actually not that far out of reach.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a science-fiction novel, a marketing guide, or a children’s picture book, there are now plenty of options for successfully self-publishing your work. These include releasing your writing as an ebook with the Digital Downloads app to on-demand printing services like Blurb and CreateSpace.
To sell ebooks through your online store, install the Digital Downloads app and you’ll instantly be able to stock digital files as products. Once purchased, your ebooks will be sent to your customers via email or as a direct download link.
If you choose to sell physical copies of your book, you’ll just need to place an order with Blurb or CreateSpace whenever your work is purchased. They’ll custom print your book and handle the entire storage and fulfillment process.
6. Start a blog
Blogging has come a long way since its inception. What was once a virtual journal has now turned into a marketing and even monetization tool.
Whether you make money from publishing sponsored posts, hosting third-party ads, or selling your products, a blog is a great online business idea.
The key to starting a successful blog is to focus on building an engaged, loyal audience. When you start with an audience-centric approach, you’ll cultivate a community that trusts you. And when you can earn trust, you can start to drive revenue.
That’s how Mr. Money Mustache started his popular personal finance blog. What began as a movement has turned into a successful business that’s earned national media coverage.
7. Become a virtual assistant
Are you super organized and love working behind the scenes? If so, you might be the perfect candidate to start a virtual assistant (VA) business.
A VA helps entrepreneurs, businesses, and executives organize their personal and professional lives. There’s a broad spectrum of duties, ranging from appointment scheduling to basic marketing management and everything in between. And everything is done online.
8. Try your hand at being an influencer
Influencer marketing has exploded on the marketing scene, and though consumers are becoming more savvy, there are still plenty of opportunities to be had.
Because influencers have gotten in hot water for dishonest practices, there’s been a movement toward micro-influencers—profiles with smaller but more engaged followings. Good news: you don’t need millions of followers to earn money on Instagram.
9. Build apps and websites
If you’re tech savvy, acquire some coding skills and start building. Whether it’s mobile apps, Shopify apps, or websites, you can create digital products for purchase or as a service provider.
For example, you can create a custom Shopify theme template and sell it to merchants looking for an affordable DIY approach to designing their website. Or work with clients directly to build websites and apps tailored to their specific needs.
10. Launch a podcast
If you like the sound of your own voice, consider recording it for a podcast. Podcasts are a great online business idea with multiple monetization options, similar to starting a blog.
Here’s what you need to start your podcast:
- A high-quality microphone
- Audio recording software
- Call recording software
To promote your podcast, consider collaborating with prominent figures as guests on your show. Encourage listeners to leave reviews and share your podcast with their friends and family.
11. Sign up for affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is when you recommend a product or service by sharing it on a blog or social media, to your email list, on your website, or on other channels. You earn a commission each time someone converts through your unique referral link or code.
Find an affiliate program that suits your interests, personal brand, and target audience. Affiliate Future, ShareASale, and FlexOffers are a few examples. Amazon has its own affiliate program, and you can also check out the Shopify Affiliate Program.
Once you’ve signed up, start sharing. Create social media posts, blog articles, emails, and other content about how great the product or service you’re promoting is. Don’t oversaturate your audience with ads, otherwise you risk coming across as spammy or inauthentic.