The eCommerce industry is quickly growing in Canada as more businesses adopt an online sales model instead of traditional brick-and-mortar shops. eCommerce isn’t the only way to start an online business, though.
Whether you’re an artist, provide a virtual service, or want to start your own branded product, there are countless ways to earn money online.
Below, I’ll share some quick and easy online businesses to start in Canada, so you can get your piece of the pie and start enjoying the perks of a remotely-managed business.
A lot of people tend to have an over-complicated view of starting an online business.
While larger online businesses can certainly come with some logistical complications, there are also plenty of simple online business models that don’t require a lot of start-up capital or resources.
Realistically, the core items you need to start an online business are:
- A product or service to sell
- A computer
- A marketing strategy
- A business license
- A bank account
Don’t mistake this for me saying that it’s easy to start an online business. Starting an online business often requires just as much work and effort as starting a physical business.
In some cases, there’s an even higher barrier to entry because you’re competing with the entire world instead of the neighbouring businesses in your city.
Starting an online business all comes down to finding a unique niche and becoming an authority in that niche.
For instance, starting a general online clothing store would be highly competitive. However, starting a niche online store that specializes in selling eco-friendly sunglasses would be less competitive.
One of the main reasons I started an online business was so that I could start travelling the world.
I love experiencing new cultures, and my online business allows me to do just that. At this very moment, I’m sitting by a beautiful beach in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
Here are some of the best online businesses to travel the world with.
1. Travel Blogging or Youtube Channel
- How Much You Can Earn: $3,000+ per month
- What It Involves: Travelling, filming, and writing about your experiences
If the idea of living on the road full-time appeals to you, then travel blogging and vlogging could be right up your alley.
With the rise in remote workers and digital nomads, there are more people who are travelling the world and looking for a detailed perspective to help them navigate new cultures, languages, cuisines, and people.
The most successful travel bloggers maintain a written blog on their website and post video content to their YouTube channel as well.
At first, you probably won’t earn much from your blog.
However, if you’re consistent and build up your following, you’ll be able to earn money from ad placements and affiliate recommendations and even get paid by hotels and tourism agencies to create content on-site.
I started a finance and travel-related Youtube channel, which has been a lot of fun to do and earns me a little money on the side.
2. Copywriting or Content Writing Agency
- How Much You Can Earn: $3,500+ per month
- What It Involves: Accept writing contracts, delegate tasks to a group of writers
Before I started Wealth Awesome, I was travelling and earning money as a freelance writer. While this is certainly a great way to get started, the most successful copywriters I know have been able to scale their business by hiring other writers and delegating jobs.
As the online business owner, you’ll focus your efforts on acquiring new clients, while delegating writing tasks to your network of writers and taking a cut of the profits.
3. Social Media Influencer
- How Much You Can Earn: $50 – $200 per post with less than 100,000 followers
- What It Involves: Create a niche profile, and accept influencer marketing deals
Today, lots of kids dream of becoming high-paid influencer who earns millions of dollars and achieves fame status.
This is a lot easier said than done. However, there is still a lot of money to be made as a social media influencer, even if you have less than 100k followers on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube.
These so-called “micro-influencers” can earn anywhere from $50 to $100 by making sponsored posts, recommending various products and services aligned with their brand image (i.e., a personal trainer page recommending a brand of protein powder).
You can also leverage your following to sell your own how-to guides, mastermind courses, or physical products.
4. Music Production
- How Much You Can Earn: $25+ for leasing tracks, $100+ for selling exclusive rights
- What It Involves: Creating music tracks in a DAW, listing them for sale on music platforms
If you have some musical talent and an ear for rhythm, then you can earn a decent amount of money by making beats.
Your market is mostly going to consist of aspiring singers, rappers, alternative artists, and even YouTubers who just need some good background music for their videos.
If you’re talented, you can produce a track in around an hour. Then, you can lease the rights to numerous individuals for a small fee or sell the exclusive rights to the track for a higher amount.
To start, you’ll need a laptop, DAW software (digital audio workstation), and a small MIDI keyboard. Then, you can work and produce tracks from all over the world!
You can also earn money by mixing and mastering audio tracks for artists, ensuring that the final song sounds as good as possible.
5. Online English Tutoring
- How Much You Can Earn: $25+ per hour
- What It Involves: Multilingual individuals virtually tutor students learning new languages
Online English tutors are in high demand by institutions around the world. If you know English and another second language, then you can put your skills to work and earn money as an ESL (English as a second language) tutor.
If you’re interested in learning more, Ninja Teacher has a great course for beginners who want to start their own online business tutoring English.
While some online businesses require you to have upwards of $50k or more in start-up capital, there are quite a few that you can start with lower upfront investment.
Here are some of the best online businesses to start under $10k.
6. Artisan Craft Shop
- How Much You Can Earn: $2,500+ per month
- What It Involves: Creating unique items and selling them online
Today, our world is full of easily-replaceable consumer products. As a result, there’s a growing market of individuals who are looking for unique, handmade items.
If you’re an artisan or a creator, then you can start an artisan craft shop and earn a good bit of money by selling your products online on platforms like Etsy, eBay, and even Amazon.
Some of the top-selling artisan items I’ve seen include:
- Custom lighting fixtures
- Custom jewelry
- Hand-sewn or repurposed garments
- Custom tables made from wood and epoxy
- Props and fan gear for movies, Comic Con events, Halloween, and festivals
The main investment for this business will be your crafting tools.
7. Digital Marketing Agency
- How Much You Can Earn: $5,000+ per month
- What It Involves: Helping small businesses with their online marketing
If you’re tech-savvy and have a natural mind for marketing, then you can earn consistent money as a digital marketing agency. Digital marketing includes, but is not limited to, helping small businesses with:
- Social media marketing
- Google search engine marketing
- Running paid ad campaigns
- Website content creation and optimization
You can start by marketing your services to local businesses in your city. Then, you can branch out and find clients online. The more clients you acquire, the more team members you can hire, allowing you to scale your business.
The main investment for a digital marketing agency will be the money you invest upfront by doing free “sample” work for clients and paying to advertise your services digitally.
8. Virtual Self-Help Coaching
- How Much You Can Earn: $3,500+ per month
- What It Involves: Create a self-improvement page, sell coaching packages to your followers
According to Google research, self-improvement is one of the fastest-growing online niches in the world. Self-improvement encompasses a variety of topics, including:
- Productivity enhancement
- Personal finance and investing
- Health and wellness
- Addiction and habit-forming
- … and more
If you’ve overcome certain challenges in your life, then there’s a good chance that you can earn money by coaching others to do the same. These days, people are looking for a personal coach, not just some impersonal YouTube video or blog article.
You can sell your virtual coaching packages on a weekly or monthly access basis and market your services using social media. The main investment here will be the money you spend marketing your social media pages and growing your influencer profile.
If you’re working with a bit more capital, here are some of the best online businesses to start under $50k.
- How Much You Can Earn: $5,000+ per month
- What It Involves: Source products, ship them to an Amazon warehouse, sell the products on Amazon by allowing them to take care of shipping/handling.
Amazon FBA stands for fulfillment by Amazon. Unlike traditional eCommerce models, which involve you storing your own products and fulfilling your own orders, Amazon FBA fulfills all of your orders for you.
They store your products, immediately ship out orders, and even process returns in exchange for a cut of your profits.
While this certainly sounds like an easy business, there are a lot of risks involved due to the sheer number of competing sellers.
To decrease your risk level, you’ll want to have a high-quality niche product without a lot of competitors. To minimize your risk, I recommend using AMZ Scout to research the top-trending products and find the perfect niche.
- How Much You Can Earn: $8,000+ per month
- What It Involves: Developing apps for small businesses
If you have a strong background in app development and computer science, then you could create an app development agency.
Thanks to premade templates and skeletons, app development isn’t quite as difficult as it once was. However, it’s still a good idea to have a small team to improve turnaround time and allow you to take on more clients.
You can sell a basic informational app for upwards of $10,000, and the project can be completed in a few weeks with the right team.
You can acquire clients locally in your region or find clients online through digital marketing forums and freelance sites like Upwork.
- How Much You Can Earn: $7,500+ per month
- What It Involves: Buy website domains and pre-built sites, improve them and re-sell them
If you have solid SEO skills, marketing intelligence, and know basic web design, you can earn money by flipping websites.
For instance, you could purchase a mid-tier blog for $15,000, spend a few months improving it (adding content, improving SEO metrics), and then flip it for $25,000.
While this online business model can be very profitable, there’s also a considerable amount of risk involved.
You’re dealing with “digital real estate,” which fluctuates heavily, depending on search algorithm updates, consumer trends, and more.
If you’re just starting out, I recommend splitting the risk with other investors and working on the project together. This can mitigate the risk and ensures that you’re not working on the project alone.
Do I Need A Business License To Start An Online Business In Canada?
Even though you’ll be conducting most of your business online, you’ll still need to register your business with the CRA.
As a Canadian citizen, you’ll need to file and pay business taxes, even if you’re a sole proprietor without any other employees. The same rules apply if you’re travelling or living abroad as well.
Additionally, depending on the type of online business you own, you may need to register your business with your local province so that you can collect and pay GST sales tax.
As a freelancer, you could get away without a business license and claim your earnings as personal income.
However, this often results in higher taxes, as you can’t claim business-related tax deductions. I recommend officializing your business, no matter how small it is.
Like a traditional business, starting an online business requires some time and effort upfront.
Once you get it up and running, a whole new world of freedom and opportunity will be open to you. You’ll be able to set your own schedule and run your business on your terms.
One of the first steps of creating an online business is to register your business and open your first business bank account.
Keep on reading to see my recommendations for the best business bank accounts in Canada next!