14 Side-Hustles in Canada 2021: Be Your Own Boss

All of us want more money, though the reasons we want the extra cash will vary from person to person.

Many Canadians are turning to side-hustles to earn some extra cash. These side-hustles can sometimes lead to lucrative careers and full-time gigs as well.

I started side-hustling in 2018 as a writer, and I’ve turned it into a full-time career now and I couldn’t be happier!

Today, I’ve compiled a list that covers the skills and passions of most Canadians and broken it down into four categories.

  • Gig work
  • Physical work
  • Work from home
  • Investing

Let’s get into this list of the best side hustles in Canada, and I’ll talk about who should try them out, how much money you can make, and how you can get started today.

Side-Hustles In Canada

Things to Consider Before Starting a Side-Hustle

Every side-hustle has its pros and cons. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all gig that’s going to please every single Canadian.

The perfect side-hustle is an individual choice. Ask yourself some questions before you get started.

  • What do I like doing in my free time?
  • How can I use the skills I already have to make extra money?
  • What new skills do I want to learn?
  • How much time do I have for a side-hustle?

The last one is perhaps the most important. If a part-time gig is going to take away from your hobbies, passions, and loved ones, then think carefully if it will be worth your time. Time is the one resource you can’t make more of in this life, so it’s an important consideration!

The 14 Top Side-Hustles in Canada

Gig Work Side-Hustles

For those of you who may not know what this is, gig work refers to the gig economy. These are app-based platforms. Gig workers are independent contracts who work when they want and are paid by the service, not the individual customers or clients. Here are my top picks.

1. Ride Sharing

Ride Sharing

Average Full-Time Pay: $42,000

Uber and Lyft are available in Canada. It’s a service called “ride-sharing”. You download and open the app and plug in the desired address. A driver will accept the ride, pick you up, and drop you off at the requested location.

It’s a taxi service. But there is no meter and the cars are the driver’s personal vehicles. Many people drive and use the app for social interaction. It’s often more fun than a traditional taxi service.

Consider this side-hustle if:

  • You like meeting new people
  • You’re a talker
  • You enjoy driving

How to get started:

It’s as simple as going to the website or downloading the driver app and signing up. You’ll have to meet a few requirements. Follow the directions and you’ll be driving in 1-2 weeks. Here’s a screenshot of Uber’s requirements and Lyft has similar prerequisites to drive for them.

Driver requirement

2. Instacart

Instacart

Average Hourly Pay: $15/hour

Instacart is an app that pays you to go to the grocery store, shop for a customer, and then deliver the goods to their home. This one is a bit different than others on our list. You can knock out several rides or dashes in an hour, but Instacart shopping takes more time.

However, certain people enjoy it. If you’re the type of person that’s always looking for a reason to go to the store, then check out this app.

Consider this side-hustle if:

  • You enjoy going to the store and shopping
  • You enjoy helping people
  • You’re a fast and efficient shopper

How to get started:

The sign-up process is much the same as other gig apps. Go to the website and punch in your zip code and then follow the directions. Check out this full tutorial by someone who’s doing it.

3. Food Delivery

Food Delivery

Average Hourly Pay: $22/hour

The above statistic is for Doordash. This is my favorite delivery app. Uber Eats and Grubhub are also big names in this industry. However, in my experience, Doordash offers better pay and more deliveries per hour than its competition.

The pay you make for an order is figured up by adding the base pay (time and mileage) + promotional offer if applicable (this is called peak pay) + tips. Customers can add a tip right on the app and/or give you cash.

Consider this side-hustle if:

  • Driving is something you enjoy doing
  • You want limited interaction with other people
  • Your schedule is limited

How to get started:

Go to the website, sign-up, download the app and wait for a reply from Doordash.

Pro-tip – If you are wait-listed on any of the food delivery apps, check the schedule on Sunday night or Monday morning. This is when a lot of drivers will change up schedules or drop shifts completely.

If there’s an opening you can schedule yourself which will instantly remove you from the waitlist.

Physical Work Side-Hustles

The service industry is hotter than ever before. . If you like mowing lawns, cleaning houses, babysitting, or hammering nails into wood, then a physical side-hustle might be in your future. Here are three of my favorites.

4. Cleaning

Cleaning

Average Hourly Pay: $20/hour

I had a friend who hated her job. She was doing ok financially, but the stress and hours she was having to put in her job were making her quite unhappy. She decided to take a huge gamble, quit her job, and start her own cleaning business.

She signed up on Care.com and in under a month had a full roster of clients. She now owns her own business and is actively looking to hire new people. She charges a minimum of $20 an hour for the service.

Consider this side-hustle if:

  • You love to clean!
  • Working hard and getting dirty doesn’t bother you
  • You want to own your own business

How to get started:

I recommend Care.com for a lot of potential businesses. You can get clients who want their houses cleaned, dogs walked, housesitting, and even babysitting.

With just one app, you can start your own business doing multiple things. This way you won’t get bored with a single job type.

5. Landscaping

landscaping

Average Hourly Pay: $19/hour

Love mowing grass, shoveling or plowing snow, and running electric hedge clippers? Landscaping is a great weekend side-hustle. Canadians have the benefit of turning it into a snow removal business during the harsh winter months.

However, if all you have available is the weekend or a few hours after work, this side-hustle can work with that schedule as well. Word-of-mouth marketing is your best friend here. Do a good job and you’ll find new clients fast.

Consider this side-hustle if:

  • You love working with your hands
  • Working hard and getting dirty doesn’t bother you
  • You want to own your own business

How to get started:

Starting a legitimate business is a little different than loading up an app and scheduling yourself. You’ll need to file for a business license and any applicable permits. You’ll also need some equipment. When just starting out, you can rent or borrow what you need to do individual jobs.

6. Handyman

Handyman

Average Hourly Pay: $20+/hour

Being a handyman is way cooler than it sounds. If your hobbies include building things, fixing them, and in some cases, breaking them, then this side-hustle is for you.

The biggest issue here is going to be tools. They can be expensive. But if you’re already doing this stuff for fun, chances are you already have some tools around the house or you have friends that can lend you some.

Handyman jobs have also moved to the gig economy with apps like Taskrabbit and Handy.

 Consider this side-hustle if:

  • You love working with your hands
  • Working hard and getting dirty doesn’t bother you
  • You prefer to work by yourself

How to get started:

Getting started as a handyman is pretty similar to getting started with a landscaping job. You’ll need tools and licensing. If you’d prefer to skip that step, check out the apps mentioned above. They take on all of the liability for you. You just show up and get the job done and get paid.

Work from Home Side-Hustles

Working from home has the power to change lives. Most people don’t realize how much money and time you save by not putting on a suit and driving half an hour to work every day.

From the second you wake up, you’re losing money. But when you work from home, you just grab a drink, head to the computer, and start making it. Here are some of the best around.

7. Proofreader

Proofreader

Average Salary: $15-$25/hour

Are you known for having an eagle eye when it comes to proofreading? You can turn this into cash with a side-hustle as a proofreader.

You can find this kind of job all over the web. Bloggers, magazines, and even content mills are constantly in search of this high-demand skill.

Some potential clients may have testing to see just how good you are, but these tests are often fairly basic, to try not to get nervous.

Consider this side-hustle if:

  • You have proofreading experience
  • Meticulous work doesn’t bother you
  • You prefer to work in silence

How to get started:

Problogger and content mills are solid places to start looking for proofreading gigs. If you have no experience and you feel like you need an edge, I recommend the Proofreadanywhere course created by Caitlyn Pyle.

8. Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistant

Average Salary: $10-$40/hour

If you don’t want to create your own content or be stuck with a single task all day long, consider becoming a virtual assistant. You could be responsible for a variety of tasks, depending on the client.

You may work on a schedule for one while proofreading blog content for another. One day you may be replying to emails and the next you might be booking travel arrangements.

Consider this side-hustle if:

  • Multitasking is one of your many talents
  • You enjoy being busy throughout the day
  • You have multiple skills that are in demand

How to get started:

If you don’t have any experience, becoming a virtual assistant can be tough. However, you can find assistance from pros in the field. I recommend the 90DayVA course. I had a friend who landed a full-time gig less than two months after completion.

9. Freelance Writing

Freelance Writing

Pay Rate: $.02-$.04/word for entry-level writers

Freelance writing is how I started my remote working career, and it’s something that I am very passionate about. The most asked question I get about this job is, “How do I find clients?”

To which I answer: “Who said you had to find clients?”

I recommend most writers start off working for a content mill. The pay is not great but it will help you to get your foot in the door. You’ll learn the basic formulas of content writing.

You’ll meet other writers. Never underestimate the power of networking.

Most importantly, you’ll learn which niches are right for you. Once you become an expert in a niche and can write content in this niche with your eyes closed, you’ll be a highly sought-after prospect.

Consider this side-hustle if:

  • Leaving the house isn’t fun
  • You love to work at a computer
  • You enjoy writing!

How to get started:

No portfolio? No problem. You can build one for free with websites like Medium or you can start your own blog. Use these at portfolio pieces to land a mill gig and then work your way up the food chain from there. You can also search on Problogger to see if there are any writing jobs that might interest you.

10. Customer Service

Customer Service

Average Salary: $26,000 – $48,000/year

If you want to help people and receive a decent salary, all while working from your home office, then consider a role in customer service.

Your job is going to be to help people and it won’t always be easy. Sometimes the customers will be angry and sometimes you’ll have to tell them “no”. But it can also be richly rewarding.

Consider this side-hustle if:

  • You want a steady job working from home
  • You need benefits
  • Helping people is a passion

How to get started:

The first thing you want to do is dust off that old resume and make sure it’s up to date. Make sure to highlight skills that hiring managers want to see for this type of position. Upload the resume to job sites like Indeed and start to actively search for the work you want.

11. Online Tutoring

Online Tutoring

Average Salary: $20-30/hour

Do you enjoy teaching? If helping people learn is a passion for you, then you can do it from the comfort of your own home by tutoring online.

There are a ton of options and websites out there so you can find the pupils you want and teach the subjects you desire.

Not only can you teach a variety of subjects, but you can also make a lot of money teaching English to students all over the world. Something like this can help you fill your schedule up with pupils fast.

Consider this side-hustle if:

  • You have a passion for teaching and coaching
  • You prefer to help people one on one
  • Remote work is preferred

How to get started:

The first thing I recommend doing is vetting these websites. You don’t want to be scammed, so make sure and read reviews. Pick out several sites and apply. They’ll want to know credentials and time-slots.

Using multiple sites will give you the best chances of finding the work you want when you want. Just using a single tutoring website is putting all of your eggs into a single basket.

Check out a company like VIPKid for teaching English to Chinese students. With new restrictions from the Chinese government though, I heard it is a bit tougher these days to land jobs so be aware of that.

Investing Side-Hustles

If nothing on this list interests you, then another option is taking excess money you have laying around and letting it go to work for you.

Day trading, trying to time the market, and options trading all involve investing time and money. There are some passive options available. While not a true side-hustle, they have the potential to make just as much money and they can do it while you sleep.

12. Invest in Real Estate With Lending Loop

Invest in Real Estate With Lending Loop

Lending Loop deserves to be on this list. It’s a Canadian-specific peer-to-peer lending platform that allows you to “be the bank.”

How It Works: You get to directly invest in small Canadian businesses and in return, you receive interest on these loans.

You can start today with just $25 to invest in your first business.

The interest is based on the creditworthiness of these businesses. Lending Loop does all of the vetting for you. The more risk you take on, the more you stand to make.

While this is a great way to keep your money in Canada, there’s also some risk here. If the business defaults on the loan or goes out of business entirely, you’re out the money you invested.

13. Robo-advisors

Robo-advisors

Investing has never been easier with the creation of robo-advisors. This option is perfect for the folks out there with the “set it and forget it” mindset. The fees are low and you can add money to the account regularly or set up automatic deposits.

How it Works: Open an account with your robo-advisor of choice. Link up whichever bank account you want to use for deposits. Next, you’ll choose your risk tolerance and that’s pretty much it.

The platform invests and rebalances for you. These days I recommend WealthSimple. However, the most important part of being an investor is doing your due diligence. Do some research to find the right platform for you.

14. Investing

Investing

If you want to have a more hands-on experience, there is a plethora of options available to you. ETFs are my favorite way to invest, but tried-and-true stocks will do just fine.

Warren Buffet has thrown out a ton of snippets about investing over the years. “Invest in what you know” is one of the best. What products and companies do you love the most? Those are going to be the best investments you can make.

If you can’t decide what stocks to pick and but robo-advisors aren’t for you, then exchange-traded funds could be an option. There are large funds that contain a variety of stocks, usually in a single market or sector.

These funds are managed by a company like ARK Invest, Roundhill, and Vanguard, to name a few. They do all of the rebalancings for you in exchange for what is usually a small management fee.

How to Get Started: I recommend Wealthsimple Trade, as all Canadian ETF and Stock transactions are commission free. Get a $50 signup bonus here.

What are the Most Profitable Side-Hustles?

Each side-hustle has maximum profitability. What are the most profitable side-hustles on my list? Let’s break them down by category.

Gig Work

My vote here goes to Doordash. The main reason for this is the ability to earn the most amount of money in the least amount of time. Not every app is going to the hours available when you want to work.

With Doordash, you can earn $50-$60 in just a few hours. If that’s all the time you have and you want the most bang for your buck, this is the best app in the gig economy.

Physical Work

Cleaning services are my recommendation in this category. People are wanting more cleaning done than ever before and they want their homes cleaned more often.

They also are more conscious of eco-friendly and harsh chemicals. If you can offer a service that goes out of its way to offer exactly what your clients want, you can make a ton of money.

I know people who have started this type of business and have jacked up their rates over time to $30 or more per hour.

You will make your own schedule, working whenever you want. But remember, this is a business and you should run it like one. Be friendly, but most importantly, be a professional.

Work from Home

Freelance writing. I can’t say enough about it. Between the freedom it gives you and the networking opportunities, this is hands down my favorite side-hustle.

You’ll learn new things, including a new skill, and communicate with digital nomads from all over the world.

Opportunities abound. A freelance writing career can easily turn into building niche websites, starting your own digital marketing business, and even becoming a social media professional.

Investing

Investing is different for everyone, which is probably why it fits in so well in a discussion on side-hustles.

However, if I have to choose, I like exchange-traded funds and have written about them extensively on Wealth Awesome.

Realistic Ways to Earn Extra Money

The only side-hustle you shouldn’t want to do is the one that isn’t worth your time. When it comes to realistic ways to earn extra money, look at two things.

The first is passion. How much interest do you have in this activity? If the money is ok but you dread going out and doing it regularly, then it isn’t a good side-hustle.

The second consideration is the return on investment. How much of your own money do you have to sink into this project? How much time?

Before you plow a bunch of cash and time into a potential side-hustle, spend some time thinking about whether or not the juice is worth the squeeze.

14 Side-Hustles in Canada Conclusion

Side-hustling can change your life. It can give you the income to pay bills, buy gifts for holidays, and help you to set money aside for an emergency fund, starting a business, or investing.

What side-hustle you want to work isn’t nearly as important as answering the why you should side-hustle question. Before you begin, know why you’re working extra and put your focus on whether or not making extra money is truly worth your time.

The more you grind, the more you’re going to realize what you’re missing. The real key to what makes a perfect hustle is balance.

Thanks for hanging out. If you enjoyed this post, check out my article on 15 hobbies that make money in 2021.

Photo of author
Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

Check Out These Posts:

Leave a Comment