However, today the term side hustle has become popular to describe side gigs Canadians work to generate extra income.
The critical distinction between a side hustle and a regular 9 to 5 job is that side hustles are intended to create extra cash on top of a person's ordinary income. That is to say, a side hustle isn't designed to replace a person's primary income; it's just extra cash earned on the side.
This is an important distinction as the internet is full of 'opportunities' masquerading as side hustles that promise thousands, if not millions of dollars, by only working a few hours per week. Unfortunately, these pitches always over-promise and under-deliver.
A side hustle isn't going to make you rich, but once a person has worked out their side hustle kinks, they can consistently generate extra cash they can count on each month. Is a side gig proper for you? A recent survey of Canadian workers found that 4 million Canadians participate in the gig economy.
That's more than 10% of the population!
Side Hustles in Canada - Where to Start?
In deciding what side hustle to start, a person needs to answer some critical grounding questions:
- How much time can I commit to my side hustle each day, week, and month;
- Do I need to work on my schedule,
- Do I have cash available for the side hustle if required;
- Do I have the support of family and friends;
- Are there people in my professional and social networks I can lean on as a resource;
- How much do I reasonably want to earn to make it worthwhile?
The answers to these questions will help soon-to-be side hustlers narrow their search.
How to Pick a Side Hustle
Once a person has a good idea of what time and cash they can spend on a side hustle, what they need to earn to make it worthwhile, and if they have family and other support, they can start to decide what side hustles will work for them.
Pro-tip: It's important to note that even if a side hustle seems like a slam dunk, it will only last if you can consistently make time for it and your family supports it.
The first step when picking a side hustle is to take an inventory of the limits or constraints specific to the would-be side hustler. These can include whether they regularly use a vehicle, computer, smartphone, credit card, electronic transfers, etc.
This will help to narrow down what side hustles are practical and worth pursuing. For example, a delivery side hustle more than likely needs access to a vehicle, and selling used goods on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji requires access to a computer or a smartphone.
The second step is to consider what you are good at, enjoy doing, any valuable skills you have, and problems you know you can solve for others. For example, a handy person is precious to someone who is not, and they can solve the non-handy person's problems.
Pro-tip: Pick a side hustle you enjoy doing. If you pick a side hustle you don't want, you increase the chances that you will only do it for a short time.
20 Side Hustles in Canada you can Start today
Below are 20 side hustles that a side hustler can do to earn additional cash.
Online Buying and Selling
Buying and selling used goods online have become extremely popular in the last 15 years. Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace are the two most popular online sites or platforms for buying and selling used goods in Canada. While Kijiji is still popular, Facebook Marketplace has become the dominant buy-and-sell platform in recent years.
The average person may want to purchase used goods over new ones due to either price or if they don't plan to regularly use the desired item due to seasonality or limited need. The average seller is looking primarily to get rid of things they no longer use or need and want to make room in their residence and remove clutter.
Below are three high-level items to buy and sell to earn side hustle cash, also known as flipping.
Flipping Free Used Products
When sellers are looking to get rid of items quickly because they are either moving, it's likely too large or is not considered valuable, so they will post it for free on Kijiji. Unfortunately, these free items go fast, and a person needs to continually monitor the free area on Kijiji to get the things they want.
Furniture is a common item listed for free due to its size, especiallt if the sellers cannot take it to the dump. There are instances where sellers who focus on furniture can earn over $1,000 a month by getting free furniture and reselling it.
Pro-tip: Offer sellers of free items a small payment, such as $5 to $20, to increase your chances of getting the item over others.
Flipping Seasonal Products
Buying seasonal items for cheap out of season and then selling for more when they are in season is a popular option. Seasonal products include holiday decorations, lawn care equipment, fans, air conditioners, snow blowers, and tools.
There are other things you can find cheap and resell for a profit. Think of items you know well and have a good idea of what they are worth new and used.
Also, complete basic market research on Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji to validate your assumptions. With this, you know what price to buy to make a profit.
Over the past ten years, rideshares have become a popular side hustle for thousands of Canadians. If you have a relatively new vehicle, enjoy interacting with other people, and enjoy driving in general, rideshare can be an excellent side hustle.
The two popular rideshare companies to drive for in Canada are Uber and Lyft. The average hourly rate for a rideshare driver in Canada is approximately $21 an hour, and you can choose your schedule and the amount of time spent driving.
One thing to note with this side gig is drivers are considered contractors and not employees.
Handyperson for Odd Jobs
Odd jobs can be a solid side hustle if you're handy at a few things or just a handy person. There are a lot of odd jobs people need to complete around their house, and once you complete one project, you'll be that client's trusted handyperson for future jobs.
It doesn't take long for a handyperson to build up a list of clients based on word-of-mouth. The average do-it-yourselfer in Canada makes approximately $26 an hour.
This food delivery side hustle is similar to rideshare in that you will use your vehicle to pick up and deliver food. This side hustle may be more up your alley for those more introverted as you don't need to talk to the food while delivering it.
However, the food delivery side hustle pays less on average than driving rideshare, approximately $17 an hour. Also, along with rideshares, food delivery drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees.
Teaching online has become a popular side hustle that can often become a person's main hustle. Most people don't think they have any unique knowledge to teach that someone else will be willing to pay for. However, the reality is there is a market for online learning in nearly every conceivable area or topic; but where to start?
First, think about what you know enough about to mentor someone or create online lessons. Now, take a look online to see if someone is teaching this topic. If someone is, this is a great sign, and there is always room for another online teacher.
Second, choose how you will deliver your online course or lessons. Webinars are great options for those just starting out who want to test the market for their teaching. The learning platform Udemy has everything you need to build and sell an online course, and they take a 10% commission on each sale. Once you have established and had success with your online teaching side hustle, you can look at using Kajabi or Thinkiffic, where you have more online course customization options.
Teaching online is one of the few side hustles that can be grown to become a person's part-time or full-time job; however, this will take more time, money, and perseverance.
What's great about producing content for online courses or webinars is that you can repurpose the content for other uses. One popular way is to create an ebook from existing material. You can then offer the ebook for sale on Amazon, and they will manage nearly everything, including customer service.
Making and selling crafts has become a popular side hustle, with Etsy and Facebook being the primary places sellers and buyers meet. The list of crafts to make and then sell is extensive, but there are a few popular craft products with many buyers.
Wedding decor is always in high demand and sells for a premium. This includes wedding invitations, coasters, welcome signs, fake flowers, doilies, candles, engravings, banners, and so on.
Jewelry, art, photography, candles, stickers, soap, and ceramics are other popular crafts to make and sell.
Old and beat-up furniture is often offered for sale on Facebook, Kijiji, or in garage sales at reasonable prices or free. To breathe new life into the furniture and sell for a profit, side hustlers only have to do minor repairs, sand, paint, or put new hardware on the furniture and offer for resale. Typical furniture to refurbish includes end tables, coffee tables, stools, and tables and chairs that can be resold for a potential profit.
There are a few things to consider with this side hustle. First, you'll need a space to refurbish the furniture, such as a garage, as well as storage. Second, you'll need a truck or an SUV to purchase the furniture and deliver it to customers (you can charge for delivery). Third, refurbishing furniture that is much older will be more profitable than refurbishing newer furniture, as older pieces will usually be of higher quality.
Buy in Bulk, Sell at Retail
Buying in bulk and selling at retail is to find popular products that people are comfortable buying on Etsy, Facebook, or Kijiji. Think of seasonal products or everyday items. For example, ugly Christmas sweaters were all the rage 15 years ago and are still popular today for Christmas parties. These sweaters are almost impossible to find in retail or thrift stores three weeks before Christmas, which is prime time for Christmas parties.
A side hustler can plan ahead to buy 50, 100 or 150 ugly Christmas sweaters from a manufacturer in August, get them in October, and sell the majority in early December for a potential profit. Other examples are items that people regularly want, such as essential oil diffusers. These can be bought in bulk for meager prices, and you can quickly sell them from a personal Facebook account.
This may sound too complicated, but it's easier than you think. Simply signup to use Alibaba, and you can purchase almost anything you want in bulk and import to Canada. One thing to keep in mind with this side hustle is to pick smaller items that don't weigh too much, as shipping from Alibaba can eat away at your profit.
Freelancing is one of the most common and successful side hustles for the extra cash you can count on. The list of activities businesses and individuals need a freelancer for is endless and includes all types of writing, editing, logo design, website builds, personal coaching, tutoring, academic writing, course writing, video scripts, transcription, and the list goes on. Anything someone can do in the comfort of their home is a freelance opportunity.
There are a few popular sites to find freelance opportunities and showcase your work. Upwork has been around the longest and is the most popular freelance platform worldwide. Fiverr is quickly catching up in popularity and provides an easy-to-use platform for consumers and freelancers to do business with each other safely.
A key consideration with freelancing is that it will take time for a new side hustler to build a portfolio and customer base. In addition, client reviews are critical to a side hustler's success on freelance platforms, so providing excellent work and communication with clients is critical.
Moving and Movers
Moving is an activity almost everyone dreads. Thankfully, the average person doesn't move too often, but when they do, they need help. A side hustler would want to avoid getting involved in moving a person between cities, but they can help move smaller loads in town if they own a truck or the mover has a truck they can use. This side hustle is physically taxing, but you'll get a workout in addition to extra cash.
Another option for a moving side hustle is to work as a mover with a commercial moving company on weekends. Moving companies are always looking for dependable movers who will often pay after the job is completed, and the average pay per hour is approximately $18 an hour.
There will always be demand for dump runs, and a person with a truck can turn dump runs into a successful side hustle. For example, trips to the dump are common when people move or are making room in their homes. They can either do the dump run themselves, hire a company like 310-Dump, or look for a side hustler with a truck offering dump runs - usually found on Google, Facebook or word-of-mouth.
A few key considerations with this side hustle is that you'll need to include in your price any of the dump fees you will need to pay when you are at the dump. This is usually a general use fee based on weight and any specific dump fees for disposing of appliances, electronics, paint, etc. You will also need to be comfortable using your truck as a work truck and the dings and scratches that will happen when taking odd things to the dump.
Rentals or Airbnbs
You can write a book on the different options for this side hustle, but we'll focus on the simplest ways to generate extra cash. One option is to rent someone a room or a section of your residence. If you have a spare room you're not using, you may as well make money from it. If you have a vacation or rental property that you want to avoid renting out for the long term, consider listing it on Airbnb or VRBO.
A couple of considerations with this side hustle is you will need to make sure you are onside with your lease agreement and, or your condo bylaws. Some leases will explicitly not allow renting, subletting, or offering to rent it on Airbnb or VRBO.
Lawn Care and Snow Removal
This is an old and popular side hustle. Before everyone and their dog had computers and smartphones, lawn mowing and snow removal was a typical side hustle. With limited barriers to entry, almost anyone can do this side hustle with a few tools; a lawnmower, weed whipper, shovel, and maybe a snowblower. With most side hustlers or would-be-side hustlers wanting a side hustle to do from the comfort of their computer, the competition out there is limited.
Given the physical requirements for this side hustle, it makes sense for those who are physically able and don't mind getting a little dirty in the process.
Having small kids at home can make it challenging to find the time for a side hustle, even though you can really use the extra cash. If you take care of your small kids at home, consider offering to look after other kids for a daily, weekly, or monthly fee. Day home and daycare fees are very high, and there are opportunities to offer care at reduced rates to get a solid client base.
To have a day home, a side hustler must register and abide by specific rules and regulations. Unfortunately, there are unregistered day homes, but this is not recommended.
Rent out Your RV and Other Toys
Do you have an RV you only use for one month a year and the odd weekend? Then, why not rent it out? RV rentals have exploded in the last few years, and you use this side hustle to pay for a portion of your RV costs and even all of it. You can also earn extra by charging a premium to drive the RV to the renter's campsite.
You can also offer your canoes, kayaks, snow shoes, ATVs, and other toys for rent as a side hustle. Most of these things sit in your garage or are stored until you use them, which is always less than you originally planned. So why not make them pay for themselves by renting them out?
Every business, big or small, needs to have its financial books completed, and they often don't have the time to do it themselves. Completing a company's books each month is an excellent side hustle that provides real value to companies. This side hustler requires some experience with bookkeeping or accounting to succeed, but training is available online.
With popular bookkeeping software such as Freshbooks, Quickbooks, Wave, and Sage 50, setting up an easy and effective bookkeeping system for multiple businesses is easy. The average wage for a bookkeeper is approximately $24 an hour.
Canada is ramping up its immigration targets, which are planned to rise annually by 500,000 by 2025. A large percentage of these immigrants will not speak English as their native language and will require either in-person or online tutoring. Formal education in teaching or another discipline may be necessary for this side hustle.
Becoming a Virtual Assistant (VA) has been a famous side gig for some time, and you only need a computer and access to the internet to get started. There is, however, a lot of competition from around the world that can undercut the income potential of this side hustle. The two best places to find opportunities for VAs are the freelance platforms Upwork and Fiverr.
Pet Boarding, Daycare, and Walking
For many Canadians, their pets are family, and they are willing to spend big dollars to ensure they are well cared for. When owners go on vacation or away for work, they will often have their pets boarded, so they know they will be looked after. Pet owners will even bring them to pet sitters or daycares each day or pay a dog walker to walk their dogs. Owners will pay anywhere from $38 to $50 to board their pets each day, between $30 to $50 per day for pet daycare, and up to $20 an hour for dog walkers. This is a great side gig for people who love pets, don't mind dog walking, and are at home during the day. Rover is an excellent website for finding people who are looking for these services.
Social Media Management and SEO
A tremendous part-time side hustle is managing social media accounts for businesses and professionals across all social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. The two best places to find social media management opportunities are the freelance platforms Upwork and Fiverr.
Companies also need help with SEO and often need to be made aware they need it to get better search engine results. Even if you have a limited amount of SEO experience, you can offer SEO audits using popular SEO websites such as SemRush to provide immediate value to your prospective clients.
Other Things to Consider
There are a couple of essential things to consider in addition to the side hustles we explored in the 20 side hustle in Canada above. These considerations shouldn't stop you from pursuing a side hustle, but it's essential to have your bases covered so that your side hustle doesn't inadvertently cost you rather than giving you extra income. It is important to remember these considerations are simply hurdles and not roadblocks.
Yes, you will need to pay tax on your side hustle net profit. However, with a good bookkeeper, or an accountant for a larger side hustle, you'll be able to reduce your taxable income considerably with eligible business expenses. These qualified business expenses can include writing off your home office space, a portion of your computer, a percentage of your vehicle if used in your side hustle, and more.
If you are going to be using a rental property, your home, or your vehicle in your side hustle, make sure to talk to your insurance provider to see if your current policies would cover the side hustles you are considering. If they don't, find a way to add them to your existing insurance policy or a way to keep onside with your current insurance.