With today's rising cost of living, many Canadians are turning to online side hustles to reduce their financial burden and make a little extra dough.
However, a lot of people have no idea where to start when it comes to making money online in Canada. So, this post will be dedicated to showing you the many ways you can make it happen.
Without further ado, let's get right into it.
Of note, you must investigate whether these methods of making money online are legal in your current province or jurisdiction. This article is meant to simply be guide for those looking to earn a little more money online.
What are the best ways to make money online in Canada?
Become a virtual assistant
With the number of businesses moving online these days, the demand for virtual help has skyrocketed. As a result, you'll find work online as a virtual assistant in Canada.
The duties of a virtual assistant can range from social media management to editing and even back-end web development. Most of your duties will come in the direction of a website or business owner.
The downfall of virtual assistants is primarily the weak pay. Competition is rampant, and as a result, many people are willing to undercut others in terms of overall pay. If you land a decent VA gig with a notable company, they may be willing to pay you more. However, for the most part, you'll need to accept a relatively low wage to compete in this industry.
The benefits are that it can be done completely from home, and the hours are flexible.
Become an editor
Although the invention of online tools like Grammarly is causing proofreading jobs to decline, there is still plenty of room online for a potential proofreader or editor.
Most companies will require you to have some proficiency in English, and depending on the business requirements, you may even need a degree. However, many magazines or publications will pay people to read through their pieces and monitor any potential spelling or grammar mistakes.
The best part about becoming an editor is that you can often do it on your own schedule. There will typically be a deadline for a particular piece you must proofread. However, it is likely unimportant whether you do it at 8 AM or midnight.
Online websites are begging for strong content writers. When they find one they can trust, they rarely let them go. As a result, if you can fine-tune your content writing skills and have the ability to type fast, this type of online job should be a breeze.
Beginner content writing rates from websites often fall in the 8-12 cent a-word range, meaning you'll be paid $240 per 2000-word article. For reference, this article is around 7000 words, and you would be paid a whopping $840 to write it.
Once you become more proficient and an expert in a particular niche, you can often charge over 25 cents a word and get work.
The more expertise required in a particular niche, the more you'll be paid. For example, expect to be paid more in the finance niche than in the camping niche.
If you've got something you're good at, to the point where you feel you could justify charging for your services, creating an online course is a great way to make money online in Canada.
You don't necessarily need a blog or a self-hosted platform to do so, either. Many platforms exist where you can host your online course, like Kajabi. However, it helps to have a website and a blog to attract people to your course.
In addition, you could list your course on Udemy. Just know that they take a pretty hefty fee from each sale, and the competition is tough, to the point where you need to be prepared to sell your course for a discount to get any students.
This way of making money online requires extensive initial work but also has the chance to pay off significantly.
Become a photographer and sell your photos online
Photography has a ridiculously low barrier to entry. This is why it can be one of the best investments if you're looking for a career or hobby.
You simply need a camera. That's it.
That will get you started, but that doesn't mean you'll get work. The ability to actually sell your photos online is tough work.
That being said, if you have a knack for taking photos and know what pleases most people's eyes, you can have massive success in this business.
The possibilities are endless. Remember that although there is education to become a photographer, it is unnecessary.
Many people who have succeeded in the business have chosen to go the self-education route. And that also rings true across countless industries.
Many businesses will pay for stock photos to avoid copyright infringement and make their websites more visually pleasing.
If you're a fast typer, transcribing videos is a way to make extra money online. Transcribing is simply the act of taking a video, listening to the words being said, and putting them into a document.
Many popular Youtubers do this to get captions on their videos to make them accessible to people who are hard of hearing. However, it can also be very relevant for a website that wants to repurpose video-based content into a blog post.
If you're looking to go even further in this regard, legal transcriptions and TV and film transcriptions exist and will likely pay you much more than offering simple Youtube transcription services.
Either way, it's a relatively low barrier to entry-side hustle you can do completely from home.
Complete online surveys
Although the pay is relatively low in this regard, and the hours required to make any meaningful money are intense, becoming a survey junkie is certainly a side hustle many deploy to make more money.
A survey site will typically have you fill out a simple survey that is provided to them by a company. From there, you'll be paid, often pennies, for completing the survey. Once you've accumulated enough money, you can withdraw; voila, you have your cash.
Companies like Survey Junkie and Swagbucks are the most popular options to execute this in Canada.
Creating a digital product
The entry barrier when creating digital products is ridiculously low, especially when compared to physical products. Often, digital products can be created with little or no overhead, the primary cost being your time.
And, if you have a knack for marketing and the ability to identify a product that your target market could use, the payoff can be large. All you need is an internet connection and a laptop.
A digital product could range from an eBook, a course, an in-depth guide, or anything else aimed at educating or helping the public. Once you complete your digital product, you can either market it via your website or an online marketplace or social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, or eBay.
Become a freelancer
If you're interested in being a jack of all trades, or maybe specialize in a few particular niches, becoming a freelancer is a strong option.
As a freelancer, you can utilize a website like Upwork and do a wide variety of duties. The gig economy is huge, and you can end up helping people when it comes to their social media accounts, website development, graphical design, and so much more.
Just be aware that the competition on Upwork is fierce, and you'll need to likely do work for rock-bottom prices to establish a reputation and get some solid ratings on the platform. After that, you can begin to charge more for your services.
Flipping items or selling your own items
We all have scoured garage sales and coupon apps looking for diamonds in the rough. And the odd time we will come across an item that is clearly underpriced. In this situation, it can be a profitable endeavor to head online to a platform like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and flip the item for a profit.
There also could be the opportunity to identify objects on these marketplaces themselves that are undervalued and flip them for profits. This area of making money online is vast, and if you develop a knack for identifying undervalued items, you can make some decent money.
In addition to this, you can often find gift cards on these platforms that are selling for less than their actual value. This isn't necessarily a money making strategy. But, if you have a particular store you like that someone else doesn't, you could certainly come in and scoop up their gift card they're selling at a discount.
Tutoring online is a very popular route people go when it comes to making money. If you excel at math, social studies, or even something like language arts where you could be teaching English, there is likely a job for you out there.
Tutoring often comes with teaching children, so along with the actual knowledge of the subject itself, you do also need the ability to teach in a way that is easy to understand from the learners perspective.
Some of the smartest people in the world will admit they're awful teachers. So, make sure you feel you have the ability to educate someone about the topic you're an expert in prior to going down this path. If you do have the ability, you can make a decent amount of money doing so, and with the rapid innovation of video hosting platforms, you can often just have calls from your office or home instead of meeting in person.
Create a website
Most of the time, starting a website costs you practically nothing. If you're investing with little money, a website can be a great place to start.
That is if you do it yourself. Paying a developer to make your website will surely get expensive.
However, if you do it yourself, building a website can be cheap and very profitable if done correctly.
Start with web hosting. Initially, this will cost you anywhere from 50-110 dollars a year on a shared hosting plan.
Unless you're a marketing genius, a website is going to take you anywhere from 1-5 years to get a solid audience. So if you're adamant about making it happen, pay for those years upfront for a discount.
Afterward, head to a WordPress template site and get a premium template.
You get what you pay for, and free templates have poor functionality and are generally terribly coded.
Now, look to spend the rest of your budget simply on education. When we started Stocktrades.ca, most of our initial startup cost was geared toward learning what to do.
However, the site is now a cash flow positive asset and one of the largest investing resources in Canada. It not only generates money from advertisements and affiliate marketing, but also from a membership platform we started in 2018.
You've probably heard about Bitcoin unless you've lived under a rock for the last while. It's one of those high-risk, high-return investments we all try to chase.
And, if you've been paying any attention, you have seen the currency skyrocket to record highs with investors making millions (in some cases, billions), with the price quickly dropping back down to earth and investors who bought at the peaks literally losing their homes and businesses.
Cryptocurrency is nothing to mess around with and is a very volatile industry that you need to be extremely careful in.
However, trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other mainstream cryptocurrency stocks is certainly something many Canadians do to earn a little more cash on the side.
Most of these next big thing cryptos will cease to exist years or even months from now.
Don't risk more than you can afford to lose, and please don't use leverage to purchase it.
Crowd-funded real estate
Crowd-funded real estate is becoming the next big thing for investors who don't want to invest in REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts). It can be one of the very smart investments for beginners.
The basis behind crowd-funded real estate is all in the name. A "crowd" of people are investing in a piece of real estate.
According to Marketwatch, the average return on a $10 000 investment ranges from $700 to $1200 per year. If the stock market's average return is 7%, you're doing quite well with crowd-funded real estate.
And the best part about it is you get to choose which property you want to invest in. This differs from a REIT, as you have no choice.
Now, this method is not without risk, and you must know that. You must be comfortable with your initial investment being tied up for years. This isn't a money-making method where you can sell your shares and pull out. Once you're in, you're in. Consider investing in Canadian REIT ETFs if you'd like something more liquid and cash flow producing.
Futures trading is a relatively simple process, but it is fairly difficult to make money trading them over the long haul.
Similar to options trading, when you trade futures, you are entering an agreement with another party to buy or sell a certain commodity by a certain date.
The commodity can range from oil barrels to wheat bushels; whatever you decide to trade is completely up to you. But, there is one key difference you need to realize when comparing options to futures.
When you purchase an options contract, you have the option (or "right" as they call it) to execute the details of the contract at any time before expiration and if it meets the strike price expectations. The key here is option, not obligation.
When you trade futures, you have an obligation to buy or sell an asset. This means that when the contract buyer has an obligation to purchase 5,000 bushels of wheat, the seller has an obligation to deliver.
The easiest way to explain the risks in futures trading is to bring up leverage. A lot of futures trading is done using leverage, which means borrowing money from your brokerage to trade more than you have available in your account.
This is another method of making money in Canada that I would view as higher-risk and certainly not for the risk-averse.
Buy penny stocks
Ever heard of Tim Sykes? If you've been in the investing circle for a while now, you know who he is.
Tim Sykes has made a career picking and teaching people how to pick penny stocks.
You can "invest," for lack of a better word, into penny stocks fairly easily. Open up a brokerage account and pick them.
What is the difference between investing in stocks and purchasing penny stocks? The large majority of penny stocks will cease to exist in the very near future.
Remember that if you are buying these stocks, you aren't buying them to own the company.
You are buying them solely to ride the wave to profit or to demise.
It is pure technical analysis, and very little weight should be placed on company fundamentals. Most of these companies aren't even required to submit financial documents.
Riding the waves can be very lucrative with penny stocks, and if you're skilled enough, you can earn a fortune.
Remember, though, you'll likely lose your money unless you get very lucky or spend a crazy amount of time educating yourself to succeed. It's the blunt truth of the business.
The concept of P2P lending is simple. You are essentially ditching the banks and instead lending your money to someone who may need it.
If a loan seeker needs $20 000, you could contribute your $1000 at a pre-determined interest rate, and the other $19 000 would be filled by another investor.
The reward for this lending method varies significantly because you can either lend money to individuals who have a solid background and have always repaid, or you can go the higher interest route and give money to someone who may not be the most reliable.
Either way, you may never see your money again whenever you get involved with an unsecured loan. That is why P2P lending must be exercised with caution.
P2P lending isn't allowed in some states, so if you are from the USA, please check all federal and state laws before proceeding. It doesn't hurt to check up on the laws in Canada, either.
The go-to place right now for P2P lending is certainly GoPeer.
Invest in a startup
Investing in a startup can be extremely lucrative. If someone were to ask me which online money-making methods have the best returns, I would be insane not to include startups. Why?
Because if you pick the right startup to get your money in with, you could see returns of 100x your money or more!
With that said, every investment with the chance of a very high reward is often very high risk. This is the absolute truth with startups. You're investing in a company with nothing but a good idea.
We all know cash is king, and for a company to be worth anything, it needs to make money. If this great idea never comes to fruition, you've got nothing.
Your investment may make you a minority owner, as some startups will be seeking 7-digit financing. But don't let that get you down. Do you know what owning 1% of Apple would yield you right now?
Now, you probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than identifying the next Apple. But hey, it's possible.
Stream on Twitch
Twitch is absolutely exploding. Whether you are streaming poker or streaming video games, there are personalities on Twitch that are literally making six figures a month.
How does it work exactly? Streamers are expected to put on a show or display their talent at a particular activity.
In return, viewers may choose to subscribe to their channel for a monthly fee, granting them access to the chat or specific subscriber-only streams.
Viewers can also give cash donations to streamers as sort of a "thank you" for doing what you do.
And finally, if you get big enough, you can run advertisements on your channel and even go as far as to have companies pay you to give them a shout-out.
The risk is obviously high because many, in fact, the large majority of streamers, will give up after not gaining a following.
But, for a microphone, a camera, some lighting, and editing software, you can be well on your way to starting.
Launch a YouTube channel
YouTube is the number two search engine in the world, next to Google.
Google is one of the wealthiest companies in the world.
What exactly am I trying to say here?
There is money in search, and there is money on YouTube. Creating a Youtube channel is as good as any opportunity to make money online.
Becoming a YouTube personality is not easy, and most of your initial time will be spent on trying to make a name for yourself marketing-wise.
But if you do make it, you can expect to make a ton of money.
The best part about YouTube is that it caters to various topics. In fact, you can find a video for literally anything on YouTube.
- Wanting to remodel your kitchen? YouTube.
- Trying to learn a new skill? YouTube.
- Scrambling for that how-to guide on beating a particular video game? YouTube.
- Searching for how to become a YouTube personality? YouTube.
Where there are views, there are advertisements. Here is how much you can expect to make from advertising on YouTube.
Where the difficulty lies in actually getting the views and maintaining an audience. It is incredibly hard.
If you succeed, however, you can make decent to amazing money, which is definitely an avenue to consider.
Buy and sell website domains
Domain flipping has been around since the beginning of the internet, and some people who invested money early are now making a killing.
There is more than meets the eye regarding the value of the domain. To the blissfully unaware, you may think the name is all that matters when there is much more than that.
And that is why good domain flippers can make very good money, and domain flipping is an excellent way to make some extra cash.
The amount of links going toward the domain and if the domain has ever incurred any Google penalties also come into play.
It would help if you kept a keen eye on quality domains that are up for expiration. If you manage to pick one up, especially for the cost of registration, you could turn a 14 dollars registration fee into 4 or 5 figures.
That being said, very few domains actually make it to this stage. They are swept up by third-party registrars and are often marked up immediately.
You can still find some diamonds in the rough, though; domain flipping is still very profitable if done correctly.
Website flipping is very similar to domain flipping, which we also talk about in this list.
Finding solid domains or struggling websites and injecting some life into them can pay handsome dividends, and it is an amazing way to make money online. However, you need some skill in web development, as paying someone to do the redesign will eat up most of your potential profits.
Some websites, at one point in time, were well-oiled machines, making a decent amount of money. The owners may have decided it was too time-consuming or lost interest.
Here is where you come in. You will simply inquire about the website and see if it or the domain name is for sale.
You get the gears in motion once you've purchased the website again. Chances are the old owner is willing to sell the website at a fraction of its past value, as simply paying for hosting is more of an annoyance.
An investment into a solid domain or two can turn into either a quick website sale for a profit or a long-standing income from the websites you rejuvenated.
Invest in a REIT
Many people dream of investing in real estate but don't have enough money to make the investment.
Lots of the wealthiest people on earth are real estate moguls. But you can't afford the property or a second mortgage. So what is one of the best ways to invest in real estate without actually owning the property?
Well, you can either do crowd-funded real estate, which we discuss in this guide, or buy a REIT.
A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is a company that essentially owns a lot of real estate.
This could be anything from commercial and residential real estate to warehouses.
You then get a share of the rent. You are essentially part of a huge group of landlords owning these REITs.
Legally REITs have to pay out 90 percent of their income to shareholders through a distribution. So if the trust is profiting, you are profiting. They can't simply decide to pocket the profits.
Trading options isn't for the faint of heart. That is if you're taking the riskier route, like trading naked calls.
That's why I'd classify options trading as a "low to very high" risk way of making money online. The losses can range from the cost of a contract if you're playing it safe (which can be a couple hundred bucks or less) or infinite amounts if trading naked calls.
That said, covered calls are a great low-risk way to earn money in the stock market.
Anyone who is a notorious critic of options has never really read up on this strategy.
Overall, this will not be a suitable method for risk-averse people. But, if you have a bit of risk appetite, have a look at options trading.
Invest in the stock market
In terms of ways to make money online, the stock market is probably one of, if not the best, method. It just doesn't reap the quick returns many people hope for.
A lot of people don't really know how to invest money in stocks
What can you expect to earn? Well, Dave Ramsay says you could earn up to 12%.
What would $1000 look like 30 years down the road assuming a 12% average return?
Not too shabby. You can clearly see the power of compounding interest at work. A 12% return annually for 30 years essentially doubles your money every year.
But keep in mind the stock market is only effective when you invest for the long term(5+ years).
Purchase dividend paying stocks
One of the safest ways to make money online is to purchase blue-chip dividend stocks.
Every successful stock portfolio has a portion dedicated to dividend-paying companies. Why?
When you start earning money on investments, this money generates income, which generates even more money. This is the power of compounding interest.
Now, keep this in mind. Most blue-chip stocks pay dividends, but companies that pay dividends are not always blue-chip stocks.
This is crucial to know because many people fall into the trap of investing in companies that are either paying out way too much in the form of a dividend to survive or have frequently been decreasing the amount they pay out.
New investors seem to think a company that pays dividends is automatically safer, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. Always do your due diligence, and you'll be raking in the dividend payments quickly.
Invest in precious metals
Buying precious metals like silver and gold has always seemed to spike during stock market uncertainty.
When the markets are shaky, people often rely on gold to store their money instead of keeping it liquid.
Just like the stock market, gold is almost guaranteed to go up over time.
Either way, if you want to invest in precious metals, you can do so simply by opening a brokerage account and buying them online, without even leaving your computer chair.
But, if you want to literally own gold, you can find numerous stores and online websites that will physically sell you the bars or other items.
Invest in an index fund
An index fund is very similar to a mutual fund or an ETF in that it is set up to track and follow a particular basket of securities.
An index fund's success or unlikely demise is based on a certain index, like the TSX or the S&P 500.
Index funds have outperformed most mutual funds throughout history. They are an option you must consider if you are looking for some passive money-making options online.
Index funds are often cheaper than mutual funds and, in some cases, actively managed ETFs. This is simply because the index fund tracks a whole index.
There is no need for rebalancing or anyone to actually monitor the portfolio. It reflects the index you have purchased, and that is it.
The downfall with index funds is you won't find any diamonds in the rough like you can picking individual stocks.
But, if you're looking to earn money online in a set and forget fashion, buying index funds is one of the best ways possible.
Buying bonds can't be any more boring than it already is. But there is a reason for that.
Bonds are safe, reliable, and easy ways to earn a return on your money.
Older investors primarily place most of their money into bonds due to the reduced risk as they approach retirement.
If you're going to buy bonds to earn money, be aware you will never hit a home run here. A bond is purchased, and you are paid a fixed amount of interest, typically semi-annually.
When the bond matures, you get your money, simple as that.
Over the last 90 years, common stocks have returned 10%, while bonds are around the 5% mark.
Invest in ETFs
ETFs have been literally taking over the investing world recently. And for good reason.
People are tired of paying big banks big bucks to manage their money. Why?
Because the smallest fees can eat up a substantial amount of your portfolio.
ETFs are an easy way to gain market diversification and invest in a group of stocks with the click of a button. That is why they are hands down one of the best ways to earn money online.
Invest in blue-chip stocks
Investing in blue-chip stocks is about as bulletproof as it gets regarding strategies to make money. Because of this, it is one of the most popular ways people utilize to earn a little extra cash over the long term.
Studies have long shown that investing in the stock market over the long term has substantial benefits. Especially when you eliminate most of your risk by investing in blue-chip stocks.
By blue chips, we mean stocks resilient to almost all market conditions. A prime example of such is the Canadian banks. During the 2008 financial crisis, the Canadian banks, although they took a beating price-wise, came out of the situation relatively unharmed. In fact, your best plan of action during these frantic sell-offs was to buy way more than you currently own.
Canadian banks never slashed dividends, and 90 percent of them had fully recovered from the biggest economic crisis since the dot com bubble in a short two-year period afterwards.
That being said, there are plenty of other industries to look at that can fend off market downfalls. Look for things that humans always need, regardless of the economic conditions.
Do people buy automobiles during a recession? No, so it may be wise to avoid cyclical stocks like Ford, whose price fluctuates wildly, dependent on the economy. On the other hand, people always need to eat, so a stock like General Mills may be one to look at.
High-interest savings accounts
High-Interest Savings Accounts have been around for a while and are considered one of the safe ways to earn money. It has been an easy way for people to place money in an account that is easily accessible and earn interest on it.
The thing is, the interest just isn't that much. In fact, with a balance of $1000, you can probably expect a rate of under 1%.
The only thing I would ever suggest being placed in a high-interest savings account is your emergency fund. Something you need access to immediately in case of an emergency.
Other than that, these days, high-interest savings accounts don't have too much appeal. There are better and safer methods to earn double, maybe even triple, the return on your investment.
Use this method if you feel you may need this money down the line.
Invest in a GIC
If you're looking for some bullet-proof ways to make some extra dough online, a GIC may not be the most optimal, but it is safe.
A GIC, or Guaranteed Investment Certificate, is a Canadian-specific investment method that guarantees you a fixed rate of return over a certain amount of time.
Much like a bond, although you aren't loaning your money to a specific company other than your bank, GICs are a very safe form of investment.
The interest rate depends on several things, including:
- The length of time.
- The financial institution.
- Whether you can withdraw the funds or not.
The third item is a decision you must be aware of before investing in a GIC.
For non-cashable GICs, there tends to be a higher interest rate, but you will not have access to the money without penalty.
You can earn anywhere from 4-5 percent on a non-cashable GIC and 2-3 percent on a cashable.
Because it is essentially a guaranteed form of investing, GICs offer very low-interest rates, and higher returns can often be achieved by taking barely any additional risk.
But for the highly conservative, these investments are perfect for generating extra cash, as they will typically pay their interest semi-annually.
If you're interested in some of the highest GIC rates, EQ Bank does offer best in class.
Don't confuse this method with Forex trading!
We're talking about taking CAD and converting it to USD.
The Canadian dollar has been in the toilet for the last few years, and if you've got a good grasp on economics, you may think it will go back up.
Remember this can be a very long and drawn-out process. Still, it is generally considered one of those easy investments to make money over the long term, and you can do it online in no time.
Currency value changes in very small increments, so people are drawn to leverage and forex trading.
Become a tax preparer
No matter how simple a person's tax return is, there is always a fear of messing something up.
That's why most people seek advice when filing their taxes.
And by advice, I mean they like to drop their paperwork off and have it done for them.
And that is why becoming a tax preparer is one of those easy side hustles to make money online.
A tax preparer is a great way to make a ton of money during tax time, and you'll have the course (usually in and around the 700-1000 dollar mark) paid off in no time.
Be aware that this method will require a crazy amount of dedication and hours during February-April.
Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing
Its become exponentially more difficult over the years, but it is still possible to make some serious profits being a freelancer and SEO contractor and help people with their search engine results.
Before Google rolling out numerous updates to stop it, spam was rampant, and so-called "SEO" experts were exploiting the system.
Suppose you can stand out from that crowd and practice safe, 100 percent "whitehat" SEO methods. In that case, you will have bloggers and companies flooding your inbox with requests to help them get more exposure to their websites on the internet.
The best part? As the world becomes more and more dependent on the internet and social media, SEO will only become more, not less, vital to a business's success.
Start a dropshipping store
Ever dreamed of owning your own store? A lot of people have.
Buying and selling marked-up goods to make money is pretty appealing to many people.
The problem? It mostly all lies in the inventory. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars in startup costs to open a store, but with drop shipping, the process is much easier.
What is dropshipping? You're building a store and letting a website like Amazon or Shopify handle the inventory.
When a person purchases an item, Amazon or Shopify handles the shipping as well.
The problem with this method is that profits are severely limited and completely justified. You're simply allowing users to buy a product while another company has to house the inventory and ship the product.
If you start multiple successful drop shipping websites, there is the potential to make some decent cash.