These days a lot of folks are wondering how to make money online in Canada. Fortunately there are lots of ways you can make money online. There are a few which are specific to Canada, but most of these methods will work regardless of where you live.
If you’ve got an internet connection and a decent computer (or even a tablet or cell phone/mobile device), most of these options should be available to you. Most of these are also ways that you can get paid reasonably quickly – not overnight, but within a matter of weeks or months. You won’t need to have a spare room for an AirBNB or a small business loan – an IPhone should suffice.
Now, here’s a caveat. If you need to make money fast, I recommend looking for a job. While I prefer most of the options on this list to ordinary employment, most of them involve developing either a new skillset or a product of some sort, which can take up to three months or longer.
If you’re in a tight spot and need to get some extra cash quickly, the responsible thing is to seek employment. Chasing get-rich-quick schemes and done-for-you products will only waste your time (and money). You could always start with an online job, such as being an online tutor, and then move into more business oriented activities as you gain the skills.
But if you do have the time to develop a particular set of skills or create a great product, read on. There are tons of ideas on this list that you can get started on for free today. And none of them pay in gift cards or cashback schemes – these are all effective side hustles for making real cash. What’s more, many of these methods can be used to create passive income over time.
Note: I’m an affiliate marketer and this article contains affiliate links. If you follow them and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.
Make Money Online Canada WITHOUT Dying of Boredom
If you found this article by searching “make money online Canada” or something similar, then you’ve already proven my methods work. This blog post is full of affiliate links, which is the #1 method for generating income online on my list. In each subheading below I’ll explain what the method is and how to get started doing it. If you follow one of my links and buy something or sign up, there’s a good chance I’ll get a commission as a result.
That’s affiliate marketing. Please note that I am an affiliate for any products I link to that have referral programs – if you use my links and then make a purchase, I may receive a commission.
If you’re still wondering “What is Affiliate Marketing?” then tap that link, I wrote an entire article on the topic. In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is what I outlined above. You direct people, or “drive traffic”, to an offer. When someone buys the product or service using your affiliate link, you’ll earn a commission.
In essence, affiliate marketing means getting paid to bridge the gap between vendor and customer. There are a number of ways to do that, and the method you choose will depend on your passions, skills, and available resources. Affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn extra money, and most programs pay out regularly through PayPal. But despite what you may have heard, it isn’t a great way to “make money fast” because there’s usually a delay and a minimum threshold before you get paid.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing
A lot people get started the wrong way. I know I did. That’s because there are a ton of lousy and/or uncouth affiliate marketers out there who are more than happy to scam folks (or at least come close to it). There are a ton of products and programs in the “make money online” niche which are technically not scams but which are unlikely to help you generate profits.
Learning to differentiate between great products and terrible products takes time and patience. That’s why it’s important you start out on a realistic path, and stick with great products that have great affiliate programs.
Step 1 – How to Choose a Niche
The first thing you should do is find a niche in which you feel you could teach or otherwise help people. These people will be your primary audience, and if you can’t be of service to them you’re unlikely to succeed in any real way.
Popular affiliate marketing niches include:
- How to make money online
- Nutrition, Diets and Fitness
- Relationships and Attraction
- Learning music (or learning anything through online courses)
- Many more!
The first three items on the list (increasing income, staying healthy, and finding partners) encompass a massive percentage of the industry, but there are also plenty of buyers in more specific niches that are hobby or profession oriented, such as camping or hunting.
Step 2 – How to Make Sure a Niche is Profitable
Once you decide on a group of people you can serve, you must make sure the niche is profitable. An easy way to do this is to see what products are available for representation in online marketplaces such as ShareASale and Clickbank.
Not all companies use affiliate networks such as ShareASale and Clickbank. After all it’s fairly easy for an online shop to create its own affiliate program. But many choose to use a marketplace because it takes a lot of the hassle out of their hands. Chances are, if you find lots of products in a niche on those affiliate networks, you’ll be able to find companies you can affiliate with directly as well.
This is also a good time to to find and test products you’d like to promote. While it’s tempting to hop on board with the highest converting offers, it’s important that you choose the ones that will actually help your audience. This means actually buying and using/learning whatever it is you plan to represent.
Step 3 – How to Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
This is the hardest part, but there are a number of ways you can earn income as an affiliate marketer. However in the interest of being as realistic as possible. There are only two methods that I really recommend. I actually recommend doing both of them:
- Start a blog
- Start a YouTube channel
Building a self-hosted blog that you own is crucial to long-term success as an affiliate marketer. It’s also convenient, especially if you fancy search engine optimization. It gives you a place to put your affiliate links, a place to build funnels, and a means to attracting traffic all in one. You can also put links on a YouTube channel and attract traffic that way, but obviously your options with YouTube are more limited.
An affiliate blog paired with a popular YouTube channel is a potent combination. On your blog and channel you can create product reviews and tutorials, as well as educational or entertaining content about the niche. You can sell directly to people via your posts and videos, or you can capture their emails via an optin form and remarket to them with email marketing or targeted ads.
Being a blogger comes with quite a few fun perks, even if its not quite the same as employee benefits! As you gain success people will approach you more and more regarding your blog and writing.
Affiliate Marketing Education
Clickbank University – Clickbank University is a premium affiliate marketing course prepared and taught by the staff of Clickbank themselves. It teaches a very “hands on” method for making money with affiliate marketing – try this course if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty!
12 Minute Affiliate – 12 Minute Affiliate is the most popular marketing course on Clickbank – even more popular than CB University! It will appeal to a different crowd though – 12 Minute Affiliate is all about “plug and play” systems and spending little time working, as the name would suggest.
Skillshare – Skillshare is an online learning platform where you can take a number of affiliate marketing courses, or take courses to learn individual skills that you can then apply to the trade. If you use my link to sign up for Skillshare, you’ll get two months of premium access for free! Skillshare also has a number of “forever free” courses you can check out.
GrooveFunnels – GrooveFunnels is one of my favorite online platforms of 2020. You can use a free GrooveFunnels account to build your first websites and sales funnels free of charge. This is super valuable because it gives you a place to put your content and affiliate links AND you can collect email addresses as part of the process. You can also promote GrooveFunnels as an affiliate, so this free account is a huge win-win-win.
GetResponse – If you’re going to collect email addresses for affiliate marketing, make sure you’re using a service provider that allows affiliate marketing! GetResponse is one of the best in the business, and they have a great affiliate program of their own you can represent.
WPX Hosting (WordPress Hosting) – If you decide to start a blog, WordPress is the most powerful blogging platform out there. While WordPress itself is free to use, you’ll need some premium hosting to hit the ground running, and WPX is known for awesome speed and customer service.
Elegant Themes (WordPress Tools) – When you buy a lifetime license for Elegant Themes, you get two powerful and versatile themes (Divi and Extra) as well as two useful plugins (Bloom and Monarch). Getting premium tools for your WordPress website will give it a much better chance of being a beautiful, high-converting website.
SocialBee (Social Media Software) – Regardless of which path you follow, you’ll probably be doing a lot of posting to social media. SocialBee can automate this process for you and save you up to 8 hours of mindless work per week!
Domain Name Registration – I recommend registering your domains at domains.google.com if you want a simple experience with no upsells. Be sure to choose a domain name that will do a great job of representing your brand / online presence.
Although it can be highly competitive, live streaming is a great secondary or even primary source of income for some people. Streaming live on Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or any other platform requires a unique skillset. This is one of the reasons it’s so difficult to make serious money, and also one of the reasons that only certain types of people have much chance of success.
In order to do well as a streamer, you need to:
- Be charismatic
- Be good at reading chat and responding verbally
- Be comfortable speaking (and preferably appearing on camera) in front of dozens or hundreds or thousands of people
- Have thick skin (you will get trolled/insulted)
- Commit to building a community on and off your platform of choice
Those are just some of the qualities I’ve observed consistently in the successful streamers I know and watch. There are probably some other important ones, but there are also qualities required in order for you to enjoy streaming.
In order to really enjoy streaming, you need to enjoy having many people pay attention to you on some level. This is not a bad thing, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you “want to be famous”… but the truth is, in order to succeed as a streamer you’ll need to spend hours and hours interacting with a growing audience that will come to adore you. If that type of attention makes you uncomfortable (as it does for many people), live streaming may not be a good choice for you even if you fulfill the other criteria.
How to Start Live Streaming
It’s easy to overthink livestreaming, because when you look at most successful creators on platforms like Twitch, they tend to have a lot of hardware, software, and community support making their stream extra awesome. This can make it seem like streaming on these platforms requires a large initial investment, but in truth most people can get started for under $100.
Step 1 – Choose a Platform and Integrate With the Community
There are a lot of livestreaming platforms you can make money on these days. I tend to think of Twitch because I used to stream there and still watch some friends on their streams regularly. However, Facebook and quite a few other smaller streaming platforms can also be great sources of income. You might want to pick the one you think will be most profitable, or you might just go with the one you most enjoy spending time on.
Once you’ve chosen a platform, it’s time to become a superfan in some channels that contain your target audience. Get to know the streamer, get to know their moderators, and get to know what works and doesn’t work for them. When you first start going live yourself, the friends you make in other peoples’ streams will be the bulk of your audience unless you bring an audience from another platform.
Step 2 – Determine the Type of Content You’ll Create
This is a little different than choosing a niche in affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing there are lots of smaller niches you can start out in, and you can choose to stay in them and become an authority on that specific topic or you can branch out into more general topics and grow your presence.
When it comes to streaming, there are only so many categories that contain enough viewers to realistically generate reliable income. There are sub-niches within those categories, but it will be important that you’re able to grow into a main streaming category on the platform you choose to use.
For example, Twitch has three main tabs on their home menu: browse, esports, and music. The browse button can be used to view the most popular categories, but it’s important to recognize that Twitch has already highlighted the two biggest categories on the platform (gaming and music). While there are other categories that you could succeed in, if you really want to make money as a streamer on Twitch you’ll probably want to stream either games or music.
Step 3 – Create a Schedule and Stick To It
Between being a Twitch affiliate who earned the title in less than 11 days and being friends with several folks who make all or most of their living via streaming, I’ve come to some realizations about livestream monetization.
There are a million little things I could tell you, like be positive and inclusive etc, but the truth is that most of them only apply in some situations. The one piece of advice which seems to be extremely valuable for everyone is that you should create and maintain a streaming schedule.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do extra streams just for fun (your fans will love that), and it doesn’t mean the world will end if you cancel a planned stream. But making and using a schedule does two things: it gives your viewers a fair chance to find you, and it proves that you take what you’re doing seriously.
As a streamer, most of your income (at least at first) will come directly from your viewers’ pockets. If they don’t think you’re going to stick around and continue to show up, they’ll be much less likely to support you.
Recommended Tools for Live Streaming
A good USB microphone and webcam
A good computer or phone (preferably a computer)
Streamlabs Open Broadcast Software (SLOBS) – This is a free software you can use to set up your web cam, microphone, and other tools and control how and where your stream gets broadcasted.
SocialBee – As a streamer, you’ll need to stay connected with your audience across multiple platforms. SocialBee allows you to post to all the major platforms from one dashboard.
YouTube channels – there are tons of YouTube channels devoted to explaining how to become a successful streamer. One great one is Alpha Gaming, he really stays on top of just about everything.
Although it’s a competitive industry, it’s more than possible to make millions by self-publishing books. Whether you write how-to manuals, children’s books, or fantasy novels, if you can find a big enough audience and consistently give them what they want, you can generate extra income.
While there are big, obvious options for self publishing such as Amazon, and lesser known but high-quality options such as Blurb.ca, the government of Canada actually makes it fairly easy for citizens to completely DIY the self publishing process. So if you really want to make money by self publishing books and you need the lowest possible startup costs, you may want to learn to do it all yourself.
Although you may want to outsource most or all steps in creating the book, that doesn’t necessarily mean you must use a self-publishing service. You could hire freelancers to do the work and get a free ISBN number from the government of Canada.
Recommended Tools For Self Publishing
Grammarly – Grammarly is a precious tool for the self publisher – it will catch typos and other errors so you don’t have to! This product is free to use with premium tiers and is especially valuable to less experienced writers.
Designrr – Designrr is an amazing toolset all built around generating beautiful ebooks as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you’re thinking about creating digital publications, a Designrr Pro license (or greater) makes a lot of sense.
Google Docs – Free, easy to use word processor. Doesn’t get much better than this.
Selling Stock Photos
Selling stock photos has been around for awhile – the problem is that lots of stock photography websites do their best to rip photographers off. But that’s not the case with Scop.io or some others out there. Scopio makes it easy for talented photographers to upload pictures to their website, and they pay out pretty well for any photos they accept into their collection.
Premium stock photo services always need lots of high-quality images, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a professional or artistic photographer. If you have a phone with a great camera, you can potentially sell selfies, random nature shots, pictures of your friends, and so on. Here’s an example of a Scopio photo I used in a social media post. The photographer took this with a selfie stick!
Here in Canada there is lots of natural beauty and diverse people you can potentially photograph. If you do take pictures of people, make sure you have their permission!
Although podcasts can be difficult to monetize, there are ways to make money from them. This will be easier if you also have a website and/or other online assets, but it’s not completely necessary.
Just as an example, my pals at the Hustle and Flowchart Podcast always have shortened, easy to spell links to their affiliate offers prepared to give to their listeners. They also use a text messaging service in addition to email marketing, so that people who listen on mobile can get involved easily.
Starting a podcast doesn’t require too much; you need a means of recording, and a means of hosting the podcast. While a good computer and high quality microphone are ideal, you can potentially use your phone to record and upload podcasts as well.
When it comes to hosting, there are plenty of good free and premium options out there thanks to how popular podcasting has become.
How to Market and Make Money From a Podcast
I just recently started my podcast, but I did some research beforehand and came up with this list of methods for marketing:
- Invite guests to the show and make yourself available to be a guest on other shows
- Reference your podcast in conversation on social media and link to it when requested
- Push your podcast to all major platforms (many hosts do this automatically)
- Create audiograms for sharing on social media
- Link to podcast posts from other SEO-optimized posts
- Keep a consistent schedule
- Remember to pitch your shortened links while recording!
Taking Online Surveys
There are a lot of survey sites such as TakeSurveysForCash.com which will allow you to… well, take surveys for cash. I’ve never tried a paid survey platform personally because I can’t think of anything more boring, and I can think of at least sixteen other ways to make money online. But if you’re looking for something super simple that you can probably do while multitasking, online surveys might be a good option for you.
Writing on Paid Blogging Platforms
Platforms like Medium.com and Vocal.media will pay just about anyone who follows their rules to create content on their websites. It’s highly competitive and difficult to make very much, but if you love writing it’s worth trying your hand at it.
How to Make Money Writing On Medium
I don’t have much experience with Vocal, but I’ve been writing sparingly on Medium for about seven months now. On Medium, you get paid based on how much time paying members spend reading your work.
The only truly reliable way to get lots of members to read your Medium stories is by getting curated. The Medium curation team selects pieces they deem worthy to be displayed on the site homepage, in emails, and marketed to their readers in other ways.
There are other ways to get reads on Medium though. Medium has high domain authority, which makes it pretty easy to rank optimized articles that you post there. You can monetize having lots of non-members read your work, it just doesn’t happen automatically like your Stripe payments from the Medium Partner Program.
One way to monetize Medium stories is by using them to attract clients. Another is to include a call-to-action that goes to a landing page where you collect their email, and remarket to them later. If you have your own blog, you can also republish articles from it on Medium, which has at least a little SEO value.
Recommended Tools For Writing On Medium
Grammarly – for catching those silly errors before you hit publish!
Hemingway App – similar to Grammarly, but it does dfiferent things and is completely free. Definitely worth checking out if you’re a writer.
ConvertKit – If you’re writing on Medium, you’ll want an email marketing software that comes with the ability to make beautiful landing pages built in. That’s ConvertKit!
Becoming a Virtual Assistant
The virtual assistant industry is booming. With concerns over COVID-19 not really going anywhere, a large percentage of assistant and administrative workers will probably be virtual by 2021.
While many Canadians might hire virtual assistants from other countries to save on costs, others require someone who lives in Canada or just prefer to hire local. If you’re interested in becoming a VA, this is a great time to start!
Teaching English as a Second Language
Teaching anything can be a really rewarding experience, but teaching English as a second language is almost certain to be a good move. It can pay quite well, can be done completely virtually, and you don’t really need advanced language skills in most cases. Understanding basic grammar and being able to follow a lesson plan is probably sufficient.
Starting a Service-Based Business
This is what I did last year, and I’ve just about doubled my income since then. While starting a service-based business can be difficult at the beginning, there’s lots of compelling advantages as well, especially if you have a high demand skill such as graphic design.
- You work for yourself, according to your own schedule and values
- Once you have a few good clients you can pick and choose who you work with
- Once your business is established and running, you can spend less time working than the average employee while generating more income
- You get more opportunities to learn new skills than the average employee
- If you choose an industry with lots of room for growth, you can potentially scale to the moon
- Many service based businesses are inexpensive to start up (unless they require a lot of equipment, tools, or other expenses)
- If you enjoy social media, platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can become sources of clients
How to Start a Service-Based Business in Canada
It’s important to research the specific laws and rules set down by the province you’re in, as well as gaining an understanding of doing business in Canada as a whole. If you’re looking to start a business in Ontario, I can speak from my own experience and say it’s worth getting a business license right away. That way you’re committed, and there’s no question as to whether or not the business exists.
Doing market research may be the next most important part of starting a business, after squaring away the legal stuff. It’s important that you understand the needs of the people you see as potential clients.
I made several time-consuming mistakes when starting my writing and marketing business. At first I focused on trying to learn new skills and used them to offer services to local business owners. This meant that I was always incredibly busy, and when I did get a chance to consult with a potential client, they’d usually see examples of my work that weren’t the greatest.
Over the course of the past year, I stepped back and re-examined my strengths, passions, and the local climate for business owners. I realized that most local business owners wouldn’t have the money or confidence to hire me, whereas larger national and international companies would. I also realized I should focus on my best skills (content marketing) and developing related skills such as SEO, rather than trying to pretend I’m a web designer.
Don’t get me wrong; web design is something I do and I really enjoy it, but I’m nowhere near as good at it as someone who studied design or has a natural knack for it.
Starting a Productized Business
If you have the skills to create a product that will sell, a productized business is a great way to make money and a name for yourself. It could be a digital or physical information product such as a book and audio recordings. It could also be a software product, whether downloadable or cloud-based. The idea is that it should solve a significant enough problem for you to build an entire business around it.
Starting an eCommerce Store
If you have ideas for many products, or even if you have no ideas for products, you can start an eCommerce store. There are tons of different types of online stores, from those that sell homemade arts and crafts to those that dropship goods from China. If you can find a niche and serve it well, you can definitely make money with eCommerce.
WooCommerce is the most popular online store solution, but Shopify, Magento, and GrooveKart all come with their own advantages. Getting into eCommerce can be a bit of an undertaking, so choose this option only if you are dedicated to learning or can afford to outsource significant work.
Freelancing On Gig Sites
Websites like Upwork and Fiverr can supply a steady stream of income, if you’re good at selling your services and willing to show some serious hustle.
Freelancing On Your Own
This requires just as much service-selling and hustle as freelancing on gig sites, but in my opinion it has a much bigger upside.
Selling on Etsy
Etsy.com is a platform mostly dedicated to selling arts and crafts and some other types of physical products. If you’re a “maker” and people often ask about buying the things that you craft, Etsy could be a great tool for you.
Selling on Gumroad
Gumroad.com is a shopping cart platform designed for selling digital goods. They have a “getting started” tier where you only pay them a percentage of your sales, rather than having to worry about monthly or annual costs.
Selling on eBay
If you have a lot of stuff or like buying and reselling stuff, this could be a good path for you.
The Absolute BEST Way to Make Money Online in Canada
The best way to make money online in Canada (or anywhere) is the one you’ll enjoy enough to stick with. For example, I love writing, experimenting with new software, and helping people. WIth those three passions put together, I basically stumbled into writing product reviews on my blog.
If you hate writing then a blog is probably not the best option for you – but maybe you’d love vlogging on YouTube or a live stream, or interacting on social media. There are many ways to generate income online, you just need to learn a little and play to your strengths a lot.
How can I work from home and make money online in Canada?
All of the ideas outlined in this article are easy to do from home. You may need to invest in some equipment or software, but there are free options available in most cases. The important thing is that you be willing to learn and work hard, and not expect results overnight.
How do I make an extra $1000 a month?
$1000 a month is a good goal if you’re using your online income as a second source. My recommendation is to focus on big-ticket sales. Whether you’re promoting your own services or products or an affiliate offer, it will be easier to make $1000/month if you earn more per sale.
How can I make good money in Canada?
There are lots of ways to make money in Canada – but my personal experience is that it’s easier to make good money if you work for your yourself.
What is the best way to make money online?
Picking something you’re passionate about is important, but in my opinion the two most efficient ways to make money online are selling digital products and affiliate marketing.