The rise of digitalization has opened a world of opportunities if you want to earn extra cash. These days, it seems like all you need to set up your own small business is a laptop and an internet connection. Here are 24 side hustle ideas that you can pursue from the comfort of your own home.

Ways to make extra money online from home

More and more people are figuring out ways to earn extra cash working from home. If you play your cards right, you can be one of these home-based moonlighters. It just requires a bit of thought to determine what job suits your skill set and availability.

1. Sell your creative work

Do you have a knack for creativity? Whether it’s art, graphic design, jewelry, clothing, or home decor, you can sell your masterpieces online for some extra bucks! Etsy.com is a great place to start as this website caters to individuals looking to buy and sell homey crafts.

2. Become a freelance writer

If you excel at writing, editing, or proofreading (and you’re speedy!) consider being a freelance writer. Many companies and individuals outsource the written content they need for blog posts, articles, websites, or any other purpose. If this is of interest to you, you can start by looking for freelance writing work with basic job websites such as Indeed.com and Upwork.com. The beauty of freelance writing is you could be in an entirely different country than your employer and still work!

These days, blogging is more than just a hobby. If you are dedicated, consistent, and passionate about your subject matter, a blog can actually earn money for you. You can write for other blogs (individuals or businesses) or set up your own. To start a blog, you’ll need a domain name and your own website. GoDaddy.com is your one-stop shop for domain names, while WordPress and Squarespace are awesome resources for easily building and customizing your very own website or blog.

3. Write your ebook

If writing is a passion of yours, why not go a step further than blogging and freelancing and write an ebook? Amazon has made it easy for aspiring and established writers to get their work published through ebooks. Traditionally, publishing a book required support from a publisher and a significant financial investment. With Kindle eBook, you can publish a book within 48 hours. However, in order to make a profit, you will need to market yourself well. You can do that online too through blogging and social media. Besides an entrepreneurial spirit and some minor marketing ingenuity, a bit of writing ability wouldn’t go astray either. Luckily, anyone can be a competent writer with determination and practice!

4. Apply to be an Amazon Mechanical Turk

Do you have experience processing images and videos, data verification and clean-up, information gathering, and data processing? If so, you could be eligible to work as a mechanical turk for Amazon. You can learn more about mechanical turks and what they do here.

5. Become a virtual assistant

Busy individuals hire virtual assistants to do a range of tasks for them, all of which can be completed online from the comfort of your home. Examples of the kind of work virtual assistants do include replying to emails, data entry, and writing letters or proposals. Problogger.com and Upwork.com have good opportunities for virtual assistants.

6. Be an interpreter or translator

If you’re fluent in another language, you can make good money interpreting or translating online. With more and more companies going global, interpreting and translating information has become crucial. In fact, individuals working in this business are expected to make more and more money in the upcoming years. Look for jobs on Indeed.com as a starting point if this side hustle is relevant to you!

7. Teach English

A company called VIPkid has made it easier than ever for children to learn English. You can become a teacher with VIPkid so long as you have a bachelor’s degree and a year of teaching experience under your belt. For more information, visit VIPkid’s website. This side hustle requires a bit of patience and expertise!

8. Become a tutor

If you’re an expert in a subject, consider tutoring on the side. Graduate and PhD students have been tutoring for extra money for decades! The best place to start is reaching out to high school, college, or university students within your inner circle. If you don’t have much luck finding work within your social circle, try applying to become a tutor with Tutor.com.

If you want to teach more than just one or a few people at a time, course marketplace platforms like Udemy and Skillshare and learning management systems like Thinkific and Teachable are popular places to sell your very own online classes. 

9. Take online surveys

Use your spare time to fill out surveys. Surveys usually pay between $5 to $35, so it’s an easy way to make a few hundred dollars a month. Some websites award points instead of cash, which can be redeemed for gift cards for your favourite stores. 

Popular survey sites in Canada include:

10. Become a pro thrifter

From sporting equipment and unwanted clothes to furniture and unused electronics, you probably have perfectly good items collecting dust at home. Turn those goods into cash by reselling them online. And if you enjoy the thrill of making a sale, why not become a pro thrifter? 

A pro thrifter scours thrift stores, auction sites, and estate sales for bargain items and then flips them online for a profit. Antiques or luxury pieces might generate a tidy profit when you list them on sites like eBay. Craigslist and Kijiji are other sites you should get familiar with, but there are lots of other websites to know about depending on what you plan to sell. 

For example, Gazelle makes it easy to sell pre-owned electronics, while Phobio lets you trade in eligible devices for Amazon gift cards. Apple also runs its own trade-in program ordering trade-in credit or gift cards.

Even secondhand clothing can fetch a tidy price with the right consignment stores.

11. Sell stock photos

If you’re a budding photographer looking for passive income, consider selling your images on stock photo sites such as iStockPhoto, Shutterstock, and Depositphotos. Royalties between 24 to 45 cents are paid each time your image is downloaded, which means photos you capture now can still generate income years down the line. Success in this field depends on how unique your photos are and how well you tag them with relevant keywords.

12. Participate in website user testing

With UserTesting, you can earn $10 for testing and reviewing new websites and apps. Tests typically last 10 to 20 minutes, so it doesn’t take long to make a few quick bucks. Keep in mind opportunities vary depending on your demographics and profile rating.

13. Launch an eCommerce store

Got a great retail business idea? Turn it into reality by starting an eCommerce business with Shopify. If you don’t have the means to develop a new product or don’t want to manage inventory or logistics, you can always try dropshipping. Dropshipping is when a store doesn’t keep the product it sells. Instead, a third-party supplier ships it directly to the customer. Shopify offers dropshipping services, allowing you to choose what products you want to sell and letting them fulfill any orders made on your online store.

14. Take advantage of referral programs

Earn extra money by referring people to products and services you love. For example, if you use the cashback platform Rakuten and share your referral link, Rakuten will pay you $25 for everyone who signs up and makes a purchase. Many banks will also give you a kickback if you refer friends and family. EQ Bank and Tangerine dish out $20 to $50 for every person who opens an account with your referral link.

15. Start a YouTube channel or podcast

Cash in on your hobby, interest, or field of expertise by making YouTube videos. Whether it’s cat content, product unboxings, or makeup tutorials, you’ll find an audience for every niche. If your videos draw a large audience, you can make money by advertising with Google AdSense. Making videos isn’t your thing? Start a podcast instead and secure a sponsorship deal to generate income.

16. Become a transcriber

As a transcriber, you’ll listen to voice recordings and convert them into text documents. For example, you could transcribe focus groups for different businesses or turn interviews into police reports for law enforcement. Check out this list for more than 30 transcription companies that hire Canadians.

17. Become an Instagram influencer

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need tens of thousands of followers to start generating income from Instagram. Thanks to the rise of micro-influencers, accounts with as little as 1,000 followers can secure paid brand partnerships. You can pitch to brands directly or apply for opportunities on influencer marketing platforms like Tribe and Open Influence.

18. Manage social media accounts for small businesses

If you have a knack for social media, reach out to local businesses in your area to see if they need help growing their social media accounts. As a social media manager, you’ll be responsible for creating and scheduling posts, replying to comments, and analyzing data on engagement and traffic. New social media managers can earn $20 to $40 an hour, while experienced professionals can easily charge over $150 per hour.

19. Stream yourself on Twitch

Calling all gamers! Did you know you can actually make money playing video games? One popular way to do it is by broadcasting your gaming sessions on Twitch. Viewers can send you a donation if they like what they see. Brand partnerships are also a possibility if you grow a sizable audience.

20. Answer questions on JustAnswer

From lawyers and veterinarians to mechanics and plumbers, professionals in almost every field can earn an average of $2,000 to $7,000 a month by answering industry-related questions on JustAnswer. Once your application is approved, you can set your own hours and work from anywhere.

21. Do online coaching and consulting

If answering questions isn’t lucrative enough, use your expertise and become a consultant. Finding your first clients can be difficult, so tap into your personal network or freelancing sites first. You can also provide coaching services related to your day job. For example, if you work in HR and regularly interview candidates, you can help job seekers by reviewing their resumes and improving their LinkedIn profiles.

22. Offer virtual bookkeeping services

Put your organization and data entry skills to use by becoming a bookkeeper. Bookkeepers support businesses and accountants by updating financial records, reviewing transactions, and managing payroll. The average hourly rate is $20 per hour, but that can increase if you have previous experience. 

23. Sell your teaching plans

Teachers, do you have years of lesson plans, worksheets, and quizzes sitting on your computer? If so, turn them into cold hard cash by selling them on Teachers Pay Teachers, EdGalaxy, and Sellfy. Well-designed and visually appealing materials sell best, so use a free tool like Canva or Adobe Spark to jazz up your materials before putting them up for sale.

24. Build websites

Whether you’re a web developer or WordPress whiz, you can start building websites and earn more than $1,000 per site. Advertise your services on Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com, or reach out to potential clients directly on LinkedIn. You may also want to set up an online portfolio to show prospective customers what types of projects you’ve done in the past and what you can do for them.

Setting up your side hustle - a word about taxes

The more money you make, the more taxes you must pay. Taxes are fairly easy with a regular 9-5 job because your employer gives you a T4 slip at the end of the year summarizing your employment earnings and deductions. However, if you’re self-employed, it’s your responsibility to track your finances and figure out how much tax you owe. 

Here’s how to track and report self-employment income on your tax return

  1. Track income: If you’re just starting out, it’s fine to track income with Google Docs or Microsoft Office. Update your spreadsheet with transaction amounts and dates regularly and keep supporting documentation like invoices and bank statements as proof of income. If you have multiple clients or sources of income, consider using accounting software like QuickBooks to manage invoicing and track cash flow.
  2. Budget for taxes: Since you don’t have an employer, it’s up to you to set aside money for taxes and pay your tax bill on time. If your hobby income is considered a taxable business, it’s best to set aside 25% of your income so you have enough to cover CPP and federal and provincial taxes.
  3. Collect sales tax if necessary: If your side hustle exceeds $30,000 in revenue in a single calendar quarter, you’re no longer considered a small supplier. That means you must register for a GST/HST account and start collecting sales tax on your goods or services. GST/HST can be remitted monthly, quarterly, or annually.
  4. Track expenses: As a self-employed individual, you’re allowed to deduct certain business expenses to offset net income. Business expenses include things like advertising fees, office supplies, accounting costs, phone and internet, start-up fees, vehicle expenses, and more. If you work from home, you can also claim home office expenses such as property taxes, mortgage interest, and maintenance costs. Let’s say you’re a freelance writer who rents their home. You could write off Microsoft Word, website expenses if you have an online portfolio, and even a portion of your rent. Track business expenses the same way you track income and keep every receipt for at least six years in case you get audited. 
  5. Report net income on your tax return: When it’s tax time, use tax software specially built for self-employed individuals and small businesses. Go through the program and enter self-employment income on lines 135 to 143. Make sure your business expenses are also placed in the right categories. A completed T2125 form is also required as part of your tax returned 

Check out this Government of Canada guide for more information on self-employment income and taxes.


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