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For many Canadians, the internet has opened up the possibility of new avenues for entrepreneurship.
You don’t need to be highly technical or a coder these days to take advantage of a massive audience that spends a lot of time online.
From working to shopping to entertainment, there isn’t much you can’t get that isn’t available on the world wide web and Canadians are getting creative and cashing in.
If you’re looking to make money online, and are curious about the myriad of ways you can, read on!
Why making money online is popular
Making money online continues to grow in popularity as many people are looking for ways to live and work that offer more flexibility and less of a commute commitment.
Those who can make a living online can usually work from anywhere and set their own hours.
Occasionally, they can even set their own rates.
Having an online business is also an easy way to reach a wide swath of clients that just isn’t possible if a business has one geographic location.
Of course, there are many other reasons entrepreneurs are looking to start their own online business, including:
- Less overhead
- Zero brick and mortar costs
- Instant transactions
- Access to a greater number of interested buyers
- Larger sales opportunities
- Minimum startup costs
What you need to start making money online
The first step to making money online is having an idea of what you want to sell.
Whether you are selling a product or specific services, you’ll need to zone in on what your unique selling point (USP) is and who needs your product or service so you can begin positioning yourself effectively.
Once you know what you’re selling, you’ll need a website so that people can find you online.
These days, websites are easy to set up, and you don’t need to be a programming pro to do it yourself.
You also won’t need a lot of money to get started.
There are many great drag-and-drop web building platforms that require no coding whatsoever and cost just a few dollars a month to use.
The best part is that each option is primed for e-commerce, so if your online business sells physical products, any of the top web building platforms will have the templates and infrastructure to help you easily build and manage your online store.
You will also want to look for an easy way to collect money from your customers.
Luckily, there are many options. If you’re selling services online, like content writing or virtual assistance, you may need an invoicing option like Waveapps.
If you are selling physical products, Square’s online and offline tools might be a great option for you.
Paypal is also a useful option. It will allow you to accept major credit cards from customers, and makes it easy for customers to pay you upon checkout.
Types of innovative online businesses you can start today
There are a variety of ways you can make money online in Canada.
Depending on your interests and your knowledge in particular industries, you may want to try:
1. Print on Demand
If you’re an artist or designer, Print on Demand may be the perfect way to make money online while showcasing your unique talents.
The print on demand model allows you to work with a white label product supplier who can customize anything from t-shirts to posters to tote bags.
The supplier populates their product with your own designs on a per-order basis which you sell under your own brand name.
Print on demand entrepreneurs can use their unique designs on multiple items (mugs, hats, clothing, etc.).
And, because the orders are printed as they are placed (literally on-demand), entrepreneurs don’t have to buy stock in bulk and hope that they sell later.
Similar to the print on demand model, dropshipping is a great way to sell a specific product, or products, without having to buy in bulk.
Instead of ordering in bulk and selling from the supply on hand, a third party supplier fulfills the order for the vendor and ships directly to the client.
This saves you from having to store extra inventory and worrying about shipping.
Check out out guide to finding Canadian dropshipping suppliers.
eCommerce and dropshipping may seem like two sides of the same coin, but each is slightly different.
One of the downsides to dropshipping is that you don’t have control over the shipping or fulfillment process, which can mean an adverse customer experience, including slower delivery times.
Owning end-to-end e-commerce capabilities and having your own inventory on-hand can lead to a faster turnaround for customers and may be a valuable selling point.
This could be the perfect business model for an individual that makes their own inventory (like a fashion or jewelry designer).
Luckily, many of the drag and drop web builders (like Weebly or Squarespace) and payment systems, like Square, have built-in solutions that allow you to track your inventory and sales in tandem, so you always know what you have on hand.
There are also platforms, like Etsy, that allow you to sell your wares in a pre-existing marketplace with a large following of clientele that help you gain visibility – and customers – fast.
4. Niche Blogging and Vlogging
If you are an expert, have a niche knowledge base, or want to be an influencer in your industry, creating an online business surrounding niche blogging or vlogging might be your digital path to success.
In this particular online business model, users can make money in a variety of ways, including:
- Selling memberships to access content
- Consulting services
- Selling branded products and/or services
- Speaking fees
- Selling e-books or courses
Typically, it does take a while to ramp up traffic after you start a blog, unless you already have a large following, it will take time to develop the audience required to generate the income you want.
However, if you are an expert in your field, and want to share your insights (and make money off those insights) this is a great way to do it.
Podcasting as a medium continues to grow in popularity year over year, and if you have access to high quality recording equipment and are comfortable with audio editing, starting a podcast might be a great way to earn money online.
Many podcasters earn money through:
- Affiliate marketing
- Books and audiobooks
However, there are many other creative ways to make your podcast profitable.
If you’re interested in starting a podcast, there are many helpful platforms, like Buzzsprout, that can help you with the process and host your finished product.
6. Freelancing services
If your area of expertise is in content creation, you’ll find dozens of ways to make money online.
With many business owners and CEOs out of the office themselves, there’s less need for assistants to be tethered to desks at physical locations.
As a virtual assistant, you can make money helping your clients manage their schedules, organize meetings, edit documents and perform a variety of tasks that a traditional personal assistant may do on a day-to-day basis.
Social media management
If you are a big fan of social media and understand the ins and outs of managing multiple social media accounts (including creating content and running ads), you’re likely to find many opportunities to help companies run their social channels, all from the comfort of your own home.
Like social media management, many companies need a lot of help with their digital marketing needs and are looking for someone to handle everything from strategy to implementation.
If you understand modern marketing techniques, you know that a majority of the work happens online anyway, meaning there’s little stopping you from seeking out remote positions in companies around the world.
Content writing is a bit of a catch-all phrase, however, if you are comfortable writing across industries and understand how to capture a brand’s “voice” you can make money creating content for businesses.
Content writing can include everything from writing blogs to crafting content for a new website.
It can also include writing for social media or crafting content for a variety of marketing materials.
Web building and digital design
For those among us who are design savvy and have the ability to code or navigate Adobe inDesign and Photoshop, freelancing as a designer could be a profitable option.
Many small, medium and large sized companies often need design work or website enhancements performed and are willing to pay quite well for the right designer.
How to market your company online
Once you’ve decided on the type of online business you want to start, you’ll need to find ways to market it to begin to grow your audience and increase your sales.
The easiest way to market your business online also happens to be free (mostly).
Social media channels such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram are great ways to advertise your business and amplify your reach.
Not only can you market directly to your core audience, you can even sell right through some of the platforms.
Both Instagram and Facebook, for example, allow users to shop right in their apps, making it easy for customers to explore your products or services.
You can also opt to buy ads, either through social media or through search engines like Google.
While buying ads may seem like an intimidating prospect, know that these platforms have made it very easy for even the least techy amongst us to create simple ads, target audiences and experiment with ad spends for mere dollars on a campaign.
Make it easy for clients to find you
Even if you opt out of spending money on marketing right away, there are lots of other inexpensive ways to make it easier for your clients to find you online.
This includes optimizing your site using strategic keywords (SEO) and blogging.
Blogging goes hand in hand with SEO, and many Canadians who make money online end up creating blogs to help them build out their SEO.
Blogging also helps you develop thought leadership and can assist in letting current and potential customers know about the latest offerings from your business.
At the end of the day, there are many ways for Canadians to make money online.
Gone are the days where the option is “too good to be true”.
Many Canadians make real money and build substantial client lists by opting to work online as opposed to looking for traditional 9-5 jobs.
And, with so little overhead required to get started, pretty much anyone can design their own online business and be up and running in as little as a few hours.