If you’re struggling to make ends meet and there’s nothing left to cut in your budget, you might consider a lucrative side hustle to bring in extra income. A side hustle is work you take on in addition to your full-time job to build a new stream of revenue. While this might sound exhausting, side hustles can provide the flexibility and income to make it worth your while.
A look at the Canadian job market
Even ten years ago, “side hustle” wasn’t a word that popped up in many conversations. Today, it’s everywhere. Everyone knows what a side hustle is, and nearly 28% of adults in Canada report having a side hustle to boost their income. This is according to a recent survey by H&R Block.1 The survey also finds that 85% of Canadians are concerned that their income isn’t keeping up with inflation, and 63% of those with a side gig cite rising inflation as their main motivator.
How to select the right side hustle for you
With tons of side hustle apps like DoorDash and Rover at your fingertips, finding a side hustle is easy. It’s finding the right side hustle, one that you want to stick with, that’s more challenging. To select a side hustle that works for you, think about the following:
- What are you interested in? What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you enjoy art, music, or animals?
- What are your skills? What are you already good at? Consider the skills you use in your day job or for your hobbies. Are you a good writer, graphic designer, or musician?
- What hours do you want to work? Are you looking for something you can do after your kids are in bed, or can you work during regular daytime hours?
- How many hours a week can you work? Do you want to put in an extra two to five hours of work each week? Or are you able to devote more time?
- How much money do you want to make? Some side hustles pay more than others but might require additional skills or inconvenient hours.
- What equipment or tools do you need? If you don’t have a car, a side hustle as an rideshare driver isn’t a good fit. As you think browse through the following side hustle ideas, think about what equipment and tools are needed.
20 side hustles in Canada
If you enjoy writing and you’re good at it, it’s possible to make a considerable amount of extra money as a freelance writer. All you need to get started is a computer, reliable internet, and some writing examples. The most challenging part of freelance writing is finding your first client. To get your first articles published, you can start a blog of your own or offer to guest post on another website. You can also check out sites like Upwork and ProBlogger for your first gig, but these are highly competitive sites so the rates are often low.
For those who enjoy school and have some post-secondary experience, you might consider tutoring. To start tutoring, you’ll need a computer, internet, and a headset. One of the easiest ways to get going is to work for an established online tutoring company such as Mobile Tutors. This way you don’t have to build a website or find clients. Once you have some experience, you can decide to go out on your own.
As a virtual assistant, it is your job to help clients with a range of tasks from scheduling appointments and travel, to managing calendars, and bookkeeping. Virtual assistants work remotely and require a computer, internet, and a headset. Depending on your clients, you might get to choose the hours you work or you might have to overlap with their business hours. To find your first client, you can join virtual assistant job boards such as Virtual Assistant Canada or reach out to your current network.
Deliver with Amazon Flex
If you own a vehicle and like to drive, check out Amazon Flex. This is a delivery service that allows you to reserve when you want to work, then you make deliveries, and reap the rewards. According to Amazon Flex, you can earn $22 to $27 per hour, but it largely depends on where you live and how long it takes you to complete your deliveries.
Sell on Etsy
Etsy is a great option if you enjoy being creative and want to sell your handmade or vintage art, jewelry, or other creations online. Selling on Etsy means you don’t have to create a website, search for clients, or set up payment processing. It’s all there for you to use. However, you do have to pay a listing fee of $0.27 for each listing as well as a transaction and commission fee.
If you love animals, you might want to be a pet sitter or dog walker. Not only do you get to play with cute pets, but you can also get some exercise and fresh air while earning money. With apps like Rover, you can quickly find clients in your area who are looking for dog walkers, house sitters, or someone to drop in and visit with their pets.
If you're handy and capable of fixing things around people’s homes, you can turn this into a lucrative side hustle. Many people are looking for someone to fix a leaking faucet, assemble furniture, or hang a T.V. A simple way to get started is by using an app like Taskrabbit. The app connects people who are looking for help completing tasks with those who can do it. You just enter where you live and the category of work you want to do. You set your rates and keep 100% of the money. However, there is a $25 registration fee in some cities.
Do you enjoy thrifting, antiquing, or going to garage sales? Do you like making old things new? If so, you might find furniture flipping is the right side hustle for you. Furniture flippers find or buy old furniture at a cheap rate, fix it up, and then sell it for a profit. Flipping furniture takes time, skill, and supplies and tools, such as furniture cleaner, a sander, paintbrushes, paint, and a drill. You’ll also need a space big enough to store and work on the furniture.
Online surveys are not going to take your income to the next level, but they do provide an easy way to make a bit of cash or gift cards. If you’re on the bus to work or waiting for an appointment, you can pull out your phone and do a survey. Some common survey sites include Branded Surveys and Survey Junkie.
If you own a reliable car and you like helping people get to where they need to go, you might give Uber a try. To drive for Uber, you need to be at least 21 years old, have a valid provincial driver’s license and an eligible vehicle. You also need to have your vehicle inspected and provide necessary paperwork such as your license and proof of registration and insurance.
If you’re not yet 21, you have the option of driving for Uber Eats. Uber Eats is a meal delivery service that lets you start when you're 19 years old. To deliver for Uber Easts, you don’t even need a car. You just need some form of transportation, including a bike or scooter. A major benefit of driving for Uber Eats is you get to pick your schedule. Plus, Uber will auto-transfer your earnings into your bank account each week.
Rent a spare room
Do you have a spare room? Do you enjoy hosting guests in your space? Why not start a side hustle as an Airbnb host? All you have to do is create a listing on Airbnb and decide when you want to rent your space. It doesn’t have to be all the time, you might pick a few nights a week or a few months out of the year. With Airbnb, it’s easy to find verified guests to rent your space and gain coverage for any damages to your home caused by a guest. In exchange, Airbnb collects a flat service fee of 3% of the reservation subtotal.
Babysitting or providing childcare services is another way to earn extra income. As a babysitter, you can work around your schedule and set your rates. Before you start, see if your province requires any special certifications or regulations. For instance, in Ontario, childcare providers are required to have a criminal record check. It’s also a good idea to get first-aid training.2
If you’re looking for a low-effort side hustle, you might enjoy housesitting. Housesitting is like babysitting but with no kids! When people travel out of town for work or vacation, they might want someone to keep an eye on their place. You water the plants, pick up the mail, and make it look like someone is there. There are no upfront start-up costs, and you don’t need any special tools or skills to get started.
Do you have a van or truck that you could use to make deliveries? Every day people are purchasing couches, fridges, and other large items on selling sites like Facebook Marketplace. Often the sellers and buyers don’t have the appropriate vehicle to transport the item. That’s where you come in. You can post your delivery services and prices on Facebook Marketplace and make deliveries when it works with your schedule.
If you’ve built up a considerable following and online presence on YouTube, you might be able to monetize your channel with the YouTube Partner Programme. Once you hit 1,000 subscribers, you can start sharing revenue from ads that run on your channel, which can eventually become a consistent passive income source. You can also earn by selling your products on YouTube or by featuring brands on your channel through the YouTube Shopping affiliate program.
As an avid and skilled photographer, you can make extra cash by taking photos of engagements, weddings, or pregnancy announcements. However, this side hustle requires a professional camera, lenses, tripod, and editing software. If you already own this equipment, then there’s nothing stopping you. You can also make money by selling your photos to stock photography sites like Getty Images or ShutterStock.
Rent your car
Just as you can rent your house, there are opportunities to rent your vehicle. Using apps like Turo, you can list your vehicle for others to rent when you aren’t using it. This can help you cover the costs of your vehicle and put money in your pocket. According to Turo, drivers make an average of $1,033 per month. Just download the app, list your car for free, set your price and rules, and start earning. Turo provides direct deposit payment within three days.
Sell your stuff
Using online marketplaces, you can clean out your closets and make money doing it. Sell everything from your lightly used clothes to your furniture and electronics. Depending on what items you want to sell, you can use apps like Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, or Decluttr.
If you already have a blog or social media account with a decent following, you can look into affiliate marketing. This is when you earn a commission by recommending particular products or services. You can start by joining affiliate marketing programs like the Amazon Associates Program.
What side hustle will you choose?
Not only is a side hustle a great way to earn more money, but it’s also an opportunity to grow your skills and learn new ones. You can learn how to manage your own side business and get a taste of what it feels like to be your own boss. Who knows, if you find a lot of success with your side hustle, you may have an opportunity to turn it into a full-time career!
- Cision, “Nearly half (44%) of Canadian gig workers are willing to risk not declaring income.” Accessed January 29, 2024.
- Ontario, “Child care rules in Ontario.” Accessed January 30, 2024.