25 ideas for online businesses that work

LaunchCategory
22 min read
Stacey Hartman

In today’s fast-paced digital world, the allure of starting an online business has never been greater. The ability to work from anywhere, sell to a global audience and enjoy the flexibility of being your own boss are just a few of the many reasons Canadians are exploring online ventures. However, with so many possibilities at your fingertips, choosing the right online business idea can feel like a big task.

Don’t fret, we’re here to help.

In this guide, we’ve compiled a list of 25 diverse online business ideas that cater to a variety of interests and skill sets.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro ready to move online or a budding entrepreneur shopping for a lucrative niche, these ideas will inspire you to take the leap.

Related: Discover how to start an online business

25 online business ideas that you can start today

Here are the 25 online business ideas that we’re going to cover:

  1. Provide content editing
  2. Launch a dropshipping business
  3. Develop an ecommerce store
  4. Produce podcasts
  5. Offer translation services
  6. Construct niche websites
  7. Revamp and update websites
  8. Sell handmade products
  9. Design a training program
  10. Create a YouTube channel
  11. Provide ghostwriting services
  12. Do voiceover work
  13. Stream video games
  14. Sell 3D-printed items
  15. Offer social media management
  16. Become a freelancer
  17. Start a subscription box service
  18. Buy and sell domain names
  19. Provide accounting services
  20. Offer travel planning services
  21. Do resume writing
  22. Become a life coach
  23. Teach online classes
  24. Provide technical support
  25. Do online community management

Ready? Let’s go.

1. Provide content editing

With the rise of AI-generated content, the need for careful and thorough content editors continues to grow.

  • What it involves: Content editors spruce up content, fact-check, and give content suggestions, as well as correct grammar and Man with blue hat working on a laptoppunctuation. They also explain writing ideas in simple terms for non-writers.
  • Skills needed: Writing, copy editing, and proofreading experience. Strong attention to detail.
  • Equipment required: A computer and reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: A content editor earns an average of $54,000 per year in Canada.

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2. Launch a dropshipping business

Dropshipping is a great way to get started in ecommerce without having to manage your own inventory.

  • What it involves: Dropshippers operate an online store, selling products without holding inventory or handling the shipping process. They partner with suppliers who fulfill orders on their behalf, allowing the dropshipper to focus on marketing and customer service.
  • Skills needed: Ability to identify a profitable market segment. Create a strong marketing plan. Source reliable suppliers. Provide solid customer service.
  • Equipment required: A computer, reliable internet connection and dropshipping website.
  • Possible earnings: Depending on niche/market, dropshippers can make $1000-$3000 monthly.

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3. Develop an ecommerce store

If you’d rather sell your own products instead of dropshipping, opening your own ecommerce store would be the next logical step.

  • What it involves: Ecommerce store operators need to effectively manage their online platforms, manage product inventory, and ensure a seamless customer experience. Additionally, they must implement strategic marketing and customer service efforts to drive sales, build customer loyalty and maintain a strong online presence.
  • Skills needed: Skilled in digital marketing, including SEO, email campaigns, and social media to promote their store. Web design and development skills. Ability to conduct product research and inventory management to identify profitable items and maintain accurate stock levels.
  • Equipment required: A computer, reliable internet and an online store builder.
  • Possible earnings: Earnings for ecommerce stores vary widely, but a 10% net profit is considered an average profit for ecommerce stores.

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4. Produce podcasts

Podcasts continue to grow in popularity and, with a relatively low barrier to entry, the possibilities are numerous.

  • What it involves: Podcasters create and distribute episodic digital audio content, often focusing on specific topics or themes, engaging listeners through storytelling, interviews or discussions. They also manage the technical aspects of recording, editing and promoting their podcasts, building an audience and fostering a sense of community among their listeners.
  • Skills needed: Strong communication and storytelling skills, along with the ability to engage and connect with their audience through compelling content. Must have technical proficiency in audio recording, editing, and publishing software. Marketing skills to promote their podcast.
  • Equipment required: Quality microphone, headphones, recording software, camera (if doing video), computer, strong internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Depending on audience and monetization, podcasters can earn anywhere from $300-5000 per episode.

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5. Offer translation services

Language translation is a specialised field, but is one that can be easily performed online.

  • What it involves: A language translator converts written text from one language to another, ensuring that the meaning, style and tone of the original content are accurately preserved.
  • Skills needed: Possess a deep understanding of the source and target languages, as well as cultural nuances. Strong grasp of grammar and syntax. The ability to accurately convey meaning and tone.
  • Equipment required: A computer and reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: A language translator can expect an average of $30 per hour.

Note: You can still take payments even if you don't have a website for your translation services. Check out how to create a payment link with GoDaddy.

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6. Construct niche websites

Niche websites are websites intended to cater to a small segment of a large market by focusing on a specific interest.

  • What it involves: A niche website developer designs and builds websites that target a specific audience with a shared interest in a Woman developer seen from behind her deskparticular subject. They create user-friendly and engaging content, ensuring the site’s layout and features effectively address the unique needs and preferences of the niche market.
  • Skills needed: Strong web development skills. Keen understanding of user experience and interface design. Deep knowledge of the targeted niche market. Ability to create engaging, audience-specific content that resonates with users.
  • Equipment required: A computer and reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Web developers earn a median salary of $75,784, with experienced developers potentially earning $90,000 or more.

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7. Revamp and update websites

The internet has been around for a long while and older web technologies are rapidly becoming outdated. Offering web redesign services is a valuable online business idea.

  • What it involves: This job is similar to the previous listing, but someone providing website update services will need to assess the current site’s layout, user interface and overall design to identify areas that require improvement or modernisation. They will then create and implement a refreshed design that adheres to the latest web design trends and meets the specific goals and objectives of the website owner or business.
  • Skills needed: Strong web development skills. Keen understanding of modern user experience and interface design. Ability to combine modern web design standards with the needs of the website owner. Detailed knowledge of how to bring old content up to current standards.
  • Equipment required: A computer and reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Earnings will vary widely based on skill level and the amount of work needed, but website update work is typically billed at a rate of $18-50 per hour.

Note: Need a logo for an updated website? GoDaddy’s free logo maker templates have you covered.

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8. Sell handmade products

Home Business Woman Making Clay Bowl

If arts and crafts are your strong suit, then selling your crafts online can be a good way to bring in some extra money.

  • What it involves: A crafter creates handmade items, such as jewellery, clothing, home decor, or artwork, by utilising their artistic skills and various materials. They earn a living by selling these unique products through various channels, such as online shops and craft fairs.
  • Skills needed: Strong digital marketing skills, including photography, search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media management. Quality customer service. Skills either with web design or familiarity with marketplace platforms like Etsy, Amazon or Instagram Shopping..
  • Equipment required: A computer, reliable internet connection, POS system (if also selling via craft fairs), and crafting materials specific to their specialty.
  • Possible earnings: Earnings will vary widely by the type of craft being sold. Etsy sellers, for example, earn a median of $537 per month, but individual experiences will differ.

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9. Design a training program

Online skills training courses remain a strong demand and, if you have extensive knowledge on a topic, you can turn that knowledge into an online business.

  • What it involves: Virtual trainers design and deliver educational content through digital platforms, typically in a video or audio format. Typically done via a static online course that users pay to access, but can also be live.
  • Skills needed: Strong communication skills to effectively train viewers on complex topics in an understandable way. Proficiency in using various online training tools and technologies. Excellent time management and organisational skills to plan lessons and create relevant training courses.
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection, as well as access to a digital learning platform, such as Udemy or Skillshare.
  • Possible earnings: What you can make will vary based on how you choose to distribute your online classes, but online trainers can earn between $50,000 and $176,000 per year.

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10. Create a YouTube channel

YouTube is a popular video-sharing platform that allows users to upload, view, rate, share and comment on a wide variety of user-generated content, ranging from entertainment and educational videos to music and live streams.

  • What it involves: A YouTube creator produces, edits and uploads video content on the YouTube platform, often focusing on specific topics, interests or niches. YouTubers aim to grow their subscriber base, increase views and potentially earn revenue through ads, sponsorships or merchandising.
  • Skills needed: Strong storytelling and communication skills to create engaging, relatable content that resonates with their target audience. Solid video editing and production skills. Keen understanding of social media and digital marketing strategies to promote their channel and grow their viewership.
  • Equipment required: Quality video camera, studio lighting, microphone, editing software, a computer and a strong internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: The average YouTube pay in 2023 was just over $60,000. Youtubers earn about 55% of the revenue on their channels. For every $100 an advertiser pays, Google pays $55 to the creator.

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11. Provide ghostwriting services

Self-publishing is exploding in popularity and, along with it, the demand for skilled ghostwriters has grown as well.

  • What it involves: Ghostwriters create written content (articles, books, speeches, etc.) on behalf of another person, often without Woman Working Outside on Laptopreceiving public credit for their work. They collaborate closely with clients to ensure the final product reflects the desired tone and message.
  • Skills needed: Impeccable writing skills, strong grammar, punctuation, and storytelling abilities. Ability to adapt to different writing styles and tones to accurately convey the client’s voice. Excellent research skills.
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Ghostwriters sometimes charge by the word or by service. In Canada, ghostwriters earn between $12 and $40 per hour.

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12. Do voiceover work

For those with strong acting backgrounds, voiceover work and voice acting continues to be a solid work option.

  • What it involves: Voiceover artists provide the spoken narration or character voices for various media projects, such as commercials, films, video games, and animations. They use their vocal talents and acting skills to convey emotions and personality to a script.
  • Skills needed: Exceptional vocal control and versatility to alter pitch, tone and accent. Strong acting skills. Good enunciation. Ability to interpret scripts and take direction.
  • Equipment required: Quality microphone, headphones, recording software, camera (if doing video), computer, strong internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Earnings will vary based on the format and skill, most voice actors can expect to earn within the range of $13,500-87,499 per year.

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13. Stream video games

Streaming video games started as a niche form of entertainment but continues to grow in popularity, especially around esports competitions and noteworthy personalities.

  • What it involves: Video game streamers broadcast themselves playing video games live on platforms like Twitch or YouTube Gaming, providing entertainment and commentary to their viewers. They engage with their audience through chat interactions and often monetise their content through donations, subscriptions, sponsorships and advertising revenue.
  • Skills needed: Strong communication and entertainment skills, enabling them to captivate and engage their audience through commentary, humour, and personality. Other useful skills include a solid understanding of the streaming platforms and technical expertise for troubleshooting issues. Social media savvy is a plus, as twitchers promote their streams there.
  • Equipment required: Quality microphone, headphones, streaming software, camera, a computer able to handle simultaneous gaming and streaming, and a strong internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Video game streaming has a wide variance in earnings, with smaller streamers earning $50 and $1500 per month and medium to large channels earning $3000-6000 per month.

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14. Sell 3D-printed items

3D printers are becoming increasingly accessible to the public, allowing owners to create custom 3-dimensional products.

  • What it involves: A 3D printer crafter designs and creates unique objects, such as figurines, sculptures, or functional items, using 3D modeling software and a 3D printer. They may sell their creations online or at craft fairs or provide custom 3D printing services to clients seeking personalised designs and products.
  • Skills needed: Proficiency in 3D modeling software to design and prepare digital files for printing. Thorough understanding of 3D printer operation, maintenance, and materials. Strong entrepreneurial skills, including marketing and customer service.
  • Equipment required: Quality 3D printer, 3D modeling software, print materials, POS system (if selling at trade shows) and a computer.
  • Possible earnings: Similar to handcrafted goods, the earnings will vary widely for 3D printer designers and crafters. Given the time required to both design and print the items, most crafters will charge hourly, from $10-50 per hour.

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15. Offer social media management

Social media is a must for businesses these days, but managing a business across multiple platforms is extremely time-consuming. And so, the demand for social media management continues to grow.

  • What it involves: A social media manager is responsible for creating, curating and managing content across various social media Social media logosplatforms to enhance a brand’s online presence and engage with its audience. They also analyse performance metrics and develop strategies based on those metrics to increase engagement for the brand.
  • Skills needed: Strong communication and writing skills to create compelling content that resonates with the target audience. Deep understanding of each social media platform’s algorithms and best practices. Highly organised, creative and analytical, with the ability to multitask and adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape.
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: The average hourly wage for a social media manager is $30.50. Note: Interested in creating videos for social media? GoDaddy’s Instant Video Editor can help you out.

Editor’s note: Interested in creating videos for social media? GoDaddy’s online video editor can help you out.

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16. Become a freelancer

If you have a particular skill, then freelancing can be an interesting money-making option.

  • What it involves: A freelancer offers their expertise and skills in various fields such as writing, graphic design, web development, or marketing on a project or contractual basis, allowing them to work with multiple clients simultaneously.
  • Skills needed: Excellent time management and organisational skills to handle multiple projects and meet deadlines. Exceptional communication abilities to build rapport with clients and understand their requirements. Self-motivated, adaptable and continuously focused on developing their expertise in their specific field to stay competitive and relevant in the ever-evolving market.
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Due to the variance in work needed, the earnings will vary, but freelancers in Canada generally make just over $23 per hour.

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17. Start a subscription box service

Subscription box services have flourished in recent years and are increasingly expanding their reach into more niche markets.

  • What it involves: Creating a subscription box service involves carefully curating and sourcing unique, high-quality products tailored Article of clothing in a white boxto a specific niche, and designing appealing and functional packaging that reflects your brand identity. Additionally, you would need to develop a robust marketing strategy, manage inventory and logistics, establish pricing and billing structures, and provide excellent customer service to maintain subscriber satisfaction and retention.
  • Skills needed: Project management and organisational skills to oversee product quality and sourcing. Creative and strategic thinking abilities to curate appealing boxes. Excellent customer service and relationship-building skills to foster loyalty and ensure subscriber satisfaction.
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Subscription boxes tend to generate a gross profit of between 40% and 60% due to the low cost of goods and recurring renewals.

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18. Buy and sell domain names

If you’re unfamiliar with this particular field, domain investing, also known as domain flipping or domain trading, is the practice of buying domain names to hold onto them or improve their value and then selling them at a profit.

  • What it involves: A domain investor strategically identifies and registers potentially valuable domain names, anticipating future demand for these web addresses based on trends, keywords or industry relevance. They then hold onto or improve the domains and eventually sell them at a higher price to interested parties, generating profit from the increased value of the domain names.
  • Skills needed: Superb analytical skills to identify valuable and potentially profitable domain names. Excellent negotiation and marketing abilities to sell or lease those domains at the best possible price. Deep understanding of market trends and consumer behaviour within the digital landscape to make informed decisions and maximise their investment returns.
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: New domain investors typically start small, earning around $100-$2000 per month.

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19. Provide accounting services

Accountants at work at a desk

Are you an accountant by trade and want to be your own boss? Freelance accounting would be a great fit.

  • What it involves: A freelance accountant provides professional accounting services to clients on an individual or contractual basis, without being tied to a single employer or company. Their responsibilities may include financial reporting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and financial analysis, allowing businesses and individuals to maintain accurate financial records and make informed financial decisions.
  • Skills needed: Exemplary analytical and organisational skills to accurately maintain and analyse financial records. Understanding of accounting principles, tax regulations and financial management. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to effectively convey financial information and advice to clients and adapt to the varying needs of different businesses and industries. CPA license will also likely be required.
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Freelance accountants tend to make around $66,000 per year.

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20. Offer travel planning services

Travel is booming and more travel planners are a necessity. If you’re a seasoned traveler, why not offer travel planning services?

  • What it involves: Travel planners, also known as travel agents or travel consultants, assist clients in planning, organising, and booking various aspects of their trips, including transportation, accommodation and activities. They leverage their expertise in the travel industry and destination knowledge to create personalised itineraries, provide travel advice and ensure a seamless and enjoyable travel experience for their clients.
  • Skills needed: Organisational and multitasking skills to manage multiple clients and bookings simultaneously. Strong attention to detail to ensure all trip components are arranged accurately and efficiently. Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills to build rapport with clients, understand their travel preferences and effectively convey relevant information and recommendations.
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Freelance trip planners earn around $60,000 per year, but can make up to $73,000.

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21. Do resume writing

As the economy continues to shift through this year, resume review services are in high demand and are likely to stay that way for a long while.

  • What it involves: A freelance resume writer specialises in crafting and editing resumes for clients to effectively showcase their skills and achievements in a compelling manner. They work closely with clients to understand their career goals, tailor their resumes for specific industries or job opportunities, and provide guidance on best practices for resume writing and formatting to increase the likelihood of securing job interviews.
  • Skills needed: Strong writing and editing skills to accurately and creatively present a client’s professional background. Deep understanding of current recruitment trends and hiring practices to ensure the resume aligns with industry expectations. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to effectively collaborate with clients, gather relevant information and provide constructive feedback throughout the resume development process.
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Most resume writers charge a flat rate per resume. On average, resume writers charge between $250 and $500 per project.

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22. Become a life coach

If your strength is motivating others, the coaching field is in-demand and likely a perfect match for your skills.

  • What it involves: A life coach is a professional who helps individuals identify their personal and professional goals, overcome obstacles and develop strategies to improve various aspects of their lives. Through guidance and support, life coaches assist clients in building self-awareness, fostering personal growth and achieving desired outcomes in areas such as relationships, career, health and overall well-being.
  • Skills needed: Active listening and communication skills to understand their clients’ needs, challenges and aspirations, while providing thoughtful feedback and guidance. Excellent interpersonal and empathetic abilities to establish trust and foster a supportive environment.
  • Equipment required: A computer, a web camera for remote sessions and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Coaches currently earn a median income of $49,121 per year.

Note: It’s a good idea to keep your personal and professional phone numbers separate to accommodate clients. Get a second phone number to use for your coaching business to separate it from your personal one.

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23. Teach online classes

Teachers and skilled tutors are always in demand, so if you have a passion for helping others learn, consider teaching live courses online.

  • What it involves: An online teacher delivers educational instruction and support to students through virtual platforms, using digital tools and resources to facilitate learning and engagement. They create lesson plans, assess student progress, provide feedback and adapt their teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles and needs in a remote setting.
  • Skills needed: Strong communication and presentation skills to effectively convey information and concepts through digital mediums. Ability to use technology and online teaching tools to enhance the learning experience. Excellent time management, organisation, and adaptability skills to meet the unique challenges and demands of virtual education.
  • Equipment required: A computer, a web camera for remote sessions and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Online teachers in Canada typically earn just under $80,000 per year.

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24. Provide technical support

As long as technology continues to grow and develop, there will be a need for technical support.

  • What it involves: Freelance technical support professionals provide remote assistance and troubleshooting services for clients experiencing issues with their hardware, software or network systems. They diagnose and resolve technical problems, offer guidance on best practices and may also assist in system maintenance, updates, and configurations to ensure optimal performance and user satisfaction.
  • Skills needed: Advanced problem-solving and analytical skills to efficiently diagnose and resolve a wide range of technical issues, as well as in-depth knowledge of various hardware, software and network systems. Strong communication and customer service skills to effectively interact with clients, explain complex technical concepts in layman’s terms and provide clear guidance and support.
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: The pay will vary on the specialty and technical skill level, but freelance technical support engineers are paid an average salary of $73,927 per year. 

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25. Do online community management

Supportive Community Meeting Online

If you’re outgoing and enjoy listening to multiple points of view on topics, then a community manager role could be for you.

  • What it involves: An online community manager is responsible for overseeing, engaging with, and growing an online community on behalf of a brand, organisation or client. Their duties typically include creating and curating content, moderating discussions, responding to community members’ questions and concerns, monitoring community sentiment and implementing strategies to foster a positive and active community environment, all while working remotely.
  • Skills needed: Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to effectively engage with diverse community members, address their concerns and foster a sense of belonging within the community. Organisational skills and a keen understanding of social media platforms, analytics and content creation to strategically manage and grow the online community in alignment with the brand or organisation’s goals.
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection.
  • Possible earnings: Depending on the company size and skills required, the earnings can vary, but the Canadian average salary is $73,551.

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Tips for starting an online business

Starting an online business can be both an exhilarating and challenging endeavor. If you’re interested in getting started, here are some quick tips to get you rolling:

  • Choose a business idea based on passion and knowledge
  • Identify a niche with gaps in the marketplace
  • Conduct market research and competitive analysis
  • Familiarize yourself with relevant laws and regulations
  • Register your business with the CRA
  • Decide on a suitable legal structure
  • Insure your business
  • Select appropriate software for your business venture
  • Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy

By following these steps, you will be well on your way to establishing a thriving online business.

Related: Discover how much it costs to build a website in Canada.

Conclusion

As this list of online business ideas shows, there is a wealth of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to establish successful online businesses.

There’s something for everyone, regardless of professional interest or skill set.

And once you have an idea in mind, you can learn how to write a business plan and initiate a strategy geared for success.

So, by identifying the right niche, learning the necessary skills and using the power of the internet, you too can build a thriving online business and enjoy the flexibility and freedom that come with it.

Curious about how to start a business in Canada? Our guide has you covered.

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