The Top 20 Small Business Ideas You Can Run from Home in Canada

By Arthur Dubois | Published on 08 Dec 2023

Various business ideas illustrated with Canadian flags in the background
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    Starting a small business from home is an excellent way to create a flexible schedule while pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams. In Canada, there are plenty of opportunities for home-based businesses, and many entrepreneurs have already found success. Whether you’re looking to launch a side hustle or build a full-time business from home, there are many small business ideas that you can explore. This article will highlight the top 20 small business ideas that you can run from home in Canada.

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    1. Online Retail Store

    Setting up an online store can be an excellent home-based business idea if you have a passion for a particular product or niche. Platforms like Shopify and Amazon make it easy to launch your online store and reach a global audience. You can sell anything from handmade crafts to digital products like e-books and online courses.

    2. Freelance Writing or Editing

    If you have a passion for writing, you can leverage platforms like Upwork and Fiverr to become a freelance writer or editor offering your services to clients worldwide. You can write anything from blog posts to product descriptions and help businesses improve their online presence.

    3. Graphic Design Services

    If you’re skilled in design, there’s a growing demand for graphic design services worldwide. You can market your services on various platforms, including 99designs, Freelancer, and Upwork. You can design anything from logos and business cards to social media graphics and websites.

    4. Social Media Management

    As the importance of social media continues to grow, so does the demand for social media management services. You can help businesses by creating engaging content and managing their social media accounts. You can also offer paid advertising services and help businesses reach their target audience.

    5. Virtual Assistant Services

    Virtual assistant services continue to be one of the most popular home-based business ideas. You can offer administrative support and help businesses manage their operations from the comfort of your home. You can handle tasks like email management, scheduling, and bookkeeping.

    6. Online Tutoring or Coaching

    If you have a passion for teaching, you can start a home-based business offering online tutoring or coaching services. Platforms like Chegg and VIPkid make it easy to find clients from around the world. You can teach anything from math to languages and help students improve their skills.

    7. Web Development Services

    If you’re skilled in web development or design, you can build a home-based business offering website design services. Website builders like Wix, WordPress or SquareSpace make it easy to create visually stunning and functional websites for clients. You can also offer services like website maintenance and search engine optimization.

    8. Online Fitness Training

    If you’re passionate about fitness and wellness, you can start an online fitness training business, offering personalized workout plans and coaching services. You can use platforms like Zoom and Skype to connect with clients and help them reach their fitness goals.

    9. Home-Based Catering or Baking

    If you enjoy cooking or baking, you can start a home-based catering or baking business, offering your services to individuals and businesses in your community. You can specialize in anything from cupcakes to gourmet meals and cater events like weddings and corporate parties.

    10. Handmade Crafts or Artwork

    If you have a creative side, you can start a home-based business selling handmade crafts or artwork online or at local markets and fairs. You can create anything from jewelry to pottery and showcase your unique style and creativity.

    11. Affiliate Marketing

    Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money from home without needing to create your products. You can promote other businesses’ products and earn a commission on each sale you make. You can promote anything from beauty products to tech gadgets and earn passive income.

    12. Podcasting or YouTube Channel

    If you have a passion for creating content, you can start a podcast or YouTube channel from home, sharing your knowledge and expertise with a global audience. You can talk about anything from personal finance to travel and build a loyal following.

    13. Professional Consulting Services

    If you have expertise in a particular field, you can start a home-based consulting business, offering professional advice and services to businesses and individuals. You can consult on anything from marketing to finance and help businesses improve their operations and profitability.

    14. Home-Based Daycare

    If you enjoy caring for children, you can start a home-based daycare offering your services to families in your community. You can provide a safe and nurturing environment for children and help parents balance work and family responsibilities.

    15. Pet Sitting or Dog Walking

    If you love animals, you can start a home-based pet sitting or dog walking business, offering your services to pet owners in your community. You can provide companionship and exercise for pets and help owners take care of their furry friends.

    16. Personal Stylist or Image Consultant

    If you have a flair for fashion, you can start a home-based personal styling or image consulting business, offering your services to clients looking to improve their style and image. You can help clients choose the right clothes and accessories and create a unique and stylish look.

    17. Event Planning Services

    Event planning is a growing industry, and you can start a home-based business offering event planning services to individuals and businesses in your community. You can plan anything from weddings to corporate events and help clients create memorable and successful events.

    18. Home Staging or Interior Design

    If you have an eye for design, you can start a home-based staging or interior design business, offering your services to homeowners and real estate agents. You can help clients create a beautiful and functional living space and increase the value of their property.

    19. Photography or Videography Services

    If you have a passion for photography or videography, you can start a home-based business offering your services to businesses and individuals in your community. You can specialize in anything from wedding photography to corporate videos and capture special moments and memories.

    20.Sell Online Courses

    Selling courses online can be a lucrative way to turn your expertise into a profitable business. To start, choose a topic that you’re knowledgeable and passionate about, and identify your target audience. Develop a course curriculum and create engaging content, such as video lessons, quizzes, and downloadable resources. Choose a platform to host your course, such as Udemy, Teachable or Thinkific. These platforms offer features such as customizable landing pages, payment processing, and analytics tracking. 

    Three Essential Steps to Start a Home-Based Business in Canada

    Starting a home-based business in Canada can be an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to pursue their passions and achieve financial independence. However, before diving into entrepreneurship, it’s essential to have a solid plan in place. Here are some vital steps to follow when starting a home-based business:

    1. Create a Business Plan

    A business plan is a crucial document that outlines your business goals, strategies, and financial projections. It’s important to create a robust plan to set a clear direction for your business, which will help you make informed decisions and stay on track. Your business plan should include a detailed description of your business, market analysis, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational plan.

    For example, if you’re starting a consulting business, your business plan should include information about the consulting services you’ll offer, your target market, and your pricing strategy. You’ll also need to identify your marketing strategies, such as social media marketing, email marketing, and networking events.

    2. Register Your Business

    Before launching your business, make sure you register your business in Canada. This will help you protect your brand and ensure that you’re operating legally. You’ll also need to obtain any necessary business licenses and permits, depending on your industry and location.

    For instance, if you’re starting a home-based food business, you’ll need to obtain a food handling permit from your local health department. If you’re starting a consulting business, you may not need any special permits or licenses, but you’ll need to register your business with the government.

    3. Open a Business Bank Account

    Opening a separate bank account for your business is essential for clear financial management and separating personal and business finances. This organization is key for easier tax filing and accounting. While traditional banks are a good choice, especially if you need in-person services or have complex banking needs, many fintech companies now offer cost-effective alternatives tailored for small businesses.

    FAQs About Small Business Ideas in Canada

    How to ship products from home as a small business in Canada?

    As a small business in Canada, shipping products from home can be a convenient and cost-effective way to get your products to customers. First, determine which shipping carrier and service level best suits your needs and budget. Canada Post, FedEx, UPS, and Purolator are some of the popular carriers in Canada. Ensure that your shipping materials, such as boxes and packing materials, are of good quality to protect your products during transit. Consider purchasing shipping labels and packing slips online to save time and money. Also, be aware of any customs or duties fees that may apply when shipping internationally. Finally, track your packages to ensure that they are delivered on time and that your customers are satisfied with their purchase.

    Do I need to incorporate to start a small home-based business in Canada? 

    Incorporating your small home-based business in Canada is not always necessary, but it does offer certain benefits. If you choose to operate as a sole proprietorship, you can register your business name and obtain any necessary licenses and permits without incorporating. However, incorporating your business can provide limited liability protection, separate your personal and business finances, and potentially offer tax advantages. It’s important to weigh the costs and benefits of incorporation and consult with a lawyer or accountant to determine the best legal structure for your small business. Regardless of whether you incorporate or not, it’s important to keep accurate records of your income and expenses, and ensure that you comply with all tax regulations and deadlines.

    How to do bookkeeping for a small business in Canada?

    Bookkeeping is an essential part of managing a small business in Canada, as it helps you keep track of your income, expenses, and taxes. To get started, set up a bookkeeping system that includes a chart of accounts, a method for recording transactions, and a schedule for reconciling accounts. Use accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero to automate your bookkeeping and generate financial reports. Keep receipts and invoices for all transactions, and categorize them appropriately to simplify tax filing. Ensure that you stay up-to-date with tax regulations and deadlines, and consult a professional accountant if necessary. By staying organized and on top of your bookkeeping, you can make informed financial decisions and ensure the success of your small business.

    Can I charge my business rent for my home office in Canada?

    If you run a small business from home in Canada, you may wonder if you can charge your business rent for using your home office. The answer is yes, you can charge your business rent for using your home office, but it must be a reasonable amount and you must keep detailed records to support the expense. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has strict rules for claiming home office expenses, and you must meet certain criteria to be eligible, such as using your home office for earning income on a regular and ongoing basis, and using it exclusively for business purposes. 

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    Arthur Dubois is a personal finance writer at Hardbacon. Since relocating to Canada, he has successfully built his credit score from scratch and begun investing in the stock market. In addition to his work at Hardbacon, Arthur has contributed to Metro newspaper and several other publications