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Starting a business

25 profitable small business ideas in Canada

Entrepreneurs who start their own businesses do it for many reasons. Some want to be their own boss and have unlimited earning potential, while others strive for flexibility and freedom.

In 2022, there were 1.19 million small businesses (those with one to 99 employees) in Canada. So whether you're looking to follow your passion, help solve a problem, or monetize your skills, it is possible for you to become a successful business owner.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a large team to be successful. In fact, according to BDC, more than half of Canadian small businesses have less than four employees.

If you're ready to jump-start your business — but you're not yet sure which business is a good fit for you — we've curated a list of top 25 small business ideas worth considering.

Home-based businesses

1. Pet sitter and dog walker

Many people are unable to travel with their pets — so when they hit the road, they need someone to take care of them. Pet sitting is a viable business that helps others while fulfilling your love for animals. Similarly, a dog walking business gets you outdoors while bonding with adorable four-legged friends. Both furry care-taking options allow you to create fun business cards, social media posts, and custom invoicing so customers can spread the word for you.

2. Product tester

Do you love testing out the latest and greatest products on the market and providing thorough reviews? You can work with companies and popular brands to try out products in development and give feedback. You can also get your own product review website up and running, where you offer insights into whether certain products are worth the price tag.

3. Travel planner

Are you a master at planning itineraries or finding hidden gems that aren't crowded with tourists? Put your skills to work (and fuel your wanderlust!) by helping people plan their vacations and enjoy unique experiences.

Product-based businesses

4. Farmers' market supplier

Is your garden overflowing with more veggies than you could possibly use on your own? Are you ready to take your scented soap-making hobby up a notch? See what it takes to get a booth at your local farmers' market so you can start selling your wares in your community.

5. E-commerce merchant

Are you a whiz at crocheting animal patterns or creating customized jewelry? With so many resources out there, creating your own e-commerce store is relatively straightforward and cost-effective. No matter what platform you choose, pay special attention to things like inventory managementonline sales tax, and credit card payment processing. They might not be the most exciting parts of online retail, but they are essential things you need to know.

6. Dropshipper

If you want to run an e-commerce business — but don't have room for inventory — dropshipping could be a viable option. As a drop shipper, you choose a product you want to sell from a supplier and list it on your own website at a price you determine. When a customer places an order, you then order that item (at a discounted price) from the supplier, who ships it directly to the customer. You're essentially an intermediary earning a profit.

Online businesses for creators or marketers

7. Blogger

Plenty of writers make money off of their personal blogs. You can also write content for brands that are eager to leverage content marketing. It costs little to nothing to launch your own website — and you can easily work from home or set up in your favourite coffee shop.

8. Virtual assistant

As a virtual assistant, you can serve other business owners by removing administrative tasks from their own plates in various areas, from marketing to accounting.

9. Freelance copywriter

Writing is everywhere. Whether you want to write website copy, social media captions, professional bios or company mission statements, there's an ever-growing need for qualified copywriters who understand search engine optimization (SEO).

10. Domain name seller

Are you future-focused? Can you spot domain names that are available now but might be popular down the road? You can purchase and sell them for a profit when someone else wants to use that domain.

11. Affiliate marketer

If you already have an established audience online, affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn some extra income. You can share links on your own website, newsletter, or social media channels. In turn, you'll receive a commission every time someone clicks that link or makes a purchase. This can be lucrative if you're an influencer or content creator.

Businesses in content creation or technology

12. Photographer or videographer

Photography is more than just a hobby — it's a highly sought-after skill. From weddings to product photography, there's no shortage of ways you can start and expand a business. Plus, there's high demand for video content today, whether to promote a brand or capture a special memory. If you have film experience, a videography business can be a great option.

13. Graphic designer

Have an eye for graphic design? Whether you want to design promotional brochures, invitations, infographics, company logos, or something completely different, there are various options for design work you can take on.

14. Website developer

Almost every small business needs a website, which means there are plenty of opportunities for website developers to build websites for booming one-person operations or agencies. This is a great side hustle and can grow into full-time self-employment.

Businesses for people who love fun, food & people

15. Tutor

Not all students excel in a classroom environment, so your tutoring business can give them the individualized attention they need to thrive at school and pass tests with flying colours.

16. Event planner

Are you constantly being complimented on the parties you put together? From corporate events to children's birthday parties, there are plenty of directions you can take with an event planning business. If you are creative, have strong organizational skills, and enjoy seeing an event come to life, this could be a good business for you.

17. Food truck operator

Who doesn't love going to a food truck festival during the summer? The smell of tacos, smoked ribs, and indulgent desserts will bring foodies together. Starting your own food truck requires a little more overhead (including licenses and permits), but it's also a great way to get out in the community — while sharing delicious eats.

Maintenance services that don't require a license

18. Cleaning-business owner

If you've got a knack for making a space shine and look spotless, a cleaning and tidying business (whether residential or commercial) could be a lucrative fit for you. With cleaning supplies on hand and a willingness to roll up your sleeves, you can help customers declutter and improve their space.

19. Car detailer

Don't we all want to recapture how great our vehicles looked when we drove them off the dealership lot? If you have patience and great attention to detail, you could spruce up vehicles which will put smiles on car owners' faces.

20. Handyperson

If you know how to fix things around the house, you could make a business out of this highly sought-after skill. Homeowners everywhere are frequently paying for these types of repairs, from stopping leaky faucets to patching broken gutters.

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Professional services that require training or certifications

21. Personal trainer

If you're constantly trying new workouts or researching the latest trends in nutrition, you can use that knowledge to help others. Start a personal training business where you help people pursue the healthiest version of themselves. The before-and-after transformations will naturally attract clients.

22. Business Consultant

Consultants are in high demand for businesses that need certain expertise on hand, but not enough to warrant a full-time hire. This provides a great opportunity to charge for your own services and work on different short- or long-term projects with various clients.

23. Hairdresser

While technically anyone can cut hair, only the best can do it well. A cosmetology license will give you the training you need to excel in the field, as well as the confidence to open your own hair-styling business. In 2021, of all Canadian small business owners in the hair care and esthetics industry, 75.1% were profitable, with an average revenue of $153,900.

24. Massage therapist

Life is busier than ever, which means people are carrying a lot of stress and tension in their bodies. If you've always had an interest in helping people relax and feel better, look into getting a massage therapy license and opening your own practice.

25. Real estate agent

Want to help people find the home of their dreams? Become a licensed real estate agent and start your own business helping people buy and sell their homes.

Your small business idea can become profitable

Some of the best companies begin as a small business idea at home. Remember, the world is your oyster when it comes to starting a business in Canada. By taking a leap of faith, you can do what you love in your chosen industry.

And don't worry if things don't go as planned. It's totally fine to pivot if your first try is a bust. This just means you'll need a little extra patience until you find the perfect fit and are able to turn your passion into profit.

Looking to simplify business operations? Manage all your business finances in one place — from bookkeeping and taxes to invoicing, payroll, and time tracking. Get started with QuickBooks today.

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