Top 5 Online Businesses for Students to Start in Canada

Students often struggle to find part-time jobs, especially in a field related to their studies. Starting an online business isn’t only an income opportunity, it’s also a chance to broaden, improve & demonstrate your proficiency in high-demand skills. It’s time well spent, whether you leave it for the workforce or not.

Canada offers many opportunities for young entrepreneurs and has been recognized for its student startups. For example, a 2018 report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) identified Canada as the leader in startups owned by post-secondary students.

Why Online Businesses are Perfect for Students

  • Part-time hours
  • Flexible schedule
  • Future full-time potential for aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Acquire business and digital skills that strengthen your resume.
  • Demonstrate your skills and prove your expertise.
  • Build your personal brand.
  • Minimal investment and low operating costs.
  • Pay off student debt in record time.

Your online business can be temporary, or you can take it full-time after you graduate. Some of the most well-known online businesses were founded by undergraduate entrepreneurs, including Facebook and Snapchat.

Top 5 Online Businesses for Students to Start

The following online businesses were chosen based on the typical requirements of most students, including flexible hours, budget and how easy they are to start from your bedroom.

1. Content: Writing, Video or Graphics Design

Website and social media content is in high demand and that isn’t going to change in the foreseeable future. You can offer content creation services, such as blog posts, tutorials, copywriting, infographics, and videos.

All you need is a website, which doesn’t have to be fancy. Demonstrate your skills on your website and in social media, so potential clients and employers are convinced you know your stuff. If you get more work than you can handle, consider hiring fellow students as contractors to pick up the slack.

Check out How to Start a Digital Content Freelancing Business in Canada to get started.

2. Start a Blog

I recommend all students start a blog related to their profession, because it can make such a difference in the success of their job hunt. Additionally, you can monetize your blog to earn money while you’re in school. It can be a lifetime back-up plan if you continue it part-time, or it can generate enough revenue to become your full-time job. Once you’re established, you can do quite well with sponsorship from individual companies and/or affiliate marketing.

Check out How to Make Money Blogging in Canada: The Ultimate Guide to get started.

3. Become an Online Influencer

Influencers earn money & get free stuff…what’s not to love? While it’s true that having a billion followers will impress potential marketing partners, they’ve also learned that less followers + more engagement = better reach and a higher Return on Investment (ROI). Combine a blog with social media for a winning combination.

Check out How to Become an Online Influencer in Canada and Beyond to get started.

4. Virtual Assistant (VA)

Virtual assistants may do anything from social media management to office administration tasks. Whatever skill you have that can be done remotely, is marketable under the ‘Virtual Assistant’ label. It’s a fantastic way to gain work experience if you happen to be pursuing a related career. If not, you can still obtain coveted references.

Make sure you inform potential clients that you may not be available during standard business hours. You can offset that by guaranteeing a turn-around time. Most people don’t care when you do the work as long as you meet their deadlines.

Check out How to Become a Virtual Assistant (VA) in Canada to get started.

5. Web translation

If you’re fluent in French or another language, translation to & from English can provide more work than you can handle. In Canada, websites, social media, videos and customer support often need a French version. A simple website is all you need to start offering your services.

Check out Start an Online Content Translation Business in Canada to get started.

Startup Info for Young Canadian Entrepreneurs

The are Canadian resources available to help student entrepreneurs with mentorship, tools, financing, networking and more! Futurpreneur is a national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Each province has programs for youth entrepreneurs as well. One of the most reliable sources of information is your school’s entrepreneurship program, if they have one.

You’re on Your Way!

All of these low-cost, student-friendly online opportunities can provide extra money, or grow into a profitable full-time business, or launch you into your dream career.

Please post any questions you may have in the comments below or in our Facebook Group.

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Melody McKinnon
Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on,,, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Soon all students will have a side hustle and hopefully it’ll be taught in school. I started one in high school and it’s still kicking 8 years later. It’s helped me to get two jobs and I could live on the income if I had to. Important to have options in crazy life!