Canadian teenagers often struggle to find part-time jobs, especially in a field related to their career aspirations. Starting an online side hustle 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’re pursuing a career or entrepreneurship.
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 Teens
- 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
- Save money for your secondary education
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.
IMPORTANT: This article is intended for teens age 16+. An adult should be involved with all aspects of the business and will be required to sign legal documents on behalf of their child. Extra precautions should be taken to protect the identity of minors.
5 Online Businesses for Teenagers
The following online businesses were chosen based on the typical requirements of most youthpreneurs, including flexible hours, budget and how easy they are to start & operate from home.
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. Smart businesses targeting teens and young adults will find your unique insights to be especially valuable.
All you need is a website, which doesn’t have to be complicated. 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 teens as contractors to pick up the slack (with their parent’s permission).
Check out How to Start a Digital Content Freelancing Business in Canada to get started.
2. Start a Blog
I recommend all teens start a blog because it can make such a difference in the success of their job hunts. 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, affiliate marketing or consulting services.
Write about what you know and what you learn along the way. Topics can be fun or serious, but should always provide value to the reader.
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). Luckily, engagement is where it’s at and nobody is better at that than teenagers. Combine a blog with social media for a winning combination.
Give a lot of thought to how you can safely be an online influencer and discuss it with adults you trust before launching. Consider using a different identity and never share your address. You can use a post office box or a Canada Post FlexDelivery address to receive products for reviews.
Check out How to Become an Online Influencer in Canada and Beyond to get started.
4. Virtual Assistant (VA)
Virtual assistants may get paid to do anything from data entry to social media management. 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.
Use your youth as a selling point. For example, many teens would be perfect social media managers or consultants for companies targeting young people. You can offer a unique viewpoint and you grew up on social media.
Make sure you inform potential clients of your age and 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 be a skill that’s in high demand. 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 Teen Entrepreneurs in Canada
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. Your local library can be a valuable source of business and program information. One of the most reliable sources of information is your school’s career program, if they have one.
You’re on Your Way!
All of these low-cost, youth-friendly online business opportunities can provide extra money, or grow into a profitable full-time business, or launch you into your dream career.
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