7 Cheap and Easy Online Businesses to Start From Home

Canada is second only to the United States when it comes to entrepreneurial activity, beating much of the developed world. Micro-businesses and the self-employed are thriving in Canada’s gig economy. StatsCan latest data reported there were 2,770,234 active businesses without employees and with annual revenues greater than $30,000.

If you’re thinking that you must need a lot of money to become an entrepreneur or start your own business, think again! Many online businesses can easily be started from home with little to no investment and minimal tech skills. The Internet has made it possible for everyone to start and run their own business.

Getting Started

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Online startup expenses can often be limited to domain registration and website hosting, at least in the beginning.

You may be able to get your domain name registered free with your website hosting package. Otherwise, the cheapest place to register a domain name is NameCheap.

When it comes to website hosting, we recommend going with the best you can afford. Most dirt-cheap website hosts leave much to be desired in regards to reliability, speed, storage and critical functionality. They’re also more likely to charge extra for features that many reputable hosts include in their basic packages. To save on hosting as a startup when money is tight, sign up for an introductory offer for the longest term possible (usually three years). You could pay as little as $3/month!

Follow our hosting checklist to ensure you make the best choice for your business. We use GreenGeeks‘ Canadian servers to host our sites.

Use our checklist, How to Start a Profitable Online Business in Canada to guide you through starting any business online.

7 Cheap & Easy Online Home Businesses

If you research ways to make money online, you’ll probably find similar suggestions across multiple websites. For instance, Blogging, freelancing or affiliate marketing are commonly recommended. While all of these are good ideas, there are plenty of less-common ways to make a good living online.

Following are seven lesser-known online business ideas that virtually anyone can operate successfully from home:

1. Become a Narrator or Voiceover Artist

Narrators lend their voice talent to filmmakers, video creators, and other producers of digital content. YouTube’s popularity means that narrators are in high demand. You can easily find narration jobs on freelancing websites and quickly build a steady stream of clients. How much money can you make as a voiceover artist? As a voiceover artist and audiobook narrator in Vancouver, Tiffany Ayalik makes $250 an hour.

To start a profitable career as a narrator, all you need is some basic voice training. You will also have to invest in a decent quality microphone, as well as audio recording software for recording your voice-overs. You can then send the audio file to the client for use in their videos.

2. Build Apps Without Coding

Today, apps are big business and it isn’t hard to see why. Over 3.5 billion smartphone users around the world download and use countless apps every single day on both Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms.

Global mobile app revenue stood at $365 billion in 2018 and smartphone users spent about $120 billion on apps in 2019. App revenue statistics for 2020 project a profit of $188.9 billion. By 2023, it is estimated that apps will generate a staggering $935 billion in revenue.

With such tempting statistics, it’s clear that building apps is a worthwhile business pursuit. But what if you don’t know how to code? Thanks to advances in technology, you don’t need to learn to code to create an app. You can simply hire an experienced developer to do it for you, then monetize it. You might also consider free app-building software that makes it cheap & easy for most people to build an app.

3. Sell Photos

Do you love taking pictures? If so, you could make a good living for yourself by selling your photos online. Today, countless people, websites, and blogs are willing to pay good money for high quality, unique images online.

Stock photo websites like Shutterstock have enticing incentives for people to earn money passively from the photos they submit. Additionally, you can create your own themed photo packages and offer them on your website or through an eCommerce platform that facilitates digital downloads.

4. Create and Sell Courses Online

Today, many people prefer to acquire knowledge and skills by taking online courses. If you’re particularly knowledgeable or good at something, consider teaching others online. Digital learning can be a business on its own, a lead magnet for marketing, or serve as an additional revenue stream.

You don’t need to have a lot of tech skills to create courses. You’ll find multiple platforms online that allow you to create interactive courses with easy-to-manage tools for students, classes, course material, and much more.

Learn more in our guide to creating your own online learning products.

5. Buying and Selling (Flipping) Niche Websites

Today, it is easier than ever to publish websites and monetize them. This has allowed many entrepreneurs from Canada and around the world to create or buy successful websites, and then sell them for a profit.

Reputable website marketplaces like Flippa and  EmpireFlippers are great platforms for buying and selling established websites. These marketplaces often provide tutorials to help you learn the best ways to flip websites. Make sure you thoroughly investigate any site before purchasing it.

6. Flipping Domains

Buying and selling domain names is a good way to earn money online, since it requires minimal investment of both time and money. You can buy a domain name at its registration price, and then sell it later for a profit.

To earn a decent amount of money flipping domains, you should do proper research by visiting domain auction/listing websites to find out what’s popular. Buy Domains is a good place to start. The ideal way to find profitable domain names is to check out expired/expiring domain lists. Make sure there are no copyright or trademark violations in the domain name, such as one containing a company name.

7. Create an Niche Job Board

Creating an online job board is another unique way to make money online from home. A job board is a website that connects job seekers with employers for a small fee.

Online job search engines are many, which means you’ll have to find a specific niche for your job board to stand out. For instance, you can create a job board specifically for freelance writers or web developers.

You can charge a small fee for every listing posted by an employer, provide ad-enhancement options (highlighted, bold, live links, and so on), or offer companies packages for posting multiple listings. WordPress has many job board plugins, which means that you can easily and quickly implement this online business idea if you use the platform.

What’s Stopping You?

The Internet is overflowing with business opportunities for Canadians, but not all of them are affordable for everyone. All of the online business ideas discussed here require little or no money to start, but can provide excellent returns if you put the work in.

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7 Recession Proof Online Businesses To Start From Home

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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

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 CanadianDigitalMedia.com, CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net, and AllNaturalPetCare.com, 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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Bert NS

I would LOVE to get into voiceover but it’s surprisingly hard to find info about it. Too new maybe. My search brought me here!


Lots of ideas for 2024 which is when I hope to retire early. Thanks you!