Top 5 Online Businesses to Start in 2023

We’ve all learned how important it is to have more control of our income, as well as a flexible backup plan. That has left many Canadians wondering if they should start a home business.

Remote / home office options have always had their perks, from eliminating commutes to taking care of dependents. Something we never considered before, however, is what happens if there’s a pandemic or natural disaster that makes it risky or impossible to work anywhere else?

In this scenario, and with a global recession looming, there are some online business models that are more suitable than others.

Top 5 Online Businesses to Start in 2023

These are the online businesses that are consistently generating revenue, prior to and during the pandemic drama. You can start them as a side hustle or go full time right away.

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. In fact, with the pandemic accelerating internet adoption there is even more demand for content. You can offer content creation services, such as blog posts, tutorials, copywriting, infographics, and videos. There are countless, affordable online courses if you need to develop skills in your chosen niche.

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 other freelancers or a Virtual Assistant to pick up the slack.

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

2. Digital Info Products

Create & sell information products such as courses, white papers, reports, or ebooks. Once they’re created, you can sell them over & over again with little more than the occasional update. They can be created and sold from anywhere online, via your website, marketplaces, or any number of virtual teaching platforms.

Learn More: How to Develop Your Own Online Learning Products

3. Affiliate Marketing

As more Canadian merchants arrive online, opportunities for online publishers to advertise for them will grow. In the US, affiliate programs are already used frequently as a low-risk, affordable way to reach the online masses.

For publishers (website/blog owners), affiliate marketing is one of the rare businesses that don’t require customer service. It’s probably the most hands-off way to make money online.

Affiliate programs allow you to advertise for a company and earn a percentage of the sales you generate for them. It works best with a website and steady traffic to it. This will be your home base for everything from building a mailing list to social media promotion. Once you’ve established a following, both on your website and in newsletter subscribers, your income will grow. That said, you can also try affiliate marketing without a website.

Learn More: How to Start Affiliate Marketing in Canada

4. Virtual Assistant (VA)

Virtual assistants may do anything from social media management to secretarial tasks. Any skill you have that can be done remotely, is marketable under the ‘Virtual Assistant’ label. Working as a virtual assistant has become even more feasible with the option of working and collaborating in “the cloud”. Tasks like collaborative design and accounting are easily accomplished thanks to “the cloud”, along with other online collaboration and file sharing tools.

If you need marketable qualifications, you can take a course in executive administration, medical assistant, computer tech or other profession suitable for working from home.

Further Reading: How to Become a Virtual Assistant (VA) in Canada

5. Start a Blog

Lucrative blogging has a learning curve but you don’t have to learn it all at once. The most important thing you need to know right now, is you must choose a niche that is a happy medium between popularity and originality. Set it up on your own domain/hosting for the most monetization opportunities. The majority of hosts now offer easy WordPress set-up.

Once you’re established, you can do quite well with sponsorship from individual companies, product sales, and/or affiliate marketing. There are several WordPress plugins that facilitate a range of ways to make money with your blog.

Learn more from our free ultimate guide: How to Make Money Blogging in Canada.

What About Ecommerce?

While ecommerce is booming in Canada, with supply chains struggling and delayed regional shipping, online retail can be a little risky right now for beginners. If you have your own products or a local supplier that doesn’t rely on international supply chains, it’s a great time to start selling online. Once supply & shipping are back to normal, ecommerce will once again top our list of online business picks.

If you need more guidance, follow our checklist How to Start an Online Business in Canada.

Please comment below or join us in the Online Business Canada Facebook group for further discussion!


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

Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.

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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I got started last year but the goal is to have a full online business up & running by the end of this year or earlier. I’m doing ecommerce and freelancing to start and probably some affiliate marketing when I learn more. Can’t wait!


It’s been really tough to get through ecommerce landmines so I have to agree about beginners. There’s enough to learn when starting a business without landmines. It depends on their experience though if they’re used to dealing with supply chains they should be ok. Others are great choices for anyone really.