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How To Start A Part Time Business That Works

No matter what your current employment status is, starting your own part-time business could be an ideal way to bring in some extra income. We’ll take you through everything you need to know about starting a part-time business, along with some awesome suggestions for business ideas.

Why you should start a part-time business

There are a number of different reasons someone may decide to start a part-time business. If you’re currently employed, you may be looking for a side business to make extra money. Or maybe you’re unemployed and want to find a creative way to make money from home. Alternatively, you might already have a hobby that you want to monetize. Either way, a part-time business could be a good choice for anyone who wants to bring in extra income without taking a huge risk. 

Even if you plan to eventually transition your new part-time business into a full-time career, there are several reasons that starting with part-time makes the most sense. For example, you might be able to schedule your part-time business hours around your day job, so you don’t have to sacrifice your current income sources.

When you start a business that’s part time, you’ll also have the opportunity to test the market for your business idea so you don’t sink a ton of money into trying to sell a product or service that isn’t in demand. Plus, you’ll have time to build up a client base without having to worry about making sure your bills are paid, since it can take awhile for a new business to become profitable.

Depending on the type of business you start, a part-time business could also be a good fit for people who need or want to work from home for whatever reason. 

How do I know if my business idea is profitable?

If you’re wondering how to determine if a business idea will be a viable source of income, we’ve got you covered. While it’s great to start a business that you’re passionate about, you also need to make sure your business has the potential to make money. When you’re deciding what type of business is best for you, make sure to consider the following questions.

  • How much will the business cost to start?
  • What equipment, permits, licensing, and training will you need to pay for?
  • What costs will you incur when registering your business?
  • How much demand is there for what you are selling?

It’s a good idea to look at industry reports to see how much the industry is worth and get a sense of average annual salaries so  you can decide if your business idea is worth pursuing.

27 most profitable part-time business ideas

Here are some of our favourite part-time business ideas to help inspire you.

Affiliate marketing

Working with an affiliate program is a great way to make passive income. Affiliate marketing involves sharing information about a company or product in order to make a commission on any sales you bring in. Basically, you’ll post unique affiliate links on your social media, blog, Youtube channel, or email list, and any purchases that are made using those links will earn you a commission on the sale.

Most affiliate marketing programs are free, and your ability to get your audience to make a purchase will determine the amount of money you can make with this kind of part time business. You can choose to organically mention products that you use throughout your regular online content, or you can write detailed reviews about a company’s product or service with the goal of getting your readers to make a purchase through your link. 

There are affiliate marketing programs that cater to a wide range of niches, like fashion, pets, travel, and so much more. Affiliate marketing works best if you’re able to build up a loyal community of online followers who trust your opinion. 

To get started, figure out your niche market. This will help provide you with insight into who your ideal customer is and what they are likely to spend their money on. With this information, you can better position yourself and the products and companies you recommend in order to increase the chance of making a sale.

Next, choose one or more affiliate marketing programs to join, like Amazon Associates or the eBay Partner Network. Then simply set up an account and start sharing products with your community using your unique affiliate links. As your followers use your links to purchase, you’ll earn a commission on every sale you facilitate.

Business consulting services

As a business consultant, you can make money by advising other businesses on a range of topics like improving their employee turnover rates, developing a marketing plan, or increasing total sales. If you have work experience or an educational background in business, you could get paid to provide consultation services.

Every type of business can use consultation services, from new entrepreneurs looking for help getting established to large scale corporations. As a part time business, you’ll probably be working as a solo consultant rather than with a team, which may impact the scale of the projects you’ll be able to take on. 

Since the amount of money you can make as a consultant will depend on how many clients hire you, your job will likely include a fair amount of marketing yourself. In order to pitch your services effectively, you’ll need to get super familiar with your target audience.

Your first step in starting a business consulting business should be to decide what topic(s) you will consult on. You should be able to speak confidently about your experience, what makes you qualified to consult, and what results you can achieve for their business.

Depending on who your ideal client is and what type of consulting services they are looking for, you could choose to offer one on one sessions, live coaching seminars, or prerecorded online courses. Once you’ve got your offerings figured out, it’s time to start marketing your business. Don’t forget to ask your clients for recommendations, reviews, and referrals along the way.

Graphic design services

If you have a knack for graphic design, you could start your own profitable part time business providing your services to other businesses in a variety of industries. Pretty much every business needs some sort of design services, like logo design, product packaging, business branding, web design, and more.

Part time graphic designers generally work as freelancers, but you could also work for a company and complete your assigned work in your free time. If you work for a company, you’ll have less control over the projects you take on, but you won’t have to market your services once you’re hired on. On the other hand, as a freelancer you’ll earn one hundred per cent of the profits, but you’ll also need to take on more responsibility. 

The most important tool for finding clients as a graphic designer is a strong online portfolio. You can host your portfolio on free sites like Portfoliobox or create your own website. If you don’t already have a bunch of great graphic design projects to showcase, you can start by creating personal projects or making designs for real or imagined companies and products. Remember that quality is more important than quantity, so take your time and only share the projects that best represent your work and abilities.

Depending on how you want to operate your new part time graphic design business, you could apply to projects on online marketplaces like Fiverr, market your services on social media or using paid ads, and apply to in house graphic designer positions.

Freelance writing

If you’re looking for a flexible way to make extra money on your own schedule, freelance writing could be the perfect fit. Freelance writers can be hired to work on a variety of types of projects, including writing guest blog posts or articles for publications, or providing website copy and product descriptions for businesses who want to outsource their writing. 

You don’t necessarily need to be a professional writer to do freelance writing, but it definitely helps to have some sort of experience with writing. It’s a good idea to consider taking an online course to familiarize yourself and get started in the industry, especially if you’ve never been paid to write before. Once you’re feeling more confident with your skills, it’s time to start focusing on client outreach so you can get your first paid freelance writing job.

Create a space online where you can share examples of your writing as well as information on the type of projects you want to take on and how much you charge. Social media platforms like Instagram can be a great way to get the word out about your business.

You may think that taking on any project that comes your way will help grow your writing business, but in reality the opposite is true. Marketing your freelance writing services will be much simpler and more effective if you get specific about the work you want to do and who your ideal client is. 

Especially when you’re just getting started with freelance writing, platforms like Upwork and Contently are great places to find writing work. Employers post specific projects that you can apply for, and if your bid is accepted and you do a good job, you could have a new freelance client for your business. As you build your customer base, you can use the connections you’ve made to gain more clients through word of mouth marketing.

IT consultation and repairs

Many people struggle with technology issues like computer installations, troubleshooting problems, upgrading devices, getting rid of viruses, or hardware issues. If you have computer skills or experience working in IT, why not offer technology consultations or repairs on the side?

With any business, it’s important that the services you offer reflect your abilities. For example, if you’ve never fixed a cracked smartphone screen, that may not be the ideal service for you to offer. On the other hand, if you’re interested in learning a new skill, you could take an online course in IT and expand the number of services you are able to offer. 

IT consultants can work with different types of clients in a variety of ways. You could help another entrepreneur with ongoing website hosting and technical support, or you could work with individuals as issues arise. 

Since technology is changing at such a fast rate, it’s important for you to stay up to date. If you want people to take your business seriously, consider pursuing further education and relevant certifications.

Photography business

Do you have an eye for taking amazing photographs? Turn your photography skills into a paying job by starting a photography business.

Both individuals and companies hire freelance photographers for a wide range of purposes. For example, individuals may need a wedding photographer or someone to shoot their annual family Christmas card. On the other hand, businesses may need product photos, social media content, and corporate event photography.

You may already know that you prefer to take portrait photos over landscapes, or maybe you’re more interested in teaching others how to do photography. Wherever your interest lies, let that inform the niche you choose to work in.

If you’d rather create personal work than take photos for clients, you could also have a part time photography business where you sell prints of your photos. In fact, there are plenty of stock photo sites like Shutterstock and Pexels where you can upload your stock photographs and make money every time someone downloads your image.

Other options for making money from your photography include writing a photography blog, publishing an ebook, making how-to guides or videos, and selling digital products like photo editing presets.

Start a blog

Starting a blog is a great part-time business idea for people who want to keep their costs low, since many website builders offer free plans. Bloggers can make a profit in a variety of ways, including affiliate marketing, running paid advertisements, writing sponsored posts, or using your blog to bring traffic to your own products or services.

Marketing services

Marketing is a necessary part of running a business, but many business owners choose to outsource their marketing––and that’s where you come in! You can get paid to completely take over a company’s marketing, or you can sell online courses or offer hourly consultation rates. 

Start by defining your value proposition, which is essentially a business pitch that explains what you provide for your customers and the results that you can achieve for their business if they hire you.

Personal trainer

One of the amazing things about working as a personal trainer is that you can have a great part-time business in the health and fitness industry without ever having to leave the house. Consider offering guided workout routines through pre-recorded videos or live video classes for individual clients or group sessions. Other ways to make money as a personal trainer include participating in paid partnerships, selling related fitness products, or creating a membership program to access your content.

Reselling products

If you love discovering hidden treasures at yard sales, thrift stores, auctions, and flea markets, you could make a part-time business reselling your unique finds. Alternatively, you could purchase inventory from a wholesaler or manufacturer and resell it for a profit.

Work as a general labourer

Are you super handy with things like putting together furniture, painting walls, or fixing clogged sinks? If so, you could start a part-time business as a handyman. Other services you could offer include carpentry, building, or even gardening and shovelling snow.


As a part-time accountant, you might help your clients do things like file their taxes or apply for business licenses. You can also offer to prepare documents, maintain financial reports, and provide financial guidance.

Cleaning services

If you’ve got a knack for cleaning, you’re in luck: both individuals and businesses alike require cleaning services, and the hours may be flexible around your day job. As part-time businesses go, cleaning requires a relatively low startup cost, especially since you can specify that your customers provide all necessary supplies and equipment. 

Short-term rentals

Do you have a spare room or a separate property that’s not being used? Short-term rentals can be a great way to bring in a little extra money on the side, and can also be turned into a full fledged business if you choose. You could get into buying real estate and renting your properties out on a short-term basis. Just make sure that you’re in compliance with any building or homeowners requirements surrounding renting out your property.


There are a number of ways to turn your cooking hobby into a part-time business. You could work as a personal chef preparing meals for your clients, offer cooking classes, take custom orders, or make and sell frozen meals. Another option is to create a cooking blog or YouTube channel where you share your favourite recipes and offer helpful cooking tips.


If you have an educational background in a specific subject, you could offer tutoring services online or in person. In fact, many companies hire native English speakers to teach ESL online and the only requirement is fluency in English. Alternatively, you could create your own online course or sell educational content, like classroom activity templates or lesson plans.

Video content creator or editor

Whether you prefer to create your own videos from scratch or you’d rather edit existing footage for clients on a freelance basis, you could make money with your videography skills. Plenty of individuals hire videographers for filming weddings or other events, and businesses need videography skills to create advertisements and other marketing materials.

You could also choose to start your own YouTube channel, where you can earn an income through advertisement clicks, channel memberships, affiliate marketing, branded content, and more.

Host a podcast

A podcast business works pretty much the same way as a YouTube channel, with the only main difference being the format in which your content is delivered. Choose a topic you’re interested in and check out trending podcasts in your niche to see if there’s a viable market for your podcast concept. Once your podcast is up and running, you can start selling paid advertisements spots, promoting your own products or services, or offering a paid membership that includes exclusive content, like an extra episode every week which is only available to subscribers.

Travel agent or tour guide

Are you amazing at finding the cheapest flights and the best restaurants and hotels when you travel? You could use those skills to start a part-time business as a travel agent, helping your customers find great deals and plan a holiday they’ll remember forever. If you know about all the best hidden gem spots in your city, you could also work as a part-time tour guide.

App developer

Got an idea for a great app and the coding skills to make it happen? Use your tech experience to create your own app, or offer app development services to an individual or company that needs help bringing their vision to life.

Remote customer service representative

All you really need to work remotely is a reliable phone and internet connection, which you probably already pay for anyway. Companies hire remote workers for all sorts of tasks like telemarketing and dealing with customer questions or complaints. Non profit organizations could also hire you as an online fundraising consultant, raising money for a good cause.


As a mechanic, you can offer vehicle tuneups, detailing, or fix small issues that don’t require a trip to the dealership. You could also start a part-time business where you restore vehicles for resale. If you decide to invest in further mechanical education or training, you’ll be able to offer additional services that can bring in even more money.

Driver or delivery

One of the main benefits to working as a driver is that you can set your own hours. There are plenty of apps that hire drivers to work on a freelance basis driving people around and delivering packages or food orders. 

Sell digital products

Digital products make for a great passive income source, since they can keep making you money with little to no upkeep for years to come. Popular digital products include ebooks, design templates, and photography presets.

Sell your art

If you have a passion for making your own paintings, clothes, jewellery, or other crafts, you could start a business selling your creations. In addition to selling original artwork, you can offer prints and products like notebooks or t-shirts featuring your designs. You can also license your art for book covers, publications, or to be produced and sold by a retailer.

Sell Print on Demand (POD) products

Starting a POD business is an ideal choice if you want to sell products but avoid spending money on inventory, packaging, and other costs. First, decide whether you want to create your own original designs or use images that are free for commercial use. Once you’ve uploaded your designs and chosen which products to offer, your job is pretty much done. When a customer submits an order, the POD company will take care of everything from printing the product to shipping.

The benefits to starting a POD business are that you avoid financial risk and you don’t have to worry about order fulfilment. On the other hand, you’ll only make a small percentage of the order price and you won’t be able to control things like product quality, since the products never actually pass through your hands.


Dropshipping is similar to POD in the sense that all fulfilment and shipping is done by the manufacturer. The difference is that with POD, you create your own designs, whereas with dropshipping you sell existing products that are already available. You can choose to use the manufacturer’s product photos for your product listings, or you can order sample products and do your own branded photoshoots. 

How can I start my own business with no money?

Even if you don’t have a single dollar to spare, it’s possible for you to start a part-time business. Here are a few ideas that you can try if you’re starting out with zero budget.

  • Sell something you already own, like clothes you never wear or something creative you make using supplies you have on hand.
  • Sell services related to your education or experience, or take a free course to develop a new marketable skill.
  • Sell products using print-on-demand or dropshipping so you don’t have to invest in inventory and storage.
  • Trade your products or services in exchange for things you need, so you can both benefit from each other’s expertise without having to spend money.

As you can see, there are tons of options for part-time businesses that you can start that don’t require any money whatsoever, provided you have the necessary skills and are committed to marketing your business.

How to finance your part-time business

While it’s possible to start a business with no money, certain businesses do require financing to get off the ground. Here are a few ways that you can get access to the funds you may need to start your new business.


There are many different online platforms where you can create a campaign to pitch your idea and ask for monetary support from your community. A great way to incentivize donations is by providing a variety of rewards to your donors at different payment tiers.

Government financing

Here are some of the financing programs that the Canadian government has available:

How do I start a part-time business?

Now that you have tons of great ideas for the different types of part-time businesses you can start, let’s go over the steps required to start your new business.

  • Write a business plan.

A good business plan is a thorough one, and that includes considering things like how many hours you’ll be able to devote to your business each week and whether those hours are flexible or fixed. If you overestimate the amount of work you’ll be able to complete in a given time, you risk getting burnt out before your part-time business ever has a chance to succeed.

When writing your business plan, it’s important to be realistic about the amount of commitment you’ll be able to take on, especially if you work a full time job or have other responsibilities that take precedence. Set goals, expectations, and milestones for your business, and make a step by step plan for how you will accomplish them.

  • Make a budget.

Whether you’ve got money to spare or are working on a very tight budget, a carefully considered business budget will help set you up for long-term success. Your budget will need to cover both fixed and variable costs, and don’t forget to include a profit and loss statement. 

  • Register your business.

One of the most important steps for starting a business in Canada is choosing the right business structure. The most common types of business setups are sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, cooperatives, and nonprofits. The requirements and expenses required to start your business will vary greatly depending on the structure you choose.

  • Apply for licenses and permits.

Depending on your industry and other factors, you may need additional business licenses or permits, which you can search for using BizPal.

  • Develop a marketing strategy.

No matter how amazing your product or service is, if you don’t market it, no one will know it’s available! Even if you don’t have a large marketing budget, you can get the word out about your business by developing your online presence, networking, and using word of mouth marketing.

Determining how much to charge your customers

Setting your prices can be tricky, because it’s all about striking the right balance between being affordable enough for your potential clients while still making a profit. Here are the steps you should take to figure out how to set your prices.

  1. Calculate your costs, including materials, labour, production, and insurance.
  2. Determine how much revenue you need to bring in to break even on your expenses.
  3. Figure out your profit margin, based on how much money you need to make a profit as well as market research on what customers are willing to spend for similar offerings.
  4. Define your niche market, which distinguishes your business from everyone else who provides similar products or services.

As your business grows and you learn more, you can adjust your prices based on factors like inflation and industry trends.

How to grow your part-time business

Your best bet for turning your part-time business from a side hustle into a profitable career is developing an effective marketing plan. First, focus on understanding your target audience, so that you’ll be able to design your offerings based on what they need and market your business directly to them. You can use marketing techniques like sales funnels, email marketing, and social media.

Another way to grow your business is by improving your customer retention rate. Emphasize things like standout customer service and memorable packaging. You may also want to develop a customer loyalty program, which encourages repeat customers to keep coming back by offering special benefits like advance access to new collections or exclusive discounts.

Pay attention to which marketing techniques work best for your business so you can continue to adjust and improve as you learn more and gain experience as a business owner. At a certain point, you may even be able to hire a professional to take over your business marketing and really help propel your business to the next level.

Now that you know how to start a part-time business and you have a bunch of great business ideas to choose from, get out there and get started!

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