How to Start a Side Hustle or Small Business in Ontario

Hustleworks - How to Start a Side Hustle or Small Business in Ontario — Hustlworks

Table of Contents

  1. What is an aspiring entrepreneur?
  2. Is the entrepreneurial lifestyle right for you?
  3. Before you move forward:
  4. Ideating for your side hustle
  5. What are the next steps?
  6. Networking
  7. Online side hustles Vs. Offline 
  8. Things to consider with an online business 
  9. The secret sauce for building an online empire
  10. Things to consider with an offline business 
  11. Building Your Online Marketing 
  12. How to create a social media following 
  13. Important government requirements
  14. Legal Name and Incorporation
  15. Registration for Tax Purposes
  16. Basic startup cost
  17. How to Write a Business Plan
  18. Importance of a Business Plan
  19. Sharing Your Vision With Others
  20. Writing the Business Plan
  21. Business Tax Considerations
  22. Checklist for Starting a Business in Ontario
  23. Follow governmental rules
  24. Prepare for LAUNCH
  25. Launch your side hustle website

Guide for Aspiring Entrepreneurs building their side hustle

Do you have an idea for a personal business but don't know where to begin? Starting a small business in Ontario is possible if you have the determination and drive that it takes to follow your dreams. There are some small costs associated with starting a business, but if you're willing to invest in them, you can earn an income that can help support you and your family. You'll also need to explore opportunities available to you within your community.

To successfully start a small personal business in Ontario, you need the state's help setting up your bank account. This guide will help you determine if you can start a business using a personal bank account instead of one with inflated interest rates and hefty usage fees. If you are determined to set up a small company in Ontario, various documents and information will help make the process happen.

Starting a small personal business in Ontario is possible if you have the determination and drive that it takes to follow your dreams. There are some small costs associated with starting a business, but if you're willing to invest in them, you can earn an income that can help support you and your family. You'll also need to explore opportunities available to you within your community and find ways to market your products or services. However, the decision to start a business will ultimately come down to determining whether your goals are realistic and what quality of life you're willing to trade-off for them.

But startups do exist, and if your goal is to establish a small-scale manufacturing operation in Ontario, here are some ways you can do it. Start with this list of resources and read on for details on starting a food business from materials you can find in your local home improvement store. But more make it than you may think, according to an Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada study, which shows:

  • "77% of new businesses in Canada with between one and four employees make it at least 3 years"
  • "86% of new businesses in Canada with between 20 and 99 employees make it at least 3 years"
  • "63% of new businesses in Canada make it at least 5 years"
  • "43% of new businesses in Canada make it at least 10 years"

As a side hustle or small business entrepreneur, you have a lot of steps to go through. Canada Startups helps you on your path towards achieving financial freedom. We provide you with all the help and information you need to succeed. We will tell you exactly what steps to take to start your business and how it will succeed. We want to help guide you as you take your first steps towards becoming an entrepreneur, ensuring that you take the next big step! As an entrepreneursmall business owner, or even a freelancer, having finance knowledge is important. Having the right people guiding you along your path can make all the difference. At Hustl Works, we have clients who come from a wide range of backgrounds and philosophies. We work with each one of them as if they are one big family, and it is our job to make sure that they are successful. Not only do we guide you step by step, but we help your startup, assist you with the business plan that can get you funding for your Ontario business. And more.

You want to grow your small business. To do this, you will need money to pay for rent, utilities, and basic necessities. You may have a part-time job or freelance position that provides income. You may be able to borrow money from friends and family. But most likely, you will need capital to set up your business and get it off the ground. This is where Canada Startups comes in. As a century-old non-profit organization supporting Canadian entrepreneurs, we've helped thousands of entrepreneurs launch their businesses here in Canada.

Making money from home is possible, but it takes some work and dedication. However, you can make money with your own resources (time and money) if you know where to look. You can read about it here on Canada Startups. I want to share with you one step when I become more familiar with this area. You will not regret it if you follow this path; it will take a lot of hard work and determination, but the rewards are well worth it in the end. I hope you enjoy reading my first post about making money online as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Our beginner's guide on starting a small business in Ontario aims to help you with your research. So let's get shit done!

What is an aspiring entrepreneur?

"An aspiring entrepreneur is a person who focuses on the hope and dream of entrepreneurship. You can start aspiring but must transition to actual action to be considered an entrepreneur."

Is the entrepreneurial lifestyle right for you?

Is starting a side hustle or small business in Ontario right for you? That depends on your specific circumstances. For example, if you are a recent graduate with little to no capital and no money to hire an experienced business coach right away, setting up your own small business may not be the best choice for you. But if you have established yourself as an entrepreneur with a steady income, then starting a business may make sense. Look at the advantages and disadvantages of starting your own small business before making your final decision. 

There are many benefits of starting a small business. It's good for your health, it helps the environment, and if you follow the rules… small business gets tax credits, state aid, and job creation. Small businesses have better access to capital, technology, and workers. Starting a business also gives you freedom. It allows you to set your own hours, say in your spare time, and it means that you aren't dependent on anyone else for your income. The question is not whether you should start a small business but why, exactly, you should.

  • Startup: There are two types of startups; the differences between a full-fledged startup and a SaaS (Software as a Service) startup. The first is that while a SaaS company typically has a paid product (usually software) that customers pay for, FWD startup builds the product and then sells it for profit. The second difference is that while an FWD startup may have a product that someone regularly uses (and maybe even gets paid by the company for doing so), a Full-fledged startup means that you are the business owner capital future. Therefore, you will not work for someone else or for someone who gives you an ultimatum: either do this or do that. You will make all the decisions about spending, hiring, and firing employees. The only requirement is that you can show proof of funds (at least $1,000) for each month you're in business. This can be in the form of a bank statement or cash deposit in your bank account.
  • Purchase an existing business: Purchasing an existing small business is one option, but there are other ways to start a business and save money without being tied to a single location. For example, you could start a home service business in your spare bedroom or even rent out an office space if you have the cash. In either scenario, you would be starting from scratch unless you have significant equity in the business (more on this later). We're often asked, "What is the best way to start a business?" We always give the same answer: Purchase an existing business. It's cheaper, it's instant, and you can focus on your best self. Start with something small and get used to the process. Learn what running a business entails. Get comfortable paying bills, creating payroll, hiring employees. $50,000 may seem like a lot, but if you can cut corners on utilities and hiring staff, it will feel like a pittance to your future self. Over time, you will learn which industries best suit your style of entrepreneurship.
  • Purchase a franchise: You are taking the best of both worlds when you purchase a franchise license. You will be using the branding and business idea of an existing business, receiving the benefits of the marketing work of the parent company. Still, you will be finding a location and doing the hiring yourself. You will have to follow the standards the parent company gives you. You can change your business name to Post-mates, for example, and start delivering sandwiches from your home. Or you could choose to use the same basic concept but with all the updates added by Post-mates — like using smartphones to order your food instead of paper menus. 

Before you move forward:

Identify all of these things and more, then work out a business plan that considers all your considerations. 

  • Get your head around the basics of what you want to do in business. For example, are you going to be selling products or services? 
  • If so, you'll need to identify your target customers and how they will buy your products and services. What are your financial goals? 
  • What resources will you need to run your business successfully? 

Ideating for your side hustle

There are two main approaches to coming up with new ideas for your side hustle. The first is examining what your existing business does well, and the second is thinking about how you can improve upon it. If you already do relatively well with your current business and can see how you could improve, this is a great time to put pen to paper and figure out where you want to go. On the other hand, if it sounds like a lot of work and you don't see a ton of immediate returns, think about scaling back or delaying your goals. The chances of landing your dream job after this round of hustling are about the same as getting your first job after dropping out of college - slim pickings.

  • Services: A services business can start relatively small, employing a few workers and using some basic technology. However, as demand grows and the service becomes more specialized, the cost of starting and running such a business increases rapidly. As a result, most services businesses today must compete with each other and other services providers in their local marketplace and other markets worldwide. Micro-services are individual pieces of software that are interconnected to enable a company to build different products, services, applications, or digital products — all without modifying its main product in any way.
  • Products: One of the best things about starting a product business is figuring out your needs and what the market wants before starting. What does mass sell mean? How do you know you're truly going to make money? Product businesses have two very important characteristics: They must produce consistently, and they must sell consistently. If either of these is difficult, then the business will fail.

Consider which type of business fits your skillset and interest level better and focus on ideas for that type of business.

What are the next steps?

The steps of starting a small business in Ontario are simple.

  • Get the business idea.
  • Create a business plan.
  • Get your business plan reviewed
  • Launch your small business

If you are ready to start your business in Ontario, don't wait any longer. Start with our Aspiring Entrepreneur guide for free.


Networking creates a sense of community within a company. It creates a network effect where more people participate, and the more successful you are, the more people choose to participate alongside you. One way to get around networking is by starting an informal conversation rather than an extended one. Whenever you write an email, for example, saying hello to someone and asking them how they are is a way of beginning an informal interaction. You may be able to network with other Canadian small business entrepreneurs through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, or other social media sites too.

Online side hustles Vs. Offline 

Online side hustles work well for people who have time on their hands and don't mind doing mundane tasks. Picking and choosing which tasks to complete is a skill that takes time to learn. But what if there was a way to automate those tasks so you could get more done without having everything fuss around on your plate? You could have someone do all the work for you, all while saving you time and money. This is exactly what Ready to Start does for its writers, bloggers, and online market visitors. Our customers are entrepreneurs looking for a steady stream of income from their side hustle...without sacrificing their lifestyle or throwing everything out the window. 

Things to consider with an online business 

Becoming an online business is a major commitment. First, you need to choose the right online business software from the start and pick the right design template that matches your business goals. Next, pick the right partner to help you with marketing and development, and make sure there are people on your team who know how to code. Each piece of business software comes with its own set of pros and cons. When in doubt, it's usually a good idea to hire someone with more experience than yourself.

The secret sauce for building an online empire

One of the most effective ways to grow your online business is to think about ways to drive traffic from sources other than your own site. Other SEO strategies include working with bloggers and guest blogging on other websites. Increasing the exposure of your products and services on third-party websites can also help you rank higher in search results. Word-of-mouth marketing is a huge factor in growing a small personal business. People trust friends and family members with their business information. If you take the time to connect with bloggers and other business owners through social media, you will be more likely to get positive feedback about your products or services. You may even attract new customers who would not have looked at your website otherwise.

  • Building an e-commerce website
  • Developing written copy that drives sales
  • Finding ways to drive web traffic
  • Finding ways to handle customer requests and questions

Determining whether you can operate from home or whether you need to rent space elsewhere

  • How much inventory do you need to carry
  • What is the best way to ship your products
  • What is the best way to ship your products
  • Track your customer engagement when you never meet them face to face

Things to consider with an offline business 

Brick and mortar small business, you will need to perform several steps unique to this type of setup, including:

  • Finding a location to purchase or rent
  • Opening accounts with local utilities
  • Designing the interior and exterior
  • Ordering the necessary equipment
  • Obtaining local permits and licenses for physical operation
  • Hiring employees
  • Finding ways to drive people into your store
  • Creating an efficient means of storing inventory and supplies
  • Purchasing the required liability insurance

Building Your Online Marketing 

Building your online presence removes the requirement to have a physical presence, which means that your business can reach customers who may not otherwise know about you. Millions of people join businesses on a virtual platform every year, and thousands of new businesses are established every month. You can leverage the best tools available to start, operate, and grow your online business. You must choose the right ones to suit your needs.

Research shows that 70% of customers will look at the information before making a decision. Only 25% will purchase without doing further research. It is important to use this research to get the most out of your online marketing efforts. Ask people questions on forums, social networking sites, and official websites before launching your site. Ensure you are regularly updated on important news from the SEO industry so that you are not out of date when entering new marketplaces.

Once you have an accurate site and some marketing automation installed, begin creating content. This doesn't have to be very long, but it should provide value. Write blog posts that explain your services and products. Create infographics to help customers understand a product or service better. Write anything you can think of that can be used as an ad for your business. You'll likely be working with other people at this point, so you must connect with them through email marketing as well.

Building a successful online business is possible with the right strategies and tools. To start your online marketing career off right, concentrate on building your website. Aside from looking great and being easy to navigate, having a professional website will help find you clients. It will also help you have an avenue to grow your business without recruiting full-time staff members just to manage your marketing. Finding an online marketing company specializing in e-commerce is hard—but it can be done if you know what to look for.

How to create a social media following 

The best way to expand your audience and build a following is to post valuable content on various social media platforms. Posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other networking sites will allow you to reach a mass audience that would not normally be able to find you otherwise. In addition, any further information about your company or product should be posted in relevant threads on these social media networks so that your audience can be provided with additional information when they are looking for specific information.

To create a successful social media presence, be sure to use search engine optimization strategies and follow established social media guidelines. Creating a following on social media takes time and effort, but the result can be huge traffic and more leads and sales for your business. First, you must be careful to identify what elements of your business appeal to your target market. Then you can create content ( posts, videos, photos) that will encourage your followers to engage with your company and help them become customers.

Getting a big following on social media platforms is helpful for many businesses. It lets you interact with people who could become customers at some point in the future. However, creating a large following can also pose some risks. If people see you as a spammer or fake, they might lose respect for you and turn away from your brand. To achieve the best results with social media, make sure you engage in genuine discussions backed by facts. When engaging in abusive or spammy behaviour, try to be genuine and legitimate at the same time.

Creating a social media following is an easy way to grow your audience and identify new customers interested in your products or services. Most businesses recognize that social media can be an effective promotional tool—attracting new customers, and fans often follow the purchase of a product or service on social media. It's also a great way to increase your visibility in search engines—one study found that first impressions are 500% more likely to be purchased after posting a pic on Instagram or Twitter. And while many businesses neglect social media, seeing how your presence on social media can help build trust with customers. So let's build a following.

Important government requirements

You will have to file some paperwork with the Ontario Government to have a legit personal business or side hustle. But filing gets you the ball rolling — and helps you understand what's required. Once you know what's required, it becomes easier to plan your steps toward achieving your goals.

Legal Name and Incorporation

To be successful online, you will need a legal name. A legal name isn't already taken by someone else. Incorporating your new online business will also require you to submit your incorporation documents through Service Ontario. These documents will allow your business to be listed on local legal directories and online news sites and email lists prepared by professional web marketers.

Registration for Tax Purposes

The CRA allows businesses to obtain their B.N. online, by phone, mail, or fax. Along with the B.N., you may need to register for a few other programs related to taxes through the CRA, including (Keep in mind that you do not have to obtain a tax number if your personal business or side hustle or business is bringing less than 30K a year):

  • Payroll deductions
  • Import/export program
  • Corporation income tax program

Basic startup cost

Startup costs can vary widely, depending on your expectations for revenue and how advanced your business plans are. For example, if you're starting a pet-care business, the initial outlay may be low because you think your business will generate enough income to cover the costs. As it grows, your expectations will change, and your starting point may be higher. But whether it is $5,000 or $100 or 1 million dollars, having an idea of what you need to run your business and having the courage to start taking steps toward doing so can be the difference between sustaining yourself and not.

Some typical startup expenses you may encounter include:

  • Branding
  • Equipment particular to running your business
  • Business supplies
  • A buildup of inventory (if needed)
  • Utilities, communications, and Internet access
  • Accounting work
  • Website development, advertising, marketing, and social media management costs
  • Salaries and benefits for employees
  • Training for new employees

Startup costs are necessary for any new business. They include buying the domain name, hosting services, and software to help you with your email marketing. You don't have to be wealthy to start a small business. Writing content for your blog and keeping track of expenses is a good way to get started without a lot of capital. If your sole trade sells freelance services online, your startup costs will be less than if you were to start manufacturing a product or running an illegal sales business. The amount of funding available at a startup may play a key role in determining what type of business you can start.

How to Write a Business Plan

Make sure you have a clear idea of what your business is going to be! First, write down everything you know about running the company, from what assets you will purchase to how long you plan to run it for. Then pick one specific thing to track for each area of your business: revenue, customers, clients, assets/costs, growth rate (how much revenue you are generating versus how much you are spending), operating expenses (what is the average cost of running your business per employee hour), net income (how much money you are earning minus how much money you are spending). 

The best way to develop a solid business plan is to gather data and facts about your industry. Research provides the best information about the competition, industry trends, and customer behaviour. You should analyze these factors to develop a plan that will make you profitable over the long run. Then, once you have a solid idea in place, you can work with a business coach to ensure that it takes off.

Importance of a Business Plan

A business plan comes in handy when trying to get financing for your business. Financiers are usually more interested in an enduring, successful company with a solid business plan than one that might have run into problems. The hope is that when you have a solid business plan, lenders will be more willing to work with you and approve your loan application.

Sharing Your Vision With Others

Writing a business plan is very important. It is a fundamental step in preparing a business and putting together the various components that make up a business. It helps you understand the company's purpose, identifies the risks faced by the company and outlines the action plan to achieve those risks. Without a solid structure in place, you may find yourself bogged down in battle with insurance companies, consultants, and other parties who want a piece of the action. 

However, a business plan can be scary and overwhelming. To make sure you do the right thing and get the best out of your business, try reading this article. 

Writing the Business Plan

Here is a checklist of items you should have in your business plan. 

  • Create a big picture overview of the business and what you are trying to accomplish
  • Explain why this business is a good idea
  • Explain why you are the right person to start and run this business
  • List your goals for the business, both short- and long-term goals
  • Document how you plan to structure the business
  • List exactly what you will be selling or providing
  • Include the market outlook for your business, as well as primary competitors
  • Explain how you will compete and what you bring to the market that differs from your competitors
  • List some marketing and sales ideas for obtaining and keeping customers
  • List what you will need in terms of equipment, software, employees, managers, and other items
  • List areas where you believe you will need help and advice (areas that are outside your scope of expertise)
  • List a projected budget for the first few years
  • List a projected amount of income for the first few years
  • Estimate the growth prospects for the first five to 10 years
  • Estimate the amount of funding you will need in the first year and going forward
  • Explain how you will be repaying debts and the schedule for repayments
  • List any licenses, permits, and other legal documents you have or will need for operation

Business Tax Considerations

Taxes are always a concern for entrepreneurs. From figuring out how to pay your taxes to ensure that everyone around you follows the law, many responsibilities create a business in Ontario. This post aims to help you understand how taxes work for startups in Ontario and provide some basic information about the most common tax situations businesses face in Ontario, including getting tax credits and paying less tax. If you have questions about anything related to taxes in Ontario or want more information on an ongoing matter, please feel free to contact me.

To better understand how business tax works in Ontario, read this article explaining the different business taxes that apply to you as a small business or side hustle owner. You may have many different suppliers supplying you with services and products. You must know what taxes each supplier is required to pay in addition to the taxes you pay on your overall business income. This article will help you with this task.

  • EHT: Short for Employer Health Tax EHT is a payroll tax that certain businesses in Ontario must pay.
  • GST/HST: These are the types of sales taxes you may need to collect from customers when you sell goods and services in Ontario.
  • Income tax: Corporations must report income on the T2 return, while sole proprietorships (or the self-employed) will include their small business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Municipal taxes: Depending on your location, you may have to pay certain municipal taxes, such as property tax.
  • Payroll taxes: As an employer, you are required to withhold money from your employees' paychecks for payment of taxes and fees for other programs, such as the Canada Pension Plan. You then must remit these payments to the government, usually quarterly.

Checklist for Starting a Business in Ontario

Investigate your business ideas

Most people who start businesses don't know what they will sell or how they will make money. The best way to figure out what you're good at is through business analysis. The best way to learn about a business - its strengths and weaknesses - is to research, talk to other experienced people who've started businesses, and find out what other people who've started businesses have said about them.

Before jumping into a new venture, investigate whether it's something you want to do. Then, look at the market for similar businesses and see what their issues are.

  • Is there a better way to do things?
  • Are there any companies doing the same thing as you but doing them better?

If the idea seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Business structures can offer both advantages and disadvantages. Your choice of business structure will have a direct effect on how your company is run. Your success will be directly related to how well your business structure works for you. For example, a solvency arrangement in which the company keeps its assets in an interest-bearing account until paid off prevents creditors from taking any more money than is due. 

Your business may have an early advantage in finding a client if you're open about your operation. Unfortunately, many great ideas don't get started because they're too predictable. So instead, choose a name that will stand out but not necessarily attract attention. Before choosing a business name, consider how much information is available on the subject. 

  • Are there pictures of the business? 
  • Names of customers? 

Think about things like location, industry, and competition.

Follow governmental rules

It's good to have an emergency fund. But the bigger mistake most people make is setting up their business in ways that eliminate any chance of ever paying off their debt. It's not just an over-general habit, either. Losing your job or being laid off can put a serious dent in your finances – and without the right planning, these events can completely derail your career path. Follow government rules and regulations – even if it means working in an environment slightly less competitive than normal.

To keep track of your employees and how they perform on your behalf:

  1. Keep a logbook
  2. Write down everything from promotions to bonuses and pay dates.
  3. Keep a copy for yourself at home! You may find that some employees are given more money than others based on seniority or salary.

You may also want to take advantage of employee assistance programs offered by companies mandated by law to provide certain types of services or benefits. 

The legal steps required by the CRA to create a buffer zone for a business are complex. The agency may issue guidance or regulatory approvals (under the Personal Business Improvement Act) that may facilitate implementing the buffer zone requirements on specific parameters, as long as certain conditions are met. A business must closely monitor developments within the CRA area to ensure that conditions laid down by the agency remain relevant and current at all times.

Prepare for LAUNCH

Many founders overestimate the amount of time it takes to get going. They're counting on friends and family to fill in the blanks, but most need to be ready to leave their homes as soon as possible. As much as you might want to stick around, my advice is to set a firm launch date and stick to it. No matter how much you love your job, you're better off quitting your job and moving forward with your vision if you can't pull it off in four months.

Get ready to launch. The best way to get your company noticed and to build up your following is to get moving. LAUNCH is an online community for makers, creatives, and entrepreneurs ready for their next project. .So get ready for the next big thing – now start building. 

Launch your side hustle or personal business website

There are several ways you can promote your side hustle website. But one of the most effective ways is social media promotion. Everyone who's working for themselves has at least one Facebook account and several Twitter accounts. So you should create a separate Facebook page for your side hustle website and use it to attract clients, post updates on your stories, and ask for donations. You should also make sure that all of your social media profiles are linked through one channel so that when someone tries to visit your website through Facebook, TikTik, Twitter or Google, they will automatically be directed to your website instead of other sites offering landing pages or advertisements.

  • If you're starting a side business, there's a lot to consider. How will you make money? 
  • Will customers stop taking your business seriously? 
  • Do you need more capital?

 If you're taking on a risky venture, there's a real chance you're going to fail. Therefore, it's very important to identify whether your new endeavour will generate revenue and, if so, whether it will do so at a worthwhile cost. In addition, the more time you invest in a side hustle, the greater likelihood you're going to become truly good at it and really good at getting serious customers.

  • Keep an eye on inventory levels
  • Keep your social media up to date
  • Keep up with the industry and local market changes, staying nimble
  • Seek out other small business owners and network with them as much as possible
  • Run frequent self-evaluations of the business and look for ways to improve

 Learn how to get into the right mindset to start an online business.


Learn how to get into the right mindset to start an online business. At the end of this guide, you should have a better idea of where you are in your entrepreneurship journey and take the next step.


How to start a business: 

(in these other Canadian provinces:)

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

How to start a business

(in these other Canadian cities): 

  • Toronto
  • Montréal
  • Vancouver
  • Ottawa
  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Québec City
  • Winnipeg
  • Hamilton
  • Kitchener
  • Cambridge
  • Waterloo
  • London
  • St. Catharines
  • Niagara
  • Halifax
  • Oshawa
  • Victoria
  • Windsor
  • Saskatoon
  • Regina
  • Sherbrooke
  • St. John's
  • Barrie
  • Kelowna
  • Abbotsford
  • Greater Sudbury
  • Kingston
  • Saguenay
  • Trois-Rivières
  • Guelph
  • Moncton
  • Brantford
  • Saint John
  • Thunder Bay
  • Peterborough


Starting a side hustle or small personal business in Ontario is a big step, but one that can be very rewarding. Unfortunately, there's no blueprint for that path, but there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. 

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