Posted on Tuesday 27 July 2021
The gig economy is booming in Canada. As much as 40 percent of millennials have a side hustle! There’s no doubt that having a job on the side can be an incredibly lucrative way to earn some extra cash.
Best of all, starting a side hustle doesn’t always mean investing thousands of dollars! There are tons of side hustles that can be started for under $1,000 – or for nothing at all. And with an increase in gig work across the globe, it’s easier than ever to turn a hobby into a money-making machine.
For example, maybe you’ve always liked reading and writing, but never really thought about using those skills to make money. You could turn your love for language into a side hustle by becoming a freelance blogger or proofreader! You could even market your skills to emerging authors who need help finding test audiences for their work by becoming a beta reader. A few people from Edmonton recently tried this.
Or, maybe you’ve always been handy around the house and can fix a broken faucet or install new door trim. Why not use those skills to make some money by becoming a neighbourhood handyman? You can apply a hobby or talent to nearly any side hustle, including selling handmade goods online, house-sitting, dog-walking, and more.
The best part is that side hustles are very affordable. In fact, starting a side hustle costs far less than $1,000. In the sections below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about setting up your own side gig on the cheap!
First things first: how much time do you need to invest in a side hustle? Well, that depends on how much time you want to put into it!
Creating a side hustle means that you get to create the schedule that works best for you. You could easily spend five hours a week on a side hustle, devote your weekends to gig work, or (if the money is really good) you might want to spend even more time on your side work.
The time you put in is completely up to you – and that flexibility is exactly what makes having a side hustle so appealing for millions of Canadians. Even people from London, Ontario are using it to create more income.
Your best bet is to start small, with shorter increments of time. That gives the opportunity to get your feet wet and adapt to a new schedule. More importantly, starting slow lets you try out a side hustle and make sure that it’s really the best choice for your needs.
Of course, you’re going to have to find some extra time in your schedule to focus on your side gig in order to be successful at it. But where are you going to find the time to start a side hustle? How can you fit a part-time job into a full-time work schedule?
We all have at least a few hours of free time each week, and most of us have more than we think. Let’s face it: if you’re prone to binge-watching the latest and greatest streaming service, it’s time to get honest about free time!
Whether it’s laying on the couch for a few hours watching TV, scrolling through your phone, or enjoying some downtime on the weekends, there is always an opportunity to turn an hour or two into a paycheque.
Many side hustles can be completed from the comfort of your own home, working online as anything from a web designer to a video editor to a writer. And even side hustles that require you to be onsite can be tailored to minimize travel time, like offering photography services or pet-sitting services in your local area.
A side hustle can be incredibly lucrative, not only because you get to create your own schedule, but also because they often don’t require a ton of start-up costs. All side hustles are different, and the money it will cost you to start will depend on what you’re starting with and the type of side hustle you choose.
Are you thinking of starting a side hustle in the field you are already working in, or is it a brand-new industry? Staying in your industry makes a side hustle much more accessible and affordable overall. If it’s brand-new, you’re going to have a few unavoidable costs.
For example, if you like exercising and have a good deal of fitness knowledge and want to become a personal trainer on the side, you’ll need to pay for a certification and perhaps a gym membership to meet clients. But let’s say that you want to help people learn to eat better as a way to manage their weight. If you’re already certified as a nutritionist, you’ll be able to become an independent consultant without a ton of extra costs.
You may also need to get some equipment to get your side hustle off of the ground. If you like taking photographs and want to start a side hustle of taking portraits on the side, you might need to invest in some new equipment, like a higher-end camera or a ring light.
And even if you decide to become a virtual assistant or a freelance writer, you might need to upgrade to a better laptop or pay for a few new pieces of software to ensure that you stay competitive and provide clients with a great product.
The money you need to start a side hustle depends entirely upon the type of side hustle you choose – and whether you’ll be using existing skills or developing new ones.
The bottom line is that if your side hustle utilizes the skills and resources that you have on hand, you can easily start earning money with less than $1,000. And even if you do need to make a small investment in equipment, software, or certification, you can earn that money back when tax season rolls around (see below).
If you are going to start a side hustle, don’t forget that you may have some additional steps to take when it comes to filing your taxes. For example, having a side hustle often means that you are operating as a self-employed worker. That means you’ll need to make sure you fill out form T2125 (even if you haven’t officially registered yourself as a business).
While taxes might be a little more complicated for your side hustle, most Canadians find that the benefits are more than worth the complication. Perhaps the best benefit is the ability to write off the expenses that apply to your side gig – like supplies, materials, home office space, payment processing fees, or even a percentage of your utilities. There are tons of creative ways to reduce your tax burden and make your side hustle easier to manage financially.
Do some research on what that extra income might mean for you during tax season, and sit down with a tax professional to make sure your key questions are answered. You’ll want to make sure that you learn how to write off expenses the right way so that you don’t get caught paying more in taxes than you need to.
Being strapped for cash can be incredibly stressful and frustrating – but having a side hustle can help ease that stress (or even eliminate it entirely). If you think you have a skill that could make you money, now is the time to try it out. Your talents and hobbies could be turned into an entire income stream before you know it!