Some people are born with a talent or develop a knack for something later on in life. This works in perfect harmony with the beauty of the 21st century as we can now harness our aptitudes to create successful side gigs that generate income and bring us joy. If you're an illustrator, you can sell your designs to videogame creators or children's books' authors; your keen eye for home design can lead you to become an interior decorator; capitalize on your fashion sense and become a personal shopper. The possibilities are limitless.
There's really nothing preventing you from finessing your hobby into a legit second income - as long as you master self-branding, that is. Developing your own unique .CA domain is the most significant way to spread the word about your skill. It'll certainly help you grow an impressive audience who's willing to spend on the services you're offering.
If you're interested in starting up your own online side hustle, check out these 14 pastimes that can turn into big-time money makers.
1. Exploit Your Restaurant Obsession to Become a Food Critic
As a foodie who loves eating out, I’m always looking to try new restaurants. However, often at a frustrating loss as to which joint is worth the trip and money in the slew of Mtl eateries, I usually resort to my handful of local faves. If you're passionate about testing out menu items from hidden-gems, overrated top dogs, and disappointing letdowns, there’s definitely a market out here for an aspiring food writer like you.
Set up your own website, take good photos of the restaurant and grub, categorize everything in a viewer-friendly manner (alphabetically, type of cuisine, price range, location, etc.) and watch hungry hoards (a.k.a. me) flock to your blog. Soon enough, you’ll become the reputable reference for the food-obsessed and be making serious money, too! Who knows, with enough time and experience, you could even start to travel to the globe and potentially become the next Anthony Bourdain.
2. Sell Your Handmade Jewelry
Although dainty necklaces and rings are all the rage right now, jewelry trends are so fast-paced that it can be difficult to keep up with what's in ATM. Looks come and go, and what are we stuck with? Drawers full of cheap, rusty baubles all tangled up into a horrendous mish-mash, or you're left regretting purchasing that expensive chunky silver bracelet you’d no longer be caught dead sporting.
If you’ve got a knack for creating unique, quality jewelry, there’s definitely a huge market of stylish millennials waiting to pounce on your special creations. Set up a website showcasing your timeless handcrafted pieces and change your selection up seasonally to keep clients coming back for more. You can even make custom jewelry for those who are willing to dish out a bit more for your extra time and quirky flair. Sure, you could use Etsy, but the convenience and beauty of your own .CA domain is that it becomes your clients' go-to where they get a closer look at you as a craftsperson and feel the passion behind your art. It literally separates you from the thousands of other designers on a domain and grants you some exclusivity.
3. Create Amazing Websites for Others
You’d think that, in our tech-savvy, millennial-fraught society, literally everyone would know how to create their own website, but that’s just not the case; some people lack the time, drive, or skills to create a proper digital domain. If you, on the other hand, know exactly how to set up or upgrade a proudly Canadian .CA, look into promoting your services through word of mouth and social media, and wait for people to jump at the chance for you to build the website of their dreams. Plus, if your clients want to take it a step further and REALLY elevate their digital game? Tell them to hit up CIRA’s Digital Me ebook to learn insider tips that'll make their business or endeavour boom.
4. Sell Your Homegrown Produce
Not everyone's been blessed with a green thumb (... and enough patience and caring...) to start their own vegetable patch. If gardening is your hobby, why not sell your fruits and veggies online? It's no secret that visiting popular grocery stores means shelling out big bucks for fresh, organic products. I know tons of people who would much rather buy fresh, homegrown, pesticide-free fruits and veggies from a friendly Montrealer. Since many of us are more health-conscious nowadays, or opting for a vegetarian/vegan diet, you're guaranteed to find neighbours, fam, friends, and newfound clients who would be thrilled to buy your produce and support a small, local online business.
5. Chronicle Your Travel Adventures Online
Everyone loves to travel. And, when we're unable to do so, we love to check out hype travel blogs, Instagram feeds, and YouTube videos. If you're always finding an excuse to pack up or board a plane, you should consider chronicling your globe-trotting adventures online. Create a blog where you can let followers know the best spots to visit in different countries, the tastiest treats, the most exciting sights to behold, and highlight your amazing photography.
People like Cailin O'Neil are doing it right. Her popular web series, Travel Yourself, began a decade ago and has since given her tons of exposure. With the right self-branding, she hasn't just managed to fulfill her passion; she's turned her hobby into an exciting career that inspires others!
6. Start a Catering Business with Prized Family Recipes
I love getting my friends together for a potluck. What could be easier and more fun than everyone bringing a yummy dish for us to feast? But as someone who's slightly culinarily challenged (why didn't I inherit my grandmothers' talents?!), I feel like I sometimes fall flat as a hostess with my simple dips, chips, and brownies.
What do I wish existed? An online shop where I could place orders from a skilled home chef (such as yourself, perhaps?). I’m not even talking about anything super fancy or demanding. You make a mean three-cheese lasagna? You’re known for your bomb-ass roasted lemon potatoes? Friends rave about your equally delicious and nutritious couscous salad? How about a rich cheesecake from your secret family-recipes vault? I’m here to let you know that I would be ALL UP IN THERE. Take my money already!
7. Harness Your Love for Order to Become a Professional Organizer
As much as Marie Kondo has absolutely blown up since publishing her bestselling book and releasing her enlightening Netflix series, some of us still can’t get our lives together. So if organizational skills are innate to you, people would profit from visiting your website to see how you can help them declutter, overcome their pack-rat tendencies, pack smart for a big move, etc.
Even if you live to clean (yes, some people actually love this extremely satisfying and cathartic activity!), your ability to make things spick and span can be a gateway to offering your own cleaning services. Your knack for keeping things neats and spotless could be really helpful for single working parents, the elderly, or just plain lazy people.
8. Sell the Art You Keep Hiding
Truth time: I know a handful of ridiculously talented artists who could be making mad money if they just set up their own website for people to purchase their creations. And, to be quite frank, I'm kinda bummed that they don't realize their incredible skills and passion could easily turn into not only their side hustle, but a serious career just by designing their own .CA shop. Jaw-dropping landscapes, mesmerizing portraits, whimsical illustrations, and everything in between, hurry up and make your artwork known already! I need some kick-ass original paintings to decorate my walls ASAP.
9. Use Your Active Lifestyle to Train Others
Are you of that strange, rare breed who genuinely likes working out? Good news then: you can translate that enviable exercise enthusiasm into a personal-training business. Get yourself properly certified and advertise your services. Like the utterly successful Daniela Suarez, use your website to help others on their fitness journey by posting nutrition tips and tricks, recipes, and online training programs. Most people could use a little motivational boost, and you can tailor fitness programs to best suit each client, whether that be at-home workouts or gym sessions. Once you've helped one client successfully achieve their wellness goals, it'll be an automatic ripple effect!
10. Instead of Journaling, Start a Creative-Writing Blog
As a reading fanatic, I often want to peep a series of poignant excerpts, gripping prose, or transcendental poetry. If you thrive on the musicality of the written word, but you're too self-conscious to throw your brilliance at the virtual realm, I'm here to tell you that I will quite happily read your work! Promote your creative blog on popular social-media platforms and, soon enough, its popularity will skyrocket through word of mouth and recommendations. You'll be watching your special .CA baby garner tons of addicted followers. Once you secure a steady flow of regular readers, advertising arrangements and affiliate deals will also pour in, earning you the big bucks that could potentially replace your current fulltime job.
By the same token, if you also possess mad professional-writing or translation skills, designate an area of your website to offer these services. Writing surrounds us every day; advertising, articles, essays - you name it, it's there and could most likely benefit from some heavy copyediting! All you need is a few satisfied, regular clients to spread the word and garner you tons of money-making referrals. KA-CHING!
11. Turn Your Handyman Skills into Contracting Jobs
Personally, I've got big dreams of turning my place into a stunning, cozy oasis. Unfortunately for me, I also don't have a single construction bone in my body. So, how would I remedy this situation? Well, I'd hire a handy(wo)man. Now, most of us know friends or cousins who are electricians, carpenters, painters, etc., but we don't always want to interfere with their busy schedules, especially when it involves a minor repair. Then there are those gung-ho, manual labour-driven renovation whizzes who know exactly how to fix a place up or build a deck in one weekend; and that's where the big bucks lie in terms of additional income.
If you've got a knack for completing all sorts of home jobs, trust me when I say that people (hit me up, plz!) will be flagging you down when their dryer breaks, the plaster is chipping off their walls, or their cabinets are squeaking way too much. Set up a website listing all your services and price estimations and watch your side hustle flourish!
12. Offer Pet Services Instead of Swooning Over Cute Fur Babies Online
If you’re seriously obsessed with animals, pup parents city-wide would love to hire a trustworthy entrepreneur who's available to dogsit, walk, train, or groom their doggy. Plus, if you have the time and space, take advantage of it by offering to petsit at your own place, where you can safely take care of various pets simultaneously (a.k.a. more money in a shorter amount of time AND more fur babies to play with!). Set up an eye-catching professional website, list your daycare services and prices, and don't forget to include testimonials of satisfied customers and their adorable pets!
13. Review Makeup Faves and Flops on Your Blog
Confession: I'm obsessed with beauty products. But as much as I enjoy surfing YouTube, most beauty gurus are American or non-Quebecois Canucks. I'd love to know a Montreal makeup maven who blogs about products that I can actually purchase without trying to shade match online and paying crazy international shipping fees. It'd be particularly interesting if your focus was mainly on cruelty-free makeup and duping high-end must-haves, but that's just my two cents. You can also start a YouTube channel for your makeup hauls and tutorials, then link each video to your in-depth blog-post reviews of the products you mentioned.
Toronto makeup connoisseur Dal uses littlebeautyloves.ca as her pretty digital haven for all the best product reviews. Her faithful followers know they can always visit her awesome blog to find unbiased, honest reviews on skincare and beauty products.
14. Encourage Others to Emulate Your Minimalist/Zero-Waste Lifestyle
I've seen enough eye-opening documentaries and YouTube videos to know that minimalism and zero-waste living can lead us to enjoy simpler, happier, healthier lives and help save our planet at the same time. It'd be inspiring to know a relatable, genuine blogger who has successfully adopted this eco-conscious way of living and shows how to make it feasible for those of us willing to learn. I’d be down to try making my own all-natural peanut butter and handsoaps (most likely I’d be more inclined to buy yours!).
If you're currently thriving with this eco-friendly lifestyle, create your own blog full of easy hacks to help others embark on this important journey. You can make real money by offering tips and tricks on how to buy less plastic, create less trash, and focus on what actually sparks joy within.
The bottom line is that, in the long run, pursuing an endeavour you love will amount to a more easily sustainable, super gratifying money maker. You can simultaneously cultivate your personal interests and long-held passions while reaping the benefits of a successful business.
Building your own .CA is KEY to lending a professional, credible tone to your side gig, and it'll definitely expand your clientele by setting you apart from the rest. Downloading CIRA's Digital Me: Personal Branding in the Social Media Age ebook is pivotal in taking that first step to transforming your hobby into a profitable venture.