35 Best Business Ideas to Start In Canada

35 Best Business Ideas to Start In Canada

Looking to start a business in Canada, but you're not quite sure what to start?

To start, building your own business should be a direct result of something you’re passionate about and something you truly believe in.

This is where the magic comes from - the drive, the itch to create something remarkable, and the motivation when times get tough.

Here are 35 successful business ideas and their story of getting started in Canada.

1. Become a facebook ads consultant ($62.4M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$28,500 — $6,358,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$283
Time To Revenue
240 days
Skills
Business model

Kean Graham from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada started MonetizeMore almost 13 years ago, a Facebook ads consultant.

  • Revenue: $5,200,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 190
  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Case Study

I originally fell in love with the online industry when working for a large online classified network. The job was an immense learning experience but once the recession hit, the company decided to lay off the marketing department. I lost the best job I ever had but I was determined to turn the bad into something great.

With the devotion to improve a little bit every single day, one can accumulate incredible improvement and success.

Five days later, I'm on a plane to South America to go on a life changing trip. Four months into my backpacking trip I was on a four-day trek through the incredible Inca trail towards Machu Picchu. By the end of it, I was sitting on top of Wayna Picchu reflecting on my experiences throughout my trip. I have had the most fulfilling time of my life and it finally clicked:

how-i-disrupted-the-ad-industry-and-grew-my-business-to-20m-year

2. Start a proposal software app ($6.84M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$570,000 — $1,316,667/month
Average Initial Investment
$100
Time To Revenue
360 days
Skills

Kyle Racki from Halifax, Canada started Proposify almost 10 years ago, a proposal software app.

  • Revenue: $570,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 76
  • Location: Halifax, Canada

Case Study

After high school, I studied graphic design in college and began working in agencies when I was 19 years old. That’s when I first noticed how time-consuming writing and designing proposals was, and I thought about what a solution might look like. This was in 2005 when SaaS was still relatively new. My vision was a product that was kind of like InDesign, which designers use to create professional layouts, but with the productivity and collaboration of a tool like Basecamp. I shelved that idea for many years before making a serious attempt to build it.

When I was 24 years old I left my full-time job and went out on my own as a freelancer, and shortly thereafter invited my friend and colleague, Kevin Springer to join me and create a web design and marketing agency called Headspace. We ran the business for five years, and that first business was where I made a lot of business mistakes and learned some painful lessons.

The key lessons I learned running the agency were:

how-we-built-proposify-and-grew-to-7m-arr

3. Start a photo booth business ($4.2M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$350,000 — $500,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$6,000
Skills

Scott McInnes from North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada started TapSnap over 10 years ago, a photo booth business.

  • Revenue: $350,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 18
  • Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Case Study

My first business was a disaster!

It was a small restaurant that I opened in 1995 at 25 years old that shut down 2 years later. I was broke, jobless and in debt. I didn’t have a specific idea of what I wanted to do, but knew that I still wanted to be an entrepreneur. I spent a couple of years working, reading business books and magazines, and looking for another opportunity.

I didn’t have much money so I could really only consider opportunities that I could start for a small amount of money and build on. And, it was also important to me that I found something that I could do as a side business. Now I guess that would be called a side hustle.

my-journey-to-starting-a-4-2m-year-photobooth-company

4. Start a recruiting agency ($3.48M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$100 — $320,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$60,000
Time To Revenue
300 days
Skills
Business model

Sharon Koifman from Montreal, Quebec, Canada started DistantJob over 14 years ago, a recruiting agency.

  • Revenue: $290,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 26
  • Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Case Study

I started off by running and owning a hosting company called Empire Host. We had about 3K clients at the time support was run from two offices in India with nearly 30 employees.

We were also providing an outsourcing package. Our business solutions were really cheap and to be frank, our results were mediocre at best. Although the service was fine for any mom and pop shop or even an “any results will do” kind of company, we noticed that too often, people who run tech companies actually outsourced to companies such as ourselves even work that went into their core offering - because it was cheap.

At the time, what outsourcing really was, was an arbitrage business. But the concept that people would outsource big chunks of their business to a company that does not provide the same level of communication, process, quality control, and culture just because they’ll save a lot of money, that idea really stuck with me.

how-i-started-a-3m-year-remote-worker-recruitment-agency

5. Start a water filter store ($2.4M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$1,500 — $200,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$95,333
Skills
Business model

Jay Vasantharajah from Canada started PureFilters over 7 years ago, a water filter store.

  • Revenue: $200,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 4
  • Location: Canada

Case Study

Honestly… I accidentally got into the business.

I run a digital marketing agency and at the time we had a lot of HVAC Contractors as clients. One of my clients was explaining to me how he sells furnace filters to customers that he visits, and wondered if he could sell them online instead. I researched this for him and concluded that there were a ton of Google searches for furnace filters. I pitched him on creating a new campaign to sell these filters online. He decided not to do it.

Once an idea comes into my head, I don’t rest until its given a fair shot, that’s just how I am. Even though my client said "no", I still wanted to do it because I was curious. I saw it as an opportunity to get a better understanding of the e-commerce landscape and the marketing challenges involved.

launching-a-furnace-filter-store-and-growing-to-60k-month

6. Start a cannabis business ($3M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$2,500 — $3,100,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$46,250
Skills

Bjorn Dawson from Waterloo, ON, Canada started Grobo over 8 years ago, a cannabis business.

  • Revenue: $250,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 11
  • Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada

Case Study

I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs so it was always something I knew I would go into. My grandfather, for example, built some of the earliest satellite communication technology. Today, our phones can connect to satellites, but back then it required a $10M+ facility. He used entrepreneurship to develop something new and transformational that still impacts our lives today.

With my parents as entrepreneurs, I grew up understanding that lifestyle. Although they worked nights and weekends, they were always able to come to my afternoon soccer games and had significantly more flexibility in their life than most people do. That’s the life I wanted. The ability to pick what you work on, make an impact on the world, and choose when and how you do it.

I truly believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur, which is why I went into Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo instead of going into a Business program. Within the first 6 months of being in Waterloo, I purchased a home to use as a rental property. It was the best investment I’ve ever made for two reasons. The most obvious reason is the financial return. Between rent and appreciation, the house net me over $25K/year for 5 years. The second reason is the gardens.

how-we-launched-a-165k-month-automated-home-growing-box

7. Start a meal prep business ($1.56M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$5,000 — $4,170,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$2,833
Time To Revenue
360 days
Skills

Andrei Calinescu from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started One Life Meals almost 10 years ago, a meal prep business.

  • Revenue: $130,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 29
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

I started One Life Meals in 2014 and it was pretty much the next logical step in my personal and professional evolution. After graduating from the University of Toronto in 2004 (Mechanical & Industrial Engineering) I worked for 5 years in the Pharmaceutical industry.

I moved around and gathered experiences from different departments, including Project Management, Engineering and Operations. I learned a lot during this time about how to manage a new project, create and lead teams, large-scale production, quality assurance and customer service.

Be very honest and real with yourself and the reason you want to be an entrepreneur. Being interested is not enough, you need to commit.

starting-a-1-5m-healthy-meals-delivery-business

8. Start a phone case business ($1.5M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$120,000 — $125,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$30,000
Skills

JP Brousseau from Quebec, Canada started Phone Loops almost 9 years ago, a phone case business.

  • Revenue: $125,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 5
  • Location: Quebec, Canada

Case Study

As a graduate of the University of Sherbrooke in mechanical engineering, I worked for six years as a consultant in several industries, applying my knowledge and skills in design, manufacturing, and organizational performance. I also taught part-time in college for about five years during the same period.

I ended up with an expertise in product development and project management. I had never operated a business before Phone Loops, and I started it slowly while working other jobs. It is my first entrepreneurial attempt, but definitely not my first business idea.

I had - and still have - hundreds of ideas for products in mind… You may wonder then why the Loop is the one product that actually made it through all the hoops…

selling-one-million-phone-accessories

9. Start a graphic design app ($1.02M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$100 — $85,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$12,575
Skills

Christopher Gimmer from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada started Snappa almost 7 years ago, a graphic design app.

  • Revenue: $85,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 4
  • Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

I started off my career in finance working for the federal government. Then in 2010, I took a trip to southeast Asia that changed my life. Towards the end of the trip, I dreaded the thought of going back to the office and I no longer wanted to do work that I didn’t enjoy. That’s when I first started thinking about starting a business that would give me more freedom and meaning in my life.

One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned over the years is the power of the long game. For starters, this applies to business and life in general. Sometimes you just need to play the game and things will happen.

A few years later I met Marc (now my co-founder) at work. After we became friends, I found out that he knew how to code and he was dabbling in some side projects. We discussed the idea of starting a business together and we were both pumped to do so.

how-two-friends-bootstrapped-a-saas-business-to-55k-mrr

10. Start a social media automation business ($3M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$4,000 — $333,333/month
Average Initial Investment
$30,500
Time To Revenue
270 days
Skills
Work from home

Justin Hartzman from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started Needls over 8 years ago, a social media automation business.

  • Revenue: $250,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 11
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

My two friends, Jeremy and Michael, and I have been building businesses together for the past decade and a half but we’ve known each other since we were kids, in fact, we met at camp!

We’ve had 3 exits, two in 2005, and another one about two and a half years ago. Now we run two startups together, one of which is Needls. My personal career started when I worked at my grandparent's outdoor lifestyle store in Kingston, Ontario.

Once we hit sales of 300x in the first quarter, we realized we had something.

how-we-built-a-3m-year-business-automating-social-media

11. Start a freelance writing business ($1.5M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$700 — $150,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$489
Time To Revenue
90 days
Skills
Business model

David Tile from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started Article-Writing Co over 11 years ago, a freelance writing business.

  • Revenue: $125,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 25
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

In 2011, coming out of college, I miserably tried to start a penny auction website. I studied Political Science at University, which had absolutely no bearing on this idea. I knew I wanted to do something entrepreneurial and was consumed by this auction model. I had my own specific mechanics that I thought would make the game a lot more fair for the average consumer. But alas, 6-8 months later, after burning through thousands of dollars trying to get the technology right, I was absolutely nowhere.

I was resigned to not give up, but the mechanics of the auction are critical to the smooth operation of the website and if you can’t get it right you don’t have a business. So I decided to start taking on some freelance writing work, just to get some cash in.

One thing led to another and I started getting some bigger clients with bigger asks. Eventually, I snowballed hiring some writers and copy editors. Turning this thing into a full-time business operation.

how-i-started-a-80k-month-content-writing-business

12. Start a leather business ($900K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$1,000 — $100,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$5,000
Time To Revenue
240 days
Time Commitment Per Week
Min. 10 hours/week
Skills
Interests
Business model

Ryan Popoff from Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand started Popov Leather almost 10 years ago, a leather business.

  • Revenue: $75,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10
  • Location: Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand

Case Study

Popov Leather started as a hobby.

After I graduated from art school, I had no idea what to do with myself. Leatherworking appealed to me because of how sculptural it is. Leather can vary wildly; from the way it’s tanned, the type of animal it comes from, down to how thick it is. Exploring leather as a sculptural material excited me and I was supported by a fantastic community both online (Reddit, leatherworker.net) and offline (vendors such as longview leather).

Eventually, I made a wallet that I was proud of, something I would love to carry with me. I took a few pictures and listed it on Etsy.

popov-leather-from-handmade-leather-wallets-to-900k-revenue

13. Start a luggage storage business ($780K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$2,000 — $100,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$9,999
Time To Revenue
300 days
Skills
Business model

Eugene Veeden from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started BagsAway Luggage Storage about 5 years ago, a luggage storage business.

  • Revenue: $65,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

I am a software engineer, graduated from McMaster University then began a career in Oil & Gas, where I was fortunate enough to have been granted a leave of absence. I used this opportunity to explore the world and travel to South America, Asia, and Africa!

BagsAway was born as an answer to a recurring problem my co-founder Irina and I experienced on travels, and I observed back home when renting my place on Airbnb. We are first and foremost world enthusiasts at heart - travel is a passion and a life goal for us and luggage, of course, is an inseparable part of the travel experience.

We often found our bags to be time wasters, having to make special trips to drop off or retrieve them on arrival and departure days. Or just having to drag them along, which of course limited what we could do, and we were not the only ones. We noticed others dragging their bags on Hollywood Blvd or sitting on a beach with backpacks in Asia before boarding their boats.

Validation of our business came when my Airbnb guests were repeatedly asking for a place to leave their bags before their late afternoon checkin’ and after their checkout before their evening flights, we realized there was a bigger problem and with it an opportunity. Time is the most precious currency we have so we figured there had to be a better way, and when we couldn’t find a solution we decided to create it ourselves. We were also accepted into the DMZ (Ryerson Digital Media Zone), which is the top business incubator in Canada!

how-we-started-a-65k-month-world-wide-luggage-storage-service

14. Start an axe throwing business ($720K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$60,000 — $80,000/month
Skills
Business model

James Anderson from Whistler Resort Municipality, British Columbia, Canada started Forged Axe Throwing over 5 years ago, a axe throwing business.

  • Revenue: $60,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6
  • Location: Whistler Resort Municipality, British Columbia, Canada

Case Study

I’ve always wanted to run my own business. I think I have a general problem with authority.

The first job I ever had was teaching windsurfing in the summer for a summer camp, then in the winter I would teach snowboarding for a small hill in Ontario. This was my first exposure to the tourism industry.

We had a lineup out the door for ages and introduced hundreds of people to our venue. We even ran out of waivers because we couldn’t anticipate how busy we were going to be.

how-we-started-a-1m-axe-throwing-party-business

15. Start a waterbottle business ($636K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$53,000 — $78,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$1,300,000
Time To Revenue
180 days
Skills
Business model

Jesse Hambly from Elora, Ontario, Canada started Pressa Inc. about 7 years ago, a waterbottle business.

  • Revenue: $53,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Elora, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

We started the project in college when we noticed class-mates flavoring their water naturally with lemons and limes. One of our roommates complained that she wasn’t getting much flavor and often disposed of the fruit at the end of the day. So we went to work creating concepts for how we thought the product would function and look.

We had absolutely no background in plastics and for this reason. Jesse’s background was marketing, Lukes was manufacturing and Mason graduated from Toronto Film academy. Our product is quite complex and was difficult but once we got it dialed in we’ve been able to repeat the manufacturing process perfectly. After our first concept, we validated the product by running a successful Kickstarter campaign. Our campaign wasn’t pretty but it did the trick and we reached our goal of 35k.

In our Kickstarter campaign, we underpriced the product. People on Kickstarter expect to pay slightly more to be the first to own a product, if we were to have done this again I’d price the product higher.

how-we-created-a-53k-month-innovative-water-bottle

16. Start a phone case business ($1.44M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$120,000 — $125,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$30,000
Skills

Andrew Moore from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started Felony Case over 10 years ago, a phone case business.

  • Revenue: $120,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

It’s a funny origin story, because I never set out to start an iPhone case company.

I had just graduated from college and I was working as a driver delivering construction supplies. It gave me a ton of time to listen to podcasts and I was really drawn to tech and startup focused ones. I had an idea for a while to do a wishlist website where people could create and share a list of gifts they wanted. I ended up having the site built, but I didn’t know how to get people using the website.

Don’t be afraid to start! Don’t overthink it, get a product out into the world and start your journey.

how-i-started-and-grew-a-50k-mo-phone-case-business

17. Become a freelance app developer ($600K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$10,000 — $91,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$350
Time To Revenue
240 days
Skills
Business model

Cam Upson from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada started Appsitude over 7 years ago, a freelance app developer.

  • Revenue: $50,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 8
  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Case Study

I grew up in North Vancouver, Canada, as a normal kid, went to public school, I have zero post-secondary experience, and yet I had this unwavering need to succeed to do something great, I just didn't know what. I don't know if it was to prove it to myself or to show everyone else I could do it? Everyone could always tell I was different than my friends they would be out partying and I would be doing something business-related to either better myself or figuring out another way to make money.

If it's not your area of expertise and you have the money I would recommend hiring out for positions your not good at.

I knew I wouldn't be like them, working 9-5 for somebody wasn't something I could do the rest of my life I needed to figure something out and fast. Every job I got I was either fired or quit. It really is true that a boss makes a terrible employee.

acquiring-a-stagnant-app-development-company-and-leading-it-to-50k-month

18. Start a litter removal business ($660K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$55,000/month
Time To Revenue
240 days
Skills

Brian Winch from Alberta, Canada started CleanLots.com about 41 years ago, a litter removal business.

  • Revenue: $55,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Alberta, Canada

Case Study

I was working a full-time job at a sporting goods store when I realized that I couldn’t see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I didn’t really mind the work but didn’t enjoy working within the same four walls every day, making the same income regardless of how hard I worked and having to put in my time before being able to go home.

The great thing about starting your business as a side hustle is being able to learn and grow and eventually be in a great position to decide for yourself if you want to quit your job or have the best of both worlds.

I started thinking about the possibility of working for myself rather than someone else. But what kind of business? I didn’t have much going for me as previously noted. So I started to evaluate opportunities to match my interests and resources. Keep in mind there was no internet in 1981. I bought a number of business opportunity magazines from the news-stands and started the process of elimination.

how-i-started-a-40k-month-commercial-litter-cleaning-service

19. Start a fulfillment by amazon business ($1.26M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$2,300 — $500,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$900
Skills
Business model

Danny Carlson from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada started Kenji ROI almost 6 years ago, a fulfillment by amazon business.

  • Revenue: $105,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 25
  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Case Study

I’ve always been a thrill-seeker/adrenaline junky, so online business to me was the perfect outlet for that energy.

When I was younger I struggled with paying attention in school, I thought it was pointless. I was really smart, but only when I was interested in something. I barely managed to graduate high school due to skipping class and partying too much.

The thought of going to University sounded terrible to me, and I got depressed after resigning to a future of working a job I hated. I just didn’t see a compelling future.

This led me to work as a carpenter for 6 years in the pouring Vancouver rain, and I hated it. It wasn’t until 2015 I stumbled upon The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris and my mind expanded to the possibilities of the online business world (and how it would be my escape from construction)!

how-i-started-a-40k-month-amazon-fba-seller-services-agency

20. Start a watch brand ($300K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$1,500 — $320,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$7,333
Time To Revenue
240 days
Business model

Ronnie Teja from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada started Branzio over 4 years ago, a watch brand.

  • Revenue: $25,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 10
  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Case Study

My family moved to Canada in May 2007 which makes me a first generation immigrant. I was 21 around the time, and I came from Mumbai, India where I already had a job in advertising.

I continued to experiment with drop shipping and other small ecommerce niches, till it hit me - I needed to build a brand, which was focused on longevity, I wanted to start a purpose-driven brand, not just any watch store.

In those days, Vancouver was still a small market and the opportunities in advertising and other related industry were very limited, so I got a job selling Indian (Punjabi) radio and for my first year in Vancouver, Canada. I took public transit to do sales at mom and pop Indian stores door to door to sell radio advertising.

how-i-built-a-booming-watch-brand-from-nothing

21. Start a podcast production company ($192K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$400 — $125,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$51,500
Time To Revenue
240 days
Skills
Business model
Work from home

Jeremy Enns from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada started Counterweight Creative over 6 years ago, a podcast production company.

  • Revenue: $16,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Case Study

I went to school for audio engineering, initially wanting to produce records for bands and artists. After graduating in 2012, I interned at a big studio in my hometown of Vancouver, and while I learned a lot, I quickly realized that I didn’t have the drive (or financial ability) to show up at the studio at 8am and work (for free) until 4am six or seven days a week for a year or more before moving up into a position that might pay $10/hr and actually start getting paid to work on music.

I went home that night, started a profile on UpWork, got my first client three days later, and within six months had quit my landscaping job and was working for myself full time as a podcast producer.

After interning just a couple of days per week for over a year, while also working full-time at a retail job, I quit the internship and put my dreams of working in the music industry behind me. I worked a number of manual labour jobs including landscape construction and maintenance, tree planting in northern Canada, and others before taking a year off to travel, bicycling across Europe, and backpacking through the Balkans, and Asia.

how-i-started-a-successful-podcast-production-company

22. Start a balloon decor business ($240K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$20,000/month
Time To Revenue
240 days
Skills
Business model

Janeen Brown from started Balloon Haus LLC over 4 years ago, a balloon decor business.

  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 16
  • Location:

Case Study

I’ve always had quite the entrepreneurial spirit, always thinking of the next best idea which is how my first business was created - a non-profit focused on helping young women, followed by an employee concierge, I started with my father Jeluxxe Lifestyle Solutions. I was always intrigued to hear about others’ journeys and how they became full-time entrepreneurs but never thought I’d get there but here I am, thanks to Balloon Haus INC. As well as, reading and learning have always been an interest of mine, which is why I was able to start this “little balloon company.”

Balloon Haus was a random idea that turned a successful business. A client from one of my other companies was looking for balloon decor and my assistant agreed to help with finding a vendor. This was much harder than we thought it would be and with no luck, we turned to youtube and figured out how to create the requested installation ourselves and the rest was history. I registered the business the same day, contacted my father and he told me, “this was the best decision you have ever made.” This was the only validation that I needed to know, this was going to be a successful business.

DO NOT TAKE ON A DIFFICULT CUSTOMER. If you notice communicating with the customer from the beginning is not easy - do not continue as you will regret it and most likely end up with an unhappy customer by the end of the transaction.

how-i-started-a-20k-month-balloon-installations-and-decorations-business

23. Start a watch brand ($240K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$1,500 — $320,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$7,333
Time To Revenue
240 days
Business model

Steve Christensen from Alberta, Canada started NOVO watch almost 11 years ago, a watch brand.

  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Alberta, Canada

Case Study

I am a watch fanatic! Ever since I was a young boy I’ve loved watches. During a summer job, after failing to find a cool new watch to buy, I told my friends I was going to start my own watch company and I did!

It seems the best way to attract customers is the story. Customers are smart and if the story isn’t authentic they’ll see that.

My goal was to look at new unique ways to tell time and approach the watch world differently. For the next few semesters and throughout my masters program I would sit at the back of the class drawing designs, emailing people from China and sending money to unknown people in hopes I would see my ideas turn into reality. When I finally got my first products, I was hooked. Entrepreneurship in the watch world my dream and I was standing at the foot of it.

steve-christensen-is-building-watches-from-old-train-tracks

24. Build an api ($360K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$3,600 — $500,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$150
Skills

Ervin Ruci from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada started Geocode.xyz almost 6 years ago, a API.

  • Revenue: $30,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

I have a background in CS and Math (My master CS thesis was on a class of 3SUM hard problems in Computational Geometry)

I’ve been building independent bootstrapped startups since 2005, when I quit my last day job. One of those is geocoder.ca, a geocoding API for Canada and the US I started in 2005 (and is still going strong). It also served as the starting point to go global with geocode.xyz in 2016.

Identify your strengths and do what you like to do. Having a sense of purpose is important, especially when that purpose is to solve a problem you can muster the ability to solve.

creating-an-api-for-developers-earning-15k-month

25. Start an aftermarket car parts business ($540K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$45,000 — $325,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$39,999
Skills
Business model

Mitchel Matthews from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada started Adrenaline Offroad almost 5 years ago, a aftermarket car parts business.

  • Revenue: $45,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 3
  • Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Case Study

My passion for trucks started way before I could even drive. I always wanted to have a huge lifted truck and I loved the idea of driving a vehicle that could make it through conditions that most vehicles couldn’t such as a deep ditch full of water or 3 feet of snow! My grandfather willed me one of his trucks so when I was 16 years old I was blessed to now have his old truck as my own! It was completely bone stock with not a single modification done to it….YET! Over the years I saved pretty much every penny I made at my minimum wage jobs and invested it all into building my truck up to be the beast that it is today!

These before and after pictures below are almost 6 years apart!

how-i-started-a-12k-month-aftermarket-vehicle-accessories

26. Start a franchise development business ($120K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$10,000 — $1,000,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$50,000
Skills
Business model

Andrew Hoffman from Brampton, Ontario, Canada started My Franchise Partners almost 8 years ago, a franchise development business.

  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

My background includes varied experience with the finance, operations and business development of retail, wholesale, manufacturing, distribution, importing, exporting, sales and consulting companies.

I was very fortunate to enjoy many challenges with start-up, turnaround, and fast-paced opportunities. This includes multiple locations, union and non-union shops, international commerce, restructuring and defining roles, policies, and procedures

Over the years many people suggested I had the experience and attributes required for success as a consultant. As I explored a variety of ideas I was drawn to the franchise world. I get to work with people who have a strong desire to operate their own business, build a better future and want to leave a legacy for their family. I thoroughly enjoy working with entrepreneurs who are ready for the next step in their growth cycle.

how-i-started-a-10k-month-franchise-development-business

27. Start a bathroom appliance business ($120K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$10,000 — $500,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$135,000
Time To Revenue
300 days
Skills
Business model

Ahmad Iqbal from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started Nadeef Bidet over 7 years ago, a bathroom appliance business.

  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

I was born in Canada, but as a child, my family and I moved around the world a lot. Before turning 22, I had lived in Pakistan, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Korea, England, United States, Italy, Dubai, not to mention Canada. My dad has a pretty cool job which required him to spend years at a time in different countries, and I believe that travel gave me a lot of perspective and maturity for my age.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the traveling was what eventually gave me the idea to start Nadeef. Basically, in Middle Eastern countries and places like Japan, Korea, and Pakistan, having a bidet is quite common. In fact, the houses and apartments have hand-held bidets built in as standard. So growing up with this bathroom hygiene I expected it as standard. Personally, I cannot use a bathroom now without a hand-held bidet - it just doesn’t feel right. There are millions of people that share this pain with me; my friends and family, and many people in our community.

I see entrepreneurship as an equation. On one side of the equation is product, and on the other side is marketing. Most people just solve for the product side.

creating-a-handheld-bidet-earning-10k-mo

28. Start a woodworking business ($78K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$1,000 — $1,600,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$17,833
Time Commitment Per Week
Min. 5 hours/week
Skills
Interests

Sasha Weekes from Hunter River, Prince Edward Island, Canada started Timber Grove Studios over 5 years ago, a woodworking business.

  • Revenue: $6,500/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Hunter River, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Case Study

I was always the art kid growing up, so I naturally began my post secondary education by pursuing a degree in Fine Arts. I spent my summers refinishing furniture and doing photography and that’s how I got my feet wet with business, so by my second year, I was also pursuing a minor in Commerce.

I had never really done much woodworking at all but became a lot more interested in design and home decor during those years. After finishing my third year, I was itching to do something more practical than becoming a gallery artist, so I set my sights on furniture design and enrolled in a college cabinetmaking course instead. It really wasn’t where I had ever expected to end up, but it was sort of a natural progression and I’m so glad I did it!

I started making mountain shelves in the morning before class to sell on Facebook and Kijiji. It was intended to be a fun side project but they were so popular that I started my business shortly after graduating with the mountains as my first product.

how-i-took-my-woodworking-hobby-full-time-to-build-a-successful-brand

29. Start a coffee roasting business ($90K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$7,500 — $150,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$30,750
Skills
Business model

Michael Russo from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada started Firebean Coffee Roasters almost 8 years ago, a coffee roasting business.

  • Revenue: $7,500/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Case Study

I’m a life-long learner.

I believe in play, and I love to create stuff. I’m a teacher by trade, turned to stay at home dad. The joke has been if you leave a guy at home long enough, he will find hobbies...and they sometimes involve fire.

Talk to a small group of peeps that are not being served in a certain way and provide that small group a really awesome experience.

starting-a-pedal-powered-coffee-roasting-business

30. Start an embroidery business ($120K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$6,500 — $10,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$2,000
Time To Revenue
180 days
Skills
Business model

Mike Lecky from Montreal, Quebec, Canada started Vagabond Heart over 5 years ago, a embroidery business.

  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Case Study

As I mentioned above, I’m a serial entrepreneur, and a lifelong maker. I’ve been selling online since the early 2000’s, well before Shopify made it easy, even before Amazon existed. In the past I’ve designed typefaces, ran a literary magazine, published books, sold vintage menswear, and even built and sold wooden furniture online.

The idea for Vagabond Heart came to me three years ago when I was on a winter-long vacation in a small town in Mexico, which I loved, except for the fact that I didn’t really have anything to do with my time. I thought to myself, “If i’m going to come down here every winter, I need a project to keep me busy.”

The idea was a combination of my interest in vintage clothing, style, and old movies, with my love of menswear and fashion, and of course, travel. What I wanted was a way to make my normal looking duffel bag look like an updated version of the luggage you’d see on a trans-Atlantic crossing in the 1920’s, or on the runway in Casablanca.

how-i-started-a-successful-brand-selling-vintage-patches-on-etsy

31. Start an online food business ($54K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$4,000 — $12,500,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$77,633
Time To Revenue
360 days

Katie Young from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada started Klondike Kettle Corn almost 8 years ago, a online food business.

  • Revenue: $4,500/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Case Study

It was actually a close friend’s idea to set up a kettle corn business in the Yukon. He had seen one set up down south (Vancouver) and thought it would take off in Carcross, a small community just outside of Whitehorse, that was starting to cater to tourists coming off the cruise ships from Skagway, AK.

When other work commitments did not allow him to follow through with his business idea, I stepped in to help. Eventually, I bought the kettle corn business from him and started to attend the Fireweed Community Market in Whitehorse.

Be open to new ideas and always be searching for creative ways to keep your product interesting.

how-i-launched-a-gourmet-popcorn-brand-from-the-yukon

32. Start a career coaching business ($36K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$1,000 — $500,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$2,685
Time To Revenue
210 days
Skills

Nissar Ahamed from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started CareerMetis.com over 7 years ago, a career coaching business.

  • Revenue: $3,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

I started my 20s like most new graduates — unemployed and eager to start earning a living. I had just moved to Toronto, Canada, and I wanted to get a decent start to my carer.

But, as you can imagine, I went through all the challenges of the job search. I sent numerous applications and got only a handful of interviews and then struggled to convert those interviews into a successful job offer.

After a year of struggle and odd jobs, I did manage to break through and land a successful corporate job at age 22 in the electronic payments industry. It was my first breakthrough and laid the foundation for a successful Corporate Sales Career.

how-i-started-a-1-5k-month-blog-about-career-advice

33. Start a men's underwear brand ($9.6K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$800 — $475,000,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$12,310
Skills

Zaid Shahatit from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started Nooks almost 3 years ago, a men's underwear brand.

  • Revenue: $800/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

I was always going to go to med school as far back as I remember. I busted my a-- in high school and university - balanced fitness with a good GPA, extra-curricular, research, etc. Unfortunately, I applied and didn’t get in, so I decided to start working on a Masters Degree in Genetics and Bipolar Disorder research. Although it’s still currently my “day job”, I have to say that I really didn’t like having to go somewhere 9-5 and waste 3 hours a day on a commute.

I’ve always wanted to start selling online. I looked at brands like Chubbies and Dr. Squatch and absolutely loved their humor-packed marketing to regular guys. Fast forward to needing to buy underwear, and I remember not really connecting to brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger - they show ripped dudes with 10-pack abs and play off of “sexy” marketing. Although they do cater to a certain segment of the market, and clearly their marketing works, I thought that “regular guys” (including me) were being underserved. Plus, their materials are either cotton (which isn’t very… ”friendly”) or synthetic materials. Both of them are uncomfortable, get sweaty and are generally unpleasant to wear.

Here’s a simple test to see if you really connect with a brand. Ask yourself “what underwear am I wearing?”. I’m willing to bet that for most guys, they don’t really know. When it comes to underwear, most guys don’t consider what they’re wearing. All they know is that it’s something you wear under your clothes. I thought - hey, let me try to get guys excited about underwear.

on-starting-a-men-s-underwear-brand

34. ($0/year)

Quin Amorim from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada started Q&A Selling Online Podcast over 5 years ago, a business.

  • Revenue: $0/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 3
  • Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Case Study

I started selling online in 1997, way before it was cool to sell online.

Not because I wanted to start an online business, but out of necessity, in order to have money to party with my friends.

how-i-started-a-podcast-business-from-home

35. Start a woodworking business ($300K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$1,000 — $1,600,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$17,833
Time Commitment Per Week
Min. 5 hours/week
Skills
Interests

Cameron Vilcsak from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada started Mountain Fire Woodworks over 4 years ago, a woodworking business.

  • Revenue: $25,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Case Study

I grew up surrounded by people who fixed, built, and problem solved for themselves. Always interested in building things and entrepreneurial pursuits, at 14 I had the idea to attach a chainsaw engine to my bicycle for my transportation.

A few weeks later and help from my Grandpa, I was whizzing past cars with an ear to ear smile on my face.

With a little luck, and a lot of gaming the YouTube algorithm, I was able to experience the viral effects of the internet. It has now been seen by over 25m people through my channel and other media networks.

how-i-gamed-the-youtube-algorithm-and-went-viral-with-25m-views

Conclusion

Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed.

To learn more about starting a business, check out our course on Starter Story.

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
Want to start your own business?

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meet the author
Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.