How to Make Money Online in Canada for Less Than $100
Are you thinking of how to make money online from home in Canada, becoming a virtual assistant or a freelance writer is a great way to do this.
It’s simple to get started, and you can make money online fast!
It’s simple, but not always easy.
I’ve been where you are.
You want to be on your own and running your own business, but there’s so much involved in getting started.
The accounting and planning.
It doesn’t have to be that stressful.
Learning how to make money online in Canada is not as difficult as it seems. It’s as simple or as complicated as you make it out to be.
For me it was simple.
*If you want to skim my back story and get right to the point, scroll down to “How I Started My Business and Learned to Make Money Online”
How to Make Money Online Fast From Home – How it Began
I was working at a job where I loved the clients, loved my boss and was working with my cousin, one of my favorite people in the world.
But, I had been doing this type of work for around 10 years and from the beginning, it never felt quite right.
There was always had a voice in the back of my head that said I should strike out on my own, but I couldn’t figure out what I should do.
I tried all sorts of things before settling on becoming a virtual assistant.
I started developing a reputation for going into a company, creating processes and systems for efficiency to help make everything run more smoothly.
It was pretty common that the people already working there, my colleagues, would end up not liking me because I went in and changed things.
On more than one occasion, people quit shortly after I started because they thought the way they were doing it was just fine.
I also had a hard time fitting in with other long term staff members. They didn’t like that I found inefficiencies and tried to fix them, which basically means finding their errors and trying to fix them.
I get it. No one likes to be told they did something wrong.
But every company has inefficiencies.
If someone came into my company right now with a fresh perspective, they would likely find tasks that I could be doing more efficiently. It’s the nature of the game.
Needless to say, I ended up being the unpopular one in most places I worked, except with the people I worked for, who usually ended up loving what I did for them, and hated when I quit because I was either bored or felt like there was something more out there for me.
The Hardest Decision
In 2017, I returned to a company I had previously worked for to help with a major transition since I already knew the client base.
To make a long story short, I became the right hand of the owner and was heavily relied on. The owner was someone I respected and looked to as a mentor.
He was really good to me and even paid for some training I had wanted to take for a while.
After the (incredibly mind-numbingly boring) training was over, that was the last straw.
I needed something else.
The boredom was overwhelming.
I was frustrated.
Most of my colleagues hated me and would go for days without speaking to me.
Not even a good morning.
It was not a place I could see myself staying for the rest of my career. The commute was around 2 hours every day and did not want to drive that much for another winter.
I felt excited about making money online exclusively but awful that I was leaving.
I felt like I was abandoning him and my cousin.
But ultimately, I have to make decisions that are right for me and my family.
So on Jan 2, 2019, I decided to tell him so there was no going back.
I wrote out what I want to say and after everyone left one day, I cried my way through my speech.
I mean bawling, sobbing, and hysterical crying.
It was ridiculous.
The Fall Out
He was confused. And upset, but since he had done a career change around my age, he seemed to understand.
After a few weeks of being clearly mad at me, things returned to normal and he agreed to let me transition out one day at a time. Phew!
I told the rest of the staff so they didn’t have to wonder why I wasn’t there for one day a week and I began planning my exit.
I had ripped the band-aid off and there was no going back now.
How I Started My Business and Learned to Make Money Online
I wasn’t sure where to begin or what kind of services I wanted to offer. So I made a list of about 10 business owners I knew and sent them each an individual email (not a mass, impersonal email) and asked them for their advice.
I made sure to let them know that I wasn’t asking THEM for work, but asking what sort of services would they find valuable in a virtual assistant.
I was surprised and delighted by the response.
Everyone was encouraging, supportive, and incredibly excited for me to start an online business.
It didn’t occur to me until after the emails that they had all been where I am right now. The beginning.
I had some very helpful responses and some fantastic advice.
Cost: $0 – Gmail is free
My First Client
I have done MANY things to try and be my own boss in the past.
I sold makeup, did home parties, sold phone services, sold books and toys on amazon, made low content journals (which I still do), blogging and so much more.
Along the way, I met someone who became a mentor to me when I started playing around with Amazon.
She took me under her wing and was happy to answer my (many, many) questions.
We had been good friends, talking a few times a week for years, but had never spoken, or met face to face.
When I told her I was starting my own business, she was SO excited. She jumped at the chance to hire me because she knew what I was capable of. I had even done a bit of virtual assistant work for her before once or twice.
She immediately fired her other virtual assistant and hired me.
She agreed to let me test out all my processes on her and she was happy to help.
I was grateful that she was also willing to offer me feedback after every stage and to let me know if anything seemed too difficult, or I was overcomplicating it.
Setting Up the Business
I started by asking a ton of questions in Facebook groups and reading everything I could get my hands on.
A few websites I stumbled across were:
Other VA sites (to see what they are doing) but be careful with this. I’ve noticed there are a LOT of VAs that don’t understand that if they charge a certain amount, they do not get paid that amount. They have taxes, and in Canada, we, as business owners, have to pay our own CPP. We have business expenses, we don’t have health insurance (except basic universal health care), and if we do, we need to buy it ourselves, and many other expenses.
You will likely get push back on your prices, but I’ve found that if you charge more upfront and can show that you know what you are doing, and are going to provide quality service, clients do not hesitate.
Be cautious of people who push back on your rates. These people often are watching every penny and will continually want more for less. I steer clear completely.
In my time as a VA, I have had one person push back on my prices. This same person came back to me 4 months later and offered me work at the original price I offered, but I had increased my price by that time, so he again wasn’t interested.
I am not interested in bargaining with people.
If someone is going to give you a hassle or want to negotiate your price, they are likely going to be a pain. These kinds of people usually nickel and dime you. Be very careful.
The only time I give discounts is when I’m trying something new and need a guinea pig to work out the kinks.
…Keep reading, but first, save this post on Pinterest, so when you’re ready to start making money online from home, you remember where you found it!
I had a zoom call with a very generous and lovely lady that helped me sort out my thoughts. She wanted to give back because of all the help she received in the beginning. She offered me a copy of her contract.
I took the contract and made it my own.
I didn’t want people to have to sign in person since I expected to have people all over the world as clients.
After searching around for a good system, I found hellosign. This is a company that allows you a few free signatures per month.
Since I wasn’t expecting a flood of clients in the beginning, it was perfect. I signed up and sent my contract to my first client/guinea pig.
If you want a copy of my current contract to use for yourself, feel free to contact me and I’m happy to send you a copy.
I wanted a name that was going to allow me to switch gears if I wanted. And I wanted it to convey a sense of quality.
It’s common for people to rebrand after a few years in business, so I didn’t want to spend too much time on this.
And Quality Biz Assist was born.
I ran it by my husband so he could tell me if it sounded dumb, then I asked a few people what they thought it meant.
It seemed to convey exactly what I was going for. I’m a virtual assistant, and I want to offer a quality service.
It’s hard to pick a name, but I decided what sort of message I wanted to send, then I played with thesaurus.com for a while to find the right combination of words.
Registering My Business
I registered my business through a program called Ownr. They are affiliated with RBC, so I was offered free business banking once I signed up. I believe they also have a logo service, but I already had my logo.
Cost: Approximately $70 CDN if I remember correctly.
I spent about an hour making a logo. I went to Canva, picked a symbol I thought was okay, and customized it.
Again, I knew that I would eventually want to change it because I didn’t know what my business was going to turn into, so I didn’t want to spend too much time on it. I slapped it on a business card, put my contact info and ordered some.
Cost: $12 CDN for business cards (not necessary if you are just networking online)
$0 for Canva free version
I wasn’t sure how I was going to invoice people, but I knew if I wanted to be taken seriously and charge what I wanted to charge, I had to look like professional, so I wanted a good invoicing system.
I was telling my husband about it one day and he mentioned Wave.
Wave is a company owned by RBC (I think it’s been purchased by H&R Block now, but I’m not sure).
I set myself up on the platform, added my logo and information, set up my first client, and sent the first invoice.
Once they pay, you can easily send a receipt, and you’re in business!
Wave is fantastic. It has made the accounting and invoicing side of the business a total dream. The client can even pay me through the app if they are in Canada. They can use PayPal from anywhere if they want. There are all kinds of payment systems.
Cost: $0 for use of Wave
It Doesn’t Always Go As Planned
Sometimes you will get a client that you just don’t click with.
This has happened to me, and it will happen to you.
My client and I met via zoom call for a discovery call. A few minutes into the call, I could feel that we didn’t exactly mesh.
She was nice and friendly, but we didn’t communicate well.
I, of course, ignored the feeling and we began working together.
Within a few weeks, I could tell we weren’t connecting and I offered her a refund for the hours she had not used. I don’t usually do this, and my contract even states that there are no refunds once work begins, but I felt like I had made an error in signing her and wanted to correct it.
She didn’t want to part ways, so I, again, ignored my gut.
We continued working together. A month or two later, she finally could see that we didn’t mesh and decided to part ways. I agreed and we went separate ways.
It will happen.
Clients will ask you for something you don’t offer.
I’ve made the mistake of not sticking to my guns on some things and I have always regretted it.
Set your price, set your policies, and do not waver.
My price is set, I work prepaid, and I have minimums.
I have never wavered on the prepayment for hourly work or set projects (ongoing monthly work). The only time I have gone against my own rule was for a local client and a very small job.
He paid me immediately, and I was not concerned.
Always listen to your gut.
Dealing With Rejection
When you are freelancing, you have to take the good with the bad.
Always be respectful, but firm with your boundaries.
The customer is not always right.
If you do a thing, say accounting or email management, and you have the training or experience, then you have to find ways to convey to your client that you know what you are talking about.
If people do not respect what you do, you don’t want them as clients.
I had a client who only wanted to communicate through email. There are programs I use to stay organized, but she wanted to do everything by email. I made an exception for her but quickly regretted it. I was losing my mind trying to keep on top of it all with all my other clients.
Eventually, I told her that I couldn’t continue in this manner. Remaining respectful, I told her what I used and why I used it.
She decided to part ways.
I even told her that most people will do what you want the way you want because they want your business so badly, but I have systems in place for a reason, and I can’t compromise the quality of my work for anyone.
She started asking questions about how I stay organized with my other clients. Within a few days, she had changed her mind.
Now think about how horrible that could have gone if I was offended or upset by her deciding to part ways. Instead, I kept it professional, set my boundaries, and it worked out.
You will get rejected. Some people will think your price is too high and not want to tell you.
Some will tell you and try to make you feel bad about it.
Just because they can get a VA in the Philippines for $4 an hour doesn’t mean they should.
I’m sure there are some good virtual assistants all over the world that charge very little, but I have a specialty, and I’ve spent years honing my skills.
I would be surprised if you can find a virtual assistant in a foreign country that can do what I can do.
You will also get ghosted.
You will be fired once in a while.
There will be days where you think you will never find the clients you are looking for.
This is running a business.
It is a roller coaster.
It is high highs and low lows.
If you can’t hack the stress, then stay working for someone else.
I say this to prevent you from feeling like a failure. If you can’t handle someone saying “thanks, but no thanks” without a reason, then you will likely take things too personally.
There is nothing wrong with being an employee. Sometimes I wish I was the kind of personality that could have stayed an employee.
It would have been so much easier.
Making Money Online Not All Rainbows and Lollipops
Working for yourself and making money online is a lot harder than it seems.
It’s not all vacations and mid-day naps.
If anything, it’s the opposite. You don’t get vacation days, sick days, holidays.
Your work is still there.
Expect to double the amount of time you spend on client work. Especially in the beginning.
It will be difficult to keep up.
This is how it works.
Get a few clients.
Freak out because you don’t have enough time.
Find a solution.
Feel comfortable again.
Freak out again.
Find another solution.
You will mess up, you will misunderstand a client. You will not know everything.
No one ever began anything as an expert.
Never in the history of mankind has someone been an expert before they practiced their craft.
You are not special.
It’s So Worth It
Being your own boss is a level of freedom that is unmatched. It’s terrifying because your failures are on you and everything is your responsibility, but it’s also exhilarating.
When you land a new client or see growth in your business, the feeling of accomplishment is incredible. You built this.
You had an idea and made it into a business.
This feeling is why people do this.
Also, 20-minute afternoon naps.
Find Something You Want to Do
Find something you enjoy doing.
I actually enjoy the process of starting and running a business more than anything else, so it was an easy decision. I figured out where I could help and what I didn’t hate doing and that’s where I started.
You don’t have to have it all figured out in the beginning.
My clients requests guided me. I took stock of what parts I liked and what parts I dreaded and recalibrated.
I still do.
Find something you enjoy doing and make money online doing it.
Dealing With Overwhelm
This is the hardest part for most of the self-employed population. I have all sorts of projects and ongoing work on the go and only so many hours in a day.
Make a plan. If you are ever overcome with overwhelm, take yourself out of what you’re doing and write down everything that’s on your mind.
Make a plan.
Spend a few hours brainstorming solutions.
Talk to people about it.
I keep a spreadsheet of tasks what I should be doing at each point in the day. Not everything gets done every day, but the plan is there, so if I’m floundering and need to refocus, I can look at my plan and bring myself back down to earth.
Talk to People
It’s so easy to just decide to work from home and become a hermit. And it’s easy to wallow in your overwhelm.
But it doesn’t help you, and it certainly doesn’t help your business.
If you have a problem, the process of talking to someone about it helps you figure it out. Even if they don’t have any advice, which they usually do, you can still get something out of talking about it.
Self-employment/entrepreneurship/business ownership is a lonely business.
There’s no water cooler to stand around, no colleagues to talk to.
If you know this going in, you can plan for it.
Are You Ready to Make Money Online, Canada?
Starting an online business sounds so flashy now. But it is a realistic way to make money online. I’ve done it, and I know an entire network of people who do it full time.
There are so many ways.
If becoming a virtual assistant is not your thing, then maybe try these options:
Make Money as a Freelance Writer Online - Honest Review of Elna Cain's Write to 1K Course
The Savvy Vault is a membership service that gives you access to all kinds of training for the tech stuff you need to run a virtual assistant business.
It is highly recommended if you do not know a lot of these programs. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this one.
This is a free download from The Virtual Savvy. When I was starting my business, I found Abbey Ashley had some incredible resources, both free and paid. Her Facebook group alone has over 35,000 members.
She is the go-to resource for anyone aspiring to be a virtual assistant.
This free 5 day masterclass will help you get your virtual assistant business started. I have not taken this course, but it is free and Abbey Ashley is THE person to learn from when you want to be a virtual assistant.
I scoured her website and used a ton of her resources when I was learning. She knows her stuff and is has a fantastic team, as well as a massive Facebook group where you employers and virtual assistants can connect with each other.
Abbey Ashley is the go-to teacher for becoming a virtual assistant. This is her signature course. I have not taken this course because I am a blog virtual assistant, so my specialty revolves around blogs.
Her course can teach you how to become all sorts of different types of VAs. I did not need much guidance due to my previous experience.
I highly recommend this course for anyone who wants to learn how to be a VA from start to finish. I do not know anyone who regretted taking this course.