Though scores of our American neighbours have or are leaving their jobs – many to go into business for themselves – the COVID-19 induced phenomenon doesn’t appear to be occurring in Canada.

Dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’ (a term used to describe a massive employee exodus from their workplaces), it reflects workers’ dissatisfaction with their existing jobs. But, if anything, maybe it should be called the ‘great reassessment’ in Canada, as the ongoing global pandemic encourages people to rethink their careers, work-life balance, long-term goals, and working conditions.

According to data compiled by Statistics Canada in January 2022 through its Labour Force Survey, fewer than one in 10 workers aged 15 to 69 (7.3%) were planning to leave their current job within the next 12 months, compared with 16.1% in 2016. However, of those planning on leaving their jobs and why 15.7% cite low pay, 4.3% say it’s because of a heavy workload, and 2.2% will make a move since they cannot work from home in their current role. A further 24% cite a career change as the primary reason for planning to leave their current jobs.

An entrepreneur at work

Meanwhile, “The Future of Entrepreneurship in Canada 2021” report by QuickBooks found 2 million Canadian entrepreneurs started a business or side hustle during COVID-19. Of those startups, 59% of entrepreneurs sell goods or services online, and 37% operate online exclusively, suggesting the pandemic may have accelerated the so-called digital disruption that many industries were experiencing before the public health crisis emerged.

Interestingly, an independent survey of 3,000 Canadians conducted in late 2021 suggests one in five (35%) are either considering or are unsure about leaving their current jobs. Nearly 29% of respondents to that poll say they want their employers to be flexible in terms of their work locations. So, time will tell if data shows what’s happening in the U.S. will be mirrored in Canada.

In any event, if you are considering leaving your permanent position to start your own business, here are five startup ideas that may appeal to you:

1. Start selling products online

Whether you build and manage an e-commerce website to sell products, use a third-party marketplace like Amazon or both, becoming a digital retailer has its potential upsides. In its “2021 Amazon Canada Impact Report”, Amazon notes 40,000 Canadian third-party sellers are using its marketplace (an increase of 5,000 new sellers from one year ago), who sold almost 110 million products – that’s 209 products sold every minute. Nearly 4,000 had over $100,000 in sales among Canadian sellers, a 24% year-over-year increase. Of course, you’ll need to craft a unique selling proposition and have a profitability strategy. But you’ll also need to protect your upstart online venture. Any independent seller or small business is potentially liable for injuries, illnesses, or property damage a customer suffers from the item they purchase from you, including products you did not design or manufacture.

2. Pretty things up: Start a beauty business

Personal care products, cosmetics, and beauty salons appear to be a growth industry. For example, data shows the value of the Canadian cosmetics market is forecast to reach around US$15 billion in 2021. Research your local market and uncover beauty services that may not be available or offered in your region. There’s a wide range of options, from hairstylists, barbers, estheticians to nail technicians and salon and spa owners.

3. Run a pet business

People love their pets, and the pet industry in Canada is estimated to be worth US$7 billion annually. Considering the pandemic triggered an 18% upsurge in pet ownership, and 58% of Canadians own pets, there are plenty of opportunities to launch a new business in the pet industry, whether product- or service-based. Maybe you’re envisioning a pet grooming service or a pet daycare and training business. Moreover, since veterinarians say 55% of dogs they examine don’t get adequate exercise, if you love dogs, enjoy the outdoors, running a dog walking business might be to your liking. It can be a worthwhile venture: professional dog walker salaries in Canada in 2022 range between $24,863 to $47,288 per year.

4. Become an Airbnb or VRBO host

If you have a second or seasonal property or a spacious dwelling with a separate apartment to rent, why not get into the vacation rental business by becoming an Airbnb or VRBO host? Using platforms like Airbnb and VRBO, you can market your property directly to your target audiences. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll be rolling in money quickly, but it can be a lucrative source of income depending on where you live, the type of accommodations, and the quality of service you provide.  

5. Get into landscaping

Maybe you’re not into dogs but love the outdoors all the same. You could start a landscaping and lawn care business and help property owners transform their land by creating beautiful, natural outdoor spaces. While there is a lot of competition in this industry, the $13 billion market is expected to increase as the pandemic wanes (fingers crossed), with the average landscaping salary is estimated to be between $45,825 and $58,500 annually.

Protecting Your Startup Business

No matter what kind of small business you decide to establish, don’t let all your hard work, determination, and investment be wiped out by an unexpected accident or incident that could cost you thousands of dollars.

Fill out an online application for liability insurance and let our licensed brokers find you the policy you need at the lowest price available on the market.

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