Starting a new business or side gig can be scary, especially if you're doing it alone. Here you'll find plenty of places, people and resources to guide you through the process.
There's an old saying, "If you want to write, write what you know." Here at Subkit we believe if you want your big idea to succeed, start where you know.
Whether you’re a chef or a doula, whether you want to capture hearts and minds through a podcast, a newsletter or grow your subscription audience, it’s never bad to begin at home. Right here in the centre of Canada's universe, TO.
Toronto. The most diverse city in the world. Where dive bars, Drake and racoons reign supreme. If you're starting or scaling your service business from the 416, here's how to begin your solo entrepreneur journey...
Become a solo entrepreneur in Toronto
Starting a business doesn’t have to mean a huge investment of time or money. You don’t need an office space, all you need is a comfortable place with good energy and great wifi. Luckily, you can find that all over Toronto. There are hundreds of co-working spaces, coffeeshops and bars to work from. All with the incredible advantage of connecting with other like-minded people who are also building their business and side hustles from scratch... to infinity.
Now that you’ve found your purpose, it’s time to find your people. Here are where other solopreneurs are getting sh*t done in Toronto, co-working, and networking over coffee and cocktails.
Cool co-working spaces at reasonable prices:
Spaces: Large locations around Toronto with accessible rates. Check out their helpful online magazine for new businesses to get the inspiration flowing.
Workhaus: These Canadian co-working spaces offers both designated desks and hot desks to help you go solo, with 10 locations around the city and North York.
Soho House Toronto: Yes, the members club. Their TO location's third floor is a wonderful co-working space to grow your solopreneur network. Make sure you're there for lunch, their AYCE salad-bar lunch spread is divine. Penny candy included.
Parent friendly co-working:
Nest + Hatch: This eco-conscious, gorgeous child-led space has a community backroom for co-working. Right on rockin' Roncesvalles.
The Workaround: A parent friendly workspace with full-on childcare. On the Danforth, so you can get Greek takeaway for your whole family on your way out.
Kids&Company: Kids&Co has multiple downtown locations to gsd and get sh*t growing, with lots of support (read: ECE childcare) for your littles.
Coffee shops with free wifi to work from and network in:
Jimmy's Coffee: With locations around Toronto, they are a fab place to fuel up as you work and network. As Jimmy says, "Talented baristas crafting irresistible coffee over authentic conversations. All set against the backdrop of cozy, eclectic cafes."
Dineen Coffee: If you're on Yonge, this is the place to work while caffeinating. While here, please treat yourself to one of their baguette sandwiches.
Pilot: This airy, palatial coffee shoppe has all the wifi you need to power your solo journey. Please pair their beloved espresso drinks with their fresh-daily croissants.
Bars with excellent wifi to work from and network in:
Northwood: No, it's not just for tinder dates. This charming bar + patio is a wonderful place to mix, mingle and work with beer happy hours every 5-7pm.
Northern Belle: This dame right off of the park has an extensive cocktail list, with some real ginners and bourbon-forward options. Work while sipping on world-class cocktails... dreams do come true.
C'est What: Don't be afraid of giant, dark basements. This pub has Toronto's most extensive beer lists, sitting pretty in the east end with flawless wifi.
Tools you need to start a business in Toronto, and where to find them
Excited to begin, but need to know how to start your business in Toronto and beyond? Below are some helpful tips for solo entrepreneurs. If you need that extra help creating branding for your new business, need to rent audio equipment to launch your podcast, or simply need some financial help going solo in Toronto, here is all you seek.
Professional images for your service and/or products:
Upwork.com: A wonderful online hub! Find affordable talent to help you unlock your businesses full potential.
BlackOwnedTO: Not only a wonderful community resource to help you celebrate Black businesses in Toronto, but a rentable studio to get professional photos taken to help your business succeed.
Undisposable: From the locally loved branding biz, "Undisposable is a multi-media company that specializes in brand activations, brand development, artist management, brand consultation event production, printing, and design work; for a wide range of companies. We keep our finger on the pulse of communities and culture across the arts, music, pop culture , gaming , and technology spaces."
Rent professional sound equipment to launch your podcast:
Long & McQuade: Professional sound equipment for rent or purchase (with financing options).
The Pod Plant: A studio with turnkey podcast solutions to make you sound great, right out of the gate.
TPL Recording Studios: Did you know the Toronto Public Library is free to join, and they now offer recording studio space for your podcast dreams? Starting a pod doesn't have to be expensive!
Places to help you create free/cheap slick branding:
Canva: Be your own graphic designer! It’s easy to design anything your heart desires, with *many* free templates.
Easil: Use their drag and drop graphic design tools to create whatever visual you need to kick your business up a notch.
Adulting for solopreneurs:
CAN-AM CPA: Get a free consultation for small business finances and taxes in Toronto today.
Jonathan Kleiman: In need of some legal/contract work to get going? J Kleiman is the local small business legal help you seek.
Interpreter Services Toronto: If you want to communicate in one of the other 180 languages spoken in Toronto, ON, they can help. Check out their easy to use website now.
It takes money to make money (get a grant or a loan to start your small business in Toronto):
Toronto grants: Get a Toronto grant to start your small business.
Ontario Small Business Support Grant: Due to Covid-19 there are many special Ontario grants available to help you succeed during this strange time, up to $20,000.
Scotiabank Business Centre: Yes, we’re including one big bank. They have a great online resource to help you secure a small business loan in Canada.
Personal growth and professional development:
Creative Mornings: Start your morning with a dose of creativity and learning from experts in MTL (and digitally around the world). Be sure to subscribe to their (actually awesome) newsletter that will keep you apprised of all of their upcoming inspirational speakers. They’re truly worth getting up for.
Innovation Leader: Professional development for just about anything you can imagine! Be a big thinker with one of their wide array of topics, such as innovation methodologies or employee engagement. We 100% believe your little idea will eventually have multiple employees.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.
*This article is meant to inspire your solo entrepreneur journey over time. Please follow current Covid-19 health and safety regulations in Ontario. Stay safe.