I know from my research I need to use canonical, hreflang tags in the code.
I can also add value here. First off, you probably don't need hreflang AND canonical, most likely it is one or the other. Second, do the two countries share the same language, or are they different languages? I want to make sure that you actually NEED hreflang, since many sites don't.
Also, I respectfully disagree about building multiple sites (right for some, not for all), especially if you are just starting out. It is best to leverage the SEO efforts that you have already made, and have the second country/language live in a subfolder of your current website.
Let me know if you need more help!