The Pros and Cons of Running a Business Online

running a business onlineI have been making my living from the Internet since November 23rd, 1998. That is the very day that I started my online stock newsletter, and it basically took off from its inception. Since then, I have done a combination of newsletters, web sites and freelance web programming to pay the bills. The constant theme though is that I have not had to take a regular 9-5 job since that date.

There are many pros to working at home, on the computer, for yourself. There are also some cons. Here is the list that I put together.


1. Freedom. This is obviously a big one. No more alarm clocks, no more bosses looking over your shoulder, no more long commutes. That's what it's all about, isn't it?

2. The Money. I mean, let's say that you write a blog about a subject that you love, and that blog becomes popular. Not only can you have Adsense on your site making money, but you can sell text link ads, e-books, affiliate links to other e-books, etc. etc. The power of the Internet is it's scalability. It's the ability to easily sell advertising if you have the traffic. You can accumulate ungodly sums of money without much work if you know what you are doing.

3. Interaction with other people. It's pretty cool to exchange links with someone in New Zealand, then buy a site belonging to someone in Germany, and then sell advertising space to someone based in New York. That's pretty cool.

4. Asset generation. Not only can you earn money on a monthly basis from your web sites, but you are also building up easily sellable assets. That site on dog grooming that is making you $500 a month in profit? It's easily worth $5-$10,000. You build up a small network of sites with a lot of traffic, and all of a sudden you are sitting on a small fortune worth of sites.

5. Flexibility. You can work for a few hours, then go to the gym, then pick your kids up from school, then work for a few more hours, put the kids to bed, and then work through the night. Flexibility ties into the concept of freedom, and that is probably one of the biggest attractions for me.

6. The "Cool" factor. Working from home is pretty cool. People will envy you when you tell them what you do. I can't think of too many other things that I would rather be doing with my life.

The Cons

1. Long Hours. This business can be pretty addicting. It's pretty easy to find yourself sitting in front of the computer for 12-14 hours per day if you aren't careful.

2. Health decline. Tying into number one. Your health can decline pretty rapidly if you don't make a conscious effort to move around during the day.

3. Explaining to people what you do. Most people won't be able to understand what it is that you do. This will lead to people saying that what you do is "easy", which can be pretty frustrating if you put in 12-14 hour days.

4. Income fluctuations / other problems. Your life can become pretty frustrating if you are dealing with your web host being down or your database was corrupted. Lose your rankings in Google and your income can drop. Working online can mean some pretty big swings in income and traffic.

5. You'll never have a weekend. One of the best things about a 9-5 job is that you have that weekend, and you have time off. Even if you set aside two days "off" from yourself running an online business, you will always be thinking about your business, and you will always be checking your stats on a daily basis. It's just the way it is.

6. You really need to be fiscally responsible. This includes putting money away on a monthly basis for taxes, planning for your own retirement, etc. This can be one of the hardest things about working at home, and most people will learn the hard way that this is one of the hardest things to do.

Overall, nothing, and I mean nothing, beats working at home for yourself. If you are thinking about trying it, please, I would wholly recommend it. Work on it part-time while you maintain your 9-5 job, and once you feel comfortable with the income that your Net-based business is providing you, take the plunge and go for it!

Filed under: Making Money Online | General Knowledge

Related Articles