The internet has made it possible for people to work entirely online, making money without ever entering a physical office.
Many people find the idea of online business desirable because it offers a much greater level of freedom than they ever had before. Yet, the advantages to online business seem so obvious, that many people don’t take the time to consider the downsides.
Like anything, online business is a mixture of the good and the bad, and it will be a perfect fit for some people, but absolutely horrible for others. The idea is to figure out where you fall along this spectrum before you start seriously considering working online.
The first step of doing this is to understand what working online really involves, particularly the aspects that you might not expect.
Online business generally means that you are creating your own business and your own opportunities.
This gives you the ability to succeed by following your own interests and experience, rather than attempting to follow what works for someone else.
One of the key advantages to online business is the way you can bypass many of the hidden costs associated with commuting to a job on a regular basis.
These include wear and tear on your car, your work clothes, buying gas and even simply the time that is lost in getting to and from your job.
You also learn a whole lot about personal and business finances, particularly as income from online business tends to be unpredictable at first.
Working from home means no commute and I find that to be a real timesaver. I love not having to go into work in the morning. Instead, I can sit down at my computer in whatever I feel like and go from there.
Having an online business also means that I have the flexibility to move my work around to meet the other needs in my life. For example, when my son got hurt at school, I could easily push work off and go see to him.
This is a nice advantage – particularly if you have an unpredictable life to start off with.
The flexibility of working online means that I get the chance to go on trips with my family or simply to have a random day off when I feel like it.
Working Online and Social Anxiety
Working at home isolates you, and sometimes this can be a good thing.
I experience a mild version of social anxiety, which means that I am much more comfortable when I am working at home on my own than I would ever be in a crowd or an office.
I know people who panic at the thought of meeting anyone new or being in a crowd while other people simply have trouble managing their emotions on occasions.
This is one of the things I like the most about online business. It gives you control over how much interaction you have with others and when you work. A colleague that I know from this business suffers severe depression and significant social anxiety.
She has not been able to hold down a normal job for quite some time but has become a successful online businesswoman. Unlike me, she does not keep a strict schedule. Instead, she might work ten hours straight on a good day, and barely an hour on a bad one.
She says that the flexibility of working online gives her the chance to succeed when she simply couldn’t have otherwise.
Honestly, I would say that online business is much less stressful than working a ‘normal’ job, and it gives you a much better chance to develop a good balance between work and life.
After all, you have a boss who understands exactly what you need.
If I had to pick the single worst thing about online business, I would say the amount of self-motivation you need.
You are the person who must decide how many hours you are going to work, what you need to learn and what you need to do, and then you have to be the one to actually go and do all of that.
There is no easy button to making money online and most successful online business people worked hard to get where they are.
The people most likely to succeed at working online are those who are able to motivate themselves and keep on track, despite any distractions or challenges they experience.
In online business, you are your own boss. This sounds wonderful, but it has its downsides.
In particular, it can be more difficult to get motivated to actually do your work, particularly as there is no one paying attention to your productivity. It’s surprisingly hard to keep yourself motivated when no one else knows just how much you are working.
To make matters worse, working online means that you are just a click away from Facebook, YouTube or some other time waster.
I’m not normally one to look at random sites, particularly not for hours on end, but I still find it challenging to keep on track all of the time.
Distractions also come in the form of other people. It’s easy to tell people that you are actually working when you are on your computer for hours at a time – but a lot of people simply don’t get the hint.
I have friends who continue to think it’s okay to call or come by and talk, because I’m home, which must mean that I have time to talk.
It’s easy to underestimate the amount of social engagement you actually get at work.
Most people have at least one coworker that they interact with at length and there are often dozens of different people you see and talk to in the course of the day.
You don’t get this with an online business.
Instead, most of your conversations will be through emails and message boards, and sometimes you won’t even be doing that. It’s actually really easy to isolate yourself without even realizing you are doing it.
Overall, working online tends to make your world very small – unless you consciously try not to do this.
If you work online as a full-time job, then you don’t get any of the benefits or securities that you might get from a normal job. This might be a problem or it might not, depending on what type of job you had beforehand.
This can be a bit of a frustrating price to pay, but honestly, you do have the potential to earn more through an online business.
Additionally, some people turn to online business specifically because their job doesn’t offer what they need, or because they can’t find a job.
Personally, I think the advantages to online business far outweigh the disadvantages, and I would never go back to working in an office again.
Working from home gives me more time to spend with my family, it gives me the chance to get out in the garden more and it lets me earn an income while keeping control over my life. These are benefits that are simply too good to give up.
However, it took time to find a balance between work life and home life, and to make sure I actually got the work I needed to do.
For me, this involved setting aside a specific number of hours each day to work. They’re not always at the same time, but I keep to a schedule whenever I can.
My family knows that when I am shut up in the office, that is my work time and when I’m not, then I am free to spend time with them.
Sectioning my time like this has made it easier to get work done, and to not get distracted when I am trying to work.
In fact, I find that I am more productive working at home than I ever was working at an office. After all, I can control when I have my breaks, what food or drink I have, and I have the option of going outside for a walk or even to garden to clear my head.
What’s not to love?
The lifestyle doesn’t work for everyone, but for many of us, it means freedom.
So, if you want to find out more about building your own online business, check out the training that Wealthy Affiliate offers. And don’t worry, it’s free to give it a go.