Don’t get too comfortable with who you are at any given time – you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be. – Jon Bon Jovi
Most of you know that I really like working from home despite the occasional cat-based distraction.
It is challenging, rewarding and sometimes a lot of fun.
But there are a lot of other serious reasons as to why a person might want to consider starting an online business and work from home.
In this post I’m talking about why I think more people should consider going down this path – even though it might be really scary at first.
Let’s jump in!
My changing experience
If you’re new here and haven’t read my About page then you might be unaware that I left my University degree with less than a semester remaining in order to step out on my own and start my business.
It was the right decision for me but it might not be right for everyone.
And the reason I put this section before all the juicy content is because I wanted to emphasize the fact that a big part of owning your own business is that you often have to work it out as you go.
It’s part of the fun!
I was always involved in building websites and selling blogs but my main focus changes almost yearly.
Don’t not start your own business because you can’t see all the parts at the start. It takes time.
8 reasons to start an online business and work from home
As always, I’ve probably missed all of the important ones! Feel free to add a comment if you run an online business or work from home and have something inspiring to share.
1. Avoid the office politics bulls#@t
Whenever I catch up with my real-world friends I find that the conversation always turns to how annoying their office is in one form or another. A bad co-worker, a micromanaging boss, not enough pay, etc.
The sad thing is, sometimes these issues are really quite serious. I know several people who have taken stress-leave after being pushed to the limits by managers or board directors. I know of people who get so depressed because they don’t see any way out in such a sub-optimal economic climate.
Well, when you run your own business you have a lot of other problems but you don’t have that one. You can choose who you work with and who works for you. You might have to put up with some annoying clients in the beginning but as you grow you can “filter” it all out.
2. Put your energy into your own asset
While you’re kissing the butt cheeks of that Michael Scott-style manager/owner you’re also working on someone else’s asset. It might even be his asset! That creative thinking and after hours sweat that you pour into your work does nothing for you in terms of ownership and equity.
Now this might be the entrepreneur in me but I find that idea really quite abhorrent. I’d rather work harder and earn less if it meant that I was building my own asset vs another guy/girl’s.
If you feel the urge to create something for yourself and see it grow or fail but do it because it was your own thing then the online space could be for you.
NOTE: This goes for starting a blog as well. Set it up on your own host instead of a free one so you are in complete control.
3. The internet is the modern Gold Rush
Now to some serious financial reasons. The internet is booming. And it has been booming for a long, long time. And if you start to think about stats like the fact that there are more smart phones on Earth than toothbrushes and that whole nations are moving to high speed fiber networks, you’d be wise to invest in the internet while it is growing so fast on so many platforms.
Please don’t take this to mean that making money on the internet is a really easy thing to do. It isn’t. I imagine it’s probably a bit easier than mining for gold (or bitcoins!) but it is still a lot of work.
The great thing about the internet is that you aren’t just doing one thing. There’s shops, forums, Apps, websites, blogs, software, tools, etc. You can jump on the rush and find something new or something to compete with.
4. The barriers to entry are really low
If you’ve ever been to an economics class you’ll hear a lot about barriers to entry. They present serious problems for many industries and even entire countries. Think about all the things you have to do if you want to start a physical business like a factory: get capital investment, purchase machines and vehicles, hire staff, get insurance… the list goes on.
Online businesses, on the other hand, have relatively low barriers to entry. You really just need a domain name and some hosting to get started. The major outlay, at least initially, is your own time. Sure, you can invest money and hire designers, coders, writers, marketers, etc. but you don’t have to.
This particular point means that you can start an online business while you’re still working and leave your job once it starts to take off.
5. You can be who you really want to be
I could be wrong but I don’t see many people who work in offices being themselves. You have to jump through so many hoops to please clients and seniors and usually that means doing or saying things that aren’t totally consistent with the person you’d like to be.
Well, when you work from home you can forget all of that. Don’t shave if you don’t want to. Don’t wear that pencil-skirt if you don’t want to. In fact, my friend Mayi Carles usually works in her pyjamas!
More importantly, working for yourself means that you (hopefully) never again have to compromise on the kind of person that you want to be. You set yourself up so that you’re surrounded by people and things that are important to you.
6. You can go after the things that matter
Okay, so now we are really getting into the deep and furry stuff! When you work for someone else you are severely limited in the other activities that you can pursue. You might get some weekend time and after work time but what if your son has a thing on when you need to be at work? What about if you want to go overseas or do some charity work (Break: I have something VERY different happening in this regard soon) while you write your blog?
Well, when you work have a truly online business you can set yourself up to make those things possible. One of my closest friends quit his job and started an online business so he could spend more time at home with his boys. He works late but he has most of the day with them. That is priceless.
Again, these things are not just “givens” for any online business. You need to make it happen but, unlike the traditional workplace, it is possible.
7. Your industry is changing (and might not be around long)
I don’t want to sound alarmist with this point but an actual consideration for workers these days is that their job might not be there when they wake up tomorrow. It happens all the time.
This is both a result of new technologies, the economic climate, and the changing nature of globalization. So, in this regard, your job might get taken over by a computer or robot, made redundant or outsourced to a cheaper workforce in China, India or the Philippines.
The great thing about starting a blog or an online business is that it can be a very part time affair. That means you get a few extra dollars in the door but also set it up in a way that you could expand if things go pear shaped in the “real world”.
8. You can play video games at lunch time
I couldn’t end this post without the obligatory work from home smugness. Yes, you an set your own hours. Yes, I usually play Battlefield 3 at lunch time. Sometimes I finish work at 4pm to go play tennis with my brother.
The “do your own thing” that comes with owning your own business can, however, be a double edged sword. If you aren’t disciplined you will wind up not being very productive. And if you aren’t very productive you might not have enough money to eat.
When it is all said and done you can have a long lunch break or go to a movie if you want. It might mean you have to make up the time at 11:02pm (like I am now) but at least you have the choice.
Why did you decide to start an online business?
Did you start an online business? Do you work from home? Leave a comment and tell me what motivated you to make the change and whether you found it scary/liberating/easy. I’ll be really interested to see if the Troops have any tips in this area.
Photo: © Alphaspirit