So You Think it is Easy to Run an Online Business?

It’s crazy to think I have been running ThinkComputers for 10 years, but I have.  Over this time many people have said to me, “man your job must be easy”.  At the same time just as many people have said, “I wish I could do what you do”.  The truth is anyone can do what I do, but they make the mistake of thinking that it is easy and that it is not a real “job”.  I have given so many people advice and more or less a blueprint to do exactly what I do, yet they give up because they realize it is not as easy as they think and it actually requires real work.  Keep in mind I never decided to make ThinkComputers my full time job because I thought it would be easy.  I did it because I wanted to do my own thing and hey it’s nice to work in your boxers!  So if you are thinking about starting your own online business here are some things you may want to consider.

You are your own boss
This seems like a great thing right?  No one telling you what to do, being able to make your own schedule etc.  The thing you don’t realize is being your own boss is a hard thing to do from time to time.  Because technically no one is holding you accountable.  So if you sleep in, don’t work for a day, sit and watch YouTube for hours etc you cannot get in trouble as you are the boss.  This makes it very easy to be lazy.  I try to wake up at the same time each day, but when you technically don’t have to be up for anything it is really hard to drag yourself out of bed.  Being your own boss also means you need to have your day planned out with tasks.  If you do not you will just sit around and become “busy” but not productive.  These are just a few things that are not that great about being your own boss, the list can go on and on.

Working for Free
Wait what?  When you are building website or product you are technically working for free.  No one is paying you to develop the product or website.  If you are selling a product you are only going to get paid when you get orders.  When it comes to websites and ads for the most part unless you already have a website that has good traffic and a following no one is going to pay you upfront for advertising.  You will have to go with a 3rd party service like Google Adsense, which means you will not get paid for at least a month if not more.  Google Adsense like many advertising services require you to have a minimum balance (usually $100) before they will cut you a check.  So you will need to wait until you reach that amount.  To make matters worse a lot of advertising companies work on anywhere from a 30 to 60 day net payment.  That means if I made $500 in November I will not see that money for 30 to 60 days (whatever the net payment is) starting from December 1st.  This means you really have to manage your cash flow.  It can be annoying because if you have an awesome month it’s not like you can go celebrate because you don’t see that money for at least a month if not more!

Unsure of Income
One of the most stressful things about doing what I do is not knowing how much money I will be making each month.  When you are working for a company you normally know how much your check will be on the 15th and 30th.  If you are selling a product online you have no clue how many orders you will be getting each month.  If you rely on advertising then unless you are charging a flat rate you have no clue how much you will make.  That all depends on traffic, how many people click the ad etc.  If your site goes down in the middle of the night and ads do not display you are technically losing money, which you will definitely notice at the end of the month.

Always something to do
If you happen to follow me on twitter you may have seen me post the hashtag #nodaysoff, because in this business there really are no days off.  Well I mean there are, but there is always something you can be doing.  People think its crazy that I work on my birthday, on holidays and even on vacation, but I’ve done it all.  Whether its doing website optimizations to make your site load faster, finishing up an article, sending an e-mail to a potential advertiser or finishing odds and end on my birthday so I only have to work 2 hours the next day its all work that needs to be done.  Your website and online business is something that you will always be improving so if you want it to last there is always work to be done at all times.  Now just because you can work does not mean you should work, but that whole concept is for a future post.

These are just a few reasons why running your own online business is not easy and can be extremely stressful.  Does this make you want to change your mind about starting your own online business?  I really hope not.  The decision to run ThinkComputers full time has been one of the best decisions of my life.  When I see 80% of my friends who hate their job and are stuck in an office from 9-5 I know that I have made the right decision.

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