8 Disadvantages of Having an Online Business

I’m a member of an elite club because I’m one of few people who can honestly say, “I love my job.”

I can make my own schedule. I can work from home, I can work from a hotel, and I can even work from random train stations/airports throughout Spain and Portugal.

Now…I’m kind of nerdy and I like to research things.  So I’ve read just as many job satisfaction articles and statistics as you have – probably more, in fact – but I think the real proof is available by simply talking to people.

Go ahead, try it. Ask anyone you know – friends, relatives, neighbors, whoever – “How’s work going?” and nine times out of ten they’ll make some sort of strange face before responding with, “Well …” followed by a long-winded story describing the awful things that happened to them that day, that week, that month, that year.

Any job can get tedious or frustrating, and I’m not saying that running your own online business is perfect, but the fact that I’m able to pay my bills and live a pretty decent life because of a business I run myself is pretty cool.

We all have to earn a living one way or another, and work is still work. That’s why I’m not going to lie and make everything sound rosier than it is.

If you run your own online business – or any sort of business, for that matter – you’re probably nodding your head in agreement, and if you’re considering taking the plunge and working for yourself, these tips might help you realize a few things that you didn’t think of until today.

#1- Being Your Own Boss is Pretty Hard

I run the show, so I’m in charge of everything. Sounds great, but it also means that means if I don’t do things properly, I don’t make any money.

The stereotype remains that bosses are jerks, but the truth is sometimes I can be harder on myself than anyone else would be. Even when things are going smoothly, I’m constantly criticizing myself over what could have been done better or what I could have done instead.

#2- There is Not Set Schedule

This obviously comes in handy when it comes to things like doctor’s appointments or grocery shopping – hardly anyone is buying food at ten in the morning, so there are never any lines, it’s great! – but it also means whenever your computer is in close proximity, you feel like you should be working.

Most evenings, I can’t even sit on the couch and watch TV because it feels like I’m wasting time, and if I do take a few hours to relax, I immediately jump up afterward and start working because I feel lazy for “wasting a few hours.”

#3- You Keep Odd Hours

Obviously this goes hand-in-hand with that last one, but I’m making it a separate point anyway. It’s one thing to work without a set schedule. Waiters that have the night shift for two days followed by the day shift for two days don’t have a set schedule, either, but they do have scheduled days off and most likely they’re not going to hang around at work four extra hours after their shift ends.

Some days I have a great idea and wind up planning things out until three AM, take a nap until seven and get right back at it, and I only stop to take short breaks to eat, exercise, and shower. That’s what I mean by keeping odd hours. Sometimes it really does feel like I’m always working.

#4- Often, There’s a Lack of Human Contact

I wouldn’t call myself anti-social – obviously I have friends and family – but for the most part, I’m alone. I have a website and an affiliate marketing company, which gives me the opportunity to take care of most things with email. The need rarely even comes up to speak with people on the phone.

Sure, I email “real people” and read the blogs of “real people,” but it’s definitely not the same thing as sitting in a cubicle beside a lunch buddy at the office. Some people simply enjoy being around others, and need to be around others, so it’s an important thing to think about if you’re considering running an online business yourself.

#5- People Look at You Kinda Funny

For some reason, a lot of people seem to translate “working from home” into “sitting around at home doing nothing.” Even though most people know what I do for a living, they mistakenly presume I can meet their whims at a moment’s notice.

I’m not talking about a phone call at eleven to ask, “Hey wanna grab some lunch at twelve?” That’s reasonable, and pretty nice, actually. I’m talking about people who assume you should be able to help them at any time of day because you aren’t at the office. I’m talking about people who make comments like, “I better get going since it’s so late, but we all know that Steve doesn’t have to get up early tomorrow, heh heh!” when you’re out to dinner with a group of friends.

Often times its envy, it might even be some weird form of anger, but people will start to think of you differently. Can you handle it?

#6- You See Yourself Differently

I know I keep repeating myself by saying that I love what I do, but every now and then I feel self-conscious about it … especially when I’m introduced to someone new that’s pretty high on the ladder at their job.

This happens because – unfortunately – people tend to be defined by their occupation, and I don’t have an impressive title or a gold nameplate sitting on my desk.

You’d probably feel weird too if someone said, “This is Bob, he’s a criminal defense attorney!” and you got to follow it up with, “Uh, hey, I’m Steve, I … have a website!”

#7- It’s Hard to be Continuously Motivated

When I had a “normal job,” the fear of getting fired and losing my regular paycheck was enough motivation to keep showing up every day. It’s probably safe to say that’s the reason most people wake up each morning and go to work.

It’s easy to think running your own business means you’ll be gung-ho about every idea that comes to mind and every project that needs to be taken care of simply because it’s your business … and that’s true, to a point. However, when you don’t have a set schedule and you’re not around other people that are also busy working, you can lose your motivation to do just about anything.

I especially notice this happening when I get sick. A trip to the doctor and a few days of rest is usually all it takes, but getting back in the saddle after lying around in bed for three days is just as hard as it sounds.

I also notice my motivation slipping when something is taking longer than I’d anticipated, or isn’t going as planned. It’s easy to tell myself I’ll “finish it tomorrow” or “get to it later,” and that’s something I’ve got to work on improving.

#8- You Wear ALL the Hats

I make all the decisions about my business, and I’ve had to learn a lot of things along the way. I’m always learning, and I’ll always have to keep learning.

You’ve probably read the articles I’ve posted about outsourcing work and getting help when you need it, but for the most part you can’t exactly call up a “helper” at four in the morning if your server crashes or your computer dies.

My degree is in psychology, but somehow I’ve morphed into a weird breed of quasi-techno-guru. When I was in college, I never imagined I’d one day know all the things I know about computers and technology, and if I want to keep succeeding, I’ll have to keep learning.

Final Thoughts…

So there you have it—eight reasons in no particular order why being your own boss and running your own online business isn’t all peaches and cream. It works for me, and it works for a lot of people, but will it work for you?

I would like to hear your experiences about working from home- both good and bad. Please comment below…

Take Action. Get Results.

6 thoughts on “8 Disadvantages of Having an Online Business”

  1. Hey Scott!
    For me, this is pretty ideal, for now. It works excellent with my sometimes crazy school schedule and the family stuff I have going on at times. There are times when I struggle to stay motivated and keep reasonably sane hours, but when I get that motivation its like…WOW. My business isn’t making money yet, but I know its a long haul to get to that point and am fine with that.

    It will be hard but worth it to look at people and say “Oh..I own and operate Asylum Media” when they ask what I do (that’s my company name, gonna make it an LLC in the next month or so.). Man, I bet that’s gonna feel good 🙂 Its nice to have a hard look at the downsides though..helps me to visualize and prepare for those things. Thanks for posting this..it’s helpful to me to have these types of things spelled out in black and white.
    .-= Gurl´s last blog ..How To: Make a Twiter List on The Website =-.

    • Sounds like you’re about to some exciting things. Like I said, I’m definitely NOT complaining…but there are a few drawbacks. I kinda enjoy a lot of the “negative” aspects, but still they can be a pain in the butt sometimes.

  2. Those … don’t seem to be so bad, to be honest, hehe. I’ve actually created my own work schedule to solve the stuff said in #2. It’s been a habit of mine ever sinced high school to map out stuff to do every day so I can work, play and exercise pretty much every day. It also keeps me more organized so that I know I’m not truly wasting my time. It helps me properly differentiate between “meaningful rest” and “wasting my time”.

    I actually like #3. I write whenever inspiration hits and I find that I turn out my best work then. Sure, it’s never consistent, but I find that you shouldn’t rush or even try to schedule inspiration. Anyway, I think enough about a lot of stuff such that it strikes me often enough.

    As for #7? I just constantly keep thinking to myself, “do you really want to live in that cubicle 14 hours a day AGAIN?” And, well, it’s really not that hard after the fact, hehe. Anyway, I’m still starting out, so everything’s still pretty exciting to me.
    .-= Fitness Philippines´s last blog ..THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER 11 EPISODE 10 REVIEW =-.

    • Good point about #7 (staying motivated). I do remember what is was like to be stuck in a cubicle and hate life. This has DEFINITELY given me the motivation to want something a little more out of life and work harder.

  3. I agree with nearly everything in this article, Steve! Most people really do think that I lounge around the house watching TV all day because I no longer go to an office each day. It’s true that I might go do “fun stuff” during the day on occasion because I can make my own schedule, but most nights I am up working until 1 or 2 in the morning.

    One thing that is kinda overlooked from the list is working from home with kids. It sounds rude, but sometimes I wonder what my stat-at-home-mom friends DO all day long, because somehow I manage to cook, clean (well, sometimes!) keep up with a little one AND work from home.
    .-= ShortHairDiva´s last blog ..Time for A Change =-.

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