The Ups and Downs of an Online Business

by Gina Harris

Working from your home office has many pluses, but can also be a disadvantage if you are not disciplined about your work ethics or environment. Take a look at some factors to consider before you take the plunge; they will help you determine whether or not an online office environment would work for you.

Take Advantage of These Upsides

  • Creating a work force online, with no employer taxes and payroll to handle, can save time and money while you build your business.
  • Ready access to worldwide collaborations lets you get the best talent without regard to geographic restrictions.
  • Requires little to no investment to set up or maintain your “office.” From a dining room table to a bedroom office set up, you can just use what you have around the house or in storage. Furnishing a physical office can cost you thousands; use your savings for advertising instead of desks.

  • Establishing a “virtual office” (for as little as $29/month) can provide an actual business address and a dedicated company phone for storefront credibility, while you’re work from home or on the road. Perfect for opening new branches and required by many city and county licensing entities.
  • You can “test the waters” with limited investment until you really need a physical office (if ever).
  • Enjoy the flexibility of choosing your own work hours; whether an early bird or a night owl you can work whenever you want.
  • If you do have employees, they may appreciate and thrive in a more casual environment. You can interact while preparing a staff lunch or hold a weekly meeting in the den around the fireplace.

    The Downsides and How To Overcome Them

  • Without the face-to-face contact of a physical storefront, you lose that opportunity of the personal experience with your customers. You will want to be sure that your website and other forms of communication (phone, email, twitter, etc.) extend a sense of warmth and positive personality to your Internet clients.
  • “Type A” personalities can be a problem here. If you are a workaholic, you need to be sure that you schedule outside appointments and personal time and “step away from that computer.”
  • Self Discipline is required. If you have trouble staying on track, and do better when someone else is reminding you, then you need to establish a written routine and stick to it.
  • Clutter that “nobody can see” can have a huge impact on your productivity and mental retention. Take time to regularly dust, vacuum and most importantly organize your workspace. Stacks of files and post-its all over your walls will interfere with your concentration, and finding things in a messy office can take up valuable time, increasing stress levels and frustration.
  • Noise distractions may interfere with not only your attention span, but also your very credibility. If your dog is barking or your kids are trying to interrupt your phone conversation with a client, it doesn’t say much for your professionalism. Though your “office” is really in your den, you have to make certain your home doesn’t invade your workplace. Choose a quiet, well-lit room with a door that closes.
  • Online businesses can be found in every neighborhood in the country, and can be an enriching and rewarding solution for an entrepreneurial or family business. If the perimeters fit your work ethic and lifestyle, then get ready for a fun and inexpensive way to launch your dreams.

    Gina Harris writes on many topics, including how to make money and how to make money online.