Too many people view Internet business through an extremely narrow lens – either you’re pawning off your personal possessions on eBay or you’re trying to be Mark Zuckerberg with the next big Internet thing. The reality, of course, is that there are as many different ways to do business online as there are people making this lifestyle work for them.  For example, as an Internet business owner, you could:

  • Sell your handmade arts and crafts on Etsy
  • Run an informative site that generates revenue through advertisements
  • Provide professional services to clients around the world
  • Generate client leads for offline businesses
  • Sell other peoples’ products and earn a commission for each referral

But the “how” of Internet business isn’t important – there are enough different Internet business models out there to suit any particular combination of strengths and weaknesses.  What really matters is the “why” – that is, why you should consider pursuing online business in the first place.

The following are just a few of the benefits of owning your own Internet enterprise to help encourage you to make the leap:

Reason #1 – Find the ultimate job security

Ask a handful of people what they think about the idea of pursuing Internet business, and you should hear at least one person respond with, “It’s too risky!” I have to disagree. When you learn how to do business online, you’re actually training yourself to create ultimate job security. If you learn how to sell products online, chances are you’ll be able to repeat this process – even if your original idea doesn’t pan out.

The same goes for finding freelance service clients, sending traffic to ad-based sites and successfully re-launching every other Internet business model out there. Now, contrast the ability to generate income online over and over again with a steady day job held at a single employer. Considering how many companies go under these days, putting all your eggs in that single basket ultimately sounds much riskier to me than learning how to make money online!

Reason #2 – Work on projects you’re passionate about

As someone else’s employee, you aren’t working on the projects you’re passionate about – you’re completing tasks in order to increase somebody else’s bottom line. And while this arrangement works for some people, most chronic employees don’t know what they’re missing when they trade the passion of working for yourself on projects you care about for the “security” of the daily grind.

If you aren’t personally satisfied by your current day job, you owe it to yourself to at least investigate the potential fulfillment that comes from running your own online enterprise.

Reason #3 – Access a wider network of clients and buyers

If you already operate an offline business that either sells products or takes on freelance clients (for example, as a freelance writer, web designer, programmer or accountant), transitioning your business online will give you access to a much wider pool of clients and buyers. No longer are you competing against other agencies in your area for the same small network of customers – instead, as an Internet business owner, you’re free to think as big as you want. This could mean accessing buyers a few towns away from your own or even “going global” in order to expand your business’s reach dramatically.

Reason #4 – Cut your child care expenses

With childcare costs rising steadily and often topping thousands of dollars a month for the full-time care of infants and toddlers, you may find that running an Internet business allows you to both cut your costs substantially and spend more time with your children. For most dual-income families working today, that’s a pretty big win-win!

Reason #5 – Explore your interests

One of the greatest advantages of running your own Internet business is the flexibility this arrangement provides. When you work a day job, you’re tied in to a set schedule that in no way corresponds to the amount of work you have or the hours in which you’re most productive. Unless you have a very understanding boss, you aren’t able to drop everything for a two-hour hike when the weather’s nice or start your day at noon because you aren’t a morning person.

Running an online business gives you the flexibility to set your own working arrangements based on your particular needs. It allows you to travel more (as most Internet businesses can be operated from anywhere in the world), to work when you’re most productive and to pursue the hobbies and interests you care about alongside your business pursuits.

Reason #6 – Enjoy low startup costs

If you’ve always had an entrepreneurial bent, know that business owners who choose to launch their ventures online enjoy substantially lower startup costs than those in the real world. Think about it – the “real world” business owner must pay for commercial space, physical inventory, printed stationery and more.

As an Internet business owner, your only real expenses will be a domain name and hosting account. Even if you do decide to purchase inventory outright or invest in tools that will make running your Internet business easier, your overall investment will still be much less expensive than maintaining a physical presence offline.

Reason #7 – Increase your earning potential

If you’re employed in a full-time day job, your earning power is limited by your field and your experience. If you work as a teacher, for instance, you can accrue all the experience and certifications you want – you’re still never going to hit the same million dollar salaries that investment bankers or lawyers will. But with online business, the sky’s the limit.

If you sell one product online, you can train yourself to sell fifty. If you decide to expand your service offerings significantly, you can always take on additional employees to help manage the workload. Instead of negotiating a pithy 3% raise with your boss, you’re essentially creating this increase (and much, much more) for yourself – a truly empowering experience that makes all the risk and uncertainty of Internet business worth it.

(Photo credit: Close-up of male hand over black keyboard via Shutterstock)

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