The Internet Age has been roaring along for the past few decades, and many fortunes have been made many times over due to online entrepreneurship. For much of the past decade, it has seemed like a week hasn’t gone by without yet another online startup making a splash across the (digital) headlines and creating a buzz on social media.
All of these success stories have put stars in the eyes of many an aspiring online entrepreneur, who all inevitably harbor the same notions about creating an Internet company.
“I’ll get to work from the beach.”
“Goodbye to the 9-to-5 grind.”
“No more boring meetings.”
“Creating and managing a remote team is a lot easier than running an office.”
The list goes on and on. There are a lot of misconceptions about becoming an online entrepreneur. Before you become one, you should clear up those misconceptions.
The 9-to-5, 40-Hour Work Week Doesn’t Go Away
If anything, it gets longer. That’s true for becoming any kind of entrepreneur. You’ll have to put in the work, and sometimes that means putting in over 40 hours. And you may not have the luxury of just sticking to a 9-to-5 schedule. You may be working before 9am and after 5pm on many days, especially at the beginning.
You Probably Won’t Be Working From the Beach
And if you do, instead of staring at the ocean, you’ll probably be staring at a spreadsheet on your laptop.
Being an online entrepreneur can give you the freedom to travel and work from anywhere, especially if you have a remote operation, but that’s not a given. And even when you’re at the beach, or in the mountains, or wherever your heart takes you, you’ll be working.
Online entrepreneurs don’t get as many breaks as you think. Once you’re successful and you’ve hit your goals, maybe. But until then, you’ll be working hard, no matter where you are.
Managing a Remote Team Brings New Difficulties
There’s a misconception that making your operation completely remote, like many online ventures, is easier than running things from a central office location. In some ways, it is. But in many ways, it isn’t.
Handling employees from a distance takes a different type of skill. You’ll have to adapt your management style. You’ll also have to deal with the challenge of coordinating different people in different time zones with different situations and put them all on the same schedule.
Plus, it’s hard to create a close-knit working environment when you have a remote team. That may not matter to you. And if you’re a solo entrepreneur creating a drop-shipping ecommerce venture, you may not need a team at all.
But just because you have a remote venture doesn’t mean it’s easier. In some ways, it’s harder.
You Better Get Really Comfortable with Technology
Because you’ll be incredibly dependent on it.
Non-online entrepreneurs can get by without an above-average understanding of technology, but online entrepreneurs cannot. You’ll need to have a higher-than-usual grasp of the technologies on which your business relies, everything from cloud computing and SaaS to online automation, digital analytics, advanced ecommerce, and more.
If technology makes your eyes glaze over, either find someone to partner with who really gets it or do something else.
Being an online entrepreneur is exciting, don’t get us wrong. It comes with unique rewards and benefits, but it also comes with unique challenges. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s easier or somehow less challenging than being a traditional entrepreneur and you’ll be on the right path.
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