So, you think you can make money online? Opportunities run abound all over the world wide web, whether you want to earn your riches through Internet marketing, professional blogging, product development or whatever else may entice your enthusiasm. That’s all great and the Internet has this tremendous ability to be the universal equalizer. It doesn’t care if you’re old or young, a man or a woman, living in San Diego or Singapore.
In a post that I wrote some time back, I discussed some of the questions you might want to ask yourself before you quit your day job and pursue your online career on a full-time basis. Those questions still apply, of course, and while making money on the Internet offers limitless potential, there are some added costs you will need to consider that you may have taken for granted at your regular office job.
If you have a pretty decent job with a pretty decent company, then there’s a good chance that you’ve been offered pretty decent health coverage. Your mileage will vary of course. At the very least, you should have some assurance that you won’t be evicted from your home should you face a medical emergency (and the accompanying bill).
When you’re in business for yourself, those costs fall on your shoulders. You don’t have the same kind of leverage with the health insurance company, because you are likely a business of one employee: you. Even so, you need to take care of yourself and your family, so suitable medical insurance is a must.
Hardware and Equipment
In a regular office, you can always turn to the IT guy and ask for a new keyboard if yours stops working. You can always walk down the hallway to use the photocopier. You can always ask the office manager if you can get a new chair. None of these costs come out of your pocket. As a dot com entrepreneur, all of these costs will come out of your pocket.
The good news is that making money on the Internet typically requires very little in terms of actual investment in hardware. You probably already have a decent enough computer, so you’ll just need to think about accessories and future upgrades. And you can write off these expenses too!
Software and Services
Related to the previous point, working for yourself means that you’ll also need to pay for any software or services that are necessary (or recommended) for running your business. Need an affiliate marketing tracking tool? Want to access the premium plan on a social media dashboard? Want to invest in some search engine optimization services? Need to hire a freelance writer to edit your blog posts?
These all cost money and they should all come into consideration as part of your overall cash flow calculations.
More likely than not, you already have an Internet connection at home. Depending on how you work, you may consider upgrading your home Internet service to something faster or with more bandwidth. And if you’ll be working from home, you may experience incremental increases in how much you spend on electricity, heat, water, gas and other similar utilities.
A good number of employers may offer some sort of contribution to your overall retirement plan. That’s not a part of your “regular” compensation. Employers may also contribute to your government retirement savings too. As a self-employed dot com mogul in the making, you lose that benefit.
Part of the unique irony, though, is that you may not be all that interested in saving for retirement anyway. After all, living the dot com lifestyle can really be like retiring early and simply doing what you love while you’re still young enough to enjoy it.
The point of today’s post was not to scare you away from the prospect of making money online as your primary source of income. The point was to help you recognize there are additional costs to absorb (many of which can be expensed) and the money you earn needs to take care of these costs before you can get paid.