I wake up US$1,000 richer every morning! Yeah, yeah, you've heard it all before: the Internet businessperson who wheals and deals, owns a bunch of websites, blogs, and social media accounts, markets his or her wares like they are going out of style, and rakes in millions of dollars. They all make it look so easy - "with this turnkey website, you too could be wallowing in millions of dollars and joining me at my retirement home in the Bahamas at age 25." The truth is, this all takes work - hard work - and many people reading those websites with stars in their eyes don't even realize the work involved (or refuse to believe it). For most of my life so far I was one of those starry-eyed people as well) You see, simply having a website, blog, social media account, or any other piece of "online real estate" with the intention of making money is not going to make you rich - in fact, it could very easily wind up costing you money in fees such as hosting, domain fees, and, even if it is a totally free platform to use, the cost of your uncompensated time just for keeping it up and running. Remember, in this scenario we are assuming that your goal is ultimately to make money - there are plenty of different types of websites and web presences out there that never intend to make money, and that is all well and good, but they are not what we are talking about here.
Bottom line: in order to make money online, you need to work. Yes, it is still work; so go ahead and get that idea of lounging around on the beach in your swim suit every day out of your head right now. With that being said, can you lounge around on the beach in your swim suit (or do whatever recreational activity you fancy - for me it would actually be fishing in a mountain river) more frequently if you have your own online business? If the business is successful and pulling in nice profits, yes; but, again, simply owning an online business in and of itself will not make you any money at all, and could wind up costing you money and time you could have otherwise better invested somewhere else. You have to work your online business to make money. Also, with that being said, I should make it clear that while we are talking about Internet businesses here, this same idea holds true for offline brick-and-mortar businesses as well. If you own an offline brick-and-mortar business and that business is successful and making you nice profits, then you will have more time and money to yourself to engage in your personal interests. If you are the owner of a successful business, probably the only big difference between how you spend your own personal time and money regarding whether or not your business is an online business or an offline business is who is running that business for you while you are at the beach (or fishing in the mountains, or doing whatever it is you dream of doing more of in your life). If your business is a 100% online business that you can run from your laptop, then there can be steps you can take to automate your business - or at least certain parts of it - to get it to run while you are away. And, if you are going to be "away" and still have an Internet connection (i.e. not following me to my deep woods mountain retreat), then you can still run your business yourself from where ever you are in the world. If your business is a brick-and-mortar business, then you are going to have to hire someone to run your business while you are away, something owners of brick-and-mortar businesses do all the time all over the world.
So, I urge you to think deeply about your real goals and desires of running your own online business before you start that blog, buy that turnkey website, or set up your online store. Just owning an online business in and of itself is not going to make you rich. Just like an offline business, you have to work your online business for your business to generate profit! Beyond when and how you do the work, an online business and an offline brick-and-mortar business are basically exactly the same in a business sense: they both require hard work and dedication to get off the ground and up and running, and then sustained work and maintenance to grow and maintain. Unless you are one of those extremely lucky rare individuals in this world, neither one is going to get you rich overnight either. Your riches will come when the solid foundation, which has taken time and effort to build, finally starts to grow a structure on top of it.
International K-12 Educator,