If you’re in the enviable position of selecting between – online business vs job- then this quick comparison should help. For all other mere mortals who are either running an online business or in a job and are thinking about switching. Then this post will be just as useful to you.
I’ve had the fortune (or misfortune depending on how you look at the world) to have started out in a job and then pivoted to online business. So have felt both the pros and cons of both sides.
So that’s what I’ll share with you today. Word of warning. I am biased. I left my job for pastures new.
In the spirit of keeping things as balanced as possible. I’ll keep the number of pros and cons on each list as even as possible.
Having started my job-life as an apprentice and worked my way up ”through the ranks”. I’ve experienced a lot in just under a decade at a conventional 9 to 5. Although what I did involved nights and weekends I took a lot away from the experience.
Here’s what I’d say are the big pros and cons:
Pro: Secure income
It’s fair to say that if you don’t put a foot wrong then your income will be fairly secure in a job. It’s not the right way to approach any work you do. The idea should be to excel. But if you decided to kick back for a couple of years and do the bare basics. You’d still have an income at the end of it.
There’s a caveat I should add though. Every decade we face events that completely shake the foundation of the global workforce. in 2008 it was the global financial crisis. And in 2020 it was the global pandemic. As we progress through the decades a secure income will become less and less secure.
When you get your job thanks to fantastic employment rights, you’ll sign a contract. Depending on who you work for within your agreement you’ll be entitled to perks. Anything from private healthcare to discounts. But the foundational perk is paid holiday.
Like the first pro, this also comes with a caveat. You’ll be restricted to how many days paid holiday you can have. But rest assured, when you come back from your trip to Barcelona your job will still be there waiting for you.
If events of 2020 have shown us anything, its video calling won’t replace the buzz of being with other people in person. And this is one of the perks I enjoyed when in my job. The watercooler moments. Coffees and catch-ups. And the occasional walk to town on Friday with colleagues to grab lunch.
All very unproductive and a byproduct of job culture. Either way, it’s certainly not encouraged.
Con: Don’t stop
If you get off the hamster wheel. The wheel stops spinning. In the case of your job if you don’t turn up to work they’ll stop paying you. This can’t be understated.
Which means you’re at the mercy of someone else. In most cases a company. Another way to explain it is, you need to play by the rules of their game. If you break the rules you lose. And won’t be invited to play the game tomorrow.
The problem is the games never-ending if you decide to play.
Cryptic. If you’re in a job you’ll get it.
Con: Earning cap
For most people in most jobs, there’s only so much you can earn. HR departments have clever pay banding systems which ensure regardless of your competence level and experience. When you get a new position, you’ll start at the ”bottom band”. And then through performance reviews work your way up the band by band.
The reality is, the annual increase – whether through banding performance review or general pay rise – is in single figure increments. What was your last pay rise? 1.2%? Less?
I remember me and my colleagues spending 6 months fighting meeting after meeting for a 2% pay rise. Not cool!
Con: Limited freedom
For your secure income, perks and holiday pay. Your trading what I consider the greatest con. Your freedom of time.
You’ll spend more time at work than with your loved ones – partner, kids and parents.
Now, if you’re genuinely enjoying your work then that’s great. Because you’re spending your time where you want to.
But if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing then is the tradeoff worth it? We don’t know what happens after this life. Are we lucky enough to get another go? We don’t know for sure. But what we do know for absolutely certain is that the time we have is real.
Here’s a powerful video to show what I mean.
It was the cons I’ve spoken about above which led me to pivot to (first real estate/property investing) then online business. In recent times I’ve been involved in a wide range of business such as coffee shops, personal brands, education, property investing, medical specialisms, food and beverage, franchises, mobile apps, care homes (the list goes on). But you get the point. When it comes to online business vs job, I have a lot to talk about but will stick to the quick comparison as promised.
So here’s the even list of pros and cons:
Pro: Passive income
Passive income is probably a misunderstood term. People automatically assume you could stand completely still for years on end and money would continue to drop into your bank account. Instead, the word passive in the context of income generation is better understood as – doing a lot less than you’d otherwise do.
If you build your online business right using a system like our BATON framework. Then you’ll experience a form of passive income. Where you make product or service sales 24/7.
You’ll wake up one day and you’ll have more money in your bank account than you did before you went to sleep.
Pro: No earning cap
Unlike a job, where you can just lookup the maximum earning potential through a site like Glassdoor. Online business like any business will allow you to keep on increasing what you earn. Fancy a 10 grand pay rise this year? Great well if you work smart and add enough value to your marketplace that’s absolutely possible.
What does that look like?
- Introducing a new product to your existing market
- Selling the same product to more people
- Adding an additional revenue model to your business
- Introducing online systems to streamline costs
- The list is endless and depends very much on your business
If you want to give yourself a pay rise today and have a functioning online business then my recent post gives you a framework in which to analyse your business in order to improve its results.
Pro: Your game, your rules
One of the blissful feelings of starting or running your own online business is you can create your own game. Which means you can create your own rules.
If someone enters your arena. Guess what? They’re playing by your rules. This by the way includes your customers as well.
This equates to control and freedom.
Control not in the weird domineering way, the space that most bullies operate in. But control to make decisions that create change. If you’re fed up with waiting for someone else to approve what you can do next. Then online business gives you back that control.
I also mention freedom. I could talk for days on this but I’ll keep it short. By building your ”own thing” you’ll in turn create freedom of choice, time and thought. Three elements that define us as independent autonomous creatures.
Con: You’re on your own
Here’s one the internet gurus won’t tell you. Once you make a decision to build your online business vs a job. You are on your own.
There won’t be someone to email to ask why you didn’t receive your wage slip this week. You will be solely accountable and responsible for the business, getting customers, creating a community, making sales and growing your business.
And it’s a daunting proposition. It’s why most people stay in the job. It’s just easier on that side of the fence. But its also why business owners make incredible amounts of money.
Because they take on risk. Risk of the unknown. Here’s a fascinating video on the way someone in the job thinks vs someone who takes on risk (less interested in the debate, more on the mindset difference):
If your thinking – ok that’s way too much to take on. Chill! Thankfully there are like-minded people all around you building online businesses too.
As an example, my wife had an awesome private group of women she would meet up with once a month to just talk about the trials and tribulations of business.
We’re out there. You’ve just got to reach out. Because of this fact, one of the cons I was thinking about adding to the online business list was – lack of social. However, in recent years, I’ve found the social circle to be incredible, uplifting and outright inspiring.
A different vibe from the water cooler conversations I used to have.
Con: Lot to learn
In the job your more often than not doing a repetitive task. Yes – within those tasks there will be variation. But for the most part, an accountant will do a re-occurring list of tasks. A manager will do a re-occurring list of tasks. And these specialised knowledge workers will get really good at a handful of things.
On the flipside. As an online business owner, the list of things you’re going to need to learn and do is never-ending. You’ll become a business strategist, accountant, bookkeeper, sales, marketing, product creation, HR, management and so on.
Again. Chill. It’s only at the start. Its sort of a necessary evil if you’re up for the challenge. Because by dipping your toe into different areas before you outsource these roles and responsibilities. You’ll have a better grasp of what the department should do.
A useful skill to acquire.
Summary: So which is it, online business vs job
Ultimately you’ll have to decide what’s more important to you.
The feeling of security from a steady paycheck or control to play the game by your rules.
Sometimes the way to think about building an online business is – short term pain for long term gain. Like the first time, you try to run a 5k it’s painful. But how you feel after a month of running makes all that pain worth it.
That being said, if you find the right online business for you it honestly won’t feel like pain. It’ll feel like times flying because your spending so much time having fun learning and building.
Finally, if you’re in a job right now and your keen to start an online business. Then the good news is, thanks to changes in technology you can easily start one alongside your job.
So hopefully my bias but even-ish pros and cons list has helped you get started with your own online business venture. Or at the least provided an awareness. Which wins after my quick comparison – online business vs job