5 Things that Fucking Suck About Running an Online Business (And I Mean Really Fucking Suck)

Karen MarstonI shout a lot about how brilliant it is to run your own online business. And so it is: the freedom of time and location, getting to decide for yourself what’s important enough to work on, not having to report to anybody, and doing shit your own way. To me, those are all things worth making sacrifices for.

But there are many things about running an online business that really do fucking suck. Here, let me tell you all about them.

1. The Loneliness

You take it for granted when you work in a regular old job. Seeing people, I mean. And it doesn’t even take long for the loneliness to creep in. You’ll wonder why you feel so down when you’re finally living life the way you want.

And then you realise: it’s PEOPLE. You miss having fucking people in your life on a day to day basis.

Fuck, you even miss craving alone time.

And somehow, putting yourself in the company of others is much harder than getting away from it. You have to really make an effort to socialise when you work from home, alone. It doesn’t just happen because you and a bunch of other people have decided to devote their time to going to this job that gives them a steady paycheque every month.

2. The Decisions

Deciding what to do. Next. This afternoon. Tomorrow. Next week, next month, in the next five years. Holy fuck, there’s a task. And then when do you decide what to do, in what order, and how? Should you work from home today or go out to a cafe? Or maybe you could just take this one day off and work on Saturday instead? And okay, so how about if you went to the gym this afternoon instead of this morning, because this pressing bit of work has come in. But will you really go to the gym later if you put it off? Will whatever you decide to put off till the afternoon inevitably get left until tomorrow? What day should you meet for coffee with that old friend? What’s the best thing to do as soon as you wake up in the morning? What time you should get up, go to bed? Do you need an alarm? Do you start work at a set time, or when you feel like it, or after you’ve had your first coffee of the day?

Your time is yours now. And you have to decide how to make the best of every bit of its non-renewable ass. You’ll spend a lot of time thinking about what you should do instead of actually doing it. And then you’ll piss yourself off and decide to eat an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food and watch seventeen consecutive episodes of The Big Bang Theory instead. Shit. You’ll make better decisions tomorrow.

3. The Procrastination

No matter what, when you start your own business, you will always feel like you’re procrastinating. And a lot of the time, you probably will be. But sometimes you won’t, and it will still feel like it anyway. Because there’s always something to do. You’ll pine for the days when you could clock off at 5pm, then go home and curl up on the sofa with a good book and a glass of wine, and read for hours. Without feeling like you should be doing something else.

4. The Money

It goes without saying that the money can be brilliant when you run your own business. It won’t be to begin with. But it can be, if you work hard and keep going and do the right thing, the thing you know you should do. That’s kind of the point, right? If you run your own business, you’re the one in charge of how much you earn. And there’s the rub. You have to put the work in, instead of just showing up, to earn your keep. And even when you do that, it still might not happen. Not quickly enough. Not enough of it. Another night eating noodles.

5. The Responsibility

This is what it all comes down to, isn’t it? You’re responsible for you now. For your life and what you do with it. For how you spend your time. For making sure you step outside occasionally and socialise with people so you don’t go insane. For the work you do and how much money you earn. For making sure you do the important things and not just the easy things.

For making sure you actually fucking live this life you’ve so carefully crafted for yourself.

Sooo, if this hasn’t put you off and you still want to start your own online business, you might want to register for the next session of The Quickstart Class: How to Become a Freelance Writer in 4 Weeks with No Prior Experience — class starts next Friday! Click here to register.

Here’s Everything I Learned at University (So You Don’t Have to Go)

Karen "Space Warrior Princess" Marston

I talked about why you don’t need to go to university last week. But the truth is if I went back in time, I would still go to uni. Admittedly not because I desperately need my degree, but because it was one of the best times of my life. I made some lifelong friends (I […]

Continue reading...

Qualifications? Screw ‘em. Your Time Can Be Better Spent

Me, graduating. Not displayed proudly in anyone's home. Weirdly.

I burned all my old certificates a couple of days ago. (Alright, so I shredded them. But that’s not such a good opener, is it?) My GCSEs (two Bs, four Cs and three Ds, baby), my photography A-Level, my Food Hygiene certificate (don’t ask), my Diploma in Media, my fucking Apprenticeship in “Team Leading” — […]

Continue reading...

Maybe You DON’T Need a Safety Net


There’s a common piece of advice that floats around the startup community: “Build up a safety net before you take the leap/quit your job/start your business/whatever.” It means you should make sure you have some cash in reserve before you make any drastic alterations to your income, such as quitting your regularly-paid job to focus […]

Continue reading...

31 Signs You Should Start Your Own Business

Fuck it.

You get frustrated when morons you work with have more responsibility than you.   That includes your boss, who is definitely a moron.   You don’t cope well with being told what to do.   You think it’s fucking stupid having to go to work for a set amount of time, when you can easily […]

Continue reading...