Working Online and Being Remote How Do You Do It.

The Hard Truth About Working Online. 5 Disadvantages + 7 Advantages That Make It All Worth It

By now, you’ve probably heard of the common disadvantages of running online business and working online, such as:

  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Communication problems
  • Time zone differences
  • Losing work-life balance
  • Issues with productivity and time management
  • Screen time overload

The above disadvantages are talked about a lot. They are 100% real and must be considered, or at least known, before getting into the online workforce.

However… there are a few disadvantages of online work that aren’t talked about enough.

Like romanticising the lifestyle, the support (or lack thereof) of your loved ones, and even the old beliefs you have to let go of to bring your dreams to life.

One of the hardest transitions if you start travelling full time, is leaving routine and community behind.

Being aware of these problems, is the difference between maintaining this lifestyle, or feeling like there’s no other choice but to return to a traditional office environment.

We’ll discuss each one below, along with the 7 advantages of remote work that make it all worth it.

Two women walking in the waters of Wharton Beach in Esperance WA
There are perks to full time travel like discovering these incredible places! But it isn’t always like this

Key takeaways

  • You need to be adaptable this is a fast changing field
  • Travelling full time means you can’t make a routine, community, have pets, see a doctor as easily
  • Sometimes, in the pursuit of success, you’ll forget to make a life
  • It can take a while to unlearn what you’ve been taught to make your goals a reality.
  • People in your surroundings may not support you. This can be painful, but remember that you’re building YOUR dream life, not theirs.
  • You may need to dabble a bit before you find an online business that fulfils you.
  • The advantages FAR outweigh the disadvantages. Just keep your expectations in check and be clear on your goal, but flexible with how to get there.

We fund our travels by building and renovating websites. We learnt EXACTLY how to do it at the eBusiness Institute! They made the journey x10 times easier. Learn more about them here.

5 not-so-talked-about disadvantages of online work

These could make or break your journey:

Note: If you have a remote-friendly career, these disadvantages may not apply to you. They may resonate more with online workers who are quitting their traditional jobs and/or starting online businesses.

1) Life still happens – just in a different setting

It’s easy to romanticise the digital nomad lifestyle.

You know, laptop, tropical beach, under a perfect blue sky. The reality is often jet lag, bad internet connection, or working from tiny dirty hotel rooms.

That’s why from the outside, it’s easy to think that people who work and travel have fun. all. the. time. Nothing worries them and life is perfect.

Onilne working in Australia. Can be lonely. Chris from Salt and Charcoal looking over water with a bus in foreground.
It’s easy to think that online workers have a perfect life

But this is far from the truth. Life is still happening, with its ups and downs, just in a different setting.

It can be hard to do the things which are easy when you live in one place:

  • Establish a routine
  • Establish a community
  • Join a sports group
  • Get sick and need to see a doctor
  • When you live on the road like us even where you shower and sleep for the night can be a challenge
  • Mental health support has it’s hurdles when travelling

Yes, online work can take some problems away, like reducing your stress levels and helping you balance work and leisure. But it doesn’t make life perfect by any means.

Our advice: Revisit your expectations. Make sure they’re realistic – i.e. don’t expect to be financially free and travel the world within your first 6 months of remote work. It’s possible but not common.

2) It can take a while to break free from what we’ve been taught

Most of us have spent years (if not decades) believing that we need to work for someone else and that we could never amount to much on our own. Unlearning these things takes a long time.

There are also many common myths of online work, such as:

Your mind needs time and practice to unlearn all these misconceptions. Be patient with yourself as you work through this.

Our advice: The best way to “speed up” this process is to take action and create evidence. Surround yourself with people who are living the life you want. Start with some low-risk things, like earning your first bucks online or reading a book to change your mindset. Spend just 15 minutes a day working on yourself!

3) People in your surroundings may discourage you

During your journey, you’ll unlearn old beliefs and work towards bringing your dreams to life. It’s like a shedding of the old you and revealing the new you.

Sadly, this can also bring fear or even resentment from those around you.

They may think you’re changing too much/too fast, that you’re not the same person you were, or that what you’re doing doesn’t make sense. If/when this happens, stay focused on your goal and don’t let their misconceptions hold you back.

Bec from Salt and Charcoal looking over view at Frenchman's peak Esperance
Keep you target on your goals. No one else will reach your goals for you.

You may have to make peace with the fact that some people may never understand or agree with what you’re doing… And that’s ok, too.

Remember that you’re building your life, not theirs. You are the one who’s going to live it. Your decisions may go against the grain, but they will bring you joy and fulfillment. That’s what matters. 

Quick Tip: Be crystal clear on why you want to work remotely in the first place. Remote work is often a tool to get to a goal – financial stability, travel, more time with family… Find your why and it will be easier to overcome the discouragement.

4) You may need to dabble around a bit before finding what suits you best

For most of us, online work is a journey that is not straightforward.

There are hundreds of ways to earn money online. We dabbled in different things, we have crypto, investments, we have attempted drop shopping, consulting, creating and selling courses, started different brands etc. As you dabble you discover what fits you best.

You will likely try a few different things before getting something that you enjoy which earns well too!

You might want to:

Our advice: Give yourself room to explore different different online business or work opportunities. Listen to podcasts for example The Niche Pursuits podcast to learn more about this world! Doing this will help you find out what you like and don’t like…

Get the FREE 7-day email course: How to travel full-time without worrying about how to afford it

5) You need to have a clear goal in mind but also be flexible

Let’s say your ultimate goal is travelling full-time. You may want to travel the world, or go around Australia.

It can take a year or more to prepare for this but it will be the best decision you ever make! (According to us). The key is patience and if things don’t work pivot fast. You need to build resilience because different things will test you and slow you down.

In the meantime while you are waiting to live your dream life do some short trips and keep looking to your goals and setting up a strong plan to get you to where you want to go.

  • Explore new spots in your city
  • Visit a nearby town for a full day or a weekend
  • Go camping for a change!
  • Rent a van or sailboat to travel that way
  • Stay in a tiny home
  • Fly to an island for a week!
  • Try woofing, house sitting, studying abroad…
  • You can travel to other countries as an au pair (Bec has travelled to Europe that way!)

Our advice: Put your goal first. Set a date for it to happen. Stop saying yes to all of the parties/dinners and start saving your money to live out your dreams.

7 advantages of online work that make it ALL WORTH IT!

We have gone over the disadvantages. Here is what makes everything worth it!

1) Flexibility

One of the best benefits of online work is the flexibility it offers. Flexible working hours and the freedom to design your schedule according to what you want (or need) to do.

It won’t matter if you’re an early bird or a night owl – get your work done in the hours you feel most productive.

For example we do what we want when we want, we are so happy we don’t need to ask for annual leave anymore

You can also create a workspace that suits you best, whether it’s a cozy corner at home, a local coffee shop, or even a tropical beach.

For example, our usual schedule is working from Monday through Wednesday. That way, we have the rest of the week to explore whichever destination we’re at the moment. Otherwise we take a couple of weeks off and then work a couple weeks straight.

Gone are the days of spending precious hours commuting through traffic or crowded public transport. Use that time to sleep more, spend more time with your loved ones, and enjoy your hobbies.

2) Discovering new places

There are so many stunning spots in Esperance! Like this one in Little Wharton Beach
Living in a bus means we work in different towns and explore in our spare time

Online work (or running online business) means that you can travel anywhere, anytime. The new places you can discover are endless.

You could work a standard week online, in Mexico! Eating new foods, discovering new cultures in between doing your normal work from the computer. This is one of the major perks of running online business.

3) Cost savings

By working online and travelling, you save on the regular costs of living.

No more rent, bills, office birthdays, professional clothing. If you work from home, or while travelling to new places you do have new expenses, but you can keep it cheaper than the regular cost of living.

For example, if you decide to live in a van, you can free camp on occasion spending nothing for rent at all! This is hard though. Regular campsites range from $10 a night to $89 per night in Australia.

4) Global opportunities

When you work online, geographical barriers no longer limit you. For example, if you run an online business, you might fly to meet someone over the other side of the world one day.

We have found ourselves getting content creation jobs in other countries, meeting our staff members who live in the Philippines and more.

If you end up joining an online team you will have workmates from all over the world! Learning new cultures, backgrounds and traditions.

5) Personal growth

Online business pushes you to become a more self-motivated and disciplined individual.

You learn new skills such as digital marketing, sales, websites, social media and more. Without the physical presence of a traditional office and regular pay, you’ll learn to manage your time efficiently, set priorities, and stay focused.

These valuable skills spill over into your personal life, empowering you with new confidence.

6) Reduced stress

Traditional work environments can be riddled with stressors that can negatively impact your mental health, such as:

  • Commuting to and from work
  • Rigid work hours
  • Reduced privacy and interruptions
  • Lack of control over your workspace and its surroundings
  • Micromanagement
  • Hierarchies and office politics that create a competitive atmosphere
  • Dealing with difficult or hostile personalities
  • Fear of layoffs or uncertainty about the future of the company

Running an online business eliminates many of these stressors, allowing you to create an environment where you can thrive.

You’ll find that when you’re in a comfortable space, stress takes a back seat, and you can channel your energy towards being more productive and creative.

Because you are your own boss you set your hours, responsibilities and you can turn it all off when you want.

7) Enhanced productivity

Working from a cafe on your online business in Australia

Remote teams and online business owners often have enhanced productivity.

They don’t have the constant interruptions and chitchat which are common in office settings. This allows you to concentrate better on your tasks. If you work from home the urge to do the laundry will be niggling at you though! And if you travel and work then the urge to go exploring will too.

But the overall joy of having the choice will bring you a lot of satisfaction.

FAQs

What is the biggest problem with online business?

The biggest problem with online business is the slow growth to stable, consistent income. There are many learning challenges along the way and at times it will feel impossible.

There’s also a potential for isolation and loneliness. When you work from home, or while travelling in remote locations, you might miss the camaraderie and social interactions that come with a traditional office setting.

As human beings, we are naturally social creatures. Being physically separated from colleagues can lead to feelings of disconnection which can even affect our mental well-being.

Learn more: The main challenges of remote work.

Why is online work so hard?

Online work can be hard due to the lack of clear boundaries between work and personal life.

When your home becomes your office, it can be difficult to switch off from work mode and fully relax during non-working hours. This constant blurring of lines may lead to burnout and decreased productivity.

What are the ethical issues of working online?

Some of the ethical issues of remote working have to do with cybersecurity and privacy, like:

– Data security
– Confidentiality
– Employee privacy
– The use of personal devices for work

However, these are often addressed in the remote work policy of the company.

The bottom line

With online work, the advantages far outweigh the challenges. From working on a tropical beach to exploring new cities while you earn money, remote work grants you the freedom to create a life that aligns with your goals.

Yes, life still happens, and remote work won’t magically make everything perfect. But it offers unparalleled flexibility, allowing you to design your work-life balance according to your needs and desires.

Just try to surround yourself with a supportive community of like-minded individuals to stay motivated and encouraged. Embrace your unique path and remember that you’re building a life that brings you joy and satisfaction.

Finally, face the challenges, learn from them, and let the journey of remote work guide you toward a life filled with excitement, growth, and memorable experiences!

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