In the digital age, more people than ever before are finding that it’s possible to work from home. There’s a whole world of online work out there – and with the assistance of just a laptop and an internet connection, you can become anything from a foreign exchange trader to a marketing specialist.

But while the internet has opened up opportunities for a lot of people, it’s not a perfect environment in which to make money. As with any job, there are still some drawbacks to choosing this approach to income generation. From the existence of empty periods in which work dries up, to the risk of fraud, there are plenty of things to watch out for.

Void periods

Unless a large organisation employs you and you telecommute from your home, it is likely that your online money making experience will most likely involve you becoming a freelancer. For that reason, it’s worth remembering that your online income could fluctuate and that you may even have periods in which you are unable to make cash.

Say you work in marketing, and there’s an economic downturn like the one many countries are experiencing at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic. You may find that some of your clients decide to cut their marketing budgets temporarily, meaning that your income dips for a few months. By developing a solid business plan, and by building up a series of cash reserves, it’s possible to mitigate this risk somewhat and to keep going even during lean times

Safety and security

It’s unfortunately also the case that fraud exists in the online sphere – and if you’re working online in finance in particular, then you may find yourself at risk. Security is the name of the game in this regard. It’s essential always to be cautious when striking business deals and to do due diligence before proceeding. And if you find yourself working with business associates you meet online, you should always check them out first and ensure that any brokers or agents you work with are properly registered and regulated.

Competition from others

Sometimes, those who promote the working from home lifestyle might make it seem like it’s a doddle. But online money-making opportunities still take place in the broader context of the market. That means for each person who succeeds in making money online; there are plenty more behind them who are looking to do the same.

For that reason, you need to ensure that you stay ahead of the game when it comes to the competition. If you’re involved in e-commerce, for example, you need to make sure you’re doing the appropriate levels of market research to find out whether or not your price points are in the right place and if your product offer is still cutting edge. If you’re trading forex, meanwhile, reading some trading tutorials is a good idea so that you don’t fall behind in terms of market-beating skills.

Lifestyle effects

The work from home lifestyle might seem like a chilled-out one in which you get to wear your pyjamas all day and never leave the house. And while that might seem like the ideal way to live, it can get boring after a while. As a result, it makes sense to ensure that you mix things up a little over the day to ensure that your lifestyle doesn’t become staid or boring.

Doing some exercise in between online jobs is a good plan, and a yoga mat or a set of dumbbells can make it easy to do. It also makes sense to read up on the symptoms of conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, which are often found to affect people who spend a lot of time using a computer. That way, you’ll be able to spot any lifestyle concerns well ahead of time and ensure that you don’t suffer.

It’s undoubtedly the case that there are plenty of opportunities to make money online – and if the economy rebalances for good following the coronavirus pandemic, these may well spike. But before proceeding with any online business opportunity, it’s essential first to do your research, and to protect yourself from everything from void periods to unpleasant lifestyle and health effects. That way, you can both build a digital career for yourself and also reduce the risk of falling victim to unforeseen problems.

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