When people talk about online business, a lot of the focus is on what it's worth to your wallet. But that conversation is only surface-level―an online business is worth so much more to your family.

Many people start an online business because they've heard the success stories, and are excited about the financial opportunity.

But people are also excited about the opportunity to be their own boss!

That means working when you want, wherever you want (for better or and worse).

Leading up to the Project LAUNCH Challenge, two friends and I surveyed nearly 100 people who were interested in starting an online business.

We asked them, “What is the primary reason you're interested in launching an online business?” and here were the most popular answers:

  1. Financial Freedom (more money, not tied to time)
  2. Time Freedom (be my own boss)
  3. Do something that matters, help others (teach)
  4. Live a life of purpose and share my message
  5. Location Freedom (work from anywhere)

I should mention, the question was open-ended (not multiple choice).

The Rewards of Online Business

When you create content in an online business of your own, you are rewarded for the value you create rather than the time that you put in.

The process is exhilarating, and creating transformational content only inspires you to create even more!

If you create something with real value for real people, and make it really easy for them to find and purchase that thing―you will make money online.

But online business is worth much more than that.

Sure, money is high up on the list. People want financial freedom, and that’s one of the major appeals of online business.

But right after that, people crave the freedom to work when they want. To be their own boss.

The freedom to take a half-day and hang out with their kids, or to take a month-long sabbatical with their spouse.

When The Rubber Hits The Road

Once you make the leap into online business, I've found it's not money that keeps you going when the going gets tough.

That's important to know, because the truth is―the money is not always there.

In February of this year (2016), I quit my full-time job because things were looking good at MeeseWorks HQ.

We were just starting a major consulting project with a client, had money in the bank, and were about to launch a new online course.

Being a full-time entrepreneur was awesome! I couldn't have picked a better time to go full pro!

Or so I thought…

The first month after I left my day job, I struggled to get any work done from home. I was constantly distracted, and burning out fast.

I (somehow) started a course launch in March, only to spend a full week in the hospital with my dad while my launch fizzled out.

For the first time ever, I got fired by a client―about the same time I let two staff contractors go (one a very close friend).

I Seriously Considered Going Back to My Job

I'd been self-employed for less than three months, and I was ready to throw in the towel.

But I didn’t… because I refocused clearly on my why.

Do you know your why? The reason you're working on an online business, instead of anything else?

For many of us, it all comes back to family first.

I was able to spend all that time with my dad in the hospital because I ran my own online business.

I was distracted by my wife and child at home because I was with them more than ever before.

Yes, the financial wins will come and go.

Some months will be spectacular (and some months you'll find creative ways to pay the bills).

Online Business is About More Than Just Money

It's about freedom (in many forms and fashions).

If you don't get clear on what freedom means to you, you won't have motivation to keep going when the going gets tough.

Do you have crystal clarity on your motivation, your dream, and what you’re working towards?

If you don’t get clear on your why, you will fail when the going gets tough.

Very few people do―is it any wonder that three-fifths of companies fail in the first six years?

The Happy Ending Update

In case you're wondering…

  • I still love my wife and son, even when they want my attention while I try to work.
  • I got my own office downtown, so I can work outside of the home.
  • My dad is currently going through chemo, and handling it all like a champ.
  • I learned tons from each bump in the road―my business is now doing quite well!

What about you? What bumps in the road have had you question your ambition, and what are you doing to stay focused on your why? Please let me know in the comments below.


Get crystal clear on your motivation: why do you want to run an online business?

You'll need this when the going gets tough.

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John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the CEO of Cowork Inc, co-founder of Notable, and regularly publishes interviews and insight at JohnMeese.com.

6 thoughts on “What is Your Online Business Worth to Your Family?

  1. Thank you John for such an honest account of the opportunities and challenges of an online business. Yes it does seem that you exchange one set of challenges for another, but the big difference is you have no one else to blame for the situation you are in! I’ve been blogging weekly since October 2012 at http://www.drsunil.com . I want to go to the next level in terms of paid content, but I also have to take a deep breath as to whether I really want that responsibility at this stage in my life. I have a full time job and a family with 4 children.This is not an excuse, but being realistic as to what I can do at this stage in my life. I want an eventual online business, but am looking for the right technology partner. I know I can produce content, but need the right support around me so I don’t drown in all that needs to be done. i am telling myself that I want to be guided more by the compass than the clock. Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement of what you are doing!

    1. That’s a profound statement there — “I want to be guided more by the compass than by the clock.” It really resonates with me. You want to expatiate on that? In any case, I’m checking out your blog right away.

  2. This is so encouraging and down to earth. Thank you, John! It is very timely too as I’ll be leaving paid employment by the end of this week. Painful to know that your dad is going through chemo. My pastor went through a similar experience a while ago and it was tough for us. But God kept him and strengthened us. I believe that He will keep your dad too and strengthen your family. My prayers are with you.

  3. Appreciate your honesty and transparency in this article, John. I had a similar story, but am sticking it through, so this gives me encouragement. Thanks man! Praying for your dad.

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