Technology has changed beyond all recognition since I started my first online business over ten years ago. Then, I was trying to travel while I worked online, and it was nowhere near as easy as it is today. The biggest problem was getting an Internet connection. I was severely limited in my ability to travel, as I needed to get a phone line installed in every house or apartment I moved into. Apart from the inconvenience, this was a considerable additional expense. It meant that instead of moving onto a new location every two weeks, as I had originally planned, I was forced to stay in each new town for at least three months in order to get some value from the money I had spent on telecommunications.
Of course, things are very different now. In the last year, I have traveled extensively around South East Asia, and I have had no difficulty getting a good Internet connection. Every hotel and guest house I have stayed at has offered free wi-fi, and if that doesn’t work as well as I would like, there are always lots of bars and restaurants around with free wi-fi to work from. There are also many co-working spaces where I can go if I need really fast and reliable Internet – and many of them offer great coffee!
Another huge change has been the availability of smartphones. Now I can move to a new country and pick up a new SIM card at the airport, usually for a cost of about a dollar. I am then immediately able to communicate with friends, family and business colleagues. Also, I have the option to use my phone as a wi-fi hotspot if I am not need a venue with a decent connection.
Everything has moved on very quickly in many different ways. The tools I need to use to run my online business are now much cheaper. Whereas I once spent hundreds of dollars a month on web services and marketing subscriptions, I can now get most of the information I need for free, and the tools I use are much cheaper.
All in all, there has never been a better time to start a business, especially an online business. You no longer have to worry about the huge expenses required to get a business off the ground. You can register a domain name for about ten dollars, install WordPress for free and start blogging and generating traffic. Of course, it’s still not easy. You have to be prepared to invest time and effort into making your business work. But if you are prepared to take your business seriously, then there is no limit to what you can achieve.
I can’t imagine going back to a day job now. It has been some twelve years since I last drew a regular salary, but I don’t miss it for a moment. I am very happy to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity that the Internet presents to all of us, and I intend to be paying the bills this way for many years to come.