Why You Can’t Run Your Online Empire from Starbucks

A short while ago, I wrote about how you can run your online business from just about anywhere in the world and there are even sites that can help you pick between San Francisco and Paris, Hong Kong and Toronto. This freedom to work from practically any location is easily one of the best things about living the dot com lifestyle. Even so, when you do decide on the city where you want to live and work, you will want to establish some sort of base of operations.

You’ll want this “office” to be reasonably comfortable and well-stocked with all the creature comforts that are conducive to making the big bucks on the Internet. You’ll want to have easy access to your beverage of choice. You’ll want to have a comfortable chair. And you’ll want to have a place that is reasonably free from distractions.

Why is it, then, that so many aspiring Internet marketers, freelance writers and other dot com moguls in the making persist in trying to “work” from the local coffee shop. Sure, the Starbucks around the corner might have some pretty decent caffeinated beverages and tasty snacks. Sure, it may provide you with a solid chair and “free” Internet access, but is this really where you want to run your online business?


Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat. The Internet access you get at Starbucks is not “free.” While you could probably get away with leeching that delicious Internet now and then, the Starbucks access point is meant for paying customers. This means that if you want to use their Internet for a couple of hours, it’s going to cost you at least a few dollars. If you keep up that habit all month, the “free” Internet has already cost you at least a hundred bucks. And it probably isn’t the best idea to camp at a Starbucks for eight hours a day either.

But it’s not just about the cost of all those extra foamy lattes and fresh baked goods either.

If you choose to work out of the Starbucks, you’re bound to their business hours. As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, the Internet is a 24/7 operation and money certainly does not sleep. The second big advantage to the dot com lifestyle is having the freedom of time and if you want to get some work done at three in the morning, you should be able to do that. Such is not the case (unless you find a 24 hour coffee joint).

The lack of privacy cannot be downplayed either. You never know who might be looking over your shoulder as you sift through your detailed Google Analytics reports or your invaluable keyword lists for your Adwords campaign. And let’s not forget about the lack of security that you get with a public access point. What’s more, it’s difficult to take important business calls and you don’t necessarily have easy access to all your files and “things” that you may otherwise have at a more established office.

Now, I’m certainly not saying that you can never work out of a coffee shop. Sometimes, we all need to take a break and enjoy a slight change of scenery. Heck, even John takes advantage of the speedy Internet at the Apple Store to upload videos now and then. What I am saying is that you simply cannot rely on Starbucks to be the “office” for your online business. You need a proper office, whether that’s through a coworking space or at your own home office.

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