After a full generation of the World Wide Web (WWW), most people acknowledge that starting an online business is a great vehicle for generating financial wealth, as well as personal satisfaction.

However, the path to riches itself is not paved with gold, and quite frankly, not everyone is cut out for the “Internet” lifestyle.

What’s the best way to decide if you have what it takes to be an online entrepreneur? Is there a cookie-cutter test that everyone can take and draw definitive conclusions? Unfortunately, no, but there are ways to reasonably conclude that starting an online business may not be for you.

Here are 5 things that determine whether or not starting an online business is the best option for you.

  1. You simply love the 9 – 5 lifestyle

Even with the growth of outsourcing, contractual work, and piecemeal employment arrangements, chances are that you are currently working full-time for a company. After all, gainful employment remains the logical conclusion for all those years of general schooling and specialized education or training, right?

Is there anything inherently wrong with the ‘9 to 5’ lifestyle? Absolutely not – you are likely performing a useful service or producing valuable products that many of us take for granted.  In exchange for your time and loyalty, you most certainly deserve a good salary or wage, fringe benefits, and the security of receiving a regular paycheck.

So if you are comfortable today, and hate the thought of sacrificing your family and social life, please don’t start an online business. Becoming independently wealthy, living the Internet lifestyle, and freedom from the “MAN” or “WOMAN” may not be right for you.

  1. You’re not willing to work after hours

We would never suggest using your favourite smartphone for wasteful purposes, but the fact of the matter is that constant communications is vital for online business success. You have to be in touch with suppliers, contractors, customers and possibly your own employees to keep things moving forward.

It takes hard work and dedication to make your business known at the start, something that necessitates being connected at all times. You’re in charge at all times, and sometimes you’ll have to be flexible with your schedule, willing to work long hours, and possibly weekend and holidays as well.

  1. You need to be told what to do all the time

Do you lack self-motivation? If you are a fish out of water without the boss’ weekly work orders, chances are that an online business is not for you. Independent thinking and being fast on your feet are prerequisites for Internet entrepreneurship, as is the desire to compete and go beyond the call of duty.

An online business demands initiative as well. Timing is critical for sales and organizational success. Good employees are valuable people for the overall economy, because they take care of its nuts and bolts. However, only true visionaries who are not afraid to fail and take calculated risks should leap away from their desk jobs.

  1. You don’t handle adversity well

Most businesses fail for legitimate reasons, but there are times when failure results from an inability to work through tough day-to-day situations.

Unfortunately, tough times are what online business is all about. When self-doubt and external criticism affect your performance, it’s time to pull the plug.

  1. You constantly need praise and recognition for your work

One of the cruel realities of online business is that you remain mostly alone as you build your brand, digital infrastructure, and social media marketing strategy. Especially if you are a solopreneur.

For those who need external praise, you are going to be out of luck. Money and profits are going to be the best vindication of your efforts. Provided that you establish a strong reputation for excellence and value, peer recognition may eventually be part of the mix. Just don’t count on it.

If any of these points resonated with you then you may want to take a personal inventory and really think about whether you want to take the plunge into starting an online business.

If however, you are ready to escape the ‘9 to 5’ rat race, are willing to put in the hard work and long hours, and are self-motivated and self-determined, the rewards of starting and owning an online business can far outweigh the costs.