Online vs Brick and Mortar Business

The internet has made it possible for anyone to start an online business vs a Brick and Mortar business.


By Brick and Mortar business I am referring to a traditional business with a set location and all that goes with it.

For much of my life I have been a brick and mortar business owner and most times with partners. Coming online for me was not an easy transition but then starting some of the other businesses was not without some struggles along the way.

We had enormous success as well as our share of failures (or leaning experiences as I prefer to call them) in the various businesses.

My involvement in ownership of Brick and Mortar Business

My first ownership happened when I married my husband who had a Farm Machinery Dealership. That meant enormous overheads including stock, debtors, premises and staff.

At the same time I had my own Accounting Practice with way less overheads but I still had a physical location.

From there we had ownership in a financial planning dealership and later a company that marketed financial products.

My first exposure to Online Business

My first involvement in a business that was both brick and mortar and online was with a company that ran live events. We also sold books and training education online.  It was here I learned the power of the internet. We also had as one of our teachers the late Corey Rudl who was one of the very first teachers of internet marketing.

Why I would not own a brick and mortar business again

One of my biggest reasons is the overheads that go with it –  things like:

  • Salaries to pay (we had over 70 at one time)
  • Superannuation (an Australian requirement ), insurances and staff add ons
  • Rent
  • Stock
  • Debtors
  • The capital you put in to start the business

Some other reasons are that I would not like to be tied to one location and set hours.

Many traditional businesses do not have a residual income or recurring income.  We did have one with the financial planning business as it was before the 2008 collapse but most businesses rely on the next sale.

Online Business


My transition to doing business online was not an easy one. Even though I had been successful in business, have a business degree and understand business I was technophobic.

My only computer experience was doing email and pressing the buttons to shift power point slides at presentations. I couldn’t even make a minor change on a slide  — they were done by my staff.

I was like this because I grew up in an age without computers and then had progressed to management at a young age.  I had personal assistants most of my life until I came online.

My first venture online was one where we had a physical product and I soon learned I did not want to do that. I also wanted to have a business where I could build a residual income.

Of course over time I have learned the skills I needed to operate a computer.

One crazy thing I did for far too long was get caught up in the “not knowing how to use tech stuff” and forgot the amazing business experience I was bringing with me.

Advantages of an Online Business

  • You are location free. As long as you have a computer and decent internet you can work pretty much anywhere in the world.
  • You have time freedom. You have to work of course, especially in the beginning, but you can choose your hours.
  • No staff – although I do suggest you outsource and don’t try and do everything yourself.  As Robert Kiyosaki says if you do it all yourself you are self-employed and not a business owner.
  • No premises
  • Depending on what you are selling you may not need to carry stock. I prefer digital products for this reason.
  • No debtors

Pitfalls of the online business world

Brick and Mortar

If you owned a ladies clothing shop you would take it seriously and focus on getting sales and maximizing your profits.

You would not be checking other business options every second day. Hey but that is what happens to a lot of people online.

Commonly referred to as “bright shiny objects” we are constantly bombarded with what offers and promotions.  We need to develop the mindset of the ladies clothing shop owner and stay focused.

I think one of the main reasons many people do not focus is the relatively low cost to get started in an online business. This of course can be a huge advantage as long as people are serious about making a business work.

Having owned brick and mortar businesses I still did my share of jumping around when I first came online. I strongly advise you to do your homework first and then stay focused.

The other thing I see online is people not educating themselves and thinking it is a get rich quick thing. It is not. There is a learning curve.  Invest in your online education.

On the flip side of that there are people who are in constant learning mode and never  take action on what they learn.

The transition to online from brick and mortar

It does not have to be difficult. If you are a traditional business owner or have owned businesses in the past and feel you do not have the technical skills know you will learn them.  I did it.

If you want to check out what I am doing you can do that here.

The online world can give you a life of freedom if you put in the time and learn.

Please leave me your comments below – online or offline which is for you?

Make it a great day.






Sue Price


I have a short video I shot on my other blog which you can catch here.

You can find me on Facebook here

Skype: sueprice

18 thoughts on “Online vs Brick and Mortar Business

  1. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Sue,

    I felt owning an online business would be easy, 5 years ago when I began doing the online bit, because it was SO easy to start one. Whip out a credit card. Pay. Start. Buy hosting. Own your blog. For some reason the ease of starting of online business inspires folks to believe it’s easy to run a PROSPERING online business.

    As a guy who went from being 50 K in debt, with 4 pennies in his wallet, to blogging from paradise here in Fiji, funding my 40 months of world travel through blogging…..I assure you, it’s not easy to run a prospering online business until you get the ball rolling.

    I feel many unethical or downright desperate online business folks market their venture as an easy way to make money online. Any fool who does this, or fool who believes them, through a combination of greed and ignorance, begins to pay their karmic debt, instantly, and problem after problem follows folks who want to get something for nothing online.

    Put in the time. Learn your craft. Create, connect with pros, work on yourself, and you can prosper through an online business.

    Nice comparison Sue, as you’ve done both the online and offline business thing.

    Tweeting through Triberr. Thanks so much.

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..11 Tips for Scoring Interviews on Authority BlogsMy Profile

    1. Sue Price Post author

      Hi Ryan

      I agree that the low entry point to get online can make people think it is easy. You are a great example of someone who persevered and learned the craft and are living a lifestyle most only dream of.

      Even when we had great success offline we did not have a life. It was difficult to even take a vacation and when we did they were short. I love how you are doing it traveling and working at the same time.

      Thanks for your comment here Ryan and for Tweeting it.

      Enjoy the gorgeous Fiji.


  2. Sylviane Nuccio

    Hi Sue,

    This is my first day reading blogs in over a week, and I’ve been blessed with great content 🙂 So thank you for that.

    The online world has always had it’s pros and cons. Among the pros is that just anyone on earth, even in the poorest countries of our world, one can start a fruitful online business nowadays. One of the cons is that we are bombarded by those “shiny objects.” I fell for a few of them myself, I can tell you that much.

    So, the example that you’re using here, is an excellent one. People who open a brick and mortar business do not spend their time looking at other shiny object out there, they are concentrating on building their own.

    This can be a challenging thing to do online, but we need to find out what we want to do and put some blind folders on that help us focus on our business and not see those shiny objects. That’s the only way to move forward.

    Excellent advice.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..4 Extra Juicy Tips Before You Order Your WritingMy Profile

    1. Sue Price Post author

      Hi Sylviane

      So nice to see you here and glad you are finding great content on your fist day back on the blogs.

      I agree the cost of getting started online gives so many more people opportunities but yes to be a big blind to the shiny objects is a good thing. I still have to discipline myself.

      I think everyone on line has at some time fallen for the trap.

      Thanks for your comment Sylviane. Thinking of you.


  3. donna merrill

    Hi Sue,

    I can surely resonate with this post. I had an off line business and was totally focused on it. Not paying attention to any shiny objects. Yes, I did have those “salespeople” coming into my shop telling me the next best thing, and where to advertize, but I did it all by word of mouth.

    My email list was composed of stuffing envelopes with my offers. I paid rent, I had to stock my shop with some things to make people comfortable with the service I was offering. But what I didn’t like was that I had to be there! Keeping late hours to supply my clients with convenient times.

    Now when I came into the internet business, It was quite different. Yes, a fellow technophobe..but I’m catching on lol.

    What is so great about being online is “have laptop will travel.” I can go and visit my kids and take time out to be alone to keep my business up and running. I am totally flexible. The best is that at anytime I want, I can take my beach walks, forest adventures, or just take a ride to nowhere with my husband and find new adventures.

    One thing an online business does need is a constant learning curve. Marketing strategies are something that do change in this industry and we have to keep up with that. And that means learning every day!

    Thanks Sue, for this insightful post.

    donna merrill recently posted..Do You Have Loyal Customers?My Profile

    1. Sue Price Post author

      Hi Donna,

      You and I have traveled similar paths in many ways. Both have had off line businesses and both came online as technophobes but hey we are here. I have actually stopped thinking like I used to. I still do not enjoy doing too much tech stuff but if I have to I push through.

      I agree to be able to travel and see family and keep our business going is awesome. I too love doing beach walks etc. I would find it very difficult to be tied to a shop or office again.

      Yes there is a constant learning curve online for sure. The other thing is if we have too much time offline it can be a bit of a headache to catch up.

      Thanks for your comment here Donna.

      Have a great week ahead.


  4. Mark

    You are so spot on Sue!

    No matter which route you take to successful business ownership, on or offline, there is going to be a learning curve of some kind.

    Hopefully, it won’t be an extremely steep one. Like you, I struggled mightily with the entire online, social media tech world in the beginning!

    In fact, I can still remember vividly, the very first six week WordPress workshop that I took!

    Talk about lost!LOL!

    The concepts were so foreign. But then as you continue to study and ask questions and attempt and fail a few times, before you know it, you start to know how to do some of what your instructors are teaching!

    But as you mentioned, both choices has there on built in pro’s & cons! but no matter which option you choose, in the end, there will most definitely be some hard work and dedication involved, if you’re serious about your long term success!

    Great post and thanks for sharing it!
    Mark recently posted..Three Surefire Signs Your Comprehensive Marketing Plan Is The Definition Of Selfish!My Profile

    1. Sue Price Post author

      Hi Mark

      I laughed reading your comments about the 6 week WordPress workshop as I did one also and was totally lost. It is nice to know I was not alone. I think looking back now how far I have come and I am sure you do as well. It is not easy that is for sure. I can remember feeling very stupid and like everyone else knew this except for me.

      There are pros and cons with each on and off line.

      Thanks for your comment Mark. Have a great week.


  5. Monika Sharma

    Hi Sue,
    Before start saying anything let me tell you ! I’m very honest with you & I wasn’t aware about Brick and Mortar Business ! I never hear this name as well as never find out similar post too ! So hearing fist time about Brick and Mortar Business is special for me ! I came little know about Brick and Mortar Business here on this post ! Which told me little perfect summary & meaning of Brick and Mortar Business ! So Thanks for it Sue !

    1. Sue Price Post author

      Hi Monika,

      I am glad you learned a new name for really what is just an offline business. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment here Monika. Have a good week.


  6. Adrienne

    Hey Sue,

    Well I’ve never owned a brick and mortar business but I certainly did work for several all my working career life. I will also admit that I was never comfortable with change although I do love to learn, always have. It’s just what we’re comfortable with for so long and then they have to go and change things but that’s just the way of the world.

    So coming online is just yet another learning experience and it all just takes some getting use to. There are way too many shiny objects out there though and so many people are getting very overwhelmed because it’s really not as easy as a lot of people make it out to be. I mean when I started I was someone like you with very limited online know how. I didn’t know one thing from the other but it’s like anything else in life. If you have the desire and determination to do better then it’s worth the time and education. If you don’t then they’ll just quit.

    I’m glad you’re sharing your experience with us Sue because although it can be a scary place to be, there are people like you eager and willing to help. It doesn’t get much better than that.

    Thank you my dear and enjoy your week.

    Adrienne recently posted..Why Being Everywhere For Traffic Is A LieMy Profile

    1. Sue Price Post author

      Hi Adrienne,

      It is difficult for me to think of you as a beginner online but of course you were. I think sometimes we forget everyone was new once. I know even the younger people who grew up with computers and an online world would still have to learn about sales funnels, auto-responders and everything else that goes with our online world. And of course all the jargon that goes with it. I did not even know what a browser was. I used IE but had no clue what it was called.

      I agree it can be a scary place in the beginning for sure.

      Thanks for your comment Adrienne. Have a great week.


  7. Akaahan Terungwa

    Hello Sue,

    Discovering a world powered by the internet was the best thing that ever happened to me – and there’s no way I’m going to trade that over for a brick and mortar business anyday.

    As a kid, my major challenge was that my dad had to leave me at 0800hrs and only returned at 1600 hrs everyday – an act which I hated and would never appreciate, even in later years. As I grew up and eventually married, I discovered I was trapped in the same predicament my dad was – years ago. I had to do something…and do it fast!

    Here I am online now. Basically, the freedom and control is the best part. Then, the passive nature of the income and the utter flexibility. Nothing beats that – or can ever! For me (as you), it’s online all the way!

    Be certain to make the day great!

    Akaahan Terungwa recently posted..BLOGGING MISTAKES AND LESSONS: 10 + 1 THINGS I DID POORLY THAT COST ME MONEY!My Profile

    1. Sue Price Post author

      Hi Terungwa,

      I was like your dad and went off to work early and returned late as did my husband. It was our business but we were still tied to the premises. It is so exciting now that people can do it differently. Great you have broken that cycle.

      Yes the freedom and flexibility are worth so much. I am like you and would not trade if for the other way.

      Thanks for your comment here and you have a great day.


  8. Mayura

    Hi Sue,

    Interesting insights about Brick and Mortar businesses, and as always appreciate sharing your wisdom on business and financial aspects dear 🙂 As you have been a Brick and Mortar business owner, I know you can grasp beyond what we find.

    What surprises me is that you would never wanna own an offline business again. Hmm… But you have proved your point too. A local business owner I met a few months back mentioned he will do it over again and while investing more on passive income. But again I think he might not prefer the transition you have been through. He doesn’t even know how to operate a computer and doesn’t like to learn either.

    Anyway, I’m curious to ask about your view on something, Sue. Would you rather own an offline business which extended their presence (and operate) online or solely an offline business? Just curious 🙂

    Have a successful week over there dear 🙂

    Mayura recently posted..How to Add a Simple Contact Form in BloggerMy Profile

    1. Sue Price Post author

      Hi Mayura

      For a time I used to think I would like to own a traditional business again but having now had the freedom of the online world I am very clear.

      I understand what the local businessman said to you and I too know people who just do not want to learn about computers. I used to be a bit like that but heck I now love it. 🙂

      IN answer to your question if I had an offline business I would prefer to extend my presence online as well. I think it a little head in the sand not to do that as technology is here to stay. I would not like to own a solely offline business. I hope I answered that clearly. Do you have clients that have traditional offline businesses who you help have a presence online? I am guessing you do.

      Thanks for your comment here Mayura. I always appreciate what you have to say.

      Have a great rest of your week.


  9. sherman smith

    Hey Sue,

    I tried doing an offline business some years back doing computer repair. But I do have to say that it wasn’t no joke! I really didn’t know what I was doing but i figure since I work on computers anyways and a couple of people know this, that it will be easy to grow my business. Wrong! I was so far from the truth LOL.

    Fast forward some years and I got heavy involved in Network Marketing. At first the idea was conveyed to us that if you bring your network marketing business online, then that shows how “weak” you are. Ironically, a year later they started promoting an email autoresponder system. But that was my first taste of online marketing.

    Fast forward it a couple of more years is when I went full fledged into online marketing. This is when i found out why “Marketing” is a major in college. I had no idea of how much detail and how diverse this study was until I learned about different strategies and the psychology of it. But i do have to say, which you mentioned, that the one thing that I love about online marketing is because of the low cost to start an online business and above all there isn’t as much overhead as you would find with a brick and mortar!

    Thanks for sharing Sue and I hope you’re having a great week!
    sherman smith recently posted..5 Crucial Reasons Why You Should Segment Your Email ListMy Profile

    1. Sue Price Post author

      Hi Sherman,

      I think a lot of people start a business as you did with your offline computer business because they can do the job or have a skill but they do not know about business. You mentioned marketing as a major so is business as you know. The town I live in has many people who come here as it is a nice lifestyle and they start businesses with no experience Most fail.

      Your journey to the online world is an interesting one, thanks for sharing it. Both on and off line there is a learning curve but as we both agree the online options at least has a lower start up cost and ongoing overheads. I also like the flexible hours.

      Thanks for your comment here Sherman and have a great rest of your week.