In this time of prolonged economic instability, as brick and mortar businesses close their doors every day (remember Hostess?) as savvier startup entrepreneurs are turning to the internet to launch their new businesses. Although starting a new business venture in a sagging economy seems risky, the advantages and benefits associated with starting and running a successful online business can far outweigh those risks. If you feel you have what it takes to be a successful business owner, but fear has prevented you from taking action, here's a look at 5 solid reasons you should launch your online business sooner than later. Low startup costs Brick and mortar business owners must make a substantial financial investment in commercial space, physical inventory, office furniture and supplies...the list goes on; and all before they can even open their doors. By comparison, all it takes to get many online businesses up and running - particularly a tech or service-based business - is a domain name, a website, and a hosting account. If your business is product based, you can arrange to have items drop shipped so you never have to invest in or stockpile physical inventory. Your money will be better spent on tools that will help you to better reach and serve a potential worldwide market. Related: Find the Right Web Hosting Service for Your New Business Pursue your passions Working for someone else may bring you a sense of security, but it won't bring you the satisfaction that can only come from pursuing your passions and following your dreams. Starting your own online business based on a product or service you are passionate about can be tremendously fulfilling. And while it will not be easy, when challenges arise your passion and belief in what you are doing will inspire and empower you to do whatever it takes to achieve lasting success Low operating costs By eliminating the need to pay a monthly lease - not to mention utilities such as electricity, gas, and heat - online businesses can operate much more efficiently and inexpensively than brick and mortar businesses. In addition, the ability of online businesses to automate various operations via software systems, reduces the need to put extra employees on the payroll and pay for costly benefits such as health insurance. Social media marketing power Speaking of a worldwide market, online businesses have access to a greater pool of clients and buyers than traditional brick and mortar businesses could ever imagine. And by tapping into the marketing power of Social Media through a business Facebook fan page and Twitter account, you can better reach and relate to your demographic and drive more traffic to your site. Related: Tapping into the Massive Mobile Market Increased earning power As secure as your nine-to-five job may make you feel, the reality is that no matter how talented you are or how hard you work, your earning power is at the mercy of your employer. In starting your own online business, your potential earning power is up to you. Although that reality can be both exciting and frightening, recognizing that your ability to make more money rests solely upon you; your skills, business savvy, creativity and ingenuity. Photo credit: supermedia.com About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finances. With over 20 years of business experience, Robert is now offers entrepreneur advice to small business owners.