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Biggest Disadvantages of an Online Writing Career

Updated on December 10, 2014

Taking the leap to become a professional freelance writer takes a lot of guts.

There are benefits many online article writers share across the web in various articles. However, before making a big jump to work online know the disadvantages you have to face.
There are benefits many online article writers share across the web in various articles. However, before making a big jump to work online know the disadvantages you have to face. | Source

Appeal to a wide range of clients with diverse and relevant article content to make money writing online

Freelance writing is an excellent way to earn a living. Tons of people enjoy the profession and are attracted to the biz for a variety of reasons. The ability to make your own hours, earn without a limitation, work from home in most cases, be your own boss and extremely low start up costs are only a few of the pros to the freelance writing industry.

There are tons of articles around the web sharing all of the wonderful things about being an article content writer for the web. Though, there are few and far between willing to dole out the knowledge with "would be" writing entrepreneurs the disadvantages of freelance writing as a career choice.

Having an online writing job does have a number of shortcomings to investigate before taking the plunge to invest personally and professionally as an online article writer. These are several of the biggest detriments to writing for a living.

Writing doesn’t always come easy

There are certainly times when the job of creating great content doesn’t come easy to any writer. The ideas are not always overflowing. There are times when the well runs dry for subject matter or innovative concepts or thoughts. These are times when countless writers question if the right decision was made taking this particular career path.

Nearly every writer finds a dry patch when times are rough when it comes to crafting content. However, since this is where how you make your income you must muddle through until the tide turns. Finding new ways to come with methods or techniques to make producing work easier is strived for by numerous writers.

Novices to the profession searching for a niche are typically who struggle the most. As experience and skills grow, this stumbling block will become easier to overcome.

Writing is how income is created. If there is a period of time when an individual struggles with making it work, the pay dries up. Additionally, dissatisfied clients do not return and bad reviews hurt credibility and negatively affect future writing gigs.

Unknown territory

Other difficult areas of writing comes with entering unknown territory or a subject matter a writer is not familiar with. This requires research and education before creating a single word of content for the web or personal client.

These areas also limit writing jobs available. Although most writers have a niche of expertise, there are times when work doesn't exist in that particular genre. This is when looking outside of your comfort area comes in.

Encountering unknown territory and writing less than stellar content hurts credibility and reputations. This impacts earnings negatively. The amount of time to invest to discover what is needed to build an all-star document varies. Some remarkable ones take days.

Take the time to inform and educate yourself when working in an area unfamiliar. Saving credibility is important for a freelance writer's future earnings prospects. The alternative is saying no and waiting for work in your skill set or comfort zone.

Boring or uninteresting subjects

There are more than a few materials created for subject matter a writer considers boring or holds no interest. These tastes and areas without interest are possibly on things clients request as part of a writing job.

Making money doesn't always give interesting and exciting possibilities for content when working with clients. They have an agenda in mind and as an employee or freelancer for hire, follow it to get paid.

Clients are not all nice

Dealing with certain writing clients is a headache. Imagine a client requests four or five rewrites to content personally considered great as is. How about trying to develop 600 words of material from a client's keyword which only musters at the most 200 words?

Different personalities are likely to clash with yours, they refuse to pay, they rip off a byline, article or even bad mouth work without cause. There are tons of horror stories with a not so nice client.

Passive income is not consistent

Creating the perfect passive income takes several hundred different carefully crafted articles full of wonderful, enriching, relevant content. These are articles with wonderful SEO and back linked with expertise. Articles go viral and the readers are in the hundreds of thousands. If the search engine ranking is very high the passive income simply flows in. This is not the norm. In fact, it is a pipe dream of any freelance writer.

The truth is passive income is the most consistent form of earning, but it has irregularities. It does take hundreds of articles on the right subjects, expertly linked together with lots of readers finding them because of high search engine ranking. Search engines love them because of the remarkable keywords and keyword phrases you developed. The thousands of competing articles cannot hold a candle to the brilliance in your content. Subjects withstand the test of time and earn for months and years to come.

Every time you publish a piece of writing you expect it to fall into this definition to make the most money from it. Hitting some of these here and there is typically what occurs for any type of monies to be made.

Passive income is typically seen after five or six months of very hard work. Sometimes even more time passes before seeing a good passive income worth the efforts put into the articles. Writing for a living is not an easy road, but it can be rewarding as a career on several levels.

Writing is exhausting mentally

If you believe writing is an easy job, you don’t write for a living or should consider a different occupation. Even though you are not working as hard physically for your livelihood, like with workers doing manual labor, you are working mental muscles for creativity, ideas, grammar, sentence structure, researching, formatting, editing and what goes into producing great articles.

Lots of individuals experiencing both mental and physical labor jobs admit mental exhaustion is worse in most cases.

Writing is a job and not a hobby

After making the decision to write for the internet to make a living, you no longer have the option of writing whenever it suits you. This is your career and your bread and butter. If writing is paying the bills the more you write the more bills are paid. If you don’t feel like working today, you certainly don’t have to. On the other hand, if you don’t write you will not get paid today. Hobbies are optional, jobs are not.

It is nice to find you are capable of making a living doing something you enjoy as a hobby. Though, after focusing on it as a mainstream of income it is no longer a pastime. The leisure pursuit days are at an end.

Supplementing writing income through sources such as blogging, crafting Ebooks and other writing work is not unheard of.

Inconsistent income

Writing income as a freelancer is sometimes more pay than a regular nine to five job. There are times when it is not. The wages earned for an online writer are generally unpredictable and inconsistent. This means most find a feast or a famine as a rule.

Finding long term clients with a lot of work is a terrific opportunity for increasing the amount of money you earn and stability with wages. Although, the majority of clients are one time connections for jobs and you have to search through writing job boards and another resources around the web to connect writers with a supply of writing gigs and clients.

There is no base pay to fall back on guaranteed each week or month in the profession. For this reason countless article writers search for long term work or regular clients needing a consistent flow of work for a long interval of time. This provides a more uniform system of earning online article writing income.

Even the passive income seen by each individual is inconsistent. There is no set rate of pay. Article writing sites vary their payment methods, earning possibilities and even how and when they give compensation or payment.

Much of a content writer’s time is spent searching for work

A great deal of a writer’s time is directed at searching for work. This means submitting samples, dealing with a variety of job clients and their particular personalities and competing on a global platform for the next dollar. A writer usually applies for several different jobs with a lot of competition with the possibility of hearing back from only one over a span of several days or a week.

The majority of time spent looking for a job means selling written work in a competitive marketplace. Depending on where you search for online article writing gigs makes a difference in the amount of pay received for the service or item.

Countless job boards or job writing sites pay writers extremely low rates for quality work because of the amount of competition for these jobs. Make certain you find the best sites with the most competitive rates for your work.

For instance, what an American expects to receive as a reasonable rate of pay for the work is not what someone from another country with a lower cost of living expects. This makes writers either drop their rates lower or they are unable to compete with countries such as India.

Build a great resume or portfolio of work. This is beneficial and makes earning opportunities coming your way increase as your portfolio grows. The amount of work you perform will vary making your skills and experience a commodity sought after by clients with the best pay. Appealing to a wide range of clients with diverse and relevant article content is the key to success.

Remind lots of clients they get what they pay for. While others have lower prices, the quality is possibly lower as well.

You are your own boss

When someone reads the statement you are your own boss, they get excited. Of course there are benefits to being the boss. Though, there are also shortcomings to the job of head honcho. This is possibly one of the biggest drawbacks of an online article writing career.

The buck stops with you. You have the responsibility of everything. If things don’t get accomplished, it is your fault. If you are doing the work, you are responsible. If you have outsourced the work and things don’t get done or are shoddy, you are still responsible. Your name and standing in the writing community are at risk with every article published or client you work with.

When you call in sick or take vacation days the “office” usually doesn’t continue to keep running. You are missing out on income. Whether time is lost writing or searching for clients, a sacrifice to the online article writing career is made.

Dealing with the difficult clients is your duty. You do not have a resource to buffer between you and a tough situation. For numerous writers this buffer was the boss in their previous life. Now the job is your obligation.

Outsourced work and the client refuses pay you means you still must pay your employees. In this role you deal with getting the money from the client or paying out of your own pocket.

Subcontractors are not always aware you have subcontracted a larger job and need to wait for their pay. They really don’t care. They have produced what was requested and deserve the wages promised. As the boss, make it right and work out with the client getting your money back. The list is long for tight areas you will find your way into and have only yourself to rely on to get out of.

Writing as a professional career doesn’t have the same esteem as other professions in the eyes of a lot of people

Most people asking what you do for a living have a little skepticism you actually work for your income. Doing this for an online income is not something a lot of people view with an awful lot of respect unless you are a million copy best-selling author, like John Grisham or Stephen King.

Lots of freelance content writers feel a need to defend their chosen career or justify why they do what they do for a living is just as important or lucrative as other careers.

In conclusion

Most writers find by diversifying their article content writing they are able to make a great living. This means supplementing income with other forms of work such as an eBook, blogging or other platforms capable of earning more money to add to the base income from the profession.

It is possible to make a wonderful living in the profession. It is a way to express ideas, insights, opinions, knowledge and so much more. There are numerous advantages and benefits to making a living through your writing efforts. Yet, along with these same benefits come several disadvantages to be aware of before quitting your day job or moving in this direction.

This outlines more than a few downsides to the career of freelance writing.

Writing content related to the wine industry is one way to make a living. Find out more.


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    • budgetgal profile image

      Katie Mayo 

      3 years ago from LA

      Fantastic post! This truly provided a much-needed "reality check" for me. Indeed, upon initial impression, it seems that EVERYONE is sailing with their fantastic writing/blogging careers, but this article proves that is IS difficult and that the nature of the work isn't going to offer that stable set of figures at the end of a pay period. However, we keep going because we HAVE to. Writing is addictive, and we're constantly evolving and exploring throughout our careers. Thank you for this post!

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 

      5 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      This was an interesting and informative article. I've not made any money yet but have decided to put my heart and soul into it and stop procrastinating. It really helps knowing we're all in the same situation. We can all help and motivate each other. Thanks!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I think you've covered a lot of territory in a short space. I like your comment that "the buck stops with you". Writing as a career certainly does, necessarily, include personal discipline.

      This was an interesting and useful hub so I voted up, useful and interesting.

    • smcopywrite profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from all over the web

      thank you for your comments. i love to hear from other writers that my share is useful

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      6 years ago from Central Texas

      Insightful and on-target Hub. I enjoy any income I derive from writing but don't count on it because as you say -- or in my words -- there's times it's "iffy" at best. Lots of good info here for aspiring writers. Voted Up! Best/Sis

    • maryhoneybee profile image


      6 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      There really are a lot of pros and cons with this profession, but if your heart's in it, it's worth it. Myself just trying to start off on a writing career, I'm learning how tiring it can be to write about things that are of little interest to me--but, it pays off in the end. If writing is what you love to do, and you're not afraid of hard work, headaches and eye strain, then go for it! Thanks for the helpful hub!


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