Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Disadvantages of Being a Web Writer

by A.L. Woods, Staff Writer

Much has been written about the benefits of being a web writer. I should know -- I've written many of those articles. However, there are always two sides of the coin. Let me share a few of the disadvantages of being a web writer with you.


As web writers, we have to be very selective about the clients we accept. There are a plethora of folks out there who want Cadillac-quality writing for hoopty-level pricing. The same work that we do for low pay is the same work that if carried out for premium clients will net premium pay. Always position your mindset so that you're consistently pursuing higher paying markets as your skillset evolves.


As an extension of what I wrote above, there are tons of folks out there who would be happy to allow you to write a 500-word article for $5, or, even worse, for free. Don't do it! If you are confident that you're bringing value-based article creation to your clients, then price yourself accordingly. Be fair, but be fair to both sides of the equation: to both your client(s) and you.


I don't think that it's a stretch to say that most web writers are self-employed. As such, we don't have the luxury of just firing up the computer each morning, finishing up the work that's in our queue, and signing off for the evening. We must constantly be on the lookout for new sources of work. Whether it's new online writing sites, private clients, or even our own blogs and online properties, we must constantly be pitching ourselves in order to acquire new clients and new markets.

If we maintain our own income-producing online properties, we must always be consistently branding and promoting ourselves on a variety of social media in order to not only attract new readers, but to connect on a deeper level with those who already follow our work.


Again, most of us are self-employed, so we don't have an automatic benefits package as part of our work life. We must purchase our benefits, such as health insurance, on our own, and these types of benefits usually are more expensive for self-employed individuals than for those who work as employees.

Because we operate on 1099 income we don't have an employer to deduct money for our taxes out of our paychecks each pay period, so we must be certain that we set aside at least 30% of our income to hedge against the tax bill that is sure to come on April 15th. Along with this, self-employment tax bills out at a higher rate than traditional employment tax.

Finally, we must think of our retirement and have financial vehicles in place to prepare for that season of our life. If we don't take care of this it won't get taken care of and we may find ourselves in an unhappy financial quandary in our old age.


Despite all of the above, if I had to do it over again, I would still choose web writing as one of my primary genres in which to write. The lifestyle associated with it offers a freedom, flexibility, fulfillment, and income potential that I never found in traditional 9-to-5 employment.

Any other web writers out there? What disadvantages have you discovered during your time in the field?

*Photo: Ryan Hyde via Flickr

[Originally published on Yahoo! Voices on 06/26/2014 (no longer published there).]