Need a flexible work from home job, that requires little to no experience, and doesn’t involve making sales calls?
Believe it or not, jobs like this do exist. One such job is proofreading.
Proofreading is a job where you can work as many hours as you want, when you want, where you want.
How to Become a Proofreader
There’s no question getting started in a new career can be difficult. After All, you need to find someone willing to pay you, do the work, and actually get paid. This is a lot easier said than done, especially for those who have never made money outside of a traditional job.
But there is a way. Many have done it before and many will do it in the future.
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Caitlin Pyle.
Caitlin has been earning money as a proofreader since 2007. In 2012, she earned a full-time income, earning upwards of $45+. She now teaches others how to start their own proofreading business from home.
I talked to Caitlin about how she first got started, what type of clients she enjoys working with, good skills to have as a proofreader, and more.
If you’re interested in learning more. Caitlin has an excellent free introduction to proofreading webinar: Learn the Skills YOU Need to Start Your Freelance Proofreading Hustle
Q: How did you first learn of proofreading as a career option?
A: I started proofreading back in college! While I was a communications major, I studied abroad in Germany, and students there would ask me to help them proofread their essays. Then when I started working for a court reporting agency after I graduated, court reporters asked me to look over their transcripts to make sure they were free of grammar errors. As I kept doing it, I realized I could actually make a full-time income proofreading… and I haven’t looked back.
Q: What are your favorite types of projects or clients to work with?
A: I’m partial to proofreading transcripts for court reporters 🙂
I am glad you asked me this! Because it is so important to find a niche to proofread in. If you learn to specialize in one area of proofreading, it’s easier to market yourself — and easier to make more money. Even though I started proofreading for college students, when I got to work with transcripts, I realized I had found an area I really liked and could do well in. So I focused all my energy on transcripts.
When you’re starting your proofreading career, it doesn’t hurt to try proofreading anything and everything as you’re practicing your skills and seeing what you enjoy the most. But once you find your niche, really learn how to hone your skills to that particular subject. Are you interested in medical writings? Learn medical terminology. Want to proofread for financial bloggers? Study financial lingo. You get the idea! Typically, a niche you want to focus on will be one you already know something about, so it’s much easier (and more enjoyable) to study.
Q: How did you get your first client?
A: I got my first consistent clients while I was working for the court reporting agency. I kept those clients on as I got started on my own proofreading business in 2012. My proofreading business kept growing from there — so much so that I could make a full-time income working anywhere I wanted.
Related Reading: How to Get Your First Client on Upwork
Q: What type of personality traits or inherent skills do successful proofreaders tend to have?
A: You need to have a natural knack for spotting grammar errors and typos. Not that you can’t learn all those nerdy grammar rules! But it makes it so much easier to get into proofreading if you can naturally spot errors (and have that irresistible urge to correct them).
You must be attentive! Proofreading is all about focusing on details. If you’re a skimmer or if “the little things” just don’t bother you, chances are, you are going to have a hard time forcing yourself to notice errors as you’re reading through your project.
Another skill that’s a must is being willing to do your own research. If you focus on one particular niche of proofreading (like transcript proofreading!) and you study for it, you’re still going to run across topics you’re just not very familiar with. Instead of sending it back to your client saying you didn’t understand what a word meant or how to spell something, you will need to do your own research. Google will be your best friend, along with finding a supportive group to help you out. One awesome perk of both my proofreading courses is the private student and graduate Facebook groups, where proofreaders can ask questions and get advice (students often say it’s their favorite part of the course!).
Q: What can someone expect to learn in your free 7-day intro course?
A: My free 7-day intro course is all about finding out if transcript proofreading is a good fit for you! I cover the most common questions (and struggles!) you will face as you build your proofreading business. I’ll go into how much money you can make as a proofreader, mistakes new proofreaders should avoid, and some proven marketing tips for your new business.
Even if you aren’t a good fit for transcript proofreading in particular, you could still make an awesome proofreader — and I’ll be upfront and tell you too! I’d hate for you to get into a freelance career you aren’t happy with. There are plenty of proofreading topics to focus on, and I’m here to help you get started!
Thanks to Caitlin Pyle for sharing this!
Does proofreading sound like a job you’d like? Take the next step by signing up for Caitlin’s free seven-day mini-course on ProofreadAnywhere.com!