How do you become a Proofreader online?

You may be wondering:

“Do I need a degree in English or journalism to be a proofreader?”

You actually don’t need either.

You have the fundamentals to be a good proofreader if:

  • You like to read
  • Have a keen eye for catching typos and errors
  • Have a computer (or a tablet)

 

What separates GOOD from SUCCESSFUL proofreaders?

Their drive to learn best practices.

They’re motivated to grow their proofreading business so they can enjoy the FLEXIBLE hours and FREEDOM to work from home.

Be their own boss. Take vacations when they want to. Spend more time with their kids.

In this post, you’ll learn how to become a proofreader and whether it’s the right fit for you:

  1. What is a proofreader job?
  2. Is there a need for proofreaders?
  3. How much does a proofreader make?
  4. Where do you find proofreading jobs?
  5. Interview with a successful proofreader
  6. Training to start a proofreading business

How to Become a Proofreader

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read the disclosure for more information.

If you feel confident proofreading is for you, start your proofreading business right away.

Proofread Anywhere – a company that provides training in proofreading – offers a FREE intro workshop here that teaches you the basic principles of how to make money proofreading and the secrets to be successful.

If you like to read all of the details first, here’s an in-depth look into proofreading.

Let’s get started!

 

1) What is a Proofreader job?

Fundamentally:

Proofreading is editing content to make it perfect.

It’s different from editing. Here’s the process:

  1. Content is written
  2. An editor reviews it
  3. A proofreader does a final review before it gets published

Bottom line?

Be a proofreader

An editor (including a copy editor) takes the content and restructures and rewrites it so that it’s clear and reads well. Editing can involve rewriting whole chapters and deleting paragraphs.

A proofreader looks for spelling and grammar errors, formatting inconsistencies, and any mistake that wasn’t caught by the editor.

Related: Scoping is a niche work from home job that involves editing legal documents. Scopists edit the documents and then hand them off to Proofreaders.

Interested in editing court transcripts and other legal documents? Read my interview with a successful scopist.

 

2) Is there a need for Proofreaders?

Is there a need for Proofreaders with spell check? Like the built-in spell check for Word documents or Grammarly?

While these help, they’re not human and can’t understand context and meaning.

They’ll miss:

  • typos that are actual words e.g. feces instead of faces
  • wrong names
  • omitted words
  • incorrect punctuation
  • formatting errors

Proofreaders are needed.

There are A LOT OF BUSINESSES AND PEOPLE that need Proofreaders. Here are just a few examples:

  • Authors of print and digital books
  • Publishers of magazines, newspapers. and textbooks
  • Website Owners
  • Court Reporters’ transcripts
  • People publishing academic papers
  • Companies with marketing materials and product manuals

 

3) How much does a proofreader make?

There’s a wide range as proofreaders can be paid per page OR per project.

To give you an idea:

Glassdoor provides a wide range between $24,000-59,000. The more experience you have, the higher pay you can negotiate.

Here are other work at home options that are well-paid:

 

4) Where do you find proofreading jobs?

Here’s how:

1. Create a profile on Fiverr

Fiverr is where freelancers can promote their services.

You can list your proofreading services, rates and delivery times. Clients can purchase your services and leave testimonials on your profile page. For every job, Fiverr takes 20% of your payment.

 

2. Apply on Upwork

Clients advertise their jobs on Upwork and freelancers submit proposals to win jobs.

To make your profile stand out, take the U.S. English Skills Proofreading Test (Chicago) and display your results.  If you get the job, Upwork takes 10% of your payment.

 

3. Launch a proofreading business from your own website

Having your own website will make you stand out. You can use this space to showcase your writing skills for your clients.

Other advantages:

  • A third-party doesn’t take a cut from your pay
  • Creating a website is inexpensive – you can start a website for $3.95/month with Siteground

 

Putting a website together and managing it does take a lot of time.

I’m not tech-savvy and there was a huge learning curve for me when creating Mom Money Map. It’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done.

Related: How to start and earn money with a blog

 

As you can see, there are pros and cons to each way.

With companies like Fiverr, you’re using the platform’s established brand and resources. You can make money right away.

If you create a website, you’re starting from scratch. You have to learn how to create a website. Once it’s up and running, your earning potential might be higher in the long run.

 

5) Interview with a Successful Proofreader

Now that you have some knowledge about proofreading, here’s an insider perspective from Caitlin Pyle.

Caitlin went from…

helping students in her college proofread their essays to…

becoming a freelance proofreader earning over $40,000/year working part-time to…

teaching people her best practices through her business ProofreadAnywhere.com (PA).

In this exclusive interview, Caitlin shares a proofreader’s earning potential, expenses, typical day, and the necessary skills to be successful.

 

Related Work from Home Articles:

 

You have an amazing story, Caitlin! Can you tell us briefly about your story?

My passion for proofreading started when I studied abroad in Germany for a year in college and would help students proofread their college essays. I loved using my grammar talent to catch errors and help others turn their writing into masterpieces.

That love for proofreading continued to grow. I took my general proofreading skills to the next level when I got into proofreading transcripts for court reporters back in 2012. I was so good at spotting errors, I became known as “Eagle Eyes”. In fact, proofreading transcripts became my primary source of income in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Because I was so passionate about proofreading, I started ProofreadAnywhere.com as a blog back in 2014, and it’s exploded since then. I wanted to share my passion for proofreading so others could grow their own freelance business like I did.

 

What is your favorite aspect about proofreading?

I love catching errors! It’s like a game. 🙂 I also love knowing I’m helping someone with my skills.

 

I love how proofreading is flexible! How has this flexibility helped you?

Through my proofreading career, I’ve been able to proofread literally anywhere, including a whole year I spent in South America!

Become a proofreader in 2019

I am no longer chained to a desk, working to help pay for a boss’ Escalade. Instead I have been able to make my own schedule, work in my pajamas if I want, spend more time with those I love, and structure my job around my life–not the other way around!

 

What is the difference between general proofreading and transcript proofreading?

General proofreading is much more… general! 🙂

If someone is interested in proofreading but not sure if they want to get niche-specific with transcript proofreading, General Proofreading: Theory and Practice™ is the perfect way to begin their journey into proofreading for profit.

It’s an excellent, heavily detailed training system wherein you’ll learn everything you need to know about proofreading general texts — think books, blogs, and the like. There is no heavy focus on a specific, technical niche like court reporting within this course.

Become a proofreader

In contrast, Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice™ is a much more focused and intense course than General Proofreading.

It zooms in on the busy, fast-moving world of court reporters and the transcripts they produce. Because transcripts are verbatim to what is said in a legal proceeding, proofreading transcripts is much more technical and complicated. The list of errors you’re hunting is completely different — and much longer. In short, transcript proofreading skills take longer to master, and the training takes longer to complete.

 

I’d like to focus on general proofreading. What skills do you need to be a proofreader?

I’d sum this up into three main skills: You must have

  • an eagle eye for errors,
  • know grammar and spelling, and
  • be flexible.

If anything is missing in these three areas you could be setting yourself up for failure.

 

What are the initial and ongoing expenses for a general proofreader?

The initial expenses include:

  • the course,
  • an ipad or laptop (which most people already have), and
  • anything related to their website.

Most of our students make their investment back pretty quickly.

 

What is a typical day for a general proofreader?

The great thing about the answer to this question is there is no real answer for it!

Depending on how many clients a proofreader has, what other responsibilities they have, and what their dreams are outside of proofreading, a typical day could be anything but typical!

I have students who travel the world and proofread on the beach, some are stay-at-home moms who work during nap times and after bedtime so that they can give more attention to their kids when they’re awake, and there are others who are working part- or full-time outside the home and proofreading during their free time.

become a proofreader online

General proofreaders get to decide what their typical day looks like. How’s that for freedom and flexibility?

 

What is the demand like for general proofreaders? Who hires general proofreaders?

Turns out that thanks to the worldwide BOOM of self-publishing, millions of books are being written and published each year. Not to mention the huge number of active blogs, websites, and online businesses out there.

New content is published on the internet every second. So there’s an obvious demand for general proofreaders. And the great thing about being a general proofreader is that there are many markets where you can find work. None of these markets are oversaturated with quality proofreaders.

 

How do people find work in general proofreading?

The General Proofreading course will help students find clients, but we don’t tell them how to find clients and proofreading work until they’ve mastered the actual skill first.

At PA, we believe mastering the skill should always come first.

The reasoning for this is simple: if students do not know what they’re doing before going off to find proofreading work, they will only be setting themselves up for failure. Clients can smell lack of mastery from a mile away; it’s for their own benefit that they spend plenty of time honing their skill before going off to sell it.

The General Proofreading course includes an in-depth module on:

  • how to set up your own proofreading business,
  • how to market your business, and even
  • how to communicate effectively with clients.

Our course provides everything needed to both do the proofreading work AND get the proofreading work. I give ALL the tools needed to be successful. BUT students need to implement these tools and be creative to get (and keep!) their clients.

 

Is it necessary to have proofreader training?

Technically, no. However, this course teaches the SKILL required to be an excellent proofreader AND the marketing and business skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing environment.

Building a proofreading business requires acquiring the skill and knowing how to reach the market. This course teaches both.

Could someone try to go out and do it on their own with no experience? Sure. But why would anyone want to?

 

Thanks Caitlin for sharing your tips! Now for a deep look into the training to become a profitable proofreader…

 

6) Training to start a Proofreading Business

As Caitlin mentioned:

Proofreading training is optional.

If you’re serious about starting a professional proofreading career, her General Proofreading course provides both the foundational skills for proofreading and how to create a profitable proofreading business.

The course contains 40+ lessons through REAL LIFE examples including:

  • proofreading methods and practice tests
  • proofreading terminology and common errors
  • proofreading niches and what the most profitable niches are
  • how to build your website and resume, and set rates
  • how to find clients and work with their preferences
  • how to bill clients
  • how typical proofreaders structure their day

But that’s not all…

There are also bonuses! Here are 4 freelance resource guides that are included in the course:

I’ve heard many students say that the best part of this course is access to the private Facebook group. You get to connect with fellow students, share questions and get feedback, and learn from successful proofreaders who have taken this course.

Students also receive a lifetime access to course content including all updates to the course curriculum. It takes 1-2 months to complete the course.

 

Here’s the kicker:

The course is not cheap. When you see the price, you’ll probably be shocked too!

Over the years, I’ve realized that education is the best investment you can make.

No one can take knowledge away from you. Between my MBA and Bachelor of Commerce, I’ve easily spent over $70,000 in education. With that education, I’ve gotten that money back many times over.

This course is no different. Except it’s way less expensive.

With this course, you’re increasing your earning capacity. You can add proofreading as a part-time job to supplement your full-time income. Or you can just do proofreading and have more flexibility and freedom in your life.

If you want to get a taste for the course, check out their FREE intro workshop here that teaches you the basics of proofreading and how to be a successful freelance proofreader.

After you complete the workshop, you’ll be able to knowledgeably assess whether a proofreading career is for you.

Education is the best investment you can make.Click to Tweet

 

Interested in other work-from-home opportunities?

Here are additional work at home options that are well-paid:

 

Other ways to make some money from home

If you only want to earn a little bit of side cash quickly and easily each day, here’s a list of legitimate survey companies with user-friendly sites that I’ve personally tried and liked:

 

I just found out about these other companies from reputable bloggers that you might also want to check out.

Here are the ones in the U.S.:

Here are the ones in Canada:

The more companies you join, the more surveys you’ll qualify for taking. If you like taking surveys and being able to voice your opinion and know that it’ll make a difference with brands and products, taking surveys might be right up your alley.

 

Related Work At Home Articles:

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