Working online from home as a proofreader is a great way to make a full-time living. If you find yourself constantly correcting grammar and errors in stuff your read in newspapers or online, a proofreading business may be perfect for you. In this article, you will see what it takes to get started and how you can find jobs as a freelance proofreader working online from home.
A proofreader is basically checking documents for spelling and grammar errors as well as making sure that what is written flows naturally and is easy to understand for the reader. There is an increasing demand for freelance proofreaders as more companies that publish books, websites, magazines, and manuals, etc. realize the importance of getting fresh eyes to proofread their material before it is released to the public.
To get started you should set up a website to promote your services to potential clients. A good place to start offering your service is at freelance directories such as eLance.com, Guru.com, and iFreelance.com. There are also proofreading sites online such as TheProofreaders, SimplyEnglish, IvyLeagueProofreaders, and ProofreadNow that you can apply to as a proofreader.
If you are just starting out without any experience it may be smart to offer your services at a low price in the beginning, but once you have some experience and your reputation increases you will be able to get up to $45 per hour.
To train yourself to become a better freelance proofreader, start correcting errors and typos in random ads and articles online, in newspapers, and in magazines. You may even contact the author of the material and offer your service to them for free or at a very low cost and ask for their testimonial in return. Good testimonials from happy clients are one of the best ways to attract new clients.
Another way to increase your skills is to print out documents as it is easier to spot errors and typos from paper than it is from the computer screen. Reading the document out loud to yourself is also an easy way to notice errors and get a feeling for the flow of the document.
Tips to help become a freelance proofreader:
The following tips will go a long way in helping you become a high-earning, sought-after freelance proofreader.
- First and foremost is to establish your credibility in the market. There will be a number of candidates competing for the job, but with the right kind of education, you can be ahead in the race. Proofreading is an art that requires attention to details in language and sentence construction, along with good command of the English language, both written and communicative. You can enroll for a proofreading course to have a professional advantage over your competitors. You usually have to take a certification test at the end of the course, which will add a feather to your cap and help you secure your first big break.
- To become a freelance proofreader, you should have a healthy habit of reading on all kinds of topics. If you are familiar with the topic you’re proofreading, you won’t have problems understanding the jargon and will be able to quickly finish off your assignments, thus earning more in less time. Of course, it is impossible to know about everything under the sun, but voracious reading will make things easier and help you speed up.
- Plan how you will go ahead in your career. When you decide to work as a freelance proofreader, you need to narrow down your proofreading options to focus on textbooks only, or may choose a particular topic to proofread, like say interior design. Focusing on a particular topic is a profitable option, but if you are a new entrant, you may not want to miss out on job opportunities. It is therefore advisable to try all kinds of assignments before specializing in a niche.
- The next key thing to do is to make your presence felt online. Create a smart website and market your services. Learn the basics of online marketing, and visit job sites to look for contractual jobs until you are able to establish yourself as a successful freelancer. If you are planning to work for an organization, then customize your CV and post it to companies you are interested in. You should also try social and business networking to contact companies. Often a good contact can land you the desired job, so focus on building a strong network.
Freelance proofreaders and editors must therefore realize that all jobs will not be straightforward, and due cognizance needs to be taken of the following:
- When you take on an assignment, first give it a brief speed read in order to get the gist of the story or manuscript.
- Do not get too engrossed and take a break and if time allows, sleep over it.
- If it is a long text that has been passed onto you electronically, then print it and use a font size and spacing that you are comfortable with.
- Try to put yourself in the shoes of your readers and note in particular any repetitions, fluency, spelling, punctuation, and correct facts.
- Only do short sections at a time i.e. no more than 30 minutes without a break, otherwise you stand a good chance of losing concentration.
- Make absolutely sure that you feel happy with your work, before sending it for publication.
Freelance editing and proofreading is not that daunting a task as long as the guidelines that are described above are followed in a diligent and consistent manner. Remember that the magazine editor who passed the work onto you, expects only the best and that any deliberate slip-up from your side, could be financially disastrous. Expertise and unusually competent writing and editing will quickly build your reputation, but any major deviation from a good work ethic will equally and rapidly destroy your reputation.
Proofreading and editing can be very lucrative indeed, and for those with natural talent, the sky is virtually the limit. It is important however to network in the correct writing circles in order to discover where to get those high-paying freelance jobs.
For anyone who is looking at becoming a qualified freelance proofreader, it is necessary to get the training you need. Because being a freelance proofreader means that you have to generate your own business it is necessary to make sure that a great job is done from the beginning. It is vital that the correction you make is perfect for the needs of customers. By obtaining certification, you may be on your way to impressing your clients over and over again! Simple course by Caitlin Pyle can help you develop the skills you need to make effective copies of each and every opportunity you have.
My good friend Caitlin Pyle over at ProofreadAnywhere.com has been helping people become financially free through proofreading since 2014 – and was actually a proofreader herself before that.