Since the year I launched this personal finance blog (which is 2018) as a newbie, some of the readers who have read the articles pointed out that there are in fact a few horrible spelling mistakes here and there and then proceeded to tell me to fire my editor/proofreader.
Except, I was the editor, this is my blog and I manage the whole thing! And now, I am embarrassed about my spelling skills.
This incident repeated a few more times in the past two years which made me realize that “Yeah, I do in fact need someone to proofread my work”.
I needed someone to cover my mistakes so that I could focus on creating content.
And apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way.
There are lots of professions and industries where people rely on proofreaders to make sure the things they publish are high quality, professional, and above all, free from spelling and grammatical errors.
So, if you’re the one who can point out the usual “your/you’re” mistake in texts and/or have impeccable grammar and spelling skills, you can make some serious cash by offering your services to small businesses and people like me.
The demand for proofreaders is on the rise (now more than ever), because of the endless production of written content online via blogs, documents, websites, and other avenues.
Both Online (blogs, websites, etc) and Offline (authors, journalists, etc) rely on proofreaders on every aspect.
So if you’re considering taking a proofreading job or starting and running your own freelance proofreading business, there are plenty of opportunities, even for the absolute beginners.
This post contains affiliate links, please read the Disclaimer for more info.
Table of Contents
So what exactly is Proofreading?
Proofreading is a simple act of reading a text file or a document to edit out the mistakes (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.) to make sure that the written piece is free from errors and is ready for presentation, publishing, or any other submission types.
In order to make it as a freelance proofreader, one must have an eye for grammatical mishaps and must have attention to details.
Proofreading is a vital final stage of the writing process that makes sure the writing standards are met, without which, reputed individuals and companies may lose professional credibility and hence their overall quality.
What is Copy Editing: Proofreading vs. Editing
Editing a piece of writing and proofreading it might seem similar but they are completely different from each other. So what is copy editing (or simply, editing) and how is it different than proofreading?
Well, as best described on Editage.com,
“A proofreader will look for misspellings, incorrect/missed punctuation, inconsistencies (textual and numerical), etc.
Editing, on the other hand, corrects issues at the core of writing like sentence construction and language clarity. Thorough editing will help improve the readability, clarity, and tone of the text.“
Pros & Cons of working as a Proofreader:
- The flexible time schedule
- Location independent
- High demand in the industry
- Good income potential
- Low starting cost
- No degree or high-profile credentials are necessary
- Tight deadlines
- Takes time to build a steady client base
Is there a good demand for proofreaders?
Absolutely! As the production of digital content skyrockets every year, the demand for both part-time and full-time proofreaders follows the same trajectory.
The sheer production of online content and the opportunities for the people behind its successful operation go hand in hand.
How much money can you make proofreading?
According to salary.com, the median salary of a proofreader in the United States is around $52,000.
It is to be noted that this graph above depicts a general salary range, proofreaders can have variable income based on a lot of factors.
For example, experienced proofreaders have a much higher hourly rate than beginners because you can always increase your hourly rate once you reach a level of expertise.
Being a freelance proofreader, you can set your own rate and the number of clients you work with, both of which largely contribute to your net income.
What Skills Do I Need To Become A Freelance Online Proofreader?
The only thing that is a must when it comes to jobs such as proofreading is an eye for detail. If you have the ability to point out even the smallest of spelling and grammatical errors from a wall of text, you’re a perfect fit for the job.
Other than that there are a few other things that are not as essential but are equally valuable:
- A good grasp of grammatical rules
- Ability to focus for long durations
- Meeting the tight deadlines
- And organizational skills
How do I start proofreading?
Though there isn’t much of a high-profile requirement when it comes to proofreading jobs, basic language skills with an eye for spelling and grammatical mistakes is all it takes.
But while hiring, some employers do look for some previous experience or proofreading certification. This is why you need to have some sort of formal proofreading learning/practicing experience before you even apply for such jobs.
Caitlin Pyle has a well-rounded 76-minute FREE workshop that covers all the aspects of proofreading you need to know before diving into this business.
In that FREE workshop, she explains how you get started and make money working as a proofreader, how to get clients, how to scale your proofreading hustle, and elaborates if this is something you should pursue or not.
The workshop is pretty informative, and you don’t want to miss it.
In 2014, Caitlin Pyle made over $43,000 by working as a freelance proofreader.
After she was able to succeed in what she was doing, she decided she wanted to teach others how to do the same thing.
So she made Proofread Anywhere, a well-rounded online course that’ll make sure that others learn to proofread the right way and get clients consistently from the start.
Given below are some of the popular platforms/ companies that hire people for proofreading services.
Best Places Online for Proofreading Jobs for Beginners:
Before applying for any of the jobs on the websites mentioned below, I highly suggest you check out Caitlin’s free workshop on getting started as a proofreader.
I have received a lot of positive feedback on her “Proofread Anywhere” course and this FREE 73-minute workshop, Do check it out!
Now let’s get on with the list.
Flexjobs is an online portal for remote, work-from-home, and freelance type of jobs that’ll allow you to make money online from the comfort of your home.
I guess this is true for any work-from-home/remote job, you need a comfortable place at your home and a reliable internet connection.
Flexjobs offers a plethora of freelance jobs including proofreading and editing jobs.
But a little disclaimer, Flexjobs does have a $15 monthly membership fee (which you can cancel anytime) that gives you an all-access keycard to all the good jobs available on the platform.
So if you’re serious about snagging a good (or a few) job(s), maybe the $15 monthly membership is worth considering.
Upwork has a pool of very high rated freelancers offering various services such as app development, writing, customer services, design, marketing and so many more.
People all across the US, Canada, Australia, UK use this platform to market their services and make money.
Fiverr is a goldmine for all types of freelance jobs including proofreading jobs and editing work. People from all possible freelance backgrounds are here to offer their services and so are the customers who want their services.
You can also offer a variety of services here as an add-on apart from proofreading but still in the same domain such as blog post writing, writing reviews, etc.
Tasks are often referred to as “gigs” here and the cost of the gigs here starts as low as $5.
You can charge extra for a faster delivery time, or add more services to your service portfolio to get as many gigs as you possibly can.
ProofreadingServices.com has both full-time and part-time online proofreading positions but all proofreaders must clear a 20-minute screening test before getting any work assigned to them.
They have flexible working hours and pay ranging from USD 19 to 46 per hour depending on turnaround time with the highest pay for the most urgent deadlines.
LinkedIn is very useful when it comes to approaching small businesses. Here you can directly get in contact with the people you want to offer your services to, a.k.a. potential clients.
A lot of people underestimate the use of LinkedIn. It has the ability to amplify your reach to other professionals.
All you have to do is curate your profile that reflects your skills and abilities. Also adding testimonials or examples of your work can increase your chances of getting hired.
Other similar websites:
6. Scribe Media
10. Editor World
13. English Trackers
14. Cactus Communications
15. Proofreading Pal
17. Writer’s Relief
18. Polished Paper
20. Sibia Proofreading
Are online proofreading jobs legit?
While there might be some shady job offers out there that might ask you to pay an amount to start working (scam alert!), the curated list that I’ve mentioned above are 100% legit proofreading job opportunities.
So you can skip all the unnecessary guesswork and jump right into applying without a speck of skepticism.
Is proofreading a good career option?
Proofreading, like any other online/freelance job, has its benefits such as time and location independence.
Having an eye for mistakes is the only skill you need here, If you got that then yes, it’s a pretty good career option for you.
If you think this is something you can do and be good at it, then it’s only a matter of time before you’ll see a great return for your hard work.
How long does it take to become a proofreader?
In short, it really depends!
If you’re new to this whole “proofreading” thing, it might take you a few days to months to land on your first client.
And if you’re good at what you do, after a certain period, you will have a loyal client base under you.
Caitlin has dedicated sections in her course where she explains how to approach clients that will definitely help you bag a few offers within days.
Do I need to have a degree to proofread?
It depends! This is one of those factors that some businesses/companies want as a requirement while others choose not to consider this a hiring metric.
A degree in English is a plus, but it is not necessary.
If you have a degree, good for you, but if you don’t, please don’t stress about it and consider applying to places where a degree is not a strict requirement.
But you’ll still need something to back your skills and abilities if not the degree. They won’t just hire a noob!
There are companies, small businesses, and organizations that would require some prior experience and certification in proofreading and/or really impressive testimonials from previous clients.
And if you’re a beginner, there’s a good chance, you might not have any of those.
But the good news is, you can get those credentials by taking a good online course/certification course in that field which will allow you to market yourself as a capable proofreader.
Refer to Proofread Anywhere, for more details about getting those credentials.
Useful tools for proofreading:
- Grammarly: Grammarly is a tool that can point out the spelling errors in a written piece. But in my opinion, they are not always accurate at detecting mistakes but still, it’s good to have something that can help you to some extent.
- Google Docs: Google Docs are a common tool for proofreaders that allows them to add comments to the original document and share them easily.
- Microsoft Office: Some businesses often have the requirement for you to know how to use Microsoft applications because they themselves use it. But either way, it is good to have applications such as MS Word, where you can do your work.
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