how to become a proofreader

How to Become a Proofreader and Make Money from Home

Are you interested in learning how to become a proofreader? 

Being a freelance proofreader is a great way to make money from literally anywhere in the world! That’s why I recommend it for moms who want to be able to make a part-time or full-time income while staying home with their kids. 

Moms, like Andrea from A.C. Jasmin Proofreading, have turned their love for reading into full-fledged businesses. You can too! (Keep reading to hear Andrea’s story.)

In this post, I’ll share exactly what you need to become a proofreader so that you can start making money from home.

What is a proofreader?

A proofreader is someone who ensures that written content is free of grammatical, punctuation, spelling, and other types of errors. They can also correct for proper formatting and word use.

Proofreaders are often the last eye on a piece of content before it is published for public consumption.

This role in the overall editorial process is often confused with being an editor. Though similar, they are not the same.

An editor actually reviews the content for consistency in the style of the writing, verifying that the information is factual and doesn’t plagiarize, and ensures an overall seamless flow when reading.

What qualifications do you need to be a proofreader?

At a minimum, to become a proofreader, you should have a love for reading and a critical eye for spotting errors. Having a certification isn’t necessary, although taking a proofreading course would be beneficial.

As someone who has actually enlisted the services of a proofreader, I can say that I’ve never asked for their certification or degree. This is mostly due to the fact that everyone I work with has come via recommendation.

How much do proofreaders make?

According to the Editorial Freelancers Association, average rates range from $30-$35/hr with an estimated pace of 9-13 manuscript pages per hour. This price can be given per page, per word, hourly, or as a flat rate.

How to Start an Online Proofreading Business

Starting an online proofreading business isn’t any different from starting any other online business.

You’ll need to follow these steps for how to start an online business:

  1. Decide on a business name and ensure it isn’t already trademarked or taken
  2. Secure website domain, email address, and social media accounts with the business name
  3. Register your business with your state 
  4. Acquire an EIN number for your business from the IRS website (US residents)
  5. Open a business bank account (This is important for when you’ll have to file taxes as a work-from-home mom)
  6. Determine your niche/ideal client
  7. Set your rates
  8. Market your business/services & look for jobs

Proofreading niches

Writing happens in every industry on every topic, so there will always be a need for someone to proofread. Nonetheless, you should consider what you actually enjoy reading and find a proofreading niche that’s compatible. 

Here are some examples of things niches that you can consider:

  • Books/Novels
  • Legal
  • Academic writing
  • Resumes/Professional documents
  • Websites/blogs
  • Editorial publications

You can always find clients in multiple niches, which will diversify your skillset.

How to find freelance proofreading jobs from home

The great thing about becoming a proofreader is that you can do it from home. However, that will also mean that you’ll need to get creative about how you find jobs and attract clients.

Three ways that you can find proofreading jobs and gain business are by joining associations, leveraging freelancer marketplaces, and social media.

Proofreading & Freelance Associations

Associations offer an opportunity to network, find jobs, and have access to continuous education. 

Though not necessary, they may be a good way to find proofreading jobs that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. 

Below are a few proofreading & freelance associations that you can check out.

National Association of Independent Writers & Editors 

The American Copy Editors Society 

The Editorial Freelancers Association 

Freelance Marketplaces

Freelance marketplaces are another avenue for finding potential clients and jobs. The three most popular marketplaces are FlexJobs, Upwork, and Fiverr.

Social Media

Social media is a free way to find potential clients.

Consider joining Facebook groups that your ideal clients are in. These can be groups for bloggers, authors, and almost any other niche that produces regular written content.

How to Earn Full-Time Income as a Proofreader 

ac jasmin proofreading

If you’re still deciding if starting a proofreading business is for you, then check out Andrea’s story.

Andrea was able to turn her love for reading into a full-time income as a proofreader. She shares exactly how she got started and some tips for those starting from scratch.

She’s a mom of two and has been proofreading full-time for a year.

Disclosure: This section contains Andrea’s affiliate link. If you choose to purchase through her link, she will receive a commission at no additional charge to you.

How did you find out about proofreading?

I stumbled onto my editing course on Pinterest! It was a post about proofreading as a side-hustle. The course was Art of Proofreading High-Level Proofreading Pro. The more I read about the course the more interested I became. It sounded like an awesome job, so I signed up for a free 5-day course: Proofreading 101 before enrolling in the full course. 

What made you decide to give proofreading a try?

I’ve always been a reader and so the idea of reading and getting paid for it sounded like a dream job! 

How long have you been a proofreader?

I’ve been a proofreader for about two years. 

When did you start doing proofreading full-time?

I started doing it full-time about six months after starting my business. I landed a few retainer clients that I worked with along with individual editing clients and that is what allowed me to do this. 

What experience did you have before becoming a proofreader?

I have always easily spotted errors while reading. Friends and colleagues would ask me to look over their work—it just came very naturally for me. I decided to reinvent myself with a career in editorial services and I decided to invest in the training needed to do it professionally.  

How did you get experience?

In the beginning, I offered pro bono work. I helped friends and I also posted an ad on Craigslist offering to help with proofreading in exchange for testimonials. I helped an individual that was starting a non-profit that needed help with marketing language on his website and grant applications. After doing a few of these I then started charging for my services. 

Did you take any training to become a proofreader? What qualifications are needed?

Yes, I took a course with Art of Proofreading. This course equipped me with everything that I needed to know to launch my business and become a professional. 

What’s unique about this industry is that you do not need a degree or a certification to be a proofreader. It makes it ideal for someone that is looking for a side-hustle or work-from-home job. 

The best proofreaders in the industry will, of course, educate themselves continuously through books, conferences, memberships, etc. to excel in their craft.

What was the upfront investment to become a freelance proofreader?

  • My course was $597
  • I also designed my own website to save on costs. The price for hosting and email services to send emails to clients is $240 a year. 
  • I designed a simple logo with Canva and then ordered business cards on Moo for $45
  • Resources such as a membership to the Chicago Manual of Style for $40. 

How much do you typically charge for your services?

Editorial pricing is determined in a few different ways: hourly, per page, and also per word which is what I do. My proofreading is priced according to the recommendation of the Editorial Freelancers Association and The Society for Editors and Proofreaders at $.01-$.02 cents a word. 

Best advice for beginners?

  • My first point of advice is to invest in quality training. The Art of Proofreading High-Level Proofreading Pro taught me everything that I needed and then some. It’s how I learned the industry standards and how to read as a professional versus for leisure. 
  • My second point of advice is to tell anyone and everyone about your new business. No one can hire you if they don’t know what you do! It’s important to leave fear behind and share your exciting news with everyone. 

What tools do you need to start a proofreading business?

You need a computer, of course. You also need reference books such as style guides and collegiate dictionaries. Some of these books also have online subscriptions, which I highly recommend. 

How do you get clients?

Most of my clients are by referral from another client. While I’ve been hired by someone that found me on social media or Google searches, it is through word of mouth the majority of the time. 

How to Become a Proofreader: Final Thoughts

If you love to read and have a critical eye, becoming a proofreader is certainly a viable work-from-home option for you. 

There may be a bit of an upfront cost; however, if you follow the advice given by Andrea and leverage the platforms mentioned to gain clients, you can easily get a return on your investment.

While you’re looking for work-from-home jobs, I suggest checking out these other articles to find other opportunities that may be a fit for you.

Fo Alexander

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