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Right now I’m working on a fabulous financial product. And in the course of research, the two themes I kept seeing were: cut expenses and increase income. That got me thinking about all the various freelance opportunities I see around.

In the quest for answers, I decided to go directly to the source. I got two freelance proofreaders to spill the beans about their jobs. What their days look like, how much they make, and- most importantly for you- where to go to get jobs. And wow! There answers were very informative.

Thanks to the following proofreaders for sharing. Please go check out their portfolios or contact them for work!

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If you want to learn more about proofreadering, check out “Proofread Anywhere” <<<Click there to check out the course and join a FREE WORKSHOP. 

This course is intensive, in-depth and comes highly recommended. In fact, one of the proofreaders below got started by taking it!

How much time does it take to work as a proofreader?

Ashley works part-time hours as she’s also a stay-at-home mom. In addition, she combines her proofreading with copyediting and graphic design. So it’s hard for her to define exactly how many hours she spends on various tasks.

Tori- Most days I spend between 2 and 8 hours working. My average day is probably around 4.

Where do you find freelance proofreading jobs?

This is a long section. But I figured it was the one you would be most interested in. They both had great advice and I quoted them (almost) in full.

One theme that recurred was building a personal connection with people.

Ashely says: “I think this is a good starting point to anyone who wants to work from home: What did you do before, and do you still have contacts that can get the ball rolling? I’m currently working on my own marketing plan so I can refine who my ideal client is, which will lead me to the ideal place to find them. However, having my own web presence will be critical so I don’t have to repeat the same sales pitch to every potential client. I am also a big fan of traditional relationship building—introducing yourself to potential clients and making sure your circle knows what you do and that you’re open to referrals. In my experience, most online job boards are inundated with applicants; when a company realizes they have a problem to solve, they search through their contacts first and you want to be on that list.”

Tori says: “Referrals are definitely my favorite way to get new clients. I feel like they are more likely to pay on time and be easy to work with if I’m already working with someone they know. There’s a lot of work available on various Facebook groups, and I’ve done that, but I don’t see people getting regular work that way. I mean, it’s possible and I’m sure good working relationships can start there, but you really have to be quick and, right now, I don’t have the time or inclination to monitor them.”

But what if you’re just starting out?

Well, the Proofread Anywhere will teach you that. But you can also try these tried and trued favorites (though there is some competition…start small and work your way up):

  • Upwork– you choose offers and bid to get the job. Good for new people, but like all proofreading jobs- make sure you know what you’re doing.
  • Freelancer– similar platform to Upwork.
  • Fiverr– similar platform to Upwork. You work by the job.
  • Wordy
  • ProofreadingServices.com– requires that you pass a test to join. So make sure you know your stuff! But (supposedly) good pay once accepted.
  • Editor World
  • Scribrr– must be a native English speaker.
  • FlexJobs– There is a monthly fee for this platform. But you can cancel at anytime. A similar platform to Upwork, where you work by the job.
  • Gramlee
  • IXL Learning
  • Sibia Proofreading– again, must be a native English speaker.
  • Proofread Now– requires 5 years of experience, so if you’re reading this post, this might be beyond your current level of expertise…but keep it in mind for the future!)
  • Proofreading Pal– again, requires some previous experience. Also requires you be a graduate or currently enrolled student.
  • Writer’s Relief– intensive hiring process…rumor has it they only hire 2% of applicants.
  • Pure Content– have to apply for a position.
  • Cactus Communications
  • American Journal Experts

What is the best part of being a proofreader?

Ashley-  Proofreading is fun because it’s like a scavenger hunt. I enjoy the challenge of finding errors in a piece that’s “finished.”

Tori- The ability to put my pedantic knowledge to good use and make money doing it. Lol. Also that I can do it from home (or anywhere) and I’m not drudging through a job just to make money for other people.

What are the downsides of being a proofreader?

Ashley points out that it’s discouraging having a slow period (both client and income-wise) when you feel like you’ve been hustling.

Tori- The downsides are, yes, the variable income, but also that I seldom get to find out how things end. I feel like I’ve read excerpts from hundreds of books, but not the endings. I hate chasing after people for money (which is one big reason I’m picky about clients) and I don’t really like selling myself (another reason I don’t market), but I’m gaining so much self confidence that these things aren’t as much of an issue as when I first started.

Advice for future freelance proofreaders?

Ashley- Do all you can to learn the industries, but don’t be deterred by others who have more experience than you. You owe it to your clients to understand industry basics and best practices, but what you have to offer is also unique to you and cannot be offered by anyone else.

Tori- My best advice to someone starting out or thinking about becoming a proofreader is to find a niche (I mostly do transcript proofreading, but I’ve also worked on articles, books, and short stories). There is far too much competition online from people who will “proofread” for pennies. Granted, many of them aren’t even native English speakers and/or don’t really understand grammar rules, etc., but you have to stand out. It’s critical to understand the rules of language (and no, getting an A in high school English isn’t enough). Be an avid reader, so you’ll have an eye for things that are incorrect, but also drive deep into the intricacies of the rules. Be prepared to learn how much you don’t know and accept the fact that you’ll never know all of it.

Show me the money- how much do you make on average? Or good rates?

Ashley also does primarily graphic design and offers copyediting and proofreading as part of projects or on the side. But she makes an average of $30,000 per year working part-time or fewer hours.

Tori- For straight proofreading of transcripts, I charge between 40 and 80 cents per page. I read about 45 pages an hour. Probably 85-90% of my jobs are at the .40/page rate. An average transcript is 80-100 pages.

Conclusion

First of all, a giant thanks to the proofreaders who contributed to this article. You were thoughtful, thorough, and very open about your experience.

I was struck throughout by the very different experiences people had. It gives me hope for you future proofreaders out there that there is plenty of work. Work for how many ever hours you want to work. And what rates you think the market can bear.

If you want to learn more about proofreadering, check out “Proofread Anywhere” <<<Click there to check out the course and join a FREE WORKSHOP. 

This course is intensive, in-depth and comes highly recommended. In fact, one of the proofreaders below got started by taking it!

How to Become a Proofreader. Interviews with real freelance proofreaders, spilling how much they make and where the jobs are. #freelance #proofreader #freelanceproofreader #proofreadingjobs
How to Become a Proofreader. Interviews with real freelance proofreaders, spilling how much they make and where the jobs are. #freelance #proofreader #freelanceproofreader #proofreadingjobs